nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2007‒01‒28
25 papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Mortgage Pricing Differentials Across Hispanic, Black, and White Households: Evidence from the American Housing Survey By HUD – PD&R
  2. Are Household Portfolios Efficient? An Analysis Conditional on Housing By Loriana Pelizzon; Guglielmo Weber
  3. Assessment of the 602 Non-Profit Disposition Program By HUD – PD&R
  4. Teacher density and student achievement in Swedish compulsory schools By Andersson, Christian
  5. Survey of land and real estate transactions in the Russian Federation : statistical analysis of selected hypotheses By Kisunko, Gregory; Coolidge, Jacqueline
  6. A Study of Market Sector Overlap and Mortgage Lending By HUD – PD&R
  7. Housing Tenure, Expenditure, and Satisfaction Across Hispanic, African-American, and White Households: Evidence from the American Housing Survey By HUD – PD&R
  8. Effects of decentralization on school resources: Sweden 1989-2002 By Mörk, Eva; Ahlin, Åsa
  9. Evolution of the U.S. Housing Finance System: A Historical Survey and Lessons For Emerging Mortgage Markets (English version) By HUD – PD&R
  10. Do childless households support local public provision of education By Berardino Cesi
  11. Recent House Price Trends and Homeownership Affordability By HUD – PD&R
  12. Effects on School Enrollment and Performance of a Conditional Cash Transfers Program in Mexico By de Janvry, Alain; Dubois, Pierre; Sadoulet, Elisabeth
  13. A global house price bubble? Evaluation based on a new rent-price approach By Taipalus , Katja
  14. Housing Impact Analysis - Volume II Case Studies By HUD – PD&R
  15. Decomposing the growth in residential land in the United States By Henry G. Overman; Diego Puga; Matthew A. Turner
  16. Effects of Housing Vouchers on Welfare Families By HUD – PD&R
  17. Housing Impact Analysis By HUD – PD&R
  18. Where Should the Elderly Live and Who Should Pay for their Care? A Study in Demographics and Geographical Economic By Aronsson, Thomas; Blomquist, Sören; Micheletto, Luca
  19. The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets By David Neumark; Junfu Zhang; Stephen Ciccarella
  20. Does Social Capital Reduce Crime? By Paolo Buonanno; Daniel Montolio; Paolo Vanin
  21. Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill By Judith Hellerstein; David Neumark
  22. Spatial Concentration of Creative Industries in Los Angeles By Sascha Brinkhoff
  23. The Role of School Improvement in Economic Development By Eric A. Hanushek; Ludger Woessmann
  24. The Growth of Earnings of Low-Income Households and the Sensitivity of Their Homeownership Choices to Economic and Socio-Demographic Shocks By HUD – PD&R
  25. Voucher Homeownership Study - Volume I Cross-site Analysis By HUD – PD&R

  1. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: This analysis uses recent metropolitan area samples of the American Housing Survey (AHS) for 1998, 2002, and 2004 to investigate differences in the terms, conditions, and use of mortgage financing alternatives, and how financing and mortgage rates differ for Hispanics as compared to other ethnic groups across a number of different U.S. housing markets. The principal focus of the study is to examine the extent to which differences in the interest rates obtained by homeowners of different race/ethnicity and income levels can be explained by differences in characteristics of the borrowers, the property, and the loan itself.
    JEL: R5
    Date: 2006–02
  2. By: Loriana Pelizzon (; Department of Economics, University Of Venice Ca’ Foscari); Guglielmo Weber (University of University of Padua, IFS and CEPR)
    Abstract: Standard tests of portfolio efficiency neglect the existence of illiquid wealth. The most important illiquid asset in household portfolios is housing: if housing stock adjustments are infrequent, optimal portfolios in periods of no adjustment are affected by housing price risk through a hedge term and tests for portfolio efficiency of financial assets must be run conditionally upon housing wealth. We use Italian household portfolio data and time series on financial assets and housing stock returns to assess whether actual portfolios are efficient. We find that housing wealth plays a key role in determining whether portfolios chosen by home-owners are efficient.
    Keywords: Housing and portfolio choice, Portfolio efficiency.
