nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2013‒07‒28
34 papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. The Social Effects of Ethnic Diversity at the Local Level: A Natural Experiment with Exogenous Residential Allocation By Yann Algan; Camille Hémet; David Laitin
  2. Cities as Spatial Clusters By Ferdinand Rauch
  3. Supply, Demand and Prices in the US Housing Market By Thomas Conefrey; Karl Whelan
  4. “Do labour mobility and technological collaborations foster geographical knowledge diffusion? The case of European regions” By Ernest Miguélez; Rosina Moreno
  5. Financial Development and Agglomeration By Commendatore, Pasquale; Michetti, Elisabetta; Purificato, Francesco
  6. “I want creative neighbours”. Do creative service industries spillovers cross regional boundaries? By Rafael Boix; José Luis Hervás-Oliver; Blanca De Miguel-Molina
  7. City networks and the socio-ecological transition. A European inventory By Adrien Labaeye; Thomas Sauer
  8. The dynamics of urban traffic congestion and the price of parking� By Fosgerau, Mogens; de Palma, André
  9. The educational efficiency drivers in Uruguay: Findings from PISA 2009. By Santín, Daniel; Sicilia, Gabriela
  10. Labour Market Institutions and Regional Unemployment Disparities By Peter Huber
  11. Large Scale Asset Purchases with Segmented Mortgage and Corporate Loan Markets By Meixing Dai; Frédéric Dufourt; Qiao Zhang
  12. The Effects of Driving Restrictions on Air Quality and Driver Behavior By Carnovale, Maria; Gibson, Matthew
  13. Is Energy Efficiency Capitalized into Home Prices? Evidence from Three US Cities By Walls, Margaret; Palmer, Karen; Gerarden, Todd
  14. Urban goods movement (UGM) analysis as a tool for urban planning By Mathieu Gardrat; Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu; Jean-Louis Routhier
  15. Natural Disasters and Plant Survival: The impact of the Kobe earthquake By Matthew A. COLE; Robert J R ELLIOTT; OKUBO Toshihiro; Eric STROBL
  16. Real Estate Valuation, Current Account, and Credit Growth Patterns Before and After the 2008–2009 Crisis By Aizenman, Joshua; Jinjarak, Yothin
  17. The accuracy of graphs to describe size distributions By González-Val, Rafael; Ramos, Arturo; Sanz-Gracia, Fernando
  18. Simulating the structure and localization of activities for decision making and freight modeling: the SIMETAB model. By Mathieu Gardrat; Marc Serouge; Florence Toilier; Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu
  19. Firm heterogeneity in TFP, sectoral innovation and geography. Evidence from Italy By Aiello, Francesco; Pupo, Valeria; Ricotta, Fernanda
  20. The Impact of College Admissions Policies on The Performance of High School Students By Nicolas Grau
  21. Retail Price Differences across U.S. and Canadian Cities during the Interwar Period By James MacGee; Chris Hajzler
  22. Incentivizing schooling for learning : evidence on the impact of alternative targeting approaches By Barrera-Osorio, Felipe; Filmer, Deon
  23. The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (Revision of TILEC DP 2013-006) By Dur, R.; Vollaard, B.A.
  24. Evaluation of the DC Public Education Reform Amendment Act (PERAA): School Year 2010-2011. By Erikson Arcaira; Stephen Coleman; Jacly MacFarlane; rea Palmiter; Brenda Turnbull; Beatirce Birman; Erin Dunlop; Jane Hannaway; Umut Ozek; Steve Glazerman; Elias Walsh; Michael Feurer; Maxine Freund; Taunya Nesin
  25. Regional Policy Evaluation: Interactive Fixed Effects and Synthetic Controls By Gobillon, Laurent; Magnac, Thierry
  26. An alternative UGM Paradigm to O-D matrices: the FRETURB model By Alain Bonnafous; Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu; Jean-Louis Routhier
