nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2009‒06‒17
thirty-one papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. A Life-Cycle Analysis of Social Security with Housing By Chen, Kaiji
  2. What makes cities bigger and richer? Evidence from 1990-2000 in the US By González-Val, Rafael
  3. The Empirics of New Economic Geography By Stephen J. Redding
  4. The (Mythical?) Housing Wealth Effect By Charles Calomiris; Stanley D. Longhofer; William Miles
  5. Costs of Housing Crises: International Evidence By Christian Aßmann; Jens Hogrefe; Nils Jannsen
  6. "Housing Inequality in the United States A Decomposition Analysis of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Homeownership" By Sanjaya DeSilva; Yuval Elmelech
  7. Large reservoirs: are they the last Oasis for the survival of cities in India? By Mukherjee, Sacchidananda; Shah, Zankhana; Kumar, M. Dinesh
  8. Empirics of Strategic Interdependence: The Case of the Racial Tipping Point By William Easterly
  10. The Spatial Evolution of Innovation Networks: A Proximity Perspective By Ron Boschma; Koen Frenken
  11. Hot and Cold Seasons in the Housing Market By L. Rachel Ngai; Silvana Tenreyro
  12. Spatial Localization in Manufacturing: A Cross-Country Analysis By Stefania Vitali; Mauro Napoletano; Giorgio Fagiolo
  13. Infrastructure and growth in the European Union: an empirical analysis at the regional level in a spatial framework By Chiara DEL BO; Massimo FLORIO
  14. Fiscal behaviour in the European Union: rules, fiscal decentralization and government indebtedness. By Ingo Fender; Martin Scheicher
  15. "Pricing Canadian Airports" By Joseph I Daniel
  16. Euro area private consumption: Is there a role for housing wealth effects? By Frauke Skudelny
  17. Reducing Foreclosures: No Easy Answers By Christopher Foote; Kristopher Gerardi; Lorenz Goette; Paul Willen
  18. China's Land Market Auctions: Evidence of Corruption By Hongbin Cai; J. Vernon Henderson; Qinghua Zhang
  19. Burnout from pools to loans: Modeling refinancing prepayments as a self-selection process By Gan, Jumwu
  20. A multilevel analysis on the economic impact of public infrastructure and corruption on Italian regions By Torrisi, Gianpiero
  22. A missing spatial link in institutional quality By Peter Claeys; Fabio Manca
  23. Aggregate and regional economic eects of new railway infrastructure By Wolfgang Polasek; Wolfgang Schwarzbauer; Richard Sellner
  24. Instrumental Variable Quantile Estimation of Spatial Autoregressive Models By Zhenlin Yang; Liangjun Su
  25. How Do Shocks to Non-Cognitive Skills Affect Test Scores? By Stefanie Behncke
  26. Should Students Be Allowed to Miss? By Paredes, Ricardo; Ugarte, Gabriel
  27. Human Capital Composition and Economic Growth at a Regional Level. By Fabio Manca
  28. Measuring Discrimination in Education By Rema Hanna; Leigh Linden
  29. The Credit Rating Crisis By Efraim Benmelech; Jennifer Dlugosz
  30. "Land Policy: Founding Choices and Outcomes, 1781-1802" By Farley Grubb
  31. Geographic Decomposition of Inequality in Health and Wealth: Evidence from Cambodia By Tomoki Fujii

  1. By: Chen, Kaiji
    Abstract: This paper incorporates two features of housing in a life-cycle analysis of social security: housing as a durable good and housing market frictions. We find that with housing as a durable good unfunded social security substantially crowds out housing consumption throughout the life cycle. By contrast, aggregate non-durable consumption is higher when social security is present, although it is postponed until late in life. Moreover, in the presence of housing market frictions, social security lowers the aggregate home ownership rate and reduces the average size of owner-occupied housing. The effects of social security on housing position, furthermore, exhibit substantial heterogeneity across households of different income levels.
