Value of Infrastructure: Silicon Prairie Edition

I recently visited the headquarters of Google Fiber, which is a large infrastructure investment google has been rolling out in Kansas City that provides 100x faster internet.

The tour guide claimed that home values in the green zone have increased $3,000 to $5,000 and that many start ups have started moving to Kansas city to use enhanced internet. Some have started calling the area “silicon prairie.” “Hacker hotels” that provide small rooms with uber fast internet have started popping up as well.

I’d love to see a comparison between employment growth, new business formation, spillovers to non-tech sectors, etc between Kansas City and the runner up city (following the logic of Moretti Greenstrone Hornbeck). Those three had way more treatment cities, so I think a full study would be harder in this setting, but I’d expect a case study would be quite interesting. The staggered rollout of Google Fiber would also be helpful for within city comparisons (i.e., green versus not green on the map). Also, the places they picked to start the rollout were not the richest parts of the city – they picked cities based on regulatory hurdles per person, so large municipalities were selected first since they could cover more people per municipal approval.

About ozidar

I'm an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Faculty Research Fellow at National Bureau of Economic Research. You can follow me on twitter @omzidar.
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