Have Distressed Neighborhoods Recovered? Evidence from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program
During the 2007-2009 housing crisis, concentrations of foreclosed and vacant properties created severe blight in many cities and neighborhoods. The federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) was established to help mitigate distress in hard-hit areas by funding the rehabilitation or demolition of troubled properties. This paper analyzes housing market changes in areas that received investments during the second round of NSP funding, focusing on seven large urban counties. Grantees used NSP to invest in census tracts with high rates of distressed and vacancy properties, and tracts that ...
The impact of the Great Recession on school district finances: evidence from New York
Despite education?s fundamental role in human capital formation and growth, there is no research that examines the effect of the Great Recession (or any other recession) on schools. Our paper begins to fill this gap. Exploiting detailed data on school finance indicators and an analysis of trend shifts, we examine how the Great Recession affected school funding in New York State. While we find no evidence of effects on either total revenue or expenditure, there were important compositional changes to both. There is strong evidence of substitution of funds on the revenue side?the infusion of ...
The Great Recession’s impact on school district finances in New York State
A slowly emerging literature explores the effects of the Great Recession on different parts of the economy; however, very little research examines the impact of the Great Recession (or any other recession) on schools. Given the fundamental role of education in human capital formation and growth, understanding the effect of recessions on schools is essential. This article contributes to filling this gap. Exploiting detailed panel data on a multitude of school finance indicators and a trend shift analysis, it examines how the Great Recession affected school finances in New York State. While it ...
Optimal Progressivity with Age-Dependent Taxation
This paper studies optimal taxation of labor earnings when the degree of tax progressivity is allowed to vary with age. We analyze this question in a tractable equilibrium overlapping-generations model that incorporates a number of salient trade-offs in tax design. Tax progressivity provides insurance against ex-ante heterogeneity and earnings uncertainty that missing markets fail to deliver. However, taxes distort labor supply and human capital investments. Uninsurable risk cumulates over the life cycle, and thus the welfare gains from income compression via progressive taxation increase ...
Online Appendix for: How Do Voters Respond to Welfare vis-à-vis Public Good Programs? An Empirical Test for Clientelism
This appendix accompanies Staff Report 605: How Do Voters Respond to Welfare vis-à-vis Public Good Programs? An Empirical Test for Clientelism.
The Visible Hand: The Role of Government in China’s Long-Awaited Industrial Revolution
China is undergoing its long-awaited industrial revolution. There is no shortage of commentary and opinion on this dramatic period, but few have attempted to provide a coherent, in-depth, politicaleconomic framework that explains the fundamental mechanisms behind China?s rapid industrialization. This article reviews the New Stage Theory of economic development put forth by Wen (2016a). It illuminates the critical sequence of developmental stages since the reforms enacted by Deng Xiaoping in 1978: namely, small-scale commercialized agricultural production, proto-industrialization in the ...
Bond Insurance and Public Sector Employment
This paper uses a unique data set of local governments’ bond issuance, expenditure, and employment to study the impact of the monoline insurance industry’s demise on local governments’ operations. To show causality, I use an instrumental variable approach that exploits persistent insurance relationships and the cross-sectional variation in insurers’ exposure to high-quality residential mortgage-backed securities. Governments associated with ailing insurers issued less debt, cut expenditures, and hired fewer workers. These effects are persistent. Partial equilibrium calculations show ...
Precarious slopes? The Great Recession, federal stimulus, and New Jersey schools
While only a sparse literature investigates the impact of the Great Recession on various sectors of the economy, there is virtually no research on the effect on schools. This article starts to fill the void. The authors make use of rich panel data and a trend-shift analysis to study how New Jersey school finances were affected by the onset of the recession and the federal stimulus that followed. Their results show strong evidence of downward shifts in total school funding and expenditures, relative to trend, following the recession. Support of more than $2 billion in American Recovery and ...
Optimal Tax Progressivity: An Analytical Framework
What shapes the optimal degree of progressivity of the tax and transfer system? On the one hand, a progressive tax system can counteract inequality in initial conditions and substitute for imperfect private insurance against idiosyncratic earnings risk. At the same time, progressivity reduces incentives to work and to invest in skills, and aggravates the externality associated with valued public expenditures. We develop a tractable equilibrium model that features all of these trade-offs. The analytical expressions we derive for social welfare deliver a transparent understanding of how ...
Clientelistic Politics and Pro-Poor Targeting: Rules versus Discretionary Budgets
Past research has provided evidence of clientelistic politics in delivery of program benefits by local governments (gram panchayats (GPs)), and manipulation of GP program budgets by legislators and elected officials at upper tiers in West Bengal, India. Using household panel survey data spanning 1998-2008, we examine the consequences of clientelism for distributive equity. We find that targeting of anti-poverty programs was progressive both within and across GPs, and is explained by greater 'vote responsiveness' of poor households to receipt of welfare benefits. Across-GP allocations were ...