nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2010‒07‒10
fifteen papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Geographical Heterogeneity in Homeownership Rates: Does the Differential between Rent and Ownership Cost Explain Local Variation in Homeownership Rates? By Tsukamoto, Satoshi
  2. British Columbia’s Best Schools: Where Teachers Make the Difference By David Johnson
  3. Expectations-driven cycles in the housing market By Luisa Lambertini; Caterina Mendicino; Maria Teresa Punzi
  4. The relationship between school violence and student proficiency By Severnini, Edson; Firpo, Sergio
  5. Consumption, wealth and credit liberalisation in Australia By David M. Williams
  6. Peer effects and measurement error: the impact of sampling variation in school survey data By John Micklewright; Sylke V. Schnepf; Pedro N. Silva
  7. Do More Decentralized Local Governments do Better? An Evaluation of the 2001 Decentralization Reform in Colombia By Cortés, Darwin
  8. The Impact of Competition on Management Quality: Evidence from Public Hospitals By Nicholas Bloom; Carol Propper; Stephan Seiler; John Van Reenen
  9. Bank lending networks, experience, reputation, and borrowing costs. By Christophe J. Godlewski; Bulat Sanditov; Thierry Burger-Helmchen
  10. The Benefits of Regional Infrastructure Investment in Asia: A Quantitative Exploration By Zhai, Fan
  11. Pecuniary Knowledge Externalities across European Countries – are there leading Sectors? By Agnieszka Gehringer
  12. Cohesion policy in the European Union: Growth, geography, institutions By Thomas Farole; Andrés Rodríguez-Pose; Michael Storper
  13. Spatial Comparisons of Poverty and Inequality in Living Standards in Malawi By Mussa, Richard
  14. The Crime Reducing Effect of Education By Stephen Machin; Olivier Marie; Suncica Vujic
  15. Valuing Liabilities in State and Local Pensions By Alicia H. Munnell; Richard W. Kopcke; Jean-Pierre Aubry; Laura Quinby

  1. By: Tsukamoto, Satoshi
    Abstract: This paper focuses on differentials between rental and owner costs as a primary determinant of local homeownership. In simultaneous equations to estimate the separate effects of owner cost and rent on homeownership rates, the control variables are various household and geographical factors (Census 2000 tract level dataset), in the samples of 48 contiguous states within the United States. The results show negative effects of rental and owner costs on homeownership rates. Ethnicity, income, age, property tax rate and loan usage rates, contribute to increased owner costs. Several factors had significant association with the rise in housing prices before 2006.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Public Economics, D12, H0, R2,
    Date: 2010
  2. By: David Johnson (wilfrid Laurier University)
    Abstract: This study compares student outcomes at British Columbia elementary schools where students come from similar socio-economic backgrounds, thus revealing "good" schools where principals, teachers and staff are making a positive difference to student performance. This alternative means of identifying the best schools in the province shows that there are both public and independent schools among the top performers. The resulting school ratings by percentile are useful not only to parents, but also to teachers, school board administrators and education officials who wish to identify schools whose practices deserve imitation.
    Keywords: Education Papers, British Columbia elementary schools, socio-economic and education environments, Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA)
    JEL: I21 L33 H44 I28 H75
    Date: 2010–06
  3. By: Luisa Lambertini (College of Management); Caterina Mendicino (Banco de Portugal); Maria Teresa Punzi (Banco de Portugal)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes housing market boom-bust cycles driven by changes in households’ expectations. We explore the role of expectations not only on productivity but on several other shocks that originate in the housing market, the credit market and the conduct of monetary policy. We f nd that, in the presence of nominal rigidities, expectations on both the conduct of monetary policy and future productivity can generate housing market boom-bust cycles in accordance with the empirical f ndings. Moreover, expectations of either a future reduction in the policy rate or a temporary increase in the central bank’s inf ation target that are not fulf lled generate a macroeconomic recession. Increased access to credit generates a boom-bust cycle in most variables only if it is expected to be reversed in the near future.
