nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2005‒02‒20
fourteen papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Intertemporal and Spatial Location of Disposal Facilities By Francisco J. André; Francisco Velasco; Luis González
  2. Network Externalities: Adoption of Low Emission Technologies in the Automobile Market By Eftichios S. Sartzetakis
  3. Effects of decentralization on school resources By Ahlin, Åsa; Mörk, Eva
  4. Latent Variables in a Travel Mode Choice Model: Attitudinal and Behavioural Indicator Variables By Vredin Johansson, Maria; Heldt, Tobias; Johansson, Per
  5. Schools, School Quality and Academic Achievement: Evidence from the Philippines By Bacolod, Marigee; Tobias, Justin
  6. School vouchers Italian style By Giorgio BRUNELLO; Daniele CHECCHI
  7. An Integrated Model of Downtown Parking and Traffic Congestion By Richard Arnott; Eren Inci
  8. Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries By Eric A. Hanushek; Ludger Woessmann
  9. Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up? By Edward L. Glaeser; Joseph Gyourko; Raven Saks
  10. School Meals, Educational Achievement, and School Competition: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation By Christel Vermeersch; Michael Kremer
  11. Economic Evaluation of Housing Subsidy Systems: A Methodology with Application to Morocco By David le Blanc
  12. World Urbanization Prospects : an alternative to the UN model of projection compatible with urban transition theory By Philippe Bocquier
  13. Agricultural surplus, division of labour and the emergence of cities, a spatial general equilibrium model By Gilles Spielvogel
  14. Migration and urbanization in francophone west Africa a review of the recent empirical evidence By Cris Beauchemin; Philippe Bocquier

  1. By: Francisco J. André (Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla); Francisco Velasco (Universidad de Sevilla); Luis González (Universidad de Sevilla)
    Abstract: The optimal capacity and location of a sequence of landfills are studied, and the interactions between both decisions are pointed out. Deciding the capacity of a landfill has some spatial implications, because it effects the feasible region for the rest of the landfills, and some temporal implications because the capacity determines the lifetime of the landfill and hence the instant of time where the next landfills will need to be constructed. Some general mathematical properties of the solution are provided and interpreted from an economic point of view. The resulting problem turns out to be nonconvex and, therefore, it can not be solved by conventional optimization techniques. Some global optimization methods are used to solve the problem in a particular case to illustrate the behavior of the solution depending on the parameter values.
    Keywords: Landfilling, Optimal Capacity, Optimal Location, Global Optimization.
    JEL: C61 C63 Q30 R53
    Date: 2004
  2. By: Eftichios S. Sartzetakis (University of Macedonia (Greece)and University College of the Cariboo)
    Abstract: This paper develops a simple model of the automobile market, in which significant network and environmental externalities are present, and examines consumers' choice of technology. There are two types of technology: one that currently dominates the market but imposes significant environmental costs, and one that is expected to be introduced and has zero environmental costs. We find that, in the absence of policy intervention, the benefits of the installed base and the price diferentials in favour of the existing technology will deter new users from adopting the clean technology. We consider diferent tax policies that will induce adoption provided it is welfare warranted. First, we analyze a tax policy on the dirty technology with the tax revenues generated being used for general purposes.Under this case, we find that the tax, to induce adoption, will be greater than the marginal environmental damage. Second, we consider the tax revenue generated from the dirty technology to be earmarked towards a future subsidy to the clean technology. In this case, the tax is found to be lower than the case where revenues are used for general purposes and more interesting is the fact that the tax can be set equal to the marginal damage. Finally, we examine the case where the government credibly commits a revenue neutral tax/subsidy policy prior to the introduction of the clean technology and we find that the tax and the subsidy expenditures required could be lower relative to the case without precommitment.
    Date: 2004
  3. By: Ahlin, Åsa (Uppsala University); Mörk, Eva (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)
    Abstract: Sweden has undertaken major national reforms of its schooling sector which, consequently, has been classified as one of the most decentralized ones in the OECD. This paper investigates the extent to which local tax base, grants, preferences and structural characteristics affected local schooling resources as decentralization took place. We use municipal data for the period 1989–95 which covers the key reform years without confounding decentralization with institutional changes after 1995. The main arguments against decentralization are not supported by our findings. First, school spending as well as teacher density is found to be more equally distributed across municipalities following decentralization. Second, local tax capacity does not influence schooling resources more in the decentralized regime than in the centralized regime. We also find that the form in which grants are distributed matter: Targeted grants have a significant positive impact on resources while general grants have not.
