nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2012‒04‒10
twenty-two papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Do New Sports Facilities Revitalize Urban Neighborhoods? Evidence from Residential Mortgage Applications By Huang, Haifang; Humphreys, Brad
  2. Did affordable housing legislation contribute to the subprime securities boom? By Rubén Hernández-Murillo; Andra C. Ghent; Michael T. Owyang
  3. Assessing agglomeration economies in the Yangzi River Delta, China : a bayesian spatial econometric approach By Hashiguchi, Yoshihiro; Chen, Kuang-hui
  4. The supply side of the housing boom and bust of the 2000s By Andrew Haughwout; Richard W. Peach; John Sporn; Joseph Tracy
  5. Mortgage Rate and the Choice of Mortgage Length: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Chinese Transaction-level Data By Guoying Deng; Zhigang Li; Guangliang Ye
  6. What Drives the Urban Wage Premium? Evidence along the Wage Distribution By Alessia Matano; Paolo Naticchioni
  7. Heterogeneity in urban freight policy impact: own-account agents in Rome's LTZ By Edoardo Marcucci; Amanda Stathopoulos
  8. School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools By Esther Duflo; Pascaline Dupas; Michael Kremer
  9. Bottom-up or top-down: which is the best approach to improve CSR and sustainability in local contexts? Reflections from Italian experiences. By Mara Del Baldo; Paola Demartini
  10. The Strategic Location of Regional Headquarters for Multinationals in Africa By John M. Luiz; Busi Radebe
  11. The Evolution of the Black-White Test Score Gap in Grades K-3: The Fragility of Results By Timothy N. Bond; Kevin Lang
  12. Urban Transportation Infrastructure and Poverty Reduction: Delhi Metro's Impact on the Cycle Rickshaw Rental Market By Kurosaki, Takashi
  13. Do natural disasters decrease the gender gap in schooling? By Yoshito Takasaki
  14. Price patterns resulting from different producer behavior in spatial equilibrium. By Mathiesen, Lars
  15. Strategic Investment, Industry Concentration and the Cross Section of Returns By Maria Cecillia Bustamante
  16. The Willingness to Pay to Reduce School Bullying By Svensson, Mikael; Persson, Mattias
  17. The Effect of Physician Fees and Density Differences on Regional Variation in Hospital Treatments By Rudy Douven; Remco Mocking
  18. Timing and Determinants of Local Residential Broadband Adoption: Evidence from Ireland By Lyons, Seán
  19. Driving competition in local gasoline markets By Jordi Perdiguero; Joan-Ramon Borrell
  20. Geographic and Racial Variation in Premature Mortality in the US: Analyzing the Disparities By Mark R. Cullen; Clint Cummins; Victor R. Fuchs
  21. Utilitarianism and Discrimination By Alon Harel; Uzi Segal
  22. Improved Estimates of Using Luminosity as a Proxy for Economic Statistics: New Results and Estimates of Precision By William D. Nordhaus; Xi Chen

  1. By: Huang, Haifang (University of Alberta, Department of Economics); Humphreys, Brad (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Using data from 56 professional sports facilities opened between 1995 and 2008, we find what at first appears to be a substantial neighborhood revitalization effect: the opening of a facility is associated with an increase in mortgage applications to purchase homes located in the neighborhood of about 20%, compared to those in the rest of the metropolitan area. A closer examination shows that much of the differential is due to the non-randomness of facility location. The new facilities locate in poor urban areas, which grew faster over the sample period even if they were not near a new facility, perhaps because of increasing access to mortgage credit by low-income urban populations. Based on a series of regressions using census-tract level data, we find that conditioning on local income and poverty rates, under which poorer census tracts grow faster regardless of their locations, reduces the “revitalization” effect by more than a half, suggesting that characteristics of locations drive much the increase on mortgage applications associated with new sports facilities.