    Keywords: boom-bust cycles, credit frictions, housing market
    JEL: E32 E44 E52
    Date: 2010–07
  4. By: Severnini, Edson; Firpo, Sergio
    Abstract: School violence has recently become a central concern among teachers, students, students' parents andpolicymakers. Violence can induce behaviors on educational agents that go against the goals ofimproving the quality of education and increasing school attendance. In fact, there is evidence thatschool environmental characteristics and student performance and behavior at school are related.Although school violence may have a direct impact on students’ performance, such impact has not yetbeen quantified. In this paper, we investigate this issue using Brazilian data and show that, on average,students who attended more violent schools had worse proficiency on a centralized test carried out bythe Brazilian Ministry of Education, even when we controlled for school, class, teachers and studentcharacteristics. We also show that school violence affects more the students from the bottom of theproficiency distribution. Furthermore, we find out that besides the direct effect on student proficiency,it seems that school violence has an indirect effect on it operating through teacher turnover. Indeed, weshow that the occurrence of violent episodes in a school decreases the probability of a class in thatschool having only one teacher during the academic year, and increases the probability of that classhaving more than one teacher (teacher turnover).
    Date: 2010–07–01
  5. By: David M. Williams
    Abstract: A stable, long run consumption equation is estimated for Australia using quarterly data from 1977(2) to 2008(2). The model incorporates non-property income, income expectations, uncertainty, disaggregated household wealth, demography and, importantly, a relaxation in household credit conditions attributable to financial liberalisation and innovation (FLIB). Over 1977-2008, the log consumption to income ratio rose by around 14 percentage points. The relaxation of households’ downpayment and collateral constraints together boosted the log consumption to income ratio by about 31 percentage points, given the rise in house prices. However, this was offset by around -24 percentage points because of increased indebtedness and -6 percentage points due to higher real interest rates. The remaining rise in the log consumption to income ratio is then attributed to rising optimism in household income expectations, rising illiquid financial wealth, to demographic changes and to short term factors. The indirect effects of FLIB in the model are powerful. Prior to FLIB, intertemporal consumption smoothing is difficult and housing capital gains are inaccessible: there is no “classical” housing wealth effect. Once credit markets are liberalised in the early 1980s however, there is a significant role for variable real interest rates, income expectations and housing collateral as determinants in the long run consumption equation. The estimated long run marginal propensities to consume are around 0.06 for housing assets (post-FLIB), 0.01 for illiquid financial assets and 0.20 for net liquid assets.
    Keywords: Consumption, Household wealth, Financial liberalisation
    JEL: E21 E01 E44
    Date: 2010
  6. By: John Micklewright (Depatment of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.); Sylke V. Schnepf (School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.); Pedro N. Silva (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica and Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute, University of Southampton.)
    Abstract: Investigation of peer effects on achievement with sample survey data on schools may mean that only a random sample of peers is observed for each individual. This generates classical measurement error in peer variables, resulting in the estimated peer group effects in a regression model being biased towards zero under OLS model fitting. We investigate the problem using survey data for England from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) linked to administrative microdata recording information for each PISA sample member's entire year cohort. We calculate a peer group measure based on these complete data and compare its use with a variable based on peers in just the PISA sample. The estimated attenuation bias in peer effect estimates based on the PISA data alone is substantial.
    Keywords: peer effects, measurement error, school surveys, sampling variation
    JEL: C21 C81 I21
    Date: 2010–06–30
  7. By: Cortés, Darwin
    Abstract: In this paper I evaluate the impact of the 2001 decentralization reform in Colombia. I use data from Colombia's municipalities. I look at the effect of the 2001 reform on enrolment in pre-college schools. While all municipalities received earnmarked national transfers, with the reform some of then now have more responsabilities to provide education (deeper decen- tralization) than others. Particulary important, the reform entitle the more decentralized municipalities to sign subsidy contracts with private school. Departments (the regional gov- ernments) are entitle to sign this type of contracts for the less decentralized municipalities. Since the rule for municipalities to receive more responsabilities follows and exogenous popu- lation threshold, I can implement Regression Discontinuity Design. Enrolment is measured through two variables: the number of students enroled in public schools and the number of subsidized students enroled in private schools. Results sugest that more decentralized mu- nicipalities subsidize more students in private schools. The difference is significant at all the levels of pre-college school for the period 2004-2006. In 2005, the difference accounts for 20% of enrolment in private schools and 3% of population of school age. Besides, there are not significant differences among municipalities regarding enrolment in public schools.
