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Home | Courses | Urban and Transport Economics

Urban and Transport Economics

  • Teacher(s)
    Hans Koster, Jos van Ommeren, Jan Rouwendal
  • Research field
    Spatial Economics
  • Dates
    Period 3 - Jan 03, 2022 to Feb 25, 2022
  • Course type
  • Program year
  • Credits

Course description

We introduce and apply the key concept of spatial equilibrium, where distance between agents, i.e. transport costs, play a fundamental role in their behavior (location choice, labor supply, productivity). For example, we explain the role of agglomeration, the role of residential amenities, and the value of time of travel. Conceptual theoretical models are introduced and examined which are the basis for empirical work and are used as a guidance for welfare and policy analysis. Theoretical concepts are backed up with empirical studies.
Travel costs (notably the value of time) are key for understanding the spatial equilibrium of workers and firms within the city. In the transport lectures we discuss the dominant empirical approaches to estimate this value (including discrete choice analysis). We also pay attention to the impact of transport infrastructure on urban development.
Social interaction within cities and neighborhood effects as well as urban policy will receive due attention. We will, for instance, discuss the welfare impacts of place-based policies. The course schedule will be as follows:
1. Introduction: Equilibrium within cities (including the monocentric model)
2. Equilibrium across cities (Roback model)
3. Agglomeration economies
4. Urban transport economics I (value of time, reliability)
5. Urban transport economics II (urban road and public transport infrastructure)
6. Urban distress (crime, neighborhood effects)
7. Cities and public policy
This follows the chapters in Glaeser, E. (2008).

Course literature

Primary reading

  • E. Glaeser (2008). Cities, Agglomeration and Spatial Equilibrium, Oxford University Press, indicated chapters as in the slides
  • N. Baum-Snow (2007). Did highways cause suburbanization? Quarterly Journal of Economics
  • G. Duranton and M. Turner (2011) The fundamental law of road congestion: Evidence from U.S. cities’ American Economic Review, 101, 2616-2652.
  • Dimitropoulos, A., P. Koster and J.N. van Ommeren (2016), Not fully charged: welfare effects of tax incentives for employer-provided electric cars, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 78, 1-19, (introduction only)
  • Ostermeier, Koster and van Ommeren, Automobiles and urban density, work in progress.
  • E. Gutiérrez-i-Puigarnau, I. Mulalic and J. van Ommeren (2014), Do rich households live farther away from their workplaces?, Journal of Economic Geography, 1-25.
  • E. Gutiérrez-i-Puigarnau, I. and J. van Ommeren (2011), welfare effects of distortionary fringe benefits taxation: the case of employer-provided cars International Economic Review, 1-25.
  • L. Han and W. Strange (2014) The micro-structure of housing markets: Search, bargaining and brokerage.
  • Y. Kantor, P. Rietveld and J.N. van Ommeren (2014), Towards a general theory of mixed zones: the role of congestion, Journal of Urban Economics, 83, 50-58 (only the introduction)
  • N.V. Kuminoff, V.K. Smith and C. Timmins The New Economics of Equilibrium Sorting and Policy
  • Evaluation Using Housing Markets. Journal of Economic Literature. 51 (2013), 1007-1062.
  • R.E. Lucas and E. Rossi-Hansberg (2002), On the internal structure of cities, Econometrica.
  • S.J. Redding and E. Rossi-Hansberg Quantitative Spatial Economics NBER working paper 22665
  • S.J. Redding and M.A.Turner Transportation Costs and the Spatial Organization of Economic Activity, NBER working paper 20235.
  • K. Small (2008). Urban transportation policy: A guide and a road map, book chapter.
  • N. Tsivanides (2019) Evaluating the impact of urban transit infrastructure: Evidence from Bogota’s TransMilenio. Working paper.