During the tabulation of votes in the 2000 presidential election, the world was shocked at the technological inadequacy of electoral equipment in many parts of the US. In reaction to public dismay over "hanging chads", Congress quickly enacted the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), legislation to fund the acquisition of advanced vote-counting technology. However, the intention was to enable, rather than mandate, choices of new electoral equipment. This paper takes advantage of a unique historical opportunity to test whether electoral equipment follows the pattern predicted by well-established models of innovation diffusion, merging electoral data with census data on socioeconomic characteristics. We infer that fiscal constraints to acquisition are strong but are not the only limitations to technology adoption, particularly within certain types of easily identifiable populations.
Economists have studied the impact of legalized abortion on a variety of factors including women’s decision surrounding when to enter the work force and how many hours to work, schooling and most controversially crime. They have also examined the determinants of state abortion restrictions across the United States, considering the strength of interest advocacy groups and demographic characteristics. Notably absent from the existing literature is a study of the impact of legalized abortion on the use of contraceptives. Earlier work has established that states with more lenient laws regarding access to contraceptive services by minors have greater pill use, but the impact of the legal framework surrounding abortion restrictions has not been examined. This paper explores the possibility that variation in state abortion availability, as proxied by legislation pertaining to women’s reproductive rights (particularly either supporting or restricting access to abortions) across the United States may generate variation in the use of birth control pills. Without the option of terminating a pregnancy, one would expect that oral contraceptives would be more widely utilized. We find restrictions on abortion availability (through abortion legislation mandating parental consent or notification) induce women to seek a reliable form of birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies, while pro-choice sentiments in the legislature may have the opposite effect. We also consider the effect of sex education on the rate of oral contraceptive use within states.
The recent stagnation of electronic commerce highlights the need to understand contemporary online consumer behavior. This study incorporates current user demographics and emerging Internet activities to dynamically model the determinants of two key measurements of recent online shopping, a purchase within the last year and the novel dependent variable, percentage of income spent online in the last three months. Logistic regression is applied to a nationally representative 2007 survey of the U.S. online population. Determinants of a recent online purchase include, ownership of a credit card, an online payment account (PayPalTM), listening to podcasts, participating in online auctions, and for the first time, female gender. In a second regression, positive determinants for the percentage of income spent online include male gender, educational attainment, online auctions, instant messenging and online dating. Online spending increases with time online and appears to compete with other forms of online entertainment and social networking.
Following the legalization of abortion in the United States, scholars have studied its impact on a wide variety of factors including women’s educational choices and labor force decisions, abortion rates, and most controversially, crime. Economists have also investigated the determinants of state abortion restrictions across the United States, exploring the importance of demographic characteristics, locational availability, and the strength of interest advocacy groups. Notably absent from the existing literature is an examination of the impact of legalized abortion and the restrictions of its use on the decision to use oral contraceptives. Earlier work has established that states with more lenient laws regarding access to contraceptive services by minors have greater pill use, but the impact of the legal framework surrounding abortion restrictions has not been examined. The focus of this paper is an analysis of the possibility that variation in state abortion availability, proxied by legislation restricting a woman’s reproductive rights, may generate variation in the use of birth control pills. It is reasonable to expect that without the option of terminating a pregnancy (or in states where the cost of doing so is higher), that oral contraceptives would be more widely utilized. Our findings reveal that restrictions on abortion funding have a significant and positive impact on a woman’s decision to use the pill. In addition, women who live in states with higher abortion rates, a likely representation of the ease of terminating an unwanted pregnancy and proxy for the entirety of abortion restrictions, are less likely to use the pill. These results indicate that women are forward thinking when making their contraceptive decisions, at least relative to abortion legislation. If individuals are forward thinking enough such that legislation and policy governing the consequences for today's actions can affect today's decisions, then there are important policy implications for increasing health outcomes.
Though linked, the relationship between legalized abortion and contraception use remains largely unexplored. This study seeks to fill this gap by examining young women’s contraceptive decisions and the additional costs, direct and indirect, imposed by restrictive abortion legislation and provider availability. Utilizing variation across U.S. state abortion restrictions on minors and different levels of provider availability we measure whether women under the age of 25 really are less careful in using contraception if abortions are less costly, in terms of both financial and opportunity cost. The effects of abortion restrictions for minors are largest and the most significant for women aged 18 and younger and the effect of these restrictions decrease in magnitude and significance gradually as women age. As expected, parental involvement increases the likelihood of young women using oral contraception. In the context of provider availability, we find results in the expected direction. As the percent of women in the state without a provider increases women are more likely to use the pill and when the provider to woman ratio increases costs of aborting are lower there is a negative effect on pill use. These results indicate that young women are forward thinking when making their contraceptive decisions, relative to the direct and indirect restrictions on abortion access. If individuals are forward thinking enough such that legislation and policy governing the consequences for today's actions can affect today's decisions, then there are important policy implications for increasing health outcomes.
While there is anecdotal evidence that home values decline when a big-box store (such as Wal-Mart) decides to locate in the area, there is a paucity of evidence on that effect. This paper uses a repeat sales model to compare residential property values, and the speed of sale of the property, to compare the impact that an arrival has. Results conclude that there is a "news effect" surrounding the arrival, and that the total effect is small at most. For most specifications tested, the number of stores nearby, the arrival of new stores, and the distance to the nearest store all have insignificant impacts on both property resale value and the number of days that a property spends on the market prior to sale. In the worst-case scenario, the arrival of a Wal-Mart is associated with a decline equivalent to roughly one percent of the home's square footage and is not absorbed by those closest to the new retailer but by rather more distant neighbors.
This paper considers the challenges to the dissemination of environmental innovation. Following a brief exploration of the legal and regulatory regimes surrounding environmental technologies, the paper examines diffusion mechanisms, market factors, social characteristics and political elements that facilitate and complicate dissemination. Given the importance of innovation to economic development and growth, the diffusion of innovation is of great interest to economists and policymakers alike.
In an effort to explore the potential for financing environmental innovation, this paper examines different forms of financing and attempts to evaluate their effectiveness. The study considers both public and private forms of funding as well as providing policy suggestions for the support of appropriate financing for eco-innovation.
This paper aims to summarize the state of academic knowledge surrounding the economics of environmental innovation. Following a definition of environmental technology, the paper enumerates and describes the obstacles or constraints to the development of eco-innovation.
This paper examines the location of innovations within pharmaceutical technology, using U.S. patent citation data to trace the knowledge flows over time. It is clear that knowledge clustering is certainly present. Our study utilizes multivariate left-censored Tobit regression analysis to control for identifiable factors, to examine whether over time the distance between successive innovators has changed. We find the distance to be increasing significantly over time, both when considering all citations and only inter-city transfers.