nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2009‒10‒03
thirty-one papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Environmental Policy, Spatial Spillovers and the Emergence of Economic Agglomerations By Anastasios Xepapadeas; Efthymia Kyriakopoulou
  2. House prices and risk sharing By Dmytro Hryshko; María José Luengo-Prado.; Bent E. Sørensen
  3. Your house or your credit card, which would you choose?: personal delinquency tradeoffs and precautionary liquidity motives By Ethan Cohen-Cole; Jonathan Morse
  4. Labor market pooling and occupational agglomeration By Todd M. Gabe; Jaison R. Abel
  5. Evolutionary economic geography and its implications for regional innovation policy By Ron Boschma
  6. Mapping the Evolution of "Clusters": A Meta-analysis By Mario A. Maggioni; T. Erika Uberti; Francesca Gambarotto
  7. Can information asymmetry cause agglomeration? By Berliant, Marcus; Kung, Fan-chin
  8. Real estate brokers and commission: theory and calibrations By Oz Shy
  9. Residential mobility, neighbourhood quality and life-course events By Rabe B; Taylor M
  10. Spatial Hedonic Models for Measuring the Impact of Sea-Level Rise on Coastal Real Estate By Okmyung Bin; Ben Poulter; Christopher F. Dumas; John C. Whitehead
  11. A Social Cost Approach to Choice at Technology in Building Construction: A Study of Some Alternative Technologies in Kerala By K P Kannan
  12. Cultural Identity and Knowledge Creation in Cosmopolitan Cities By Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano; Giovanni Prarolo
  13. Estimating Teacher Effectiveness From Two-Year Changes in Students’ Test Scores By Andrew Leigh
  14. The German spatial poverty divide: poorly endowed or bad luck? By Bönke, Timm; Schröder, Carsten
  15. Rethinking China's underurbanization: An evaluation of its county-to-city upgrading policy By Fan, Shenggen; Li, Lixing; Zhang, Xiaobo
  16. Managing Housing Bubbles in Regional Economies under EMU: Ireland and Spain By Conefrey, Thomas; Fitz Gerald, John
  17. A Steady State Solution to a Mortgage Pricing Problem By Dejun Xie
  18. Innovation and Knowledge Links in Metropolitan Regions - The Case of Vienna By Franz Tödtling; Michaela Trippl
  19. "The Untolled Problems with Airport Slot Constraints" By Joseph I. Daniel
  20. Entrepreneurship, Evolution and Geography By Erik Stam
  21. Sprawl or No Sprawl? - A Quantitative Analysis for the City of Vienna By Julia Lechner; Gunther Maier
  22. Cultural Diversity and Economic Performance: Evidence from European Regions By Giovanni Prarolo; Elena Bellini; Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano; Dino Pinelli
  23. When You’ve Seen One Financial Crisis… By Simon van Norden
  24. Long-Run Trends in School Productivity: Evidence From Australia By Andrew Leigh; Chris Ryan
  25. "The Deterministic Bottleneck Model with Non-Atomistic Traffic" By Joseph I. Daniel
  26. Quali percorsi per la finanza pubblica italiana? Primi elementi di discussione By Bernardi, Luigi
  27. Older Americans On The Go: Financial and Psychological Effects of Moving By Esteban Calvo; Kelly Haverstick; Natalia A. Zhivan
  28. Paying for Safety: Preferences for Mortality Risk Reductions on Alpine Roads By Christoph M. Rheinberger
  29. Distributive and Regional Effects of Monopoly Power By Urzúa, Carlos M.
  30. Diversity of Communities and Economic Development By Gustav Ranis
  31. Regional value added in Italy (1891-2001): estimates, elaborations By Emanuele Felice

  1. By: Anastasios Xepapadeas (Athens University of Economics and Business); Efthymia Kyriakopoulou (Athens University of Economics and Business)
    Abstract: We explain the spatial concentration of economic activity, in a model of economic geography, when the cost of environmental policy - which is increasing in the concentration of emissions - and an immobile production factor act as centrifugal forces, while positive knowledge spillovers and iceberg transportation costs act as centripetal forces. We study the agglomeration effects caused by trade-offs between centripetal and centrifugal forces. The above effects govern firms’ location decisions and as a result, they define the distribution of economic activity across space. We derive the rational expectations equilibrium and the social optimum, compare the outcomes and characterize the optimal spatial policies.
