How Centralized is U.S. Metropolitan Employment?

49 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2017

See all articles by Jason Brown

Jason Brown

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Maeve Maloney

Syracuse University

Jordan Rappaport

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Aaron Smalter Hall

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Date Written: November 16, 2017

Abstract

Centralized employment remains a benchmark stylization of metropolitan land use. To address its empirical relevance, we delineate "central employment zones" (CEZs) central business districts together with nearby concentrated employment - for 183 metropolitan areas in 2000. To do so, we first subjectively classify which census tracts in a training sample of metros belong to their metro's CEZ and then use a learning algorithm to construct a function that predicts our judgment. Applying this prediction function to the full cross section of metros estimates the probability we would judge each census tract as belonging to its metro's CEZ. Using a high probability threshold for tract inclusion conservatively delineates a predicted CEZ for each metro. On average, the conservatively predicted CEZs account for only 12 percent of metropolitan employment in 2000. But the distribution of shares is positively skewed, with the conservatively predicted CEZs accounting for at least 20 percent of employment in 29 metros. Employment centralization is considerably higher for agglomerative occupations - those that arguably benefit most from face-to-face contact. The conservatively predicted CEZs account for at least 33 percent of agglomerative employment in 24 metros and at least 50 percent of legal employment in 79 metros.

Keywords: central business districts, employment density, metropolitan land use

JEL Classification: R12, R32, C45

Suggested Citation

Brown, Jason and Maloney, Maeve and Rappaport, Jordan and Smalter Hall, Aaron, How Centralized is U.S. Metropolitan Employment? (November 16, 2017). Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Working Paper No. RWP 17-16 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3080421 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3080421

Jason Brown (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ( email )

1 Memorial Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64198
United States

Maeve Maloney

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Jordan Rappaport

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ( email )

1 Memorial Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64198
United States
816-881-2018 (Phone)
816-881-2199 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kansascityfed.org/speechbio/rappaport.cfm

Aaron Smalter Hall

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ( email )

1 Memorial Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64198
United States

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