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  1. Explaining the Economic Competitiveness of the District of Columbia, Working Paper 051 [Download]

    Title: Explaining the Economic Competitiveness of the District of Columbia, Working Paper 051
    Author: Young, Garry
    Description: In this report we assess the determinants of city job growth over time. Our focus is on the determinants of job growth in the District of Columbia, and, as a result of our analysis, we project the likely change in job growth in the District over time under various scenarios. The District of Columbia anchors one of the nation’s most dynamic regional economies. From 1990 to 2008 the Washington metropolitan area grew by 27% to over 5.3 million people. In contrast to its surrounding region, the District’s population declined by about 3% from 1990 to 2008, employment grew only slightly from 1990 to 2008, and most of the people holding those jobs reside elsewhere in the region. This same sort of central city/regional difference largely resembles many metropolitan areas across the nation. Central city job loss or slow growth relative to suburban areas is not new as nationally suburbs generally increase jobs at a faster rate than their central cities. Our purpose in this report is to understand the factors that affect the District’s economic competitiveness. Specifically we focus on understanding what affects the location of jobs in the city. Using a statistical model that includes the District and twenty‐two other central cities from 1989 to 2008, we examine the impact of city‐specific factors on city employment while also controlling for the effects of regional economic performance.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  2. The Adoption of Solar Energy Financial Incentives Across the States, Working Paper 039 [Download]

    Title: The Adoption of Solar Energy Financial Incentives Across the States, Working Paper 039
    Author: Young, Garry
    Description: Heightened concerns over energy prices, energy security, fossil-fuel scarcity, and climate change are spurring a revival of interest in renewable forms of energy in the United States. Potential for significant solar-based energy production has helped place solar policies high on the nation’s policy agenda. This renewed interest comes after more than thirty years of experimentation with solar policies, primarily at the state level. Indeed, since 1974 almost every state adopted some type of financial incentive directed towards encouraging solar-power production and many states adopted and modified multiple types of solar incentives over time. Thus while the current interest in solar power may yield major federal initiatives, historically it has been the state governments – America’s laboratories for policy innovation – that have provided support for solar energy (Rabe 2004) and it may prove the case that support for solar remains primarily a state-level policy. Consequently it is important to understand the factors across the states that affect the adoption of solar incentives. In this paper we perform an event history analysis on solar incentive adoption from 1974 to 2007. Unlike the far majority of event history analyses in public policy studies, which examine policy adoption as a single event, we examine solar-incentive adoption as a multi-event phenomenon with individual states at different points adopting different types of incentives or otherwise changing incentives already in place.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  3. Literature Review on the Determinants of Residential Employment, Working Paper 033 [Download]

    Title: Literature Review on the Determinants of Residential Employment, Working Paper 033
    Author: Levy, Alice
    Description: The purpose of this literature review is to summarize the theoretical and empirical literature on the determinants of residential employment. Findings from this literature review will provide the necessary background for our proposal to conduct research on the factors affecting the probability of employment for the residents of Washington, DC. This review is a counterpart to the review by Wolman, Levy, Young, and Blumenthal (2008) also provided to the Office of Revenue Analysis, that focused on the determinants of area economic competitiveness. Here our concern is not with the determinants of the number and types of jobs in the District of Columbia, but with the employment of DC residents, regardless of where they work. While a competitive advantage for the District will provide more opportunities for employment of District residents, the factors that drive residential employment differ from those that determine how many jobs are in a region. Local jobs may go to persons outside of the jurisdiction and local residents may work in jobs that are outside of the jurisdiction. There is little academic literature on employment by place of residence per se. There is however an extensive literature addressing various aspects of employment in ways relevant to residential employment. The focus of our review is on literature that addresses the question of what factors account for the number or percentage of city (or some sub-regional area) residents who are employed or, put in other terms, what are the factors that determine the probability that a resident of a particular sub-regional area will be in employment? The literature that is relevant will thus be research on individual employment generally and employment for particular classes of individuals (by race, gender, age, etc.).
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  4. 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
  5. Capital Cities and their National Governments: Washington, DC in Comparative Retrospective, Working Paper 030 [Download]

    Title: Capital Cities and their National Governments: Washington, DC in Comparative Retrospective, Working Paper 030
    Author: Wolman, Hal
    Description: Along numerous dimensions Washington, D.C. differs substantially from the rest of the United States. It is a city that lacks the support and resources of a state. It performs many of the same functions as a state while lacking most of the rights, powers, and privileges guaranteed to states under the U.S. Constitution. The District of Columbia lacks full representation in the U.S. Congress, has limited autonomy over its own governance and fiscal policy, while carrying numerous burdens associated with hosting the national capital. While unique in the American context, how unique is the District in the international context? All nations have capitals. In what ways do the circumstances of capitals in other nations resemble or differ from the District’s? In what ways are capital cities treated differently from other cities in the respective nation?
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  6. Estimating Economic Impacts of Homeland Security Measures, Working Paper 022 [Download]

