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OAFP 4410 - Urban Economics

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The first part of the course is devoted to economic intuition about the determinants of countries' urban structure. This will typically answer the following questions: Why do cities exist and induce an uneven spatial distribution of land and good prices? Why cities of different size co-exist within integrated economic areas? What is the impact of people and goods mobility on spatial concentration? What is the role of local public policies and of land use regulation on spatial disparities? The second part of the course moves to the empirical studies that evaluate the gains and costs from agglomeration. A special emphasis is put on the impact on spatial disparities of individual location choices by workers and firms that are heterogeneous (in terms of productivity for instance). Specifically, the spatial determinants of local productivity, R&D, land prices, and real income are presented.


COMBES, Pierre-Philippe (Research Professor, CNRS)

Pedagogical format

Lectures with projected slides and complementary figures drawn on the white board. Questions from students are more than welcome. Slides are printed and distributed to the students before the lectures.

Course validation

2-hour in-class essay on a general question or a short text to be commented (50%). Home essay (over a 4-week period): Report or book chapter to be summarized, commented, and discussed (45%). In-class participation (5%).


Regular and deep re-reading of the lecture notes and slides (see below) between lectures. Possible reading of complementary references provided during the class.

Required reading

  • Brueckner, Jan K. (2011). Lectures on Urban Economics (ch. 1 to 3) MIT Press
  • O'Sullivan, Arthur (2012). Urban Economics 8th ed. (ch. 1 to 9) McGraw-Hill
  • McMillen, Daniel P. and McDonald, John F. (2011). Urban Economics and Real Estate: Theory and Policy, 2nd ed. (ch. 1 and 2), Wiley
  • Prager, Jean-Claude and Jacques-François Thisse (2012). Economic Geography and the Unequal Development of Regions, Routledge
  • Glaeser, E. (2011). Triumph of the City, Penguin Books