    Keywords: Agglomeration, Spatial Economics, Environmental Policy, Knowledge Spillovers, Transportation Cost
    JEL: R3 Q5 H2
    Date: 2009–09
  2. By: Dmytro Hryshko; María José Luengo-Prado.; Bent E. Sørensen
    Abstract: We show that homeowners are able to maintain a high level of consumption following job loss or disability in periods of rising house values. However, the consumption drop for consumers who simultaneously lose their job and equity in their houses is substantial. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we verify that homeowners smooth consumption more than renters, and that consumption smoothing improves when houses appreciate in the area of residence. We calibrate and simulate a model of endogenous homeownership and home-equity loans, and show that the model is able to reproduce the patterns in the data quite well.
    Keywords: Housing - Prices ; Consumer behavior
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Ethan Cohen-Cole; Jonathan Morse
    Abstract: This paper finds strong evidence that many individuals choose to pay credit card bills even at the cost of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures. While the popular press and some recent literature have suggested that this choice may emerge from steep declines in housing prices, we find evidence that individual-level liquidity concerns are at least as important in the decision. That is, choosing credit cards over housing suggests a precautionary liquidity preference. ; By linking the mortgage delinquency decisions to individual-level credit conditions, we are able to assess the compound impact of reductions in housing prices and retrenchment in the credit markets. Indeed, we find the availability of cash-equivalent credit to be a key component of the default decision. We find that a one standard deviation reduction in housing price changes elicits a change in the predicted probability of mortgage default that is similar in both direction and magnitude to a one standard deviation reduction in available credit (the values are -14.9% and -13.1% respectively). Availability of consumer credit appears important not only as a means of payment, but also as an insurance mechanism for individuals and a shock absorber for the economy as a whole. Our findings are consistent with consumer finance literature that finds individuals have a preference for preserving liquidity - even at significant cost.
    Keywords: Finance, Personal ; Credit cards ; Liquidity (Economics) ; Mortgage loans
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Todd M. Gabe; Jaison R. Abel
    Abstract: This paper examines the micro-foundations of occupational agglomeration in U.S. metropolitan areas, with an emphasis on labor market pooling. Controlling for a wide range of occupational attributes, including proxies for the use of specialized machinery and for the importance of knowledge spillovers, we find that jobs characterized by a unique knowledge base exhibit higher levels of geographic concentration than do occupations with generic knowledge requirements. Further, by analyzing co-agglomeration patterns, we find that occupations with similar knowledge requirements tend to co-agglomerate. Both results provide new evidence on the importance of labor market pooling as a determinant of occupational agglomeration.
    Keywords: Labor market ; Labor mobility
    Date: 2009
  5. By: Ron Boschma
    Abstract: Related variety is important to regional growth because it induces knowledge transfer between complementary sectors at the regional level. This is accomplished through three mechanisms: spinoff dynamics, labor mobility and network formation. They transfer knowledge across related sectors, which contributes to industrial renewal and economic branching in regions. Since these mechanisms of knowledge transfer are basically taking place at the regional level, and because they make regions move into new growth paths while building on their existing assets, regional innovation policy should encourage spinoff activity, labor mobility and network formation. Doing so, policy builds on region-specific assets that provides opportunities but also sets limits to what can be achieved by policy. Public intervention should neither apply Ôone-size-fits-allÕ approaches nor adopt Ôpicking-the- winnerÕ strategies, but should aim to connect complementary sectors and exploit related variety as a source of regional diversification.
