Suburbanization and Highways: When the Romans, the Bourbons and the First Cars Still Shape Spanish Cities

IEB Working Paper N. 2013/005

33 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2013

See all articles by Miquel-Àngel Garcia-López

Miquel-Àngel Garcia-López

Autonomous University of Barcelona; University of Barcelona - Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB)

Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal

University of Barcelona

Adelheid Holl

CSIC, Institute for Public Goods and Policies

Date Written: February 18, 2013

Abstract

We estimate the effects of highways on the suburbanization of Spanish cities. First, we extend previous findings for the US and China by providing evidence for Europe: each additional highway ray built between 1991 and 2006 produced a 5 per cent decline in central city population between 1991 and 2011. Second, our main contribution is at the intrametropolitan level. We find that highway improvements influence the spatial pattern of suburbanization: suburban municipalities that were given improved access to the highway system between 1991 and 2006 grew 4.6% faster. The effect was most marked in suburbs located at 5-11 km from the central city (7.1%), and concentrated near the highways: population spreaded out along the (new) highway segments (4.7%) and ramps (2.7%). To estimate the causal relationship between population growth and highway improvements, we rely on an IV estimation. We use Spain’s historical road networks – Roman roads, 1760 main post roads, and 19th century main roads – to construct our candidates for use as instruments.

Keywords: suburbanization, highways, transportation infrastructure

JEL Classification: R4, O2

Suggested Citation

Garcia-López, Miquel-Àngel and Viladecans-Marsal, Elisabet and Holl, Adelheid, Suburbanization and Highways: When the Romans, the Bourbons and the First Cars Still Shape Spanish Cities (February 18, 2013). IEB Working Paper N. 2013/005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2341633 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2341633

Miquel-Àngel Garcia-López (Contact Author)

Autonomous University of Barcelona ( email )

Plaça Cívica
Cerdañola del Valles
Barcelona, Barcelona 08193
Spain

University of Barcelona - Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) ( email )

Barcelona

Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal

University of Barcelona ( email )

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

Adelheid Holl

CSIC, Institute for Public Goods and Policies ( email )

Madrid, 28037
Spain

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