nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2011‒03‒19
twenty-six papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. The impact of peer ability and heterogeneity on student achievement: Evidence from a natural experiment By Kiss, David
  2. The Role of Housing Tax Provisions in the 2008 Financial Crisis By Thomas Hemmelgarn; Gaetan Nicodeme; Ernesto Zangari
  3. A Multi-Scalar Analysis of European Cities By Enrico Giovannetti; Francesco Pagliacci
  4. Do Landlords Discriminate in the Rental Housing Market? Evidence from an Internet Field Experiment in U.S. Cities By Andrew Hanson; Zackary Hawley
  5. Are compact cities environmentally friendly? By Gaigné, Carl; Riou, Stéphane; Thisse, Jacques-François
  6. Environmental Performance, Innovation and Regional Spillovers By Massimiliano Mazzanti; Valeria Costantini; Anna Montini
  7. Did Housing Policies Cause the Post-War Boom in Homeownership? A General Equilibrium Analysis By Matthew Chambers; Carlos Garriga; Don E. Schlagenhauf
  8. The Employment Cycles of Neighboring Cities By Wall, Howard J.
  9. Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China By Alpaslan Akay; Olivier Bargain; Klaus F Zimmermann
  10. Statistical inference on regression with spatial dependence By Peter Robinson; Supachoke Thawornkaiwong
  11. Local Spillovers, Convexity and the Strategic Substitutes Property in Networks By Pascal Billand; Christophe Bravard; Sudipta Sarangi
  12. Embedding the drivers of emission efficiency at regional level Analyses of NAMEA data By Massimiliano Mazzanti; Anna Montini
  13. Crime as a Price of Inequality? The Delinquency Gap between Children of Immigrants and Children of Native Swedes By Hällsten, Martin; Sarnecki, Jerzy; Szulkin, Ryszard
  14. Environmental innovations, local networks and internationalization By Giulio Cainelli; Massimiliano Mazzanti; Sandro Montresor
  15. Financing transport infrastrucure projects in Italy: a critical analysis of the main approaches By Laurino, Antonio; Beria, Paolo; Grimaldi, Raffaele
  16. Reverse Electoral Business Cycles and Housing Markets By Canes-Wrone, Brandice; Park, Jee-Kwang
  17. Back to the Future: A Simple Solution to Schelling Segregation By Sylvain Barde
  18. Federal Directives, Local Discretion and the Majority Rule By Antoine Loeper
  19. Track wear-and-tear cost by traffic class: Functional form, zero output levels and marginal cost pricing recovery on the French rail network By Marc Gaudry; Emile Quinet
  20. Do Not Trash the Incentive! Monetary Incentives and Waste Sorting By Alessandro Bucciol; Natalia Montinari; Marco Piovesan
  21. Leaning Against Boom-Bust Cycles in Credit and Housing Prices By Luisa Lambertini; Caterina Mendicino; Maria Teresa Punzi
  22. Keeping up with the Joneses by finding a better-paid job - The effect of relative income on job mobility By Kronenberg, Kristin; Kronenberg, Tobias
  23. Exploring environmental urban policies: a methodological proposal to build a composite indicator measuring urban environmental virtuosity By Ercolano, Salvatore; Romano, Oriana
  24. "Short and Medium-Run Local Effects of Fixed Speed Enforcement Cameras on Accidents : Evidence from the French Case" By Sébastien Roux ; Philippe Zamora
