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Measuring the Drivers of Metropolitan Growth: The Export Price Index

Michael Hollar
Anthony Pennington-Cross
Anthony Yezer

Data Shop

Data Shop, a department of Cityscape, presents short articles or notes on the uses of data in housing and urban research. Through this department, PD&R introduces readers to new and overlooked data sources and to improved techniques in using well-known data. The emphasis is on sources and methods that analysts can use in their own work. Researchers often run into knotty data problems involving data interpretation or manipulation that must be solved before a project can proceed, but they seldom get to focus in detail on the solutions to such problems. If you have an idea for an applied, data-centric note of no more than 3,000 words, please send a one-paragraph abstract to david.a.vandenbroucke@hud.gov for consideration.


This article reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


The Export Price Index (EPI) is a measure of exogenous price shocks to a city’s export industries. Thus far the EPI has been used to estimate models of metropolitan statistical area employment demand and appears to capture exogenous demand shocks to the regional economy. This article explains the intuition behind and construction of the EPI. Glaeser (2008) has noted that because “the economic theory of cities emphasizes a search for exogenous causes of endogenous outcomes like local wages, housing prices, and city growth, it is unsurprising that the economic empirics on cities have increasingly focused on the quest for exogenous sources of variation.” The EPI is such an exogenous cause. The EPI data discussed in this note are available through The George Washington University Center for Economic Research website at http://www.gwu.edu/~cer1/datasets/datasets.html.

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