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Jel Classification:R3 

Working Paper
Recent Employment Growth in Cities, Suburbs, and Rural Communities
This paper uses a comprehensive source of yearly data to study private-sector labor demand across US counties during the past five decades. Our focus is on how employment levels and earnings relate to population density—that is, how labor markets in rural areas, suburbs, and cities have fared relative to one another. Three broad lessons emerge. First, the longstanding suburbanization of employment and population in cities with very dense urban cores essentially stopped in the first decade of the 21st century. For cities with less dense cores, however, the decentralization of employment continues, even as population patterns mimic those of denser areas. Second, a dataset that begins in 1964 clearly shows the decentralization of manufacturing employment away from inner cities, a trend that has long been a focus of the urban sociological literature. Starting in the 1990s, however, manufacturing employment fell sharply, not just in cities but also in rural areas, which had experienced less-intense deindustrialization before then. Finally, average earnings dispersion across counties with similar density levels fell during most of our sample period. But after the 1990s, this dispersion rose, probably because of an increase in earnings dispersion among very dense counties (“superstar cities”). We also note that our results are consistent with explanations of rising individual-level earnings inequality within cities that rest onfundamental changes in how basic job tasks are performed, rather than where particular jobs are located.
AUTHORS: Foote, Christopher L.; Couillard, Benjamin K.
DATE: 2019-12-01

Working Paper
Is the Light Rail “Tide” Lifting Property Values? Evidence from Hampton Roads, Virginia
In this paper we examine the effect of light rail transit on the residential real estate market in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Norfolk Tide light rail began operations in August 2011 and has experienced disappointing levels of ridership over its first four years of operations. We estimate the effect of the Tide using a difference-in-differences model and consider several outcome variables for the residential housing market, including sales price, sales-list price spread and the time-on-market. Our identification strategy exploits a proposed rail line in neighboring Virginia Beach, Virginia, that was rejected by a referendum in 1999. Overall, the results show negative consequences from the constructed light rail line. Properties within 1,500 meters experienced a decline in sales price of nearly 8 percent, while the sale-list price spread declined by approximately 2 percent. Our results highlight the potential negative effects of light rail, when potential accessibility benefits do not outweigh apparent local costs.
AUTHORS: Martin, Julia; Wagner, Gary A.; Komarek, Timothy
DATE: 2016-11-30

Working Paper
Drilling Down: The Impact of Oil Price Shocks on Housing Prices
This paper investigates the impact of oil price shocks on house prices in the largest urban centers in Texas. We model their dynamic relationship taking into account demand- and supply-side housing fundamentals (personal disposable income per capita, long-term interest rates and rural land prices) as well as their varying dependence on oil activity. We show the following: 1) Oil price shocks have limited pass-through to house prices?the highest pass-through is found among the most oil-dependent cities where, after 20 quarters, the cumulative response of house prices is 21 percent of the cumulative effect on oil prices. Still, among less oil-dependent urban areas, the house price response to a one standard deviation oil price shock is economically significant and comparable in magnitude to the response to a one standard deviation income shock. 2) Omitting oil prices when looking at housing markets in oil-producing areas biases empirical inferences by substantially overestimating the effect of income shocks on house prices. 3) The empirical relationship linking oil price fluctuations to house prices has remained largely stable over time, in spite of the significant changes in Texas? oil sector with the onset of the shale revolution in the 2000s.
AUTHORS: Grossman, Valerie; Martinez-Garcia, Enrique; Torres, Luis Bernardo; Sun, Yongzhi
DATE: 2019-10-04

Discussion Paper
Corporate Landlords, Institutional Investors, and Displacement: Eviction Rates in SingleFamily Rentals
In this research we document the eviction crisis in the city of Atlanta and adjacent suburbs. We place eviction-driven housing instability in the broader context of changing housing markets, examining the relationships between post-foreclosure single-family rentals, large corporate landlords, and eviction rates. The rise of the large corporate landlord in the single-family rental market has the potential to rehabilitate vacant properties and offer affordable housing in desirable neighborhoods, or conversely could perpetuate housing instability and spatial inequality. To understand the eviction rate in Atlanta and investigate how corporate ownership relates to housing instability, we use a unique data set: publicly available, parcel-level eviction records from Fulton County, Georgia. We document a high, spatially concentrated eviction rate. Over 20 percent of all rental households received an eviction notice in 2015 and up to 12.2 percent of all households were forcibly displaced. Evictions are spatially concentrated: in some zip codes over 40 percent of all rental households received an eviction notice and over 15 percent of all households were evicted. {{p}} Examining single-family rentals with a cross-sectional regression, we find that large corporate owners of single-family rentals, which we define as firms with more than 15 single-family rental homes in Fulton County, are 8 percent more likely than small landlords to file eviction notices. Although evictions are highly correlated with neighborhood characteristics such as education levels, change in the employment-population rate, and racial composition, the trend holds true even after controlling for property and neighborhood characteristics. Another analysis identifies large private equity investors and finds that some firms have uniquely high eviction rates. Some of the largest firms file eviction notices on a third of their properties in a year and have an 18 percent higher housing instability rate even after controlling for property and neighborhood characteristics.
AUTHORS: Pokharel, Shiraj; Miller, Ben; Raymond, Elora; Duckworth, Richard; Lucas, Michael
DATE: 2016-12-01