    Keywords: Durable Goods; Housing Market Frictions; Housing Tenure Choice; Social Security
    JEL: E62 H55 E21
    Date: 2009–05
  2. By: González-Val, Rafael
    Abstract: This paper analyses the determinants of growth of American cities, understood as growth of the population or per capita income, from 1990 to 2000. This empirical analysis uses data from all cities with no size restriction (our sample contains data for 21,655 cities). The results show that while population growth in cities appears to be independent of initial size, the growth of city per capita income is negatively correlated to initial per capita income: the richest cities grew less in this period. To try to explain these differentiated behaviors, we examine the relationship between urban characteristics in 1990 and city growth (both in population and in per capita income) using a Multinomial Logit Model. The geographical situation of cities seems to play a key role in their growth.
    Keywords: City growth; Multinomial logit
    JEL: R00 R12 R11
    Date: 2009–06–09
  3. By: Stephen J. Redding
    Abstract: Although a rich and extensive body of theoretical research on new economic geography hasemerged, empirical research remains comparatively less well developed. This paper reviewsthe existing empirical literature on the predictions of new economic geography models for thedistribution of income and production across space. The discussion highlights connectionswith other research in regional and urban economics, identification issues, potentialalternative explanations and possible areas for further research.
    Keywords: New economic geography, market access, industrial location, multiple equilibria
    JEL: F12 F14 O10
    Date: 2009–04
  4. By: Charles Calomiris; Stanley D. Longhofer; William Miles
    Abstract: Models used to guide policy, as well as some empirical studies, suggest that the effect of housing wealth on consumption is large and greater than the wealth effect on consumption from stock holdings. Recent theoretical work, in contrast, argues that changes in housing wealth are offset by changes in housing consumption, meaning that unexpected shocks in housing wealth should have little effect on non-housing consumption. We reexamine the impact of housing wealth on non-housing consumption, employing the Case-Quigley-Shiller data on U.S. housing wealth that have been used in prior studies to estimate a large housing wealth effect. Existing empirical work fails to control for the fact that changes in housing wealth may be correlated with changes in expected permanent income, biasing the resulting estimates. Once we control for the endogeneity bias resulting from the correlation between housing wealth and permanent income, we find that housing wealth has a small and insignificant effect on consumption. Additional analysis of time-series results provides further support for that view.
    JEL: E21 E32 R21 R31
    Date: 2009–06
  5. By: Christian Aßmann; Jens Hogrefe; Nils Jannsen
    Abstract: This analysis provides evidence for the costs housing crises induce in terms of GDP growth and under what circumstances these crises are particularly costly. Housing crises are often followed by recessions that are longer and deeper than other recessions. According to empirical estimates,a housing crisis reduces the GDP growth rate in the following year on average by 2.5 percentage points and has a further negative impact in the second year. One important channel transmitting the additional effect of housing crises works through the depression of the construction sector, while wealth effects play a minor role.
    Keywords: Housing Crisis, Panel Data
    JEL: E21 E32 C23
    Date: 2009–06
  6. By: Sanjaya DeSilva; Yuval Elmelech
    Abstract: In recent years, as the homeownership rate in the United States reached its highest level in history, homeownership itself remained unevenly distributed, particularly along racial and ethnic lines. By using data from the 2000 Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) and 2006 American Community Survey (ACS) to study the trajectory into homeownership of black, Asian, white, and Latino households, this paper explores the various socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, as well as the distinct immigration experiences and spatial patterns that shape racial and ethnic inequality in homeownership. The unique (merged) dataset enables the authors to distinguish assimilation (length of residence) from immigration cohort effects, and to control for various spatial characteristics at the PUMA (Public Use Microdata Area) level. The paper employs a decomposition technique that delineates the distinct effects that composition differentials have on the visible white-minority disparity in homeownership. The findings reveal substantial differences along racial-ethnic lines, highlight the importance of immigration and spatial context in determining Asian and Mexican homeownership rates, and emphasize the unique role that family structure and unobserved factors (e.g. prejudice and discrimination) continue to play in shaping the black-white homeownership gap.
