Economic Development

Gasoline Prices, Interest Rates, and the 2008 Election

Gasoline Prices, Interest Rates, and the 2008 Election
The New York Observer June

Moss, M.
06/01/2006

Forget immigration, global warning, Donald Rumsfeld and abortion rights.

The hot issues of today will quickly fade away if the current surge in gasoline prices and home-mortgage rates continues unabated. And all indications are that both the price of gas and the cost of borrowing are moving in one direction only: north.

 

Is Retirement Being Remade? Developments in Labor Market Patterns at Older Ages

Is Retirement Being Remade? Developments in Labor Market Patterns at Older Ages
Managing Retirement Payouts edited by John Amerikis and Olivia Mitchell.

Chan, S.
01/01/2006

As Baby Boomers make the transition into their 60s, they have focused policymakers and the media's attention onto how this generation will manage the retirement phase of its lifetime. This volume acknowledges that many, though not all, in this older cohort have accumulated substantial assets, so for them, the question is what will they do with what they have?

We offer a detailed exploration of how people entering retirement will deploy their accumulated assets in the near and long term, so to best meet their myriad spending, investment, and other objectives. The book offers readers an invaluable study of emerging issues regarding assets and expectations on the verge of retirement, including uncertainty regarding life expectancy and morbidity. It is composed of chapters from a distinguished set of authors including a Nobel Laureate and a wonderful mix of academics and practitioners from the legal, financial, and economic fields.

 

Risks and Costs of a Terrorist Attack on the Electricity System

Risks and Costs of a Terrorist Attack on the Electricity System
The Economic Impacts of Terrorist Attacks Volume 2, edited by H.W. Richardson, P. Gordon and J.E. Moore II, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishers.

Zimmerman, R., Restrepo, C., Simonoff, J.S. & Lave, L.B.,
01/01/2006

As suggested by the title, this is a collection of essays on the economic effects of successful terrorist attacks focusing on the electrical transmission, and transportation infrastructure of the United States. Those familiar with the literature on the economic effects of natural disasters will
find the arguments and economic models quite familiar. The individual essays are by leading experts who do not necessarily agree on the most appropriate methods or policy conclusions. This provides a refreshing measure of potential controversy.

New York’s Endangered Future: Debt Beyond Our Means

New York’s Endangered Future: Debt Beyond Our Means
Citizens Budget Commission, September

Brecher, C. & Lynam, E.
09/01/2005

New York State has too much debt. Its obligations will require current and future taxpayers to bear a burden that creates a competitive disadvantage with the other states. Not only is the absolute amount of New York's debt high, but the burden is excessive even after the State's relatively large tax base and other relevant factors are taken into account.

The core issue is that New York has no effective legal limits on the amount of debt it can assume. Constitutional provisions intended to limit debt are outdated and are circumvented regularly. Statutory limits - passed in 2000 - are also being circumvented. Simply put, it has become too easy for State leaders to borrow. In addition, they have misused debt, which should be restricted to paying for long-term capital projects, by financing annual operating expenses.

Short-run and long-run measures are needed. In the near term, voters should reject bond referendums such as the Transportation Bond Act of 2005 until debt is brought under control. That act would authorize only $2.9 billion of an additional $13 billion in planned State borrowing, but it is the only opportunity that voters have to express their opposition to excessive borrowing. In the long-run the State must strike a balance between adequate infrastructure investment and a competitive debt burden. The State needs a new constitutional limit that does not require voter approval for every debt issuance, but does impose a binding limit that is linked to ability to pay.

 

Can New York Get an “A” in School Finance Reform?

Can New York Get an “A” in School Finance Reform?
Citizens Budget Commission, November

Brecher, C.
11/01/2004

The State of New York faces a major challenge stemming from a 2003 ruling by the Court of Appeals, the State's highest court. It found that the more than one million children in New York City's public schools were not provided with the sound basic education guaranteed to them by the State Constitution. In the subsequent months, the plaintiffs and the State's political leaders have not agreed on a suitable remedy for students in New York City, and by extension to hundreds of thousands of additional students in other school districts around the state who also have been denied their constitutional right. One important issue to be resolved is: How much additional funding is needed?

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) has prepared this report to address two questions fundamental to designing a remedy:

- Where should the money come from?
- What changes other than more money are essential to improving educational
outcomes?

