nep-ure New Economics Papers
on Urban and Real Estate Economics
Issue of 2015‒05‒09
29 papers chosen by
Steve Ross
University of Connecticut

  1. Aging and urban house prices By Hiller, Norbert; Lerbs, Oliver W.
  2. The persistent effects of place-based policy: Evidence from the West-German Zonenrandgebiet By Maximilian von Ehrlich; Tobias Seidel
  3. Entry into working life: Spatial mobility and the job match quality of higher-educated graduates By Venhorst V.; Cörvers F.
  4. Tracking in the Tracks in the Italian Schooling: Inequality Patterns in an Urban Context By Luigi Benfratello; Giuseppe Sorrenti; Gilberto Turati
  5. The economic implications of house price capitalization: a synthesis By Christian A. L. Hilber
  6. Enabled to Work: The Impact of Government Housing on Slum Dwellers in South Africa By Simon Franklin
  7. Measuring Teacher and School Value Added in Oklahoma, 2013-2014 School Year By Elias Walsh; Albert Y. Liu; Dallas Dotter
  8. Agglomeration Economies, Taxable Rents, And Government Capture: Evidence From A Place-Based Policy By Brülhart, Marius; Simpson, Helen
  9. The Mortality Transition, Malthusian Dynamics, and the Rise of Poor Mega-Cities By Remi Jedwab; Dietrich Vollrath
  10. Counting Processes for Retail Default Modeling By Nicholas M. Kiefer; C. Erik Larson
  11. The pre-tracking effects of parental background By Korthals R.A.
  12. War, Housing Rents, and Free Market: A Case of Berlin's Rental Housing Market during the World War I By Konstantin A. Kholodilin
  13. US city size distribution revisited: Theory and empirical evidence By Ramos, Arturo; Sanz-Gracia, Fernando
  14. The Repeat Time-On-The-Market Index By Paul E. Carrillo; Benjamin Williams
  15. Location, search costs and youth unemployment: A randomized trial of transport subsidies in Ethiopia By Simon Franklin
  16. Good Firms, Worker Flows and Local Productivity By Michel Serafinelli
  17. Does Related variety matter for Creative Industries? By Luciana Lazzeretti; Niccolò Innocenti; Francesco Capone
  18. Do Industries Pollute More in Poorer Neighborhoods? Evidence From Toxic Releasing Plants in Mexico By Lopamudra Chakraborti; José Jaime Sainz Santamaría
  19. Social and economic impacts of rural road improvements in the state of Tocantins, Brazil By Iimi,Atsushi; Lancelot,Eric R.; Manelici,Isabela; Ogita,Satoshi
  20. Pricing Freight Transport to Account for External Costs: Working Paper 2015-03 By David Austin
  21. What Drives Nutritional Disparities? Retail Access and Food Purchases Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum By Jessie Handbury; Ilya Rahkovsky; Molly Schnell
  22. The effect of schooling vouchers on higher education enrollment and completion of teachers: A regression discontinuity analysis By Marc van der Steeg; Roel van Elk
  23. Upskilling: do employers demand greater skill when skilled workers are plentiful? By Modestino, Alicia Sasser; Shoag, Daniel; Ballance, Joshua
  24. Networks and Manufacturing Firms in Africa: Results from a Randomized Field Experiment By Marcel Fafchamps; Simon R. Quinn
  25. An agency problem in the MBS market and the solicited refinancing channel of large-scale asset purchases By Kandrac, John; Schlusche, Bernd
  26. Inter-ethnic dating preferences of Roma and non-Roma secondary school students By László Lõrincz
  27. Efficient Network Structures with Separable Heterogeneous Connection Costs By Heydari, Babak; Mosleh, Mohsen; Dalili, Kia
  28. Urbanization without Growth in Historical Perspective By Remi Jedwab; Dietrich Vollrath
  29. Tax attractiveness and the location of patents By Dinkel, Andreas; Schanz, Deborah

  1. By: Hiller, Norbert; Lerbs, Oliver W.
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-run relationships between the size and age composition of a city's population and the price of local housing. For estimation purposes, we combine city-level demographic information with housing price data for 87 cities in Germany over the period 1995-2012. Employing a panel error correction framework that accounts for the evolution of city income and other controls, we find that urban house prices perform stronger in cities that grow or age less rapidly. A combination of the empirical estimates with current population projections suggests that population aging will exert considerable downward pressure on urban house prices in upcoming years.