  27. Teens, Technology, and Transportation: An exploration of the digital lives of high schoolers By Lee, Brian H.Y.
  28. Energy Codes and the Landlord-Tenant Problem By Papineau, Maya
  29. Impact evaluation of three types of early childhood development interventions in Cambodia By Bouguen, Adrien; Filmer, Deon; Macours, Karen; Naudeau, Sophie
  30. Property Tax Salience and Payment Delinquency By Bradley, Sebastien
  31. Political Economy of Fiscal Unions By Jan Fidrmuc
  32. Estimating the Value of Travel Time to Recreational Sites Using Revealed Preferences By Carlo Fezzi; Ian J. Bateman
  33. The Long and Winding Road: Valuing Investment under Construction Uncertainty By Jacco J.J. Thijssen
  34. The Dynamics of Road Energy Demand and Illegal Fuel Activity in Turkey: A Rolling Window Analysis By A. Talha Yalta

  1. By: Yann Algan (Department of Economics, Sciences Po); Camille Hémet (Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS & EHESS and Sciences Po); David Laitin (Department of Political Science, Stanford University)
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates the effects of ethnic diversity on social relationships and the quality of public spaces at a very finite neighborhood level. We use detailed block level data on diversity and housing quality from a representative survey on housing in France. We show how and to what extent diversity within a neighborhood can directly affect household well-being and the quality of the common spaces, whereas the previous literature looks at more aggregate outcomes through voting channels. Our identification strategy relies on the exogeneity of public housing allocations with respect to ethnic characteristics in France, to address the bias due to endogenous residential sorting. Diversity is shown to have a negative effect on the quality of local public goods, either due to vandalism, not deterred by other-regarding preferences and social policing, or due to collective action failure to ensure effective property management. However, we find that diversity has no robust effect on public safety at a local level and, if anything, is more related to social anomie.
    Keywords: diversity, neighborhood effects, living conditions, public housing
    JEL: H10 H41
    Date: 2013–07–10
  2. By: Ferdinand Rauch
    Abstract: This paper shows that Zipf's Law for cities can emerge as a property of a clustering process.  If initially uniformly distributed people chose their location based on a specific gravity equation as found in trade studies, they will form cities that follow Zipf's Law in expected value.  This view of cities as spatial agglomerations is supported empirically by the observation that larger cities are surrounded by larger hinterland areas and larger countryside populations.
    Keywords: Zipf's Law for cities, distribution of city sizes
    JEL: R12
    Date: 2013–05–31
  3. By: Thomas Conefrey (Central Bank of Ireland); Karl Whelan (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: The slowdown in the US economy in 2008, and in the housing mark et in particular, has been accompanied by a sharp fall in house prices and a glut of homes for sale on the market. While the idea that this overhang of dwellings for sale should place downward pressure on house prices is intuitive, little empirical work has been done in this area. This paper explicitly models the relationship between changes in house prices and various measures of housing supply. The results show that months supply of new homes places greater downward pressure on house prices than the months supply of existing homes. We build a small simulation model to examine the evolution of the housing market.
    Keywords: Housing market, supply, prices
    JEL: R21 R31
    Date: 2013–07–24
  4. By: Ernest Miguélez (Economics and Statistics Division, WIPO and AQR-IREA); Rosina Moreno (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: The goal of this paper is twofold: first, we aim to assess the role played by inventors’ cross-regional mobility and collaborations in fostering knowledge diffusion across regions and subsequent innovation. Second, we intend to evaluate the feasibility of using mobility and co-patenting information to build cross-regional interaction matrices to be used within the spatial econometrics toolbox. To do so, we depart from a knowledge production function where regional innovation intensity is a function not only of the own regional innovation inputs but also external accessible knowledge stocks gained through interregional interactions. Differently from much of the previous literature, cross-section gravity models of mobility and co-patents are estimated to use the fitted values to build our ‘spatial’ weights matrices, which characterize the intensity of knowledge interactions across a panel of 269 regions covering most European countries over 6 years.
    Keywords: inventors’ spatial mobility, co-patenting, gravity models, weights matrix, knowledge production function. JEL classification: C8, J61, O31, O33, R0.
    Date: 2013–07
  5. By: Commendatore, Pasquale; Michetti, Elisabetta; Purificato, Francesco
    Abstract: The New Economic Geography (NEG) literature has paid little attention to the role of the banking industry in affecting where firms decide to locate their business. Within the framework of the NEG, this paper aims to fill this gap by studying the impact of the degree of regional financial development on the spatial distribution of economic activity. In order to explore this issue, we modify the standard Footloose Entrepreneur (FE) model by introducing a banking sector, while preserving all the other usual assumptions. We show that the existence of a banking sector enhances the agglomeration forces; so that, when regions are symmetric, a Core-Periphery outcome is more likely. When regions are characterised by different levels of financial development this result is reinforced and entrepreneurs are more likely to migrate towards the region where the banking sector is characterized by a higher degree of competition / lower degree of concentration and the interest rate is lower.
