nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2008‒02‒02
twenty-two papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Educational Effects of Early or Later Secondary School Tracking in Germany By Mühlenweg, Andrea Maria
  2. Efficient Portfolios when Housing Needs Change over the Life-Cycle By Loriana Pelizzon; Guglielmo Weber
  3. Social Interactions and Labor Market Outcomes in Cities By Zenou, Yves
  4. Understanding low achievement in English schools By Robert Cassen; Geeta Gandhi Kingdon
  5. Housing finance agencies in Asia By Michael Davies; Jacob Gyntelberg; Eric Chan
  6. Spatial Concentration in Institutional Investment in the UK: Some comparisons between the Retail and Office Sectors By Peter Byrne; Stephen Lee
  7. Specialization and Concentration of the Manufacturing Industry in the Italian Local Labor Systems By Sergio Lodde
  8. Comparing House Prices Across Regions and Time: An Hedonic Approach By Robert J. Hill; Daniel Melser
  10. Living on the edge -- risk, protection, behavior, and outcomes of Argentine youth By Justesen , Michael
  11. Banche e Imprese nei Distretti Industriali By Pietro ALESSANDRINI; Alberto ZAZZARO; Andrea PRESBITERO
  12. Accessibility and urban development: A grid-based comparative statistical analysis of dutch cities By Borzacchiello, Maria Teresa; Nijkamp, Peter; Koomen, Eric
  13. Residential Peer Effects in Higher Education: Does the Field of Study Matter? By Brunello, Giorgio; De Paola, Maria; Scoppa, Vincenzo
  14. Embourgeoisement' before affluence? Suburbanisation and the social filtering of working-class communities in interwar Britain By Peter Scott
  15. Is Inter-Firm Labor Mobility a Channel of Knowledge spillovers? Evidence from a Linked Employer-Employee Panel By Maliranta, Mika; Mohnen, Pierre; Rouvinen, Petri
  16. Labor market pooling and human capital investment decisions By Amend, Elke; Herbst, Patrick
  17. Gone for Good? Determinants of School Dropout in Southern Italy By O'Higgins, Niall; D'Amato, Marcello; Caroleo, Floro Ernesto; Barone, Adriana
  18. Is the 2007 U.S. Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different? An International Historical Comparison By Carmen M. Reinhart; Kenneth S. Rogoff
  19. On measuring the benefits of lower transport costs By Minten, Bart; Jacoby, Hanan G.
  20. Spillovers of Innovation Activities and Their Profitability By Czarnitzki, Dirk; Kraft, Kornelius
  21. What Do Economists Know About Crime? By Angela K. Dills; Jeffrey A. Miron; Garrett Summers
  22. Social influence and neighbourhood effects in the health care market. By Montefiori, Marcello; Resta, Marina

  1. By: Mühlenweg, Andrea Maria
    Abstract: This paper examines educational outcomes of pupils selected to secondary school types by different tracking regimes in a German state: Pupils are alternatively streamed after fourth grade or after sixth grade. Regression results indicate that, estimated on the mean, there are no negative effects of later tracking on educational outcomes in the middle of secondary school. Positive effects are observed for pupils with a less favorable family background. Quantile regressions reveal that the estimated effects of later tracking are positive for the lower quantiles but decrease monotonically over the conditional distribution of test scores.
    Keywords: education, segregation, immigration, school effects
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Loriana Pelizzon (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Guglielmo Weber (Department of Economics, University of Padua)
    Abstract: We address the issue of the efficiency of household portfolios in the presence of housing risk. We treat housing stock as an asset and rents as a stochastic liability stream: over the life-cycle, households can be short or long in their net housing position. Efficient financial portfolios are the sum of a standard Markowitz portfolio and a housing risk hedge term that multiplies net housing wealth. Our empirical results show that net housing plays a key role in determining which household portfolios are inefficient. The largest proportion of inefficient portfolios obtains among those with positive net housing, who should invest more in stocks.
    Keywords: Housing and portfolio choice, Portfolio efficiency, Rental risk, Life-cycle.
