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  1. Economic Shocks and Regional Economic Resilience, Working Paper 040 [Download]

    Title: Economic Shocks and Regional Economic Resilience, Working Paper 040
    Author: Hill, Ned
    Description: Economic shocks occur periodically to metropolitan economies, though the effect that these shocks have varies from region to region as does the region’s adjustment and recovery to them. In this paper we examine the nature and extent of these shocks, their effects on regional economies (some regional economies are resistant to shocks, while others suffer substantial downturns), and the resilience of regional economies to these shocks. We are particularly concerned with regional economic resilience: why are some regional economies that are adversely affected by shocks able to recover in a relatively short period of time while others are not?
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  2. Economic Competitiveness and the Determinants of Sub-National Area Economic Activity, Working Paper 034 [Download]

    Title: Economic Competitiveness and the Determinants of Sub-National Area Economic Activity, Working Paper 034
    Author: Wolman, Hal
    Description: The purpose of this paper is to review the empirical and theoretical literature on area economic competitiveness and the sub-national location of economic activity. Thus, we are interested in why economic activity locates where it does, and, from the perspective of a given sub-national area, what is it about the area and its characteristics that make it competitive, i.e., an attractive or unattractive place for the location of different kinds of economic activity. The framework we employ for our review is that of “competitive advantage.” The basic premise underlying the concept of competitive advantage is that a firm will locate in an area where it can produce and bring to market the goods and services it produces at greatest profit. The locational characteristics that determine where a firm will be able to produce at greatest profit vary by sector (the outputs the firm produces). A particular area can be thought of as competing against other areas as a potential location for economic activity. Some of its characteristics and attributes will be favorable to the location of a particular form of economic activity relative to those of other areas, while others may be unfavorable. An area will have a competitive advantage for a particular kind of economic activity if that activity can produce and bring to market its goods or services in that area and derive a greater profit than it would if it located elsewhere. Since competitive advantage conceptually relates to specific types of economic activity, an area may have competitive advantage for some kinds of economic activity but not for others. Nonetheless, the term is frequently used to characterize an area with respect to its entire economy, i.e., an area has a competitive advantage or disadvantage for the location of economic activity in general. Since the purpose of this re view is to serve as a back-drop for a study that we propose on the competitiveness of the Washington DC regional and city economies, our discussion is directed towards that end. The project will consist of two parts: research on the Washington, DC region and its competitive advantages – i.e., the determinants of the location of economic activity in the DC region relative to other regions - and research on the economy of the city of Washington, DC and, in particular, the determinants of location of economic activity within the region. This approach is consistent with the literature, which makes clear that location decisions generally consist of a two-step process with the first step consisting of a regional choice and the second, but later, decision consisting of a specific location within the chosen region (Cohen 2000). As Blair and Premus (1987) observe, after a review of surveys of business executives, for the first stage -- regional or state selection -- variations in labor availability and quality, state taxes, climate, and market proximity tend to be key determinants. In the next step, choice of a specific location within the region, factors that are available throughout the region, but vary with specific sites become predominant considerations – land costs, access to major roads, and school quality being three major factors. Anderson and Wassmer (2000) similarly argue that first a firm chooses a “market” in which to locate, which is a regional decision, and then chooses a “site,” which is a local decision within the preselected region. Fiscal characteristics of an area (including but not limited to targeted economic development incentives) become important to firms once they have reached the phase of decision-making focusing on “site” location (P.25-26).
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  3. Understanding the Economic Performance of Metropolitan Areas in the United States, Working Paper 032 [Download]

    Title: Understanding the Economic Performance of Metropolitan Areas in the United States, Working Paper 032
    Author: Blumenthal, Pamela
    Description: Examining the drivers of metropolitan economic performance, we model two dependent variables: change from 1990 to 2000 in gross metropolitan product and MSA employment. We find that initial year economic structure (an above average share of manufacturing employment), agglomeration economies, human capital (share of population with bachelor degrees or higher), and presence of state Right-to-Work laws are positively and significantly related to GMP and employment growth, while economic age of the area, percentage of black non-Hispanic residents, and average wage at the beginning of the period are negatively and significantly related to both. We augment the regional dummy variables commonly used to explain economic growth, and typically highly significant, by including climate-related amenity, business environment, and economic age. When these three variables are included in the model as independent variables with the regional dummy variables, all three are significant for growth in GMP and the significance of region largely disappears.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  4. States and Their Cities: Partnerships for the Future, Working Paper [Download]

    Title: States and Their Cities: Partnerships for the Future, Working Paper
    Author: Wolman, Hal
    Description: Cities are an important determinant of state economic performance. As a consequence, states that ignore the economic well-being of their cities risk falling behind. Cities whose economies are stagnant, whose residents suffer from poverty and unemployment, whose budgets are in chronic fiscal stress, and who require state aid to sustain basic services are a drag on the entire state economy. Cities whose economies are vibrant, whose residents are productive, whose budgets are fiscally stable, and who do not require massive infusions of state aid are assets to the entire state. Our study examines the relationship between states and their cities and the impact of state activity on cities. To understand how states can help cities - and thereby themselves - succeed, the George Washington Institute of Public Policy and Cleveland State University's Office of Economic Development began a study of state policies that contribute to successful urban performance. As background for this paper, we visited seven states (California, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington; see Box 1 on p. 5 for selection criteria). As a result of our research in these states, we identified a set of principles that, when they serve as guides to state actions and policies, can help cities prosper and at the same time benefit all state residents.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  5. What Explains Central City Performance?, Working Paper 029 [Download]

    Title: What Explains Central City Performance?, Working Paper 029
    Author: Wolman, Hal
    Description: The fundamental question we address is: What accounts for urban performance? By urban performance we mean change over time in important indicators of urban well-being such as income, jobs, crime rate, housing affordability, etc. Change in these indicators might result from several factors, including 1) structural factors that were present at the beginning of the period and predispose the city indicators to change in a predictable way (economic structure, skill level of the population), 2) exogenous changes that occurred during the period (natural disasters, immigration, new state or federal policies), and 3) endogenous changes that occurred during the period (city policy, behavior of private and public-sector elites). In the popular writing (and often in public policy literature as well), urban performance is frequently attributed largely to explicit policy decisions of local (and/or state) public officials or civic elites. We wish to examine this attribution in the context of other factors that might also affect performance.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  6. Explaining City Performance: How Important is State Policy?, Working Paper 020 [Download]

    Title: Explaining City Performance: How Important is State Policy?, Working Paper 020
    Author: Blumenthal, Pamela
    Description: Some cities are successful, attracting businesses and residents, while others struggle unsuccessfully with declining industries and diminishing population. In this paper, we identify cities that over- or under-performed on certain indicators of well-being during the period from 1990 to 2000, compared to their predicted performance according to models we developed. Selecting certain states and their cities, we conducted case studies to examine why a city did particularly well (or poorly) compared to our prediction with respect to the income, population, or housing affordability indicators and what the role of state policy was, if any, in the city’s deviation from expected performance. We then discuss initial findings for a subset of the cities and indicators. The empirical results indicate that state policy can impact city performance, but it is only one of many factors and its influence may be quite small at times.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015