Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Transportation Improvement and Hollowing-out of Urban Commercial Center: Do They Harm Consumer Welfare?

Kishi, Akio and Kono, Tatsuhito (2020): Transportation Improvement and Hollowing-out of Urban Commercial Center: Do They Harm Consumer Welfare?

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Abstract

Concentration or dispersion of retail stores is the result of market interactions. If it involves market failures, then the spatial location equilibrium of retail stores is not optimal in terms of social welfare. We investigate two important market failures involving retail store location: “monopolistic competition among retail stores” and “shopping externality caused by multipurpose shopping”. Retail store locations in market equilibrium and those in a social optimum are derived. Next, we show that the degree of hollowing-out of urban centers is not always excessive from the perspective of the social optimum. It is believed that hollowing-out of urban commercial centers harms social welfare. But on the contrary, if the accessibility of suburban areas from residential areas is lower than that of the urban center, we confirm that hollowing-out of urban commercial centers is desirable. In this case, promotion of retail stores’ location in urban center, such as subsidies to locate in the city center or restrictions on location in suburbs, decreases social welfare. Instead, promotion of stores’ location in the suburbs is preferred.

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