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Essays on urban and spatial economics

Sanchis-Guarner, Rosa (2012) Essays on urban and spatial economics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis is composed of four chapters. The first one investigates the impact of immigration on housing markets. The rest study the effects of transport policy on economic outcomes. Chapter 1 provides causal estimates of the effects of an increase of foreign-born population on house prices. I use data for the Spanish provinces between 2001 and 2010. In order to infer causality I construct an instrument based on past location patterns by immigrant nationality. I find positive effects of the increase in the share of foreign-born population on both rental and purchase prices. The estimated elasticities are 0.6% for rental prices and 2% for purchase prices. I also investigate the relationship between immigration and native location (native displacement) and I find that immigrants attract natives to the same regions they locate. When I re-estimate the effects using solely the variation on population growth which is due to exogenous location of foreign-born, I find that estimates are around 30-40% smaller than if we ignored the relationship between immigration and native location decisions. Chapters 2 to 4 investigate the effects of road improvements on aggregate and individual economic outcomes, using data for Great Britain during the period 1998-2008. Chapter 2 develops the methodology to estimate the economic impacts of transport improvements. We summarise the existing evidence and the theoretical channels through which transport policy can impact firm, worker and aggregate economic outcomes. To capture the effect of road improvements, we construct a measure of accessibility to employment through the road network. For this purpose, we collect novel data on 31 major road improvement projects and combine this information with the trunk road network in Great Britain in 2008. This information is used to calculate optimal travel times between locations at each point in time, which are used in the computation of the accessibility measures. The last two chapters discuss the empirical results, for ward and firm outcomes(chapter 3) and for individual labour market outcomes (chapter 4). I find positive effects of accessibility on ward employment and number of plants, a limited effect on plant employment and no effect on productivity. Accessibility from workplace has substantial impacts on individual wages and total hours worked, while accessibility from home only seems to have an effect on reducing the travel time to work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Rosa Sanchis-Guarner
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Overman, Henry G.

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