    Date: 2010–05–31
  8. By: Nicholas Bloom; Carol Propper; Stephan Seiler; John Van Reenen
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the causal impact of competition on management quality. We analyze thehospital sector where geographic proximity is a key determinant of competition, and English publichospitals where political competition can be used to construct instrumental variables for marketstructure. Since almost all major English hospitals are government run, closing hospitals in areaswhere the governing party has a small majority is rare due to fear of electoral punishment. We findthat management quality - measured using a new survey tool - is strongly correlated with financialand clinical outcomes such as survival rates from emergency heart attack admissions (AMI). Moreimportantly, we find that higher competition (as indicated by a greater number of neighboringhospitals) is positively correlated with increased management quality, and this relationshipstrengthens when we instrument the number of local hospitals with local political competition.Adding another rival hospital increases the index of management quality by one third of a standarddeviation and leads to a 10.7% reduction in heart-attack mortality rates.
    Keywords: management, hospitals, competition, productivity
    JEL: J45 F12 I18 J31
    Date: 2010–05
  9. By: Christophe J. Godlewski; Bulat Sanditov; Thierry Burger-Helmchen
    Abstract: We investigate the network structure of syndicated lending markets and evaluate the impact of lenders’ network centrality, considered as measures of their experience and reputation, on borrowing costs. We show that the market for syndicated loans is a “small world” characterized by large local density and short social distances between lenders. Such a network structure allows for better information and resources flows between banks thus enhancing their social capital. We then show that lenders’ experience and reputation play a significant role in reducing loan spreads and thus increasing borrower’s wealth.
    Keywords: agency costs, bank syndicate, experience, loan syndication, reputation, small world, social network analysis.
    JEL: G21 G24 L14
    Date: 2010
  10. By: Zhai, Fan (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: Capitalizing on recent estimates of infrastructure financing requirements in Asia, this paper frames a scenario for infrastructure development in the region and estimates the external effects of infrastructure investment. It also assesses quantitatively the economy-wide welfare effects of developing regional infrastructure in Asia, using a global computable general equilibrium model. The results show that developing Asian economies would gain significantly from the expansion of regional infrastructure in transport and communication. With annual investment of around US$800 billion in transport, communication, and energy infrastructure during 2010-2020, developing Asia is likely to reap welfare gains of US$1,616.3 billion (in 2008 prices) in 2020, or 10% of projected aggregate gross domestic product.
    Keywords: asian infrastructure financing; asian regional infrastructure; asian infrastructure development
    JEL: C68 F15
    Date: 2010–06–30
  11. By: Agnieszka Gehringer
    Abstract: This paper investigates empirically the occurrence of pecuniary knowledge externalities at the sectoral level across European economies. The main results suggest that, although some sectors can be considered as playing a particularly important role as a source of pecuniary knowledge externalities in the majority of examined countries, there exist significant national differences in the occurrence of these effects. Moreover, such external effects influence the dynamics of total factor productivity in downstream sectors and appear as a relevant source of growth in modern economies. As such, the concept of pecuniary knowledge externalities, as opposed to pure knowledge externalities postulated in the new growth theory, provides a new clue to understanding of the growth process.