  25. On Integration Policies and Schooling By Alcalde, Jose; Subiza, Begoña
  26. Tougher educational exam leading to worse selection By de Carvalho Andrade, Eduardo; de Castro, Luciano I.

  1. By: Kiss, David
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of peer achievement and variance on math achievement growth. It exploits exogenous variation in peer characteristics generated at the transition to upper-secondary school in a sample of Berlin fifth graders. Parents and schools are barely able to condition their decisions on peer characteristics since classes are newly built up from a large pool of elementary school pupils. I find positive peer effects on achievement growth and no effects for peer variance. Lower-achieving pupils benefit more from abler peers. Results from simulations suggest that pupils are slightly better off in comprehensive than in ability-tracked school systems. --
    Keywords: peer effects in secondary school,comparison between ability-tracked and comprehensive school,natural experiment
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Thomas Hemmelgarn (European Commission); Gaetan Nicodeme (European Commission); Ernesto Zangari (Banca d'Italia)
    Abstract: The 2008 financial crisis is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. It has been characterised by a housing bubble in a context of rapid credit expansion, high risk-taking and exacerbated financial leverage, ending into deleveraging and credit crunch when the bubble burst. This paper discusses the interactions between housing tax provisions and the financial crisis. In particular, it reviews the existing evidence on the links between capital gains taxation of houses, interest mortgage deductibility and characteristics of the crisis.
    Keywords: financial crisis, tax policy, housing, interest deductibility, capital gains
    JEL: E62 G21 H24 H31
    Date: 2011–03
  3. By: Enrico Giovannetti; Francesco Pagliacci
    Abstract: Medium-sized European cities are facing serious problems in terms of the exploitation of local resources (land, water, air). In this article, we observe existing links between sustainable development and cities’ economic and structural features. We adopt a multi-scalar perspective, since the theme of sustainable development involves both urban areas and the wider regions surrounding them. First, we identify clusters of urban areas that are homogenous in structural terms and we then compare these results at different territorial scales. When the sustainable development of the clusters is observed, a clear ‘geography of resource exploitation’ emerges, consistent with both urban economic and environmental indicators. Then, as a possible response to these problems, we suggest a typical tool adopted by planners: that is, polycentrism. Rather than considering it as a simple morphological feature of European urban systems, we look upon it as a possible mode for the governance of networks of medium-sized cities. In the last section of the paper, we analyse the economic and structural drivers that explain potential for polycentric integration
    Keywords: polycentrism; medium-sized cities; sustainable development; cluster analysis;
    JEL: Q01 R10 R58
    Date: 2010–12
  4. By: Andrew Hanson; Zackary Hawley
    Abstract: This paper tests for racial discrimination in the rental housing market using matched pair audits conducted via e-mail for rental units advertised on-line. We reveal home-seekers' race to landlords by sending e-mails from names with a high likelihood of association with either whites or African Americans. Generally, discrimination occurs against African American names; however, when the content of the e-mail messages insinuates home-seekers with high social class, discrimination is non-existent. Racial discrimination is more severe in neighborhoods that are near "tipping points" in racial composition, and for units that are part of a larger building.
    JEL: J15 C93
    Date: 2011–03
  5. By: Gaigné, Carl; Riou, Stéphane; Thisse, Jacques-François
    Abstract: There is a large consensus among international institutions and national governments to favor urban-containment policies - the compact city - as a way to improve the ecological performance of the urban system. This approach overlooks a fundamental fact: what matters for the ecological outcome of cities is the mix between the level of population density and the global pattern of activities. As expected, when both the intercity and intraurban distributions of activities are given, a higher population density makes cities more environmentally friendly. However, once we account for the fact that cities may be either monocentric or polycentric as well as for the possible relocation of activities between cities, the relationship between population density and the ecological performance of cities appears to be much more involved. Indeed, because changes in population density affect land rents and wages, firms and workers are incited to relocate, thus leading to new commuting and shipping patterns. We show that policies favoring the decentralization of jobs may be more environmentally desirable.