    Keywords: related variety, evolutionary economic geography, regional innovation systems, regional growth
    JEL: R0 R1 R12
    Date: 2009–09
  6. By: Mario A. Maggioni (Catholic University); T. Erika Uberti (Catholic University); Francesca Gambarotto (University of Padova)
    Abstract: This paper presents a meta-analysis of the “cluster literature” contained in scientific journals from 1969 to 2007. Thanks to an original database we study the evolution of a stream of literature which focuses on a research object which is both a theoretical puzzle and an empirical widespread evidence. We identify different growth stages, from take-off to development and maturity. We test the existence of a life-cycle within the authorships and we discover the existence of a substitutability relation between different collaborative behaviours. We study the relationships between a “spatial” and an “industrial” approach within the textual corpus of cluster literature and we show the existence of a “predatory” interaction. We detect the relevance of clustering behaviours in the location of authors working on clusters and in measuring the influence of geographical distance in co-authorship. We measure the extent of a convergence process of the vocabulary of scientists working on clusters.
    Keywords: Cluster, Life-Cycle, Cluster Literature, Textual Analysis, Agglomeration, Co-Authorship
    JEL: O18 R12 Z13 B41
    Date: 2009–09
  7. By: Berliant, Marcus; Kung, Fan-chin
    Abstract: The modern literature on city formation and development, for example the New Economic Geography literature, has studied the agglomeration of agents in size or mass. We investigate agglomeration in sorting or by type of worker, that implies agglomeration in size when worker populations differ by type. This kind of agglomeration can be driven by asymmetric information in the labor market, specifically when firms do not know if a particular worker is of high or low skill. In a model with two types and two regions, workers of different skill levels are offered separating contracts in equilibrium. When mobile low skill worker population rises or there is technological change that favors high skilled workers, integration of both types of workers in the same region at equilibrium becomes unstable, whereas sorting of worker types into different regions in equilibrium remains stable. The instability of integrated equilibria results from firms, in the region to which workers are perturbed, offering attractive contracts to low skill workers when there is a mixture of workers in the region of origin.
    Keywords: Adverse Selection; Agglomeration
    JEL: R13 R12 D82
    Date: 2009–09–28
  8. By: Oz Shy
    Abstract: The author constructs a theoretical model to examine the effects of an inherent conflict of interest between a seller of a house and the real estate broker hired by the seller. The model is then used to calibrate the broker's commission rates that would maximize the seller's expected gain. The findings suggest that while the pressure brokers exert on sellers to reduce prices generates faster sales and hence improves social welfare, the usual commission rate of 6 percent exceeds the seller's value-maximizing rate if the sale is handled by a single agent. On the other hand, if several agents (such as the buyer's and seller's brokers and the agencies that employ these realtors) split the commission, then a 6 percent commission rate may be required to motivate the broker to sell at a high price.
    Keywords: Housing - Prices
    Date: 2009
  9. By: Rabe B (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Taylor M (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: Neighbourhood characteristics affect the social and economic opportunities of their residents. While a number of studies have analysed housing adjustments at different life stages, little is known about neighbourhood quality adjustments. Based on a model of optimal housing consumption we analyse the determinants of residential mobility and the neighbourhood quality adjustments made by those who move, drawing on data from the British Household Panel Survey and Indices of Multiple Deprivation. We measure neighbourhood quality both subjectively and objectively and find that not all life-course events that trigger moves lead to neighbourhood quality adjustments. Single people are negatively affected by leaving the parental home and couples by a husbandÂ’s unemployment. Couples having a new baby move into better neighbourhoods.
    Date: 2009–09–17
  10. By: Okmyung Bin; Ben Poulter; Christopher F. Dumas; John C. Whitehead
    Abstract: This study uses a unique integration of geospatial and hedonic property data to estimate the impact of sea-level rise on coastal real estate in North Carolina. North Carolina’s coastal plain is one of several large terrestrial systems around the world threatened by rising sea-levels. High-resolution topographic LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data are used to provide accurate inundation maps for all properties that will be at risk under six different sea-level rise scenarios. A simulation approach based on spatial hedonic models is used to provide consistent estimates of the property value losses. Results indicate that the northern part of the North Carolina coastline is comparatively more vulnerable to the effect of sea-level rise than the southern part. Low-lying and heavily developed areas in the northern coastline are especially at high risk from sea-level rise. Key Words: Climate change, coastal real estate, sea-level rise, spatial hedonic models
    JEL: D61 Q24 Q54 R14
    Date: 2009
  11. By: K P Kannan
    Abstract: This paper is an attempt to apply the technique of social cost - benefit analysis to the problem of choice of technology in building construction in Kerala. [WP No. 30].
