Joshua C. Hall's research while affiliated with West Virginia University and other places

Publications (129)

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Hall et al. (2010) develop a growth model where the allocation and productivity of human and physical capital depend on the quality of institutions in a country. We apply their model to the US states from 1980 to 2000. Using the Economic Freedom of North America as our measure of institutional quality, we find evidence that increases in human capit...
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This paper investigates the impact of international state-building efforts on economic development in Somalia. Owing to non-existent or poor-quality national income accounts, we use satellite data capturing nightlight emissions to measure economic activity. Using the synthetic control method, we find that the establishment of the Transitional Feder...
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Hierarchical or multilevel models have long been used in hedonic models to delineate housing submarket boundaries in order to improve model accuracy. School districts are one important delineator of housing submarkets in an MSA. Spatial hedonic models have been extensively employed to deal with unobserved spatial heterogeneity and spatial spillover...
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Existing research shows that members of Congress made informed trades prior to the passage of the STOCK Act of 2012. There is also evidence in the literature to suggest that the STOCK Act was able to deter politicians from trading based on non-public information. However, the question of whether politicians made informed trades at the market level...
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Purpose What information do members of Congress (politicians) use when they trade stocks? The purpose of this paper is to attempt to answer this question by investigating the relationship between an aggregate measure of trading by members of Congress (aggregate congressional trading) and future stock market returns. Design/methodology/approach The...
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In 2010, Georgians voted on a proposed constitutional amendment that would have increased motor vehicle licensing fees by USD 10 with the proceeds dedicated to maintaining and expanding the state’s trauma care centers. This paper examines voter support for the referendum across counties and finds (1) that counties located near trauma centers in nei...
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Stay‐at‐home orders curtailed the individual liberty of those across the United States. Governors of some states moved swiftly to impose the lockdowns. Others delayed and a few even refused to implement these policies. We explore common narratives of what determines the speed of implementation, namely partisanship and virus exposure. While correlat...
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This article examines the impact of the inaugurations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump on hotel occupancy in the Washington DC metro area. Using daily hotel data from 2010 to 2020 and controlling for multiple other major events along with day, week, and year fixed effects, we find substantial effects of presidential inaugurations on hotel occupancy...
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This paper investigates the impact of having open 400 meter (400 m) runners on NCAA relay teams. Using data from 2012-2016 containing the top 100 4 × 400 m in each NCAA Division relay times for each year, it is found that more 400 m specialists lead to an increase in the overall performance of the team, measured by a decrease in relay times. The ef...
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Daily hotel data are employed, along with information on prices, revenue, demand and hotel occupancy, to analyze part of the local economic impact of the annual New York City (NYC) Marathon. As the largest competitive race in the world, the marathon attracts domestic and international competitors and spectators. The cancellation of the 2012 maratho...
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This paper uses daily hotel occupancy data for the Indianapolis metro area from STR to estimate the effect of multi-day conventions on hotel demand. In addition to multi-day conventions, we hand collect data on other major events such as the Indy 500 and major sporting events. Hotel demand is an important part of the economic activity generated by...
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We use daily hotel data on price, occupancy, and revenue to analyze the effect of Pearl Jam’s ‘Home Shows’ in Seattle, WA on hotel demand. We find that the Home Shows generated approximately 230,000 hotel nights before, during, and after the two concerts. With an increase in the average daily room rate ranging from $12 six days prior to $144 on con...
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In recent years, a number of papers have looked at the adoption and diffusion of taxes across national, state, and local governments. Spending pressures, reductions in tax collection costs, median voter preferences, and social learning have been found to play an important role in the adoption of the income tax. Spatial econometrics were used to stu...
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Although more rapid development is a primary motivation behind city–county consolidations, few empirical studies explore the impact of consolidation on economic development. No studies look at government consolidation in the United States using modern causal inference methods. We use the synthetic control method to examine the long-term impact of c...
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In 1970, James Buchanan and Nicos Devletoglou published Academia in Anarchy: An Economic Diagnosis. Even though the book focuses on the industry Buchanan worked in for nearly 70 years, it is the only one of his non-autobiographical, non-textbook, books not included in his collected works. I evaluate the arguments of Buchanan and Devletoglou in ligh...
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Using IPUMS data on U.S. states from 1980 to 2010, we examine the effect of economic freedom on the gender income gap. We find that economic freedom is positively related to an increase in the gender income gap. When we break up the index into its components, we find different effects of various types of policy. For example, we find that decreases...
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This study empirically examines the outcomes of two solar energy amendments that were on the ballot in Florida in 2016. One amendment exempts solar energy devices from ad valorem taxation, effectively decreasing the cost of solar energy. The second amendment reaffirms the right of property owners to instal or lease solar photovoltaic panels for the...