Working Paper
Is Los Angeles Becoming Transit Oriented?
Over the past 20 years, local and regional governments in the Los Angeles metropolitan area have invested significant resources in building rail transit infrastructure that connects major employment centers. One goal of transit infrastructure is to catalyze the development of high density, mixed-use housing and commercial activity within walking distance of rail stations, referred to as Transit Oriented Development (TOD). This project examines the quantity, type, and mix of economic activity that has occurred around newly built rail stations in Los Angeles over the past 20 years. Specifically, have the number of jobs or housing market characteristics changed near stations? We use establishment-level data on employment and property-level data on housing transactions to analyze changes in several employment and housing outcomes. Results suggest that new rail stations were located in areas that, prior to station opening, had unusually high employment density and mostly multifamily rental housing. There is no evidence of changes in employment density, housing sales volume, or new housing development within five years after station opening. Regressions suggest that a subset of stations saw increased employment density within five to ten years after opening.
AUTHORS: Schuetz, Jenny; Giuliano, Genevieve; Shin, Eun Jin
DATE: 2016-02-05

Working Paper
Does Zoning Help or Hinder Transit-Oriented (Re)Development?
Despite its reputation as a car-oriented city, the Los Angeles metropolitan area has made substantial investments in developing rail transit since 1990. In cities with older "legacy" rail systems, the built environment has developed over time around fixed transit infrastructure, creating land use patterns oriented towards long-standing rail stations. By contrast, rail stations in Los Angeles were added to an already dense built environment, with auto oriented zoning and established land use patterns. In this paper we ask whether redevelopment is occurring around Los Angeles? rail stations, and whether zoning and related public policies are facilitating or constraining transit-oriented development. We conduct case studies of six Metro rail stations in the Los Angeles region, documenting the existing built environment, key components of zoning and land use planning, and the extent and type of new development in the immediate vicinity of stations after they opened. Results illustrate that redevelopment around transit stations involves complex interactions between physical environment, economic conditions and public interventions. Incompatible zoning and related land use policies may constrain growth near stations, but TOD-friendly zoning alone is not sufficient to spur development.
AUTHORS: Schuetz, Jenny; Giuliano, Genevieve; Shin, Eun Jin
DATE: 2016-03-04

Working Paper
The Effects of Mortgage Credit Availability : Evidence from Minimum Credit Score Lending Rules
Since the housing bust and financial crisis, mortgage lenders have introduced progressively higher minimum thresholds for acceptable credit scores. Using loan-level data, we document the introduction of these thresholds, as well as their effects on the distribution of newly originated mortgages. We then use the timing and nonlinearity of these supply-side changes to credibly identify their short- and medium-run effects on various individual outcomes. Using a large panel of consumer credit data, we show that the credit score thresholds have very large negative effects on borrowing in the short run, and that these effects attenuate over time but remain sizable up to four years later. The effects are particularly concentrated among younger adults and those living in middle-income or moderately black census tracts. In aggregate, we estimate that lenders' use of minimum credit scores reduced the total number of newly originated mortgages by about 2 percent in the years following the financial crisis. We also find that, among individuals who already had mortgages, retaining access to mortgage credit reduced delinquency on both mortgage and non-mortgage debt and increased their propensity to take out auto loans, but had little effect on migration across metropolitan areas.
AUTHORS: Laufer, Steven; Paciorek, Andrew D.
DATE: 2016-12-08

Working Paper
Owner-Occupancy Fraud and Mortgage Performance
We use a matched credit bureau and mortgage dataset to identify occupancy fraud in residential mortgage originations, that is, borrowers who misrepresented their occupancy status as owner-occupants rather than residential real estate investors. In contrast to previous studies, our dataset allows us to show that – during the housing bubble – such fraud was broad based, appearing in the government-sponsored enterprise market and in loans held on bank portfolios as well, and increases the effective share of investors by 50 percent. We show that a key benefit of investor fraud was obtaining a lower interest rate, particularly for riskier borrowers. Mortgage borrowers who misrepresented their occupancy status performed substantially worse than otherwise similar owner-occupants and declared investors, and constituted one-sixth of the share of loans in default by the end of 2008. We show that these defaults were also significantly more likely to be “strategic,” further highlighting the contribution of fraud in the housing bust.
AUTHORS: Payne, Aaron; Elul, Ronel; Tilson, Sebatian
DATE: 2019-12-17

Working Paper
Do Minimum Wage Increases Benefit Intended Households? Evidence from the Performance of Residential Leases
Prior studies debating the e?ects of changes to the minimum wage concentrate on impacts on household income and spending or employment. We extend this debate by examining the impact of changes to the minimum wage on expenses associated with shelter, a previously unexplored area. Increases in state minimum wages signi?cantly reduce the incidence of renters defaulting on their lease contracts by 1.29 percentage points over three months, relative to similar renters who did not experience an increase in the minimum wage. This represents 25.7% fewer defaults post treatment in treated states. To put this into perspective, a 1% increase in minimum wage translates into a 2.6% decrease in rental default. This evidence is consistent with wage increases having an immediate impact on relaxing renter budget constraints. However, this e?ect slowly decreases over time as landlords react to wage increases by increasing rents. Our analysis is based on a unique data set that tracks household rental payments.
AUTHORS: Agarwal, Sumit; Ambrose, Brent W.; Diop, Moussa
DATE: 2019-07-10

Working Paper
Agglomeration and innovation
Draft chapter for the forthcoming Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Vols. 5A and 5B This paper reviews academic research on the connections between agglomeration and innovation. The authors first describe the conceptual distinctions between invention and innovation. They then discuss how these factors are frequently measured in the data and note some resulting empirical regularities. Innovative activity tends to be more concentrated than industrial activity, and the authors discuss important findings from the literature about why this is so. The authors highlight the traits of cities (e.g., size, industrial diversity) that theoretical and empirical work link to innovation, and they discuss factors that help sustain these features (e.g., the localization of entrepreneurial finance).
AUTHORS: Kerr, William R.; Carlino, Gerald A.
DATE: 2014-08-01


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