nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2007‒07‒27
six papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. The Effects of Low Income Housing Developments on Neighborhoods By Nathaniel Baum-Snow; Justin Marion
  2. The Effect of Relative Age in the First Grade of Primary School on Long-Term Scholastic Results: International Comparative Evidence using PISA 2003 By Sprietsma, Maresa
  3. From Brown to Busing By Elizabeth Cascio; Nora Gordon; Ethan Lewis; Sarah Reber
  4. The Effect of Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets: American Cities During the Great Depression By Leah Platt Boustan; Price V. Fishback; Shawn E. Kantor
  5. Local Governments in the Wake of Demographic Change: Efficiency and Economies of Scale in German Municipalities By Geys, Benny; Heinemann, Friedrich; Kalb, Alexander
  6. Dialing While Fishtailing: How Mobile Phones, Hands-Free Laws, and Driving Conditions Interact to Affect Traffic Fatalities By Kolko, Jed

  1. By: Nathaniel Baum-Snow; Justin Marion
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Sprietsma, Maresa
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the effect of pupil’s relative age within the first grade of primary school on math and reading test scores at age 15. The main objective is to evaluate the long-term causal effect of relative age in the first grades of primary school on pupil’s test in 16 different countries. We use the national rule for admission to primary school to construct the predicted relative age of each pupil. We find that relative age at the start of primary school has a significant positive effect on test scores in most countries. Moreover, we identify some of the channels through which the effect occurs.
    Keywords: pupil performance, relative age, international comparison
    JEL: I21 I29
    Date: 2007
  3. By: Elizabeth Cascio; Nora Gordon; Ethan Lewis; Sarah Reber
    Abstract: An extensive literature debates the causes and consequences of the desegregation of American schools in the twentieth century. Despite the social importance of desegregation and the magnitude of the literature, we have lacked a comprehensive accounting of the basic facts of school desegregation. This paper uses newly assembled data to document when and how Southern school districts desegregated as well as the extent of court involvement in the desegregation process over the two full decades after Brown. We also examine heterogeneity in the path to desegregation by district characteristics. The results suggest that the existing quantitative literature, which generally either begins in 1968 and focuses on the role of federal courts in larger urban districts or relies on highly aggregated data, often tells an incomplete story of desegregation.
    JEL: H00 I20 I28 J15
    Date: 2007–07
  4. By: Leah Platt Boustan; Price V. Fishback; Shawn E. Kantor
    Abstract: During the Great Depression, as in the modern era, in-migrants were accused of taking jobs and crowding relief rolls. Unlike today, the targets of protest during the Depression were typically American citizens from other parts of the country, rather than the foreign born. Using aggregate data on internal migration flows matched to individual records from the 1940 Census, we analyze the impact of internal migration on various labor market outcomes. To control for the likely endogeneity bias that would arise if migrants were attracted to areas with high wages or plentiful work opportunities, we instrument for migration flows. The instrument predicts out-migration from local areas using extreme weather events and variations in the generosity of New Deal programs and assigns these flows to destinations based on geographic distance. As in many contemporary studies of immigration, our results indicate that residents of metropolitan areas with high in-migration rates did not experience a drop in hourly earnings. Instead, longer term residents of high in-migration areas experienced three types of economic dislocation. A significant number moved away. Many of those who stayed experienced either a drop in annual weeks of work and/or reductions in access to work relief jobs. During a Depression with extraordinary unemployment and an extensive amount of job sharing, these lost work opportunities were costly to existing residents.
    JEL: J61 N32 R23
    Date: 2007–07
  5. By: Geys, Benny; Heinemann, Friedrich; Kalb, Alexander
    Abstract: German municipalities are expected to suffer from (often significant) population losses in the upcoming decades. We assess these local governments’ vulnerability to the fiscal consequences of this demographic decline through two means (using a sample of 1021 municipalities in the state of Baden-Württemberg). First, we consider local government cost efficiency. This indicates that there is a substantial divergence in efficiency despite a homogeneous institutional setting, leaving at least some – mainly smaller – municipalities vulnerable to adverse demographic/financial shocks. Secondly, we estimate the elasticity of local government cost functions to population size. We find that costs rise (fall) underproportionally with population size for small municipalities, whereas this is less the case for larger municipalities. This implies that especially small municipalities are vulnerable to increasing cost pressures under declining population. The overall implication is that large German municipalities (over 10.000 inhabitants) will more easily be able to cope with the expected population decline than smaller ones, supporting a case for boundary reviews or more extensive inter-communal cooperation.
    Keywords: Demographic change, Efficiency, Local government performance, Stochastic frontier analysis, Economies of scale, Cost elasticity
    JEL: D61 H40
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Kolko, Jed
    Abstract: Most rich countries in the world and four US states require drivers talking on mobile phones to use hands-free devices. However, previous research has failed to arrive at a consensus on the effect of mobile phones on traffic accidents yet has concluded that the effect of hands-free and hand-held phones on accidents is similar. This paper uses state-level data from 1997-2005 on mobile phone ownership, traffic fatalities, and hands-free laws and finds that (1) mobile phones contribute to traffic fatalities and (2) hands-free laws appear to reduce fatalities. Specifically, mobile phone ownership results in a large and statistically significant increase in traffic fatalities in bad weather or wet road conditions, with no effect in good weather or dry road conditions. Laws requiring drivers to use hands-free technologies while talking reduce traffic fatalities in adverse conditions, and the effect grows stronger and becomes statistically significant the longer the law is in effect, although these longer-term effects are based solely on New York, which in 2001 became the first state to have a hands-free law. The analysis relies on microdata from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to estimate effects for traffic fatalities in different conditions and to isolate fatalities unlikely to be affected by confounding changes in alcohol policies or graduated licensing laws.
    Keywords: mobile phones; cell phones; traffic fatalities; hands-free laws; driving; safety; accidents
    JEL: I18 L96 K32
    Date: 2007–07–17

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.