Does Urban Sprawl Increase the Costs of Providing Local Public Services? Evidence from Spanish Municipalities

Research in Applied Economics Network, Vol. 10, 2008

41 Pages Posted: 26 May 2011

See all articles by Albert Sole-Olle

Albert Sole-Olle

University of Barcelona; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Miriam Hortas-Rico

University of Barcelona

Date Written: November 1, 2008

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of urban sprawl, a phenomenon of particular interest in Spain, which is currently experiencing this process of rapid, low-density urban expansion. Many adverse consequences are attributed to urban sprawl (e.g., traffic congestion, air pollution and social segregation), though here we are concerned primarily with the rising costs of providing local public services. Our initial aim is to develop an accurate measure of urban sprawl so that we might empirically test its impact on municipal budgets. Then, we undertake an empirical analysis using a cross-sectional data set of 2,500 Spanish municipalities for the year 2003 and a piecewise linear function to account for the potentially nonlinear relationship between sprawl and local costs. The estimations derived from the expenditure equations for both aggregate and six disaggregated spending categories indicate that low-density development patterns lead to greater provision costs of local public services.

Keywords: Urban sprawl, local public spending

JEL Classification: H1, H72, R51

Suggested Citation

Sole-Olle, Albert and Hortas-Rico, Miriam, Does Urban Sprawl Increase the Costs of Providing Local Public Services? Evidence from Spanish Municipalities (November 1, 2008). Research in Applied Economics Network, Vol. 10, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1843090 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1843090

Albert Sole-Olle (Contact Author)

University of Barcelona ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
Barcelona, 08007
Spain

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Miriam Hortas-Rico

University of Barcelona ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
Barcelona, 08007
Spain

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