    Keywords: Urban house prices,demographic change,Germany
    JEL: G12 J11 R31
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Maximilian von Ehrlich; Tobias Seidel
    Abstract: Using a natural experiment from Germany, we show that temporary place-based subsidies generate persistent effects on economic density. We identify employment and capital formation as main channels for higher income per square kilometer. As the spatial regression discontinuity design allows us to control for all spatially-continuous determinants of agglomeration (e.g. home-market effects, knowledge spillovers), we attribute an important role to capital formation in explaining persistent spatial patterns of economic activity. However, estimates of externalities at the treatment border point to small net effects of the policy. We find strong evidence that pre-treatment land owners have benefitted substantially from the program and transfers show larger effects in high-density places. Finally, accounting for regional subsidies raises the causal effect of market access for economic development as identified in Redding and Sturm (2008) by about 45 percent.
    Keywords: Place-based policy; Regional policy; Economic geography; Persistence; Regression discontinuity; Locational advantage; Land value capitalization
    JEL: H25 H41 H54 O15 O18 R12
    Date: 2015–04
  3. By: Venhorst V.; Cörvers F. (GSBE)
    Abstract: We estimate the impact of spatial mobility on job match quality by using a data set of recent Dutch university and college graduates We find positive wage returns related to spatial mobility. However, after controlling for the self-selection of migrants with an IV approach, this effect is no longer significant. We also find that, for our alternative job-match measures, where there is evidence of migrant self-selection, controlling for self-selection strongly reduces the effect of spatial mobility on job match quality. In some cases, the returns on spatial mobility are found to be negative, which may signal forced spatial mobility.
    Keywords: Analysis of Education; Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity; Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials; Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers; Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics;
    JEL: I21 J24 J31 J61 R23
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Luigi Benfratello (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Napoli "Federico II", Italy); Giuseppe Sorrenti (Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino, Italy); Gilberto Turati (Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino, Italy)
    Abstract: We study whether, alongside with an explicit tracking system separating students in general versus vocational curricula typically observed in European countries, the Italian highly centralized public schooling is also characterised by an implicit tracking system — typical of the US — which separates students by ability and income within the same track. We pursue this aim by considering the municipality of Turin, a post-industrialized urban context in Northern Italy. We proxy students’ ability with the score obtained at the standardised admission test at the School of Economics and Business of the local university, and we first check whether students are stratified by ability not only between tracks but also across schools within the same track. A stark heterogeneity across tracks and schools emerges, thereby strongly suggesting that the inequality patterns common in the Italian schooling system are affected by both types of tracking. We then discuss some potential sources of this US-style tracking, namely self-selection and observed and unobserved school characteristics, all of which can be relevant factors in explaining within-track school heterogeneity. We also investigate whether stratification is linked with income and residential segregation, and we find limited evidence of segregation. Finally, the low mobility of students suggests the need for disclosing more information on each school quality.
    Keywords: Public Schools, Educational Inequalities, Schools Stratification, Tracking, House Prices, Income S egregation.
    JEL: I24 I28 R23
    Date: 2015–04
  5. By: Christian A. L. Hilber
    Abstract: In this article I argue that the extent to which fiscal variables are capitalized into house prices has important economic implications. I synthesize an emerging literature that explores the conditions under which public and private investments and intergovernmental transfers are capitalized into local house prices and the broader implications of such capitalization. The main insights are: (i) House price capitalization is more pronounced in locations with strict regulatory and geographical supply constraints; (ii) capitalization can – under certain conditions – induce the provision of durable local public goods and club goods; and (iii) capitalization effects – which are habitually ignored by policy makers – have important adverse consequences for a wide range of policies such as intergovernmental aid or the mortgage interest deduction.