 

Children Facing Economic Hardship in the United States: Differentials and Changes in the 1990's

Children Facing Economic Hardship in the United States: Differentials and Changes in the 1990's
Demographic Review, June 2004, Vol 10, Article 11.

Lu, H.H., Palmer, J., Song, Y., Lennon, M.C. & Aber, J.L.
06/18/2004

This paper helps document significant improvements in the child low-income rate as well as the significant decrease in the proportion of children who relied on public assistance in the United States during the 1990s. Many disadvantaged groups of children were less likely to live in poor or low-income families in the late 1990s than such children a decade earlier. The improvement in the child low-income rates of these disadvantaged groups was accompanied by a substantial increase in parental employment. However, parental employment appears to do less to protect children from economic hardship than it did a decade earlier. This paper shows that working families� children in many disadvantaged social groups, especially groups in medium risk ranks�children in families with parents between ages 25 to 29, with parents who only had a high-school diploma, and in father-only families�suffered the largest increase in economic hardship. Our results indicate that the increased odds of falling below low income lines among children in working families facing multiple disadvantaged characteristics and the increased proportion of these children in various subgroups of working families in the 1990s can help explain the increased economic hardship among subgroups in the medium risk ranks listed above. Finally, the paper also notes that the official measure of poverty tends to underestimate low-income rates.

City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer

City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer
Northampton, Mass: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.,

Schwartz, A.E.
01/01/2004

In a festschrift to Netzer a public finance economist well known for his research on state and local taxation, urban public services, and nonprofit organizations eight chapters apply microeconomics to problems facing urban areas and use statistical analysis to gain insight into practical solutions. The essays look at alternative methods of financing urban government, such as a land value tax and the impact of sales and income taxes on property taxation; at government expenditures, including housing subsidies; and at subsidies to nonprofit arts groups as well as the role of the nonprofit sector in providing K-12 education. Of interest to the fields of public finance, urban economics, and public administration.

Do Changes in Pension Incentives Affect Retirement? A Longitudinal Study of Subjective Retirement Expectations

Do Changes in Pension Incentives Affect Retirement? A Longitudinal Study of Subjective Retirement Expectations
Journal of Public Economics, July

Chan, S. & Stevens, A.H.
01/01/2004

This paper investigates the responsiveness of individuals’ retirement decisions to forward-looking measures of pension accumulations. In contrast to previous research, we use within-person variation in retirement incentives and are able to control for unobserved heterogeneity in tastes for retirement by studying a panel of subjective retirement expectations. We confirm that individuals do respond as expected to pension incentives, even when we control for individual fixed effects. However, the magnitude of these responses differs when estimated from models based on within-person versus cross-sectional variation: the inclusion of fixed effects reduces the response by about half.

How Does Job Loss Affect the Timing of Retirement?

How Does Job Loss Affect the Timing of Retirement?
Contributions to Economic Analysis & Policy 2004: Vol. 3: No. 1, Article 5.

Chan, S. & Stevens, A.H.
01/01/2004

This paper estimates the extent to which reduced employment following job loss among older workers can be explained as a response to altered pension incentives and earnings opportunities. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we first examine how workers’ earnings, assets, pensions and the resulting financial incentive to retire are affected by job loss. We find important effects of job loss on the main financial components of workers’ incentive to retire. We then examine retirement behavior after job loss, controlling for these changed retirement incentives, along with any additional effects of displacement not captured by retirement incentives. We find that the observed increased rates of retirement among displaced workers go far beyond these purely financial considerations. Very little of the reduced employment among older job losers can be explained by changes in wages and pension-related retirement incentives. Other barriers to reemployment may be more important explanations for the low employment rates of recently displaced older workers.

New York City

New York City
Encyclopedia of Homelessness. Berkshire Publishing,

Weitzman, B.C. & Fischer, S.N.
01/01/2004

At any given moment, about 3 million American women, men, and children are homeless. And another 5 million Americans spend over 50% of their incomes on housing, meaning that one missed paycheck, one health crisis, or one unpaid utility bill can push them out the door into homelessness. Homelessness is one of the major social problems and personal and family tragedies of the contemporary world. No community, city, or nation is immune and the lack of affordable housing and a decline in secure, well-paying jobs means that the problem will only get worse. The Encyclopedia of Homelessness is the first systematic effort to organize and summarize what we know about this complex topic that impacts not only the homeless but all of society. The Encyclopedia focuses on the current situation in the United States with a comparative sampling of homelessness around the world.

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