    Keywords: sports facilities; urban redevelopment; residential mortgage applications
    JEL: L83 O18 R21 R23 R38
    Date: 2012–03–20
  2. By: Rubén Hernández-Murillo; Andra C. Ghent; Michael T. Owyang
    Abstract: No. In this paper we use a regression discontinuity approach to investigate whether affordable housing policies influenced origination or affected prices of subprime mortgages. We use merged loan-level data on non-prime securitized mortgages with individual- and neighborhood-level data for California and Florida. We find no evidence that lenders increased subprime originations or altered pricing around the discrete eligibility cutoffs for the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) affordable housing goals or the Community Reinvestment Act. Our results indicate that the extensive purchases of risky private-label mortgage-backed securities by the GSEs were not due to affordable housing mandates.
    Keywords: Subprime mortgage ; Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 ; Government-sponsored enterprises
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Hashiguchi, Yoshihiro; Chen, Kuang-hui
    Abstract: This paper estimates the magnitude of agglomeration economies in the Yangzi River Delta, China, by using the empirical model proposed by Chen and Hashiguchi (2010). The model is an extension of the Ciccone-Hall model (Ciccone and Hall 1996), and enables us to take into account both the endogeneity problem and spatial autocorrelation without instrumental variables in the estimation. County-level data for Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang in 2009 and Bayesian methods are used to estimate the model. As a result, the magnitude is found to be insignificant. This indicates that the effect of agglomeration economies is very weak in this area, and so regional development policies for enhancing the interaction among firms and the linkage between industries are required to increase the benefit of agglomeration.
    Keywords: China, Local economy, Econometric model, Agglomeration economies, Spatial autocorrelation, Endogeneity, Bayesian estimation
    JEL: C21 C51 R10 R11 R15
    Date: 2012–03
  4. By: Andrew Haughwout; Richard W. Peach; John Sporn; Joseph Tracy
    Abstract: The boom and subsequent bust in housing construction and prices over the 2000s is widely regarded as a principal contributor to the Financial Panic of 2007 and the subsequent Great Recession. As of this writing, housing market activity remains at depressed levels as the economy slowly resolves the legacy of excess supply and sharply lower prices. Over 2.6 million foreclosures have been completed since 2008 and 1.9 million foreclosures are in process. Much has been written about the demand side of this pronounced housing cycle, in particular, the innovations in mortgage finance and the loosening of underwriting standards that greatly expanded the pool of potential homebuyers. In this paper, we take a closer look at developments on the supply side of the housing market. Following a short literature review, we begin with a descriptive review of housing production, sales, and prices at the national, regional, and state levels. We then look at developments in the homebuilding industry over this period. We also take a closer look at land markets using a quarterly price index for metropolitan statistical areas with both elastic and inelastic housing supplies across the United States. An important question is to what extent the supply side of the market contributed to the boom/bust dynamics. A second question is whether the significant changes in the industrial organization of the homebuilding industry exacerbated or ameliorated this supply impact.
    Keywords: Supply-side economics ; Housing - Prices ; Construction industry
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Guoying Deng; Zhigang Li; Guangliang Ye
    Abstract: Utilizing a large transaction-level dataset on housing mortgages in China, this study estimates the effect of the mortgage rate spread between long- and short-term loans on property purchasers’ choice of loan length. Our identification of the causal effect of this spread on loan length hinges on a unique institutional feature of China, that is, its “dual-track†mortgage scheme. We observe two types of mortgagors in this setting: “normal†mortgagors who face floating mortgage rates spread and “special mortgagors†who are entitled to a fixed mortgage rate spread. Using the latter as a comparison group to address the confounding effects of omitted factors, we find that the change in interest rates significantly affects the mortgage decisions of normal mortgagors. When the prime mortgage rate spread increases by 10 basis points, the likelihood of such a mortgagor choosing a shortterm loan increases by 8.4 percent.
    Keywords: Mortgage rates; Loan decision; Quasi-experiment; China housing market
    JEL: E58 R21 R28
    Date: 2012–01
  6. By: Alessia Matano; Paolo Naticchioni (Sapienza University of Rome Italy.)
    Abstract: This paper aims at disentangling the role played by different theoretical explanations in accounting for the urban wage premium along the wage distribution. We analyze the wage dynamics of migrants from low-to-high-density areas in Italy, using quantile regression and individual panel data to control for the sorting of workers. The results show that skilled workers enjoy a higher wage premium when they migrate (wage level effect), in line with the agglomeration externalities explanation, while unskilled workers benefit more from a wage premium accruing over time (wage growth effect). Further, investigating the determinants of the wage growth effect in greater depth, we find that for unskilled workers the wage growth is mainly due to human capital accumulation over time, consistently with the “learning” hypothesis, while for skilled workers it is the “coordination” hypothesis that matters.