    JEL: D91 G11
    Date: 2007
  3. By: Zenou, Yves (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: We develop a model where information about jobs is essentially obtained through friends and relatives, i.e. strong and weak ties. Workers commute to a business center to work and to interact with other people. We find that housing prices increase with the level of social interactions in the city because information about jobs is transmitted more rapidly and, as a result, individuals are more likely to be employed and to be able to pay higher land rents. We also show that, under some condition, workers using more their weak ties than strong ties to find a job receive a higher wage. We finally demonstrate that workers living far away from jobs pay lower housing prices but experience higher unemployment rates than those living close to jobs because they mainly rely on their strong ties to obtain information about jobs.
    Keywords: social networks, labor market, weak ties, land rent
    JEL: D85 J60 R14
    Date: 2008–01
  4. By: Robert Cassen; Geeta Gandhi Kingdon
    Abstract: Tens of thousands of young people leave school with no or very few qualifications in England. This paper seeks to build a fuller picture of Key Stage 4 low achievement and its correlates than available hitherto. We focus on three aspects. Firstly, the role of students' personal characteristics, especially gender, ethnicity and past achievement, in explaining the incidence of low achievement at age 16. Secondly, we investigate the extent to which particular personal characteristics constitute direct risk factors for low achievement and the extent to which they lead to low achievement because of their correlation with unobserved school and neighborhood quality, i.e. the role of sorting into schools and neighborhoods of different quality. We suggest a method of calculating school quality (how effective a school is in helping its pupils to avoid low achievement) which is akin to the value-added concept, and examine which specific observed school characteristics predict this measure of 'school quality'. Thirdly, the paper examines the relationship between school resources - particularly per pupil expenditure - and the avoidance of low achievement, exploiting the panel nature of the National Pupil Database. Going beyond simple discrete choice models, the paper employs school fixed effects regression to reduce endogeneity problems and employs panel data at the student level to analyse school resource effects. A number of interesting findings emerge about the correlates of low achievement and of school quality, and we consider the policy implications of our findings.
    Keywords: Low achievement, school fixed effects, panel data, school resources, England
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2007–06
  5. By: Michael Davies; Jacob Gyntelberg; Eric Chan
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of government-supported housing finance agencies in Asia. We estimate the size of the government subsidies received by these agencies, and their distribution among households, financial institutions and the agencies themselves. We have three main findings. The level of government support provided to housing finance agencies in Asia varies, but is generally small relative to the economy. The housing finance agencies have transferred most of the benefit of their government support to either households or financial institutions. Agencies that participate directly in primary housing finance markets have been most successful in passing on their government support to households.
    Keywords: mortgages, Asia, housing finance agencies, government subsidies, government guarantee
    Date: 2007–12
  6. By: Peter Byrne (Department of Real Estate & Planning, University of Reading); Stephen Lee
    Abstract: Geographic diversity is a fundamental tenet in portfolio management.  Yet there is evidence from the US that institutional investors prefer to concentrate their real estate investments in favoured and specific areas as primary locations for the properties that occupy their portfolios.  The little work done in the UK draws similar conclusions, but has so far focused only on the office sector; no work has examined this issue for the retail sector.  This paper therefore examines the extent of real estate investment concentration in institutional Retail portfolios in the UK at two points in time; 1998 and 2003, and presents some comparisons with equivalent concentrations in the office sector.  The findings indicate that retail investment correlates more closely with the UK urban hierarchy than that for offices when measured against employment, and is focused on urban areas with high populations and large population densities which have larger numbers of retail units in which to invest.
    Keywords: Retail, Institutional Investment, Spatial Concentration
    Date: 2007
  7. By: Sergio Lodde
    Abstract: The paper examines the main trends of sectoral specialization and geographic concentration of the manufacturing industry in the Italian Local Labor Systems from 1981 to 2001. The main results are the following: both specialization and concentration show a tendency, although very weak, to decrease during the period under examination. Specialization decreases steadily in the Southern areas while in the Northern regions the trend slows down significantly during the nineties, presumably because Northern Local Labor Systems have been more affected by the European integration process. No such difference has been detected for concentration. Innovative industries shares are quite stable in the aggregate, however a technological convergence process can be detected among the territorial units. High tech industries tend to locate into territorial clusters and to diffuse into contiguous areas. High tech and increasing returns to scale industries are more geographically concentrated. A stable concentration degree over time is compatible with industries locational mobility across SLLs.