    Keywords: Local financial development, Banks, Agglomeration, Firm location
    JEL: G10 G21 R12
    Date: 2013–07–18
  6. By: Rafael Boix (Departament d’Estructura Econòmica, Facultat d’Economia, Universitat de València); José Luis Hervás-Oliver (Departament d’Organització d’Empreses, Universitat Politecnica de València); Blanca De Miguel-Molina (Departament d’Organització d’Empreses, Universitat Politecnica de València)
    Abstract: The occurrence of creative service industries (CSI) is a strong determinant of differences in wealth amongst European regions. However, it is unknown if the strong effects are limited to occurring within regional boundaries or whether there are spillover effects into neighbouring regions. The purpose of this paper is to assess the existence of CSI spillover effects on the wealth of neighbouring regions. CSI and spillovers are integrated into both an empirical model and an endogenous growth model. Both models are estimated for a sample of 250 regions in the European Union in 2008. We find that most of the effects of CSI take place within regions, although there is also evidence that CSI has indirect spillovers across regions.
    Keywords: creative industries; creative services; regional growth; spatial spillovers; spatial econometrics
    JEL: R11 R12 R58
    Date: 2013–07
  7. By: Adrien Labaeye; Thomas Sauer
    Abstract: Area 5 focuses on the regional and local dimensions of the new European path to socio-ecological transition. Its central assumption is that any strategy developed to enhance a socio-ecological transition is unlikely to yield strong results unless the resources of regional and local actors are mobilised and the complex interactions between central policy initiatives and their regional or local implementation are taken into account. In order to better understand how cities and regions initiate processes of change in relation to sustainability, this milestone focuses on networks of cities, regions and their communities around the issue of sustainable development. Indeed, those networks have often been described in the literature as a crucial element in implementing sustainable development at subnational and local levels and across borders. This milestone takes the form of a short review of the relevant literature that introduces an inventory of the various sustainability networks involving cities and regions across Europe mapping them against a set of established criteria. Findings of the inventory's analysis are presented, some new avenues for research and policy-making being suggested.
    Keywords: Academic research, biophysical constraints, ecological excellence, ecological innovation, entrepreneurship, European governance, gender, good governance, green jobs, holistic and interdisciplinary approach, institutional reforms, labour markets, multi-level governance, research, social capital as growth driver, social innovation, socio-ecological transition, sustainable growth, sustainable cities, sustainable urban transition
    JEL: B4 O18 O52 O57 R11 R23
    Date: 2013–07
  8. By: Fosgerau, Mogens; de Palma, André
    Abstract: We consider commuting in a congested urban area. While an efficient time-varying toll may eliminate queuing, a toll may not be politically feasible. We study the benefit of a substitute: a parking fee at the workplace. An optimal time-varying parking fee is charged at zero rate when there is queuing and eliminates queuing when the rate is non-zero. Within certain limits, inability to charge some drivers for parking does not reduce the potential welfare gain. Drivers who cannot be charged travel when there is queuing. In some cases, interaction between morning and evening commutes can be exploited to remove queueing completely.
    Keywords: parking; dynamic; congestion; urban; traffic
    JEL: D0 R4
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Santín, Daniel; Sicilia, Gabriela
    Abstract: The aim of this research is to identify the main drivers of secondary school efficiency in Uruguay. We are particularly interested in identifying which variables could be influenced by the design of public policies in order to improve academic outcomes with the current resource allocation. To do this, we build a two-stage semiparametric model using PISA 2009 database. In the first stage, we use data envelopment analysis (DEA) to estimate efficiency scores, which are then regressed on school and student contextual variables. This second stage is carried out using four alternative models: a conventional censured regression (Tobit) and three different regression models based on the use of bootstrapping recently proposed in the literature. The results show an average inefficiency of 7.5% for the evaluated Uruguayan schools, suggesting that there is room for improving academic outcomes by adopting appropriate educational policies. Following on from this, the findings of the second stage demonstrate that increasing educational resources, such as reducing class size, has no significant effects on efficiency. In contrast, educational policies should focus on reviewing grade-retention policies, teaching-learning techniques, assessment systems and, most importantly, encouraging students to spend more time reading after school in order to reduce inefficiencies.
