Zoning and the Economic Geography of Cities

64 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2016

See all articles by Allison Shertzer

Allison Shertzer

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Tate Twinam

University of Washington, Bothell

Randall Walsh

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2016

Abstract

Comprehensive zoning is ubiquitous in U.S. cities, yet we know surprisingly little about its long-run impacts. We provide the first attempt to measure the causal effect of land use regulation over the long term, using as our setting Chicago’s first (1923) comprehensive zoning ordinance. Our results indicate that zoning has had a broader and more significant impact on the spatial distribution of economic activity than was previously believed. In particular, zoning may be more important than either geography or transportation networks – the workhorses of urban economic geography models – in explaining where commercial and industrial activity are located.

Suggested Citation

Shertzer, Allison and Twinam, Tate and Walsh, Randall, Zoning and the Economic Geography of Cities (September 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22658. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2840606

Allison Shertzer (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Tate Twinam

University of Washington, Bothell ( email )

18115 Campus Way NE
Bothell, WA 98011
United States

Randall Walsh

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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