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OAFP 4410 - Urban Economics

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


Basic microeconomics and basic econometrics

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 goods 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, and the balance between the two. A special emphasis is put on the spatial determinants of wages, income, and land/housing prices, detailing how individual data available over many years can help properly identifying the mechanisms at work. Depending on time, the empirical evaluation of place-based and transport policies will be presented too.


COMBES, Pierre-Philippe (Research Professor, CNRS)

Pedagogical format

Lectures with projected slides and supplementary figures drawn on the white board. Questions from students are more than welcome. Slides are circulated 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 (50%).


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

Additional required reading

  • Glaeser, E. (2011). Triumph of the City, Penguin Books.
  • Moretti, Enrico (2012). The New Geography of Jobs, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Prager, Jean-Claude and Jacques-François Thisse (2012). Economic Geography and the Unequal Development of Regions, Routledge.
  • 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