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Jobs and Land Use within Cities: A Survey of Theory, Evidence, and Policy

Arti Grover Goswami and Somik V Lall

World Bank Research Observer, 2019, vol. 34, issue 2, 198-238

Abstract: Over the last century, the urban spatial structure of cities has transformed dramatically from a traditional monocentric configuration to varying forms of decentralized organization. This paper reviews theory and empirical evidence to understand the urban morphology of jobs and land use within a city. Our survey highlights four broad insights: (i) The evolution of monocentric to polycentric centers have been accompanied by structural changes within the city. (ii) The internal geography of a city is an outcome of the trade-off between the pull from agglomeration economies and the push from congestion. (iii) The presence of externalities implies that the equilibrium spatial organization achieved by profit-maximizing firms may not necessarily be optimal. This justifies the role of public policy in addressing associated market failures. (iv) The productive edge and competitiveness of a city can be enhanced by introducing policies that increase the overall connectivity to take advantage of economic opportunities across the metropolitan area. The survey also puts together a wide range of policy instruments useful in closing the gap between equilibrium urban spatial structures and the optimal outcome.

Keywords: Agglomeration; spatial; monocentric; polycentric; land use regulations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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