Economics - General

EEA Conference Review

The Eastern Economic Association (EEA) Conference I attended last weekend was a great experience. Economists from institutions across the nation attended and I was able to interact with a number of prominent economists. Below I will summarize a few of more interesting papers which I personally saw presented at the conference. To view an abstract of the paper which I presented at the EEA conference, click here.

  • Soma Bhattacharya, “The value of mortality risk reductions in Delhi, India.” Ms. Bhattacharya examined how much commuters in Delhi were willing to pay (WTP) to reduce the odds of being involved in a traffic fatality. Commuters included those who arrive at work by: car, bike/motorbike, or walking. The safety reductions were examined in three contexts: 1) the WTP for a bicycle helmet, 2) the WTP for the construction of a pedestrian subway, and 3) the WTP to move to a city with a lower probability of a traffic fatality.  Using these WTP figures, the author finds that the value of a statistical life (VSL) in Dehli is about $150,000 PPP$. This figure can now be used by Indian policy-makers when conducting cost-benefit analyses for road safety projects.
  • Fred Foldvary, “Circumventing California’s Proposition 13 for the Public Collection of Rent.” In his presentation, Mr. Foldvary examines how municipalities are able to get around Proposition 13‘s restriction that property tax rates cannot increase and property value assessments will not change until a person sells one’s house. Some of the ways municipalities circumvent this constitutional amendment are: impact fees/developer fees, user fees, tax increment financing for land deemed to be blighted, civic partnerships and others. Foldvary believes that decentralizing government financing and allowing municipalities more freedom to tax and spend as they choose is a superior form of governing to centralized rules such as Prop 13.
  • Bo-Hyun ChoImmunization as Intertemporal Investment or Resource Allocation: Dynamic Decision-Making Model of Immunization.” Mr. Cho employs an overlapping generations model (OLG) and applies it to the context of immunization.  In this theoretical model, immunization is seen as an investment in health, but the decision to immunize is based on the individual’s future expected prevalence of the disease. Mr. Cho hopes that the model will help the CDC to better understand immunization coverage rates in the U.S.