Natural Amenities, Neighbourhood Dynamics, and Persistence in the Spatial Distribution of Income

Sanghoon Lee, Jeffrey Lin
2017 The Review of Economic Studies  
We present theory and evidence highlighting the role of natural amenities in neighborhood dynamics, suburbanization, and variation across cities in the persistence of the spatial distribution of income. Our model generates three predictions that we confirm using a novel database of consistent-boundary neighborhoods in U.S. metropolitan areas, 1880-2010, and spatial data for natural features such as coastlines and hills. First, persistent natural amenities anchor neighborhoods to high incomes
more » ... to high incomes over time. Second, naturally heterogeneous cities exhibit persistent spatial distributions of income. Third, downtown neighborhoods in coastal cities were less susceptible to the widespread decentralization of income in the mid-20th century and experienced an increase in income more quickly after 1980.
doi:10.1093/restud/rdx018 fatcat:jfv5w4b3rnec3dg7pj3i7hs6xa