Three essays on urban economics
Author(s)Rolheiser, Lyndsey (Lyndsey Anne)
3 essays on urban economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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The three chapters contained in this dissertation represent a body of work concerned with ubiquitous municipal issues that affect the economic health, vibrancy, and stability of municipalities. These issues are generated through the interaction between agents within the municipality and the built environment of the municipality. The first chapter investigates the role of postwar housing characteristics in neighborhood decline. Extant literature hypothesizes that postwar vintage specific housing characteristics are contributing more to observations of decline than general housing age as the postwar home is no longer aligned with current consumer demand. I address this hypothesis by empirically separating aging and postwar vintage effects at the neighborhood level. Findings indicate previous empirical results linking postwar housing to decline confounded the age and vintage effect. Once separated, the postwar vintage effect is not a significant source of neighborhood decline as housing age is the driving factor. In the second chapter, I explore the relationship between development patterns and municipal expenditures. Measures that capture the multidimensional aspects of land use patterns exist within the planning and landscape ecology literature but have not been applied to the 'Cost of Sprawl' discourse until now. Using a unique GIS data set covering all of Massachusetts, I construct measures of separation, continuity, centrality, integration, and concentration of residential and commercial land uses within municipalities. Findings suggest some aspects of land use patterns championed by Smart Growth and New Urbanism advocates produce lower levels of municipal expenditures per capita as compared to more sprawling development patterns. The final chapter focuses on the issue of property tax incidence. With increasing reliance upon commercial property tax revenue, it is important that municipalities fully understand the implications of such reliance especially when it comes to attracting and retaining local business. Existing literature on commercial property tax is limited and only a small handful of studies focus on the issue of commercial property tax incidence. I contribute to this slim literature by asking one question in particular: who does the commercial property tax burden fall upon? Based on data from 96 Massachusetts municipalities over 26 years, I find nearly 100% of the burden is passed through to the renter.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Urban Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2017.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 140-145).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.