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In 2012, Vermont became the first state in the US to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil production despite having zero known natural gas reserves. We evaluate the role of legislator and median voter characteristics on Vermont General Assembly voting outcomes on Act 152, which essentially bans fracking in the state. Using a double-sele...
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The widely cited Economic Freedom of the World index is an aggregate measure of economic freedom calculated by using a simple arithmetic mean of scores over five sub-dimensions: (1) size of government, (2) legal structure and security of property rights, (3) access to sound money, (4) freedom to trade internationally and (5) regulation of credit, l...
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In this paper, we provide an overview of the influence of Tullock’s work on rent-seeking in the area of economics education. After summarizing the basic rent-seeking model in both a domestic and international context, we conduct an analysis of undergraduate and graduate textbooks in public economics. We find a majority of undergraduate texts cover...
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The behavioral finance literature has found that investor sentiment has predictive ability for equity returns. This differs from standard finance theory, which provides no role for investor sentiment. We examine the relationship between investor sentiment and stock returns by employing textual analysis on social media posts. We find that our invest...
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Public libraries are a billion dollar industry in the United States. We explore the institutional determinants of public library technical efficiency using data from West Virginia. We first document considerable cross-district variation in library efficiency. While the average library district in our sample is between 81 and 90% efficient depending...
Chapter
This article describes how our American Economic History capstone writing class is structured to allow students to build upon their own research and writing in order to complete an extensive written piece as the culmination of the class. The course is organized so that students can pursue their own interests across fields in economics, and emerge f...
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In November 2016, Washington State voters were presented with a ballot initiative (Initiative 732) advancing the first carbon tax on production and use of fossil fuels in the United States. Initiative 732 promised to reduce fossil fuel consumption by taxing carbon emissions, while remaining revenue-neutral by lowering taxes on businesses, consumers...
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West Virginia schools are consistently below the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Using Data Envelopment Analysis, we estimate the technical efficiency of West Virginia school districts. We find less variation in technical efficiency in West Virginia than in similar studies conducted in other states. This appears...
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International travel clearly increases human interaction over space and exposes societies to foreign influences, foreign ideas, and foreign institutions. Does international travel promote institutional change in a traveler's home country? This paper uses panel data from 149 countries to test the hypothesis of institutional change stemming from inte...
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Using daily panel data from Detroit, we empirically explore the relationship between the National Football League (NFL) and crime in a city. We exploit the natural experiment of the Detroit Lions’ move from Pontiac, Michigan, to downtown Detroit in 2002. Pontiac is used as the treatment city and non-game day crime, other suburban cities, and other...
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Local politicians and team owners frequently argue that the public financing of stadiums is important for local economic development. The sports economics literature, however, has largely found that new professional sport facilities do not generate any new net economic activity. We provide context to this literature by exploring the public choice i...
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This empirical study uses a hedonic pricing model and a dataset of Spartanburg, South Carolina homes from 2002 to 2005 to evaluate the effect of Residential Community Associations (RCAs). Spartanburg is focused on due to data availability. The number of RCAs have exploded in the United States in recent decades. Given that RCAs both supplement and c...
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What factors determine federal spending on environmental goods? Is severity of the hazard the only metric of consideration, or do other factors play a vital role in explaining spending? This paper seeks to answer this question and to identify disbursement patterns within the context of the Abandoned Mine Land Fund (AMLF) program, a fund created as...
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The impacts of various economic and institutional factors transcend the borders of a country and flow over to adjacent countries. Past research has found that there are spatial spillovers in economic growth, development of institutions, governance quality and institutional quality. This paper conducts a study on the direct and indirect effects of d...
Book
This book focuses on the role of economic and political institutions in economic development. The book offers fresh perspectives on the issues facing less-developed countries and the elements influencing their outcomes. The text includes chapters on democracy, property rights, and economic freedom, and uses diverse methodology such as case studies,...
Book
This book is the third installment in a series of volumes looking at episodes in American economic history from a public choice perspective. Each chapter discusses citizens, special interests, and government officials responding to economic incentives in both markets and politics. In doing so, the book provides fresh insights into important periods...
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The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) were created by the IMF and World Bank to help low-income countries reduce their debt burden and to facilitate reaching the Millennium Development Goals. After entering the decision point of the HIPC Initiative stage, countries receive interim a...
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The United States has a rich history of local government taxation and good provision. The last fifty years, however, have seen increasing calls for the regionalization of municipal taxes and services from policymakers. Arguments for greater regionalization emphasize improved efficiency, enhanced equity, mitigation of spillovers, and improved econom...
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There is a large literature estimating the effect of economic freedom on economic growth or income levels. Most studies examine the relationship between economic freedom and growth or income levels for countries, while a few examine the relationship for U.S. states. Absent in the state‐level literature is consideration of the presence of spatial sp...
