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The economic effects of density: A synthesis

Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. and Pietrostefani, Elisabetta (2017) The economic effects of density: A synthesis. SERC Discussion Papers, SERCDP0210. Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC), London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Identification Number: SERCDP0210

Abstract

This paper synthesises the state of knowledge on the economic effects of density. We consider 15 outcome categories and 202 estimates of density elasticities from 102 studies. More than 50% of these estimates have not been previously published and have been provided by authors on request or inferred from published results in auxiliary analyses. We contribute own estimates of density elasticities of 16 distinct outcome variables that belong to categories where the evidence base is thin, inconsistent or non-existent. Along with a critical discussion of the quality and the quantity of the evidence base we present a set of recommended elasticities. Applying them to a scenario that roughly corresponds to an average high-income city, we find that a 10% increase in density in per capita and year terms is associated with a $140 increase in wage and a $243 increase in rent. The decrease in real wage net of taxes of $171 is partially compensated for by an aggregate amenity effect of $106 and there is a positive external welfare effect of $29. Density has important positive amenity and resource implications, but also appears to create a scarcity rent, which harms renters and first-time buyers.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Sets: Departments > Finance
Departments > Geography and Environment
Research centres and groups > Spatial Economics Research Centre
Series: Working Papers > CEP Discussion Papers
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2017 13:36
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2017 09:52
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/83628

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