nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2011‒05‒07
seventeen papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Increasing Returns in Transportation and the Formation of Hubs By Tomoya Mori
  2. China's Rising Demand for "Green Cities": Evidence from Cross-City Real Estate Price Hedonics By Siqi Zheng; Jing Cao; Matthew E. Kahn
  3. LABOR MOBILITY AND SPATIAL DENSITY By Andersson, Martin; Thulin, Per
  4. Employment in Black Urban Labor Markets: Problems and Solutions By Judith K. Hellerstein; David Neumark
  5. Self-reinforcing effects between housing prices and credit: Evidence from Norway By K. Anundsen, André; S. Jansen, Eilev
  6. Does Government Investment in Local Public Goods Spur Gentrification? Evidence from Beijing By Siqi Zheng; Matthew E. Kahn
  7. Measuring the willingness to pay for houses in a sustainable neighborhood By Tan, Teck Hong
  8. In search of the ‘economic dividend’ of devolution: spatial disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation in the UK By Pike, Andy; Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; Torrisi, Giampiero; Tselios, Vassilis; Tomaney, John
  9. School Breakfast and Lunch Costs: Are There Economies of Scale? By Ollinger, Michael; Ralston, Katherine; Guthrie, Joanne
  10. Is a defaulting mortgage really worthless? By Dr. Ken, Rich
  11. Education outcomes, school governance and parents'demand for accountability : evidence from Albania By Serra, Danila; Barr, Abigail; Packard, Truman
  12. Safe City Free of Violence against Women and Girls Initiative Trivandrum City, Kerala By SAKHI Women's Resource Centre SAKHI
  13. Formation and Persistence of Oppositional Identities By Bisin, Alberto; Patacchini, Eleonora; Verdier, Thierry; Zenou, Yves
  14. Evaluating public per-student subsidies to low-cost private schools : regression-discontinuity evidence from Pakistan By Barrera-Osorio, Felipe; Raju, Dhushyanth
  15. Modeling US Countiesâ Innovation Capacity with a Focus on Natural Amenities By Zhu, Erqian; Kim, Man-Keun; Harris, Thomas R.
  16. Patterns of industrial specialisation in post-Unification Italy By Ciccarelli, Carlo; Proietti, Tommaso
  17. A Test of Racial Bias in Capital Sentencing By Alberto F. Alesina; Eliana La Ferrara

  1. By: Tomoya Mori (Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University)
    Abstract: The spatial structure of transport network is subject to increasing returns in transportation, distance and density economies. Transport costs between locations are thus in general endogenous, and are determined by the interaction between the spatial distribution of transport demand and these increasing returns, although such interdependence has long been ignored in regional models. By using a simple model, the present paper explains the formation of transport hubs endogenously, and shows how the balance of these two types of increasing returns influences the spatial distribution of transport hubs.
    Keywords: Formation of a transport hub, Distance economies of transportation, Density economies of transportation
    JEL: R12 R49
    Date: 2011–04
  2. By: Siqi Zheng; Jing Cao; Matthew E. Kahn
    Abstract: With the decline of the traditional hukou system, migrants in China have a broad set of cities to choose from. Within an open system of cities, compensating differentials theory predicts that local real estate prices will reflect the marginal valuation of non-market local public goods. More polluted cities will feature lower real estate prices. But, local pollution may be caused by booming local industries. To address such endogeneity concerns, we estimate hedonic regressions using an instrumental variable strategy based on “imports” of pollution from nearby sources. By documenting the importance of spatial emissions patterns, our study highlights how real estate prices in one city are affected by Pigouvian externalities originating in another location. On average, a 10% decrease in imported neighbor pollution is associated with a 1.8% increase in local home prices.
    JEL: Q53 R31
    Date: 2011–04
  3. By: Andersson, Martin (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology); Thulin, Per (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on a much cited but seldom measured micro-foundation for agglomerations: inter-firm labor mobility. Labor mobility has been advanced as a vehicle for knowledge flows and labor market efficiency, and is often maintained to be an important source of agglomeration economies. Based on matched employer-employee data, we estimate the influence that spatial employment density has on the probability of inter-firm job-switching, while controlling for ample attributes of each worker and employer. The rate of inter-firm labor mobility varies substantially across regions and we document a systematic and robust positive influence of density on the probability of job switching. The likelihood that such switching is intra-regional is significantly higher if the employees operate in denser regions, verifying that labor mobility (and thus the effects mediated by it) is indeed localized. Higher rates of inter-firm labor mobility appear as a likely mechanism behind the empirically verified productivity advantage of dense regions.