    Date: 2009–05
  7. By: Mukherjee, Sacchidananda; Shah, Zankhana; Kumar, M. Dinesh
    Abstract: Urban water demand is rapidly growing in India due to high growth in urban population and rapid industrialization. Meeting this growing demand is a big challenge for the urban planners in India. Incidentally, urban areas in arid and semi arid regions of India are experiencing rapid growth. As a result, the supplies from local water resources including aquifers are far less than the high and concentrated water demands in most urban areas. Under such situations, the cities have to rely on large reservoirs. The paper argues that urban growth would be jeopardized in absence of water supplies from large reservoirs. The analysis of 302 urban centres shows that as population of cities grow, their reliance on surface water sources also grows. Also, greater the share of surface water in the city water supplies, better the level of water supply. A multiple regression analysis of 190 class I cities and 240 class II towns further supports this finding. In Class I cities, with every unit increase in population, there is a 1.12 unit increase in quantum of water supplies. Whereas in Class II towns, with every increase in population, there is only a 0.40 unit increase in quantum of water supply. This shows greater capacities of large cities to respond to the growing water demands, induced by population growth and urbanization. The future projections of population growth, economic development and future water demands clearly means that the role of large reservoirs in meeting the demand of urban water supply is going to be more critical.
    Keywords: urban water supply; large reservoirs; urbanization; population growth; India.
    JEL: O18 O13 P25 Q25 O14 A12 D61 C01 B41
    Date: 2008–04
  8. By: William Easterly
    Abstract: The Schelling model of a "tipping point" in racial segregation, in which whites flee a neighborhood once a threshold of nonwhites is reached, is a canonical model of strategic interdependence. The idea of "tipping" explaining segregation is widely accepted in the academic literature and popular media. I use census tract data for metropolitan areas of the US from 1970 to 2000 to test the predictions of the Schelling model and find that this particular model of strategic interaction largely fails the tests. There is more "white flight" out of neighborhoods with a high initial share of whites than out of more racially mixed neighborhoods
    JEL: D85 O10 R0 Z13
    Date: 2009–06
  9. By: Roberto Patuelli (University of Lugano, Switzerland The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Rimini, Italy); Daniel A. Griffith (University of Texas at Dallas, USA); Michael Tiefelsdorf (University of Texas at Dallas, USA); Peter Nijkamp (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
    Abstract: Regions, independent of their geographic level of aggregation, are known to be interrelated partly due to their relative locations. Similar economic performance among regions can be attributed to proximity. Consequently, a proper understanding, and accounting, of spatial liaisons is needed in order to effectively forecast regional economic variables. Several spatial econometric techniques are available in the literature, which deal with the spatial autocorrelation in geographically-referenced data. The experiments carried out in this paper are concerned with the analysis of the spatial autocorrelation observed for unemployment rates in 439 NUTS-3 German districts. We employ a semi-parametric approach – spatial filtering – in order to uncover spatial patterns that are consistently significant over time. We first provide a brief overview of the spatial filtering method and illustrate the data set. Subsequently, we describe the empirical application carried out: that is, the spatial filtering analysis of regional unemployment rates in Germany. Furthermore, we exploit the resulting spatial filter as an explanatory variable in a panel modelling framework. Additional explanatory variables, such as average daily wages, are used in concurrence with the spatial filter. Our experiments show that the computed spatial filters account for most of the residual spatial autocorrelation in the data.
    Keywords: spatial filtering, eigenvectors, Germany, unemployment
    JEL: C33 E24 R12
    Date: 2009–01
  10. By: Ron Boschma; Koen Frenken
    Abstract: We propose an evolutionary perspective on the geography of network formation that is grounded in a dynamic proximity framework. In doing so, we root the proximity concept in an evolutionary approach to the geography of innovation networks. We discuss three topics. The first topic focuses on explaining the structure of networks. The second topic concentrates on explaining the effects of networks on the performance of actors. The third topic deals with the changing role of proximity dimensions in the formation and performance of innovation networks in the longer run.
