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Author:Brown, Jason 

Working Paper
How Centralized is U.S. Metropolitan Employment?
Centralized employment remains a benchmark stylization of metropolitan land use.To address its empirical relevance, we delineate "central employment zones" (CEZs)- central business districts together with nearby concentrated employment|for 183 metropolitan areas in 2000. To do so, we first subjectively classify which census tracts in a training sample of metros belong to their metro's CEZ and then use a learning algorithm to construct a function that predicts our judgment. {{p}} Applying this prediction function to the full cross section of metros estimates the probability we would judge each census tract as belonging to its metro's CEZ. Using a high probability threshold for tract inclusion conservatively delineates a predicted CEZ for each metro. On average, the conservatively predicted CEZs account for only 12 percent of metropolitan employment in 2000. But the distribution of shares is positively skewed, with the conservatively predicted CEZs accounting for at least 20 percent of employment in 29 metros. Employment centralization is considerably higher for agglomerative occupations|those that arguably bene t most from face-to-face contact. The conservatively predicted CEZs account for at least 33 percent of agglomerative employment in 24 metros and at least 50 percent of legal employment in 79 metros.
AUTHORS: Maloney, Maeve; Brown, Jason; Smalter Hall, Aaron; Rappaport, Jordan
DATE: 2017-11-16

Working Paper
Asset Ownership, Windfalls, and Income: Evidence from Oil and Gas Royalties
How does local versus absentee ownership of natural resources?and their associated income?shape the relationship between extraction and local income? Theory and empirics on natural resources and the broader economy have focused heavily on labor markets, largely ignoring the economic implications of payments to resource owners. We study how local ownership of oil and gas rights shapes the local income effects of extraction. For the average U.S. county that experienced an increase in oil and gas production from 2000 to 2013, increased royalty income and its associated economic stimulus accounted for more than two-thirds of the total income effect from extraction in 2013. Looking at gross royalty income in particular, which we derive from more than 2.2 million leases across the continental United States, we estimate that each dollar in royalty income led to $0.52 in non-royalty income, largely reflecting greater wage income in the service sector. {{p}} Overall, a U.S. county with complete local ownership of the subsurface captured 29 cents more of each dollar in production than a county with absentee ownership. For a county with the median shale production in 2013, this would translate to an extra $1,098 per capita, or 5.3 percent of total income.
AUTHORS: Brown, Jason; Fitzgerald, Timothy; Weber, Jeremy G.
DATE: 2016-12-08

Working Paper
Effects of State Taxation on Investment: Evidence from the Oil Industry
We provide theoretical and empirical evidence that firms do not in general respond equally to changes in prices and taxes in the setting of oil well drilling in the United States. Our key theoretical contribution is that in a multi-state model, a change in output price changes both the benefit and opportunity cost of drilling, whereas a change in a state tax rate only changes the benefit of drilling in that state. Thus, a firm responds more to a change in tax than a change in price. Our econometric results support this theoretical prediction. We find that a one dollar per barrel increase in price leads to a 1 percent increase in wells drilled, but a one dollar per barrel increase in tax leads to at least an 8 percent decrease in wells drilled. These estimates correspond to elasticities of about 0.5 and -0.3, respectively. These results are robust to interstate spillovers, other state regulations, and econometric specification. They imply that using state tax rate decreases to incentivize investment may lead to losses of government revenue.
AUTHORS: Maniloff, Peter; Brown, Jason; Manning, Dale T.
DATE: 2018-09-05

Working Paper
The Effect of the Conservation Reserve Program on Rural Economies: Deriving a Statistical Verdict from a Null Finding
This article suggests two methods for deriving a statistical verdict from a null finding,allowing economists to more confidently conclude when ?not significant" can in fact be interpreted as ?no substantive effect." The proposed methodology can be extended to a variety of empirical contexts where size and power matter. The example used to demonstrate the method is the Economic Research Service's 2004 Report to Congress that was charged with statistically identifying any unintended negative employment consequences of the Conservation Reserve Program (the Program). The report failed to identify a statistically significant negative long-term effect of the Program on employment growth, but the authors correctly cautioned that the verdict of ?no negative employment effect" was only valid if the econometric test was statistically powerful. We replicate the 2004 analysis and use new methods of statistical inference to resolve the two critical deficiencies that preclude estimation of statistical power by economists: 1) positing a compelling effect size, and 2) providing an estimate of the variability of an unobserved alternative distribution using simulation methods. We conclude that the test used in the report had high power for detecting employment effects of -1 percent or lower resulting from the Program, equivalent to job losses reducing a conservative estimate of environmental benefits by a third.
AUTHORS: Wojan, Timothy R.; Lambert, Dayton; Brown, Jason
DATE: 2018-05-01

