Graduate Urban Economics, Spring 2017

Syllabus (updated 4/17/2017)


  1. Week 1 (2/20): Introduction, Monocentric City (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Brueckner, Jan K., “The Structure of Urban Equilibria: A Unified Treatment of the Muth-Mills Model”, Ch. 20, Handbook of Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol 2, 1987
    2. Optional: Duranton, Gilles and Puga, Diego, “Urban Land Use”, Handbook of Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol 5, 2015. The first two sections (up to p14) cover the basic model from our class.
  2. Week 2 (2/27): Monocentric City continued (lecture notes)
    1. Required: LeRoy, Stephen F. and Sonstelie, Jon, Paradise Lost and Regained: Transportation Innovation, Income, and Residential LocationJournal of Urban Economics, 1983
  3. Week 3 (3/6): Decentralization in China (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Baum-Snow, Brandt, Henderson, Turner, Zhang. “Roads, Railroads and Decentralization of Chinese Cities,” Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming
  4. Week 4 (3/13): Spatial Equilibrium across Cities (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Roback, Jennifer. “Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life,” Journal of Political Economy, 1982
    2. Recommended: Glaeser, Edward, and Gottlieb, Joshua, “The Wealth of Cities: Agglomeration Economies and Spatial Equilibrium in the United States,” Journal of Economic Literature, 2009
  5. Week 5 (3/20): Urbanization in China (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Chauvin, Juan Pablo, Glaeser, Edward, Ma, Yueran, and Tobio, Kristina, “What is Different about Urbanization in Rich and Poor Countries? Cities in Brazil, China, India, and the United States.” Journal of Urban Economics, 2016
    2. Required: J. Vernon Henderson, “Urbanization in China: Policy Issues and Options,” Recommendation to China Economic Research and Advisory Program, 2009
  6. Week 6 (3/27): New Economic Geography (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Krugman, Paul, “Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade,” American Economic Review, 1980
    2. Required: Krugman, Paul, “Increasing Returns and Economic Geography,” Journal of Political Economy, 1991
  7. Week 7 (4/1): Agglomeration and Increasing Returns: Evidence from China (lecture notes)
    1. Faber, Ben. “Trade Integration, Market Size, and Industrialization: Evidence from China’s National Trunk Highway System,” Review of Economic Studies, 2014.
  8. Week 8 (4/10): Micro-foundations of Agglomeration (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Duranton, Gilles and Puga, Diego, “Micro-Foundations of Urban Agglomeration Economies,” Ch 48, Handbook of Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol. 4, 2004
      1. Note 1: This is a long paper and so I only want you to understand the basic models of sharing, matching, and learning. Therefore you can skip sections: 2.3.2, 2.4, 3.1.5, 3.3, 4.2.2, 4.3.
      2. Note 2: above link is to the final working paper, which is a clearer digital copy than the handbook article
  9. Week 9 (4/17): Systems of Cities: Evidence from China (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Au, Chun-Chung and Henderson, J. Vernon, “Are Chinese Cities Too Small?”, Review of Economic Studies, 2006
  10. Week 10 (4/24): Agglomeration and Firm Concentration (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Ellison, Glenn and Glaeser, Edward, “Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach,” Journal of Political Economy, 1997
    2. Optional: Guimaraes, Figueiredo, Woodward, “Measuring the Localization of Economic Activity: A Parameteric Approach,” Journal of Regional Science, 2007
  11. Week 11 (5/1): 劳动节 (no class)
  12. Week 12 (5/8):  Sorting within Cities (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Bayer, Patrick, Ferreira, Fernando, and McMillan, Robert, “A Unified Framework for Measuring Preference for Schools and Neighborhoods,” Journal of Political Economy, 2007
    2. Optional: Bayer, Patrick, McMillan, Robert, and Rueben, Kim “An Equilibrium Model of Sorting in an Urban Housing Market,” NBER WP 10865
  13. Week 13 (5/16): Spatial Methods in R
    1. Class exercise in basic spatial methods: R notebook
    2. Class exercise in point pattern analysis: R notebook
  14. Week 14 (5/22): Website-based Datasets in Economics Research
    1. Cosman, Jacob and Schiff, Nathan, “Welcome! We Have a New Menu: Measuring Product Responses to Competition,” WP, 2017
    2. Brief discussion of web-based data sources in economics research: lecture notes
    3. Class exercise: code
  15. Week 15 (5/29): Consumer Cities (lecture notes)
    1. Required: Couture, Victor, and Handbury, Jessie, “Urban Revival in America, 2000 to 2010,” Working Paper 2016
    2. Optional: Schiff, Nathan, “Cities and Product Variety: Evidence from Restaurants,” Journal of Economic Geography, 2015
  16. Week 16 (6/5): Student presentations