    JEL: D91 G11
    Date: 2006
  3. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is committed to increasing homeownership among our nation's low- and moderate-income families. In keeping with this goal, HUD's 602 Nonprofit Property Disposition program sells HUD-held single-family homes at deep discounts to units of general local government and nonprofits. The homes are then rehabilitated and resold, providing homeownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income households, with the concomitant benefit of revitalizing economically troubled urban neighborhoods. The Department has sponsored research to identify appropriate baseline information and an associated analytic structure for future evaluations of the 602 Program. This report describes the evaluation strategy and the prospective statistical analysis developed; discusses near-term progress of the 602 Program in three cities: Baltimore Maryland; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Rochester, New York; and provides readers with a general understanding of the operations and potential benefits of the 602 program.
    JEL: H0
    Date: 2006–12
  4. By: Andersson, Christian (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes how student achievement is affected by resource increases in the Swedish compulsory school due to a special government grant that was enforced in the academic year of 2001/02. The analysis is based on register data that contains all students that completed compulsory schooling (ninth grade) between 1998 and 2005. The results show that socio-economic variables explain a great deal of the variation in student achievement. The study also shows that the increased resources have not had a statistical significant positive effect on the average student’s achievement. This conclusion holds true when different measures of student achievement are used. Increased resources have however improved student achievement for students with low educated parents. If teacher density is increased with 10 percent students with low educated parents are expected to increase their grade point average ranking with about 0.4 percentile units.
    Keywords: teacher density; student achievement; government grant
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2007–01–23
  5. By: Kisunko, Gregory; Coolidge, Jacqueline
    Abstract: This paper analyzes land transactions between municipalities and private businesses based on official data and business surveys in 15 regions of the Russian Federation. Since the Russian Federation passed the new Land Code in 2001, land privatization has been officially encouraged by the federal government and in particular, land under previously privatized buildings was supposed to be privatized to the owner at a nominal price. The paper shows that many subnational authorities (which own or control the vast majority of land of interest to businesses) appear to use a combination of high statutory land buy-out prices and administrative barriers to deter land privatization and to offer " long-term leases " (which are not fully marketable) instead. On the other hand, regions that have established low buy-out prices and taken steps to remove unnecessary administrative barriers to land privatization appear to have higher rates of land ownership by businesses, and to face lower levels of corruption in the privatization process. The paper concludes that further reductions in the statutory prices for privatization of land under buildings and elimination of unnecessary administrative barriers should help to encourage further land privatization and the development of a competitive, secondary market in commercial land.
    Keywords: Municipal Financial Management,Urban Housing,Common Property Resource Development,Municipal Housing and Land,Real Estate Development
    Date: 2007–01–01
  6. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: This recently completed study investigates the amount of overlap between two mortgage market sectors, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In this case, overlap refers to loans that could have been handled in either market.
    JEL: H0
    Date: 2005–05
  7. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: A number of interesting differences in housing circumstances between Hispanic, African-American, and white households are revealed as a result of this analysis. The analysis presented in this report has two primary components. In the first part of the study, the likelihood of ownership, levels of house prices (for owners) and contract rent (for renters) were considered across race/ethnicity for both the full sample and the subset of recent movers. The second part of the analysis focuses on differences in ordinal rankings (on a scale of 1 to 10) of structural and neighborhood quality between Hispanics, African-American, and white households.
    JEL: R5
    Date: 2006–02
  8. By: Mörk, Eva (Department of Economics); Ahlin, Åsa
    Abstract: Sweden has undertaken major national reforms of its school sector which, consequently, has been classified as one of the most decentralized ones in the OECD. This paper investigates whether school resources became more unequally distributed across municipalities in connection with the reforms and if local tax base, grants, and preferences affected local school resources differently as decentralization took place. Using municipal data the paper studies how per pupil spending and the teacher-pupil ratio has evolved over the period 1989–2002, separating between three different waves of decentralization. As nothing much has happened with per pupil spending, the teacher-pupil ratio has become more evenly distributed across municipalities. Municipal tax base affects per pupil spending in the same way regardless of whether the school sector is centralized or decentralized, but has a smaller effect on teacher-pupil ratio after the reforms. The less targeted grants are, the fewer teachers per pupil do the municipalities employ. The results for local preferences are less clear cut.
