nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2006‒06‒24
thirteen papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Class voting, spatial segregation and metropolitan context: Operators in pluralized urban countries By Vilalta y Perdomo, Carlos J.
  2. Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China%u2019s Secondary Schools? By Weili Ding; Steven F. Lehrer
  3. Ireland’s Housing Boom: What has Driven it and Have Prices Overshot? By David Rae; Paul van den Noord
  4. Are Household Portfolios Efficient? An Analysis Conditional on Housing By Loriana Pelizzon; Guglielmo Weber
  5. The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers By Weili Ding; Steven F. Lehrer; J. Niels Rosenquist; Janet Audrain-McGovern
  6. Report on Interarea Price Levels By Bettina H. Aten
  7. Three dimensions of regional integration process in Europe: an approach by spatial econometrics (In French) By Stéphane VIROL (IERSO-IFReDE-GRES)
  8. Do the elderly reduce housing equity? An international comparison By Maria Concetta Chiuri; Tullio Jappelli
  9. Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout? By Felix Oberholzer-Gee; Joel Waldfogel
  10. New public management and management changes in Dutch local government: some recent experiences and future topics By Bogt, H.J. ter
  11. Another Look at Nonresident Building Prices By Leonard J. Loebach
  12. Does Opportunism Pay Off? By Linda Gonçalves Veiga; Francisco José Veiga
  13. Who’s Afraid of Tax Competition? Harmless Tax Competition from the New European Member States By Amina Lahreche-Revil

  1. By: Vilalta y Perdomo, Carlos J. (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México)
    Keywords: class voting
    Date: 2005–06
  2. By: Weili Ding; Steven F. Lehrer
    Abstract: Peer effects have figured prominently in debates on school vouchers, desegregation, ability tracking and anti-poverty programs. Compelling evidence of their existence remains scarce for plaguing endogeneity issues such as selection bias and the reflection problem. This paper firmly establishes a link between peer performance and student achievement, using a unique dataset from China. We find strong evidence that peer effects exist and operate in a positive and nonlinear manner; reducing the variation of peer performance increases achievement; and our semi-parametric estimates clarify the tradeoffs facing policymakers in exploiting positive peers effects to increase future achievement.
    JEL: I2 Z13 P36
    Date: 2006–06
  3. By: David Rae; Paul van den Noord
    Abstract: The Irish housing market is very buoyant. The housing boom is driven by strong economic growth, dynamic demographics and low interest rates. However, large tax advantages and relatively lenient credit policies by banks have also played their part, and prices may have become overvalued. To the extent that high house prices reflect favourable tax treatment, they may lead to economic inefficiencies by drawing excessive resources into residential construction. While a soft landing appears the most likely prospect, a disorderly correction of house prices would pose risks for macroeconomic and possibly financial stability. In this context, one policy lever available to the government would be a phased removal of the tax advantages associated with housing. In addition, banks should remain cautious in their lending and provisioning policies. <P>L’envolée du marché irlandais du logement Le marché de l’immobilier est très dynamique en Irlande. L’essor du logement s’explique par la forte croissance économique, la dynamique démographique et la faiblesse des taux d’intérêt. Cependant, les importants avantages fiscaux et les politiques de crédit relativement libérales des banques ont aussi joué leur rôle et les prix sont désormais peut être surévalués. Dans la mesure où les prix élevés de l’immobilier reflètent un régime fiscal favorable, ils peuvent conduire à des inefficiences économiques en attirant des ressources excessives dans la construction résidentielle. Tandis qu’un atterrissage en douceur apparaît très probable, une correction désordonnée de ces prix ferait peser des risques sur la stabilité macroéconomique, voire financière. Dans ce contexte, un des leviers d’action à la disposition des autorités serait une suppression graduée des avantages fiscaux associés au logement. En outre, les banques devraient être incitées à faire preuve de prudence dans leurs politiques de prêt et de provisionnement.
