nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2008‒08‒06
twenty-one papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. The loan structure and housing tenure decisions in an equilibrium model of mortgage choice By Matthew Chambers; Carlos Garriga; Don Schlagenhauf
  2. Housing Wealth Isn't Wealth By Willem H. Buiter
  3. Land use, congestion and urban management By Alberto Majocchi; Andrea Zatti
  4. The U.S. foreclosure crisis: a two-pronged assault on the U.S. economy By Tatom, John
  5. Redeveloping Derelict and Underused Historic City Areas: Evidence from a Survey of Real Estate Developers By Paolo Rosato; Anna Alberini; Valentina Zanatta; Margaretha Breil
  6. Promotion with and without Learning: Effects on Student Enrollment and Dropout Behavior By King, Elizabeth M; Orazem, Peter; Paterno, Elizabeth M
  7. Geographical Distribution of Crime in Italian Provinces: A Spatial Econometric Analysis By Teodora Erika Uberti; Maria Francesca Cracolici
  8. Human capital and economic activity in urban America By Jaison R. Abel; Todd M. Gabe
  9. Effects of Tourism Upon the Economy of Small and Medium-Sized European Cities. Cultural Tourists and “The Others” By Elena Bellini; Barbara Del Corpo; Ugo Gasparino; William Malizia
  10. Regional Price Differences in Urban China 1986-2001: Estimation and Implication By Gong, Cathy Honge; Meng, Xin
  11. Opportunity and Choice in Social Networks By Paolo Pin; Silvio Franz; Matteo Marsili
  12. The IDE geographical simulation model : predicting long-term effects of infrastructure development projects By Kumagai, Satoru; Gokan, Toshitaka; Isono, Ikumo; Souknilanh, Keola
  13. Real Effects of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis: Is it a Demand or a Finance Shock? By Hui Tong; Shang-Jin Wei
  14. Language Diversity in Urban Landscapes: An econometric study By Paulo A.L.D. Nunes; Laura Onofri; Jasone Cenoz; Durk Gorter
  15. The Economic Growth Impact of Hurricanes: Evidence from US Coastal Counties By Strobl, Eric
  16. Measuring the Impact of Tourism Upon Urban Economies: A Review of Literature By Ugo Gasparino; Elena Bellini; Barbara Del Corpo; William Malizia
  17. Is it a Jungle Out There?: Meat Packing, Immigrants and Rural Communities By Artz, Georgeanne M; Jackson, Rebecca; Orazem, Peter
  18. Anonymous Price Taking Equilibrium in Tiebout Economies with a Continuum of Agents; Existence and Characterization By Nizar Allouch; John P. Conley; Myrna Wooders
  19. Economies of Density and Productivity in Service Industries: An Analysis of Personal-Service Industries Based on Establishment-Level Data By MORIKAWA Masayuki
  20. Zipf’s and Gibrat’s laws for migrations By Clemente, Jesús; González-Val, Rafael; Olloqui, Irene
  21. Small Town Grocers in Iowa: What does the future hold? By O'Brien, Meghan

  1. By: Matthew Chambers; Carlos Garriga; Don Schlagenhauf
    Abstract: The past decade has brought substantial innovations in the structure of mortgage loans. The objective of this paper is to understand how loan structure (terms of repayment and amortization schedule) affects (i) the borrower's selection of a mortgage contract and (ii) the aggregate economy. We develop a quantitative equilibrium theory of mortgage choice where housing plays the dual role of a consumption and a risky investment good. Households can choose from a menu of long-term mortgage loans that differ in structure. We show that our model accounts for observed patterns in housing consumption, ownership, and asset portfolio allocations. Our model predicts that the loan structure is a quantitatively significant factor in a household's housing finance decision. The model suggests that the mortgage structure preferred by a household is dependent on age and income dependent and that loan products with low initial payments offer an alternative to mortgages with no downpayment. At the macroeconomic level, the model suggests a connection between the loan structure, ownership, and rental markets. In addition, we and evidence that the volume of housing transactions increases when payments increase over time and households have little housing equity. In contrast, we show that loans that allow for a rapid accumulation of home equity can still have positive participation effects without increasing the volatility of housing transactions.