    Keywords: technique, social cost-benefit analysis, technology, building construction, Kerala, construction, industrial, agricultural projects, irrigation, transport, health, housing, India, goods, resources,
    Date: 2009
  12. By: Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano (Bocconi University, DEP-KITeS, FEEM and CEPR); Giovanni Prarolo (University of Bologna and FEEM)
    Abstract: We study how the city system is affected by the possibility for the members of the same cultural diaspora to interact across different cities. In so doing, we propose a simple two- city model with two mobile cultural groups. A localized externality fosters the productivity of individuals when groups interact in a city. At the same time, such interaction dilutes cultural identities and reduces the consumption of culture-specific goods and services. We show that the two groups segregate in different cities when diaspora members find it hard to communicate at distance whereas they integrate in multicultural cities when communication is easy. The model generates situations in which segregation is an equilibrium but is Pareto dominated by integration.
    Keywords: Cultural Identity, Cosmopolitan City, Productiviy
    Date: 2009–09
  13. By: Andrew Leigh
    Abstract: Using a dataset covering over 10,000 Australian primary school teachers and over 90,000 pupils, I estimate how effective teachers are in raising students’ test scores from one exam to the next. Since the exams are conducted only every two years, it is necessary to take account of the teacher’s work in the intervening year. Even after adjusting for measurement error, the resulting teacher fixed effects are widely dispersed across teachers, and there is a strong positive correlation between a teacher’s gains in literacy and numeracy. Teacher fixed effects show a significant association with some, though not all, observable teacher characteristics. Experience has the strongest effect, with a large effect in the early years of a teacher’s career. Female teachers do better at teaching literacy. Teachers with a master’s degree or some other form of further qualification do not appear to achieve significantly larger test score gains. Overall, teacher characteristics found in the departmental payroll database can explain only a small fraction of the variance in teacher performance.
    Keywords: educational economics, educational finance, efficiency, productivity
    JEL: I21 J24 C23
    Date: 2009–08
  14. By: Bönke, Timm; Schröder, Carsten
    Abstract: We study inter-temporal changes in poverty for Germany from year 1978 to 2003, and we employ the bootstrap method to test for statistical significance of results. All results are decomposed by household type and region. Poverty estimates are particularly high for single parents. Most striking, however, is the poverty divide between the old and newly-formed German Federal States, with poverty being significantly higher in the latter. We conduct a nonlinear Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition to quantify the separate contribution of regional differences in households' characteristics to the probability of being poor.
    Keywords: Poverty,decomposition,expenditure patterns,necessities,Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition,bootstrap,equivalence scale
    JEL: H53 I38
    Date: 2009
  15. By: Fan, Shenggen; Li, Lixing; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: "It has been argued in the literature that China is underurbanized in large part because of restrictions on migration. While the presence of migration barriers can help explain why existing cities fail to achieve their optimal size, it cannot explain the lack of cities. Although migration has become much easier over time, the number of cities in China has been rather stagnant. In this paper, we argue that lack of appropriate mechanisms for creating new cities is another reason for underurbanization. Under China's hierarchical governance structure, the only way to create new cities is through the centralized policy of upgrading existing counties or prefectures into cities. However, in practice the implementation of the county-to-city upgrading policy was more complicated than expected. Based on a county-level panel dataset, this paper shows that jurisdictions that were upgraded to cities prior to 1998 do not perform better relative to their counterparts that remain to be counties in terms of both economic growth and providing public services. The policy was retracted in 1997, freezing the number of county-level cities since then. This, in turn, contributes to the observed underurbanization." from authors' abstract
    Keywords: Urbanization, City creation, Governance structure, Political centralization, Development strategies,
    Date: 2009
  16. By: Conefrey, Thomas (ESRI); Fitz Gerald, John (ESRI)
    Abstract: With the advent of EMU monetary policy can no longer be used to prevent housing market bubbles in regional economies such as Ireland or Spain. However, fiscal policy can and should be used to achieve the same effect. This paper shows that the advent of EMU relaxed existing financial constraints in Ireland and Spain, allowing a more rapid expansion of the housing stock in those countries to meet their specific demographic circumstances. However, the failure to prevent these booms turning into bubbles did lasting damage to the two economies, damage that could have been avoided by more appropriate fiscal policy action.
