Institutional settings and urban sprawl: Evidence from Europe

von Ehrlich, Maximilian; Hilber, Christian A.L.; Schöni, Olivier (2018). Institutional settings and urban sprawl: Evidence from Europe. Journal of Housing Economics, 42, pp. 4-18. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jhe.2017.12.002

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This article explores the role of institutional settings in determining spatial variation in urban sprawl across Europe. We first synthesize the emerging literature that links land use policies and local fiscal incentives to urban sprawl. Next, we compile a panel dataset on various measures of urban sprawl for European countries using high-resolution satellite images. We document substantial variation in urban sprawl across countries. This variation remains roughly stable over the period of our analysis (1990–2012). Urban sprawl is particularly pronounced in emerging Central and Eastern Europe but is comparatively low in Northern European countries. Urban sprawl – especially outside functional urban areas – is strongly negatively associated with real house price growth, suggesting a trade-off between urban containment and housing affordability. Our main novel empirical findings are that decentralization and local political fragmentation are significantly positively associated with urban sprawl. Decentralized countries have a 25–30% higher sprawl index than centralized ones. This finding is consistent with the proposition that in decentralized countries fiscal incentives at local level may provide strong incentives to permit residential development at the outskirts of existing developments.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics > Institute of Economics > Economic Policy and Regional Economics
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics > Institute of Economics
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics > Institute of Economics > Public Economics
11 Centers of Competence > Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED)

UniBE Contributor:

von Ehrlich, Maximilian and Schöni, Olivier

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics

ISSN:

1051-1377

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Melanie Moser

Date Deposited:

26 Apr 2018 10:40

Last Modified:

07 Dec 2018 01:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.jhe.2017.12.002

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.113815

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/113815

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