    Keywords: cities; commuting costs; greenhouse gas; transport costs; urban-containment policy
    JEL: D61 F12 Q54 Q58 R12
    Date: 2011–03
  6. By: Massimiliano Mazzanti; Valeria Costantini; Anna Montini
    Abstract: The achievement of positive Environmental Performance (EP) at national level could strongly depend on differences in regional features, namely economic specialization, regulation stringency and innovation capabilities of both public institutions and the private business sector. We apply both shift-share and econometric analysis on a new NAMEA available for the 20 Italian Regions, in order to provide evidence of the role played by sector innovation, technological spillovers and regional policies in shaping the geographical distribution of EP. The Italian North-South divide regarding industrial development and productive specialisation patterns seems to affect regional EP. Nonetheless, such pattern presents some interesting differences, revealing a more heterogeneous distribution of emissions, which may reflect the role of other driving forces. In particular, agglomerative effects seem to prevail over purely internal factors - environmental efficiency of neighbouring regions strongly influence the internal EP. This means that together with the clustering of specific sectors into restricted areas as a standard result in regional economics, there is also some convergence in the adoption of cleaner or dirtier production process techniques. Finally, regional technological spillovers seem to play a more effective role in improving environmental efficiency than "sector internal innovation", revealing that accounting for spatial features is crucial to understand the key drivers of EP.
    Keywords: Environmental Performance; Technological Innovation; Regional Spillovers; regional NAMEA
    JEL: Q53 Q55 Q56 R15
    Date: 2011–01–05
  7. By: Matthew Chambers (Department of Economics, Towson University); Carlos Garriga (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis); Don E. Schlagenhauf (Department of Economics, Florida State University)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to understand the sources of the boom in home ownership between 1940 and 1960. The increase over this period was five times larger than the recent episode 1996-2004. In the post-depression period the government opted to intervene and regulate housing finance, provide assistance programs (i.e. through the Veteran Administration), and change tax provision towards housing. The result was a change in the maturity structure of mortgage loans, downpayment requirements and increase of credit. In addition, the economy underwent important changes in the demographic structure, the income distribution. The relative importance of these different driving forces is analyzed using a quantitative general equilibrium overlapping generation model with housing. The parameterized model is consistent with key aggregate and distributional features in the U.S. in 1940. In contrast to the recent episode, income and demographics are the crucial variables in accounting for the increase in homeownership. Essentially, the level and shape of income over the life-cycle are a precondition for the government reforms in housing markets and housing finance to play an important role in generating an increase in the aggregate home ownership. The increase in life expectancy and the shift in the distribution of age cohort also had a significant effect in the demand for housing.
    Keywords: Housing Finance, First-time buyers, life-cycle.
    JEL: E2 E6
    Date: 2011–02
  8. By: Wall, Howard J.
    Abstract: This paper examines the spatial interaction of neighboring cities over their employment cycles. The cycles of neighboring cities tend to be more similar to one another than are those of non-neighboring cities, although this is due primarily to neighbors’ tendency to be in the same state. In addition to these same-state effects, neighborness interacts with industry and human capital in ways that make the cyclical interaction of neighbors different from that of non-neighbors. Specifically, neighboring cities with similar levels of educational attainment and establishment size tend to have more-similar employment cycles, but neighboring cities with similar racial compositions tend to have less-similar employment cycles.
    Keywords: Neighboring cities; employment cycles
    JEL: R10 E32
    Date: 2011–03–07
  9. By: Alpaslan Akay (IZA and University of Gothenburg); Olivier Bargain (University College Dublin and IZA); Klaus F Zimmermann (IZA and Bonn University)
    Abstract: How the income of "relevant others" affects well-being has received renewed interest in the recent literature using subjective data. Migrants constitutes a par- ticularly interesting group to study this question: as they changed environment, they are likely to be concerned by several potential reference groups including the people "left behind", other migrants and "natives". We focus here on the huge population of rural-to-urban migrants in China. We exploit a novel dataset that comprises samples of migrants and urban people living in the same cities, as well as rural households mostly surveyed in the provinces where migrants are coming from. After establishing these links, we find that the well-being of migrants is largely af- fected by relative concerns: results point to negative relative concerns toward other migrants and workers of home regions - this status effect is particularly strong for migrants who wish to settle permanently in cities. We find in contrast a positive relative income effect vis-à-vis the urban reference group, interpreted as a signal effect - larger urban incomes indicate higher income prospects for the migrants. A richer pattern is obtained when sorting migrants according to the duration of stay, expectations to return to home countries and characteristics related to family cir- cumstances, work conditions and community ties.