    Keywords: House price capitalization; homeownership; local public goods; club goods; land use regulation; land and housing supply; incentives to invest; redistribution
    JEL: D71 R21 R31
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Simon Franklin
    Abstract: This paper looks at the link between housing conditions and household income and labour market participation in South Africa. I use four waves of panel data from 2002-2009 on households that were originally living in informal dwellings. I find that those households that received free government housing later experienced large increases in their incomes. This effect is driven by increased employment rates among female members of these households, rather than other sources of income. I take advantage of a natural experiment created by a policy of allocating housing to households that lived in close proximity to new housing developments. Using rich spatial data on the roll out of government housing projects, I generate geographic instruments to predict selection into receiving housing. I then use housing projects that were planned and approved but never actually built to allay concerns about non-random placement of housing projects. The fixed effects results are robust to the use of these instruments and placebo tests. I present suggestive evidence that formal housing alleviates the demands of work at home for women, which leads to increases in labour supply to wage paying jobs.
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Elias Walsh; Albert Y. Liu; Dallas Dotter
    Keywords: Teacher Value Added, School Value Added, Oklahoma, Education
    JEL: I
    Date: 2015–02–10
  8. By: Brülhart, Marius; Simpson, Helen
    Abstract: We study how industry-level agglomeration economies affect government policy. Using administrative data on firm subsidies in economically lagging regions of Great Britain, we test two alternative hypotheses. Economic geography models imply that firms at an industry’s core can sustain higher tax burdens or require lower subsidies than firms in more remote locations. Conversely, political economy models predict firms at the industry’s core to be more successful at lobbying government, particularly at the sub-national level, thus obtaining more favourable fiscal treatment. We find that local government agencies structure subsidy offers to favour pre-existing employment in locally agglomerated industries, behaviour more in line with theories of policy capture than with economic geography models.
    Keywords: agglomeration; policy capture; regional grants; taxation
    JEL: H25 H32 R12
    Date: 2015–05
  9. By: Remi Jedwab (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University); Dietrich Vollrath
    Abstract: The largest cities in the world today lie mainly in relatively poor countries, which is a departure from historical experience, when the largest cities were typically found in the richest places. Using new data on the demographic history of the 100 largest mega-cities of today, we establish several new stylized facts distinguishing poor mega-cities from historically rich mega-cities. To account for these facts we develop a model that combines Malthusian models of endogenous population growth with urban models of agglomeration and congestion, and it shows that the absolute growth of the urban population determines whether a city becomes a poor or rich mega-city. We posit that poor mega-cities arose in part because the post-war mortality transition raised their absolute growth above a crucial threshold. Poor mega-cities continue to grow in size but not in living standards because their poverty keeps population growth high. By expanding prior to the mortality transition, historical mega-cities experienced smaller absolute growth that allowed them to sustain wage growth and kept population growth relatively low.
    Keywords: Urban Malthusianism, Demographic Regime, Megacities, Congestion, Growth
    JEL: O11 O14 O18 L16 N10 N90 R10
    Date: 2015–01
  10. By: Nicholas M. Kiefer (Cornell University, Ithaca, and CREATES); C. Erik Larson (Promontory Financial Group, LLC)
    Abstract: Counting processes provide a very flexible framework for modeling discrete events occurring over time. Estimation and interpretation is easy, and links to more familiar approaches are at hand. The key is to think of data as "event histories," a record of times of switching between states in a discrete state space. In a simple case, the states could be default/non-default; in other models relevant for credit modeling the states could be credit scores or payment status (30 dpd, 60 dpd, etc.). Here we focus on the use of stochastic counting processes for mortgage default modeling, using data on high LTV mortgages. Borrowers seeking to finance more than 80% of a house's value with a mortgage usually either purchase mortgage insurance, allowing a first mortgage greater than 80% from many lenders, or use second mortgages. Are there differences in performance between loans financed by these different methods? We address this question in the counting process framework. In fact, MI is associated with lower default rates for both fixed rate and adjustable rate first mortgages.
