nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2005‒03‒20
twelve papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. A Residential Energy Demand System for Spain By Xavier Labandeira; José M. Labeaga; Miguel Rodríguez
  2. Cities and the internet: the end of distance? By Jordi Pons-Novell; Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal
  3. Does neighboring "industrial atmosphere" matter in industrial location?. Empirical evidence from Spanish municipalities. By Ángel Alañón; Rafael Myro
  4. Cournot Competition, Market Size Effects, and Agglomeration By Gallo, Fredrik
  5. Ethnic Enclaves and Welfare Cultures – Quasi-experimental Evidence By Åslund, Olof; Fredriksson, Peter
  6. Reading, Writing and Raisinets: Are School Finances Contributing to Children's Obesity? By Patricia M. Anderson; Kristin F. Butcher
  7. Testing, Crime and Punishment By David N. Figlio
  8. Names, Expectations and the Black-White Test Score Gap By David N. Figlio
  9. Regional Mismatch and Unemployment: Theory and Evidence from Italy, 1977-1998 By Marco Manacorda,Barbara Petrongolo
  10. Russian Cities in Transition: The Impact of Market Forces in the 1990s By Ira N. Gang; Robert C. Stuart
  12. An Analysis of the Impact of Multiple Environmental Goods on House Prices By Katherine Kiel; Michael Williams

  1. By: Xavier Labandeira; José M. Labeaga; Miguel Rodríguez
    Abstract: Sharp price fluctuations and increasing environmental and distributional concerns, among other issues, have led to a renewed academic interest in energy demand. In this paper we estimate, for the first time in Spain, an energy demand system with household microdata. In doing so, we tackle several econometric and data problems that are generally recognized to bias parameter estimates. This is obviously relevant, as obtaining correct price and income responses is essential if they may be used for assessing the economic consequences of hypothetical or real changes. With this objective, we combine data sources for a long time period and choose a demand system with flexible income and price responses. We also estimate the model in different sub-samples to capture varying responses to energy price changes by households living in rural, intermediate and urban areas. This constitutes a first attempt in the literature and it proved to be a very successful choice.
  2. By: Jordi Pons-Novell; Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal
  3. By: Ángel Alañón; Rafael Myro
  4. By: Gallo, Fredrik (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: We analyse a two-stage location-quantity game with many firms and two regions. We show that the firms will never agglomerate in the same location if transportation is costly between the regions. We also analyse the effects of differences in market size and economic integration on the allocation of industrial activity. For high levels of trade costs firms locate in different regions. Lowering the trade costs beyond a critical level triggers an agglomeration of industry in the larger region. This process of agglomeration is gradual in nature and trade costs have to be successively lowered for a full-scale agglomeration to take place.
    Keywords: agglomeration; cross-hauling; market size effects; spatial Cournot competition
    JEL: D43 F12 L13 R30
    Date: 2005–03–11
  5. By: Åslund, Olof (Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation); Fredriksson, Peter (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We examine peer effects in welfare use among immigrants to Sweden by exploiting a governmental refugee placement policy. We distinguish between the quantity of contacts — the number of individuals of the same ethnicity — and the quality of contacts – welfare use among members of the ethnic group. OLS regressions suggest that both these factors are positively related to individual welfare use. Instrumental variables estimations yield the conclusion that only the quality of contacts matter. An increase of the fraction of the ethnic group on welfare by 10 percent raises the individual probability of welfare use by almost percent.
    Keywords: Immigrants; Welfare use; Ethnic concentration; Welfare cultures
    JEL: I38 J15
    Date: 2005–02–08
  6. By: Patricia M. Anderson; Kristin F. Butcher
    Abstract: The proportion of adolescents in the United States who are obese has nearly tripled over the last two decades. At the same time, schools, often citing financial pressures, have given students greater access to "junk" foods, using proceeds from the sales to fund school programs. We examine whether schools under financial pressure are more likely to adopt potentially unhealthful food policies. We find that a 10 percentage point increase in the probability of access to junk food leads to about a one percent increase in students' body mass index (BMI). However, this average effect is entirely driven by adolescents who have an overweight parent, for whom the effect of such food policies is much larger (2.2%). This suggests that those adolescents who have a genetic or family susceptibility to obesity are most affected by the school food environment. A rough calculation suggests that the increase in availability of junk foods in schools can account for about one-fifth of the increase in average BMI among adolescents over the last decade.
    JEL: I1 I2 J1
    Date: 2005–03
  7. By: David N. Figlio
    Abstract: The recent passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 solidified a national trend toward increased student testing for the purpose of evaluating public schools. This new environment for schools provides strong incentives for schools to alter the ways in which they deliver educational services. This paper investigates whether schools may employ discipline for misbehavior as a tool to bolster aggregate test performance. To do so, this paper utilizes an extraordinary dataset constructed from the school district administrative records of a subset of the school districts in Florida during the four years surrounding the introduction of a high-stakes testing regime. It compare the suspensions of students involved in each of the 41,803 incidents in which two students were suspended and where prior year test scores for both students are observed. While schools always tend to assign harsher punishments to low-performing students than to high-performing students throughout the year, this gap grows substantially during the testing window. Moreover, this testing window-related gap is only observed for students in testing grades. In summary, schools apparent act on the incentive to re-shape the testing pool through selective discipline in response to accountability pressures.
