We develop a new distance-based test of localized knowledge spillovers that embeds the concept of control patents. Using microgeographic data, we identify localization distance for each technology class while allowing for spillovers across geographic units. We revisit the debate between Thompson and Fox-Kean (2005a, 2005b) and Henderson, Jaffe, and Trajtenberg (2005) on the existence of localized knowledge spillovers and find solid evidence supporting localization even when using finely grained controls. Unless biases induced by imperfect matching between citing and control patents due to unobserved heterogeneity are extremely large, our distance-based test detects localization for the majority of technology classes.
Ambiguity attitudes have been prominently used in economic models, but we still know little about their demographic correlates or their generalizability beyond the West. We analyze the ambiguity attitudes of almost 3,000 students across thirty countries. For gains, we find ambiguity aversion everywhere, while ambiguity aversion is much weaker for losses. Ambiguity attitudes change systematically with probabilities for both gains and losses. Much of the between-country variation can be explained through a few macroeconomic characteristics. In contrast, we find massive unexplained variation at the individual level. We also find much unexplained heterogeneity in individual responses to different decision tasks.
We study the economic effects of place-based policies in the housing market taking into account search frictions. Theory indicates that beneficial policies increase house prices, but temporarily reduce sales times of owner-occupied properties. We investigate both effects for a place-based programme that improved public housing in 83 impoverished neighbourhoods throughout the Netherlands. We combine a first-difference approach with a fuzzy regression-discontinuity design to address the fundamental issue that these neighbourhoods are endogenously treated. Place-based policies increase house prices with 3.5 percent and, in line with theory, temporarily reduce sales times with 20 percent. The sales time effect dissipates within 7.5 years. The programme’s welfare benefits to homeowners are sizeable and at least half of the value of investments in public housing.
Using microlevel commodity flow data and microgeographic plant-level data, we construct industry-specific ad valorem trucking rate series and measures of geographic concentration to provide evidence on the relationship between transport costs and agglomeration. We find that low-transport-cost industries display significantly more geographic concentration in the cross-sectional dimension and that falling transport costs agglomerate industries in the panel dimension. The effects are large: the fall in trucking rates between 1992 and 2008 implied a 20% increase in geographic concentration on average, all else equal.
We investigate the 2008–2009 trade collapse using microdata from a small open economy, Belgium. Belgian exports and imports mostly fell because of smaller quantities sold and unit prices charged rather than fewer firms, trading partners, and products being involved in trade. Our difference-in-difference results point to a fall in the demand for tradables as the main driver of the collapse. Finance and involvement in global value chains played a minor role. Firm-level exports-to-turnover and imports-to-intermediates ratios reveal a comparable collapse of domestic and cross-border operations. Overall, our results reject a crisis of cross-border trade per se.