Working Paper
Location decisions of natural gas extraction establishments: a smooth transition count model approach
The economic geography of the United States' energy landscape changed rapidly with domestic expansion of the natural gas sector. Recent work with smooth transition parameter models is extended to an establishment location model estimated using Poisson regression to test whether expansion of this sector, as evidenced by firm location decisions from 2005 to 2010, is characterized by different growth regimes. Results suggest business establishment growth of firms engaged in natural gas extraction was faster when the average area of shale and tight gas transition coverage in neighboring counties exceeded 17%. Local agglomeration externalities, access to skilled labor and transportation infrastructure were of more economic importance to location decisions in the high growth regime. Accordingly, growth rates were heterogeneous across the lower 48 States, suggesting potentially different outcomes with respect to local investment decisions supporting this sector.
AUTHORS: Lambert, Dayton; Brown, Jason
DATE: 2014-04-01

Working Paper
Rural wealth creation and emerging energy industries: lease and royalty payments to farm households and businesses
New technologies for accessing energy resources, changes in global energy markets, and government policies have encouraged growth in the natural gas and wind industries in the 2000s. The growth has offered new opportunities for wealth creation in many rural areas. At a local level, households who own land or mineral rights can benefit from energy development through lease and royalty payments. Using nationally-representative data on U.S. farms from 2011, we assess the consumption, investment, and wealth implications of the $2.3 billion in lease and royalty payments that energy companies paid to farm businesses. We estimate that the savings of current energy payments combined with the effect of payments on land values added $104,000 in wealth for the average recipient farm.
AUTHORS: Pender, John; Weber, Jeremy G.; Brown, Jason
DATE: 2013

Working Paper
Rising Market Concentration and the Decline of Food Price Shock Pass-Through to Core Inflation
Using a vector autoregression that allows for time-varying parameters and stochastic volatility, we show that U.S. core inflation became 75 percent less responsive to shocks in food prices since the late 1970s. The decline in the pass-through of food price shocks to inflation is a result of a decline in both volatility and the persistence of food price changes in inflation. This decline in pass-through coincides with a period of increasing concentration in the food supply chain, especially among U.S. grocery retailers and distributors. We find that 60 percent of the variation in pass-through over the last four decades can be explained by changes in food retailers? and distributors? market concentration. Controlling for the composition of the food basket and inflation expectations explains an additional 20 percent of the variation. {{p}} Our results suggest that if the market concentration of food retailers and distributors continues to increase and inflation expectations remain well-anchored, the pass-through of food price shocks to inflation will likely remain subdued.
AUTHORS: Brown, Jason; Colton, Tousey
DATE: 2019-06-13

Working Paper
Response of Consumer Debt to Income Shocks: The Case of Energy Booms and Busts
This paper investigates how consumers respond to local income shocks as a result of booms and busts in oil and gas development. Oil and gas development generates potentially large streams of income via wages and salaries to workers and royalty income to mineral rights owners. Changes in development may lead consumers to increase their spending depending on their exposure to income shocks. Using quarterly information on consumer debt and oil and gas activity, I ?nd that consumer debt increased at a peak of $840 per capita in counties with shale endowment and increased drilling. Each well drilled was associated with $6,750 in consumer debt for an implied total of $2.7 billion or 0.5 percent of consumer debt in areas where drilling occurred from 2007 to 2015. {{p}} Consumers in previously developed areas tend to view new increases in activity as transitory relative to areas with little previous development that experience a shock.
AUTHORS: Brown, Jason
DATE: 2017-05-01

Working Paper
Capturing rents from natural resource abundance: private royalties from U.S. onshore oil and gas production
Innovation-spurred growth in oil and gas production from shale formations led the U.S. to become the global leader in producing oil and natural gas. Because most shale is on private lands, drilling companies must access the resource through private lease contracts that provide a share of the value of production ? a royalty ? to mineral owners. We investigate the competitiveness of leasing markets by estimating how much mineral owners capture geologically-driven advantages in well productivity through a higher royalty rate. We estimate that the six major shale plays generated $39 billion in private royalties in 2014, however, there is limited pass-through of resource abundance into royalty rates. A doubling of the ultimate recovery of the average well in a county increases the average royalty rate by 2 percentage points (an 11 percent increase). The low pass-through is consistent with firms exercising market power in private leasing markets, and with uncertainty over the value of resource endowments. The finding suggests that policies affecting the cost of extraction likely have little effect on the share of the value of production captured by mineral owners.
AUTHORS: Brown, Jason; Fitzgerald, Timothy; Weber, Jeremy G.
DATE: 2015-06-01

Journal Article
The Widening Divide in Business Turnover between Large and Small Urban Areas
Business turnover?the rate at which new firms enter and old firms exit the economy?has been declining for at least 40 years in the United States. Declining business turnover is potentially problematic, as it may signal a drop in innovation and productivity growth as well as a lower share of economic activity at new businesses. As a result, the economic fortunes of metropolitan areas are likely to be intertwined with the rate of business turnover they experience. {{p}} As the U.S. economy continues to transition from producing goods to providing services, changes in business turnover are unfolding differently in small versus large metropolitan areas. Jason P. Brown documents recent trends in business turnover across metropolitan areas of various sizes and shows that business turnover has declined much more sharply in small than in large urban areas. In addition, he finds that this gap widened in the years following the Great Recession. His results may help explain the widening economic divide between urban and rural areas of the country.
AUTHORS: Brown, Jason
DATE: 2018-07

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