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2005–03
  8. By: David N. Figlio
    Abstract: This paper investigates the question of whether teachers treat children differentially on the basis of factors other than observed ability, and whether this differential treatment in turn translates into differences in student outcomes. I suggest that teachers may use a child's name as a signal of unobserved parental contributions to that child's education, and expect less from children with names that "sound" like they were given by uneducated parents. These names, empirically, are given most frequently by Blacks, but they are also given by White and Hispanic parents as well. I utilize a detailed dataset from a large Florida school district to directly test the hypothesis that teachers and school administrators expect less on average of children with names associated with low socio-economic status, and these diminished expectations in turn lead to reduced student cognitive performance. Comparing pairs of siblings, I find that teachers tend to treat children differently depending on their names, and that these same patterns apparently translate into large differences in test scores.
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2005–03
  9. By: Marco Manacorda,Barbara Petrongolo (Dept. of Economics Queen Mary; Dept. of Economics London School of Economics; University of London; CEP and STICERD,London School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper describes the functioning of a two-region economy characterized by asymmetric wage-setting. Labor market tightness in one region (the leading-region) affects wages in the whole economy. IN equilibrium, net labor demand shifts towards the leading region raise unemployment in the rest of the economy and leave regional wages unchanged, causing an increase in aggregate unemployment. This model has some success in explaining the evolution of regional unemployment rates in Italy during the period 1977-1998. Based on SHIW micro data on earnings and ISTAT data on unemployment rates we find strong evidence that wages in Italy only respond to labor market tightness in the North. We estimate that around one third of the increase in aggregate unemployment in Italy can be explained by regional mismatch, mainly due to an excess labor supply growth in the South.
    Keywords: Regional imbalances, Wage curve, Unemployment.
    JEL: E24 J23 J31
  10. By: Ira N. Gang; Robert C. Stuart
    Abstract: This paper analyses Russian city growth during the command and transition eras. Our main focus is on understanding the extent to which market forces are replacing command forces, and the resulting changes in Russian city growth patterns. We examine net migration rates for a sample of 171 medium and large cities for the period 1960 through 2002. We conclude that while the declining net migration rate was reversed during the first half of the 1990s, restrictions continued to matter during the early years of transition in the sense that net migration rates were lower in the restricted than in the unrestricted cities. This pattern seemingly came to an end in the late 1990s.
    Keywords: cities; city growth; migration; Russia; urbanization
    JEL: J6 P20 R23
    Date: 2004–05–01
  11. By: John S. Earle; Klara Sabirianova Peter
    Abstract: We present a model of neighborhood effects in wage payment delays. Positive feedback arises because each employer’s arrears affect the late payment costs faced by other firms in the same local labor market, resulting in a strategic complementarity in the practice. The model is estimated on panel data for workers and firms in Russia, facilitating identification through the use of a rich set of covariates and fixed effects for employees, employers, and local labor markets. We also exploit a policy intervention affecting public sector workers that provides an instrumental variable to estimate the endogenous reaction in the non-public sector. Consistently across specifications, the estimated reaction function displays strongly positive neighborhood effects, and the estimates of four feedback loops – operating through worker quits, effort, strikes, and legal penalties – imply that costs of delays are attenuated by neighborhood arrears. We also study a nonlinear case exhibiting two stable equilibria: a “punctual payment equilibrium” and a “late payment equilibrium.” The estimates imply that the theoretical conditions for multiple equilibria under symmetric local labor market competition are satisfied in our data.
    Keywords: wage arrears, contract violation, neighborhood effect, social interactions, multiple equilibria, network externality, strategic complementarity, transition, Russia.
    JEL: A12 B52 J30 K42 L14 O17 P31 P37
    Date: 2004–07–01
  12. By: Katherine Kiel (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross); Michael Williams (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)
    Abstract: It seems an established empirical fact that Superfund sites lower local property values. Two recent literature reviews (Farber, 1998, Boyle and Kiel, 2001) report that published academic papers on the topic verify that point. The EPA’s approach assumes that all sites negatively impact property values, and that the impact is similar for all sites. This paper examines 74 National Priorities List (NPL) sites in 13 U.S. counties in order to test these two implicit assumptions. Following the hedonic approach of Kiel (1995) and Kiel and McClain (1995), we find that some sites have the expected negative impact, while other sites have either no impact or a positive impact on local property values. We also consider the possibility of ‘stigma’ from sites by looking at those sites that have been cleaned during our sample period and find that some sites do appear to suffer from stigma, while others do not. We then use a meta-analysis approach to examine what factors affect the likelihood and extent of a decrease in property values near the sites. We find that larger sites in areas with fewer blue-collar workers are more likely to have the expected negative impact on local house prices.
    Keywords: Environment, Superfund, Hedonic regressions, meta-analysis, property values
    JEL: Q51 Q53 Q58 R21
    Date: 2005–03

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