    Keywords: china, relative concerns, well-being
    Date: 2011–01–01
  10. By: Peter Robinson (Institute for Fiscal Studies and London School of Economics); Supachoke Thawornkaiwong
    Abstract: <p>Central limit theorems are developed for instrumental variables estimates of linear and semiparametric partly linear regression models for spatial data. General forms of spatial dependence and heterogeneity in explanatory variables and unobservable disturbances are permitted. We discuss estimation of the variance matrix, including estimates that are robust to disturbance heteroscedasticity and/or dependence. A Monte Carlo study of finite-sample performance is included. In an empirical example, the estimates and robust and non-robust standard errors are computed from Indian regional data, following tests for spatial correlation in disturbances, and nonparametric regression fitting. Some final comments discuss modifications and extensions.</p>
    Date: 2011–02
  11. By: Pascal Billand (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure de Lyon); Christophe Bravard (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure de Lyon); Sudipta Sarangi (Department of Economics, Louisiana State University - Department of Economics, Louisiana State University)
    Abstract: We provide existence results in a game with local spillovers where the payoff function satisfies both convexity and the strategic substitutes property. We show that there always exists a stable pairwise network in this game, and provide a condition which ensures the existence of pairwise equilibrium networks. Moreover, our existence proof allows us to characterize a pairwise equilibrium of these networks.
    Keywords: networks; existence; spillovers
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Massimiliano Mazzanti; Anna Montini
    Abstract: This paper provides new empirical evidence on regional-national disparities in environmental efficiency, based on analyses of NAMEA data referring to Italy and the Lazio region, where Rome is the main city. Shift-share analyses provide evidence on the drivers of environmental efficiency and on sector specificity. This confirms the usefulness of this method, in order to investigate structural and efficiency factors at the level of within country environmental efficiency performance. Our evidence shows that although the region around Rome has achieved higher environmental performance compared to Italy mainly thank to its being less industry based, some critical points in the energy sector and in some services should be taken into account in shaping the future development of the region. In addition, the use of regional NAMEA for econometric investigations of emission efficiency drivers at national level shows that though north south disparities favour northern and richer regions, in accordance with development oriented dynamics, environmental hot spots driven by specialization and efficiency related issues also appear in some northern industrial regions. Further, the role of public ad private R&D is of main relevance in enhancing emission on economic value ratios.
    Date: 2010–07–01
  13. By: Hällsten, Martin (Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS); Sarnecki, Jerzy (Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS); Szulkin, Ryszard (Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS)
    Abstract: We examine the gap in registered crime between the children of immigrants and the children of native Swedes. Our study is the first in Sweden to address the role of family and environmental background in creating the gap in recorded crimes. Lack of resources within the family and/or in the broader social environment, particularly in neighborhoods and schools, generates higher risks for criminal activity in children, and if the children of immigrants to a larger extent are underprivileged in those resources, a gap in crime may occur. In the empirical analyses we follow all individuals who completed compulsory schooling during the period 1990 to 1993 in the Stockholm Metropolitan area (N=66,330), and we analyze how background factors related to the family of origin and neighborhood segregation during adolescence influence the gap in recorded crimes, which are measured in 2005. For males, we are generally able to explain between half and three-quarters of this gap in crime by parental socioeconomic resources and neighborhood segregation. For females, we can explain even more, sometimes the entire gap. Resources in the family of origin appear to be the strongest mediator. In addition, the residual differences are virtually unrelated to immigrants’ country of origin, indicating that ‘culture’ or other shared context-of-exit factors matter very little in generating the gap.
