Thursday, September 26, 2019

geobr: data updates

Some of you are already familiar with geobr, an R package that we developed in Ipea to facilitate downloading official spatial data sets of Brazil (a quick intro to geobr here). The stable version 1.0 was published on CRAN a couple of months ago. Since then, we have added some new data sets.

geobr now brings official spatial data of natural biomesindigenous lands of all ethnicities in Brazil according to stage of demarcation, and risk areas prone to landslides and floods in Brazil. These data sets are currently only available in the development version of the package, wich can be installed with devtools::install_github("ipeaGIT/geobr".

Monday, September 23, 2019

Coloring slavery history in Brazil

Marina Amaral (Twittter) is a renowned digital colorist. Marina has an incredible portfolio, coloring photographs of Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, tragic moments in the WWII and victims of Auschwitz concentration camp.

credit: Marina Amaral

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Public investment and state sponsored speculation

Great piece with a critical take and neat data analysis of how the New York’s High Line project affected real state property prices. It was written by The Dark Matter Labs & Centre for Spatial Technologies teams, who use this case to draw some interesting reflections on public investment  and state sponsored speculation.

credit: Dark Matter Labs & Centre for Spatial Technologies

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Access to Opportunities Project, live webinar with preliminary results

This week, on Sept 18 at 7pm (GMT), we will be broadcasting a live webinar to present some of the preliminary results of the Access to Opportunities Project. The webinar will be broadcast in Portuguese on this link and we will also be answering questions about the project.

Here is a quick summary about the project:

How many jobs can one access in less than an hour using public transport? How long does it take to get to your nearest healthcare facility or school? The answers to these questions are a direct result of the urban and transport policies implemented in our cities. These policies largely determine the ease with which people from different social groups and income levels can access employment opportunities, health and education services. These policies play a key role in building more just and inclusive cities and reducing inequalities in access to opportunities. Although the issue of transport accessibility has been widely studied in cities in the Global North, this topic has received much less attention in the global South and particularly in Brazil.

My team and I at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) are launching the Access to Opportunities Project to map and analyze urban accessibility in Brazilian cities. The purpose of the project is to estimate accessibility to job opportunities, schools and health services by public transport, walking, cycling and driving at high spatial resolution for all of the largest urban areas in the country. This year, the project will include public transport accessibility estimates for 6 major cities (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre and Curitiba), as well as walking and cycling accessibility estimates for the 20 largest cities in Brazil. We are planning to expand the project soon to include other urban areas.

The Access to Opportunities Project is carried out in collaboration with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP - Brazil), and it will bring annual updates on the accessibility landscape of Brazilian cities. One of the expected results of the project is to generate a wealth of data that will be made publicly available to policy makers and researchers, with whom we will be able to collaborate to analzye particular case studies and conduct international comparative research.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Comparing public transport ridership trends in the USA and France

Yonah Freemark (Twitter) is a PhD student at MIT and author of The Transport Politic, probably one of the most widely read websites in the field of transportation research and policy. Yonah has recently published a very great piece looking at the trends of public transport ridership between 2002 and 2018 for the 30 largest urban areas in the USA and France. This is the general outlook:

"Between 2002 and 2010, both countries saw increases in transit use in their major cities. The average U.S. city’s ridership increased by 6 percent over that time (though the peak was in 2008). [...]. This trend has diverged dramatically since the Great Recession, however. While the average French urban region saw its ridership increase by 32 percent between 2010 and 2018, U.S. regions saw ridership decline by 6 percent on average."

The piece is interesting throughout, with a nuanced analysis of what could explain the success and failure of French and American cities in building public transport ridership. Highly recommended.

Ridership changes in major urban regions, including the Bay Area (combining San Francisco and San Jose urban areas) and Seattle.

Credit: Yonah Freemark

Monday, September 9, 2019

The life of graduate students

True story.

ps. Some habits do not go away after one graduates...

credit: Sandy Serena

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Monday, September 2, 2019

Who wins and who loses from rent control?

Short/simple answer: everyone loses in the long run.

Last year, I shared here a NBER Working Paper by Rebecca Diamond (Stanford) and colleagues on the effects of rent control on tenants, landlords, and inequality. This issue always makes a comeback and since the paper has has now been published on AER, I thought it would be good to post about this study again. Thanks Max Roser and Carlos Goes for the pointers

Diamond, Rebecca, Tim McQuade, and Franklin Qian. 2019. The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco. American Economic Review, 109 (9): 3365-94. [ungated version of the paper]

Using a 1994 law change, we exploit quasi-experimental variation in the assignment of rent control in San Francisco to study its impacts on tenants and landlords. Leveraging new data tracking individuals' migration, we find rent control limits renters' mobility by 20 percent and lowers displacement from San Francisco. Landlords treated by rent control reduce rental housing supplies by 15 percent by selling to owner-occupants and redeveloping buildings. Thus, while rent control prevents displacement of incumbent renters in the short run, the lost rental housing supply likely drove up market rents in the long run, ultimately undermining the goals of the law.