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Author:Hernandez-Murillo, Ruben 

Working Paper
Nonlinear hedonics and the search for school district quality

A school?s quality is often inferred from the premium a parent must pay to buy a house associated with a better school. Isolating this effect, however, is difficult because better schools also tend to be located in nicer neighborhoods and, therefore, cost more for reasons other than school quality. Although recent work has been relatively successful in isolating this effect, it is limited to the extent that it assumes a linear effect of schools on housing prices. We examine this relationship and find that the premium for school quality is nonlinear: There is a premium for houses in better ...
Working Papers , Paper 2003-039

Working Paper
Tax competition and tax harmonization with evasion

We examine a two-jurisdiction tax competition environment where local governments can only imperfectly monitor where agents pay taxes and risk-averse individuals my choose to cross borders to pay lower taxes in a neighboring location. ; In the game between local authorities, when communities differ in size, in equilibrium the smaller community sets lower taxes and attracts agents from the larger jurisdiction. With identical communities, tax rates must be equal. Whenever the smaller community benefits from tax harmonization, the larger one will also. ; If the high-tax community chooses a ...
Working Papers , Paper 2002-015

Working Paper
Clustered housing cycles

Using a panel of U.S. city-level building permits data, we estimate a Markov-switching model of housing cycles that allows cities to systematically deviate from the national housing cycle. These deviations occur for clusters of cities that experience simultaneous housing contractions. We find that cities do not form housing regions in the traditional geographic sense. Instead, similarities in factors affecting the demand for housing (such as population growth or availability of credit) appear to be more important determinants of cyclical co-movements than similarities in factors affecting the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2013-021

Working Paper
Patent licensing revisited: heterogeneous firms and product differentiation

In this paper we study the optimal licensing agreement between a patentholder of a cost-reducing innovation and firms that have heterogeneous uses for the new technology. We consider the case in which these firms are competitors in a downstream market. We extend the competition environment among the licensees beyond the Cournot/Bertrand models considered by the previous literature to a framework with differentiated products. We also assume that potential licensees have private information about the usefulness of the new technology. We characterize two purposes the optimal licensing contract ...
Working Papers , Paper 2002-031

Working Paper
Racial profiling or racist policing? bounds tests in aggregate data

State-wide reports on police traffic stops and searches summarize very large populations, making them potentially powerful tools for identifying racial bias, particularly when statistics on search outcomes are included. But when the reported statistics conflate searches involving different levels of police discretion, standard tests for racial bias are not applicable. This paper develops a model of police search decisions that allows for non-discretionary searches and derives tests for racial bias in data that mixes different search types. Our tests reject unbiased policing as an explanation ...
Working Papers , Paper 2004-012

Working Paper
Interjurisdictional Competition and Location Decisions of Firms

We examine the welfare properties of alternative regimes of interjurisdictional competition for heterogenous mobile firms. Firms differ not only in terms of the degree of mobility across jurisdictions but also in terms of productivity. Alternative taxation regimes represent restraints on the discretionary powers of taxation of local governments. We find that average welfare is higher under discretionary and more efficient taxation regimes (in the sense of minimizing deadweight losses from distortionary taxation) when firms are highly mobile. In this situation, further limiting competition by ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-36

Working Paper
What do happiness and health satisfaction data tell us about relative risk aversion?

In this paper we provide estimates of the coefficient of relative risk aversion using information on self-reports of subjective personal well-being from the 2006 Gallup World Poll. We expand the existing literature on the use of happiness data to analyze economic issues by considering the implications of allowing for health state dependence in the utility function. Our estimates of relative risk aversion using pooled data from various country groupings are smaller than one, suggesting less concavity than log utility. We also find that controlling for health dependence generally reduces these ...
Working Papers , Paper 2011-039

Working Paper
The diffusion of electronic business in the U.S.

We provide a recent account of the diffusion of electronic business in the U.S. economy using new data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. We document the extent of the diffusion in three main sectors of the economy: retail, services, and manufacturing. For manufacturing, we also analyze plants' patterns of adoption of several Internet-based processes. We conclude with a look at the future of the Internet's diffusion and a prospect for further data collection by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Working Papers , Paper 2004-009

Working Paper
Did affordable housing legislation contribute to the subprime securities boom?

No. In this paper we use a regression discontinuity approach to investigate whether affordable housing policies influenced origination or affected prices of subprime mortgages. We use merged loan-level data on non-prime securitized mortgages with individual- and neighborhood-level data for California and Florida. We find no evidence that lenders increased subprime originations or altered pricing around the discrete eligibility cutoffs for the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) affordable housing goals or the Community Reinvestment Act. Our results indicate that the extensive purchases of ...
Working Papers , Paper 2012-005

Working Paper
Does consumer sentiment predict regional consumption?

This paper tests the ability of consumer sentiment to predict retail spending at the state level. The results here suggest that, although there is a significant relationship between sentiment measures and retail sales growth in several states, consumer sentiment exhibits only modest predictive power for future changes of retail spending. Measures of consumer sentiment, however, contain additional explanatory power aside from the information available in other indicators. We also find that by restricting our attention to fluctuations in retail sales that occur at the business cycle frequency ...
Working Papers , Paper 2003-003

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