Do Regional Economies Need Regional Coordination?

66 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2007

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)


Over the past century, America changed from a nation of distinct cities separated by farmland, to a place where employment and population density is far more continuous. For some purposes, it makes sense to think of the U.S. as consisting of a number of contiguous megaregions. Using the megaregion definitions of the Regional Plan Association, this paper documents the remarkable differences between these areas in productivity, housing prices, commute times and growth rates. Moreover, over the past 20 years, the fastest growing regions have not been those with the highest income or the most attractive climates. Flexible housing supply seems to be the key determinant of regional growth. Land use regulations seem to drive housing supply and determine which regions are growing. A more regional approach to housing supply might reduce the tendency of many localities to block new construction. The Policy Research Institute for the Region at Pinceton University also provided support and funding.

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L., Do Regional Economies Need Regional Coordination?. Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2131, Available at SSRN:

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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