    Keywords: evolutionary economic geography, knowledge networks, innovation networks, dynamic proximity
    JEL: R0 R1 R12
    Date: 2009–06
  11. By: L. Rachel Ngai; Silvana Tenreyro
    Abstract: Every year during the second and thirdquarters (the "hot season") housing markets in the UKand the US experience systematic above-trend increases in both prices and transactions.During the fourth and first quarters (the "cold season"), house prices and transactions fallbelow trend. We propose a search-and-matching framework that sheds new light on themechanisms governing housing market fluctuations. The model has a "thick-market" effectthat can generate substantial differences in the volume of transactions and prices acrossseasons, with the extent of seasonality in prices depending crucially on the bargaining powerof sellers. The model can quantitatively mimic the seasonal fluctuations in transactions andprices observed in the UK and the US.
    Keywords: housing market, thick-market effects, search-and-matching, seasonality, house price fluctuations
    JEL: E0
    Date: 2009–04
  12. By: Stefania Vitali; Mauro Napoletano; Giorgio Fagiolo
    Abstract: This paper employs a homogenous Þrms database to investigate industry localiza- tion in European countries. More speciÞcally, we compare, across industries and countries, the predictions of two of the most popular localization indices, i.e., the Ellison and Glaeser index (Ellison and Glaeser, 1997) and the Duranton and Over- man index (Duranton and Overman, 2005). We Þnd that, independently from the index used, localization is a pervasive phenomenon in all countries studied, but the degree of localization is very uneven across industries in each country. Furthermore, we Þnd that the two indices signiÞcantly diverge in predicting the intensity of the forces generating localization within each industry. Finally, we perform a cross- sectoral analysis of localized industries. We show that, in all countries, localized sectors are mainly ÒtraditionalÓ sectors (like jewelery, wine, and textiles) and sec- tors where scale economies are important. However, once one controls for countriesÕ industrial structures science-based sectors turn out to be the most localized ones.
    Keywords: Industry Localization, Manufacturing Industries, Localization Indices, Spatial Concentration, Spatial correlation, Cross-country studies
    JEL: R12 R3
    Date: 2009–06
  13. By: Chiara DEL BO; Massimo FLORIO
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the return of public investment in the EU regions. We consider different forms of infrastructure capital by examining the relationship between a set of infrastructure indicators and economic performance at the NUTS2 level with an empirical model derived from the production-function approach. From a social planner’s perspective, we want to see which form of infrastructure investment has higher returns, considering structural differences in regions. The main contribution of this paper is to consider the impact of different types of infrastructure on growth, disaggregated at the regional level in the European Union, with an explicit focus on the New Member States, and correcting for spatial dependence and heterogeneity issues. We find that the highest rates of return are associated mainly with TLC, quality and accessibility of the region’s transportation network, while endowment of traditional road and railway infrastructure has a positive but slightly lower impact. We also contribute to the debate on convergence, finding that the β-convergence hypothesis holds also when the model encompasses several controls.
    Keywords: Infrastructure capital, regional growth, convergence, spatial econometrics.