    Date: 2009–09
  17. By: Dejun Xie
    Abstract: This paper considers a mortgage contract where the borrower pays a fixed mortgage rate and has the choice of making prepayment. Assume the market interest follows the CIR model, a free boundary problem is formulated. Here we focus on the infinite horizon problem. Using variational method, we obtain an analytical solution to the problem, where the free boundary is implicitly given by a transcendental algebraic equation.
    Date: 2009–09
  18. By: Franz Tödtling; Michaela Trippl
    Date: 2009
  19. By: Joseph I. Daniel (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)
    Abstract: This paper examines the efficiency and practicality of airport slot constraints using a deterministic bottleneck model of landing and takeoff queues. It adapts this congestion pricing model to determine the optimal timing and quantity of slot permits for any number of slot windows. Aircraft choose their optimal operating times subject to the slot constraints, and airport queues adjust endogenously. The number and length of slot windows affects the congestion levels and efficiency gains. The atomistic bottleneck model is extended to include self-internalizing dominant traffic and atomistic fringe traffic. The model raises questions about the implementation of slot constraints that do not arise in standard congestion models. The theory explains Daniel's (2009a) empirical findings that slot-constraints at Toronto are ineffective and suggests that recent proposals for slot constraints at US airports would be similarly ineffective. Effective slot constraints require many narrow slot windows, making slot auctions or markets difficult to implement.
    Keywords: airport congestion, slot constraints, pricing, bottleneck, queuing.
    JEL: R4 H2 L5 L9
    Date: 2009
  20. By: Erik Stam
    Abstract: This chapter is an inquiry into the role of entrepreneurship in evolutionary economic geography. The focus is on how and why entrepreneurship is a distinctly spatially uneven process. We will start with a discussion on the role of entrepreneurship in the theory of economic evolution. Next, we will review the empirical literature on the geography of entrepreneurship. The chapter concludes with a discussion of a future agenda for the study of entrepreneurship within evolutionary economic geography.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship, evolution, geography
    JEL: R0 M13 R11
    Date: 2009–09
  21. By: Julia Lechner; Gunther Maier
    Date: 2009
  22. By: Giovanni Prarolo (Università di Bologna); Elena Bellini (FEEM); Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano (University of Bologna, FEEM and CEPR); Dino Pinelli (FEEM)
    Abstract: We investigate the relationship between diversity and productivity in Europe using an original dataset covering the NUTS 3 regions of 12 countries of the EU15 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, former Western Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). In so doing, we follow the empirical methodology developed by Ottaviano and Peri (2006a) in the case of US cities. The main idea is that, as cultural diversity may affect both production and consumption through positive or negative externalities, the joint estimation of price and income equations is needed to identify the dominant effect. Based on this methodology, we find that diversity is positively correlated with productivity. Moreover, we find evidence that causation runs from the former to the latter. These results for EU regions are broadly consistent with those found by Ottaviano and Peri for US cities.
    Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Economic Performance, Productivity, Europe
    JEL: O5 O11 O57 R5 R58
    Date: 2009–08
  23. By: Simon van Norden
    Abstract: Financial market crises may differ, but severe banking crises typically share many common features. The most recent crisis shares many features with the US Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s and early 90s as well as some features of the LTCM crisis of 1998. More generally, banking crises are commonly associated with real estate market collapses. Effectively reducing the risk of future crisis requires some combination of reducing the potential size of real estate market collapses and the banking sector’s exposure to real estate losses. <P>Les crises des marchés des capitaux peuvent différer, mais les crises bancaires graves partagent en général de nombreuses caractéristiques. La crise la plus récente ressemble à de nombreux égards à la crise américaine de l’épargne et du crédit (Savings and Loans) des années 80 et du début des années 90, ainsi qu’à la crise LTCM en 1998. De façon plus générale, les crises bancaires sont souvent associées aux effondrements du marché immobilier. Pour réduire efficacement le risque de crises futures, il faut réduire l’ampleur potentielle des effondrements du marché immobilier, diminuer la vulnérabilité du secteur bancaire aux pertes du marché immobilier, ou les deux.
    Keywords: Financial Crisis, banking crisis, bubbles, real estate, financial regulation, regulatory reform , crises financières, crises bancaires, marché immobilier, réglementation financière
    Date: 2009–09–01
  24. By: Andrew Leigh; Chris Ryan
    Abstract: Outside the United States (U.S.), very little is known about long-run trends in school productivity. We present new evidence using two data series from Australia, where comparable tests are available back to the 1960s. For young teenagers (aged 13-14), we find a small but statistically significant fall in numeracy over the period 1964- 2003, and in both literacy and numeracy over the period 1975-1998. The decline is in the order of one-tenth to one-fifth of a standard deviation. Adjusting this decline for changes in student demographics does not affect this conclusion; if anything, the decline appears to be more acute. The available evidence also suggests that any changes in student attitudes, school violence, and television viewing are unlikely to have had a major impact on test scores. Real per-child school expenditure increased substantially over this period, implying a fall in school productivity. Although we cannot account for all the phenomena that might have affected school productivity, we identify a number of plausible explanations.
    Keywords: education production function, literacy, numeracy
    JEL: H52 I21 I22
    Date: 2009–08
  25. By: Joseph I. Daniel (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the conditions under which dominant airlines internalize self-imposed delays in a deterministic bottleneck model of airport congestion, complementing Brueckner and Van Dender's (2008) similar analysis for the standard congestion-pricing model. A unified model of congestion tolling includes untolled, uniform-, coarse-, multi-step, and fine-toll equilibria as specific cases. It provides a rigorous theoretical foundation for Daniel's (1995, 2008) empirical findings that dominant airlines often ignore self-imposed delays, by modeling three motivations for atomistic behavior: preempting potential entry by additional fringe aircraft; occupying higher valued service periods; and displacing actual fringe entrants that have more dispersed operating-time preferences. In each case, atomistic behavior generates queues that deter fringe operations. Unlike Daniel’s stochastic bottleneck model, this deterministic model provides explicit closed-form solutions for optimal tolls. Dominant and fringe tolls generally differ by constant amounts (if at all) rather than varying in inverse proportion to market share as in Brueckner and Van Dender's model.
    Keywords: airport congestion, slot constraints, pricing, bottleneck, queuing.
    JEL: R4 H2 L5 L9
    Date: 2009
  26. By: Bernardi, Luigi
    Abstract: The paper outlines the main current issues concerning Public Finance in Italy. It is divided in three parts. The first part discusses the overall budget policy. Italy is in need to support the recovery from economic crisis, however budget action is limited by European constraints. Different way to go out are discussed. The second part analyzes specific public policies caarried on by the present Government. The third part criticizes the choice which has been done toward fiscal federalism.