    Keywords: industrial specialization, technological specialization, geographic concentration, Italy
    JEL: R12 L60
    Date: 2007
  8. By: Robert J. Hill (School of Economics, The University of New South Wales); Daniel Melser (Moody’s Economy.Com)
    Abstract: Panel hedonic comparisons can be made using the region-time-dummy method. This method is a natural extension of the well known time-dummy and region-dummy methods which have been used extensively in the hedonic literature. We show that these methods are all affected by substitution bias, which can seriously distort their results. We propose an alternative approach that is free of substitution bias which builds up panel comparisons from bilateral building blocks using the hedonic imputation method. This approach is very flexible. We consider a number of variants on this method, all of which are likely to be improvements on the unconstrained region-time-dummy method. We illustrate our findings using data for 14 regions in Sydney over a six year period. We find clear evidence of bias in the region-time-dummy results as well as in simple average measures such as the median that fail to adjust for quality change. For these reasons we favor the hedonic imputations approach.
    Keywords: Hedonic regression; Quality adjustment; Housing; Price index; Substitution bias; Multilateral indexes
    JEL: C43 E31 O47 R31
    Date: 2007–11
  9. By: Renee Fry; Vance L. Martin; Chrismin Tang
    Abstract: A new class of tests of contagion is proposed which identifies transmission channels of financial market crises through changes in higher order moments of the distribution of returns such as coskewness. Applying the framework to test for contagion in real estate and equity markets following the Hong Kong crisis in 1997-1998 and the US subprime mortgage crisis in 2007 shows that the coskewness based tests of contagion detect additional channels that are not identified by the correlation based tests. Implications of contagion in pricing exchange options where there is a change in higher order comoments of returns on the underlying assets, are also investigated.
    Date: 2008–02
  10. By: Justesen , Michael
    Abstract: Risk and protective factors influence behaviors and outcomes for youth. While risk factors expose youth to risk-taking behavior that compromises well-being and hinders personal development, protective factors mediate risk and act as protective mechanisms that insulate youth from negative outcomes. This paper groups youth by risk levels using a cluster analysis methodology, and identifies the risk and protective factors that characterize these groups. Using data from a new household survey co vering youth in four urban areas of Argentina in 2005, youth are clustered by characteristics in relation to family and health, education and income, substance abuse, and crime and violence as indicators of risk and protective factors, and behaviors and consequences. Almost half of Argentine youth are at an elevated risk level, and one in four is at serious risk of experiencing negative outcomes or already suffering the consequences. The findings show, for example, that higher income protects against risk factors, such as an insecure neighborhood, and facilitates youth attending school. Furthermore, parents ' lack of education is negatively related to the behaviors and outcomes of their children.
    Keywords: Adolescent Health,Youth and Governance,Gender and Health,Population Policies,Housing & Human Habitats
    Date: 2008–01–01
  11. By: Pietro ALESSANDRINI (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia); Alberto ZAZZARO (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia); Andrea PRESBITERO ([n.a.])
    Abstract: Given the changes that occurred in the organization and specialization of Italian industrial districts and the changing geography of the banking system, in this paper is we aim at reassessing the bank-firm relationship in industrial districts. Using firm-level data on a sample of Italian SME, we examine the determinants of credit rationing and relationship lending. Firstly, we test whether firms located in industrial district area have more access to banking credit and rely more on relationship lending. Secondly, we assess if being localized in industrial clusters have heterogeneous effects due to the structure of local credit markets. Our results point out the firms operating in industrial districts are less credit rationed, while their probability of relationship lending is not significantly different from the one of the average firm. Furthermore, a higher operational proximity of banks to local economies is associated with more access to banking credit and and to a lower probability of engaging in relationship lending, while a higher functional distance of the banking system from local communities is associated with tighter financing constraints and a lower probability of relationship lending. These effects are significantly intensified for firms located inside industrial districts.
    Keywords: banche, distanza funzionale, distretti, razionamento, relationaship lending
    JEL: G21 R51 R58
    Date: 2008–01
  12. By: Borzacchiello, Maria Teresa (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics); Nijkamp, Peter; Koomen, Eric
    Abstract: Accessibility has become a key issue in modern urban planning. This paper aims to identify the impact of differences in spatial accessibility on the development of the built environment in cities. Using a few simple accessibility indicators, it tries to map out in a quantitative way the detailed implications of accessibility conditions for built-up areas, on the basis of a 25x25m grid cell approach. The statistical tools used are discriminant analysis and logistic regression, followed by a GIS representation of the empirical results for four Dutch cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.
