Urban spatial structure, suburbanization and transportation in Barcelona

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I investigate the effect of improvements to the transportation infrastructure on changes in location patterns of population in Barcelona, Spain between 1991 and 2006. At a census tract level, I verify and extend the finding of Baum-Snow (2007a) that transportation improvements cause suburbanization: (1) improvements to the highway and railroad systems foster population growth in suburban areas; (2) the transit system also affects the location of population inside the central business district (CBD). To estimate the causal relationship between the growth of population (density) and transportation improvements, I rely on an instrumental variables estimation that uses distances to the nearest Roman road, the nearest 19th century main road, and the nearest 19th century railroad network as instruments for the 1991-2001 changes in distance to the nearest highway ramp and the distance to the nearest railroad station. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-190
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012


  • Suburbanization
  • Transportation infrastructure
  • Urban spatial structure


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