    Keywords: Mortgage loans
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Willem H. Buiter
    Abstract: A fall in house prices due to a change in fundamental value redistributes wealth from those long housing (for whom the fundamental value of the house they own exceeds the present discounted value of their planned future consumption of housing services) to those short housing. In a representative agent model and in the Yaari-Blanchard OLG model used in the paper, there is no pure wealth effect on consumption from a change in house prices if this represents a change in fundamental value. There is a pure wealth effect on consumption from a change in house prices if this reflects a change in the speculative bubble component of house prices. Two other channels through which house prices can affect aggregate consumption are (1) redistribution effects if the marginal propensity to spend out of wealth differs between those long housing and those short housing and (2) collateral or credit effects due to the collateralisability of housing wealth and the non-collateralisability of human wealth. A decline in house prices reduces the scope for mortgage equity withdrawal. For given sequences of future after-tax labour income and interest rates, this may depress consumption in the short run while boosting it in the long run.
    JEL: E2 E21 E22 E3 E32 E37 G1
    Date: 2008–07
  3. By: Alberto Majocchi (ISAE - Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses and University of Pavia); Andrea Zatti (ISAE - University of Pavia)
    Abstract: In this paper we discuss the role that different instruments of pricing policy could play in promoting an efficient use of land, that is becoming a more and more scarce good through time. The main area where pricing instruments should be employed is the transport sector, particularly in urban areas. A growing experience has been accumulated during the last years and pricing for the use of roads, either through parking fees or through electronic road pricing, has been experimented in many countries with results that seem encouraging. One important conclusion that emerges from our analysis is that, notwithstanding these positive results, pricing policy for the use of roads is a necessary condition for getting efficient results, but by itself is not sufficient. Equally important is the need to integrate pricing mechanisms within land use planning, but both theory and practice are lacking on a wide range of issues related to the land use impacts of road pricing.
    Keywords: Traffic, congestion, management in Italian urban areas
    JEL: R41 R52 H23
    Date: 2008–07
  4. By: Tatom, John
    Abstract: The U.S. mortgage loan foreclosure crisis has been called “the worst financial crisis since the great depression.” There are two distinct channels of influence of the subprime problem. The first is the rise in foreclosures that affects homeowners and the real estate industry most directly. The second channel is financial, flowing from the effects on lenders’ financial viability and on financial markets. The timing of developments in these two channels will determine how fast markets work through these problems and restore stability and growth to the nation’s housing and financial markets. The problem is rooted in the housing market, and this market is likely to be very slow to adjust. It takes time for good mortgages to go bad and to then move through to the end of the foreclosure process. While financial markets work much more quickly, they will be held hostage to the unfolding effects of the foreclosures in the housing markets and among lenders. Mortgage loan related losses will continue along with foreclosures over the next year or so and these losses will plague firms even if they have already taken adequate write-downs on their asset values. Complicating the picture is the response of the Federal Reserve, which has reacted chaotically by creating new lending programs that have transformed its credit supply from government securities to private financial institutions, and in the process, violated the first rule of central banking to lend liberally in a liquidity crisis. This failure, compounded by providing a backstop to questionable securities, has slowed market adjustment and risks lengthening and deepening the financial crisis. This paper reviews the emergence of the foreclosure crisis and its real impacts in the economy, the financial market effects of the surge in mortgage foreclosures, the monetary policy response to the problem, and provides an assessment of the outlook for the crisis.
    Keywords: Mortgage foreclosure; credit crunch; credit channel; subprime lending
    JEL: E50 E44 G21
    Date: 2008–07–31
  5. By: Paolo Rosato (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Anna Alberini (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Valentina Zanatta (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Margaretha Breil (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
    Abstract: Infill redevelopment—the transformation of previously used urban sites—is generally regarded as an important way to attain environmental and urban sustainability goals. At many locales, however, such urban renewal, community development, and tax revenue goals must be reconciled with historic preservation objectives. Are economic incentives and regulatory relief useful tools for encouraging reuse of abandoned or underutilized urban sites with historic buildings? Answering this question is of key importance for many European cities and for older US cities, and has important implications in terms of urban sustainability and “smart growth” initiatives. We use conjoint choice experiments to explore the relative importance of economic incentives, regulatory relief, land use and property regime offerings at underutilized historical sites in Venice, Italy. We survey real estate developers and investors, and ask them to choose between pairs of hypothetical projects in three Venice locations, as well as between one of these projects and the alternative to do a development project elsewhere. Statistical models of the responses to these choice questions indicate that respondents are sensitive to the price of acquiring the land (and hence to any policies that influence prices), and especially sensitive to the property regime that would be granted to developers and investors and to the allowable land use. Contrary to expectations, our respondents were insensitive to tightening or relaxing the stringency of building conservation restrictions. Our findings sound a common theme with Howland (2004), who warns that redevelopment of previously used sites in Baltimore is impaired by obsolete land uses, zoning and infrastructure (but not by suspected or actual contamination). We conclude that the City should focus on offering land uses and property regimes that are more in tune with developer demand.
