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The economics of skyscrapers: a synthesis

Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. ORCID: 0000-0001-5664-3230 and Barr, Jason (2022) The economics of skyscrapers: a synthesis. Journal of Urban Economics, 129. ISSN 0094-1190

[img] Text (GA_JB_-_Skyscrapers) - Accepted Version
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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jue.2021.103419


We document that skyscraper growth since the end of the 19 th century has been driven by a reduction in the cost of height, increasing urbanization, and rising incomes. These stylized facts guide us in developing a competitive open-city general equilibrium model of vertical and horizontal city structure. We use the model to show that (i) vertical costs and benefits affect the horizontal land use pattern within cities; (ii) the causal relationship between skyscrapers and urbanization is bi-directional; and (iii) height limits reduce the size of large cities, leading to lower agglomeration economies, productivity, and urban GDP. We substantiate the model's predictions by novel estimates of urban height gradients.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Elsevier Inc.
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R3 - Production Analysis and Firm Location > R30 - General
N - Economic History > N9 - Regional and Urban History > N90 - General, International, or Comparative
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2021 09:42
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 23:39

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