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Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and influences a variety of health outcomes. Regions vary in their levels of exercise due to geography, climate, culture, and policy. The extent to which a country's policies are consistent with economic freedom has been found to be positively associated with greater participation in physical act...
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This paper applies a multistep semiparametric stochastic production frontier estimator to investigate the effects of economic freedom (EF) on the production frontier and technical efficiency. We allow output elasticities and technical efficiency to depend on EF, estimate a smooth coefficient stochastic production frontier, and compare with parametr...
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School districts in Ohio have the option of diversifying their revenue base by adopting income taxes. Using a panel of Ohio school districts that adopted a local income tax from 1990 to 2008, we find that revenues are procyclical and fluctuate only mildly. The estimated short- and long-run income elasticity of school district income tax revenues is...
Chapter
This paper seeks to understand the role played by immigrant ethnic composition in the process of women’s suffrage in the United States. Any theory of the extension of voting rights to women must explain why native men voted to extend the franchise to women. In this paper, we consider what we call the “ethnic group threat.” To the extent that native...
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The Committee on Economic Education (CEE) has been allocated one session in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings (P&P) since 1964. In 2008, the American Economic Association evaluated the allocation of AER Papers and Proceedings sessions to various AEA Committees. In response, the CEE was asked to prepare a one-page rationale for...
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Concerns about harmful effects arising from the increased use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract underground fuel resources has led to efforts to ban the practice. Many townships in western New York, which lies above the gas-rich Marcellus shale formation, have enacted bans or moratoria using local zoning laws. Using spatial econometric...
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In many states, public institutions of higher education have the autonomy to raise tuition. This has not been the case in Louisiana since a 1995 constitutional amendment required a two-thirds majority of the state legislature for any tuition increase. In November of 2016, voters in Louisiana rejected Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment that wou...
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Purpose Congress passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, vesting the Securities and Exchange Commission with the clear legal authority to prosecute members of Congress (politicians) if they engage in insider trading. This paper aims to investigate whether members of Congress are informed traders even before they get...
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This article investigates the impact of taxes on the salaries received by National Basketball Association free agents from 2010 to 2014. High state income tax rates affect the after-tax income received by players from their team as well as on any ancillary income. Using data on 576 free agents, we find statistically significant evidence that free a...
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In this study, we investigate whether non-public school enrolment affects the performance of public school districts. If homeschooling and private schools act as competition, public school districts test scores should be positively associated with non-public enrolment. Using data on West Virginia county school districts, and controlling for endogen...
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The social determinants of health include the communities in which people reside. Associated with geographic areas are public policies that influence a variety of economic and social outcomes. The group of public policies associated with economic freedom have been found to be positively related to a number of economic and social outcomes. In this a...
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Using cross-sectional data from 50 states of the United States and the District of Columbia for two different time periods, this paper examines the degree to which special interests or the median voter determine state highway expenditures. In addition to finding that previous estimates of the determinants of state highway expenditures are robust, w...
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In this article, the authors describe the Miller Upton Programs launched by the Beloit College Department of Economics in 2008. The programs aim to advance student understanding of the nature and causes of wealth and well-being. After describing the programs’ core elements, the authors discuss ways in which they leverage economic discourse as a mea...
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Purpose While many studies find a positive relationship between economic freedom and entrepreneurship, very few of these studies account for possible spatial autocorrelation. Moreover, the development of an overall freedom measure has allowed researchers to test the relationship between overall freedom (personal plus economic) and entrepreneurship....
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Compulsory military service has declined considerably since 1970. This explained by changes on both the extensive and intensive margins by governments. While the decision to use conscription for military purposes has been studied extensively, in this paper we examine empirically the factors underlying the decline in the duration of military service...
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John “Jack” Soper passed away on August 9, 2013. A prolific researcher who retired as the John J. Kahl Sr. Chair in Entrepreneurship at John Carroll University, Soper was a leading light in the field of economic education. His scholarship in the 1970s and 1980s played a key role in establishing the field. We summarize and highlight his contribution...
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Adam Smith famously argued that increased competition in religion would result in more religious tolerance and that the benefits of competition in the marketplace would also be seen in religious instruction when many religious sects are tolerated. We use a cross-section of a maximum of 167 countries to explore whether increased religious competitio...
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We revisit the relationship between collective bargaining by teachers unions and school performance. The empirical literature in this area has found mixed results at both the state and district levels. We contribute to this literature in two ways. First, rather than simply dummy union status, we proxy for the restrictiveness of collective bargainin...
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We provide the first ranking of countries’ economic institutions using an ordinal methodology. Using the five areas of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index, we find that final rankings of a country’s institutions are sensitive to the importance-ordering of Area 1 (Size of Government). When Areas 2–5 are in the most impor...
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Research on zoning typically assumes that city planners aim to maximise housing prices with their land use decisions, either explicitly for public choice reasons or implicitly through the approval of land uses that create local net benefits. Noncongruence of school district and municipality borders severs the link between costs and benefits in the...
