Growing a Developing City: A Computable Spatial General Equilibrium Model Applied to Dhaka
As one of world’s fastest growing cities, Dhaka faces acute challenges in housing its growing population and developing a more productive economy. Central to this is the scarcity of high-quality urban land. Yet a vast tract of land near the heart of the city, East Dhaka, currently remains predominantly agricultural and undeveloped as a consequence of flooding. This paper uses a computable spatial general equilibrium model that captures the economic geography of the city, to estimate the economic returns of coordinated action to develop this land. The model captures different productive sectors, household skill levels, and types of housing. Firms and residents choose their location within the city given the transport network and land availability, generating a pattern of commercial and residential land-use. The paper estimates the incremental impacts on income, employment and population of an embankment and other flood protection measures to protect this land, as well as from improvement in transport infrastructure and targeted support for economic development in East Dhaka.