Research in Progress
Automobile travel in urban areas is associated with several negative externalities, including traffic congestion and pollution. Public transit systems provide transport alternatives that potentially reduce those negative externalities. We use several data sources to estimate how the opening of Jakarta's MRT in April 2019 improved traffic and air quality for city residents. To estimate how the MRT system alleviated congestion, we use high frequency data from Google Maps to compare changes in travel times for routes lying close to the MRT corridor to changes in travel times for planned but unbuilt MRT routes. We use a similar strategy to estimate the impact of the MRT system on pollution using remotely sensed pollution measures from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-5 Precursor (S5P) satellite. Finally, we compare our estimates of the benefits of reduced congestion and improved air quality to the costs of building and operating the MRT system.
In 1968, John Kain proposed the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis: the high unemployment rate in central cities among blacks might be due to the suburbanization of jobs combined with housing discrimination keeping blacks from relocating accordingly. We use in-person housing audit study, Housing Discrimination Study 2012, combined with rich job access data to directly test the role played by housing discrimination in the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis. We find suggestive evidence for discriminatory steering in the housing market that denies Hispanics' access to jobs but no decisive evidence for other minorities.