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Jel Classification:H70 

Working Paper
Reconstruction Multipliers

Following the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake, financing of reconstruction by the Italian central government resulted in a sharp and unanticipated discontinuity in grants across municipalities that were ex-ante very similar. Using the emergency financing law as an instrument, we identify the causal effect of municipal government spending on local activity, controlling for the negative supply shock from the earthquake. In our estimates, this "reconstruction multiplier" is around unity, and we show that the grants provided public insurance. Economic activity contracted in municipalities that did not ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-79

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-16

Newsletter
How vulnerable are insurance companies to a downturn in the municipal bond market?

As the U.S. economy remains weakened by the Covid-19 pandemic, concern persists for the health and resilience of the municipal bond market. Municipal bonds (muni bonds) are debt securities issued by state and local governments to raise money and are generally considered to be safe investments. However, the recent slowdown in economic activity due to Covid-19 created significant stress on state and local government budgets, leading to a heightened risk for municipal bond downgrades and possibly even defaults. In this Chicago Fed Letter, we examine to what extent property and casualty (P&C) and ...
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue 451 , Pages 7

Working Paper
From urban core to wealthy towns: nonschool fiscal disparities across Connecticut municipalities

Fiscal disparities occur when economic resources and public service needs are unevenly distributed across localities. There are two equity concerns associated with fiscal disparities. First, as Yinger (1986) shows, it is not considered fair to require two otherwise-identical households to pay a different amount of taxes for the same level of public services simply because they live in different towns. Second, fiscal disparities render some towns at a disadvantage in economic competition (Downes and Pogue 1992). These towns must impose a higher tax rate and/or provide a lower level of public ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-14

Journal Article
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 ...
Review , Volume 98 , Issue 3 , Pages 189-226

Working Paper
Fewer Vacants, Fewer Crimes? Impacts of Neighborhood Revitalization Policies on Crime

The relationship between neighborhood physical environment and social disorder, particularly crime, is of critical interest to urban economists and sociologists, as well as local governments. Over the past 50 years, various policy interventions to improve physical conditions in distressed neighborhoods have also been heralded for their potential to reduce crime. Urban renewal programs in the mid-20th century and public housing redevelopment in the 1990s both subscribed to the idea that signs of physical disorder invite social disorder. More recently, the federal Neighborhood Stabilization ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-88

Working Paper
Which Way to Recovery? Housing Market Outcomes and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program

To help communities recover from the foreclosure crisis, Congress enacted a set of policies known as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). NSP's objective was to mitigate the impact of foreclosures on neighboring properties, through reducing the stock of distressed properties and removing sources of visual blight. This paper presents evidence on production outcomes achieved through the second round of NSP funding (NSP2), and discusses the housing market context under which the program operated from 2010 to 2013. Two key findings emerge. First, local grantees undertook quite different ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-4

Discussion Paper
Declines in Low-Cost Rented Housing Units in Eight Large Southeastern Cities

From the last quarter of 2012 to the last quarter of 2015, median rents rose 23.4 percent in the South, according to the Census Bureau. Accordingly, an increasing number of households in the South are cost-burdened, which is defined as a household spending more than 30 percent of its income on housing. A growing number of households spend over 50 percent of their income on rent, making them severely cost-burdened. The percentage of such severely cost-burdened households with incomes below $35,000 reached 80 percent in 2014 in eight central cities in the Southeast (Atlanta, Birmingham, ...
FRB Atlanta Community and Economic Development Discussion Paper , Paper 2016-3

Discussion Paper
Blight remediation in the Southeast: local approaches to design and implementation

Blight?or the proliferation of vacant, abandoned, or poorly maintained properties?is a critical community issue in many cities in the Southeast as in other regions of the United States, as economic shifts experienced in the past few decades have changed neighborhoods significantly. Municipalities dealing with this issue recognize what is well documented in the literature?that blight is associated with social, economic, environmental, and public health effects on neighborhoods. The recent recession has led to a surge of abandoned and bank-owned properties, disproportionately located in poor ...
FRB Atlanta Community and Economic Development Discussion Paper , Paper 2015-5

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