Nathaniel Baum-Snow

Nathaniel Baum-Snow is Associate Professor of Economics at Brown University. He completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and was awarded his PhD by the University of Chicago in 2005. His work spans the entire spectrum of urban and housing economics.

His first main achievement was his 2007 piece in the Quarterly Journal of Economics where he shows how the development of the US interstate highway network had a major effect on the suburbanisation of US cities using a clear and original identification strategy. Coming from his dissertation, this paper led to a vigorous revival of the analysis of the effect of transportation on cities.

Another major achievement is his forthcoming article in the Review of Economic Studies with Ronni Pavan.  This paper is a pioneering structural estimation of a model of agglomeration and location choices across cities for a panel of workers. This papers greatly advances our understanding of the urban wage premium by showing that it mostly develops over time through higher returns to experience in larger cities.

Other works by Nathaniel Baum-Snow include an important study with Byron Lutz about the effects of school desegregation on the choice of residential location of American households. This forthcoming paper in the American Economic Review shows that desegregation accounted for only a tiny part of urban population decentralisation in the US between 1960 and 1990.  Nathaniel Baum-Snow also wrote on the effects of low income housing tax credits on neighbourhoods. He currently works on a variety of issues including the rise in inequality in US cities, the effect of transportation infrastructure on Chinese cities, and the current housing crisis in the US.

The North American Regional Science Council is pleased to confer the Geoffrey J. D. Hewings Award for 2011 upon Nate Baum-Snow. His creativity and methodological versatility make him an example for all young regional science scholars.

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