Distributional Consequences of Public Policies: An Example from the Management of Urban Vehicular Travel

U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 14-21

Resources for the Future Discussion Paper No. 14-04

64 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014 Last revised: 2 Oct 2014

See all articles by Winston Harrington

Winston Harrington

Resources for the Future

Elena Safirova

Resources for the Future

Conrad Coleman

York University

Sébastien Houde

ETH Zurich

Adam M. Finkel

University of Michigan School of Public Health

Date Written: March 13, 2014

Abstract

This paper uses a spatially disaggregated computable general equilibrium model of a large US metropolitan area to compare two kinds of policies, “Live Near Your Work” and taxation of vehicular travel, that have been proposed to help further the aims of “smart growth.” Ordinarily, policy comparisons of this sort focus on the net benefits of the two policies; that is, the total monetized net welfare gains or losses to all citizens. While the aggregate net benefits are certainly important, in this analysis we also disaggregate these benefits along two important dimensions: income and location within the metropolitan area. The resulting identification of gainers and losers with these policies, though undoubtedly important to matters such as fairness and political feasibility, are rarely made. We find that these distributional effects are quite sensitive to the details of policy design.

Keywords: growth management, urban planning, urban transportation, smart growth

JEL Classification: R13, R48, R52

Suggested Citation

Harrington, Winston and Safirova, Elena and Coleman, Conrad and Houde, Sébastien and Finkel, Adam M., Distributional Consequences of Public Policies: An Example from the Management of Urban Vehicular Travel (March 13, 2014). U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 14-21, Resources for the Future Discussion Paper No. 14-04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432178 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2432178

Winston Harrington (Contact Author)

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
(202) 328-5112 (Phone)
(202) 939-3460 (Fax)

Elena Safirova

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Conrad Coleman

York University

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Sébastien Houde

ETH Zurich ( email )

Zurich
Switzerland

Adam M. Finkel

University of Michigan School of Public Health ( email )

1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
United States

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