nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2011‒12‒05
two papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Ecological Inference with Entropy Econometrics: using the Mexican Census as a benchmark By Esteban Fernandez-Vazquez; Rafael Garduño
  2. Understanding Willingness to Support Higher Taxes for Urban Transportation Services: The Case of an American City By Jean-Claude Thill; Chunhua Wang

  1. By: Esteban Fernandez-Vazquez; Rafael Garduño
    Abstract: Most regional empirical analyses are limited by the lack of data. Researchers have to use information that is structured in administrative or political regions which are not always economically meaningful. The non-availability of geographically disaggregated information prevents to obtain empirical evidence in order to answer some relevant questions in the field of urban and regional economics. The objective of this paper is to suggest an estimation procedure, based on entropy econometrics, which allows for inferring disaggregated information on local income from more aggregated data. In addition to a description of the main characteristics of the proposed technique, the paper illustrates how the procedure works taking as an empirical application the estimation of income for different classes of Mexican municipalities. It would be desirable to apply the suggested technique to a study case where some observable data are available and confront the estimates with the actual observations. For this purpose, we have taken the information contained in the Mexican census as a benchmark for our estimation technique. Assuming that the only available data are the income aggregates per type of municipality and State, we make an exercise of ecological inference and disaggregate these margins to recover individual (local) data.
    Date: 2011–09
  2. By: Jean-Claude Thill; Chunhua Wang
    Abstract: This paper examines how a respondent’s socioeconomic characteristics influence her willingness to support tax increases for spending on highway transportation infrastructure and four modes of public transportation (i.e., bus, light rail, commuter rail, and streetcar) in a fast growing urban area in the United States. We use and analyze detailed survey data at household level collected from a phone interview survey conducted in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. We consider two types of response bias in the survey data. One is a systematic response bias which arises from protest zeros and respondents’ tendency to under-report their willingness. The other is from the randomized response when a respondent answers survey questions by guessing because she does not have memory or knowledge of the questions and choices. Along with random utility model, these two response bias models are estimated and compared to each other. Empirical results show that an individual’s attitudes towards paying higher taxes are affected by the individual’s location, home ownership, and the level of educational attainment. It is found that respondents tend to grossly under-report their willingness to support higher taxes for investments on highways, bus, and commuter rail in the survey. Respondents also exhibit positive tendency to choose no increase in taxes in the survey about highway, bus, and commuter rail, although they actually prefer an increase over no increase. They have positive chance of randomly choosing slightly higher taxes for more investment on streetcar whatever her true preference is. We discuss policy implications of the empirical results.
    Date: 2011–09

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