Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Notes on the Theory of Urban Residential Structure:
The Basic Urban Model

Professor Yinger

 

References



Note:  JUE stands for Journal of Urban Economics.

  • William Alonso.  1964. Location and Land Use. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • N. Edward Colson.  1991.  “Really Useful Tests of the Monocentric Model.”  Land Economics, August, pp. 299-307.

  • John F. MacDonald.  1989.  “Econometric Studies of Urban Population Density:  A Survey.” JUE, November, pp. 361-85.

  • Edwin S. Mills.  1967.  “An Aggregative Model of Resource Allocation in a Metropolitan Area.”  American Economic Review, May, pp. 197-210.

  • Edwin S. Mills.  1972.   Studies in the Structure of the Urban Economy.  Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins Press.

  • Edwin S. Mills and Bruce Hamilton.  Urban Economics, 4th Edition.  Scott Foresman, 1988.

  • Richard F. Muth.  1969.  Cities and Housing:  The Spatial Pattern of Urban Residential Land Use.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

  • John Yinger.  1979.  “Estimating the Relationship between Location and the Price of Housing.” Journal of Regional Science, August, pp. 271-89.

  • John Yinger, Howard Bloom, Axel Boersch-Supan, and Helen F. Ladd.  1988.  Property Taxes and House Values:  The Theory and Estimation of Intrajurisdictional Property Tax Capitalization.  Boston:  Academic Press.

  • John Yinger and Sheldon Danziger.  1978.  “An Equilibrium Model of Urban Population and the Distribution of Income.” Urban Studies, May, pp. 201-214.

  

References to Urban Models with More General Assumptions

  • HURE-II stands for Edwin S. Mills, editor, Handbook of Urban and Regional Economics, Vol. II, Urban Economics.  Amsterdam:  North-Holland, 1988.

  • HURE-III stands for Paul Cheshire and Edwin S. Mills, editors, Handbook of Urban and Regional Economics, Vol. III, Applied Urban Economics.  Amsterdam, North-Holland, 1999.

  • JUE stands for Journal of Urban Economics.
      

Assumption 1
(Utility Function Takes Cobb-Douglas Form with Housing and Composite Good)

  • William C. Wheaton.  1974.  “A Comparative Static Analysis of Urban Spatial Structure.”  Journal of Economic Theory, pp. 223-37. (Provides complete comparative static analysis of urban model with land but no housing and with general functional form for utility function.)

  • Jan K. Brueckner.  1983.  “The Economics of Urban Yard Space:  An ‘Implicit‑market’ Model for Housing Attributes.” JUE, March, pp. 216-34. (Solves and urban model with explicit housing attributes instead of housing services.)

  • Joseph H. DeSalvo. 1985.  “A Model of Urban Household Behavior with Leisure Choice.”  Journal of Regional Science, 11, pp. 99-111.
    (Solves an urban model with leisure in the utility function.)

  • Jan K. Brueckner.  1988.  “The Structure of Urban Equilibria:  A Unified Treatment of the Muth-Mills Model.” in HURE-II.
    (Provides complete comparative static analysis of urban model with general functional form for utility function.)

 

Assumption 2
(Housing Supply is Cobb-Douglas with Absentee Landlords)  

A.  Studies with More General Functional Forms

  • Jan K. Brueckner.  1988.  “The Structure of Urban Equilibria:  A Unified Treatment of the Muth-Mills Model.” in HURE-II. (Provides comparative static analysis of urban model with general functional form for housing production.)

  

B.  Studies with Explicit Models of the Construction Decision 

  • David Harrison and John F. Kain.  1974.  “Cumulative Urban Growth and Density Functions,” JUE, January, pp. 61-98. (Introduces the possibility that the spatial development of cities occurs in time-based phases and in successive spatial rings.)

  • Alex Anas.  1978.  “Dynamics of Urban Residential Growth.”  JUE, January, pp. 66-87.  (Provides a model of urban growth with durable housing capital and myopic foresight.)

  • Jan K. Brueckner.  1980.  “A Vintage Model of Urban Growth.” JUE, November, pp. 389-402.  (Provides a model of urban growth with durable capital and perfect foresight.)