    Keywords: School resources; school finance reform; decentralization
    JEL: H40 H52 H70
    Date: 2005–02–12
  4. By: Vredin Johansson, Maria (Department of Economics); Heldt, Tobias (Department of Economics); Johansson, Per (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: In a travel mode choice context, we use survey data to construct and test the significance of five individual specific latent variables – environmental preferences, safety, comfort, convenience and flexibility - postulated to be important for modal choice. Whereas the construction of the safety and environmental preference variables is based on behavioural indicator variables, the construction of the comfort, convenience and flexibility variables is based on attitudinal indicator variables. Our main findings are that the latent variables enriched discrete choice model outperforms the traditional discrete choice model and that the construct reliability of the “attitudinal” latent variables is higher than that of the “behavioural” latent variables. Important for the choice of travel mode are modal travel time and cost and the individual’s preferences for flexibility and comfort as well as her environmental preferences.
    Keywords: Modal choice; latent variable; discrete choice model; modal safety
    JEL: C35 R41
    Date: 2005–02–07
  5. By: Bacolod, Marigee; Tobias, Justin
    Abstract: A broad literature seeks to assess the importance of schools, proxies for school quality, and family background on children's achievement growth using the education production function. Using rich data from the Philippines, we introduce and estimate a model that imposes little structure on the relationship between intake achievement and follow-up achievement and evaluate school performance based on this estimated relationship. Our methods nest typical value added specifications that use test score gains as the outcome variable and models assuming linearity in the relationship between intake and follow-up scores. We find evidence against the use of value-added models for our data and show that such models give very different assessments of school performance in the Philippines. Using a variety of tests we find that schools matter in the production of student achievement, though variation in performance across schools only explain about 6 percent of the total (conditional) variation in follow-up achievement. Schools providing basic facilities - in particular schools providing electricity - are found to perform much better in the production of achievement growth.
    Date: 2005–02–11
  6. By: Giorgio BRUNELLO; Daniele CHECCHI
    Abstract: School vouchers introduced recently in some Italian regions have lowered the cost of private schools. On one side, we provide evid ence that Italian private schools may be selected for different r easons than quality considerations. On the other side, by exploit ing individual data on voucher applicants, we present evidence th at the percentage of voucher applicants is higher the higher the average quality of private schools, which we explain with the fac t that better quality schools provide better services to students , including information and consulting on vouchers. We show that enrolment in private schools responds sluggishly to changes in tu ition induced by vouchers. Under stringent assumptions, we estima te the slopes of demand and supply of private education in the la rgest Italian region, Lombardy, during the first two years since implementation of a voucher scheme, and provide a quantitative as sessment of the long – term impact of vouchers on tuition fees an d enrolment in private schools
    Keywords: school vouchers
  7. By: Richard Arnott; Eren Inci
    Abstract: This paper presents a downtown parking model that integrates traffic congestion and saturated on-street parking. We assume that the stock of cars cruising for parking adds to traffic congestion. Two major results come out from the model, one of which is robust. The robust one is that, whether or not the amount of on-street parking is optimal, it is efficient to raise the on-street parking fee to the point where cruising for parking is eliminated without parking becoming unsaturated. The other is that, if the parking fee is fixed at a sub-optimal level, it is second-best optimal to increase the amount of curbside allocated to parking until cruising for parking is eliminated without parking becoming unsaturated.
    JEL: R4
    Date: 2005–02
  8. By: Eric A. Hanushek; Ludger Woessmann
    Abstract: Even though some countries track students into differing-ability schools by age 10, others keep their entire secondary-school system comprehensive. To estimate the effects of such institutional differences in the face of country heterogeneity, we employ an international differences-in-differences approach. We identify tracking effects by comparing differences in outcome between primary and secondary school across tracked and non-tracked systems. Six international student assessments provide eight pairs of achievement contrasts for between 18 and 26 cross-country comparisons. The results suggest that early tracking increases educational inequality. While less clear, there is also a tendency for early tracking to reduce mean performance. Therefore, there does not appear to be any equity-efficiency trade-off.