    JEL: H54 O11 E62 R11
    Date: 2008–11–21
  14. By: Ingo Fender (Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Monetary and Economic Department, Centralbahnplatz 2, 4002 Basel, Switzerland.); Martin Scheicher (European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, D-60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the market pricing of subprime mortgage risk on the basis of data for the ABX.HE family of indices, which have become a key barometer of mortgage market conditions during the recent financial crisis. After an introduction into ABX index mechanics and a discussion of historical pricing patterns, we use regression analysis to establish the relationship between observed index returns and macroeco-nomic news as well as market based proxies of default risk, interest rates, liquidity and risk appetite. The results imply that declining risk appetite and heightened concerns about market illiquidity - likely due in part to significant short positioning activity - have provided a sizeable contribution to the observed collapse in ABX prices since the summer of 2007. In particular, while fundamental factors, such as indicators of housing market activity, have continued to exert an important influence on the subordinated ABX indices, those backed by AA and AAA exposures have tended to react more to the general deterioration of the financial market environment. This provides further support for the inappropriateness of pricing models that do not sufficiently account for factors such as risk appetite and liquidity risk, particularly in periods of heightened market pressure. In addition, as related risk premia can be captured by unconstrained investors, ABX pricing patterns appear to lend support to government measures aimed at taking troubled assets off banks’ balance sheets - such as the US Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in its original form. JEL Classification: E43, G12, G13, G14.
    Keywords: ABX index, mortgage-backed securities, pricing, risk premia.
    Date: 2009–05
  15. By: Joseph I Daniel (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)
    Abstract: Congestion pricing of Canada’s four largest airports would save between seventy-two and one-hundred-five million dollars annually. Social cost of each aircraft movement would decrease by several hundred dollars at Toronto and Vancouver, and by about fifty dollars at Calgary and Montreal. Toronto currently experiences this congestion in spite of its slot control system. Congestion fees would be less than current weight-based landing fees on average. At projected traffic growth rates, social costs of landings and takeoffs would remain below current levels for at least five years—postponing the need for additional capacity. A stochastic bottleneck model indicates these substantial welfare gains regardless of whether dominant airlines internalize their self-imposed delays. This paper reports equilibrium congestion fee schedules by time of day and calculates equilibrium traffic rates, queuing delays, layover times, and connection times.
    Keywords: airport congestion pricing, stochastic queuing, bottleneck model, slot constraints.
    JEL: R4 H2 L5 L9
    Date: 2009
  16. By: Frauke Skudelny (European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, D-60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.)
    Abstract: This paper adds to the literature on wealth effects on consumption by disentangling financial wealth effects from housing wealth effects for the euro area. We use two macro-datasets for our estimations, one on the aggregate euro area for the period 1980-2006, and one on the individual euro area countries from1995-2006, using panel data techniques. The impact of all wealth variables on euro area consumption is significant and positive in most specifications for both datasets. The marginal propensity to consume (MPC) out of financial wealth is roughly in line with the literature, with 2.4 to 3.6 cents per euro of financial wealth spent on consumption according to the estimations with euro area aggregate data. However, the panel estimation yields somewhat lower results (0.6 to 1.1 cents). The MPC out of nominal housing wealth lies between 0.7 to 0.9 cents per euro for both datasets. When specifying housing wealth in real terms, i.e. when taking out the effect of volatile house prices, we find similar effects in the times series estimation while the MPC is larger in the panel estimation (2.5 cents). JEL Classification: E21
    Keywords: Housing wealth, financial wealth, consumption, euro area.
    Date: 2009–05
  17. By: Christopher Foote; Kristopher Gerardi; Lorenz Goette; Paul Willen
    Abstract: This paper takes a skeptical look at a leading argument about what is causing the foreclosure crisis and distills some potential lessons for policy. We use an economic model to focus on two key decisions: the borrower's choice to default on a mortgage and the lender's subsequent choice whether to renegotiate or "modify" the loan. The theoretical model and econometric analysis illustrate that "unaffordable" loans, defined as those with high mortgage payments relative to income at origination, are unlikely to be the main reason that borrowers decide to default. In addition, this paper provides theoretical results and empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that the efficiency of foreclosure for investors is a more plausible explanation for the low number of modifications to date than contract frictions related to securitization agreements between servicers and investors. While investors might be foreclosing when it would be socially efficient to modify, there is little evidence to suggest they are acting against their own interests when they do so. An important implication of our analysis is that the extension of temporary help to borrowers suffering adverse life events like job loss could prevent more foreclosures than a policy that makes mortgages more "affordable" on a long-term basis.
