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ECON317 Urban and Regional Economics

Applies methods of microeconomic analysis to understand urban and regional land development patterns. Analyses a variety of urban and regional public policy issues, such as regional economic development, land-use and transportation policy, and the provision of local public goods and services.

The last 200 years have witnessed a remarkable shift in population from rural to urban areas in developed countries. In New Zealand, at least 85% of the population now live in towns and cities. In this paper we apply the methods of microeconomic analysis to gain an understanding of why this has happened and of the forces that shape land development and resource allocation within and across urbanised areas. Specifically, we will develop a working understanding of the economics of urban areas:

  • Economic explanations of why cities exist, where they develop and why they grow
  • How and why urban land develops in some consistent patterns
  • The roles of local governments in influencing the allocation of resources in urban areas

Paper title Urban and Regional Economics
Paper code ECON317
Subject Economics
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $912.00
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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ECON 201 or ECON 271
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Commerce, Science
May not be credited together with ECON350 passed before 2006.
Requires background in introductory and intermediate microeconomics.
Teaching staff
Dr Paul Thorsnes
Paper Structure
This paper addresses four topic areas in urban/regional economics:
  • Urban growth and development across the region
  • Allocation of land across urban uses
  • Urban housing economics
  • Economic analysis of local government policy

Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will gain:

  • Skill in the application of microeconomic models and reasoning
  • Knowledge of urban economic theories and findings
  • Understanding of the economic rationale for urban public policies and the advantages and disadvantages of alternative policies

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 14:00-14:50 9-14, 16-22
Wednesday 14:00-14:50 9-14, 16-22
Thursday 15:00-15:50 9-14, 16-22