    Keywords: school resources; school finance reform; decentralization; grant reform
    JEL: H40 H52 H70
    Date: 2007–01–24
  9. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: A new release by HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research charts the evolution of our nation's housing finance system. This historical account illuminates the process of linking borrowers with investors/savers and five different financial intermediation models gleaned from the U.S. experience. The authors examine practices that can be of use to nations with emerging mortgage markets which are facing challenges in wholesale funding, risk sharing and management, and affordable lending products. The mortgage market experiences of Mexico, Korea, South Africa, and Poland illuminate lessons learned by the U.S. in the evolution of our housing finance system.
    JEL: G0
    Date: 2006–04
  10. By: Berardino Cesi
    Abstract: Empirical and theoretical studies show that the local provision of public education affects the well being of individuals through two channels: the first reflects the direct use of the good, whereas the second runs through the value of the housing. The second effect leans on the idea that the quality of public education is capitalized into the value of the own housing. Empirical evidence finds that in a multi-community model childless households support local public spending in education because of the capitalization effect. I study the behavior of childless households, not necessarily elderly, in a two community model and show that the capitalization effect may not be a sufficient condition for middle aged households without children to support local public spending in education by a majority voting.
    JEL: H52 H72 I22 R2
    Date: 2007–02
  11. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: The purpose of this report is to shed light on these questions by reviewing past research on house prices, by providing new evidence on recent trends in prices and ownership affordability, and by offering suggestions for next steps in house price research.
    JEL: H0
    Date: 2005–05
  12. By: de Janvry, Alain; Dubois, Pierre; Sadoulet, Elisabeth
    Abstract: We study the effects of a conditional cash transfers program on school enrollment and performance in Mexico. We provide a theoretical framework for analyzing the dynamic educational process including the endogeneity and uncertainty of performance at school (passing grades) and the effect of a cash transfer program conditional on school attendance. This framework is developed to study the Mexican social program Progresa (called now Oportunidades) in which a randomized experiment has been implemented and allows us to identify the effect of the program on enrollment and performance at school. Using the rules of the conditional program, we can explain the different incentive effects provided. We also derive the formal identifying assumptions needed to estimate consistently the average treatment effects on enrollment and performance at school. We find empirically that this program had always a positive impact on school continuation whereas for performance it had a positive impact at primary school but a negative one at secondary school (a possible consequence of disincentives due to the program termination after the third year of secondary school).
    Keywords: dynamic decisions; education demand; Mexico; randomized experiment; school performance; schooling decisions; transfer program; treatment effects
    JEL: C14 C25 D91 H52 H53 I21 I28 J24
    Date: 2007–01
  13. By: Taipalus , Katja (Bank of Finland Research)
    Abstract: The dividend yield ratio in the stock markets is, to an extent, comparable to the rent-price ratio in the housing market. Taking advantage of this definitional similarity, one can then use the traditional unit root test for log dividend yield – in this case, the log rent-price ratio – to test for the existence of real estate bubbles. Such unit root tests are conducted for Finland, USA, UK, Spain and Germany, and the simple test results strongly suggest the existence of bubbles in nearly all of these countries. In addition to this, we develop a continuous and monthly rent-price information-based method to track the periods when real estate prices diverge from their fundamental levels. This indicator seems to work quite well in most cases, indicating bubbles during periods which, according to the consensus literature, are seen as periods of sizable upward or downward shifts in house prices.
    Keywords: house price; bubble; unit root
    JEL: G12
    Date: 2006–11–23
  14. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: This report is the second volume in a two-volume study of the voucher homeownership (VHO) programs prepared for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by Abt Associates Inc. under subcontract to Newport Partners LLC. The primary objective of the study is to provide a broad, statistically accurate picture of the VHO program nationwide, based on a survey of PHAs that have reported at least one VHO purchase. The survey is supplemented by in-depth case study assessments based on site visits to selected sites operating particularly active or noteworthy programs.
    JEL: H0
    Date: 2006–01
  15. By: Henry G. Overman; Diego Puga; Matthew A. Turner
    Abstract: This paper decomposes the growth in land occupied by residences in the United States to give the relative contributions of changing demographics versus increases in the land area used by individual households. Between 1976 and 1992 the amount of residential land in the United States grew 47.5% while population only grew 17.8%. At first glance, this suggests an important role for per household increases. However, the calculations in this paper show that only 24.3% of the growth in residential land area can be attributed to State level changes in land per household. 37.5% is due to overall population growth, 5.9% to the shift of population towards States with larger houses, 22.7% to an increase in the number of households over this period, and the remaining 9.5% to interactions between these changes. There are large differences across states and metropolitan areas in the relative importance of these components.