    Keywords: Urban Wage Premium, Human Capital, Spatial Sorting, Wage Distribution, Quantile Fixed Effects
    JEL: J31 J61 R23
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Edoardo Marcucci (DIPES/CREI, University of Roma Tre); Amanda Stathopoulos (EPFL, Lausanne/CREI, University of Roma Tre)
    Abstract: Urban freight policy-making aims to improve the efficiency of freight movement in cities. Importantly, contemplated policies impact on complex pre-existent relationships among various agents operating in the distribution chain. The most relevant operators to study are: retailers, transport providers and own-account. There is a lack of knowledge concerning the specificities of these agent-types behaviour that calls for a more detailed analysis at the agent-specific level. This paper focuses on Urban Freight Transport (UFT) where an agent-specific policy analysis is carried out with specific attention to own account agents. Own account is, in fact, among the least studied agent-types in this context. This lack of attention is mainly due to the difficulty in acquiring data concerning their preferences and also to the widely accepted presumption concerning their relative inefficiency often giving rise to highly penalizing policies specifically aimed at this group. The empirical results reported are derived from a study conducted in the limited traffic zone (LTZ) in Rome's city centre in 2009. The analysis is based on a highly detailed and representative data set. This include both general information on the specific respondent involved along with company characteristics as well as stated ranking exercises (SRE) where interviewees are presented with alternative policy scenarios and asked to rank them according to their preference structure. The paper reports on the specific preference structure for own account operators. The paper proposes a systematic comparison, via WTP/WTA measures, between the potentially inaccurate estimates deriving from a simplistic analysis of preferences and those originating from an advanced treatment of preference heterogeneity. These considerations are prodromal to potentially distorted policy forecasts that, in turn, would be fed into micro simulation models to evaluate policy impacts. Various forms of heterogeneity are explored. The data allow the analysis, among other socioeconomic characteristics, of the impact that belonging to specific macro-freight-sectors has on the attributes used in the SRE. Furthermore, adopting a latent class (LC) specification, we test for the presence of respondent clusters in evaluating the policy mix considered for implementation. The paper addresses methodologically innovative issues; uses a new, detailed and significant data set; discusses a policy relevant issue and produces useful information from a policy-making perspective. The quantification of WTP and WTA measures for possible policies to be implemented provides an important benchmark both for policy makers as well as for researchers in this sector.
    Keywords: freight operators; own-account; preference heterogeneity, limited traffic zone.
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Esther Duflo; Pascaline Dupas; Michael Kremer
    Abstract: We examine a program that enabled Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) in Kenya to hire novice teachers on short-term contracts, reducing class sizes in grade one from 82 to 44 on average. PTA teachers earned approximately one-quarter as much as teachers operating under central government civil-service institutions but were absent one day per week less and their students learned more. In the weak institutional environment we study, civil-service teachers responded to the program along two margins: first, they reduced their effort in response to the drop in the pupil-teacher ratio, and second, they influenced PTA committees to hire their relatives. Both effects reduced the educational impact of the program. A governance program that empowered parents within PTAs mitigated both effects. Better performing contract teachers are more likely to transition into civil-service positions and we estimate large potential dynamic benefits of contract teacher programs on the teacher workforce.