    Keywords: Econometrics, Aalen Estimator, Duration Modeling, Mortgage Insurance, Loan-to-Value
    JEL: C51 C52 C58 C33 C35
    Date: 2015–04–28
  11. By: Korthals R.A. (ROA)
    Abstract: Tracking students in secondary school could increase the effect of parental background PB on student performance, especially if parents can influence the track choice. This influence can be either direct or indirect, and either purposefully or not. Little is known about these indirect effects of PB that could arise before tracking has taken place. In the Netherlands the track placement decision of individual students is made by secondary schools that base their decision on two performance signals that they receive from the elementary school of applying students an elementary school exit test score and an elementary school teacher track recommendation. Using longitudinal data from the Netherlands, I find that high PB parents are able to increase their childs teacher recommendation purposefully or not The odds of having the highest track recommendation as compared to the other recommendations, for students whose parents have a tertiary education degree are between 1.6 and 3.6 times greater than for students whose parents only have a primary education degree. For the math exit test score I find no effect, while for reading an effect is found but not robust.
    Keywords: Education and Research Institutions: General; Analysis of Education; Education and Inequality;
    JEL: I20 I21 I24
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Konstantin A. Kholodilin
    Abstract: Before the World War I, the urban rental housing market in Germany could be described as a free and competitive market. The government hardly interfered in the relationships between the landlords and ten- ants. The rents were set freely. During the World War I, the market was hit by several violent shocks. The outbreak of the war led initially to a huge outflow of men from cities to the fronts. Towards the end of the war, the cessation of construction as well as an inflow of workers and mustered out of service soldiers produced an acute housing shortage. Using a unique data set of asking rents extracted from the newspaper announcements, we constructed a monthly time series of rents in Berlin over 1909-1917. This variable is employed to measure the effects of demand and supply shocks on different segments of housing: from small dwellings for poor to large apartments for rich. The analysis shows a decline of rents (especially of the cheap dwellings) in the first half of the war, followed by a moderate increase. This stands in marked contrast to a steady and strong increase of the overall price level.
    Keywords: housing rents; announcements; World War I; Berlin
    JEL: C10 C52 C53 E32
    Date: 2015
  13. By: Ramos, Arturo; Sanz-Gracia, Fernando
    Abstract: We develop a urban economic model in which agents locate in cities of different size so as to maximize the net output of the whole system of cities in a country. From this model two new city size distributions are exactly derived. We call these functions “threshold double Pareto Generalized Beta of the second kind” and “double mixture Pareto Generalized Beta of the second kind”. In order to test empirically the theory, we analyze the US urban system and consider three types of data (incorporated places from 1900 to 2000, all places in 2000 and 2010 and City Cluster Algorithm nuclei in 1991 and 2000). The results are encouraging because the new distributions clearly outperform the lognormal and the double Pareto lognormal for all data samples. We consider a number of different tests and statistical criteria and the results are robust to all of them. Thus, the new distributions describe accurately the US city size distribution and, therefore, support the validity of the theoretical model.
    Keywords: human capital; congestion costs; lower tail, body, and upper tail; Pareto and Generalized Beta of the second kind distributions
    JEL: C46 D39 R11 R12
    Date: 2015–04–30
  14. By: Paul E. Carrillo (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University); Benjamin Williams (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)
    Abstract: We propose two new indices that measure the evolution of housing market liquidity. The key features of both indices are a) their ability to control for unobserved heterogeneity exploiting repeat listings, b) their use of censored durations (listings that are expired and/or withdrawn from the market), and c) their computational simplicity. The first index computes proportional displacements in the home sale baseline hazard rate. The second estimates the relative change in median marketing time. The indices are computed using about 1.8 million listings in 15 US urban areas. Results suggest that both accounting for censoring and controlling for unobserved heterogeneity are key to measure housing market liquidity.