    Keywords: pecuniary knowledge externalities, pure knowledge externalities, knowledge production function, intermediate goods transactions
    Date: 2010–06–20
  12. By: Thomas Farole (The World Bank); Andrés Rodríguez-Pose (IMDEA Ciencias Sociales); Michael Storper (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Since the reform of the Structural Funds in 1989, the EU has made the principle of cohesion one of its key policies. Much of the language of European cohesion policy eschews the idea of tradeoffs between efficiency and equity, suggesting it is possible to maximise overall growth whilst also achieving continuous convergence in outcomes and productivity across Europe’s regions. Yet, given the rise in inter-regional disparities, it is unclear that cohesion policy has altered the pathway of development from what would have occurred in the absence of intervention. This paper draws on geographical economics, institutionalist social science, and endogenous growth theory, with the aim of providing a fresh look at cohesion policy. By highlighting a complex set of potential tradeoffs and inter-relations – overall growth and efficiency; inter-territorial equity; territorial democracy and governance capacities; and social equity within places – it revisits the rationale of cohesion policy, with particular attention to the geographical dynamics of economic development.
    Date: 2010–06–25
  13. By: Mussa, Richard
    Abstract: The paper looks at poverty and inequality across areas in Malawi. The focus is on both monetary (consumption) and non monetary (health and education) dimensions of well being. Stochastic poverty dominance tests show that rural areas are poorer in the three dimensions regardless of poverty line chosen. Stochastic inequality dominance tests find that the north and south dominate the centre in health inequality, and there is no dominance between the north and south. With respect to education inequality, dominance is declared for the south-centre pair only. A sub group decomposition analysis finds that the south contributes the most to consumption and education poverty while the centre is the largest contributor to health poverty. We establish that within area inequalities (vertical inequalities) rather than between area inequalities (horizontal inequalities) are the major driver of consumption, health, and education inequality in Malawi.
    Keywords: Poverty; inequality; stochastic dominance; decomposition; Malawi.
    JEL: D30
    Date: 2010–06–26
  14. By: Stephen Machin; Olivier Marie; Suncica Vujic
    Abstract: In this paper, we present evidence on empirical connections between crime and education, usingvarious data sources from Britain. A robust finding is that criminal activity is negatively associatedwith higher levels of education. However, it is essential to ensure that the direction of causation flowsfrom education to crime. Therefore, we identify the effect of education on participation in criminalactivity using changes in compulsory school leaving age laws over time to account for theendogeneity of education. In this causal approach, for property crimes, the negative crime-educationrelationship remains strong and significant. The implications of these findings are unambiguous andclear. They show that improving education can yield significant social benefits and can be a keypolicy tool in the drive to reduce crime.
    Keywords: Crime, education, offenders
    JEL: I2 K42
    Date: 2010–05
  15. By: Alicia H. Munnell; Richard W. Kopcke; Jean-Pierre Aubry; Laura Quinby
    Abstract: To measure the liability of a pension plan requires discounting a stream of promised future benefits to the present. For public sector plans, what discount rate to use in this calculation is a subject of great debate. State and local plans generally follow an actuarial model and discount their liabilities by the long-term yield on the assets held in the pension fund, roughly 8 percent. Most economists contend that the discount rate should reflect the risk associated with the liabilities, and given that benefits are guaranteed under most state laws, the appropriate discount factor is a riskless rate, roughly 5 percent, as discussed below. Thus, the economists’ model would produce much higher liabilities than those currentlyreported on the books of states and localities. The intensity of the debate is fueled by the assumption that the magnitude of the liabilities dictates the size of the funding contribution and even how the pension fund assets should be invested. This brief attempts to separate the question of valuing liabilities from the questions of funding and investment. As background, it explains the current approach to valuing liabilities in the private and public sectors. Second, it discusses why, given their guaranteed status, state and local pension liabilities should be discounted at a riskless rate and shows how much measured liabilities would increase by applying such a rate. Third, it argues that valuing liabilities is only one factor entering the funding calculation, and that using a riskless discount rate does not necessarily mean that contributions should increase immediately.
    Keywords: state and local pensions
    Date: 2010–06

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