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Wendell Cox, Peter Gordon, and Christian Redfearn have commented on a paper of mine that gives evidence of a strong and large causal relationship between highway construction and central city population declines in the United States between 1950 and 1990. Cox, Gordon, and Redfearn are skeptical that the true causal relationship could be so large and argue that my results are not consistent with evidence from a sample of European cities. In addition, they argue that my paper relies too heavily on the monocentric land-use model to generate results. In this reply, I provide further evidence that my estimates are reasonable and do not rely in any way on monocentricity. Further, I show that Cox, Gordon, and Redfearn’s analysis of European data is insufficient to conclude that a causal relationship between highway construction and population decentralization does not exist for European cities.
This article is a response to Highway Penetration of Central Cities: Not a Major Cause of Suburbanization by Wendell Cox, Peter Gordon, and Christian L. Redfearn (EJW, January 2008).