    Keywords: Housing liquidity, non-parametric models, proportional hazard, repeat-sales
    JEL: C41 R31
  15. By: Simon Franklin
    Abstract: Do high costs of search affect the labour market outcomes of young job seekers living far away from the centre of cities? I randomly assign temporary and non-fungible transport subsidies to unemployed youth living in spatially dislocated areas of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Lowering transport costs increases the intensity of job search (during and after treatment), and increases the likelihood of finding permanent employment by 6 percentage points in the short run. Analysis of weekly phone call data show that search activity declines over time but the subsidies prevent this from happening in the treatment group. The subsidies reduce participation in temporary and informal work, suggesting an important role for alternative sources of income to support job seekers. I explain these results with a dynamic model of job search with savings, cash constraints and monetary search costs. The predictions of the model are quantitatively consistent with the estimated impacts on increased job search activity, and in turn the rates at which jobs are found. These results suggest that the cost of transport in large cities can lead to frictions in the matching of firms and workers and reinforce spatial inequality.
    Date: 2015
  16. By: Michel Serafinelli
    Abstract: A clear consensus has emerged that agglomeration economies are an important factor explaining why firms cluster next to each other. Yet, because of non-trivial measurement challenges, disagreement remains over the sources of these agglomeration effects. This paper is the first to present direct evidence showing how localized knowledge spillovers arise from workers changing jobs within the same local labor market. Specifically, I assess the extent to which firm-to-firm labor mobility enhances the productivity of firms located near highly productive firms. Using a unique dataset combining Social Security earnings records and balance sheet information for Veneto, a region in Italy with many successful industrial clusters, I first identify a set of highly productive firms, then show that hiring workers with experience at these firms significantly increases the productivity of other firms. To address identification threats arising from both contemporaneous and future unobservable firm-level productivity shocks correlated with hiring, I use control function methods drawn from the productivity literature and a novel instrumental variable strategy, which exploits downsizing events at highly productive firms. My findings imply that worker flows can explain around 10 percent of the productivity gains experienced by incumbent firms when new highly productive firms are added to a local labor market.
    Keywords: productivity, agglomeration economies, local knowledge spillovers, linked employer-employee data, labor mobility, instrumental variable.
    JEL: R10 D24 J31 J60
    Date: 2015–04–29
  17. By: Luciana Lazzeretti; Niccolò Innocenti; Francesco Capone
    Abstract: Creative industries have become a priority sector for economic development and to exit from the actual economic crisis. Nevertheless, creative industries includes heterogeneous industries and it is not enough investigated how variety and diversity work to favour knowledge spillovers and cross-fertilization processes. The Related Variety approach aims to identify key factors of economic growth considering the need for a local system to have a certain degree of cognitive proximity, so as to promote innovation and development in the area. This work contributes to both these strands of research and it attempts to investigate the role and importance of related and unrelated variety within creative industries for local economic growth. The study focuses on employment growth at provincial level during a long run period 1991-2011 in Italy. Results suggests that the employment growth in creative industries depends on their variety and, even more, on their related variety, which make them able to promote interactions among industries and foster creativity.
    Keywords: Creative industries, creativity, related variety, growth
    JEL: R11 O10
    Date: 2015–05
  18. By: Lopamudra Chakraborti; José Jaime Sainz Santamaría (Division of Economics, CIDE)
    Abstract: Studies on industrial pollution and community pressure in developing countries are rare. We employ previously unused, self-reported toxics pollution data from Mexico to show that there exists some evidence of environmental justice concerns and community pressure in explaining industrial pollution behavior. We obtain historical data on toxic releases into water and land for the time period 2004 to 2012. We focus on 7 major pollutants including heavy metals and cyanide. To address endogeneity concerns of socioeconomic demographic variables, we use data from 2000 Census of Population and Housing and 2005 count data. Our results show that the immediate local population might be affected more by on-site land pollution than end-of-pipe discharges into waterbodies as the latter affects only downstream communities. Among our consistent results, increase in percent of households with telephone leads to lower land (and water) pollution; while increase percent of households with computer leads to increase in water pollution only. Similarly, vulnerable population as captured by percent of population over 65 years and higher unemployment rate leads to higher water pollution only. Other proxies for income and poverty have expected signs but not consistently across all models.