    Title: Estimating Economic Impacts of Homeland Security Measures, Working Paper 022
    Author: Cordes, Joseph
    Description: The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 have prompted the federal government to adopt a number of different measures that are intended to reduce the probability of future successful terrorist attacks and/or reduce the impact of any future attacks should they occur. These measures are grouped together under the broad rubric of preserving and increasing homeland security. Public policies that increase the level of homeland security require that government, individuals, and businesses devote more time and money to protective measures, which exacts an economic cost. Using a broad definition of “homeland security” to consist of “all expenditures possibly aimed at either preventing damage due to terrorist attacks or at preparedness for the response to potential attacks,” the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has estimated that in 2003 total public and private sector outlays on increased security equaled just over $70 billion or just under 0.7% of the nation’s gross domestic product. In addition, the FRBNY report estimates that “indirect costs” such as travel delays related to heightened airport security added an additional $12 billion, for a total estimated cost of more than $80 billion. Whether costs of this magnitude are viewed as “large” or “small” depends on one’s perspective. On the one hand, as noted in the FRBNY article, when viewed against the landscape of a $11 trillion national economy, the estimated costs of attaining homeland security are relatively small; and clearly, measures of macroeconomic performance such as economic growth and employment indicate that the national economy has been able to take these additional costs in stride. Yet this does not mean that such costs should be ignored in the design, implementation and evaluation of homeland security policies. •The magnitude of the aggregate costs associated with homeland security are quite comparable in size to estimates that have been made by OMB and others of the economic cost of environmental and social regulations, and there is general agreement that there is a public interest to be served in ensuring that such regulations achieve the maximum social benefit at minimum social cost. Presumably the same logic should apply to homeland security measures. •There has been criticism that outlays made with the ostensible purpose of fostering greater homeland security have been wasteful. Focusing more attention on the economic cost and economic impact of proposed homeland security measures can help reduce such wasteful expenditures, just as more careful analysis of these factors has led to more cost-effective governmental regulatory policies in other areas (as documented by the Office of Management and Budget). •Although the impact of a single, or multiple homeland security measures may seem “small” in the context of the national economy, these costs are typically concentrated on certain stakeholders, such as local governments, specific business sectors, or consumers of particular goods and services. To these stakeholders, the cost of achieving greater homeland security can be quite palpable and substantial, and should receive their proper due in the design and evaluation of homeland security measures. •At a practical policy level, unlike national defense, policies intended to promote homeland security, are not exempt from OMB requirements that government regulatory programs with cost of impacts of $100 million or greater be subject to regulatory analysis which requires a careful analysis of the costs of such such measures in relation to the benefits to be derived.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  7. Active Living and Biking: Tracing the Evolution of a Biking System in Arlington, Virginia, Working Paper 024 [Download]

    Title: Active Living and Biking: Tracing the Evolution of a Biking System in Arlington, Virginia, Working Paper 024
    Author: Young, Garry
    Description: When it came to biking in the early 1970s, Arlington County, Virginia largely resembled the rest of the Washington, D.C. area and other urban areas along the East Coast. Biking was a neighborhood-based activity for kids. Bike trails were not a major component of parks or recreational planning and programming. Bikeways were not part of transportation planning and development. Bike commuting was limited to a few daring riders who were regarded as a menace by most drivers. A steady evolutionary change in biking policy during the last three decades has yielded some of the nation’s best biking assets in Arlington. It has a comprehensive, well-connected, highly integrated, well-mapped and signed system of shared-use paved trails, bike lanes, bike routes, and other biking assets such as workplace showers. Recently the League of American Bicyclists designated Arlington County as one of thirteen “Bicycle-Friendly” communities (League of American Bicyclists 2003). In addition, a recent major study by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT 2003) generally cites Arlington as having a superior bikeways and connectivity relative to most other parts of Northern Virginia. In contrast, most other areas in the region lag behind. For example, Arlington and two neighboring counties –Fairfax County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland– share many attributes and the same pro-bicycling interests – in fact often the same groups and people have actively pursued improved bikeways in each county during the same period. Yet today Fairfax County’s biking system is unmapped, sporadic, and lacks connectivity. Montgomery County does have some very good biking assets, though without Arlington’s level of connectivity and integration.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015