    Keywords: crime; inequality; children of immigrants
    JEL: I30 J10 K14
    Date: 2011–03–09
  14. By: Giulio Cainelli; Massimiliano Mazzanti; Sandro Montresor
    Abstract: This paper investigates the drivers of the environmental innovations (EI) introduced by firms in local production systems (LPS). The role of firm network relationships, agglomeration economies and internationalization strategies is analysed for a sample of 555 firms in the Emilia-Romagna region, North-East of Italy. Cooperating with 'qualified' local actors - i.e. universities and suppliers - is the most important driver of EI for most firms, along with their training policies and IT innovations. The role of agglomeration economies is less clear and seems to depend on the EI propensity of more locally oriented firms playing in district areas, which might even turn agglomeration into dis-economies. Networking effects and agglomeration economies are instead found to strongly promote the adoption of EI by multinational firms, thus highlighting the importance of local-global interactions. We provide some interesting findings for particular kinds of challenging EI in fields as CO2 abatement and ISO labelling, generally extending the analysis EI driver by joining local and international factors.
    Keywords: Eco-innovation; foreign ownership; networking; district; agglomeration economics; local production systems
    JEL: C21 L60 O13 O30 Q20 Q58 F23
    Date: 2011–01–03
  15. By: Laurino, Antonio; Beria, Paolo; Grimaldi, Raffaele
    Abstract: This paper aims at analysing the methodology used for financing large infrastructure projects in Italy. In particular, it focuses on the Italian highway sector, where in the last years many projects have been launched using new financial instruments. The paper discusses three of these “instruments”. The first one is the Project Financing, discussed starting from a general review, analyzing also the different typologies used, the risks involved and their allocation among the various subjects that take part in the PF mechanism. A special case concerns the recently introduced model used for the Italian highways, known as “PF with takeover compensation”. There are two other important mechanisms used for financing infrastructure projects in Italy: the exploitation of road demand rigidity and the spreading of the investment over the entire network, favouring larger concessions. We conclude that all these three mechanisms present deep flaws in terms of transparency and of contradiction with economic feasibility criteria (that have to dominate the public investment rationale).
    Keywords: transport; investment; infrastructure; project financing; highway.
    JEL: H54 E62 L43 L33
    Date: 2010–04
  16. By: Canes-Wrone, Brandice (Princeton University); Park, Jee-Kwang (Princeton University)
    Abstract: We argue that the political uncertainty generated by elections encourages private actors to delay investments that entail high costs of reversal, creating a pre-election decline in economic activity entitled a "reverse electoral business cycle." This incentive for delay becomes greater as policy differences between parties/candidates increase. Using new survey and observational data from the United States, we test these arguments. The individual-level analysis assesses whether respondents' perceptions of presidential candidates' policy differences increased the likelihood of postponing certain actions and purchases. For one of these items, housing, we collected observational data to examine whether electoral cycles indeed induce a pre-election decline in economic activity. The findings support the predictions and cannot be explained by existing theories of political business cycles.
    Date: 2010–09
  17. By: Sylvain Barde
    Abstract: The maximum entropy methodology is applied to the Schelling model of urban segregation in order to obtain a reliable prediction of the stable configuration of the system without resorting to numerical simulations. We show that this approach also provides an implicit equation describing the distribution of agents over a city which allows for directly assessing the effect of model parameters on the solution. Finally, we discuss the information theoretic motivation for applying this methodology to the Schelling model, and show that it effectively rests on the presence of a potential function, suggesting a broader applicability of the methodology.
    Keywords: Information theoretic measure; potential function; Schelling segregation model
    JEL: C11 C63 D80 J15
    Date: 2011–02
  18. By: Antoine Loeper
    Abstract: We consider a federation in which citizens determine by federal majority rule a discretionary policy space which partially restricts the sovereignty of member states. Citizens first vote on the size of the discretionary space (the degree of local discretion), and then on its location on the policy space (the federal directive). Finally, each state votes on its respective policy within the discretionary space. This federal mechanism allows voters to express directly their trade-o¤ between flexibility and policy harmonization. We show that at the voting equilibrium, the federal directive is negatively sensitive to the preferences of nonmedian voters. Moreover, the degree of local discretion is too limited and insufficiently sensitive to the magnitude of externalities. Hence, the model shows that inadequate and excessively rigid federal interventions can emerge from a neutral and democratic decision process without agency costs or informational imperfections.