    Keywords: Industrial Pollution, Local Income and Unemployment Effects, Informal Regulation, Environmental Justice, Community Pressure, Toxic Releases
    Date: 2015–03
  19. By: Iimi,Atsushi; Lancelot,Eric R.; Manelici,Isabela; Ogita,Satoshi
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide feedback on the question of socioeconomic benefits from rural road development and the impact of transport infrastructure on the poor, particularly the poorest and the bottom 20 percent of the population. This paper relies on impact evaluation methodologies, which are traditionally used in social sectors but less so in the transport sector. The study, including first surveys, was launched in 2003 under the Tocantins Sustainable Regional Development Project. The paper highlights the context that led to the project?s design, which included an impact evaluation of the works envisaged under the project. The paper also highlights some of the main challenges faced by this impact evaluation and how these challenges were addressed for the present study. It then provides details about the data collected during the surveys and the key relevant characteristics of the population targeted by the surveys. It discusses the possible estimation methods envisioned to undertake the study and provides the main results of the assessment based on these methods. The analysis shows that improved rural roads changed people?s transport modal choice. People used more public buses and individual motorized vehicles after the rural road improvements. The paper also finds that the project increased school attendance, particularly for girls. Although the evidence is relatively weak in statistical terms, it indicates that the project contributed to increasing agricultural jobs and household income in certain regions.
    Keywords: Regional Economic Development,Roads and Highways Performance,Regional Rural Development,Rural Roads&Transport,Transport Economics Policy&Planning
    Date: 2015–04–23
  20. By: David Austin
    Abstract: Although freight transport contributes significantly to the productivity of the U.S. economy, it also involves sizable costs to society. Those costs include wear and tear on roads and bridges; delays caused by traffic congestion; injuries, fatalities, and property damage from accidents; and harmful effects from exhaust emissions. No one pays those external costs directly—neither freight haulers, nor shippers, nor consumers. The unpriced external costs of transporting freight by truck (per ton-mile) are around eight times higher than by rail; those costs net of existing taxes represent about
    JEL: H23 Q58 R40 R48
    Date: 2015–03–30
  21. By: Jessie Handbury; Ilya Rahkovsky; Molly Schnell
    Abstract: The poor diets of many consumers are often attributed to limited access to healthy foods. In this paper, we use detailed data describing the healthfulness of household food purchases and the retail landscapes in which these consumers are making these decisions to study the role of access in explaining why some people in the United States eat more nutritious foods than others. We first confirm that households with lower income and education purchase less healthful foods. We then measure the spatial variation in the average nutritional quality of available food products across local markets, revealing that healthy foods are less likely to be available in low-income neighborhoods. Though significant, spatial differences in access are small and explain only a fraction of the variation that we observe in the nutritional content of household purchases. Systematic socioeconomic disparities in household purchases persist after controlling for access: even in the same store, more educated households purchase more healthful foods. Consistent with this result, we further find that the nutritional quality of purchases made by households with low levels of income and education respond very little when new stores enter or when existing stores change their product offerings. Together, our results indicate that policies aimed at improving access to healthy foods in underserved areas will leave most of the socioeconomic disparities in nutritional consumption intact.
    JEL: I12 I24 I3 R2 R3
    Date: 2015–04
  22. By: Marc van der Steeg; Roel van Elk
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of education vouchers for teachers. We study effects on enrollment and completion of higher education programs, and on the retention of teachers in the education sector. We do this by exploiting a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. Read also the accompanying <a href="">Background Document</a> (only in Dutch). The discontinuity in the probability of being assigned a voucher arises due to budget constraints in the first application period. Our estimates suggest that effects of voucher assignment on both higher education enrollment and completion rates are in the order of 10 to 20 percentage points as measured five and a half years after application. Relative to a baseline enrollment rate of 77 percent and a baseline completion rate of 54 percent (i.e. of applicants that were not assigned a voucher), these effect estimates correspond to a 12 to 29 percent higher enrollment and to a 17 to 42 percent higher completion. Effects on enrollment and completion are relatively small for shorter studies (up to one year) and for teachers that had already started at the time of application. The teacher voucher crowds out both funding by schools out of their regular professional development budgets as well as financial contributions by teachers themselves. Our results suggest small positive effects of voucher assignment on retention in education as measured four years after application.