  • William C. Wheaton.  1982.  “Urban Spatial Development with Durable but Replaceable Capital.”  JUE, July, pp. 53-67. (Provides a model of urban growth with long-lived but replaceable capital and perfect foresight.)

 

C.  Models with local land ownership

  • David Pines, and Efraim Sadka.  1986.  “Comparative Static Analysis of a Fully Closed City.  JUE, July, pp. 1-20.  (Solves a closed urban model in which land rents are redistributed to residents.)

  • Komei Sasaki.  1987.  “A Comparative Static Analysis of Urban Structure in the Setting of Endogenous Income.   JUE, 22, pp. 53-72.  (Solves a closed urban model in which land rents are redistributed to residents.)

  • Masahisa Fujita.  1989. Urban Economic Theory.  Cambridge, England:  Cambridge University Press.  (Solves an open urban model in which all rents above the agricultural rate are distributed to residents.)

 

Assumption 3
(Commuting is in a straight line with a constant cost per mile)

A. Articles generalizing assumptions about the transportation network

  • Alex Anas and L.M. Moses.  1979.  “Mode Choice, Transport Structure and Urban Land Use.” JUE, April, pp. 228-46.  (Solves urban models with more than one mode of transportation, assuming radial and circular streets.)

  • John Yinger.  1993.  “Around the Block: Urban Models with a Street Grid.” JUE, May, pp. 305-330. (Solves urban models with a wide range of assumptions about the street network, all based on a street grid.)

  

B. Articles introducing traffic congestion

  • Robert M. Solow.  1972.  "Congestion and the Use of Land in Transportation."  Swedish Journal of Economics (March):  602-18.  (Solves a highly simplified urban model with congestion, assuming radial streets.)

  •  Edwin S. Mills.  1972.   Studies in the Structure of the Urban Economy.  Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins Press.  (Simulates an urban model with congestion, assuming radial streets.)

  • John Yinger.  1993.  “Bumper to Bumper: A New Approach to Congestion in an Urban Model.” JUE, September, pp. 249-274.  (Solves an urban model with congestion, assuming a street grid and one commuting artery.)

  • William C. Wheaton.  1998.  “Land Use and Density in Cities with Congestion.” JUE, March, pp.  258-272.  (Shows how congestion raises optimal central density in a standard urban model.)

  • Stephen L. Ross and John Yinger.  2000.  “Timing Equilibria in an Urban Model with Congestion.” JUE, May, pp. 390-413. (Proves that all existing urban models with congestion do not have a timing equilibrium, that is, an equilibrium in which no commuter has an incentive to change the time at which she commutes.)

 

Assumption 4
(Access to work is the only locational characteristic that matters)

  • A. Mitchell Polinsky and Stephen Shavell.  1976.  “Amenities and Property Values in a Model of an Urban Area.” Journal of Public Economics, January/February, pp. 119-30. (Solves an urban model with a neighborhood amenity.)

  • John Yinger.  1976.  “Racial Prejudice and Racial Residential Segregation in an Urban Model.” JUE, October, pp. 383-9.  (Solves an urban model with different racial groups and with racial composition as an endogenous neighborhood amenity.)

 

Assumption 5
(All households are alike) 

  • Martin J. Beckman.  1969.  “On the Distribution of Urban Rent and Residential Density.” Journal of Economic Theory, 1969, pp. 60-7.  (Solves an urban model with a continuous income distribution.)

  • A. Montesanto.  1972.  “A Restatement of Beckman’s Model on the Distribution of Urban Rent and Residential Density,” Journal of Economic Theory, pp. 329-54. (Fixes a problem in Beckman’s article.) 

  • John Hartwick, U. Schweizer, and P. Varaiya.  1976.  “Comparative Statics of a Residential Economy with Several Classes.” Journal of Economic Theory, 1976, pp. 396-413. (Provides comparative statics results for an urban model with more than one income class.) 

 

Assumption 6
(Income is fixed and all households have one CBD worker)
 

  • Michelle J. White.  1976.  “Firm Suburbanization and Urban Subcenters.” JUE, October, pp. 129-52.  (Solves an urban model with a suburban employment ring.)

  • Jan K. Brueckner.  1979.  “A Model of Noncentral Production in a Monocentric City.” JUE, October, pp. 444-63.  (Provides comparative statics for an urban model with local employment in addition to employment in the CBD.)

