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2022/2023  KAN-CCMVV1443U  Applied Urban Economics and Real Estate

English Title
Applied Urban Economics and Real Estate

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Ismir Mulalic - Department of Economics (ECON)
Main academic disciplines
  • Finance
  • Statistics and quantitative methods
  • Economics
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 11-02-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
After completing the course, the student is expected to be able to:
  • Describe urban fabric.
  • Describe urban pricing, urban distress (poverty and segregation) and urban externalities (crime, congestion and pollution).
  • Describe and explain the fundamental principles behind urban structure and urban sprawl.
  • Define the necessary quantitative tools for projecting the development in urban areas.
  • Analyze housing prices (hedonic price analysis) and residential location choice.
  • Analyze urban – incl. transport – policy reforms and land use controls.
  • Use models to welfare-analysis and cost-benefit analysis.
  • Evaluate the effects on welfare of policy interventions such as transport policy reforms and land use controls.
  • Argue concerning the usefulness of a specific model for a specific problem.
  • Implement and explain a welfare analysis of an urban area.
  • Explain how different economic factors influence the real estate market and affect real estate values.
Course prerequisites
The students should have an understanding of basics of microeconomics at the level of Hal R. Varian’s "Intermediate Microeconomics” or similar, and knowledge of econometrics at the level of Jeffrey Wooldridge’s “Introductory Econometrics” or similar.
Applied Urban Economics and Real Estate:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the student fails the ordinary exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have to hand in a revised product for the re-take or a new project.
Description of the exam procedure

Students conduct a short analytical project. In this project they apply the basis urban economic analysis which have been covered in the lectures. This project should include a brief introduction, discussion of the methods used, presentation of the results and a conclusion. Students are expected to show an understanding of the basis urban economic theory, justify their choice of the models and discuss the results appropriately. The project is written in parallel with the course and is of 15 A4-pages. The project must be submitted at the end of the teaching term.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

In the age of urbanization and gentrification real estate investments have become increasingly attractive. However, several challenges are currently facing modern cities. These encompass different urban disamenities such as congestion, noise, pollution, and the higher risks of spread of diseases (e.g. COVID 19). Others involve issues related to the labour market including the increasing commuting times, low real wage growth, and skills gap. But, maybe the largest of all is the raising housing prices (the apparent consequence of agglomeration economies) resulting from the migration to large cities (the urbanization process).


This course focuses on presenting and discussing the basis urban economic analysis and its use in policy evaluation. It also looks at how various economic factors influence the real estate market and affect real estate values. The main themes which will be covered in the course are: agglomeration economies, analysis of urban spatial structure (commuting, housing production and population density), urban sprawl and land-use controls, hedonic price analysis, residential location choice and tenure choice, housing policies, urban distress (urban poverty and segregation), urban externalities (congestion, crime and pollution), cities and transport systems, and spatial labor markets (monopsony):

  • Agglomeration economies: why do cities exist? This is the fundamental question of urban economics. The answer to this question depends, at least partly, on the agglomeration economies and the scale economies. The agglomeration economies make larger urban areas (cities) more productive than small ones and the scale economies are known as “increasing returns to scale”. Urban economists have had a major effect on policy, and the trend toward city (de)regulation and many of the urban policies (e.g. land-use controls, rent controls and housing subsidy programs) and the abolitions of the place based policies are due to lessons from urban economics.
  • Spatial equilibrium in the Alonso-Muth-Mills model: The basic urban economic model is a monocentric city model. Essential assumptions in this model are that employment is constrained in one location, monetary commuting costs depend on distance, and workers may freely choose the optimal residence location. Furthermore, it is assumed that house prices are endogenous and workers are homogeneous in all aspects except for income. The seminar provides a mainstream treatment of urban spatial structure including demand for housing and commuting in a standard monocentric city model.
  • The static model and the Rosen-Roback framework: In the standard monocentric city model, the role of residential amenities is ignored, but these are clearly important. In the Rosen-Roback framework, the residential location choice, job location and commuting distance depends explicitly on the spatial distribution of residential urban amenities. The seminar offers a detailed analysis of the possible implication of spatial distribution of urban amenities. For example, suppose that all jobs and amenities are in city centres. This is likely a reasonable description for Denmark, where residential amenities and employment tend to be in, or close to, historic city centres. In this case, an increase in household income would induce households to move residence closer to city centres. Another example can be the analysis of urban externalities (e.g. congestion, crime and pollution).
  • Hedonic price analysis and the residential location choice: Property value hedonics is the workhorse model for valuation of local public goods and urban amenities. The hedonic price function describes a price equilibrium on a market for a heterogeneous commodity, without describing the underlying forces of demand and supply. Models of residential location choice (equilibrium sorting models) provide a structural description of the market which opens up the possibility for doping counterfactual (policy) analysis. The recent literature has demonstrated that household location choices are not only affected by the accessibility to employment opportunities but also by accessibility to urban amenities. The seminar provides an introduction to current practice in using hedonic price analysis and residential sorting models. The residential sorting models are useful for analyses of urban distress (e.g. urban poverty and segregation).
  • Transportation and land use in urban areas: The role that transportation plays in the spatial development of urban areas is of great interest. The focus here is on the question of where consumption or production occurs, instead of the question of how much to consume and produce. In order to answer this question, a monocentric theory of residential an employment location can be applied.