    JEL: C26 I22 H43 J24 M53
    Date: 2015–04
  23. By: Modestino, Alicia Sasser (Northeastern University); Shoag, Daniel (John F. Kennedy School of Government); Ballance, Joshua (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)
    Abstract: The Great Recession and subsequent recovery have been particularly painful for low-skilled workers. From 2007 to 2012, the unemployment rate rose by 6.4 percentage points for noncollege workers while it rose by only 2.3 percentage points for the college educated. This differential impact was evident within occupations as well. One explanation for the differential impact may be the ability of highly skilled workers to take middle- and low-skilled jobs. Indeed, over this period the share of workers with a college degree in traditionally middle-skill occupations increased rapidly. Such growth in skill requirements within occupations has become known colloquially as "upskilling." It is not clear from employment outcomes alone whether the increasing share of high-skilled workers in middle- and low-skill occupations reflects changing behavior by employers. Few researchers have been able to quantify rising employer requirements due to the difficulty in isolating labor demand from labor supply. In this paper, using a novel dataset of online job vacancy postings, the authors tackle the question of whether the education and experience requirements for job postings have risen between 2007 and 2012, and if so, whether this rise was driven by the state of the local labor market.
    Keywords: upskilling; middle skills; vacancies; labor demand; employer search
    JEL: J23 J24 J63
    Date: 2015–01–30
  24. By: Marcel Fafchamps; Simon R. Quinn
    Abstract: We run a novel field experiment to link managers of African manufacturing firms. The experiment features exogenous link formation, exogenous seeding of information, and exogenous assignment to treatment and placebo. We study the impact of the experiment on firm business practices outside of the lab. We find that the experiment successfully created new variation in social networks. We find significant diffusion of business practices only in terms of VAT registration and having a bank current account. This diffusion is a combination of diffusion of innovation and simple imitation. At the time of our experiment, all three studied countries were undergoing large changes in their VAT legislation.
    JEL: D22 L26 O33
    Date: 2015–04
  25. By: Kandrac, John (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)); Schlusche, Bernd (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.))
    Abstract: In this paper, we document that mortgage-backed securities (MBS) held by the Federal Reserve exhibit faster principal prepayment rates than MBS held by the rest of the market. Next, we show that this stylized fact persists even when controlling for factors that affect prepayment behavior, and thus determine the MBS that are delivered to the Federal Reserve. After ruling out several potential explanations for this result, we provide evidence that points to an agency problem in the secondary market for MBS, which has not previously been documented, as the most likely explanation for the abnormal prepayment behavior of Federal Reserve-held MBS. This agency problem--a key feature of the MBS market--arises when originators of mortgages that underlie the MBS no longer share in the prepayment risk of the securities, thereby increasing incentives to solicit refinancing activity. Therefore, Federal Reserve MBS holdings acquired from originators as a result of large-scale asset purchases can help stimulate economic activity through a so-called "solicited refinancing channel." Finally, we provide an estimate of the additional refinancing activity resulting from the solicited refinancing channel in the years after the Federal Reserve's first MBS purchase program, demonstrating that this channel conveyed savings on monthly mortgage payments to homeowners.
