nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2005‒04‒24
nine papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Focal Firms as Technological Gatekeeers within Industrial Districts: Knowledge Creation and Dissemination in the Italian Packaging Machinery Industry By Alessandro Malipiero; Federico Munari; Maurizio Sobrero
  2. Government Policy Effects on Urban and Rural Income Inequality By Ximing Wu; Jeffrey Perloff; Amos Golan
  3. City and Suburban Competition By Andrew Austin
  4. The Determinants of Residential Water Demand Empirical Evidence for a Panel of Italian Municipalities By Massimiliano Mazzanti; Anna Montini
  5. "It Wasn’t Me, It Was Them!" Social Influence in Risky Behavior by Adolescents By Andrew E. Clark; Youenn Lohéac
  6. Urban Structure and Growth By Esteban Rossi-Hansberg; Mark L.J. Wright
  7. An Alternative Test of Racial Prejudice in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence By Shamena Anwar; Hanming Fang
  8. A Simple Model of Credit Rationing with Information Externalities By AKM Rezaul Hossain
  9. Portfolio Diversification, Proximity Investment and City Agglomeration By WILLIAM N. GOETZMANN; MASSIMO MASSA; ANDREI SIMONOV

  1. By: Alessandro Malipiero; Federico Munari; Maurizio Sobrero
    Abstract: Despite the diffusion of communication tools and boundary spanning technologies, knowledge flows in innovation processes retain a distinct localized nature in many industries and geographical clusters emerge as critical areas to foster technological diffusion. In this paper we focus on the role of focal firms in industrial clusters as “gatekeepers” introducing external technological novelties in the cluster and enacting new useful knowledge production locally, thus enhancing international competitive capabilities of all firms in the cluster. We analyze a longitudinal dataset of 720 patents granted by USPTO between 1990 and 2003 to firms in the automatic packaging machinery industrial district of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy, and a matched-sample to control for the uneven geographical distribution of R&D and patenting activities. Our results show that firms within the cluster use local knowledge to a greater extent and more rapidly than knowledge from the outside than it would be expected given the geographic distribution of innovative activity in the industry. Moreover, focal firms use external knowledge to a greater extent than other firms operating in the cluster, and other (non focal) firms within the cluster use knowledge from focal firms to a greater extent than would be expected given the geographic distribution of innovative activity in the industry. Implications for research on the geographical distribution of innovation activities are discussed.
    Keywords: Innovation processes; Knowledge flows; Geographical clusters
    JEL: O18 O31 D83
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Ximing Wu (University of Guelph); Jeffrey Perloff (University of California, Berkeley, and Giannini Foundation); Amos Golan (American University)
    Keywords: income distribution, inequality, public policy, welfare,
    Date: 2004–02–01
  3. By: Andrew Austin
    Abstract: This paper presents an analog to Cournot duopoly in a model of the local public sector, with one city and a suburb. Reaction functions are derived for the mayor of the city and of the suburb, and properties of the Nash equilibria are analyzed. The translation of the Cournot duopoly model is not simply a matter of renaming variables, because of the role of land rents. As residents move, they impose a pecuniary externality on others through higher land prices as well as by changing incentives facing each mayor. Comparative statics results are derived for changes in agricultural land prices and transportation costs and for their effects on city population and rents captured by the city mayor.
    Keywords: Government competition, Duopoly, Local public finance.
    JEL: H73 D72 D43
    Date: 2005–02
  4. By: Massimiliano Mazzanti (University of Ferrara); Anna Montini (University of Bologna and CERIS/DSE-CNR)
    Abstract: We present empirical evidence on the determinants of residential water demand for one Italian region, Emilia-Romagna, by using municipal panel data. The estimated water demand price elasticity is negative, showing values between -0.99 and -1.33, never significantly different from one, considering different specifications without and with additional socio-economic factors. Income results associated to a positive elasticity, though lower than one. The role of other socio-economic territory-specific determinants is less relevant, with the exception of altitude. The relative high value of price elasticity is deemed consistent with the higher level of Regional water prices compared to the national average. The applied analysis is an important starting point for the Italian environment, which lacks reliable estimates on elasticities concerning microeconomic water demand studies. The estimation of price elasticity and the investigation on the determinants of water demand are necessary steps for both private and private-public management of water resources within the new framework originating from the implementation of the 96/1994 National water bill.