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2005–02
  9. By: Edward L. Glaeser; Joseph Gyourko; Raven Saks
    Abstract: Since 1950, housing prices have risen regularly by almost two percent per year. Between 1950 and 1970, this increase reflects rising housing quality and construction costs. Since 1970, this increase reflects the increasing difficulty of obtaining regulatory approval for building new homes. In this paper, we present a simple model of regulatory approval that suggests a number of explanations for this change including changing judicial tastes, decreasing ability to bribe regulators, rising incomes and greater tastes for amenities, and improvements in the ability of homeowners to organize and influence local decisions. Our preliminary evidence suggests that there was a significant increase in the ability of local residents to block new projects and a change of cities from urban growth machines to homeowners' cooperatives.
    JEL: O2
    Date: 2005–02
  10. By: Christel Vermeersch; Michael Kremer (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Vermeersch and Kremer examine the effects of subsidized school meals on school participation, educational achievement, and school finance in a developing country setting. They use data from a program that was implemented in 25 randomly chosen preschools in a pool of 50. Children’s school participation was 30 percent higher in the treatment group than in the comparison group. The meals program led to higher curriculum test scores, but only in schools where the teacher was relatively experienced prior to the program. The school meals displaced teaching time and led to larger class sizes. Despite improved incentives, teacher absenteeism remained at a high level of 30 percent. Treatment schools raised their fees, and comparison schools close to treatment schools decreased their fees. Some of the price effects are caused by a combination of capacity constraints and pupil transfers that would not happen if the school meals were ordered in all schools. The intention-to-treat estimator of the effect of the randomized program incorporates those price effects, and therefore it should be considered a lower bound on the effect of generalized school meals. This insight on price effects generalizes to other randomized program evaluations. This paper—a product of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management 2, Africa Technical Families—is part of a larger effort in the region to increase our understanding of the impact of programs aimed at reaching the Millennium Development Goals.
    Keywords: Education; Health & Population
    Date: 2005–02–11
  11. By: David le Blanc
    Abstract: Most countries do not use one single type of housing subsidy but combine many of them. Le Blanc provides operational criteria that allow evaluation of systems of housing subsidies, both at the individual program level and at the aggregate (country) level. He examines the public finance assessment criteria used by different authors to analyze subsidy programs and confront them systematically. Le Blanc ends up with a “map” of criteria, which covers the range of topics interesting to policymakers. For each criterion, he tries to provide empirical measures that can be retrieved from existing programs. He then provides an aggregation method allowing a synthesis of diagnoses about the “quality” of the housing subsidies system at the country level. The aggregation technique offers a simple way to visualize the main features of a subsidy system, as well as the effects on the system of reforms or improvements of particular programs. The author applies the methodology to the system prevailing in Morocco in 1995 and 2004. The analysis shows that the most visible subsidies might not have been the most inefficient, nor the most resource consuming for the state. Examination of policy changes since 1995 shows that while the most visible subsidies received nearly all the government’s attention, large invisible subsidies remain at the heart of Morocco’s housing policy. The framework used here is very general and can be used to compare the Moroccan system with those of similar countries. This paper—a product of the Urban Unit, Transport and Urban Development Department—is part of a larger effort in the department to provide evaluation frameworks to better understand housing markets in developing countries.