    Keywords: Federal Reserve; LSAP; Monetary policy; QE; mortgage; mortgage-backed securities; prepayment rates
    JEL: E52 G01 G21 R38
    Date: 2015–03–31
  26. By: László Lõrincz (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: Adolescent romantic relationships are sources of social influence concerning educational achievement and delinquent behavior. Integrated schooling is known to induce inter-ethnic friendship relations, however, it also creates the opportunity of inter-ethnic dating. Based on contact theory, inter-ethnic personal relationships or long-term exposure decreases ethnic prejudice, thus it is proposed that willingness to date between ethnic groups may also increase. The question arises, whether in the school context exposure is enough for this mechanism to emerge, or personal contact is necessary. It must be also taken into account, that romantic relationships are embedded in status relations within schools. Previous studies on intermarriage and homogamy found a “social exchange” mechanism, that lower status members of majority groups are more likely to choose minority partners. Translated to the adolescent society, it is assumed, that the less popular members of the majority groups are those, who are more willing to form inter-ethnic dating relations. To address the above questions empirically, the first wave of the Hungarian network panel "Wired into Each Other” was analyzed, containing data of 1214 9th grade students in 43 classes of seven secondary schools. Inter-ethnic dating preferences of Roma and non-Roma students were measured by dyadic attribution of physical attractiveness, and nominations of willingness to date. Statistical analysis was carried out using multilevel p2 models. They suggest that mixed groups are not sufficient, but personal contacts are necessary to decrease same ethnicity preferences in dating. An additional tendency is that among majority students, those who are isolated from the friendship networks are the ones who are more willing to date with the minority group.
    Keywords: romantic relationships; dating; intergroup contact; adolescents; Roma minority; Hungary
    JEL: J13 J15
    Date: 2015–03
  27. By: Heydari, Babak; Mosleh, Mohsen; Dalili, Kia
    Abstract: We introduce a heterogeneous connection model for network formation to capture the effect of cost heterogeneity on the structure of efficient networks. In the proposed model, connection costs are assumed to be separable, which means the total connection cost for each agent is uniquely proportional to its degree. For these sets of networks, we provide the analytical solution for the efficient network and discuss stability implications. We show that the efficient network exhibits a core-periphery structure, and for a given density, we find a lower bound for clustering coefficient of the efficient network.
    Keywords: Complex Networks, Connection Model, Efficient networks, Distance-based utility, Core-periphery, Pairwise Stability
    JEL: D85
    Date: 2015–05–27
  28. By: Remi Jedwab (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University); Dietrich Vollrath
    Abstract: The world is becoming more and more urbanized at every income level, and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of mega-cities in the developing world. This has led scholars to believe that development and urbanization are not always correlated, either across space or over time. In this paper, we use historical data at both the country level and city level over the five centuries between 1500-2010 to revisit the topic of “urbanization without growth†(Fay & Opal, 2000). In particular, we first establish that, although urbanization and income remain highly correlated within any given year, urbanization is 25-30 percentage points higher in 2010 than in 1500 at every level of income per capita. Second, while historically this shift in urbanization rates was more noticeable at the upper tail of the income distribution, i.e. for richer countries, it is now particularly visible at the lower tail, i.e. for poorer countries. Third, these patterns suggest that different factors may have explained the shift in different periods of time. We use the discussion of these factors as an opportunity to provide a survey of the literature and summarize our knowledge of what drives the urbanization process over time.
    Keywords: Urbanization without Growth, Economic Development, Megacities, Urban Poverty, Urbanization
    JEL: N9 R1 O1
  29. By: Dinkel, Andreas; Schanz, Deborah
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of taxation on the location of patents within multinational groups. Based on groups with parents from 36 countries globally and their patent holdings in 36 European countries, we provide insight into the determinants of three subsequent decisions: (1) the decision of whether to locate patents abroad; (2) in which countries to locate patents; and (3) how many patents to locate in each country. Our findings indicate that multinationals take the tax attractiveness of countries into account when making these decisions. Specifically, we show that the statutory tax rate, the taxation of royalties, R&D incentives, and transfer pricing rules help to explain the patent-location choices of multinationals.
    Keywords: International taxation,Tax attractiveness,Intellectual property,Location decision,Multinational enterprise
    JEL: H25 H73 F23
    Date: 2015

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