    Keywords: Conjoint Choice Experiments, Real Estate Developers, Building Conservation Restrictions, Redevelopment Incentives, Brownfields, Infill Redevelopment
    JEL: Z1 R52
    Date: 2008–07
  6. By: King, Elizabeth M; Orazem, Peter; Paterno, Elizabeth M
    Abstract: Many educators and policymakers have argued for lenient grade promotion policy – even automatic promotion – in developing country settings where grade retention rates are high. The argument assumes that grade retention discourages persistence or continuation in school and that the promotion of children with lower achievement does not hamper their ability or their peer’s ability to perform at the next level. Alternatively, promoting students into grades for which they are not prepared may lead to early dropout behavior. This study shows that in a sample of schools from the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, students are promoted primarily on the basis of merit. An econometric decomposition of promotion decisions into a component that is based on merit indicators (attendance and achievement in mathematics and language) and another that is uncorrelated with those indicators allow a test of whether parental decisions to keep their child in school is influenced by merit-based or non-merit-based promotions. Results suggest that the enrollment decision is significantly influenced by whether learning has taken place, and that grade promotion that is uncorrelated with merit has a negligible impact on school continuation.
    Keywords: Grade repetition, grade retention, grade promotion, enrollment, achievement, dropout, Pakistan
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2008–07–30
  7. By: Teodora Erika Uberti (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Maria Francesca Cracolici (Catholic University of Milano)
    Abstract: For a long time social sciences scholars from different fields have devoted their attention to identifying the causes leading to commit criminal offences and recently lots of studies have included the analysis of spatial effects. Respect to the Italian crime phenomenon some stylized facts exist: high spatial and time variability and presence of “organised crime” (e.g. Mafia and Camorra) deep-seated in some local territorial areas. Using explanatory spatial data analysis, the paper firstly explores the spatial structure and distribution of four different typologies of crimes (murders, thefts, frauds, and squeezes) in Italian provinces in two years, 1999 and 2003. ESDA allows us to detect some important geographical dimensions and to distinguish crucial macro- and micro- territorial aspects of offences. Further, on the basis of Becker-Ehrlich model, a spatial cross-sectional model including deterrence, economic and socio-demographic variables has been performed to investigate the determinants of Italian crime for 1999 and 2003 and its “neighbouring” effects, measured in terms of geographical and relational proximity. The empirical results obtained by using different spatial weights matrices highlighted that socioeconomic variables have a relevant impact on crime activities, but their role changes enormously respect to crimes against person (murders) or against property (thefts, frauds and squeezes). It is worthy to notice that severity does not show the expected sign: its significant and positive sign should suggest that inflicting more severe punishments does not always constitute a deterrence to commit crime, but it works on the opposite direction.
    Keywords: Crime, Spatial Econometrics
    JEL: C21 K42
    Date: 2008–02
  8. By: Jaison R. Abel; Todd M. Gabe
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between human capital and economic activity in U.S. metropolitan areas, extending the existing literature in two important ways. First, we utilize new data on metropolitan-area GDP to measure economic activity. Using educational attainment as an indicator of human capital, we find that a one-percentage-point increase in the proportion of residents with a college degree is associated with a 2.3 percent increase in metropolitan-area GDP per capita. Second, we move beyond the conventional proxy for human capital (educational attainment) to develop new measures that reflect the types of knowledge within U.S. metropolitan areas. Results show that knowledge associated with the provision of producer services and information technology are particularly important determinants of economic vitality in U.S. metropolitan areas.
