Working Paper Series

  • Certified to migrate: Property rights and migration in rural Mexico

    Alain de Janvry, Kyle Emerick, Marco Gonzalez-Navarro, Elisabeth Sadoulet

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (March 2012)

    Improving security of tenure over agricultural land has recently been the focus of a number
    of large land certification programs. While the main justification for these efforts was to increase
    productive investments and facilitate land rental transactions, we show that if access rights were
    tied to actual land use in the previous regime, these programs can also lead to increased outmi­
    gration from agrarian communities. We analyze the Mexican ejido land certification program
    which, from 1993 to 2006, awarded ownership certificates to 3.6 million farmers on about half the
    country’s agricultural land. Using the program rollout over time and space as an identification
    strategy, we show that households that obtained land certificates were 28% more likely to have a
    migrant member. The effect was larger for households with ex-ante weaker property rights and
    with larger off-farm opportunities. At the community level, certificates led to a 5% reduction in
    population, and the effects were larger in lower land quality environments. We show evidence
    of certificates leading to sorting, with larger farmers staying and land-poor farmers leaving in
    high productivity areas. We use satellite imagery to determine that, on average, cultivated land
    was not reduced because of the program, consistent with increases in agricultural labor produc­
    tivity. Furthermore, in high productivity areas, the certification program led to an increase in
    cultivated land compared to low productivity ones. We confirm the validity of the results with
    checks on exogeneity of the rollout process relative to migration trends and on attrition in the
    panel dataset we use.

  • Residential energy use and conservation: Economics and demographics

    John Quigley, Dirk Brounen, Nils Kok

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (March 2012)

    Energy consumption in the residential sector offers an important opportunity for
    conserving resources. However, much of the current debate regarding energy efficiency
    in the housing market focuses on the physical and technical determinants of energy
    consumption, neglecting the role of the economic behavior of resident households. In
    this paper, we analyze the extent to which the use of gas and electricity is determined
    by the technical specifications of the dwelling as compared to the demographic
    characteristics of the residents. Our analysis is based on a sample of more than
    300,000 Dutch homes and their occupants. The results indicate that residential gas
    consumption is determined principally by structural dwelling characteristics, such
    as the vintage, building type, and characteristics of the dwelling, while electricity
    consumption varies more directly with household composition, in particular income
    and family composition. Combining these results with projections on future economic
    and demographic trends, we find that, even absent price increases for residential
    energy, the aging of the population and their increasing wealth will roughly offset
    improvements in the energy efficiency of the building stock resulting from policy
    interventions and natural revitalization

  • Educational Consequences of the End of Court-Ordered Desegregation

    Rucker Johnson

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (March 2012)

    The present paper combines this comprehensive data on the timing of court releases from desegregation
    plans of more than 200 school districts that occurred since 1990 (obtained from Reardon et al.) with nationally-representative longitudinal micro data of children born since 1980 followed through 2009. Inparticular, I use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its Child Development Supplement (PSIDCDS) matched to children’s school and neighborhood characteristics and school desegregation policyvariables. Using an event study framework and difference-in-difference model, I examine the impacts of the termination of mandated desegregation plans on academic achievement outcomes, including cognitive test scores, high school graduation rates, educational attainment, and non-cognitive behavioral outcomes, separately by race. Preliminary results show that the increased allocation of school resources to those in high poverty, minority neighborhoods following the release of continued court oversight actually served to mitigate the potential negative impacts of resegregation on black student achievement (at least in the short-run).

