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Archive for the ‘transportation and travel’ Category

Signaling Status: The Impact of Relative Income on Household Consumption and Financial Decisions

October 25, 2014 Comments off

Signaling Status: The Impact of Relative Income on Household Consumption and Financial Decisions (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Board

This paper investigates the importance of status in household consumption and financial decisions using household data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) linked to neighborhood data in the American Community Survey (ACS). We find evidence that a household’s income rank–its position in the income distribution relative to its close neighbors–is positively associated with its expenditures on high status cars, its level of indebtedness, as well as the riskiness of the household’s portfolio. More aggregate county-level evidence based on a dataset of every new car sold in each county in the United States since 2002 also suggests that the signaling motive might be important. These results indicate that greater income heterogeneity might have large consequences for household consumption and portfolio decisions.

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Ranking Each State’s Highway Conditions and Cost-Effectiveness: Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota Are Best; Hawaii, Alaska and New Jersey Are Worst

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Ranking Each State’s Highway Conditions and Cost-Effectiveness: Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota Are Best; Hawaii, Alaska and New Jersey Are Worst
Source: Reason Foundation

More money is going to state highways, but there has been very little progress in improving their condition according to the 21st Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation.

“Many of the easiest repairs and fixes to state highway and bridge systems have already been made and the rate of progress is slowing down,” said David T. Hartgen, lead author of the Annual Highway Report since 1984. “A widening gap also seems to be emerging between states that are still making improvements and a few states that are really falling behind on highway maintenance and repairs.”

Spending on state-owned roads totaled $132 billion in 2012, up 6 percent from 2011. Spending varied wildly from state to state according to the Annual Highway Report. South Carolina and West Virginia spent just $39,000 per mile of road in 2012 while New Jersey spent over $2 million per state-controlled mile. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California and Florida were the next biggest spenders, outlaying more than $500,000 per state-controlled mile.

Who Pollutes? A Household-Level Database of America’s Greenhouse Gas Footprint

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Who Pollutes? A Household-Level Database of America’s Greenhouse Gas Footprint
Source: Center for Global Development

This paper describes the creation of a database providing estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints for 6 million US households over the period 2008-2012. The database allows analysis of footprints for 52 types of consumption (e.g. electricity, gasoline, apparel, beef, air travel, etc.) within and across geographic regions as small as individual census tracts.

Potential research applications with respect to carbon pricing and tax policy are discussed. Preliminary analysis reveals:

  • The top 10% of US polluters are responsible for 25% of the country’s GHG footprint. The least-polluting 40% of the population accounts for only 20% of the total. The average GHG footprint of individuals in the top 2% of the income distribution is more than four times that of those in the bottom quintile.
  • The highest GHG footprints are found in America’s suburbs, where relatively inefficient housing and transport converge with higher incomes. Rural areas exhibit moderate GHG footprints. High-density urban areas generally exhibit the lowest GHG footprints, but location-specific results are highly dependent on income.
  • Residents of Republican-held congressional districts have slightly higher average GHG footprints than those in Democratic districts – but the difference is small (21.8 tCO2e/person/year in Republican districts; 20.6 in Democratic). There is little relationship between the strength of a district’s party affiliation and average GHG footprint.

Economic & Environmental Impact of Traffic Congestion in Europe & the US

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Economic & Environmental Impact of Traffic Congestion in Europe & the US
Source: Inrix

With people in Europe and the US currently wasting on average 111 hours annually in gridlock, the impact of traffic congestion on individual driver’s time is well understood. However, new research shows traffic congestion actually does much more than test our patience. It’s a significant drain on our wallets as well our economies.

A new report by INRIX in collaboration with one of the world’s leading economic think tanks, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), quantifies the cost of traffic congestion on individual households and national economies in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany. This is the first study of its kind to forecast the projected increases in these costs in these countries and their most congested cities between 2013 and 2030. Driven by urbanization and increased GDP per capita over the next 17 years, a few of the key findings include:

  • The combined annual cost of gridlock to these countries is expected to soar to $293.1 billion by 2030, almost a 50% increase from 2013.
  • Over this period, the cumulative cost of congestion for these economies combined is estimated to be a staggering $4.4 trillion.
  • The overall economic impact is greatest in the U.S. where the estimated cumulative cost of traffic congestion by 2030 is $2.8 trillion – the same amount Americans collectively paid in U.S. taxes last year.
  • However the UK (at 66%) and London (at 71%) will see the greatest annual rise in the cost of congestion by 2030, mainly as a result of seeing the highest increase in urbanization
  • At the individual level, traffic congestion cost drivers $1,740 last year on average across the four countries. If unchecked, this number is expected to grow more than 60% to $2,902 annually by 2030.

Free registration required to download report.

CRS — Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic (October 14, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics:
• policy overview
• National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC)
• cloud computing and FedRAMP
• critical infrastructure
• cybercrime, data breaches, and data security
• national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet)
• international efforts
• education/training/workforce
• research and development (R&D)

In addition, the report lists selected cybersecurity-related websites for congressional and government agencies, news, international organizations, and organizations or institutions.

Insurance and Climate Change: Do Governments Have a Duty to Protect Property Owners?, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 16, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Insurance and Climate Change: Do Governments Have a Duty to Protect Property Owners?, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Federal and private insurers are well aware that if the scientific consensus is correct that climate change will cause more frequent extreme weather events, they may be making substantially increased payments in the future. Commentary on the link between climate change and insurance has become voluminous.

One of the many insurance company concerns was recently in the news: whether government can be held liable for not putting in place adequate infrastructure—or maintaining existing infrastructure—to protect against property damage from climate-change-related extreme weather.

American Housing Survey: 2013 Detailed Tables

October 20, 2014 Comments off

American Housing Survey: 2013 Detailed Tables
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The first findings from the 2013 American Housing Survey are now available in the form of dozens of detailed tables and a microdata file. The American Housing Survey is conducted biennially and, as in past years, provides current national-level information on a wide range of housing subjects. Topics unique to this survey include characteristics and physical condition of the nation’s housing units, indicators of housing and neighborhood quality, and home improvement activities. Specific examples include the presence of appliances, respondents’ rating of their homes on a scale of 1 to 10, and the average cost of kitchen and bathroom remodeling.

Topics new to the American Housing Survey this year are disaster planning and emergency preparedness, public transportation, household involvement in neighborhood and community activities, and the prevalence of “doubled-up” households, such as those with an adult child living at home. Specific examples include having an adequate food or water supply in case of emergency, key amenities accessible via public transportation and neighbors willing to help one another.

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