We examine the relationship between urban characteristics in 1960 and urban growth between 1960 and 1990. Income and population growth move together, and both types of growth are (l) positively related to initial schooling, (2) negatively related to initial unemployment, and (3) negatively related to the initial share of employment in manufacturing. Racial composition and segregation are uncorrelated with urban growth across all cities, but in cities with large nonwhite communities segregation is positively correlated with population growth. Government expenditures (except for sanitation) are uncorrelated with growth; government debt is positively correlated with later growth.
Regulation of economic activity is ubiquitous around the world, yet standard theories predict it should be rather uncommon. I argue that the ubiquity of regulation is explained not so much by the failure of markets, or by asymmetric information, as by the failure of courts to solve contract and tort disputes cheaply, predictably, and impartially. The approach accounts for the ubiquity of regulation, for its growth over time, as well as for the fact that contracts themselves are heavily regulated. It also makes predictions, both across activities and across jurisdictions, for the efficiency of regulation and litigation as strategies of enforcing efficient conduct.
Using micro data from Duke University quarterly survey of Chief Financial Officers, we show that corporate investment plans as well as actual investment are well explained by CFOs’ expectations of earnings growth. The information in expectations data is not subsumed by traditional variables, such as Tobin’s Q or discount rates. We also show that errors in CFO expectations of earnings growth are predictable from past earnings and other data, pointing to extrapolative structure of expectations and suggesting that expectations may not be rational. This evidence, like earlier findings in finance, points to the usefulness of data on actual expectations for understanding economic behavior.