Inter-urban Differences in the Quality of Life

  • Irving Hoch
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


This paper carries forward a line of inquiry formulated in two previous papers [1, 2] by developing and testing a number of interrelated hypotheses about urban scale, a term employed to embrace both urban population size and density. It is hypothesised that with increases in urban scale there is a net decline in the quality of life, including economic, environmental and social aspects. There are likely to be some positive effects with scale, but such seem more than balanced by other, negative, effects. However, equilibrating mechanisms are at work, and the net quality decline tends to be balanced by increases in money wages for performance of the same work. This is not to argue that what exists is optimal: there is the possibility of improvement through a number of institutional changes, particularly through better pricing. However, awareness of the trade-off of quality for income should be useful in appraisal of proposed policies that probably go too far, through focus on the cost side and neglect of the offsetting benefits of urban scale.


Wage Rate External Cost Nitrogen Dioxide City Size Money Income 
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Copyright information

© International Economic Association 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irving Hoch

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