    JEL: D71 I21 M51 O15
    Date: 2012–03
  9. By: Mara Del Baldo (Department of Economics, Society & Politics, Università di Urbino "Carlo Bo"); Paola Demartini (Department of Management and Law, University of Rome 3, Italy)
    Abstract: This paper reflects on the theme of sustainability and territorial social responsibility, which, in this context, is defined as a pathway promoted by a plurality of public and private actors, forand non-profit, who find that social cohesion and the relationships that are cultivated in the place from which these diverse “protagonists” come, are the drivers in the construction of shared territorial governance. The efficacy of such processes in the local context (communal, provincial and regional) is predicated on the culture and on the values that the diverse, networked stakeholders-actors accumulate in their territory (meso level). In developing this theme, the paper is divided into several parts. The first part describes the theoretical context, which is illustrated by an enumeration of experiences realized at the local level in Italy. We then focus our analysis on the experience of territorial governance promoted in the Marches Region. This project was selected as a case study because it is emblematic of the Italian context; the territory is characterized by the diffuse presence of small businesses in the socio-economic fabric and by the proactive role of the local government. The case allows us to evaluate this paper’s fundamental proposition, that the policies of the European Commission and the Government of Italy for promoting Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability are not concretely effective when they are not fostered by regional authorities together with local private actors. Furthermore, public initiatives, to be effective, should take into consideration the influence of local culture, the social milieu, and economic factors shaping the environment in which public-private networks arise.
    Keywords: Regional CSR and sustainability oriented network, Territorial responsibility, Territorial governance.
    JEL: M14 G34
    Date: 2012
  10. By: John M. Luiz; Busi Radebe
    Abstract: >The study investigates the criteria used by multinational companies to identify the locations of their African regional headquarters (RHQs) and the importance that multinational companies assign to the respective regional offices. We find that multinationals do assign value to their RHQs but are always aiming to strike a balance between local responsiveness and global integration. The power of standardization and the introduction of relevant controls have allowed multinational companies to operate as a coherent unit in the different markets where they operate. The dominant criteria used by MNEs to choose their locations for RHQs in Africa are linked to the advantages of agglomeration and the accompanying economies of scale, and a sound institutional framework which provides a predictable business climate. Distance has become less important
    Keywords: FDI and the MNE; Africa; Regional Headquarters; MNEHost Country Relations, Strategic decision making in MNEs
    JEL: F23 O55
    Date: 2012
  11. By: Timothy N. Bond; Kevin Lang
    Abstract: Although both economists and psychometricians typically treat them as interval scales, test scores are reported using ordinal scales. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey, we examine the effect of order-preserving scale transformations on the evolution of the black-white reading test score gap from kindergarten entry through third grade. Plausible transformations reverse the growth of the gap in the CNLSY and greatly mitigate it in the ECLS-K during early school years. All growth from entry through first grade and a nontrivial proportion from first to third grade probably reflects scaling decisions.
    JEL: C18 I24 J15
    Date: 2012–03
  12. By: Kurosaki, Takashi
    Abstract: Based on a primary survey of cycle rickshaw pullers and rickshaw owners in Delhi, India, this paper estimates the causal impact of the opening and extension of Delhi Metro on the rental rates of cycle rickshaws. The cycle rickshaw rental market provides employment opportunities for unskilled, assetless workers who have migrated from rural areas because of poverty. A change in this market is thus expected to affect urban and rural poverty. Controlling for unobservable area characteristics using house tax information, we identify the causal impact depending on when Metro stations opened over the past decade. The regression results indicate that of the 1.6 percentage point increase in rental rates per km associated with a reduction in distance to a Metro station, approximately 1.0 point is attributable to the causal effect. Thus, Delhi Metro has increased the demand for cycle rickshaw services, which is a pro-poor consequence of the infrastructural investment.
    Keywords: urban poverty, migration, infrastructure, informal sector
    JEL: O18 O17 R23
    Date: 2012–03
  13. By: Yoshito Takasaki
    Abstract: Rapidly decreasing gender gaps in schooling in developing countries can be a result of a gendered division of child farm labor as a coping response to increased natural disasters. This paper makes a case for this conjecture by analyzing original household survey data from rural Fiji. Boys, not girls, contribute to farming only among cyclone victims with dwelling damage, independent of housing aid receipt. Boys' school enrollment is significantly lower than girls' only among victims who did not receive aid early enough. Boys with no elder brother and an educated father are particularly vulnerable in their progression to higher-level schools.