    Keywords: Federalism, Local Discretion, Directive, Partial Decentralization, Majority rule. JEL Classification Numbers: H77, D72
    Date: 2010–12
  19. By: Marc Gaudry (AJD - Agora Jules Dupuit - Université de Montréal - Département de sciences économiques, DEST - INRETS - Département économie et sociologie des transports - Institut national de recherche sur les transports et leur sécurité - INRETS); Emile Quinet (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris)
    Abstract: We address the issue of the allocation of railway track maintenance (wear-and-tear) costs to traffic output classes and consider a very general function relating maintenance cost C to a set of technical production characteristics K used to produce traffic output vector T. We neglect other rail cost categories, such as traffic control and track renewal. The data base pertains to over 1500 sections of the French rail infrastructure in 1999, representing about 90% of the total network of 30000 km of lines in regular service. In addition to the maintenance cost C, it provides by track section 15 technical characteristics (both state S and quality Q) and 4 train traffic outputs T. Input prices, assumed to be uniform in space, disappear from the analysis, as in other national cross-sectional cases. With database subsets of approximately 1000 observations, several functional forms are tested: Linear, Log-Log, trans-Log and generalized Box-Cox. All are embedded in an unrestricted extension (U-GBC) of Khaled's seminal restricted generalized Box-Cox (R-GBC) functional specification. The U-GBC architecture, compared with its 4 principal nested variants, turns out to be by far the most appropriate, in particular when some observed zero traffic sample values are included - an issue rather neglected previously in the literature. It appears that several technical characteristics, such as maximum allowed speed and number of switches, are highly significant maintenance cost factors, which gives a hint that derived marginal costs are short term; also, the relation between maintenance costs and traffic is non linear and differs significantly by train category. Implications of different specifications for marginal infrastructure cost charges by traffic type are outlined.
    Keywords: rail track wear-and-tear ; cost function ; CES ; trans-Log ; generalized Box-Cox ; zero sample values ; maintenance cost allocation by traffic class ; marginal cost by traffic class ; power axle weight damage laws ; cross-sectional data ; rail line sections ; France ; marginal cost pricing
    Date: 2011–03–09
  20. By: Alessandro Bucciol (University of Verona; University of Amsterdam); Natalia Montinari (Max Planck Institute of Economics.); Marco Piovesan (Harvard Business School)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether monetary incentives are an effective tool for increasing domestic waste sorting. We exploit the exogenous variation in the pricing systems experienced during the 1999-2008 decade by the 95 municipalities in the district of Treviso (Italy). We estimate with a panel analysis that pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) incentive-based schemes increase by 12.2% the ratio of sorted to total waste. This increase reflects a change in the behavior of households, who keep unaltered the production of total waste but sort it to a larger extent. In addition, we show that several factors that may discourage local administrators from adopting PAYT - illegal dumping and higher cost of management - are not important at the aggregate level. Hence, our results support the use of PAYT as an effective tool to increase waste sorting.
    Keywords: Incentives, waste management, PAYT.
    JEL: D01 D78 Q53
    Date: 2011–03
  21. By: Luisa Lambertini (EPFL); Caterina Mendicino (Bank of Portugal); Maria Teresa Punzi (Central Bank of Ecuador)
    Abstract: This paper studies the potential gains of monetary and macro-prudential policies that lean against news-driven boom-bust cycles in housing prices and credit generated by expectations of future macroeconomic developments. First, we find no trade-off between the traditional goals of monetary policy and leaning against boom-bust cycles. An interest-rate rule that completely stabilizes inflation is not optimal. In contrast, an interest-rate rule that responds to financial variables mitigates macroeconomic and financial cycles and is welfare improving relative to the estimated rule. Second, counter-cyclical Loan-to-Value rules that respond to credit growth do not increase in ation volatility and are more effective in maintaining a stable provision of financial intermediation than interest-rate rules that respond to financial variables. Heterogeneity in the welfare implications for borrowers and savers make it dicult to rank the two policy frameworks.
