GVC/City REDI Seminar Series: Rosa Sanchis-Guarner

Room G22 JG Smith
Wednesday 25 January 2017 (12:00-13:00)

Seminar title: Do English Planning Policies Make Shopping More Accessible?

Speaker: Rosa Sanchis-Guarner (Imperial College London)


Town Centre First Policies (TCFP) were introduced in England with real rigour in 1996. They restricted new retail development to traditional ‘Town Centres’ with the declared aim of making cities more ‘sustainable’ and retaining access to shops to those without cars. TCFP were introduced without evidence to support these claims and to date have not been subject to any rigorous analysis of their actual impacts on travel patterns for shopping. This paper provides the first evidence of their impact on travel for shopping trips. We use novel data on local shopping travel for 1998 and 2008 to investigate this issue. First, we analyse how shopping travel was differently affected by changes in supply of grocery stores in England as compared to Scotland. Second, we exploit the fact that shoppers were affected differentially by TCFP depending on their precise location with respect to Town Centres. Due to the nature of TCFP, we expect that consumers close to central locations would experience larger decreases in travel costs as supply of grocery stores increased post-1996 with respect to out-of-town locations. We construct a measure of Town Centres in England and Scotland and compare the shopping travel patterns of consumers affected to different extents by the policy in the treated and un-treated countries.  Given that most locations and population are located outside Town Centres, our findings suggest that, by restricting new retail units to Town Centres, TCFP prevented larger savings in shopping travel costs through the development of out-of-town retail.

About the speaker

Rosa Sanchis-Guarner joined the Imperial College Business School as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in October 2015. She is also a Research Associate in the Urbanisation Programme at the Centre for Economic Perfomance, London School of Economics. Rosa's research interests include Urban and Spatial Economics, Policy Evaluation and Labour Economics.

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