    Date: 2007
  13. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova); De Paola, Maria (University of Calabria); Scoppa, Vincenzo (University of Calabria)
    Abstract: Economists have a poor understanding of the mechanisms underlying reduced-form college peer effects. In this paper we explore a candidate mechanism, the provision of school effort. We show that, when earnings reflect individual educational performance as well as the field of study selected at college, and individual effort is a function of expected earnings, the size of the peer effect varies by field. Using data from a middle-sized public university located in Southern Italy and exploiting the random assignment of first year students to college accommodation, we find evidence that peer effects are positive and statistically significant for students enrolled in the fields of Engineering, Maths and Natural Sciences – which are expected to generate higher earnings after college – and not different from zero for students enrolled in the Humanities, Social and Life Sciences, which give access to lower payoffs. An implication of our model is that shocks affecting college wage premia may alter the size of peer effects.
    Keywords: optimal effort, fields of study, Italy, random assignment, peer effects
    JEL: I21 Z13 J24
    Date: 2008–01
  14. By: Peter Scott (Centre for International Business History, University of Reading)
    Date: 2007
  15. By: Maliranta, Mika (The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy); Mohnen, Pierre (UNU-MERIT); Rouvinen, Petri (The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy)
    Abstract: An employer-employee panel is used to study whether the movement of workers across firms is a channel of unintended diffusion of R&D-generated knowledge. Somewhat surprisingly, hiring workers from others' R&D labs to one's own does not seem to be a significant spillover channel. Hiring workers previously in R&D to one's non-R&D activities, however, boosts both productivity and profitability. This is interpreted as evidence that these workers transmit knowledge that can be readily copied and implemented without much additional R&D effort.
    Keywords: Labor Mobility, R&D Spillovers, Profitability, Linked Employer-Employee Data
    JEL: D62 J24 J62 L25 O31
    Date: 2008
  16. By: Amend, Elke (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Herbst, Patrick
    Abstract: "Of the typically cited agglomeration advantages labor market pooling receives strong empirical support - yet remains under-explored theoretically. This paper presents a model of human capital formation in an imperfectly competitive, pooled local labor market with heterogeneous workers and firms. Firms produce for a competitive output market with differing technologies, thus requiring diverse skills. In anticipation of firm behavior, workers choose between specializing into specific skills and accumulating general human capital. While labor market pooling provides static effciency gains, our approach also suggests that there are long-term effects: under a diversified industrial structure, industry-specific shocks lead to a labor market pooling advantage which raises the incentive for workers to acquire both general and specific human capital. This will not only strengthen a region's capability to adapt to change but will also contribute to higher growth." (author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    JEL: I20 J24 J41
    Date: 2008–01–29
  17. By: O'Higgins, Niall (University of Salerno); D'Amato, Marcello (University of Salerno); Caroleo, Floro Ernesto (University of Naples, Parthenope); Barone, Adriana (University of Salerno)
    Abstract: The aim of the present paper is to gain some insight into the causes of dropping out of school and, more generally, of the factors that induce parents to review their choices about their child’s schooling careers. To this end we apply to data from a school dropout survey insights from a model of sequential decision making by parents, where the initial decision can be reviewed in the light of new information emerging about the ability and opportunities of the child in benefitting from education relative to her outside (in the unskilled market). Analysis of the data confirms the role of both economic capacity (opportunity costs) and cultural capacity (ability to disentangle signals about future opportunities) of the family of origin shape observed choices about drop-out and return to school by individuals in our sample. Dropping out behaviour also appears to be strongly influenced by mismatches between school and student, however, and many of those who leave are not “gone for good”.