    JEL: R2
    Date: 2009–06
  18. By: Hongbin Cai; J. Vernon Henderson; Qinghua Zhang
    Abstract: This paper studies the urban land market in China in 2003--2007. In China, all urban land is owned by the state. Leasehold use rights for land for (re)development are sold by city governments and are a key source of city revenue. Leasehold sales are viewed as a major venue for corruption, prompting a number of reforms over the years. Reforms now require all leasehold rights be sold at public auction. There are two main types of auction: regular English auction and an unusual type which we call a "two stage auction". The latter type of auction seems more subject to corruption, and to side deals between potential bidders and the auctioneer. Absent corruption, theory suggests that two stage auctions would most likely maximize sales revenue for properties which are likely to have relatively few bidders, or are "cold", which would suggest negative selection on property unobservables into such auctions. However, if such auctions are more corruptible, that could involve positive selection as city officials divert hotter properties to a more corruptible auction form. The paper finds that, overall, sales prices are lower for two stage auctions, and there is strong evidence of positive selection. The price difference is explained primarily by the fact that two stage auctions typically have just one bidder, or no competition despite the vibrant land market in Chinese cities.
    JEL: D44 H71 O38 O53 R14 R31 R52
    Date: 2009–06
  19. By: Gan, Jumwu
    Abstract: In this paper we present compelling evidence from a detailed analysis of historical prepayment data to demonstrate that a mortgage cohort remembers the level of the previous mortgage rate troughs experienced by the cohort. This is a general property, observed ubiquitously, that inescapably leads to refinancing models with a continuous distribution of refinancing incentive thresholds (elbows). We present such a new refinancing model, derived from the first principle, based on a single assumption that each loan has an incentive threshold above which its borrower will refinance. In this model, the refinancing prepayment of a cohort is a dynamic self-selection process that evolves by itself according to the encountered mortgage rate environment with the cohort concurrently acquiring its memory along the way.
    Keywords: Mortgage; Prepayment; refinance; burnout; MBS; duration; convexity
    JEL: C51 G12 C53 G19 G10 C01
    Date: 2009–05–31
  20. By: Torrisi, Gianpiero
    Abstract: This paper uses data contained in the Regional Public Accounts database to investigate the heterogeneity of the impact of public infrastructure across Italian regions basing the analysis also on institutional and political ground. The issue is here addressed linking the analysis of the impact of infrastructure on GDP with the issue of corruption by means of a random coefficient panel data model approach. I consider a novel objective measure of corruption that consists of the difference between a measure of the physical quantities of public infrastructure and the cumulative price government pays for public capital stocks. The empirical analysis confirms the existence of parameter heterogeneity across Italian regions and is also consistent with theoretical considerations that corruption negatively affects economic performance.
    Keywords: orruption; public expenditure; infrastructure; random coefficients; regional public accounts.
    JEL: H54 R58 O18 R11
    Date: 2009–05
  21. By: Carlos Llano (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Rimini, Italy); Wolfgang Polasek (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria and The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy); Richard Sellner (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: Completing data sets that are collected in heterogeneous units is a quite frequent problem. Chow and Lin (1971) were the rst to develop a unied framework for the three problems (interpolation, extrapolation and distribution) of predicting times series by related series (the `indicators'). This paper develops a spatial Chow-Lin procedure for cross-sectional and panel data and compares the classical and Bayesian estimation methods. We outline the error covariance structure in a spatial context and derive the BLUE for the ML and Bayesian MCMC estimation. Finally, we apply the procedure to Spanish regional GDP data between 2000-2004. We assume that only NUTS-2 GDP is known and predict GDP at NUTS-3 level by using socio-economic and spatial information available at NUTS-3. The spatial neighborhood is dened by either km distance, travel time, contiguity and trade relationships. After running some sensitivity analysis, we present the forecast accuracy criteria comparing the predicted values with the observed ones.