    Keywords: job-switching; inter-firm labor mobility; agglomeration economies; external economies; micro-foundations; density
    JEL: J61 J62 R11 R12
    Date: 2011–04–26
  4. By: Judith K. Hellerstein; David Neumark
    Abstract: Blacks in the United States are poorer than whites and have much lower employment rates. “Place-based” policies seek to improve the labor markets in which blacks – especially low-income urban blacks – tend to reside. We first review the literature on spatial mismatch, which provides much of the basis for place-based policies. New evidence demonstrates an important racial dimension to spatial mismatch, and this “racial mismatch” suggests that simply creating more jobs where blacks live, or moving blacks to where jobs are located, is unlikely to make a major dent in black employment problems. We also discuss new evidence of labor market networks that are to some extent stratified by race, which may help explain racial mismatch. We then turn to evidence on place-based policies. Many of these, such as enterprise zones and Moving to Opportunity (MTO), are largely ineffective in increasing employment, likely because spatial mismatch is not the core problem facing urban blacks, and because, in the case of MTO, the role of labor market networks was weakened. Finally, we discuss policies focused on place that also target incentives and other expenditures on the residents of the targeted locations, which may do more to take advantage of labor market networks.
    JEL: J15 J18 J7
    Date: 2011–04
  5. By: K. Anundsen, André (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo); S. Jansen, Eilev (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: The interaction between housing prices and household borrowing in Norway is estimated in a simultaneous setting in the long and the short run.The long run dependence is analyzed within a cointegrated vector autoregression in real housing prices, real disposable household income and real household debt, conditioning on the real after tax interest rate, the number of house transactions and the volume of housing capital. We identify two cointegrating equations which determine equilibrium housing prices and household debt, respectively. The long run equations are embedded in a system of two error-correction equations which is estimated simultaneously. The model yields meaningful short and long term effects when estimated on the sample 1986q2-2008q4 and impulse responses demonstrate that there are selfreinforcing feedback effects between the two variables of interest.
    Keywords: Housing prices; household borrowing; financial accelerator
    JEL: C32 C52 E44 G21 G28
    Date: 2011–04–28
  6. By: Siqi Zheng; Matthew E. Kahn
    Abstract: In Beijing, the metropolitan government has made enormous place based investments to increase green space and to improve public transit. We examine the gentrification consequences of such public investments. Using unique geocoded real estate and restaurant data, we document that the construction of the Olympic Village and two recent major subway systems have led to increased new housing supply in the vicinity of these areas, higher local prices and an increased quantity of nearby private chain restaurants.
    JEL: H41 Q51 R41
    Date: 2011–04
  7. By: Tan, Teck Hong
    Abstract: This paper determine the responsiveness of the willingness to pay to changes in structural, locational, and neighborhood attributes of housing that incorporate sustainability objectives. In this study, 299 households from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor in Malaysia were interviewed. Results show that housing developers should build the neighborhood that promotes sustainability as house buyers generally are willing to pay more to live in a sustainable neighborhood. In order to build a progressive low carbon economy, the government should create the vision and give policy directions and guidelines that describe all aspects necessary of a sustainable neighborhood.
    Keywords: Sustainable Neighborhood; Sustainability; Willingness to Pay; Malaysia
    JEL: Q56 C42
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Pike, Andy (SERC, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University); Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés (SERC, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and IMDEA Social Sciences Institute); Torrisi, Giampiero (SERC, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University); Tselios, Vassilis (SERC, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University); Tomaney, John (SERC, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and IMDEA Social Sciences Institute)
    Abstract: After a decade of devolution and amid uncertainties about its effects, it is timely to assess and reflect upon the evidence and enduring meaning of any ‘economic dividend’ of devolution in the UK. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach utilising institutionalist and quantitative methods, this paper seeks to discern the nature and extent of any ‘economic dividend’ through a conceptual and empirical analysis of the relationships between spatial disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation. Situating the UK experience within the historical context of its evolving geographical political economy, we find: i) a varied and uneven nature of the relationships between regional disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation that change direction during specific time periods; ii) the role of national economic growth is pivotal in explaining spatial disparities and the nature and extent of their relationship with the particular forms of spatial economic policy and decentralisation deployed; and, iii) there is limited evidence that any ‘economic dividend’ of devolution has emerged but this remains difficult to discern because its likely effects are over-ridden by the role of national economic growth in decisively shaping the pattern of spatial disparities and in determining the scope and effects of spatial economic policy and decentralisation.
