Driving to opportunity: Local rents, wages, commuting, and sub-metropolitan quality of life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examine variation in local rents, wage levels, commuting costs, household characteristics, and amenities within metropolitan areas, for 2071 areas covering the United States, by density and central-city status. We demonstrate the sensibility of estimating wage levels by workplace, not residence, and recover decentralized rent gradients that fall with commuting costs. We construct and map a willingness-to-pay index, which indicates the quality of life typical households receive from local amenities when households are similar, mobile, and informed. This index varies considerably within metros, and is typically high in areas that are dense, suburban, sunny, mild, safe, entertaining, and have elevated school-funding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-92
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Volume89
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • Amenities
  • Commuting costs
  • Quality of life
  • Rent gradients
  • Residential sorting
  • Wage gradients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies

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