    Keywords: Interpolation, Spatial panel econometrics, MCMC, Spatial
    Date: 2009–01
  22. By: Peter Claeys (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona); Fabio Manca (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: History tells that institutions evolve gradually over time, pushing new ideas across borders and cultures. Globalisation is argued to accelerate this process. We examine the spatial links of different political institutions across borders. Applying various tests for spatial proximity, we do not find evidence of contemporaneous spatial links. This result is robust to various measures of distance and of cultural proximity across countries. Instead, when we analyse long run dynamics diffusion of institutions seems to occur only gradually.
    Keywords: Institutions, spatial econometrics, spillover
    Date: 2009–06
  23. By: Wolfgang Polasek (IHS (Austria); Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis (Italy)); Wolfgang Schwarzbauer (IHS (Austria)); Richard Sellner (IHS (Austria))
    Abstract: Economists expect positive returns to investments in infrastructure. However a project with higher national returns might have less favorable eects on a regional level than the alternative. Therefore new infrastruc- ture should also be assessed on a regional level, but econom(etr)ic evalua- tion models are scarce, especially in regional science. This paper proposes new approaches to evaluate infrastructure by a dynamic spatial economet- ric model that allows long-term predictions. We investigate the regional eects for 2 Austrian railway projects and show that infrastructure returns are positive on an aggregate and at a regional level but spatial variation can be large.
    Keywords: Regional growth convergence, trac accessibility, infrastruc- ture evaluation, spatial econometrics
    JEL: C31 H43 H54 R11 R12
    Date: 2009–01
  24. By: Zhenlin Yang (School of Economics, Singapore Management University); Liangjun Su (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: We propose an instrumental variable quantile regression (IVQR) estimator for spatial autoregressive (SAR) models. Like the GMM estimators of Lin and Lee (2006) and Kelejian and Prucha (2006), the IVQR estimator is robust against heteroscedasticity. Unlike the GMM estimators, the IVQR estimator is also robust against outliers and requires weaker moment conditions. More importantly, it allows us to characterize the heterogeneous impact of variables on different points (quantiles) of a response distribution. We derive the limiting distribution of the new estimator. Simulation results show that the new estimator performs well in finite samples at various quantile points. In the special case of median restriction, it outperforms the conventional QML estimator without taking into account of heteroscedasticity in the errors; it also outperforms the GMM estimators with or without considering the heteroscedasticity.
    Keywords: Spatial Autoregressive Model; Quantile Regression; Instrumental Variable; Quasi Maximum Likelihood; GMM; Robustness.
    JEL: C13 C21 C51
    Date: 2007–08
  25. By: Stefanie Behncke
    Abstract: This paper investigates the extent to which test performance is affected by shocks to noncognitive skills. 440 students took a low stakes mathematics test. About half of them were exposed to positive affirmation while being given test instructions, whereas the other half served as controls. The students were allocated to 14 tutorials and randomisation was conducted at the tutorial level. Mean comparisons suggest that test scores were raised by the intervention. In particular, students with low maths grades and with self-assessed difficulties in maths gained from the positive affirmation. Results suggest that teachers might increase their students' performance by interventions to their non-cognitive skills. Inference is obtained by four different methods that take into account that randomisation was clustered at the tutorial group level. These methods are evaluated in a Monte Carlo study for data generating processes which resemble actual data. We find that randomisation inference followed by the wild cluster bootstrap have superior size properties compared to conventional approaches.
    Keywords: test scores, non-cognitive skills, cluster randomised trial, wild cluster bootstrap, randomisation inference
    JEL: C15 C21 C93 I20
    Date: 2009–06
  26. By: Paredes, Ricardo; Ugarte, Gabriel
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate the effect of class attendance on academic performance, and evaluate the existence and importance of minimum attendance requirement thresholds. We found that attendance has a relevant and statistically significant impact on performance, together with the existence of a threshold, although contrary to the expected, not associated with a decrease in performance, which questions the existence of minimum attendance requirement.
