26 March 2013
In October 2003, Los Angeles transit workers began a strike that lasted 35 days and shut down bus and rail lines. Using freeway speed data from that strike, Michael Anderson
estimates that average highway delays increase 47 percent during peak periods when transit service ceases. These effects are largest on freeways that parallel transit lines with heavy ridership. His estimates imply that the total congestion-relief benefit of operating the Los Angeles transit system is between $1.2 billion to $4.1 billion per year, or $1.20 to $4.10 per peak-hour transit passenger mile.
25 March 2013
and Maureen Cropper
analyze the location choices of a large sample of households that moved from one metropolitan statistical area to another between 1995 and 2000. Taking into account amenities in the current location, the earnings opportunities and housing costs there, and the cost of moving there from where the residents had lived in 1995, they are able to estimate households' willingness to pay for changes in mean winter and summer temperature. They use these values to assess the welfare effects of temperature changes in cities throughout the United States. They estimate that households will experience an average welfare loss of 2.7 percent between 2020 and 2050 under the climate-friendly scenario that comes from a special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2000. Under a more extreme scenario in that report, households in 25 out of the 26 cities in their sample will suffer an average welfare loss equal to 5 percent.
22 March 2013
and Robert Margo
describe shifts that have taken place over time in the United States in the relative demand for skilled labor. They find that beginning in the 1800s, the share of “middle-skill” jobs, such as artisans, declined while the share of “high-skill” white collar, non-production workers and “low-skill” operatives and laborers increased. From 1850 to the early 1900s, different sectors of the economy were affected differently: the total share of low-skill jobs decreased, the share of middle-skill jobs remained steady, and there were more high- skill jobs. This pattern continued through much of the 1900s until the recent “polarization” of labor demand that began in the late 1980s.
21 March 2013
The Higher Education Act was amended in 2001 to make individuals convicted of drug offenses ineligible for federal financial aid for up to two years following their conviction. Michael Lovenheim
and Emily Owens
find that this change in the law increased the amount of time between high school graduation and college enrollment by about two years for those affected. They also suggest that individuals affected by the 2001 change were less likely to ever enroll in college than they would have been in the absence of this new rule.
20 March 2013
, John List
, Ulrike Malmendier
, and Gautam Rao
analyze the results of a field experiment on charitable giving. They find that men and women are equally generous when they are solicited for donations in person at home, where they cannot easily avoid the individual asking for support. However, women become less generous when they can easily avoid the solicitation, for example by not walking near an outdoor fundraising outpost. The researchers find similar results when the experiment involves completing an unpaid survey.