    Keywords: Human capital ; Metropolitan areas - Statistics ; Gross domestic product ; Education - Economic aspects
    Date: 2008
  9. By: Elena Bellini (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Barbara Del Corpo (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Ugo Gasparino (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); William Malizia (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
    Abstract: The paper presents the results of the application of an Input-Output-based approach for the estimation of direct, indirect and induced effects of tourist spending on local economies, in a static partial equilibrium setting. The methodology has been successfully applied in three case studies – Bergen (Norway), Elche (Spain), Syracuse (Italy) –, in the framework of the 6th FP project PICTURE (Pro-active management of the Impact of Cultural Tourism upon Urban Resources and Economies), in order to quantify the monetary impact of cultural tourism upon urban economies. The analysis was carried out in two major steps: firstly, interviews to tourists in each case study city, in order to estimate the scale and variability of the spending patterns of different profiles of visitors (e.g., culture-driven vs. leisure tourists); secondly, application of the Input-Output model of the economy of concern (eventually re-scaling the matrix at the Region or County level) to quantify the effects of tourist expenditure on sales, income and employment for the several impacted economic sectors. Tourists driven by cultural interest are often assumed, in literature, to have a higher than average income and to spend more on holiday. The paper reports the main findings of the analysis, discussing them against the “cultural tourist” stereotype. The analysis aims at assisting local decision makers in identifying the value of different tourist typologies to their region, in understanding how different sectors of local economy and society can benefit from tourism and in determining how to maximise, or more equally redistribute, the positive impact.
    Keywords: Tourism, Cultural Tourism, Economic Impacts, Input-Output Analysis
    JEL: C67 R15 L83 D12
    Date: 2008–05
  10. By: Gong, Cathy Honge (Australian National University); Meng, Xin (Australian National University)
    Abstract: Despite the intensive efforts made by economists to examine regional income inequality in China, limited attention has been paid to disentangle the contribution of regional price differentials. This paper examines regional price differential in urban China over the period 1986 to 2001. Spatial Price Index (SPI) is normally calculated using the Basket Cost Method, which defines a national basket and measures price variation of this common basket across different regions. The weakness of this method is that it arbitrarily assumes consumers’ preferences and has a strong reliance on good regional level price data, which are often not available. This paper adopts the Engel’s curve approach to estimate a Spatial Price Index for different provinces. The SPI obtained from the Engel’s curve approach indicates larger regional price variations than those obtained from the Basket Cost method. Further, regional price variations in urban China increased significantly during the late 1980s to early 1990s, stabilized at a relatively high level during the mid to end 1990s. Adjusting for the regional price variations our finding suggests that regional income inequality increased the most between the late 1980s and early 1990s, and stabilized in the mid 1990s, which contradicts previous findings using unadjusted income.
    Keywords: spatial price index, Engel’s curve, income inequality, China
    JEL: C43 E31 P36 D12
    Date: 2008–07
  11. By: Paolo Pin (Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia); Silvio Franz (Universite Paris-Sud 11); Matteo Marsili (The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics)
    Abstract: Our societies are heterogeneous in many dimensions such as census, education, religion, ethnic and cultural composition. The links between individuals - e.g. by friendship, marriage or collaboration - are not evenly distributed, but rather tend to be concentrated within the same group. This phenomenon, called imbreeding homophily, has been related to either (social) preference for links with own--type individuals ( choice-based homophily) or to the prevalence of individuals of her same type in the choice set of an individual ( opportunity-based homophily). We propose an indicator to distinguish between these effects for minority groups. This is based on the observation that, in environments with unbiased opportunities, as the relative size of the minority gets small, individuals of the minority rarely meet and have the chance to establish links together. Therefore the effect of choice--based homophily gets weaker and weaker as the size of the minority shrinks. We test this idea across the dimensions of race and education on data on US marriages, and across race on friendships in US schools, and find that: for what concerns education i) opportunity--based homophily is much stronger than choice--based homophily and ii) they are both remarkably stationary in time; concerning race iii) school friendships do not exhibit opportunity-based homophily, while marriages do, iv) choice-based homophily is much stronger for marriages than for friendships and v) these effects vary widely across race.
    Keywords: Social Networks, Choice-Based and Opportunity-Based Homophily
    JEL: D85 J11 J12
    Date: 2008–03
  12. By: Kumagai, Satoru; Gokan, Toshitaka; Isono, Ikumo; Souknilanh, Keola
    Abstract: It is important to be able to predict changes in the location of populations and industries in regions that are in the process of economic integration. The IDE Geographical Simulation Model (IDE-GSM) has been developed with two major objectives: (1) to determine the dynamics of locations of populations and industries in East Asia in the long-term, and (2) to analyze the impact of specific infrastructure projects on the regional economy at sub-national levels. The basic structure of the IDE-GSM is introduced in this article and accompanied with results of test analyses on the effects of the East West Economic Corridor on regions in Continental South East Asia. Results indicate that border costs appear to play a big role in the location choice of populations and industries, often a more important role than physical infrastructures themselves.