    Keywords: Infrastructure; Poverty; Urban Development
    Date: 2005–02–17
  12. By: Philippe Bocquier (DIAL, IRD, Paris)
    Abstract: (english) This paper proposes to critically examine the United Nations projections on urbanisation. Both the estimates of current trends based on national data and the method of projection are evaluated. The theory of urban transition is used as an alternative hypothesis for projections. Alternative projections are proposed using a polynomial model and compared to the UN projections, which are based on a linear model. The conclusions are that UN projections may overestimate the urban population for the year 2030 by almost one billion, or 19% in relative term. The overestimation would be particularly more pronounced for developing countries and may exceed 30% in Africa, India and Oceania. _________________________________ (français) Cet article se propose d’examiner d’une manière critique les projections urbaines des Nations Unies. Les estimations des tendances récentes basées sur les données nationales sont évaluées, de même que la méthode de projection. La théorie de la transition urbaine est utilisée comme une alternative pour les projections. Des projections alternatives sont proposées sur la base d’un modèle polynomial et sont comparées à celle des NU, qui sont fondées sur un modèle linéaire. Les conclusions sont que les projections des NU pourraient surestimer de près d’un milliard la population urbaine en 2030, soit 19% en terme relatif. La surestimation serait particulièrement plus prononcée pour les pays en développement et pourrait excéder 30% en Afrique, en Inde et en Océanie.
    Keywords: urbanisation, projections, transition urbaine, modèle, pauvreté, environnement, pays en développement, pays développés,urban transition, model, poverty, environment, developing countries, developed countries.
    Date: 2004–10
  13. By: Gilles Spielvogel (DIAL, IEP-Paris)
    Abstract: (english) In this paper, we expose the economic conditions of cities emergence in a spatial general equilibrium framework. The presence of increasing returns based on the division of labour, transport costs and the possible existence of an agricultural surplus are enough to generate different possible urban equilibrium. A city may not be sustainable if internal transport costs are too high. On the other hand, a persistent migratory pressure may exist between the city and the surrounding rural hinterland if the urban labour market is saturated. In addition, we study the conditions of stability of the monocentric equilibrium in the different cases. _________________________________ (français) Dans ce papier, nous exposons les conditions économiques d’émergence des villes dans le cadre d’un modèle d’équilibre général spatial. L’existence de rendements croissants basés sur la division du travail, de coûts de transport et la présence éventuelle d’un surplus agricole conduisent à différentes possibilités d’équilibre urbain. En raison de la contrainte de subsistance, il est possible qu’aucune ville ne soit soutenable si les coûts de transport internes sont trop élevés. D’un autre côté, la contrainte d’emploi urbain débouche sur la saturation de tout ou partie du marché du travail urbain et à la persistance d’une pression migratoire entre campagne et ville. Par ailleurs, nous étudions les conditions de stabilité du système urbain monocentrique dans les différents cas d’équilibre.
    Keywords: Urbanisation, division du travail, surplus agricole, système urbain monocentrique, Urbanization, division of labour, agricultural surplus, monocentric urban system.
    JEL: R13 R14 O18
    Date: 2003–07
  14. By: Cris Beauchemin (Université de Montréal); Philippe Bocquier (DIAL, IRD, Paris)
    Abstract: (english) This contribution proposes to re-examine the contribution of migration to urbanization in the developing world, by presenting a comprehensive review of research on Francophone West Africa. The contribution of migration to urbanization is examined from different points of view: demographic, geographic and economic. The paper presents the context of urbanization, describes new trends in migration flows between urban and rural areas, and examines how migrants integrate in the city and fit in the urban economy. The conclusions are that migrants adapt quite well to the city and that urban integration problems do not concern exclusively migrants but all city-dwellers, especially the youths. However social and economic integration should also be studied from the rural point of view, taking into consideration the recent urban-torural migration flows and the slow-down of urban growth. _________________________________ (français) Cette contribution se propose de réexaminer le rôle des migrations dans l’urbanisation du monde en développement, en présentant une synthèse des résultats de recherches menées en Afrique de l’Ouest francophone. La contribution de la migration à l’urbanisation est considérée du point de vue tant démographique, qu’économique et géographique. Elle présente le contexte de l’urbanisation, décrit les nouvelles tendances des flux migratoires entre les milieux urbains et ruraux, et analyse comment les migrants s’insèrent dans la ville et s’adapte à l’économie urbaine. Les conclusions montrent que les migrants s’adaptent fort bien à la vie urbaine et que les problèmes d’insertion urbaine ne concernent pas seulement les migrants mais tous les urbains, en particulier les jeunes. Cependant, l’insertion économique et sociale devrait également être étudiée du point de vue rural, en prenant en compte les flux migratoires récents de l’urbain au rural, ainsi que le ralentissement de la croissance urbaine.
    Date: 2003–09

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