    Keywords: land use, population growth
    JEL: R14 O51
    Date: 2007–01–22
  16. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: This report presents the final analysis of a study conducted over several years to measure the impacts of Housing Choice Vouchers on the housing mobility of low-income families, the characteristics of their neighborhoods, the composition of their households, their employment, earnings, participation in education and training, their receipt of public assistance, their poverty and material hardship, and the well-being of their children. The analysis, based on a six-site research sample of 8,731 families, uses an experimental design and makes use of outcome measures derived from tract-level Census data, person-level administrative data, and a follow-up survey. The impact estimates in this report encompass a follow-up period that is sixteen quarters in duration for all sites, and longer for some sites. Augmenting the experimental findings are insights from intensive interviews with a sample of 141 families.
    JEL: I3
    Date: 2006–09
  17. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: The report is presented in four major sections and several appendices. Section 1 identifies numerous relevant federal and state regulations that affect housing and home building, and could merit detailed analysis. Section 2 covers the framework for quantitative analysis of the housing market including a discussion of underlying economic theory and review of selected articles. Section 3 presents information about when and how a preliminary HIA can and should be performed to screen a regulation and determine if an in-depth analysis is necessary. It goes on to illustrate this process for a series of housing-related rules from several different agencies. Section 4 describes a general process for in-depth analysis of how a rule affects the housing sector. It also illustrates in-depth analysis of two specific regulations: the EPA effluent guidelines for construction and development, and the HUD wind standards for manufactured homes. Additional background material on housing analysis data, dealing with uncertainty in estimated relationships and measurement of housing-related benefits, appears in the appendices.
    JEL: H0
    Date: 2006–01
  18. By: Aronsson, Thomas (Department of Economics, Umeå University); Blomquist, Sören (Department of Economics, Uppsala University); Micheletto, Luca (Istituto di Economia Politica, Università "L. Bocconi")
    Abstract: There is a rich literature analyzing the problems that will arise as the share of elderly and retired in the population increases in the near future. However, the locational decisions among the elderly as well as their implications in terms of taxes/transfers and of allocation of responsibilities for elderly care between the federal and local levels have not received much attention. In this paper we aim at investigating these issues. For this purpose we explore a model where there is a big city and a set of small villages and where congestion effects and agglomeration forces are at work at the level of the big city. We also assume that the population is divided between two groups of agents, productive and retired, which differ with respect to the degree of mobility. In the first part of the paper we study and characterize the inefficiencies that arise because of individuals' free location choice in the context of a unitary government. In the second part of the paper we consider a fiscal federalism structure and we investigate the suitable instruments that are needed in order to decentralize the optimal allocation obtained under full centralization.
    Keywords: Agglomeration effects; congestion; elderly care; fiscal federalism
    JEL: D62 H42 H55 H77 J10
    Date: 2007–01–25
  19. By: David Neumark (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine); Junfu Zhang (Department of Economics, Clark University); Stephen Ciccarella (Department of Economics, Cornell University)
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of Wal-Mart stores on county-level retail employment and earnings, accounting for endogeneity of the location and timing of Wal-Mart openings that most likely biases the evidence against finding adverse effects of Wal-Mart stores. We address the endogeneity problem using a natural instrumental variables approach that arises from the geographic and time pattern of the opening of Wal-Mart stores, which slowly spread out from the first stores in Arkansas. The employment results indicate that a Wal-Mart store opening reduces county-level retail employment by about 150 workers, implying that each Wal-Mart worker replaces approximately 1.4 retail workers. This represents a 2.7 percent reduction in average retail employment. The payroll results indicate that Wal-Mart store openings lead to declines in county-level retail earnings of about $1.2 million, or 1.3 percent. Of course, these effects occurred against a backdrop of rising retail employment, and only imply lower retail employment growth than would have occurred absent the effects of Wal-Mart.