    Keywords: Educational production, efficiency, data envelopment analysis, bootstrap, PISA
    JEL: C61 D61 I2
    Date: 2012–03
  10. By: Peter Huber
    Abstract: We conduct a theoretically based, empirical analysis of the impact of national wage bargaining, labour market and housing market institutions as well as product market regulation on regional unemployment rate disparities. Using both national and regional data on unemployment rates for 14 EU countries for the period 1998 to 2009 we find a robust correlation between centralisation, net replacement rates and regional autonomy with the size of regional unemployment rate disparities within a country and a further potential role for minimum wages, generosity of old age and sickness benefits, marginal tax rates, housing market flexibility, employment protection and the costs of overtime contracts. In contrast to expectations only the regional autonomy index, net replacement rates, sickness benefits and employment protection are positively correlated with regional unemployment rate disparities, while the other robust variables are negatively correlated.
    Keywords: Regional labour markets, institutions, unemployment disparities
    JEL: R23 J64
    Date: 2013–07
  11. By: Meixing Dai (BETA, University of Strasbourg); Frédéric Dufourt (Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS-GREQAM & EHESS); Qiao Zhang (BETA, University of Strasbourg)
    Abstract: We introduce Large Scale Asset Purchases (LSAPs) in a New-Keynesian DSGE model that features distinct mortgage and corporate loan markets. We show that following a significant disruption of financial intermediation, central-bank purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) are uniformly less effective at easing credit market conditions and stabilizing economic activity than outright purchases of corporate bonds. Moreover, the size of the effects crucially depends on the extent to which credit markets are segmented, i.e. to which a "portfolio balance channel" is at work in the economy. More segmented credit markets imply larger, but more local effects of particular asset purchases. With strongly segmented credit markets, large scale purchases of MBS are useful to stabilize the housing market but do little to mitigate the contractionary effect of the crisis on employment and output.
    Keywords: Financial frictions, mortgage-backed securities (MBS), corporate bonds, unconventional monetary policy, large scale asset purchases (LSAPs), portfolio balance channel, credit spreads.
    JEL: E32 E44 E52 E58
    Date: 2013–03
  12. By: Carnovale, Maria; Gibson, Matthew
    Abstract: We evaluate whether driving restrictions improve air quality.  While Milan's restriction decreases overall air pollution, there is a significant behavioral response that attenuates the effect.  Our study expoits the natural experiment created by an unanticipated court injunction suspending Milan's restriction.  Drivers respond to the restriction with: 1) intertemporal substituion toward the unpriced period; 2) substitution toward exempt vehicles; and 3) spatial substitution toward unpriced roads.  Importantly, the net effect on traffic varies with public transit availability.
    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences, spatial substitution, air pollution, air quality
    Date: 2013–07–01
  13. By: Walls, Margaret (Resources for the Future); Palmer, Karen (Resources for the Future); Gerarden, Todd
    Abstract: We look for evidence of capitalization of energy efficiency features in home prices using data from real estate multiple listing services (MLS) in three metropolitan areas: the Research Triangle region of North Carolina; Austin, Texas; and Portland, Oregon. These home listings include information on Energy Star certification and, in Portland and Austin, local green certifications. Our results suggest that Energy Star certification increases the sales prices of homes built between 1995 and 2006 but has no statistically significant effect on sales prices for newer homes. The local certifications appear to have larger effects on sales prices, and that effect holds for both newer and older homes. The estimated home price premiums from certification imply annual energy cost savings that are sizeable fractions of estimated annual energy costs for homes in our sample, in some cases even above 100 percent. This suggests that the certifications either embody other attributes beyond energy efficiency that are of value to homebuyers or that buyers are overpaying for the energy savings. Further research is needed to better understand how consumers interpret home certifications and how they value the combination of “green” characteristics that many of those certifications embody.
    Keywords: Energy Star homes, energy efficiency, green certifications, hedonic model
    JEL: L94 L95 Q40
    Date: 2013–07–19
  14. By: Mathieu Gardrat (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II); Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II); Jean-Louis Routhier (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II)
    Abstract: Urban goods transport is one of the subjects decision makers have to take into account in the planning process. As they lack knowledge on this particular subject, they tend to underestimate the importance of urban goods movements on their territory. Through the example of "La Confluence" neighborhood in Lyon ( in progress since 2005 and including a shopping center, administrations, apartments...), this paper proposes to build a method of urban goods diagnosis for new urban district development; the main question being how urban goods modeling and simulation can help urban planners in their decisions. By building several scenarios in terms of urban planning, the target is to imagine an improved situation for urban projects through the needs in goods movements and implementing solutions linked to regulation, land-use and logistics including distribution centers, parking lots.... By applying a systemic view of the subject, this work will also take into account the major constraints of the urban system. This paper will include the comparison between the present situation of the presented case and the scenarios build through the previous steps of this method.