    Keywords: Attendance; Academic Performance; Hierarchical Models; Thresholds
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2009–04
  27. By: Fabio Manca (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: With this paper we build a two-region model where both innovation and imitation are performed. In particular imitation takes the form of technological spillovers that lagging regions may exploit given certain human capital conditions. We show how the high skill content of each region’s workforce (rather than the average human capital stock) is crucial to determine convergence towards the income level of the leader region and to exploit the technological spillovers coming from the frontier. The same applies to bureaucratic/institutional quality which are conductive to higher growth in the long run. We test successfully our theoretical result over Spanish regions for the period between 1960 and 1997. We exploit system GMM estimators which allow us to correctly deal with endogeneity problems and small sample bias.
    Keywords: Human Capital, Growth, Catch-Up.
    Date: 2009–06
  28. By: Rema Hanna; Leigh Linden
    Abstract: In this paper, we illustrate a methodology to measure discrimination in educational contexts. In India, we ran an exam competition through which children compete for a large financial prize. We recruited teachers to grade the exams. We then randomly assigned child "characteristics" (age, gender, and caste) to the cover sheets of the exams to ensure that there is no systematic relationship between the characteristics observed by the teachers and the quality of the exams. We find that teachers give exams that are assigned to be lower caste scores that are about 0.03 to 0.09 standard deviations lower than exams that are assigned to be high caste. The effect is small relative to the real differences in scores between the high and lower caste children. Low-performing, low caste children and top-performing females tend to lose out the most due to discrimination. Interestingly, we find that the discrimination against low caste students is driven by low caste teachers, while teachers who belong to higher caste groups do not appear to discriminate at all. This result runs counter to the previous literature, which tends to find that individuals discriminate in favor of members of their own groups.
    JEL: I2 J16
    Date: 2009–06
  29. By: Efraim Benmelech; Jennifer Dlugosz
    Abstract: Since June 2007, the creditworthiness of structured finance products has deteriorated rapidly. The number of downgrades in November 2007 alone exceeded 2,000 and many downgrades were severe, with 500 tranches downgraded more than 10 notches. Massive downgrades continued in 2008. More than 11,000 of the downgrades affected securities that were rated AAA. This paper studies the credit rating crisis of 2007-2008 and in particular describes the collapse of the credit ratings of ABS CDOs. Using data on ABS CDOs we provide suggestive evidence that ratings shopping may have played a role in the current crisis. We find that tranches rated solely by one agency, and by S&P in particular, were more likely to be downgraded by January 2008. Further, tranches rated solely by one agency are more likely to suffer more severe downgrades.
    JEL: E44 G21 G24 G38
    Date: 2009–06
  30. By: Farley Grubb (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)
    Abstract: Victory in the War for Independence brought a vast amount of land within the grasp of the new American nation—territory stretching from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River between the southern shores of the Great Lakes and Spanish Florida. These lands were initially claimed by several states. Pressure from states without land claims led to these lands being transferred to the national government. The land so transferred was to be used to pay for the revolution. By 1802 this national public domain totaled roughly 220 million acres of saleable land that was worth about $215 million dollars at constant-dollar long-run equilibrium land prices. A public finance approach is used to explain the choices facing the government regarding how to use its lands to pay for the revolution. The first choice—directly swapping land for war debt—was superseded by the second choice, namely “backing” the national debt with its land assets and pledging future proceeds from land sales to be used by law only to redeem the principal of the national debt and nothing else. This land policy helped stabilize the national government’s financial position and put the U.S. on a sound credit footing by the mid-1790s.
    Keywords: land policy; national debt, national net worth, national public finance, land history, land prices, public domain, early U.S. republic.
    JEL: E61 E62 F34 G18 H60 H77 N21 N41 O13 O16 O23
    Date: 2009
  31. By: Tomoki Fujii (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)
    Date: 2007–12

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