    Keywords: Southeast Asia, East Asia, Economic geography, International economic integration, Geographical Simulation Model, Spatial economics
    JEL: D59 F29 O53 R49
    Date: 2008–06
  13. By: Hui Tong; Shang-Jin Wei
    Abstract: We develop a methodology to study how the subprime crisis spills over to the real economy. Does it manifest itself primarily through reducing consumer demand or through tightening liquidity constraint on non-financial firms? Since most non-financial firms have much larger cash holding than before, they appear unlikely to face significant liquidity constraint. We propose a methodology to estimate these two channels of spillovers. We first propose an index of a firm's sensitivity to consumer demand, based on its response to the 9/11 shock in 2001. We then construct a separate firm-level index on financial constraint based on Whited and Wu (2006). We find that both channels are at work, but a tightened liquidity squeeze is economically more important than a reduced consumer spending in explaining cross firm differences in stock price declines.
    Keywords: Working Paper , United States ,
    Date: 2008–07–25
  14. By: Paulo A.L.D. Nunes (University of Venice Ca’ Foscari); Laura Onofri (University of Venice Ca’ Foscari and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Jasone Cenoz (University of the Basque Country); Durk Gorter (Ikerbasque-University of the Basque Country)
    Abstract: This multidisciplinary study adopts econometric analysis for investigating how different characteristics determine the choice of the language used in the signs of a shopping street. We work with a dataset containing about 200 observations collected in the main shopping streets of the cities of Donostia (Spain) and Ljouwert (The Netherlands). The results corroborate the important assumption that multilingualism and the choice of the language (even in a street sign) is an individual and a social preference. Therefore, understanding individuals’ linguistic preference structures is preliminary to the target and design of proper linguistic and social policies.
    Keywords: Linguistic Diversity, Street Sign, Probit Model, Linguistic Landscape
    JEL: C01 R20 Z13
    Date: 2008–04
  15. By: Strobl, Eric (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)
    Abstract: We estimate the impact of hurricane strikes on local economic growth rates and how this is reflected in more aggregate growth patterns. To this end we assemble a panel data set of US coastal counties’ growth rates and construct a hurricane destruction index that is based on a monetary loss equation, local wind speed estimates derived from a physical wind field model, and local exposure characteristics. Our econometric results suggest that in response to a hurricane strike a county’s annual economic growth rate will initially fall by 0.8, but then partially recover by 0.2 percentage points. While the pattern is qualitatively similar at the state level, the net effect over the long term is negligible. Hurricane strikes do not appear to be economically important enough to be reflected in national economic growth rates.
    Keywords: US coastal counties, economic growth, hurricanes
    JEL: E0
    Date: 2008–07
  16. By: Ugo Gasparino (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Elena Bellini (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Barbara Del Corpo (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); William Malizia (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
    Abstract: Tourism is increasingly seen as a potential lever towards high economic growth, measured both in terms of income and employment. In recent years, interest in tourism has spread rapidly throughout many small and medium European cities, which previously have not considered themselves as tourist destinations. This paper reviews and summarises the existing literature on the economic assessment of tourism with the objectives of, firstly, identifying the main categories of impacts and, secondly, constructing an inventory of methodologies available to assess them. We will progress step by step, starting from the most simplistic approaches and relaxing assumptions as we proceed. Firstly, we assume a static setting, with spare capacity. In such a setting (partial equilibrium), prices do not respond to demand shocks: only quantities (production, income and jobs) adjust. Secondly, we relax this assumption and assume that there is no spare capacity: prices respond to increasing demand (general equilibrium), leading to reallocation of resources across sectors. We then move from a static to a dynamic setting and survey those contributions that look at the relationship between tourism specialisation and long-run growth.
    Keywords: Tourism, Economic Impacts, Input-Output Analysis, General and Partial Equilibrium Analaysis
    JEL: B41 C67 C68 L83
    Date: 2008–06
  17. By: Artz, Georgeanne M; Jackson, Rebecca; Orazem, Peter
    Abstract: Over the past 35 years, meatpacking plants have moved from urban to rural areas. These plants can represent a significant share of a rural community’s employment. As a traditional employer of immigrants, these plants can also alter significantly the demographic composition of a rural community. These changes have led to numerous controversies regarding whether meatpacking plants impose social or economic costs on their host communities. This study uses comments culled from various media to identify where there exist sharp differences of opinion on how local meatpacking presence affects local language problems, social service expenses, special needs schooling and the mix of foreign- and native-born citizens. These opinions are used to formulate testable hypotheses regarding the true impact of local packing plants on these indicators. The study shows that while meatpacking has had some large impacts on the demographic composition of rural communities, the industry has not imposed large costs in the form of increased provision of social services or special needs schooling.