    Keywords: urban goods modelling; statistical analysis; operability triangle; road occupancy
    Date: 2013
  15. By: Matthew A. COLE; Robert J R ELLIOTT; OKUBO Toshihiro; Eric STROBL
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of the 1995 Kobe earthquake on the survival of manufacturing plants and their post-earthquake economic performance. The evidence from macroeconomic studies of the impact of natural disasters on economic growth is mixed with some papers finding a small negative effect while others often finding a positive effect. However, the local effects of disasters are often overlooked. In this paper, we undertake a detailed study of the local effects of the Kobe earthquake. We employ a micro-econometric approach based on carefully geo-coded data on initial plant locations and a building-level survey to measure accurately the damage to the buildings where the plants were located. Including plant and building characteristics as well as district-level variables to control for spatial dependencies, our results show that the greater the level of damage a plant experienced, the lower was its probability of survival. Interestingly, this effect persists for some years, although it diminished over time. Further fixed-effects panel analysis shows evidence of falling total employment and value added associated with earthquake damage. However, we find some evidence of creative destruction with the average plant experiencing a short-run increase in productivity although this advantage disappeared over time.
    Date: 2013–07
  16. By: Aizenman, Joshua (Asian Development Bank Institute); Jinjarak, Yothin (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: This paper explores the stability of the key conditioning variables accounting for real estate valuation before and after the crisis of 2008–2009, in a panel of 36 countries, for the period of 2005:I–2012:IV, recognizing the incidence of global financial crisis. Our paper validates the robustness of the association between the real estate valuation of lagged current account patterns, both before and after the crisis. The results are supportive of both current account and credit growth channels, with the animal-spirits and momentum channels playing the most important role in the boom and bust of real estate valuation.
    Keywords: current account; real estate; credit supply; global crisis; housing boom
    JEL: F15 F21 F32 R21 R31
    Date: 2013–07–23
  17. By: González-Val, Rafael; Ramos, Arturo; Sanz-Gracia, Fernando
    Abstract: This paper analyses the performance of the graphs traditionally used to study size distributions: histograms, Zipf plots (double logarithmic graphs of rank compared to size) and plotted cumulative density functions. A lognormal distribution is fitted to urban data from three countries (the US, Spain and Italy) over all of the 20th century. We explain the advantages and disadvantages associated with these graphic methods and derive some statistical properties.
    Keywords: city size distribution, Zipf plot, lognormal
    JEL: C16 R00
    Date: 2013–07
  18. By: Mathieu Gardrat (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II); Marc Serouge (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II); Florence Toilier (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II); Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II)
    Abstract: This paper aims to introduce the methodology of the SIMETAB model which attempts to simulate the economic structure of an area, and then produce the inputs needed by many urban goods simulation models. The proposed model aims at understanding the economic structure of the city, in order to simulate the urban goods movements depending of the activity using an existing mode. This model's main function is to simulate the number of establishments by category of size and field of activity for a given zone, or to build evolution scenarios from a starting situation: starting from a known structure (or simulated through SIMETAB), it is possible to make the economic structure of a city evolve. This feature allows the decision makers to project an alteration of the urban framework in the future, from basic data such as population and employment statistics.
    Keywords: Urban modeling; urban typology; urban goods movements
    Date: 2013
  19. By: Aiello, Francesco; Pupo, Valeria; Ricotta, Fernanda
    Abstract: Sectoral and territorial specificities affect the firm’s capabilities of being productive. While there is a wide consensus on this, a quantitative measure of the these effects has been lacking. To this end, we combine a dataset of Italian firms with some meso regional and sectoral variables and apply a cross-classified model that allows for a clear distinction between firm, region-specific and sector-specific effects. After observing a marked TFP heterogeneity across firms, the paper addresses the issue of understanding how much differences in firms’ productivity depend on regional localisation and sector specificities. Results refer to 2004-2006 and are threefold. Firstly, they confirm that the main source of firm variety is mostly due to differences revealed at individual level. Secondly, we find that sector is more important than location in explaining firms’ TFP. Lastly, the results show that firm TFP increases when it belongs to more innovative sectors. Similarly, companies get benefits from belonging to sectors where there is a high proportion of firms using R&D public support and a high propensity to collaborate in innovative projects.
