nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2005‒07‒25
five papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Housing Price Dispersion: an empirical investigation By Charles Ka Yui Leung; Youngman Chun Fai Leong; Siu Kei Wong
  2. Decentralization and the Productive Efficiency of Government: Evidence from Swiss Cantons By Iwan Barankay; Ben Lockwood
  3. Friendship Relations in the School Class and Adult Economic Attainment By Andrea Galeotti; Gerrit Mueller
  4. Optimal Commodity Taxation When Land and Structures Must Be Taxed at the Same Rate By Saku Aura; Thomas Davidoff
  5. The Reform of Local Taxation in the United Kingdom in the Light of The Balance of Funding Review Report. By Fender, John.

  1. By: Charles Ka Yui Leung; Youngman Chun Fai Leong; Siu Kei Wong
    Abstract: The efficiency of a market is challenged when price dispersion occurs. Previous studies focused on non-durable consumption goods. This study extends the analysis to the case of residential property, whose transactions are dominated by a second-hand market with many potential buyers and sellers. We demonstrate that housing price dispersion exists, and the degree of dispersion changes systematically with some macroeconomic factors, though the second and the third moment of the price distribution react differently to the macroeconomic variables. Some directions for future research are suggested.
    Keywords: price dispersion, search models, macroeconomic factor, time aggregation
    JEL: C32 D61 D83 E30 R31
    Date: 2005–07
  2. By: Iwan Barankay; Ben Lockwood
    Abstract: Advocates of fiscal decentralization argue that amongst other benefits, it can increase the productive efficiency of delivery of government services. This paper is one of the first to evaluate this claim empirically by looking at the association between expenditure decentralization and the productive efficiency of government using a data-set of Swiss cantons. We first provide careful evidence that expenditure decentralization is a powerful proxy for factual local autonomy. Further panel regressions of Swiss cantons provide robust evidence that more decentralization is associated with higher educational attainment. We also show that these gains lead to no adverse effects across education types but that male students benefited more from educational decentralization closing, for the Swiss case, the gender education gap. Finally, we present evidence of the importance of competence in government and how it can reinforce the gains from decentralization.
    Date: 2005–07–19
  3. By: Andrea Galeotti (California Institute of Technology and University of Essex); Gerrit Mueller (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Tinbergen Institute and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We analyze the impact of adolescents’ friendship relations in their final-year class of high school on subsequent labor market success. Based on a typology of network positions we locate each student within the social system of the school class as either: an isolate, a sycophant, a broker or a receiver. These positions identify individuals’ social standing within the group of classmates and proxy for their interpersonal behavior and social competencies. We offer empirical evidence that differential social standing in adolescence predicts large and persistent earnings disparities over the entire life course. The estimated wage premia and penalties do not appear to be substantially confounded by measures of family and school resources, and materialize largely independent of differences in cognitive abilities, grade rank in class, personality traits or friends’ characteristics. A moderate share of the earnings inequalities is mediated by differential post-secondary human and social capital investment. From a conceptual point of view, we contribute an application of egocentered network methods within conventional labor economic survey research.
    Keywords: friendship ties, social capital, earnings
    JEL: A14 I21 J31
    Date: 2005–07
  4. By: Saku Aura (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia); Thomas Davidoff
    Abstract: We show that the optimal property tax rate rises with the ratio of land rents to structure and land development costs. California’s high ratio of income to property tax revenue and the distribution of Federal housing subsidies thus appear geographically misplaced. Proportional taxation of non-housing commodities is not optimal, even when elasticities with respect to wages are identical. Absent externalities, the desirability of transportation taxes and“anti-sprawl” growth controls hinge on the relative importance of time versus money in commuting costs.
    Keywords: Property Taxes, Henry George Theorem
    JEL: H21 R13
    Date: 2005–07–19
  5. By: Fender, John.
    Abstract: Currently, local authorities in the UK raise only about a quarter of their revenues from taxes under their control. The Balance of Funding Review Report considered whether this proportion should be increased, and if so, how. This paper considers the report and possible reforms. Reasons why the balance of funding is a problem are discussed. However, there are problems with the current system apart from the balance of funding, and to solve some of these a closer link between council tax bills and property values is suggested. Whether a local income tax should be introduced as a supplement to a reformed council tax, and other possible reforms, are also discussed.
    Keywords: Balance of funding, property tax, business rates, local income tax
    Date: 2005–01

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