    Date: 2012–03
  14. By: Mathiesen, Lars (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: We are concerned with economic analyses of markets from the perspective of supporting a decision maker selling in the market. The competitive pressure and the price formation are central issues. The goal of this paper is to highlight the remarkably different price patterns obtained from different modes of seller behavior in a spatial market. This is exemplified by models of price taking versus the oligopolistic Cournot mode of behavior. Although a particular market, namely the European market for natural gas is used for illustration, the insights from this exercise apply to any industry where suppliers have market power, their locations differ, and their costs of supplying individual segments of the market are non-negligible and differ. When market power is present and one seeks insight into competition and price formation, details in other dimensions cannot compensate for not modeling the exertion of market power.
    Keywords: Price formation; Spatial market; Market power.
    JEL: C68 D41 D43 L11 L13
    Date: 2012–04–02
  15. By: Maria Cecillia Bustamante
    Abstract: This paper provides an alternative real options framework to assess how firms strategic interaction under imperfect competition a¤ects the industrial dynamics of investment, concentration, and expected returns. When firms have similar production technologies, the cross sectional variation in expected returns is low, firms investments are more synchronized, .rms. expected returns co-move positively, and the industry is less concentrated. Conversely, in more heterogeneous industries, the cross sectional variation in expected returns is high, there are leaders and followers whose expected returns co-move negatively, and the industry is more concentrated. The model rationalizes several empirical facts, including: (i) that firms returns co-move more positively in less concentrated industries; (ii) that booms and busts in industry returns are more pronounced in less concentrated industries; and (iii) that less concentrated industries earn higher returns on average.
    Date: 2011–06
  16. By: Svensson, Mikael (Dept. of Economics); Persson, Mattias (Örebro University)
    Abstract: We use a discrete choice experiment conducted in Sweden to elicit the willingness to pay (WTP) to reduce school bullying. The estimations indicate a mean marginal WTP of 5.95 to 8.48 Swedish kronor (€0.66 to €0.95), which implies that the aggregate WTP for each reduced statistical victim of bullying (the value of a statistical bullying-victim - VSBV) is 585,090 to 835,280 Swedish kronor (€65,446 to €93,431). The results may be used to conduct economic evaluations of antibullying programs, with an example shown in this paper, and provide policymakers with useful information on taxpayers’ preferred allocations to antibullying programs
    Keywords: Willingness to Pay; Discrete Choice Experiment; Bullying; School; Adolescents
    JEL: D61 I12 I21
    Date: 2012–04–02
  17. By: Rudy Douven; Remco Mocking
    Abstract: <p>We use a panel data set of about 1.7 million hospital records in 4,000 Dutch zip code regions for the years 2006-2009. We estimate the effect of physician fees and physician density on regional variation in hospital care for nine different treatments.</p><p>Our results show that a 1 percent increase in the total number of physicians, if these extra physicians are all paid according to an output-based reimbursement scheme, would increase the number of treatments on average by 0.40 percent. For salaried physicians we find a significantly lower average effect of 0.15 percent. We find no or weak effects for hip fractures, which is included in the analysis as a control treatment. Our data allows us to deal with reverse causality, excess demand, border crossing, and availability effects. Our findings lend support to the existence of supplier induced demand for the majority of the analyzed treatments.</p>
    Date: 2012–03
  18. By: Lyons, Seán
    Abstract: This article examines the time path of broadband adoption for households in areas that are offered broadband service for the first time and the socioeconomic characteristics of broadband users generally. Using cross-sectional data on broadband take-up and socioeconomic characteristics of small areas in Ireland, linked to GIS data on ADSL availability over time, I find that local penetration growth rates are elevated immediately after service is offered. Local growth rates then decline towards the national average, reaching it after about 3.5 years. The article also includes estimates of the effect of various household characteristics on adoption, finding effects broadly consistent with previous literature. Simultaneity in demand and supply are addressed using 2SLS regression.
