Working Papers

Author/s: Lei Zhang (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania), Tammy Leonard (The University of Texas at Dallas), James C. Murdoch (The University of Texas at Dallas)

Abstract: “In this paper we examine heterogeneity in the simultaneous space-time impact of foreclosures on neighborhood property values. The heterogeneity arises from foreclosed properties that experienced different types of foreclosure outcomes. We find that for foreclosures that are not observed to have concluded with a market sale, the negative price impacts begin while the foreclosing household still has ownership of the property then start to diminish 6 months after the bank has taken possession of the property. However, for foreclosures which are observed to have a subsequent market sale, the price impacts do not occur until at least 6 months after the foreclosing household has lost ownership of the property. Further, houses that experience a market sale within 6 months of the household losing ownership of the property are associated with small neighborhood price effects.”

Author/s: Wenhua Di (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), James C. Murdoch (The University of Texas at Dallas)

Abstract: “The low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program has developed over two million rental homes for low-income households since 1986. The perception of deterioration in school quality has been a main reason for community opposition to LIHTC projects in middle-and upperincome areas. In this paper, we examine the impact of LIHTC projects on the nearby school performance using data on all LIHTC projects and elementary schools in Texas. We employ the longitudinal structure of the school data by estimating a first-difference ordered probit model on the improvement of school performance ratings, and address the potential selection biases by controlling for preexisting trends of school performance prior to our studied period. The LIHTC projects tend to have a positive and statistically significant impact on school performance the year that they are placed in service and this finding is robust to various specifications. Partially offsetting this is a negative but generally smaller impact in the year after the units are placed in service.”

Author/s: Tammy Leonard (The University of Texas at Dallas)

Abstract: “This paper assesses the impact of housing market conditions on the theoretically motivated and empirically observed negative relationship between loan to value ratios and home maintenance expenditures. If the relationship is causal, then a down housing market will result in significantly decreased upkeep in the housing stock. The large rise and fall in home prices during the 2001-2009 period allows a unique opportunity to analyze the response of homeowners to changing housing market conditions. Data from the American Housing Survey is analyzed to confirm previous work that a negative relationship exists between loan to value ratios and routine maintenance expenditures; however, this relationship does not move in the expected direction when examined along with temporal variations in market conditions. Panel analysis reveals a more complex story. Households most likely to be at risk for default do decrease maintenance expenditures when default risk increases, but other households actually increased maintenance expenditures when the housing market conditions became less favorable.”

Author/s: Tammy Leonard (The University of Texas at Dallas)

Abstract: “Very local public goods provided within residential neighborhoods affect the well-being of neighborhood residents and the community tax base. However, little is known about their provision. I extend the model of impure public good provision to include the case of very local public goods and empirically explore the relationship between neighborhood quality and public good provision. The results indicate that free-riding produces suboptimal provision when neighborhoods are doing well but when neighborhoods decline, residents in the worst neighborhoods are most likely to decrease contributions. Public policy aimed at curtailing decline in neighborhood quality should harness the apparent willingness of neighborhood residents to contribute in lower quality neighborhoods before the onset of significant deterioration. Public finance will benefit from these measures both because stymieing neighborhood decay prevents a decline in property tax revenues and the social consequences of poor quality neighborhoods are often a drain on public funds.”

Author/s: Sarah Scott Thomas (The University of Texas at Dallas), Judith K. Mays (The University of Texas at Dallas)

Abstract: “The remediation and redevelopment of brownfields are important for achieving sustainable neighborhoods. Voluntary cleanup programs (VCPs) have been established by most states as the principal tool for brownfield redevelopment. Therefore, it is important to understand what site and neighborhood characteristics make it more likely for brownfield property owners to participate. We provide policy-makers with more information with which to adjust the focus of this widely-used mechanics.

We investigate the factors that determine participation in VCPs. We ask the question: What site and neighborhood characteristics prompt property owners to apply to the program? This question is addressed by conducting a single-market analysis in Dallas, Texas; using geographic information systems (GIS) based methods to analyze each brownfield site at the parcel level to determine VCP participation characteristics. A stratified duration model is estimated using 13,295 parcels (620 entered the VCP program).

Important implications are uncovered regarding what is likely to motivate a property owner of a contaminated site to participate and impact the surrounding neighborhood. As a whole, our findings suggest that the Texas VCP is successful for Dallas properties that are already attractive for redevelopment and are located in the healthier areas of the city; the program is not equally or equitably distributed. We also discover that concurrent economic incentive programs have a strong influence on VCP participation. Finally, the presence of other VCPs within close proximity to a contaminated site encourages participation when coupled with high development potential as exhibited by large projects; this may prove to be a tool for public agencies in encouraging participation. This research suggests that layered incentives create a supportive environment for brownfield remediation when linked to positive economic redevelopment potential.”

Author/s: Angela C.M. de Oliveira (The University of Texas at Dallas), Rachel T.A. Croson (The University of Texas at Dallas), Catherine Eckel (The University of Texas at Dallas).

Abstract: “Our research investigates whether social preferences are stable across contexts in the field. We build a unique data set by recruiting participants from a low-income urban neighborhood to participate in a series of laboratory experiments. Their decisions are used to demonstrate the stability of cooperative actions across multiple decision contexts. We show that choices in a laboratory VCM predict giving in donation experiments, as well as self-reported donations and volunteering outside the lab. These results have important implications for modeling a general preference for cooperation, measurable in the lab and in the field, and for public policy regarding the voluntary provision of public goods.”