These topics cover many of the important urban economic issues that have emerged in the academic literature over the past three decades. The focus will be on selected topics dealing with contemporary issues of urban policy such as pricing and regulation.


This course will also benefit the students by providing i) deep business knowledge related to real estate markets, ii) by discussing ethical dilemmas emerging from urbanization and gentrification, and iii) by allowing them to protect the prosperity of next generations.

Description of the teaching methods
The course is composed of 11 three-hour lectures and 6 computer classes (workshops) .

Class 1: Why cities exist?
Class 2: Standard monocentric city model
Class 3: Modifications of the standard monocentric city model
Class 4: Agglomeration and urban sprawl
Class 5: Agglomeration and firm productivity
Class 6: Freeway congestion
Class 7: Housing demand
Class 8: A simple empirical sorting model (structural hedonic model)
Class 9: Local public goods
Class 10: Rosen-Roback framework
Class 11: New economic geography

In the computer classes, students have the opportunity to consolidate the material from the lectures. The approach is problem-based. The lectures will introduce the examples and the required programming tools. The course will use the statistical software STATA / R.

Computer classes (workshops):
Computer class 1: Introduction: bid-rent curve, household incomes and wages
Computer class 2: Firm total factor productivity (TFP) and job density
Computer class 3: Hedonic house price index
Computer class 4: Heterogeneity in marginal willingness-to-pay
Computer class 5: Simple residential sorting model
Computer class 6: Urban quality-of-life measurement
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback is given in the class as well as during office hours, which are organized once a week for the duration of the course. The students project ideas will be presented and discussed in Class 6. This is an opportunity for students to get feedback on their project ideas and to learn from one another.
Student workload
Classroom attendance 33 hours
Preparation 100 hours
Examination (including preparation) 73 hours
Expected literature

Brueckner, J. K. 2011. Lectures on urban economics. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England.


Selected scientific articles to be specified during the course, e.g:

  • Bajari, P. and M.E. Kahn. 2005. Estimating housing demand with an application to explaining racial segregation in cities. Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 20-33.
  • Glaeser, E.L., J. Kolko and A. Saiz. 2001. Consumer city. Journal of Economic Geography, 1, pp. 27-50.
  • Kuminoff, N.V., V.K. Smith and C. Timmins. 2013. The new economics of equilibrium sorting and policy evaluation using housing markets. Journal of Economic Literature, 51(4), pp. 1007-1064. 
  • Kuminoff, N.V., C.F. Parmeter and J.C. Pope. 2010. Which hedonic models can we trust to recover the marginal willingness to pay for environmental amenities? Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 60, pp. 145–160.
  • Mulalic, I. and J. Rouwendal.2020. Does improving public transport decrease car ownership? Evidence from a residential sorting model for the Copenhagen metropolitan area. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 83, 103543.
  • Roback, J. 1982. Wages, rents, and the quality of life. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 90, No. 6, pp. 1257-1278.
  • Rosenthal, S.S. and W.C. Strange. 2004. Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies. Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, chapter 49, Volume 4. Edited by J.V. Henderson and J.F. Thisse. Elsevier. 
  • Stephen J. Redding, S. J. and E. Rossi-Hansberg. 2017. Quantitative Spatial Economics. Annual Review of Economics 9:1, pp. 21-58.

Further recommended readings and articles will be posted on Canvas


Last updated on 11-02-2022