Essays on Urban Economics
Sammanfattning: This thesis consists of four self-contained essays.Essay 1 (with Olof Åslund and Matz Dahlberg): In this essay we investigate the impact of commuter train access on individual labor market outcomes. Our study considers the exogenous introduction of a commuter train linking locations in the northern part of Uppsala County (Sweden) to the regional employment center, considerably decreasing commuting times by public transit to the center for those living close to the pre-existing railroad. Using difference-in-differences matching techniques on comprehensive individual panel data spanning over a decade, our intention-to-treat estimates show that the reform had mainly no impact on the earnings and employment development among the affected individuals.Essay 2: In this essay I look into the role of public transit for residential sorting by studying how the introduction of a commuter train linking locations in the northern part of Uppsala County (Sweden) to the regional employment center affected migration patterns in the areas served. Using a difference-in-difference(-in-difference) approach and comprehensive individual level data, I find that the commuter train had a positive effect on overall in-migration to the areas served and no effect on the average out-migration rate from these areas. With regards to sorting based on labor market status, I find no evidence of sorting based on employment status but some evidence that the train introduction increased the probability of moving out of the areas served for individuals with high labor incomes relative to the probability for individuals with lower income. Considering sorting along other lines than labor market status, the analysis suggests that people born in non-western countries came to be particularly attracted towards the areas served by the commuter train as compared to other similar areas.Essay 3: In this essay I look into the relation between housing mix and social mix in metropolitan Stockholm (Sweden) over the period 1990-2008. Using entropy measures, I find that although the distribution of tenure types over metropolitan Stockholm became somewhat more even over the studied period, people living in different tenure types still to a large extent tended to live in different parts of the city in 2008. The degree of residential segregation was much lower between different population groups. I further find that the mix of family types, and over time also of birth region groups and income groups, was rather different between different tenure types in the same municipality. The mix of different groups however tended to be similar within different tenure types in the same neighborhood. While the entropy measures provide a purely descriptive picture, the findings thus suggest that tenure type mix could be more useful for creating social mix at the municipal level than for creating social mix at the neighborhood level.Essay 4 (with Matz Dahlberg): The last decade’s immigration to western European countries has resulted in a culturally and religiously more diverse population in these countries. This diversification manifests itself in several ways, where one is through new features in the cityscape. Using a quasi-experimental approach, essay 4 examines how one such new feature, public calls to prayer, affects neighborhood dynamics (house prices and migration). The quasi-experiment is based on an unexpected political process that lead way to the first public call to prayer from a mosque in Sweden combined with rich (daily) information on housing sales. While our results indicate that the public calls to prayer increased house prices closer to the mosque, we find no evidence that the public calls to prayer served as a driver of residential segregation between natives and people born abroad around the mosque in question (no significant effects on migration behavior). Our findings are consistent with a story where some people have a willingness to pay for the possibility to more fully exert their religion which puts an upward pressure on housing in the vicinity of a mosque with public calls to prayer.
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