    Keywords: Total Factor Productivity, Firms’ Heterogeneity, Sectoral innovation, Geography, Cross-Classified Models
    JEL: L25 L60 O33
    Date: 2013–07–23
  20. By: Nicolas Grau (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: This paper empirically evaluates the effects of college admissions policies on high school student performance. To this end, I build a model where high school students decide their level of effort and whether to take the college admissions test, taking into consideration how those decisions may affect their future university admission chances. Using Chilean data for the 2009 college admissions process, I structurally estimate the parameters of the model in order to study the implications of two types of counterfactual experiments: (a) a SES-Quota system, which imposes the population’s SES distribution for each university; (b) increasing the high school GPA weight. The results from these exercises support the claim that increasing the level of equal college opportunities may boost the amount of effort exerted by high school students. Specifically, I find that:(1) average effort significantly increases as opportunities are equalized across different socioeconomic groups. (2) There is a moderate improvement in high school student performance, which is relatively important for certain groups. (3) The highest reactions in terms of exerted effort come from those students who also change their decision about taking the college admissions test. (4) Neither of these policies increases the percentage of students taking the national test for college admission, which is consistent with the fact that in this policy implementation there are winners and losers. However, there are relevant variations in who is taking such a test; in particular, this percentage increases for low-income students and those who have higher level of learning skills. (5) Because the SES-Quota system uses the existing information more efficiently, it implies a more efficient student allocation to equalize opportunities.
    Keywords: College admission; affirmative action; high school student effort; structural estimation; factor models; ex-ante policy evaluation
    JEL: C38 C51 C54 D04 I23 I24
    Date: 2013–07–15
  21. By: James MacGee (UWO); Chris Hajzler (University of Otago)
    Abstract: We construct a unique panel of retail food prices in 69 Canadian and 51 U.S. cities during the Interwar (1920-40) period. Surprisingly, we find that average relative price dispersion across cities within Canada and the U.S., and the role of distance in accounting for cross-city price differences, was very similar to estimates from the 1980s and 1990s. We also find large changes in the importance of the Canada-U.S. border during the Interwar period. While increased price differences between Canadian and U.S. cities coincide with the end of the gold-standard (and the move to floating nominal exchange rates), large relative and absolute price differences persist even after the Canada-U.S. nominal exchange rate returned to parity. The substantial "thickening" of the border in the 1930s appears to reflect dramatic changes in trade policy and the degree of market integration during this period.
    Date: 2012
  22. By: Barrera-Osorio, Felipe; Filmer, Deon
    Abstract: This paper evaluates a primary school scholarship program in Cambodia with two different targeting mechanisms, one based on poverty level and the other on baseline test scores ("merit"). Both targeting mechanisms increased enrollment and attendance. However, only the merit-based targeting induced positive effects on test scores. The paper shows that the asymmetry of response is unlikely to have been driven by differences between recipients'characteristics. Higher student and family effort among beneficiaries of the merit-based scholarships suggest that the framing of the scholarship mattered for impact. The results suggest that in order to balance equity and efficiency, a two-step targeting approach might be preferable: first, target low-income individuals, and then, among them, target based on merit.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Secondary Education,Teaching and Learning,Primary Education,Education For All
    Date: 2013–07–01
  23. By: Dur, R.; Vollaard, B.A. (Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economics Center)
    Abstract: Abstract: Field-experimental studies have shown that people litter more in more littered environments. Inspired by these findings, many cities around the world have adopted policies to quickly remove litter. While such policies may avoid that people follow the bad example of litterers, they may also invite free-riding on public cleaning services. We are the first to show that both forces are at play. We conduct a natural field experiment where, in a randomly assigned part of a residential area, the frequency of cleaning was drastically reduced during a threemonth period. We find evidence that some people start to clean up after themselves when public cleaning services are diminished. However, the tendency to litter more dominates. We also find evidence for persistency in these responses after the treatment has ended.
    Keywords: littering;public services;free-riding;field experiment.
    JEL: C93 H40 K42
    Date: 2013
  24. By: Erikson Arcaira; Stephen Coleman; Jacly MacFarlane; rea Palmiter; Brenda Turnbull; Beatirce Birman; Erin Dunlop; Jane Hannaway; Umut Ozek; Steve Glazerman; Elias Walsh; Michael Feurer; Maxine Freund; Taunya Nesin
    Keywords: Special Education, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, STEM, Education
    JEL: I
    Date: 2013–07–15
  25. By: Gobillon, Laurent (INED, France); Magnac, Thierry (University of Toulouse I)
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the use of interactive effect or linear factor models in regional policy evaluation. We contrast treatment effect estimates obtained by Bai (2009)'s least squares method with the popular difference in difference estimates as well as with estimates obtained using synthetic control approaches as developed by Abadie and coauthors. We show that difference in differences are generically biased and we derive the support conditions that are required for the application of synthetic controls. We construct an extensive set of Monte Carlo experiments to compare the performance of these estimation methods in small samples. As an empirical illustration, we also apply them to the evaluation of the impact on local unemployment of an enterprise zone policy implemented in France in the 1990s.
