Videos

Is a Traffic Tax the Solution to Congestion in Cities?

Biography

The Wharton School
Dean's Chair in Real Estate Professor

Education

PhD, London School of Economics, 1997; BSc, HEC, 1991

Recent Consulting

Urban and regional development, transportation, local public finance

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 2012present; named Dean's Chair in Real Estate Professor July 2013; Chair, Real Estate Department 2013present; University of Toronto: 20052012; London School of Economics: 19962005.

Professional Leadership

President, Urban Economics Association; Board Member, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, Coeditor, Journal of Urban Economics; Coeditor, Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics; Editorial board member for several  journals; Research fellow, Centre for Economic Policy Research.

Awards and honors

Fellow of The Regional Science Association (2014); Walter Isard Prize for Scholarly Achievement (Regional Science Association, 2014); Dean's Excellence Award (University of Toronto) 2012, 2011; President of the North American Regional Science Council, 2011;  Hewings Prize (Regional Science Association), 2007; August Lösch Prize, 2006; Philip Leverhulme Prize, 2003; European Investment Bank, 2001; Aydalot prize, 1996.

 

Gilles Duranton and Prottoy A. Akbar (Draft), Estimating the cost of congestion in a highly congested city: Bogota.

Transitioning to driverless cars, Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research 18(3), 193196, 2016

Gilles Duranton and Erick Guerra (Draft), Urban accessibility: Balancing land use and transportation.

Gilles Duranton (2016), Agglomeration effects in Colombia, Journal of Regional Science, 56 (2).

Abstract: I estimate an elasticity of wages with respect to city population of about 5 percent for Colombian cities. This finding is robust to a number of econometric concerns. The second main finding is a negative effect of market access on wages. Third main finding regards stronger agglomeration effects in the informal sector. In turn, this explains a range of other negative findings, including only weak evidence in favor of human capital externalities, no evidence of a complementarity between cities and skills, and an absence of learning effects. I do not find measurable effects of roads or amenities on wages either.

Gilles Duranton (Work In Progress), Growth In Cities Revisited.

Gilles Duranton and Christian Dippel (Work In Progress), The Diamond Hypothesis.

Gilles Duranton, Laurent Gobillon, Miren Lafourcade (Work In Progress), The Economic Effects of High Speed Trains.

Gilles Duranton, Laurent Gobillon, Pierre PhilippeCombes (Work In Progress), The Production Function For Housing: Evidence from France.

Abstract: We propose a new nonparametric approach to estimate the production function for housing.  Our estimation treats output as a latent variable and relies on the firstorder condition for profit maximization with respect to nonland inputs by competitive house builders.  For parcels of a given size, we compute housing by summing across the marginal products of nonland inputs.  Differences in nonland inputs are caused by differences in land prices that reflect differences in the demand for housing across locations.  We implement our methodology on newlybuilt singlefamily houses in France.  We find that the production function for housing is reasonably well, though not perfectly, approximated by a CobbDouglas function and close to constant returns.  After correcting for differences in user costs between land and nonland inputs and taking care of some estimation concerns, we estimate an elasticity of housing production with respect to nonland inputs of about 0.80.

Gilles Duranton (2016), Determinants of city crowth in Colombia, Papers in Regional Science, 95 (1), pp. 101132.

Abstract: I develop a systematic approach to examine the drivers of population growth in Colombian cities between 1993 and 2010. Fertility plays an important role. Much of the higher growth of some Colombian cities can also be associated with higher wages. In turn, this wage advantage of some cities can be, in part, traced back to city education and industry shocks. I also find that roads and connectivity matter but obtained mixed evidence about the role of urban amenities and no evidence regarding measures of urban costs and other drivers of urban growth that have been commonly conside red by past literature. I also explore some determinants of longrun city growth going back as far as 1843.

Gilles Duranton, Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswani, William Kerr (Work In Progress), Misallocation in India.

Past Courses

BEPP206 URB PUB POL & PRIV DEVEL

This course considers a range of local policies in cities and regions. Examples of policies will include clusters and other local development initiatives, large scale regional policies, employment zones and other targeted policies. More traditional urban policies such as zoning and planning and constraints, transportation pricing, and parking policies among many others will also be considered. Practical examples will be extremely diverse and include the Silicon Valley and attempts to copy it, the Tennessee Valley Authority, housing restrictions in developing countries such as Brazil, congestion pricing in London, etc. Students will be expected to actively participate and make presentations. The course emphasizes the importance of the economic context, the understanding of the underlying rationale for policies, and how the private agents respond to public incentives. The main learning goals are the following: be able to use simple empirical tools of economic evaluations, be able to articulate a critical analysis of competing viewpoints and assessments, and be able to integrate various analytic steps into an overall assessment of economic policies that relies on sound principles and is well argued.

BEPP250 MANAGERIAL ECONOMICS

This course will introduce you to "managerial economics" which is the application of microeconomic theory to managerial decisionmaking. Microeconomic theory is a remarkably useful body of ideas for understanding and analyzing the behavior of individuals and firms in a variety of economic settings. The goal of the course is for you to understand this body of theory well enough so that you can effectively analyze managerial (and other) problems in an economic framework. While this is a "tools" course, we will cover many realworld applications, particularly business applications, so that you can witness the usefulness of these tools and acquire the skills to use them yourself. We will depart from the usual microeconomic theory course by giving more emphasis to prescription: What should a manager do in order to achieve some objective? That course deliverable is to compared with description: Why do firms and consumers act the way they do? The latter will still be quite prominent in this course because only by understanding how other firms and customers behave can a manager determin what is best for him or her to do. ,Strategic interaction is explored both in product markets and auctions. Finally, the challenges created by asymmetric information both in the market and within the firm are investigated.

