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Working Paper Archives

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis working papers are preliminary materials circulated to stimulate discussion and critial comment.

Regional Economics

Cities and the Growth of Wages Among Young Workers: Evidence from the NLSY

Human capital-based theories of cities suggest that large, economically diverse urban agglomerations increase worker productivity by increasing the rate at which individuals acquire skills. One largely unexplored implication of this theory is that workers in big cities should see faster growth in their earnings over time than comparable workers in smaller markets. This paper examines this implication using data on a sample of young male workers drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Cohort.

No Smoking at the Slot Machines: The Effect of a Smoke-Free Law on Delaware Gaming Revenues

As communities around the nation consider laws restricting smoking in public places, a key political and economic issue that often arises is the effect that such laws have on the sales and profits of particular sectors. The gaming industry has been active in opposition to such ordinances, citing large prospective losses. This article analyzes the revenues of three gaming facilities in Delaware following the implementation of a smoke-free law in December 2002.

The 2001 Recession and the States of the Eighth Federal Reserve District

This paper examines and compares the recent business cycle experiences of the seven states that lie partly or wholly within the Eighth Federal Reserve District (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee).

The Impact of Local Predatory Lending Laws

Local authorities in North Carolina, and subsequently in at least 23 other states, have enacted laws intending to reduce predatory and abusive lending. While there is substantial variation in the laws, they typically extend the coverage of the Federal Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) by including home purchase and open-end mortgage credit, by lowering annual percentage rate (APR) and fees and points triggers, and by prohibiting or restricting the use of balloon payments and prepayment penalties.

Local Market Scale and the Pattern of Job Changes Among Young Men

In finding a career, workers tend to make numerous job changes, with the majority of ‘complex’ changes (i.e. those involving changes of industry) occurring relatively early in their working lives.

Smoke-free Law Did Affect Revenue From Gaming in Delaware

A paper recently published in the journal Tobacco Control purports to show that the implementation of a smoking prohibition in Delaware had no statistically significant effect on the revenues of three gaming facilities in that state. After undertaking a thorough analysis of the data, I find that the smoke-free law did affect revenues from gaming in Delaware.

Do Casinos Export Bankruptcy?

This paper measures the extent to which destination resort casinos export bankruptcy back to visitors' home states. Previous literature has alluded to this possibility, but to date studies have only examined the influence of local casinos on local bankruptcy.

Technology and Industrial Agglomeration: Evidence from Computer Usage

Although the association between industrial agglomeration and productivity has been widely examined and documented, little work has explored the possibility that these ‘external’ productivity shifts are the product of more advanced technologies.

Do Localization Economies Derive from Human Capital Externalities?

One of the most robust findings emerging from studies of industrial agglomeration is the rise in productivity that tends to accompany it. What most studies have not addressed, however, is the potential role played by human capital externalities in driving this relationship.

Why Did Income Growth Vary Across States During the Great Depression?

State per capita incomes became more disperse during the contraction phase of the Great Depression, and less disperse during the recovery phase. We investigate the effects of spatial dependence, industrial composition, bank failures and fiscal policies on state income growth during each phase.

Productivity and the Geographic Concentration of Industry: The Role of Plant Scale

A large body of research has established a positive connection between an industry's productivity and the magnitude of its presence within locally defined geographic areas. This paper examines the extent to which this relationship can be explained by a micro-level underpinning commonly associated with productivity: establishment scale.

Industry Localization and Earnings Inequality: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing

While the productivity gains associated with the geographic concentration of industry (i.e. localization) are by now well-documented, little work has considered how those gains are distributed across individual workers. This paper offers evidence on the connection between total employment and the relative wage earnings of high- and low-skill workers (i.e. inequality) within two-digit manufacturing industries across the states and a collection of metropolitan areas in the U.S. between 1970 and 1990.

The Value of Foreclosed Property

This paper examines the expected price appreciation of distressed property and compares it to the prevailing metropolitan area appreciation rate. The results show that the simple fact that the property is foreclosed indicates that it will be sold at a substantial discount (appreciate less than expected).

Worker Turnover, Industry Localization, and Producer Size

Empirically, large employers have been shown to devote greater resources to filling vacancies than small employers. Following this evidence, this paper offers a theory of producer size based on labor market search, whereby a key factor in the determination of producer's total employment is the ease with which workers can be found to fill jobs that are, periodically, vacated.