    Keywords: Residential water demand, Price elasticity, Income elasticity, Water pricing
    JEL: C23 D12 Q25
    Date: 2005–02
  5. By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE (joint research unit CNRS-EHESS-ENPC-ENS), CNRS and IZA Bonn); Youenn Lohéac (FLAVIC (INRA-Dijon and ENESAD) and TEAM (University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and CNRS))
    Abstract: Many years of concerted policy effort in Western countries has not prevented young people from experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. One potential explanation is that social interactions make consumption "sticky". We use detailed panel data from the Add Health survey to examine risky behavior (the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and marijuana) by American adolescents. We find that, even controlling for school fixed effects, these behaviors are correlated with lagged peer group behavior. Peer group effects are strongest for alcohol use, and young males are more influential than young females. Last, we present some evidence of non-linearities in social interactions.
    Keywords: social interactions, smoking, drinking
    JEL: C23 D12 Z13
    Date: 2005–04
  6. By: Esteban Rossi-Hansberg; Mark L.J. Wright
    Abstract: Most economic activity occurs in cities. This creates a tension between local increasing returns, implied by the existence of cities, and aggregate constant returns, implied by balanced growth. To address this tension, we develop a theory of economic growth in an urban environment. We show that the urban structure is the margin that eliminates local increasing returns to yield constant returns to scale in the aggregate, which is sufficient to deliver balanced growth. In a multi-sector economy with specific factors and productivity shocks, the same mechanism leads to a city size distribution that is well described by a power distribution with coefficient one: Zipf's Law. Under certain assumptions our theory produces Zipf's Law exactly. More generally, it produces the systematic deviations from Zipf's Law observed in the data, including the under-representation of small cities and the absence of very large ones. In general, the model identifies the standard deviation of industry productivity shocks as the key parameter determining dispersion in the city size distribution. We present evidence that the relationship between the dispersion of city sizes and the variance of productivity shocks is consistent with the data.
    JEL: E0 O4 R0
    Date: 2005–04
  7. By: Shamena Anwar; Hanming Fang
    Abstract: We propose a simple model of trooper behavior to design empirical tests for whether troopers of different races are monolithic in their search behavior, and whether they exhibit relative racial prejudice in motor vehicle searches. Our test of relative racial prejudice provides a partial solution to the well-known infra-marginality and omitted variables problems associated with outcome tests. When applied to a unique data set from Florida, our tests soundly reject the hypothesis that troopers of different races are monolithic in their search behavior, but fail to reject the hypothesis that troopers of different races do not exhibit relative racial prejudice.
    JEL: J7
    Date: 2005–04
  8. By: AKM Rezaul Hossain (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Credit-rationing model similar to Stiglitz and Weiss [1981] is combined with the information externality model of Lang and Nakamura [1993] to examine the properties of mortgage markets characterized by both adverse selection and information externalities. In a credit-rationing model, additional information increases lenders ability to distinguish risks, which leads to increased supply of credit. According to Lang and Nakamura, larger supply of credit leads to additional market activities and therefore, greater information. The combination of these two propositions leads to a general equilibrium model. This paper describes properties of this general equilibrium model. The paper provides another sufficient condition in which credit rationing falls with information. In that, external information improves the accuracy of equity-risk assessments of properties, which reduces credit rationing. Contrary to intuition, this increased accuracy raises the mortgage interest rate. This allows clarifying the trade offs associated with reduced credit rationing and the quality of applicant pool.
    Keywords: Credit rationing, Information Externalities, Adverse selection, Mortgage underwriting.
    JEL: C62 R31 R51
    Date: 2005–04
  9. By: WILLIAM N. GOETZMANN (Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance); MASSIMO MASSA (INSEAD - Department of Finance); ANDREI SIMONOV (Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Finance)
    Abstract: We study the puzzle of portfolio underdiversification and proximity investment from a novel perspective, linking it to the process of urbanization. We find that urban portfolios are more focused - i.e., less diversified and more concentrated in \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'close\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' stocks. We explain it in terms of the process of \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'professional specialization\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' that characterizes urban environments. We test this against a number of alternative theories: financial sophistication, social competition and hedging non-financial risk. We show that the very same factors behind the drive to city agglomeration also affect both the degree of portfolio diversification and proximity investing by influencing investor information and risk.
    JEL: G11 G14
    Date: 2005–04–14

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