    Keywords: Public finance; Budget policies; Tax and expenditure policies; Fiscal Federalism; Italy
    JEL: H10 H70 H50 H20 H60 H30
    Date: 2009–09–15
  27. By: Esteban Calvo; Kelly Haverstick; Natalia A. Zhivan
    Abstract: Moving is an important decision for any homeowner, requiring one to weigh the familiar comforts of a home and neighborhood against the uncertain potential of a new location. A move decision may be even more challenging for an older person. On the one hand, older people often have a decades-long attachment to their current residence. On the other hand, they may face new opportunities (ample leisure time) or challenges (the loss of a spouse) that affect their desire or ability to stay where they are. This brief is the second of two examining moving decisions among older Americans. The first brief covered how often older households move, where they move, and their stated reasons for moving. An initial analysis of these reasons indicated two general types of movers: those who are able to affirmatively plan a move (“Planners”) and those who react to a change in their circumstances that may force them to relocate (“Reactors”). Given the different stated motivations of these movers, the determinants and consequences of their move decisions may vary. This brief tests these hypotheses, using the Health and Retirement Study. The first section introduces the sample of households used in the analysis. The second section analyzes what characteristics influence a decision to move. The third section looks at the impact of moving on home equity, while the fourth section considers the impact on psychological well-being. The final section concludes.
    Date: 2009
  28. By: Christoph M. Rheinberger (WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research and IED Institute for Environmental Decisions)
    Abstract: This paper presents a choice experiment, which values reductions in mortality risk on Alpine roads. These roads are on one hand threatened by common road hazards, on the other hand they are also endangered by natural hazards such as avalanches and rockfalls. Drawing on choice data from frequently exposed and barely exposed respondents, we are not only able to estimate the VSL but to explore how the respondents differ in their individual willingness-to-pay depending on personal characteristics. To address heterogeneity in preferences for risk reduction, we use a non-linear conditional logit model with interaction effects. The best estimate of the VSL in the context of fatal accidents on Alpine roads is in the range of €4.9–5.4 million with distinct differences between the urban and the mountain sample groups. We find the VSL to be significantly altered by socio-economic factors but only marginally altered by the type of hazard.
    Keywords: Value of Statistical Life, Choice Experiment, Natural Hazard Mitigation, Traffic Safety
    JEL: D81 J17 R42
    Date: 2009–09
  29. By: Urzúa, Carlos M. (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the distributive and regional effects of firms with market power in the case of Mexico. It presents evidence that the welfare losses due to the exercise of monopoly power are not only significant, but also regressive. Moreover, the losses are different for the urban and rural sectors, as well as for each of the states of Mexico, being the inhabitants of the poorest ones the most affected by firms with market power.
    Keywords: monopoly, Cournot oligopoly, distributive effects, regional effects, income distribution, goods markets, Mexico
    JEL: L10 L40 L66 I31 O14 R20
    Date: 2009–04
  30. By: Gustav Ranis (Yale University, Economic Growth Center)
    Abstract: Template-Type: ReDIF-Paper 1.0
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on the impact of ethnic diversity on economic development. Ethnically polarized societies are less likely to agree on the provision of public goods and more likely to engage in rent seeking activities providing lower levels of social capital. Initial conditions are important determinants of adverse development outcomes. The role of decentralization, democracy and markets as potential remedies are discussed. The paper then presents a number of preliminary hypotheses on the relationship between diversity and instability in order to stimulate future research.
    Keywords: Africa, Diversity, Economic Growth, Instability
    JEL: O11 O40 O43 O55
    Date: 2009–09
  31. By: Emanuele Felice
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to present and discuss the pattern of regional inequality in Italy, from the end of the nineteenth century until our days. Value added estimates for the Italian regions, in benchmark years from 1891 until 1951, are linked to those from official figures available from 1971, in order to offer a long-term picture. It is worth anticipating that 1891-1951 estimates are not entirely satisfactory yet (sources and methodologies used for 1891-1951 estimates are explained in some detail in the final appendix). However, at the present stage of research they are comparable to those available for other countries; further refinements can hardly be produced in the short run, while it seems reasonable to think that they would not change significantly the overall pattern. In short, present estimates allow us to set the Italian case within the international context and to draw the basic lines of a long-term picture.
    Keywords: industrialization, regional inequality, regional income, economic growth
    JEL: N93 N94 R11
    Date: 2009–09

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