Cities, Skills, and Inequality

The surge in U.S. wage inequality over the past several decades is now commonly attributed to an increase in the returns paid to skill. Although theories differ with respect to why, specifically, this increase has come about, many agree that it is strongly tied to the increase in the relative supply of skilled (i.e. highly educated) workers in the U.S. labor market.

Racial Profiling or Racist Policing? Bounds Tests in Aggregate Data

State-wide reports on police traffic stops and searches summarize very large populations, making them potentially powerful tools for identifying racial bias, particularly when statistics on search outcomes are included. But when the reported statistics conflate searches involving different levels of police discretion, standard tests for racial bias are not applicable.

The Information Content of Regional Employment Data for Forecasting Aggregate Conditions

We consider whether disaggregated data enhances the efficiency of aggregate employment forecasts. We find that incorporating spatial interaction into a disaggregated forecasting model lowers the out-of-sample mean-squared-error from a univariate aggregate model by 70 percent at a two-year horizon.

A Spatial Analysis of State Banking Regulation

We use a spatial model to investigate a state's choice of branch banking and interstate banking regimes as a function of the regime choices made by other states and other variables suggested in the literature. We extend the basic spatial econometric model by allowing spatial dependence to vary by geographic region.

Spatial Probit and the Geographic Patterns of State Lotteries

We implement a spatial probit model to differentiate states with a lottery from those without a lottery. Our analysis extends the basic spatial probit model by allowing spatial dependence to vary across geographic regions.

Nonlinear Hedonics and the Search for School District Quality

We reexamine the relationship between school quality and house prices and find it to be nonlinear. Unlike most studies in the literature, we find that the price premium parents must pay to buy a house associated with a better school increases as school quality increases.

State Government Finances: World War II to the Current Crisis

This article will explore the extent, causes, and proposed solutions of the current fiscal crisis from a historical perspective of state finance. Although the current fiscal crisis is severe, it becomes more difficult to assess unless one has a more complete understanding of the historical changes that have occurred in state revenue streams.

U. S. Regional Business Cycles and the Natural Rate of Unemployment

Estimates of the natural rate of unemployment are important in many macroeconomic models used by economists and policy advisors. This paper shows how such estimates might benefit from closer attention to regional developments.

Business Cycle Phases in U.S. States

The U.S. aggregate business cycle is often characterized as a series of distinct recession and expansion phases. We apply a regime-switching model to state-level coincident indexes to characterize state business cycles in this way.

Structural Breaks and Regional Disparities in the Transmission of Monetary Policy

Using a regional VAR, we find large differences in the effects of monetary policy shocks across regions of the United States.

Political Allocation of Agriculture Disaster Payments in the 1990s

This paper explores the impact of political influence on the allocation of U.S. direct agriculture disaster payments. The results reveal that disaster payments are not based solely on need, but are higher in those states represented by public officials key to the allocation of relief.

Does Consumer Sentiment Predict Regional Consumption?

This paper tests the ability of consumer sentiment to predict retail spending at the state level. The results here suggest that, although there is a significant relationship between sentiment measures and retail sales growth in several states, consumer sentiment exhibits only modest predictive power for future changes of retail spending.

Entrepreneurship and the Deregulation of Banking

This paper presents evidence that banking deregulation led to decreases in entrepreneurship in some U.S. regions, and to increases in others. This is contrary to recent research that found an unambiguous positive relationship.

Entrepreneurship and the Policy Environment

This paper uses a spatial panel approach to examine the effect of the government-policy environment on the level of entrepreneurship. Specifically, we investigate whether marginal income tax rates and bankruptcy exemptions influence rates of entrepreneurship.

Tax Competition and Tax Harmonization with Evasion

We examine a two-jurisdiction tax competition environment where local governments can only imperfectly monitor where agents pay taxes and risk-averse individuals my choose to cross borders to pay lower taxes in a neighboring location.

The Political Economy of FEMA Disaster Payments

We explore whether presidential and congressional influences affect the rate of disaster declaration and the allocation of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) disaster expenditures across states. We find that states politically important to the president have a higher rate of disaster declaration by the president, and that FEMA disaster expenditures are higher in states having congressional representation on FEMA oversight committees.

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