    Keywords: Economic dividend; devolution; spatial disparities; spatial economic policy; decentralisation; UK.
    JEL: D53 R51
    Date: 2011–04–28
  9. By: Ollinger, Michael; Ralston, Katherine; Guthrie, Joanne
    Abstract: On a given school day, over 31 million lunches and 10.1 million breakfasts are served to children in participating American schools through the USDA National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The United States Department of Agriculture reimburses schools for some or all of their costs. Reimbursement rates are based on an average meal cost, adjusted each year based on the national CPI for food away from home. There is no adjustment for school characteristics such as size, although there can be as much as a seven-fold difference in the number of meals served, from the smallest to largest schools. Yet, economists have shown that economies of scale exist in a variety of commercial and industrial settings. Thus, we use a multiproduct translog cost function to estimate the costs of school breakfasts and lunches. Results indicate substantial and persistent economies of scale across 21 locations for school breakfasts but few unexploited scale economies in school lunches.
    Keywords: National School Lunch Program, school meal costs, school breakfast costs, School breakfast program, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty,
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Dr. Ken, Rich
    Abstract: A junior lien or mortgage not receiving payments, over and above the value of the property, and sitting behind a first mortgage going to foreclosure can still be worth thousands of dollars if handled right. Donating such a worthless mortgage to a charity (that will accept it) can make a 10-fold difference in how much and how fast you can get from the IRS as a bad debt write off. This treatise ties disjointed parts of the IRS tax code together for your greater benefit.
    Keywords: mortgage; bad debt; foreclosure; default; defaulting; taxes; tax code;; IRS; donation; write off
    JEL: H25 H24 G21
    Date: 2011
  11. By: Serra, Danila; Barr, Abigail; Packard, Truman
    Abstract: The extent to which teachers and school directors are held to account may play a central role in determining education outcomes, particularly in developing and transition countries where institutional deficiencies can distort incentives. This paper investigates the relationship between an expanded set of school inputs, including proxies for the functionality of"top-down"and"bottom-up"accountability systems, and education outputs in Albanian primary schools. The authors use data generated by an original survey of 180 nationally representative schools. The analysis shows a strong negative correlation between measures of top-down accountability and students'rates of grade repetition and failure in final examinations, and a strong positive correlation between measures of top-down accountability and students'excellence in math. Bottom-up accountability measures are correlated to various education outputs, although they tend lose statistical significance once parent characteristics, school resources and top-down accountability indicators are considered. An in-depth analysis of participatory accountability within the schools focuses on parents'willingness to hold teachers to account. Here, the survey data are combined with data from lab-type experiments conducted with parents and teachers in the schools. In general, the survey data highlight problems of limited parental involvement and lack of information about participatory accountability structures. The experiments indicate that the lack of parental participation in the school accountability system is owing to information constraints and weak institutions that allow parent class representatives to be appointed by teachers rather than elected by parents.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Education For All,Primary Education,Teaching and Learning,Secondary Education
    Date: 2011–04–01
  12. By: SAKHI Women's Resource Centre SAKHI
    Abstract: Sakhi Women’s resource centre has been addressing this issue of safety in public spaces of Trivandrum city through surveys, public meeting with officials, and collaborating in the training for bus conductors with the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). URL: []
    Keywords: surveys, trivandrum, city, kerala. public spaces, women, city
    Date: 2011
  13. By: Bisin, Alberto (New York University); Patacchini, Eleonora (La Sapienza University of Rome, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) and CEPR.); Verdier, Thierry (Paris School of Economics (PSE) and CEPR); Zenou, Yves (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: We develop a dynamic model of identity formation that explains why ethnic minorities may choose to adopt oppositional identities (i.e. some individuals may reject or not the dominant culture) and why this behavior may persist over time. We first show that the prevalence of an oppositional culture in the minority group cannot always be sustained in equilibrium. Indeed, because the size of the majority group is larger, there is an “imposed” process of exposition to role models from the majority group that favors the diffusion of mainstream values in the minority community. In spite of this, an oppositional culture in the minority group can nevertheless be sustained in steady-state if there is enough cultural segmentation in terms of role models, or if the size of the minority group is large enough, or if the degree of oppositional identity it implies is high enough. We also demonstrate that the higher the level of harassment and the number of racist individuals in the society, the more likely an oppositional minority culture will emerge. We finally show that ethnic identity and socialization effort can be more intense in mixed rather than segregated neighborhoods.