    Keywords: Wal-Mart; Employment
    JEL: R12 J21
    Date: 2006–12
  20. By: Paolo Buonanno (Department of Economics, University of Bergamo); Daniel Montolio (Department of Economics, Universitat de Barcelona); Paolo Vanin (Department of Economics, University of Padua)
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of civic norms and associational networks on crime rates. Through their impact on trust and economic development, civic norms may raise the expected returns to crime, but they may also increase its opportunity cost and the feelings of guilt and shame attached to it. Associational networks may increase returns to non-criminal activities and raise detection probabilities, but they may also provide communication channels for criminals. The empirical assessment of these effects poses serious problems of endogeneity, omitted variables and measurement error. Italy’s great variance in social and economic characteristics, its homogeneity in policies and institutions, and the availability of historical data on social capital in its regions allow us to minimise the first two problems. To tackle the third one, we exploit high and stable report rates for some forms of property crime. Once we address these problems, we find that both civic norms and associational networks have a negative and significant impact on property crimes across Italian provinces.
    Keywords: Civic norms, Associational networks, Property crime, Italy
    JEL: A14 K42 Z13
    Date: 2006–11
  21. By: Judith Hellerstein (Department of Economics, University of Maryland); David Neumark (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)
    Abstract: We study workplace segregation in the United States using a unique matched employer-employee data set that we have created. We present measures of workplace segregation by education and language, and by race and ethnicity, and ­ since skill is often correlated with race and ethnicity ­ we assess the role of education- and language-related skill differentials in generating workplace segregation by race and ethnicity. We define segregation based on the extent to which workers are more or less likely to be in workplaces with members of the same group, and we measure segregation as the observed percentage relative to maximum segregation. Our results indicate that there is considerable segregation by education and language in the workplace. Among whites, for example, observed segregation by education is 17% (of the maximum), and for Hispanics, observed segregation by language ability is 29 percent. Racial (black-white) segregation in the workplace is of a similar magnitude to education segregation (14%), and ethnic (Hispanic-white) segregation is somewhat higher (20%). Only a tiny portion (3%) of racial segregation in the workplace is driven by education differences between blacks and whites, but a substantial fraction of ethnic segregation in the workplace (32 percent) can be attributed to differences in language proficiency. Finally, additional evidence suggests that segregation by language likely reflects complementarity among workers speaking the same language
    Keywords: Segregation; Language; Skill; Race; Ethnicity
    JEL: J15 J16 J24
    Date: 2006–10
  22. By: Sascha Brinkhoff
    Date: 2007–01–22
  23. By: Eric A. Hanushek; Ludger Woessmann
    Abstract: The role of improved schooling, a central part of most development strategies, has become controversial because expansion of school attainment has not guaranteed improved economic conditions. This paper reviews the role of education in promoting economic well-being, with a particular focus on the role of educational quality. It concludes that there is strong evidence that the cognitive skills of the population - rather than mere school attainment - are powerfully related to individual earnings, to the distribution of income, and to economic growth. New empirical results show the importance of both minimal and high level skills, the complementarity of skills and the quality of economic institutions, and the robustness of the relationship between skills and growth. International comparisons incorporating expanded data on cognitive skills reveal much larger skill deficits in developing countries than generally derived from just school enrollment and attainment. The magnitude of change needed makes clear that closing the economic gap with developed countries will require major structural changes in schooling institutions.
    JEL: H4 I2 J0 O1 O4
    Date: 2007–01
  24. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: This April 2005 report traces post-purchase experiences of low-income homeowners. It investigates the growth rate of earnings of low-income households following their first purchase of a house. The study analyzes the correlates of this income growth and identifies which low-income households are most likely to succeed in homeownership. The study also investigates unsuccessful spells of first-time homeownership by low-income households and tests for correlates between termination of homeownership and financial or social shocks in first-time, low-income homeowners' lives. Finally, the results are discussed and analyzed for their public policy implications.
    JEL: D1
    Date: 2005–04
  25. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: During 2001-02, HUD sponsored an exploratory study of program implementation based on site visits to 12 selected PHAs. That study afforded many insights into how the selected PHAs were implementing and operating the programs, but did not attempt to develop a comprehensive national picture. Given the rapid expansion in the program, HUD commissioned the present study to develop a broader, national view of the characteristics and outcomes of voucher homeownership programs. This report presents the results of that study.
    JEL: H0
    Date: 2006–03

This nep-ure issue is ©2007 by Steve Ross. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.