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Highways, Market Access, and Spatial Sorting

  • Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Frédéric Robert-Nicoud (Université de Genève, Switzerland)
  • Field
    Spatial Economics
  • Location
    Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam, Room 1.24
  • Date and time

    June 06, 2019
    12:15 - 13:15

We design a parsimonious spatial equilibrium model featuring workers embodied with heterogeneous skills and nonhomothetic preferences. In equilibrium, locations with improved commuting access become relatively more attractive to the high-skilled, high-income earners. We then empirically analyze the effects of the construction of the Swiss highway network between 1960 and 2010 on the distribution of income at the local level, as well as on employment and commuting by education level. We find that the advent of a new highway access within 10km led to a long-term 23% increase in the share of high-income taxpayers and a 7% decrease in the share of low-income taxpayers. Highways also contributed to job and residential urban sprawl.

Joint work with Stephan Fretz and Raphaël Parchet.