Data and code for: The economics of urban density

Resource Type
Dataset : aggregate data, census/enumeration data, geographic information system (GIS) data, program source code
  • Duranton, Gilles (University of Pennsylvania. The Wharton School)
  • Puga, Diego (CEMFI)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • European Research Council
    • Award Number: Advanced Grant agreement 695107 - DYNURBAN
  • Spain's Ministry of Science and Innovation
    • Award Number: ECO2016-80411-P
  • Spain's Ministry of Science and Innovation
    • Award Number: PRX19-00578
Free Keywords
density; agglomeration; urban costs
  • Abstract

    This repository distributes and documents computer programs and data to replicate the results obtained by Gilles Duranton and Diego Puga in their article 'The economics of urban density', to be published in Journal of Economic Perspectives.
    Urban density boosts productivity and innovation, improves access to goods and services, reduces typical travel distances, encourages energy-efficient construction and transport, and facilitates sharing scarce amenities. However, density is also synonymous with crowding, makes living and moving in cities more costly, and concentrates exposure to pollution and disease. In this article, we explore the appropriate measurement of density and describe how it is both a cause and a consequence of the evolution of cities. We then discuss whether and how policy should target density and why the trade-off between its pros and cons is unhappily resolved by market and political forces.

    This replication package calculates two measures of density: "naive density" (population per square kilometre) and "experienced density" (population within ten kilometres of the average resident) for US metropolitan areas and uses these data to produce the two panels in figure 1 in the article. It also calculates three elasticities for US metropolitan areas reported in the text of the article: the elasticity of experienced density with respect to city population, the elasticity of naive density with respect to city population, and the elasticity of average distance to the centre with respect to city population. Finally, it calculates experienced density for the entire Canada and for the entire United States.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2008-01-01 / 2012-12-31
    Time Period: Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2008--Mon Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2012
Geographic Coverage
  • Canada
  • United States of America
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
  • Has version
    DOI: 10.3886/E119268V1
  • Duranton, Gilles, and Diego Puga. “The Economics of Urban Density.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, n.d.
  • Puga, Diego, and Gilles Duranton. “Data and Replication Files for ‘The Economics of Urban Density,’” 2020.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2020-08-04 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-08-04