    Date: 2011
  22. By: Kronenberg, Kristin; Kronenberg, Tobias
    Abstract: It has been shown that a person’s relative income – compared to a reference group – has a negative impact on self-reported happiness. This suggests that people who aim at increasing their happiness should try to find a better-paid job if their relative income is low. In this paper we study this hypothesis by estimating the effect of relative income on job mobility, using a dataset containing information on roughly four million Dutch employees. We consider three different reference groups: people who live in the same neighborhood, people who work for the same employer, and people who share certain demographic characteristics. Our findings suggest that workers compare their own income to that of their neighbors, and low relative income is associated with higher job mobility. We conclude that low relative income (compared to the neighbors) reduces workers’ happiness, and workers react to this by finding a new job which may offer the prospect of higher pay.
    Keywords: Relative income; job mobility; happiness; social status
    JEL: J62 D10 R23
    Date: 2011–03–08
  23. By: Ercolano, Salvatore; Romano, Oriana
    Abstract: Synthesizing the complex phenomenon of “environment” into a single indicator could leads to a loss of information, which inhibit his use as a reference for the resolution of several issues such as, for example, the allocation of resources. On the other hand it allows to represent the overall environmental performance of cities and to highlight relationships between different sectors. We consider “process oriented” variables instead of aggregated and “outcome oriented” ones, generally used to measure environmental sustainability strictu sensu. In this sense we refers specifically to the concept of “environmental virtuosity”, that allows to rank statistical units (i.e. Italian main municipalities), considering their policy efforts for improving urban environmental quality. Generally an indicator of environmental quality should combine partial information to summarize the main subject. This paper proposes to measure urban environmental virtuosity by multivariate analysis, following OECD (2008) procedure. This methodology will try to overcome the main methodological issues in building up indicators, consisting in the choice of weights and in the common practice of simply adding sub-indicators.
    Keywords: Composite indicators; multivariate analysis; environmental policies
    JEL: Q5 R38
    Date: 2011–01–31
  24. By: Sébastien Roux ; Philippe Zamora (Crest)
    Keywords: optimal matching
    Date: 2011–01
  25. By: Alcalde, Jose; Subiza, Begoña
    Abstract: This paper proposes a reform for school allocation procedures in order to help integration policies reach their objective. For this purpose, we suggest the use of a natural two-step mechanism. The (stable) first step is introduced as an adaptation of the deferred-acceptance algorithm designed by Gale and Shapley (1962), when students are divided into two groups. The (efficient) second step captures the idea of exchanging places inherent to Gale's Top Trading Cycle. This latter step could be useful for Municipal School Boards when implementing some integration policies.
    Keywords: Integration Policy; School Allocation; Affirmative Action
    JEL: I28 J18 C72
    Date: 2011–02–24
  26. By: de Carvalho Andrade, Eduardo; de Castro, Luciano I.
    Abstract: A parallel of education with transformative processes in standard markets suggest that a more severe control of the quality of the output will improve the overall quality of the education. This paper shows a somehow counterintuitive result: an increase in the exam difficulty may reduce the average quality (productivity) of selected individuals. Since the exam does not verify all skills, when its standard rises, candidates with relatively low skills emphasized in the test and high skills demanded in the job may no longer qualify. Hence, an increase in the testing standard may be counterproductive. One implication is that policies should emphasize alignment between the skills tested and those required in the actual jobs, rather than increase exams' difficulties. --
    Keywords: school standards,signaling model,cognitive skills,non-cognitive skills
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2011

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