37536 - Urban economics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2014/2015

Course contents

In order to attend successfully the classes, it is recommended that students have passed a Microeconomics class at the level of Laurea Magistrale (such as 32424 - Advanced Microeconomics). The programme of the course is the following:

Topic 1: Why do cities exist? Urban agglomeration economies (S Chap. 2; Duranton & Puga, 2004)

Topic 2: Spatial equilibrium in the Alonso-Muth-Mills model (G Chap. 2)

Topic 3: Spatial equilibrium between cities and urban systems (G Chap. 3; BGM Chap. 7)

Topic 4: Urban segregation based on income (G Chap. 5)

Topic 5: Urban segregation based on ethnicity (G Chap. 5)

Topic 6: The economic value of cultural diversity: evidence from US cities (Ottaviano & Peri, 2006)

Reading group: Some classes will be devoted to oral presentations by students (to be delivered through a Power-Point or Pdf) of a scientific article chosen by the lecturer. Each article will be presented by a group of students under the supervision of the lecturer. The article has to be chosen from the following list (articles are available in Pdf format in the section Teaching Material):

1) McGrath, Daniel T., 2005. "More evidence on the spatial scale of cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-10, July, to be presented together with Brueckner, Jan K & Fansler, David A, 1983. "The Economics of Urban Sprawl: Theory and Evidence on the Spatial Sizes of Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 479-82, August.

2) Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities", Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.

3) Glaeser, Edward L. & Gyourko, Joseph & Saks, Raven E., 2006. "Urban growth and housing supply", Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 71-89, August.

4) Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E. & Rappaport, Jordan, 2008. "Why do the poor live in cities The role of public transportation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-24, January.

5) Cutler, David M. & Glaeser, Edward L. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.

6) Cutler, David M. & Glaeser, Edward L. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2008. "When are ghettos bad? Lessons from immigrant segregation in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 759-774, May.

N.B. The list may be modified according to the number of students that will attend the classes.

Readings/Bibliography

Although classes are taught in Italian, the course textbooks are in English. The first textbook, abbreviated as G, is:

Glaeser Edward L. (2008) Cities, Agglomeration, and Spatial Equilibrium. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0-19-929044-4. Two copies of the textbook are available at the Library of the Department of Economics in Strada Maggiore 45 (one copy is available for borrowing, the other is not).

The second textbook, abbreviated as S, is:

O'Sullivan Arthur (2007) Urban Economics (6th edition) McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 007-124471-9. Two copies of the textbook are available at the Library of the Department of Economics in Strada Maggiore 45 (one copy is available for borrowing, the other is not).

The third textbook, abbreviated as BGM, is:

Brakman S., Garretsen H., van Marrewijk C. (2009) The New Introduction to Geographical Economics, Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0-521-69803-0. Two copies of this textbook are available at the Library of the Department of Economics in Strada Maggiore 45 (one copy is available for borrowing, the other is not); another copy of the book is available for borrowing at the Library Walter Bigiavi.

For Topic 1 the reference will also be Duranton G., Puga D. (2004) "Micro-foundations of urban agglomeration economies", in J.V. Henderson, J.F. Thisse (eds.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Amsterdam: Elsevier.

For Topic 6 the reference will be Ottaviano G.I.P., Peri G. (2006) "The economic value of cultural diversity: evidence from US cities," Journal of Economic Geography, 6(1), pages 9-44.

Assessment methods

The final mark of the exam, up to 33 points that correspond to an evaluation of 30 cum laude, is obtained in the following manner.

28 points are assigned on the basis of a written exam on the topics covered in the class. The remaining 5 points are assigned on the basis of the oral presentation delivered during the reading group and on the basis of a question in the written exam dealing specifically with some of the articles presented during the reading group.

In order to be given the 5 points dealing with the articles of the seminar session, those who could not attend the classes and could not present during the seminar session have to give an oral presentation of a scientific article (to be to be delivered through a Power-Point or Pdf) freely chosen from the list above the same day of the exam, soon after the written examination. Moreover, students who could not attend classes will have to answer during the written exam a question about some of the papers covered during the seminars.

If the student (independently from whether he attended the classes or not) does not contribute to the seminar sessions and does not answer during the written exam the question about the seminar session's papers, the maximum mark he can obtain is 28, which corresponds to the points he can get from the topics covered during the lectures.

Some old exams of previous sessions are available here.

Office hours

See the website of Gaetano Alfredo Minerva