    Keywords: house prices, property tax, housing markets, marché immobilier, residential construction, construction résidentielle, immobilier, taxe foncière
    JEL: E2 R21 R31
    Date: 2006–06–15
  4. By: Loriana Pelizzon (University of Venice); Guglielmo Weber (University of Padua)
    Abstract: In this paper we argue that standard tests of portfolio efficiency are biased because they neglect the existence of illiquid wealth. In the case of household portfolios, the most important illiquid asset is housing: if housing stock adjustments are costly and therefore infrequent, we show how the dynamic optimization problem produces optimal portfolios in periods of no adjustment that are affected by housing price risk (through a hedge term). When the housing stock is not adjusted, we argue that tests for portfolio efficiency of financial assets must then be run conditionally upon housing wealth. In our application, we use Italian household portfolio data from SHIW 1998 and time series data on financial asset and housing stock returns to assess whether actual portfolios are efficient. We first consider purely financial portfolios and portfolios that also treat the housing stock as another asset. We then consider the consequences of treating the housing stock as given and test for efficiency in this framework. Our empirical results support the view that the presence of housing wealth plays an important role in determining whether portfolios chosen by home-owners are efficient.
    JEL: D91 G11
    Date: 2006–06
  5. By: Weili Ding; Steven F. Lehrer; J. Niels Rosenquist; Janet Audrain-McGovern
    Abstract: This paper examines the influence of health conditions on academic performance during adolescence. To account for the endogeneity of health outcomes and their interactions with risky behaviors we exploit natural variation within a set of genetic markers across individuals. We present strong evidence that these genetic markers serve as valid instruments with good statistical properties for ADHD, depression and obesity. They help to reveal a new dynamism from poor health to lower academic achievement with substantial heterogeneity in their impacts across genders. Our investigation further exposes the considerable challenges in identifying health impacts due to the prevalence of comorbid health conditions and endogenous health behaviors.
    JEL: I2 I1
    Date: 2006–06
  6. By: Bettina H. Aten (Bureau of Economic Analysis)
    Abstract: This report describes the estimation of differences in price levels across 38 geographic areas in the United States. It is based on prices collected for the 2003 Consumer Price Index (CPI) comprising eight expenditure components: Apparel, Education, Food and Beverages, Housing, Medical Goods and Services, Recreation, Transport and Other Goods and Services. The geographic areas represent large metropolitan areas and combinations of smaller PSUs (primary sampling units) that are urban but not metropolitan, such as Bend in Oregon. This research follows the work of Kokoski, Moulton and Zieschang (1999) on interarea price levels that referred to the year 1989. One difference from the earlier studies is the procedure used in estimating the average prices of detailed items. A second difference is that an overall price level for all goods and services is presented, in addition to the price level for each of the component headings. The third difference is in the aggregation method, a relatively simple and transparent one that has been recently used in the international price comparison literature, the weighted Country Product Dummy (CPD) method [Deaton, Friedman, Alatas (2004), Sergey (2004), Diewert (2002), Rao (2002) and Selvanathan and Rao (1994), Silver (2004)].
    JEL: E60
    Date: 2005
  7. By: Stéphane VIROL (IERSO-IFReDE-GRES)
    Abstract: Whereas the process of integration economic is accentuated in Europe, regional integration dynamics of space seems to be a crucial issue. Reflexions engaged, in particular through the SDEC, aim at promoting a voluntarist policy of polycentric adjustment of European space. Thus we are led to consider both structuration and regional integration dynamics of this space. An inventive use of the most recent tools of spatial econometrics makes possible to appreciate and to quantify the concerned processes. More particularly, we seek to improve the modelization of the interactions between areas.
    Keywords: Regional Integration of spaces, spatial econometrics, concentration, polycentrism
    JEL: R11 R15 C31 C51
    Date: 2006
  8. By: Maria Concetta Chiuri (University of Bari, CSEF and CHILD); Tullio Jappelli (University of Salerno, CSEF and CEPR)
    Abstract: We explore the pattern of elderly homeownership using microeconomic surveys of 17 OECD countries. In most countries the survey is repeated over time, permitting construction of an international dataset of repeated cross-sectional data, merging 59 national household surveys on about 300,000 individuals. We find that ownership rates decline considerably after age 60 in most countries. However, a large part of the decline depends on cohort effects. Adjusting for this, we find that ownership rates fall after age 70 by about half a percentage point per year. Interestingly, ownership trajectories are quite similar in all countries – except Finland and Canada - and are not correlated with a wide set of indicators that we examine.