    Keywords: policy evaluation, linear factor models, synthetic controls, economic geography, enterprise zones
    JEL: C21 C23 H53 J64 R11
    Date: 2013–07
  26. By: Alain Bonnafous (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II); Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II); Jean-Louis Routhier (LET - Laboratoire d'économie des transports - CNRS : UMR5593 - École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État [ENTPE] - Université Lumière - Lyon II)
    Abstract: This paper presents an alternative methodological approach to O-D matrix and analyses its validity on the viewpoint of Bonnafous' operability triangle. The proposed model is able to estimate the impacts of urban goods movements in terms of number of vehicles, total travelled distances and road occupancy rates without generating O-D pairs. The originality of the model arises on two main elements. The first is that the modelling unit is neither the trip nor the quantity of goods, as in many literature works, but the number of movements, i.e. the number of pickup and delivery operations, which is found as the main invariant in urban goods movement generation. The second is that it follows a bottom-up approach, i.e., starting from a rich database of urban goods operations and routes, a set of behavioural functions are defined. The paper is organised with the notion of operability triangle: the model must be at the same time coherent, relevant and measurable. This analysis allows to show how the model FRETURB resolves this problem of magic triangle and also how it was resolved up to here by the various forms of modelling of the urban freight in literature.
    Keywords: urban goods modelling; statistical analysis; operability triangle; road occupancy
    Date: 2013
  27. By: Lee, Brian H.Y.
    Abstract: In the face of increasing sprawl and car-dependence in US metropolitan areas, young people – especially teens in middle-class suburbs – may be experiencing new mobilities generated by their near-universal adoption of cell phones and increasing access to private automobiles. The growth in the adoption of hand-held mobile devices that can be used for communication and information may enhance accessibility and independent mobility for certain segments of the youth population, especially those in higher socio-economic status households. In a project with teens in two high schools in Chittenden County, Vermont, we used a mix of methods to explore the rapid changes in teens’ lives fostered by tools such as cell phones, texting, mobile internet access, and various forms of messaging. In this study, we find that millennial teens use digital devices to construct new intersections between communication, information, and transportation. By also actively employing these devices in our research, we are using novel methods for understanding the "digital lives" of teens, which represent a mix of traditional analog techniques and exploratory digital methodologies. In this presentation we examine issues including how often and in what ways high school students use advanced electronic communication tools to arrange transportation, what travel needs are being met and modes used, and how social processes contextualize the use of digital tools for mobility. We conclude by reflecting on how the daily lives of these teens may serve as a harbinger of emerging intersections of mobility, communication, and place.
    Keywords: Engineering
    Date: 2013–07–02
  28. By: Papineau, Maya
    Abstract: This paper assesses whether commercial real estate participants are willing to pay apremium for an energy efficient building that has not received a green label. I utilizea unique dataset of detailed building-level observations and a spatial semiparametricmatching framework that exploits quasi-experimental state-by-year variation in the implementationof mandatory building energy codes, to estimate selling price and rentpremiums for a more stringent code. I find that buildings constructed under a morestringent energy code are associated with rent and selling price premiums of approximately2.7% and 10%, respectively, compared to buildings constructed just before thecode came into effect. When tenants pay directly for utilities, buildings constructedunder an energy code are associated with 5.7% higher rents. These premiums are consistentwith complete capitalization of estimated building-level savings, and thereforecast doubt on the existence of an energy efficiency gap resulting from adverse selectionbetween landlords and tenants in commercial buildings.