    Keywords: human capital, school dropout, young people
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2008–01
  18. By: Carmen M. Reinhart; Kenneth S. Rogoff
    Abstract: Is the 2007-2008 U.S. sub-prime mortgage financial crisis truly a new and different phenomena? Our examination of the longer historical record finds stunning qualitative and quantitative parallels to 18 earlier post-war banking crises in industrialized countries. Specifically, the run-up in U.S. equity and housing prices (which, for countries experiencing large capital inflows, stands out as the best leading indicator in the financial crisis literature) closely tracks the average of the earlier crises. Another important parallel is the inverted v-shape curve for output growth the U.S. experienced as its economy slowed in the eve of the crisis. Among other indicators, the run-up in U.S. public debt and is actually somewhat below the average of other episodes, and its pre-crisis inflation level is also lower. On the other hand, the United States current account deficit trajectory is worse than average. A critical question is whether the U.S. crisis will prove similar to the most severe industrialized-country crises, in which case growth may fall significantly below trend for an extended period. Or will it prove like one of the milder episodes, where the recovery is relatively fast? Much will depend on how large the shock to the financial system proves to be and, to a lesser extent, on the efficacy of the subsequent policy response.
    JEL: E44 F30 N20
    Date: 2008–01
  19. By: Minten, Bart; Jacoby, Hanan G.
    Abstract: Despite large amounts invested in rural roads in developing countries, little is known about their benefits. This paper derives an expression for the willingness-to-pay for a reduction in transport costs from the canonical agricultural household model and uses it to estimate the benefits of a hypothetical road project. Estimation is based on novel cross-sectional data collected in a small region of Madagascar with enormous, yet plausibly exogenous, variation in transport cost. A road that essentially eliminated transport costs in the study area would boost the incomes of the remotest households-those facing transport costs of about USD 75/ton-by nearly half, mostly by raising non-farm earnings. This benefit estimate is contrasted to one based on a hedonic approach.
    Keywords: Transport Economics Policy & Planning,Rural Roads & Transport,Economic Theory & Research,Rural Transport,
    Date: 2008–01–01
  20. By: Czarnitzki, Dirk; Kraft, Kornelius
    Abstract: Knowledge spillovers to competitors are regarded as an important aspect of the innovation process. While a company possibly benefits from incoming information on successful R&D conducted by other companies, a generally high probability of leakage of knowledge in an industry will negatively affect profitability. This paper presents the results of an empirical study on the effects of outgoing and incoming spillovers on firms’ profitability. It turns out that the expected asymmetry is actually at work. In contrast to spillovers from competitors, spillovers from suppliers, customers and research institutions exert no effect.
    Keywords: Innovation, Spillover, Profitability
    JEL: L12 O31 O32
    Date: 2007
  21. By: Angela K. Dills; Jeffrey A. Miron; Garrett Summers
    Abstract: In this paper we evaluate what economists have learned over the past 40 years about the determinants of crime. We base our evaluation on two kinds of evidence: an examination of aggregate data over long time periods and across countries, and a critical review of the literature. We argue that economists know little about the empirically relevant determinants of crime. Even hypotheses that find some support in U.S. data for recent decades are inconsistent with data over longer horizons or across countries. This conclusion applies both to policy variables like arrest rates or capital punishment and to less conventional factors such as abortion or gun laws. The hypothesis that drug prohibition generates violence, however, is generally consistent with the long times-series and cross-country facts. This analysis is also consistent with a broader perspective in which government policies that affect the nature and amount of dispute resolution play an important role in determining violence.
    JEL: K0
    Date: 2008–01
  22. By: Montefiori, Marcello; Resta, Marina
    Abstract: This work is intended to analyze the market for health care through a computational approach based on unsupervised neural networks. The paper provides a theoretical framework for a computational model that relies on Kohonen's self organizing maps (SOM), arranged into two layers: in the upper layer the competition dynamics of health care providers is modelled, whereas in the lower level patients behaviour is monitored. Interactions take place both vertically between the layers (in a bi–directional way), and horizontally, inside each level, exploiting neighbourhood features of SOM: signals move vertically from hospitals to patients and vice-versa, but they also spread out sideward, from patient to patient, and from hospital to hospital. The result is a new approach addressing the issue of hospital behaviour and demand mechanism modelling, which conjugates a robust theoretical implementation together with an instrument of deep graphical impact.
    Keywords: self organizing maps; health market; adaptive behaviour; incomplete information; mixed market
    JEL: I18 C60
    Date: 2008–01

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