Polycentric Access to Employment

A central result of the standard urban economic model is that house prices will decline with distance from the central business district (CBD).  Empirical results have been rather more equivocal, however, with some studies finding the land rent gradient to be positive or flat. This project explores the role of nonmonotonic relationship between land prices and access to employment arising from the negative externalities associated with proximity to centres of employment as a possible way of reconciling theory and empirics. The impact of such nonmonotonic effects are likely to be magnified in a polycentric urban environment where concentric rings of externality emanating from multiple employment nodes can overlap. The project uses flexible functional forms of the gravity model and then applies recent advances in spatial econometrics to estimate the shape of the relationship between house prices and access to employment, and to explore the implications for inequality and spatial mismatch in the urban economy.

Project Title

Polycentric Access to Employment



Adam Smith Research Foundation; Research Council of Norway