BEPP772 URB PUB POL & PRIV DEVEL

This course considers a range of local policies in cities and regions. Examples include: clusters and other local development initiatives, large scale regional policies, employment zones and other targeted policies. More traditional urban policies such as zoning and planning and constraints, transportation pricing, and parking policies among many others will also be considered. Practical examples will be extremely diverse and include the Silicon Valley and attempts to copy it, the Tennessee Valley Authority, housing retrictions in developing countries such as Brazil, congestion pricing in London, etc. Students will be expected to actively participate and make presentations. The course emphasizes the importance of the economic context, the understanding of the underlying rationale for policies, and how the private agents respond to public incentives. The main learning goals are the following: be able to use simple empirical tools of economic evaluations, be able to articulate a critical analysis of competing viewpoints and assessments, and be able to integrate various analytic steps into an overal assessment of economic policies that relies on sound principles and is well argued.

REAL206 URB PUB POL & PRIV DEVEL

This course considers a range of local policies in cities and regions. Examples include: clusters and other local development initiatives, large scale regional policies, employment zones and other targeted policies. More traditional urban policies such as zoning and planning and constraints, transportation pricing, and parking policies among many others will also be considered. Practical examples will be extremely diverse and include the Silicon Valley and attempts to copy it, the Tennessee Valley Authority, housing retrictions in developing countries such as Brazil, congestion pricing in London, etc. Students will be expected to actively participate and make presentations. The course emphasizes the importance of the economic context, the understanding of the underlying rationale for policies, and how the private agents respond to public incentives. The main learning goals are the following: be able to use simple empirical tools of economic evaluations, be able to articulate a critical analysis of competing viewpoints and assessments, and be able to integrate various analytic steps into an overal assessment of economic policies that relies on sound principles and is well argued.

REAL772 URB PUB POL & PRIV DEVEL

This course considers a range of local policies in cities and regions. Examples include: clusters and other local development initiatives, large scale regional policies, employment zones and other targeted policies. More traditional urban policies such as zoning and planning and constraints, transportation pricing, and parking policies among many others will also be considered. Practical examples will be extremely diverse and include the Silicon Valley and attempts to copy it, the Tennessee Valley Authority, housing retrictions in developing countries such as Brazil, congestion pricing in London, etc. Students will be expected to actively participate and make presentations. The course emphasizes the importance of the economic context, the understanding of the underlying rationale for policies, and how the private agents respond to public incentives. The main learning goals are the following: be able to use simple empirical tools of economic evaluations, be able to articulate a critical analysis of competing viewpoints and assessments, and be able to integrate various analytic steps into an overal assessment of economic policies that relies on sound principles and is well argued.

REAL946 ADV TOPIC IN URBAN ECON

This course addresses advanced topics in urban and real estate economics. The course will mix theory and empirics and will cover a broad range of topics including the modeling and estimation of agglomeration economies, land use and urban costs, transportation in cities, urban growth, migration between cities etc. The classes will mix formal presentations made by the instructor and studentled discussions of recent academic papers. In addition to presentations, students will be expected to complete a series of assignments including a short original research paper.

REAL999 INDEPENDENT STUDY

  • Reducing Congestion: Katy didn’t: How 23 lanes of highway induce demand in Houston, Broken Sidewalk 12/23/2015
  • The Traffic Gridlock in Urban India, Live Mint 08/27/2015
  • Yes, RushHour Traffic Is Getting Worse, The Atlantic 08/26/2015
  • When a Highway Goes Bad, Pacific Standard 08/18/2015
  • Five myths about traffic, Washington Post 05/22/2015
  • Majority Pays, But Minority Benefits In Metro Vancouver Transit Plebiscite, HuffPost British Columbia 04/25/2015
  • Focus on Migration: The positive legacy of refugee camps, SCI DEV NET 04/24/2015
  • Charles Lammam and Josef Filipowicz: Metro Vancouver drivers won’t get much but they’ll pay a lot of tax, The Province 04/21/2015
  • Federal study: Trinity toll road will increase traffic on other major roads, The Dallas Morning News 04/08/2015
  • Why San José’s epic traffic jams are also an opportunity, Tico Times 01/04/2015
  • What’s Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse, Wired 06/17/2014
  • A Need for Speed: Why Building More Roads Won’t Conquer Gridlock, Knowledge at Wharton 04/24/2013
  • Car Congestion Pricing: It’ll Cost You to Drive Here, Motor Trend 11/01/2012
  • A HOT topic in transit, Scienceline 07/30/2012

Knowledge @ Wharton

  • Is a Traffic Tax the Solution to Congestion in Cities?, Knowledge @ Wharton 03/24/2017
  • Why Better Urban Planning Won’t Reduce Traffic — but Taxes Will, Knowledge @ Wharton 02/09/2016
  • Sharing Economy 2.0: Can Innovation and Regulation Work Together?, Knowledge @ Wharton 11/05/2014

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