    Keywords: Ireland/data/growth/regression
    Date: 2012–03
  19. By: Jordi Perdiguero (Dept. de Política Econòmica. Grup de Recerca en Governs i Mercats (GiM). Institut d’Economia Aplicada (IREA). Universitat de Barcelona. Spain); Joan-Ramon Borrell (Dept. de Política Econòmica. Grup de Recerca en Governs i Mercats (GiM). Institut d’Economia Aplicada (IREA). Universitat de Barcelona. Spain)
    Abstract: Relevant market definition is still a key element of economic analysis of competition in the gasoline market. It is particularly difficult to handle when competition is local and market power is geographically constrained like is the case in the gasoline market. We analyse how the application of the hypothetical monopolist or Small but Significant Non-Transitory Increase in Prices (SSNIP) test performs for defining isochrones using only information on prices and distance among competitors. We conclude that geographic information systems can be very successfully used to define more precisely relevant geographic market in the gasoline retailing. The application to the Spanish gasoline market concludes that geographic relevant market is composed by 5-6 minutes of travel time. Localised market power should be taken into account when analysing the adverse effects of mergers and entry regulations in gasoline retailing. Only drawing small enough isochrones will drive competition in local markets because it is just close rivals that compete effectively with each other.
    Keywords: Gasoline, Market definition, Retailing.
    JEL: L11 L12 L14 R12
    Date: 2012–03
  20. By: Mark R. Cullen; Clint Cummins; Victor R. Fuchs
    Abstract: Life expectancy at birth, estimated from United States period life tables, has been shown to vary systematically and widely by region and race. We use the same tables to estimate the probability of survival from birth to age 70 (S70), a measure of mortality more sensitive to disparities and more reliably calculated for small populations, to describe the variation and identify its sources in greater detail to assess the patterns of this variation. Examination of the unadjusted probability of S70 for each US county with a sufficient population of whites and blacks reveals large geographic differences for each race-sex group. For example, white males born in the ten percent healthiest counties have a 77 percent probability of survival to age 70, but only a 61 percent chance if born in the ten percent least healthy counties. Similar geographical disparities face white women and blacks of each sex. Moreover, within each county, large differences in S70 prevail between blacks and whites, on average 17 percentage points for men and 12 percentage points for women. In linear regressions for each race-sex group, nearly all of the geographic variation is accounted for by a common set of 22 socio-economic and environmental variables, selected for previously suspected impact on mortality; R2 ranges from 0.86 for white males to 0.72 for black females. Analysis of black-white survival chances within each county reveals that the same variables account for most of the race gap in S70 as well. When actual white male values for each explanatory variable are substituted for black in the black male prediction equation to assess the role explanatory variables play in the black-white survival difference, residual black-white differences at the county level shrink markedly to a mean of -2.4% (+/-2.4); for women the mean difference is -3.7 % (+/-2.3).
    JEL: I0 I00 I10 I14 I3 I31
    Date: 2012–03
  21. By: Alon Harel (Hebrew University School of Law); Uzi Segal (Boston College)
    Abstract: Since Becker (1971), a common argument against asymmetric norms that promote minority rights over those of the majority is that such policies reduce total welfare. While this may be the case, we show that there are simple environments where aggregate sum of individual utilities is actually maximized under asymmetric norms that favor minorities. We thus maintain that without information regarding individual utilities one cannot reject or promote segregation-related policies based on utilitarian arguments.
    Keywords: Utilitarianism, discrimination, segregation, minority and majority rights
    Date: 2012–02–19
  22. By: William D. Nordhaus (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Xi Chen (Dept. of Economics, Yale University)
    Abstract: Previous work has analyzed whether luminosity data contain useful information for estimating economic output and concluded that there was significant promise for regions with poor quality economic statistics. The present paper examines alternative measures of the precision of the estimates using bootstrap and prior estimates of the errors for both the luminosity quality and the national accounts quality. Based on the new results, we conclude: First, for countries with high quality systems, there is no reason to use luminosity data as a supplement to standard data in any context where standard data are available. Second, we find that there is no advantage at present of using lights data for time-series corrections for any purposes where standard data are available. Third, for countries with low quality statistical systems, the estimates suggest that there may be substantial information in the luminosity data for cross-sectional estimates of output. Fourth, the major concerns about the use of lights as a proxy involve uncertainties about the precision of standard national accounts data. Finally, we recommend that future work be concentrated on integrating luminosity data into the cross sectional estimates of national and regional output primarily for countries with poor quality statistical systems.
    Keywords: Luminosity, Output measurement, National accounts, Proxy measures
    JEL: E01 O47 O5 Q4
    Date: 2012–03

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