    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences, energy efficiency, building codes, real estate
    Date: 2013–06–01
  29. By: Bouguen, Adrien; Filmer, Deon; Macours, Karen; Naudeau, Sophie
    Abstract: Scaling up early childhood development services has the potential to increase children's cognitive and socio-emotional development and promote school readiness in a large segment of the population. This study used a randomized controlled trial approach to evaluate three scaled-up programs designed to widen access to early childhood development services: formal preschools, community preschools, and home-based services. The impacts of all three programs fell short of expectations because of two key flaws in how they were scaled up. First, implementation did not receive due attention; as a result, school facilities were not completed as planned, community-based programs were not always established, and low, irregular stipends created difficulties in hiring and retaining teachers. Second, the services that were available were not promoted and thus not used as widely as anticipated. The results imply that the quality of programs supplied is critical, as is attention to the demand side of the problem. The finding that these programs fell short of expectations does not mean that interventions such as these are ineffective. Rather, it indicates that quality and demand require careful attention in attempts to scale up early childhood development interventions, and any problems should be addressed prior to evaluating effectiveness.
    Keywords: Primary Education,Educational Sciences,Education For All,Youth and Governance,Adolescent Health
    Date: 2013–07–01
  30. By: Bradley, Sebastien (Department of Economics & International Business LeBow College of Business Drexel University)
    Abstract: Despite only modest supporting evidence, shocks to households' personal finances are commonly cited as one of the principal causes of homeowner defaults. In this paper, I investigate the extent to which different component sources of annual variation in property tax obligations influence the probability and magnitude of property tax delinquency are likely precursor to mortgage default. Under Michigan's system of property tax limitations, rational homeowners should readily anticipate changes in tax liability, making such changes an unlikely cause of delinquency, regardless of the underlying source. Looking at tax payment records for the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan for the period 2006-2009, I instead find that a household's probability of making late payments, the tardiness of their payments, the amount by which they underpay, or the amount of their resulting interest penalties are all generally greater when changes in property taxes arise through less salient features of the Michigan tax system. This suggests that homeowners, especially new homebuyers, do not rationally anticipate their future tax bills and may instead bear a heavy cost for their inattention to the property tax system.
    Keywords: property taxes; delinquency; default; tax salience; limited attention
    JEL: D14 D84 H21 H24 H31
    Date: 2012–11–01
  31. By: Jan Fidrmuc
    Abstract: I formulate a political-economy model of a fiscal union where the threat of secession imposes a limit on fiscal redistribution between regions. I argue that the trade-off between implementing the region's preferred fiscal policy and benefiting from inter-regional risk sharing depends on the nature of economic shocks. Specifically both correlation of shocks across regions and their persis- tence over time are important. The gains from inter-regional risk sharing are potentially large when shocks are negatively correlated and temporary. In con- trast, unions with negatively correlated permanent shocks are likely to prove politically unviable.
    Date: 2013–07
  32. By: Carlo Fezzi (CSERGE, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia); Ian J. Bateman (CSERGE, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: The opportunity Value of Travel Time (VTT) is one of the most important parts of the total cost of day-long recreational activities and arguably the most difficult to estimate. While numerous studies have criticized the use of salaries to proxy the relevant shadow values, a consensus on an alternative measure still has to emerge. This paper uses a revealed preference approach to estimate the VTT for recreational trips by modeling individuals' preferences for toll roads and deriving their willingness-to-pay to reduce travel time. Our case-study sites are three beaches located in the Italian Riviera Romagnola, whose road network is a mix of toll and free access roads. By carrying-out face-to-face interviews, we reconstruct respondents' routes, indentify their time-cost trade-offs and ultimately estimate their VTT. Results show considerable heterogeneity in values with the VTT for day-long recreational visits being significantly higher than the one of longer holidays.
    Keywords: Value of Time, Value of Travel Time Savings, Recreation Demand Models, Revealed Preferences, Willingness to Pay Space
    JEL: Q50
    Date: 2013–06
  33. By: Jacco J.J. Thijssen
    Abstract: This paper presents a model of investment in projects that are characterized by (i) uncertainty over both the construction costs and revenues, and (ii) revenues that accrue only after construction is completed. Both processes are modeled as spectrally negative Levy jump-diffusions. The optimal stopping problem that determines the value of the project is solved under fairly general assumptions. It is found that the threshold for the benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) beyond which investment is optimal is higher than when investment costs are sunk and upfront. In addition, the current value of the BCR decreases sharply in the frequency of negative shocks to the construction process. This implies that the cost overruns that can be expected if one ignores such shocks are sharply increasing in their frequency. Based on calibrated data, the model is applied to the construction of high-speed rail in the UK and it is found that the economic case for the first phase of High Speed 2 cannot be made and is unlikely to be met in the next 10 years.
    Keywords: Investment under Uncertainty, Infrastructure investment, Optimal stopping
    JEL: G31 C61
    Date: 2013–07
  34. By: A. Talha Yalta
    Date: 2013–01

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