    Keywords: Ethnicity; role models; peer effects; cultural transmission; racism
    JEL: A14 J15
    Date: 2011–04–26
  14. By: Barrera-Osorio, Felipe; Raju, Dhushyanth
    Abstract: This study estimates the causal effects of a public per-student subsidy program targeted at low-cost private schools in Pakistan on student enrollment and schooling inputs. Program entry is ultimately conditional on achieving a minimum stipulated student pass rate (cutoff) in a standardized academic test. This mechanism for treatment assignment allows the application of regression-discontinuity (RD) methods to estimate program impacts at the cutoff. Data on two rounds of entry test takers (phase 3 and phase 4) are used. Modeling the entry process of phase-4 test takers as a sharp RD design, the authors find evidence of large positive impacts on the number of students, teachers, classrooms, and blackboards. Modeling the entry process of phase-3 test takers as a partially-fuzzy RD design given treatment crossovers, they do not find evidence of significant program impacts on outcomes of interest. The latter finding is likely due to weak identification arising from a small jump in the probability of treatment at the cutoff.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Education For All,Primary Education,Teaching and Learning,Secondary Education
    Date: 2011–04–01
  15. By: Zhu, Erqian; Kim, Man-Keun; Harris, Thomas R.
    Keywords: Innovation Capacity, Natural Amenity, Community/Rural/Urban Development, O31, Q51,
    Date: 2011
  16. By: Ciccarelli, Carlo; Proietti, Tommaso
    Abstract: This paper investigates the patterns of sectoral specialisation in Italian provinces over half a century following the Unification of the country. To this end we propose a multivariate graphical technique named dynamic specialisation biplots. In 1871 specialisation vocations toward the different manufacturing sectors were limited in size and no clear geographical path emerged. A regional specialisation divide resulted clearly in 1911. In 1871 as in 1911 the foodstuffs, the textile, and the engineering sectors represented the three pillars delimiting the arena of the specialisation race. Within that arena, sharp changes in the directions of specialisation trajectories characterise a group of selected Northern provinces, largely attracted by the textile sector from the 1880s and from the engineering sector in the pre-War decade. Within region homogeneity and smooth specialisation trajectories are instead representative of most of the remaining provinces. Among them, Southern provinces exhibit specialisation paths revealing that little more than a composition effect occurred among manufacturing sectors.
    Keywords: manufacturing industry; specilisation; post-Unification Italy
    JEL: N63 N93 L60
    Date: 2011–04–21
  17. By: Alberto F. Alesina; Eliana La Ferrara
    Abstract: This paper proposes a test of racial bias in capital sentencing based upon patterns of judicial errors in lower courts. We model the behavior of the trial court as minimizing a weighted sum of the probability of sentencing an innocent and that of letting a guilty defendant free. We define racial bias as a situation where the relative weight on the two types of errors is a function of defendant and/or victim race. The key prediction of the model is that if the court is unbiased, ex post the error rate should be independent of the combination of defendant and victim race. We test this prediction using an original dataset that contains the race of the defendant and of the victim(s) for all capital appeals that became final between 1973 and 1995. We find robust evidence of bias against minority defendants who killed white victims: In Direct Appeal and Habeas Corpus the probability of error in these cases is 3 and 9 percentage points higher, respectively, than for minority defendants who killed minority victims.
    JEL: K42
    Date: 2011–04

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