    Keywords: meatpacking,immigration, ESL,welfare,public expense,social cost,rural
    JEL: N3
    Date: 2008–07–23
  18. By: Nizar Allouch (Department of Economics, Queen Mary, University of London); John P. Conley (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University); Myrna Wooders (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: We introduce a model of a local public goods economy with a continuum of agents and jurisdictions with finite, but unbounded populations, where the set of possible projects for each jurisdiction/club is unrestricted in size. Under boundedness of per capita payoffs, which simply ensures that equal treatment payoffs are bounded above, we apply results of Kaneko and Wooders (1986) to obtain nonemptiness of the core of the economy. We then demonstrate, under the stronger condition of strict small group effectiveness, that the equal treatment core coincides with the set of price-taking equilibrium outcomes with anonymous prices -- that is, prices for public goods depend only on observable characteristics of agents. Existence of equilibrium follows from nonemptiness of the core and equivalence of the core to the set of equilibrium outcomes. Our approach provides a new technique for showing existence of equilibrium in economies with a continuum of agents.
    Keywords: Tiebout, jurisdictions, f-core, core-equilibrium equivalence, Edgeworth equivalence, continuum economies, crowding types, core, equal treatment core, large games
    JEL: C7 D5 H4
    Date: 2008–06
  19. By: MORIKAWA Masayuki
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the basic facts of service industry productivity, such as economies of scale, economies of scope, and economies of density in Japan. Specifically, by using establishment-level data on personal-service industries in which the simultaneity of production and consumption is especially prominent, the paper estimates production functions both for value-added and physical output measures. Key findings from the analysis are as follows: 1. In almost all the examined service industries, economies of scale in terms of establishment size and firm size, and economies of scope are found. 2. In almost all the examined service industries, significant economies of population density are observed, with productivity increases of 10%-20% when municipality population density doubles. The sizes of these coefficients are substantially larger than those observed in manufacturing industries for which sales destinations are far less restricted geographically; demonstrating demand density's importance to the productivity of service industries. 3. The above findings are confirmed by estimation using measures of physical output instead of the amount of value added. These findings suggest the possibility that consolidation and expansion at an establishment level, as well as multi-store and chain store operations at a firm level, may help improve the productivity of personal-service industries. Formation of population-dense areas is also suggested, as this would have a positive effect on productivity.
    Date: 2008–07
  20. By: Clemente, Jesús; González-Val, Rafael; Olloqui, Irene
    Abstract: This paper analyses the evolution of the size distribution of the stock of emigrants in the period 1960-2000. Has the distribution of the stock of emigrants changed or has there been some convergence? This is the question discussed in this work. In particular, we are interested in testing the fulfillment of two empirical regularities studied in urban economics: Zipf’s law, which postulates that the product between the rank and size of a population is constant; and Gibrat’s law, witch states that growth rate of a variable is independent of its initial size. We use parametric and non-parametric methods and apply them to absolute (stock of emigrants) and relative (migration density, defined as the quotient between the stock of emigrants of a country and its total population)measurements.
    Keywords: Migration distribution; Zipf´s law; Gibrat´s law
    JEL: J61 R12 R11
    Date: 2008–07–12
  21. By: O'Brien, Meghan
    Abstract: This publication is intended for communities struggling with declining retail and the loss of a grocery store. Across the state, small communities are losing their grocery stores at a rapid rate. Economic conditions force some stores to shut down and still others try to find potential buyers but are eventually forced to close as well. Small grocers face myriad pressures that make their existence and future tenuous. Small town residents fear the closing of the local grocery store for economic reasons as well as quality of life issues. This report looks at the factors influencing the viability of grocery stores as well as the impacts on communities and residents when the store is lost. Data and analysis are presented as well as suggestions for communities trying to maintain a grocery store as well as means of coping for towns that have already lost their local grocery.
    Keywords: rural small town grocery store cooperatives
    JEL: Z0
    Date: 2008–08–01

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