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There is a small but growing literature on the determinants of economic freedom. This paper contributes to this literature in two ways. First, it is empirically shown that β-convergence in economic freedom occurred from 1980 to 2010. Countries with low levels of economic freedom in 1980 “catch up” at a rate of 0.7 percent a year on average, ceteris...
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We find that congressional influences affect the amount of airport subsidies that a congressional district receives through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The EAS program was passed with the goal of helping to continue commercial air service to rural communities following deregulation in the 1970s. Using data from 1998–2014, we find stron...
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After lengthy debate, the Keystone XL Pipeline bill passed in January 2015. We use this event to better understand the determinants of Senator voting behaviour. Specifically, this article attempts to examine the relative impacts of political and economic influences. This is accomplished through the use of a binary logit regression model with legisl...
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This paper provides an exploratory analysis into factors contributing to differences across states in recidivism rates. We provide the first such examination that incorporates differences in economic freedom. Using a panel data set from 1998 to 2010, we find that higher levels of economic freedom within a state are associated with lower recidivism...
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Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places where individuals get together to build things. While the organization itself is private, the ‘space’ that is created for individuals to work has elements of a common pool resource (CPR). The previous literature finds technology to be important in effective CPR management. Through an ethnographic...
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Determinants of migration, including policy variables such as tax rates, have been extensively studied by regional scientists over the past several decades. The development of the Economic Freedom of North America Index has allowed researchers to test the relationship between migration patterns and economic freedom, with recent studies finding that...
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We revisit the relationship between informal institutions and income levels. The empirical literature on institutions finds that indices of ‘informal institutions’ such as trust, respect, respect, self-determination and obedience are more important than ‘formal institutions’ such as constitutional constraints in explaining income levels across coun...
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The Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index was first produced by Gwartney, Block, and Lawson (Economic Freedom of the World: 1975–1995; 1996) and has been updated annually since. During this period, the EFW index has been cited in hundreds of academic articles. Here, we provide an accounting and description of this literature. Of 402 articles ci...
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There are many goals an instructor may wish to accomplish in a course on economic principles. For us the definitive goal is the generation of sensible and active members of a civil society. This is an ambitious goal: it requires that students internalize the economic way of thinking and learn to exercise active citizenry. After experimenting with a...
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Public managers who operate within cross-jurisdictional governance regimes face substantial difficulties in facilitating network collaboration. Scholars have long suggested that non-congruence of geographic borders can create coordination problems among the political communities within polycentric administrative units. A frequently reoccurring exam...
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This paper investigates the political economy of military base closure in the United States. The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act was passed in 1988 in an attempt to insulate base closure and realignment from politic influence. The political pressure to influence the process remains strong, however, given the negative effects base closures c...
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In this essay, VanMetre and Hall draw upon the Austrian and new institutional schools of economics and deploy the Economic Freedom of the World Index to empirically test the relationship between property rights and economic prosperity. Their analysis confirms De Soto’s thesis that secure property rights enhance the return on human and physical capi...
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Entrepreneurial activity is a fundamental component of economic growth and development in the United States. States that experience increased entrepreneurial activity also see higher levels of overall economic growth. From a policy perspective, it is necessary to understand what is at the root of entrepreneurship. In this paper we closely examine s...
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This paper integrates two growing strains of literature. The first strain looks at the effect of economic and political unions on outcomes such as bond ratings and economic convergence. The second strain looks at the determinants of economic freedom across countries. Building from these two literatures, we investigate the impact of joining the Euro...
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The Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index measures the extent to which nations allow their citizens economic freedom. The freedom of people to trade internationally is a featured area within the index. One component of this area is the size of the trade sector, or rather the deviation of a country's trade sector from its expected size. This not...
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The terms objective and subjective are considered antonyms, and yet "objectivists", associated with the ideas of Ayn Rand, and "subjectivists", associated with the ideas of Ludwig von Mises, are both associated with the same political philosophy: classical liberalism. There are however important apparent differences between the "objectivist" approa...
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The international development community has encouraged investment in physical and human capital as a precursor to economic progress. Recent evidence shows, however, that increases in capital do not always lead to increases in output. We develop a growth model where the allocation and productivity of capital depends on a country’s institutions. We f...
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The SIC sectors identified for direct, indirect, and in kind rent seeking activity have been identified and verified empirically in Sobel & Garrett (2002) by comparing capital counties to non-capital counties. We convert these industries from SIC to NAICS codes and provide measures of direct, indirect, and in-kind rent seeking for the year 2005. In...
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The literature on racial "peer effects" suggests that diversity improves at least some students' school performance. However, a literature in economic development posits that diversity may negatively affect school performance by undermining the efficient provision of education. This article empirically tests this claim, which we call the "public go...