Cities are physical structures, but the modern literature on urban economic development rarely acknowledges that fact. The elasticity of housing supply helps determine the extent to which increases in productivity will create bigger cities or just higher paid workers and more expensive homes. In this paper, we present a series of facts documenting the important role that the housing supply plays in mediating urban growth. We also show that differences in the regulatory environment across space are not only responsible for higher housing prices, but also affect how cities respond to increases in productivity.
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