NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Matthew Turner

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Working Papers

June 2014Transportation Costs and the Spatial Organization of Economic Activity
with Stephen J. Redding: w20235
This paper surveys the theoretical and empirical literature on the relationship between the spatial distribution of economic activity and transportation costs. We develop a multi-region model of economic geography that we use to understand the general equilibrium implications of transportation infrastructure improvements within and between locations for wages, population, trade and industry composition. Guided by the predictions of this model, we review the empirical literature on the effects of transportation infrastructure improvements on economic development, paying particular attention to the use of exogenous sources of variation in the construction of transportation infrastructure. We examine evidence from different spatial scales, between and within cities. We outline a variety of ar...
September 2009The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US cities
with Gilles Duranton: w15376
We investigate the relationship between interstate highways and highway vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) in US cities. We find that VKT increases proportionately to highways and identify three important sources for this extra VKT: an increase in driving by current residents; an increase in transportation intensive production activity; and an inflow of new residents. The provision of public transportation has no impact on VKT. We also estimate the aggregate city level demand for VKT and find it to be very elastic. We conclude that an increased provision of roads or public transit is unlikely to relieve congestion.
October 1992Industrial Development in Cities
with J. Vernon Henderson, Ari Kuncoro: w4178
Using extensive data on 1970 and 1987 urban characteristics, the paper analyzes changes in employment in specific manufacturing industries in cities between 1970 and 1987. Two sets of questions are the focus. First, what present or past characteristics of a city's economic environment are critical in determining current employment levels in different industries? How much persistence in employment patterns is there over time and what is the source of that persistence? The second set of questions explores what inferences can be made from the data and results concerning the nature of externalities in urban markets, involving diversity of suppliers to firms, information spillovers concerning current market conditions and information spillovers involving the spread of technology. While the lite...

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