  • Kenneth F. Wieand.  1987.  “An Extension of the Monocentric Urban Spatial Equilibrium Model to a Multicenter Setting:  The Case of the Two‑Center City.”  JUE, May, pp. 259-71.  (Partially solves an urban model with a suburban business district (SBD), assuming radial streets out of the CBD and the SBD.)

  • John Yinger.  1992.  “City and Suburb:  Urban Models with More than One Employment Center.” JUE, March, pp. 181-205.  (Solves an urban model with an SBD, assuming circular streets plus radial streets emanating from the CBD; sketches the solution to models with more than one SBD.) 

  • John Yinger.  1993.  “Around the Block: Urban Models with a Street Grid.” JUE, May, pp. 305-330. (Solves an urban model with an SBD, assuming a street grid.)

  • Komei Sasaki and Michihiro Kaiyama, “The Effects of Urban Transportation Costs on Urban Spatial Structure with Endogenous Wage Income,” RSUE, September 1990, pp. 223-244.  (Provides comparative statics for a standard closed urban model with endogenous wages and firm competition for land.)

  • Stephen L. Ross and John Yinger.  1995.  “A Comparative Static Analysis of Open Urban Models with a Full Labor Market and Suburban Employment.” Regional Science and Urban Economics, October, pp. 575-605.  (Provides comparative statics for open urban models in which employment, wages, and the boundary of the CBD are endogenous; models with a suburban business district are also examined.) 

  • Yang Zhang and Komei Sasaki, “Effects of Subcenter Formation on Urban Spatial Structure,”  RSUE, June 1997, pp. 297-324.  (Provides comparative statics for a standard closed model with a suburban employment center.)

  • Masahisa Fujita, Jacque-FranHois Thisse, and Yves Zenou, 1997, “On the Endogenous Formation of Secondary Employment Centers in a City,”  JUE, May, pp. 337-357.  (Presents a model of subcenter formation in a linear city.) 

  • Stephen L. Ross.  1996.  “The Long-Run Effect of Economic Development Policy on Resident Welfare in a Perfectly Competitive Urban Economy.” JUE, November, pp. 354-380.  (Shows how some key comparative static results--and related policy implications--can change with a complete labor market and endogenous CBD boundaries.)

  • Michelle J. White.  1999.  “Urban Areas with Decentralized Employment:  Theory and Empirical Work,” in HURE-III, pp. 1375-1412.  (A good survey of the literature.)
      

Assumption 7
(Households are perfectly mobile)
 

  • Susan Rose-Ackerman.  1975.  “Racism and Urban Structure.”  JUE, pp. 85-103.  (Solves and urban model with racial segregation and racial prejudice.)

  • John Yinger.  1976.  “Racial Prejudice and Racial Residential Segregation in an Urban Model.”  JUE, October, pp. 383-396.  (Solves an urban model with prejudice and endogenous racial composition; shows the role of discrimination.)

  • Paul N. Courant and John Yinger.  1977.  “On Models of Racial Prejudice and Urban Residential Structure.” JUE, July, pp. 272-291.  (Solves an urban model with segregation and prejudice; shows that discrimination is needed to sustain segregation.)

  • Clifford Kern.  1981.  “Racial Prejudice and Residential Segregation:  The Yinger Model Revisited.”  JUE, September, pp. 164-73.  (Shows how the role of discrimination in a Yinger model with prejudice depends on assumptions about the supply of housing.)

 

Assumption 8
(There are no local governments)
 

  • Richard J. Arnott and James G. MacKinnon.  1977.  “The effects of the property tax:  A general equilibrium simulation.”  JUE, October, pp. 389-407.  (Simulates a closed urban model with a single local government funded by a property tax.)

  • A. Mitchell Polinsky and Daniel L. Rubinfeld.  1978. “The Long Run Effects of a Residential Property Tax and Local Public Services.”  JUE, April, pp. 241-262.  (Analyzes an open urban model with a single local government funded by a property tax.)

  • Stephen L. Ross and John Yinger.  1999.  “Sorting and Voting:  A Review of the Literature on Urban Public Finance.”  In HURE-III, pp. 2001-2060.  (Reviews models with both multiple local governments and housing – but without commuting.)

Trustee Professor of Public Administration and Economics