    Keywords: homeownership, wealth decumulation, aging
    JEL: G2 R2
    Date: 2006–05–29
  9. By: Felix Oberholzer-Gee; Joel Waldfogel
    Abstract: Since the dawn of broadcasting, and especially in the past decade, Americans have turned their attention from local to more distant sources of news and entertainment. While the integration of media markets will raise the private welfare of many consumers, a globalized information and entertainment industry can undermine civic engagement, transforming locally engaged citizens into viewers consuming programming from distant sources. In response to such concerns, many regulatory agencies, including the Federal Communication Commission in the United States, curtail the integration of media markets to promote “localism.” Determining the right balance between the private benefits of integrated markets and the public value of civic engagement requires evidence on the size of the positive spillovers from local media. In this paper, we exploit the rapid growth of Hispanic communities in the United States to test whether the presence of local television news affects local civic behavior. We find that Hispanic voter turnout increased by 5 to 10 percentage points, relative to non-Hispanic voter turnout, in markets where local Spanish-language television news became available. Thus, the tradeoff between integrated media markets and civic engagement is real, and our results provide a basis for the continued pursuit of regulatory policies that promote localism.
    JEL: L82 D72
    Date: 2006–06
  10. By: Bogt, H.J. ter (Groningen University)
    Abstract: Since about 1985, Dutch municipalities and provinces, i.e. local government, initiated many reforms and change projects in the field of their management control, which are lumped together here as ?management changes?. Was the introduction of these changes mainly based on functionalist, ?rational? considerations, that is, a wish to improve economic performance, as New Public Management suggests? Or did economically seen irrational considerations perhaps also play a part, for example, a wish to follow new management trends and to look ?modern?? Based on documents and interviews with 23 politicians and professional managers in twelve Dutch municipalities and two provinces, this explorative paper examines experiences with various management changes implemented by local government as part of New Public Management (NPM), and with subsequent related changes. In addition, it discusses ?change initiating factors? that may have contributed to the high amount of major change initiatives that were started in a rather short space of time. Some of these factors are, for example, budgets cuts, trends and more demanding citizens/voters. One important change initiating factor that was mentioned is uncertainty amongst politicians, which is a consequence of the increased political volatility amongst voters. This factor suggests that, now and in the near future, for politicians and professional managers it could be ?politically rational? to try to increase the (economic) performances of their organization. Several authors have questioned or criticized the effects of NPM?s and government?s focus on economic efficiency and effectiveness. However, taking the change initiating factors into consideration, the paper speculates that in the future, too, it could be a rational survival strategy for politicians and managers to focus on initiatves that are intended to enhance performance and efficiency
    Date: 2006
  11. By: Leonard J. Loebach (Bureau of Economic Analysis)
    Abstract: In the early 1990's, former BEA Chief Statistician Frank de Leeuw explored the possibility of using project data from F.W. Dodge to estimate hedonic price indexes for nonresidential buildings. He rejected the idea citing the lack of “quality” characteristics in the data and that the results were not much different from the indexes currently in use. This paper re-examines the feasibility of price indexes using the Dodge data set. Using data for a single state, Maryland, price indexes for seven types of nonresidential buildings were estimated and were found to be reasonable. This paper concludes that the use of Dodge data as the basis for price indexes are feasible and worthy of further investigation.
    JEL: E60
    Date: 2005
  12. By: Linda Gonçalves Veiga (Universidade do Minho - NIPE); Francisco José Veiga (Universidade do Minho - NIPE)
    Abstract: This article tests the hypothesis that the opportunistic manipulation of financial accounts by mayors increases their chances of re-election. Working with a large and detailed dataset comprising all Portuguese mainland municipalities, which covers the municipal elections that took place from 1979 to 2001, we clearly show that increases in investment expenditures and changes in the composition of spending favouring highly visible items are associated with higher vote percentages for incumbent mayors seeking re-election. Our results also indicate that the political payoff to opportunistic spending increased after democracy became well-established in the country.
    Keywords: Voting functions, opportunism, local governments, elections, Portugal.
    JEL: D72 H72
    Date: 2006
  13. By: Amina Lahreche-Revil
    Abstract: This paper investigates the tax sensitivity of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the context of EU enlargement to Eastern European countries. Using two alternative specifications of a gravity equation, it shows that the E25 is heterogeneous as far as FDI location determinants are concerned. However, the results are at odds with usual consensus:while tax differentials do impact on FDI in the EU15, they are shown to have had no impact on the new member states during the period of analysis (1990-2002). Similarly, other factors such as unit labor costs and price-competitiveness fail to explain FDI inflows to the new EU member states. Simulation exercises run on statutory taxation attend to assess empirically the impact of various tax convergence scenarios. They are shown to imply limited changes in FDI inflows, on the basis of FDI flows and tax differentials observed in 2002.
    Keywords: Tax competition; FDI; EU enlargement; Eastern Europe; transition; convergence
    JEL: F21 F36 H25 H87
    Date: 2006–06

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