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2008/06: Does urban sprawl increase the costs of providing local public services? Evidence from Spanish municipalities

This paper examines the impact of urban sprawl, a phenomenon of particular interest in Spain, which is currently experiencing this process of rapid, low-density urban expansion. Many adverse consequences are attributed to urban sprawl (e.g., traffic congestion, air pollution and social segregation), though here we are concerned primarily with the rising costs of providing local public services. Our initial aim is to develop an accurate measure of urban sprawl so that we might empirically test its impact on municipal budgets. Then, we undertake an empirical analysis using a cross-sectional data set of 2,500 Spanish municipalities for the year 2003 and a piecewise linear function to account for the potentially nonlinear relationship between sprawl and local costs. The estimations derived from the expenditure equations for both aggregate and six disaggregated spending categories indicate that low-density development patterns lead to greater provision costs of local public services.

2007/05: Economic and political determinants of urban expansion: Exploring the local connection

We examine the economic and political determinants of decisions taken by local governments regarding the amount of new land to be assigned for development. The analysis draws on a massive database, which includes more than 2,000 Spanish municipalities during the 1999-2003 term-of-office. The increase in developable land in this period is explained using a wide set of variables that capture the specific traits of each municipality in 1999. The variables were selected following a review of recommendations made in the literature on urban growth controls and by taking into account other factors that might be considered specific to Spain. Our results show that urban expansion is influenced by a variety of factors. Thus, the communities found to be expanding most: (i) are rich, (ii) have more new housing purchasers, (iii) are in a weak financial position, (iv) are controlled by parties to the right of the political spectrum, (v) have a low electoral turnout and local government bodies that do not face serious electoral competition, and (vi) have more land but a lower proportion of environmentally valuable land.

2002/03: The growth of cities: Does agglomeration matter?

Does agglomeration influence the growth capacity of cities? Would an excessive agglomeration diminish this capacity? In the document the factors determining the growth of Spanish cities from 1981 to 2000 are examined. From recent theoretical approaches, these determining factors are the ones that affect the productivity of the firms, the quality of life for the inhabitants and the availability of land. After developing the theoretical model, the results of the empirical analysis applied to the large cities indicate that the initial conditions of 1981 effectively influence the capacity for growth of these cities. The cities that start with higher levels of population, general economic activity, industrial activity and unemployment and lower levels of technology and surface area present lower rates of economic and demographic growth. Reproducing the analysis for sub-periods (the decades of the eighties and the nineties), it has been demonstrated that, in spite of obtaining similar results, the factors that determine the growth of cities change over time.

2001/02: La concentración territorial de las empresas industriales: un estudio sobre la unidad geográfica de análisis mediante técnicas de econometría espacial

Existe una clara evidencia acerca de la elevada concentración del empleo industrial a lo largo de la geografía española. El presente trabajo tiene como objetivo analizar la idoneidad de los índices de concentración geográfica utilizados tradicionalmente así como cuál es la unidad administrativa de análisis adecuada en este tipo de análisis. Para ello se dispone de una base de datos muy novedosa que facilita información de ámbito municipal del empleo de los diferentes sectores manufactureros. Se comprueba que los resultados de los índices de concentración industrial obtenidos para las provincias y los municipios difieren sustancialmente.