Economics 7500

Public/Urban Economics

Winter 2009

Tuesday, Thursday, 5 – 6:50 PM


Prerequisite: ECO 6000 or ECO 7000. 

            This course, offered for the first time in about five years, will be a one-semester stand-alone course.  Although it will not offer credit toward a field exam, it could conceivably lead to further research or to dissertation topics for those interested in the topic.

            The course will be based on important readings in the field.  I do not anticipate using a background text.  There will be a final exam and a substantive term paper.  As with most of my courses, there will likely be oral presentations. 

Text: Readings from Urban Economics and Real Estate Markets, Daniel McMillen and John MacDonald.  Other readings will be located on my web site, .There will also be readings from The Economics of Housing Markets, by Goodman and Muth (GM).

The following percentage curve will guide the grading policy in the course.

A ;

85 – 100


75 – 79.9

C+ ;

55 – 59.9


80 – 84.9

B  ;

70 – 74.9

C   ;

50 – 54.9



B- ;

60 – 69.9


Below 50

Absences and Make-Up Policy

Make-up requests must be medical in nature, and must be accompanied by a signed document from a health professional that indicates the nature of the illness, and the reason that the exam could not be taken.

Drop policy

Students will have until Tuesday March 24, at 5:00 P.M. to withdraw from the course with a “W.”  After this date, I will not sign any withdrawal forms.

Academic Misconduct

Any instance of academic dishonesty for any assignment will lead to a grade of 0 on the assignment.  The appeal process as noted in the Student Due Process Procedure will be strictly followed.

            Below is a tentative list of topics.  With approximately 28 sessions, you may infer that each topic will be covered in two to three meetings.


1. Functions of Cities

            Transportation Centers

            Increasing Returns to Scale

2. Structures of Cities

            Monocentric Models

            Multicentric Models

3. Urban Public Economics

            Efficiency in Expenditures

            Efficiency in Taxes

4. Housing Demand and Supply


            Empirical Analysis

5. Modern Urban Housing Topics

            Real Estate Analysis


            The “Bubble”

6. Property Taxes and Housing

            The Nature of Property Taxes

            Fiscal Zoning

            Property Tax/Housing Interactions

7. Urban Transportation Issues

            Transportation Theory

            Cars, Buses, and Fixed Rail Transit

8. Economic Development and the Public Sector

            Economic Development Initiatives

            The Roles of Taxes and Public Expenditures

9. Additional Topics