Nathaniel Baum-Snow

Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Studies


Nathaniel Baum-Snow joined the PSTC and Brown University in 2005. He is also affiliated with Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4) and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Baum-Snow’s research investigates reasons for levels of and changes in the spatial organization of population and economic activity in urban areas. He has evaluated the roles that various types of transportation infrastructure have played in generating changes in urban form in the United States and China and the associated consequences for urban economic growth. His work on China is funded by the International Growth Centre.

Baum-Snow received NSF funding to investigate the reasons for which workers earn more and have more dispersed wages in larger cities and how these explanations help us to understand the productivity advantages of density. Other work investigates how racial interactions in school and low income housing have influenced urban change at metropolitan area and neighborhood spatial scales in the United States.

Selected Publications

“Understanding the City Size Wage Gap” (with Ronni Pavan), Review of Economic Studies, 2012, 79(1): 88-127.

“Inequality and City Size” (with Ronni Pavan), Review of Economics and Statistics, 2013, 95(5): 1535-1548.

“Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2007, 122(2): 775-805.


China, Education, Housing, Labor economics, Land use patterns, Spatial analysis, Transportation, United States, Urbanization