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R - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics

Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics

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The Aggregate Productivity Effects of Internal Migration: Evidence from Indonesia

We estimate the aggregate productivity gains from reducing barriers to internal labor migration in Indonesia, accounting for worker selection and spatial differences in human capital. We distinguish between movement costs, which mean workers will only move if they expect higher wages, and amenity differences, which mean some locations must pay more to attract workers. We find modest but important aggregate impacts. We estimate a 22% increase in labor productivity from removing all barriers.

International Isolation and Regional Inequality: Evidence from Sanctions on North Korea

This paper examines how regional inequality evolves when a country becomes increasingly isolated from economic sanctions. I hypothesize three channels: regional favoritism by the ruling elites, reallocation of commerce that reflects the change in relative trade costs, and import substitution. Using nighttime lights from North Korea, I find that the capital city, trade hubs near China, and manufacturing cities become relatively brighter when sanctions increase. However, production shifts away from capital-intensive goods, deterring industrial development.

Temporary Migration and Endogenous Risk Sharing in Village India

When people can self-insure via migration, they may have less need for informal risk sharing. At the same time, informal insurance may reduce the need to migrate. To understand the joint determination of migration and risk sharing I study a dynamic model of risk sharing with limited commitment frictions and endogenous temporary migration. First, I characterize the model. I demonstrate theoretically how migration may decrease risk sharing. I decompose the welfare effect of migration into the change in income and the change in the endogenous structure of insurance.

The Joy of Flying: Efficient Airport PPP Contracts

We examine the optimal concession contract for an infrastructure that generates both user fee revenue and ancillary commercial revenue. For example, airports charge user fees to passengers and airlines (aviation revenue) and collect revenue from shops, restaurants, parking lots and hotels (non-aviation revenue). While passenger flow and the demand for the infrastructure are exogenous, the demand for ancillary services depends both on exogenous passenger flow and on the concessionaire’s effort and diligence.

Entrepreneurship, Small Businesses, and Economic Growth in Cities: An Empirical Analysis

Does entrepreneurship cause urban economic growth and if so how large is the impact? Empirical analysis of such question is hampered by endogeneity. This paper uses two different sets of variables – the homestead exemption levels in state bankruptcy laws from 1975 and the share of MSA overlaying aquifers - to instrument for entrepreneurship and examine urban growth between 1993 and 2002. Despite using different sets of instrumental variables, the ranges of 2SLS estimates are similar, further supporting the significant impact of entrepreneurship on urban growth.

Do Government Guaranteed Small Business Loans Promote Economic Growth and Entrepreneurship?

This paper examines the impact of government guaranteed small business loans on urban economic growth, and compares the growth impacts of government versus market financed entrepreneurship. OLS estimates indicate a significant and positive relation between the Small Business Administration’s guaranteed loans and metropolitan growth between 1993 and 2002. However, first-difference and instrumental variable regressions show no growth impact from government guaranteed loans. In contrast, market entrepreneurship significantly and positively contributes to local economic growth.

Countering Sanctions: The Unequal Geographic Impact of Economic Sanctions in North Korea

This paper examines how an autocratic regime domestically counters the impact of economic sanctions. A stylized model predicts that, as long as non-compliance is not too costly, the autocrat redistributes resources to the more valuable urban area when sanctions increase. Empirically, I examine the case of North Korea. I use the satellite night lights data to create average luminosity for each one minute by one minute cell between 1992 and 2010. I construct a sanctions index that varies based on the international response to North Korea’s nuclear pursuit.

Finance and Public-Private Partnerships

Private finance of infrastructure grew substantially during the last twenty five years. Part of the growth has been caused by public-private partnerships (PPPs), which bundle investment and service provision of single public infrastructure projects into a long-term contract with a private single-purpose firm. Because most PPPs enjoy few economies of scope and assets are project specific, project finance is appropriate. PPP projects are highly levered. Banks tend to finance construction. During the operation of the project, bond finance substitutes for bank lending.

House Prices as Indicators of Monetary Policy: Evidence from China

This paper assesses empirically whether China's central bank should react to house prices and if so how. We use three kinds of VAR models including structural VARs with a combination of short-run and long-run restrictions to solve the endogeneity problem of identifying shocks to monetary policy and house prices. Broader money supply (M2) and the one-year lending rate are used as monetary policy proxies according to the distinctive background in China. The interaction between M2 and house prices is much more evident than the effects of M2 and house prices on GDP and CPI.

The Quality of China’s GDP Statistics

Since the 1998 “wind of falsification and embellishment,” Chinese official GDP statistics have repeatedly come under scrutiny. This paper evaluates the quality of China’s GDP statistics in four stages. First, it reviews past and ongoing suspicions of the quality of GDP data and examines the evidence. Second, it documents the institutional framework for data compilation and concludes on the implications for data quality. Third, it asks how the National Bureau of Statistics could possibly go about credibly falsifying GDP data without being found out.


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