Saturday, November 6, 2010

APPAM Panel: Community Development

Lewis & Knapp (Maryland) -- A study of housing renovation in Baltimore, whose population has been declining steadily for decades. The renovation program does increase likelihood of renovation, but not much (0.3%).

Schuetz, Kolko, Meltzer (USC) -- Is the 'shop around the corner' a luxury or a nuisance? -- How is income correlated with retail density? As income increases, density of retail and drugstores increases. Higher income doesn't affect supermarkets, clothing, or food services. Overall, high income neighborhoods have low density, but if you hold population density fixed, higher income increases the number and size of retail outlets. Mostly they are (supermarket and drugstore) chain stores catering to the rich while independents are not wanted. The idea is chain supermarkets and drugstores are higher quality and range. In other categories, chain or independent is not a signal of quality. Poor areas already have mom and pop shops but very few chains or supermarkets.

Aubourg and Good (IMFI) -- Do capital inflows contribute to capital formation, transfer of abatement technology, or encourage pollution haven behavior? The Environmental Kuznets Curve acts like a black box. Once you control for GDP, most types of capital inflows do not affects CO2 levels, but remittances and technical aid lower SO2. Portfolio aid is bad for both CO2 and SO2.

And then I snuck next door to where my friend, Paul Heaton, was presenting on the effects of repealing blue laws on crime in Virginia. In 2004, a handful of VA counties mostly near DC were permitted to sell packaged liquor on Sundays. Using dif-in-dif and triple-dif estimators, he found that low level crime (drunk and disorderly) increased 10% and high level crime increased 5%. Just counting the justice system costs of these crimes came to about the level of the state revenues from alcohol sales and taxes. DUI did not change appreciatively.

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