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A Quantitative Analysis of Suburbanization and the Diffusion of the Automobile

35 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2011  

Karen A. Kopecky

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics

Richard M. H. Suen

University of Connecticut

Date Written: November 18, 2010

Abstract

Suburbanization in the United States between 1910 and 1970 was concurrent with the diffusion of the automobile. A circular city model is developed in order to access quantitatively the contribution of automobiles and rising incomes to suburbanization. The model incorporates a number of driving forces of suburbanization and car adoption, including falling automobile prices, rising real incomes, changing costs of traveling by car and with public transportation, and urban population growth. According to the model, 60% of postwar (1940-1970) suburbanization can be explained by these factors. Rising real incomes and falling automobile prices are shown to be the key drivers of suburbanization.

Suggested Citation

Kopecky, Karen A. and Suen, Richard M. H., A Quantitative Analysis of Suburbanization and the Diffusion of the Automobile (November 18, 2010). International Economic Review, Vol. 51, Issue 4, pp. 1003-1037, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1732987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2010.00609.x

Karen A. Kopecky (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta ( email )

1000 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309-4470
United States

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics ( email )

London, Ontario N6A 5B8
Canada
519-661-2111, ext. 80446 (Phone)
519-661-3666 (Fax)

Richard M. H. Suen

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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