  • Consumer-Friendly and Environmentally-Sound Electricity Rates for the Twenty-First Century

    Lee Friedman

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (March 2012)

    This paper emphasizes the importance of bringing off-peak rates down to their
    marginal costs so that the current mispricing of electricity does not act as a substantial
    deterrent to the reduction of greenhouse gases, as through vehicle electrification. It
    considers whether there are feasible, efficient and equitable time-varying electricity rate
    structures that will be attractive to large numbers of residential customers with smart
    meters. One family of rate structures called Household On and Off Peak (HOOP) plans meets
    the efficiency criterion and is promising for meeting the distributional ones. HOOP plans
    utilize marginal-cost time-based rates except for fixed infrastructure charges that vary by
    customer group and cover nonmarginal expenses. Two alternative equity principles to guide
    the assignment of the fixed infrastructure charges to different groups are considered. A
    representative sample of California residences with usage data for each 15 minute interval
    for a one year period enablessome preliminary tests ofthese HOOP designs. Simple
    statewide versions of these designs replicate reasonably closely the actual bill distribution
    that results from the independent and far more complex rate structures in use by the three
    separate utilities that service these residences, suggesting that each utility could use HOOP
    designs to meet the necessary criteria.

  • The Diffusion of Energy Efficiency in Building

    John Quigley, Nils Kok, Marquise McGraw

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper: GSPP11-102 (February 2012)

    Awareness of global warming and the extent of greenhouse gas emissions have focused more attention upon energy efficiency in building. Moreover, the inventory of “green” office space in the United States has increased dramatically since the introduction of rating schemes that attest to the energy efficiency or sustainability of commercial buildings. In some metropolitan areas, the supply of certified office buildings has more than doubled in the last decade, and there are a few metropolitan areas where “green” office space now accounts for more than a quarter of the total office stock. In this paper, we analyze the diffusion of buildings certified for energy efficiency across US property markets. Using a panel of 48 metropolitan areas observed over the last fifteen years, we trace the diffusion of green building practices across the country.

    We then model the geographic patterns and dynamics of building certification, relating industry composition, changes in economic conditions, characteristics of the local commercial property market, and the presence of human capital, to the cross-sectional variation in energy-efficient building technologies and the diffusion of those technologies over time. Understanding the determinants and the rate at which energy-efficient building practices diffuse over space and time is important for designing policies to affect resource consumption in the built environment.

  • Social Networks and the Decision to Insure: Evidence from Randomized Experiments in China

    Alain de Janvry, Jing Cai, Elisabeth Sadoulet

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (January 2012)

    Using data from a two-year randomized experiment in rural China, this paper studies the influence of social networks on the decision to adopt a new weather insurance product and the mechanisms through which social networks operate. In the first year, I provided financial education to
    a random subset of farmers and found a large social network effect on insurance take-up: for untreated farmers, having an additional friend receiving financial education raises take-up by almost half as much as obtaining financial education directly, a spillover effect equivalent to offering a 12% reduction in the average insurance premium. By varying the information available to subjects about their peers’ take-up decisions and using randomized default options, I show that the positive social network effect is not driven by scale effects, imitation, or informal risk-sharing, but instead by the diffusion of insurance knowledge. One year later, social networks continue to affect insurance demand: observing an above-median share of friends receiving payouts increases insurance take-up at a rate equivalent to about 50% of the impact of receiving payouts directly. I also find that social network effects are larger in villages where households are more strongly connected, and when the people who receive financial education first are more central in the social network.

  • The Spatial Consequences of Autarky in Land-Use Regulation: Strategic Interaction or Simply Paralell

    John Quigley, Paavo Monkkonen

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper: GSPP08-102 (January 2012)

  • The Future of the Government Sponsored Enterprises: The Role for Government in the U.S

    John Quigley, Dwight Jaffee

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper: 17685 (December 2011)

    This paper analyzes options for reforming the U.S. housing finance system in view of the failure of
    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as government sponsored enterprises (GSEs). The options considered
    include GSE reform, a range of possible new governmental mortgage guarantee plans, and greater
    reliance on private mortgage markets. The analysis also considers the likely consequences of adopting
    alternative roles for government in the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. We start by reviewing
    the history of the GSEs and their contributions to the operation of U.S. housing and mortgage markets,
    including the actions that led to their failure in conjunction with the recent mortgage market crisis.
    The reform options we consider include those proposed in a 2011 U.S. Treasury White Paper, plans
    for new government mortgage guarantees from various researchers and organizations, and the evidence
    from Western European countries for the efficacy of private mortgages markets.