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Applications (Applied Micro) Seminars

Transportation, Gentrification, and Urban Mobility: The Inequality Effects of Place-Based Policies

Melanie Morten (Stanford )


Monday 22 March 2021 12:00 - 13:30

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About this event

Roads, rail, and other public transport in a city are “place-based,” in that they are built in specific neighborhoods. Do such investments benefit the poor? If people are mobile within a city, then any such place-based investment can lead to neighborhood changes, such as rent increases, which change who can afford to live near these investments and hence who benefits from them. We provide a tractable urban commuting model to study the distributional effects of urban infrastructure improvements. We derive intuitive “exact hat” expressions for the welfare change of initial residents after investment. We then apply the method to study the Dar es Salaam, BRT system, using original panel data tracked on two dimensions (following households if they move and surveying all new residents of buildings). Preliminary results suggest that the BRT was a pro-poor investment: we estimate a welfare gain of 3.0% for incumbent low-income residents living near the BRT, compared with a 2.5% gain to incumbent high-income residents; across the city, poor gained on average 2.4% and rich gained 2.3%.

This series is part of the CEP's Labour Markets programme.