Question 1: Urban Housing (20 points)

Housing policy: Housing subsidies vs. Cash offer

A low income household has a monthly income of 900, and is qualified to receive certain welfare from government in housing.

This household has the following utility function and faces the following market information:

U = X.Y where X is the housing consumption (sq.) while Y represents all other goods; Price of X (housing per square foot) is $0.5, and price of Y (all other goods) is normalized to be $0.75. Hint: MRS = Y/X

A. What will be the consumption bundle for this household when no subsides or welfare is offered? (hint: utility maximization given the budget constrain)
B. What will be the consumption bundle if this household receives a cash offer of 300 per month from government?
C. Instead of receiving cash offer, they are subsidized by a housing voucher program, which specifies their out-of-pocket cost for housing is $270 per month. To keep this household equally happy as in (B receiving cash offer),
a. What will be their consumption bundle?
b. How much is the subsidy amount from government?
c. Compare to the cash offer, which program is more cost effective from tax payer’s perspective?

Question 2: Urban Transportation (20 points)
Download the file for Cincinnati from the following link
The above file is from Urban Mobility report 2017 (its press release) published by TTI.
Based on the report and what we have discussed on issues in urban transportation
A. This reports data on congestion level in Cincinnati metropolitan areas from 1984 to 2017.
A1. Conduct a trend analysis for key congestions measures such as TTI, PTI, annual hours of delay per commuter, excess fuel consumed due to congestion.
A2. Identify possible reasons for the trend identified and provide supporting evidence.
B. If reducing congestion is desirable, what types of policy pools should be implemented to systematically change the congestion level? For each recommendation you make, discuss the advantage and limitations.

Question 3: Assuming the following: Ohio Department of Transportation and Kentucky DOT are considering converting I-471 to be a toll road and considering using the toll collected to provide additional fund to improve transit services in and out of downtown Cincinnati. You are hired as an economic analyst by a local non-profit organization representing local residents’ interest. You are required to conduct an economic analysis answering the following questions. (25 points)
1.Identify who will be affected by this potential change from a public free road to toll road? Be specific.
2. In which way those identified can be affected? Why? If and how can you get your supporting evidence?
3. What could be the marginal benefit if I-471 becomes a toll road? How about marginal cost?
4. How to determine what is the right toll rate for that 7 –mile toll road?
5. Organize your analysis and write a draft comment letter to ODOT and KDOT to address this potential change.

Question 4: (25 points)
Based on the article: on the performance of the US transportation system
1. What are the economic theories on the efficient provision of transportation in the US? Provide the logic clearly for private and public ownership.
2. Discuss the impact of the US transportation infrastructure on travel pattern and land use pattern and Chapters 7-8
3. Given the fact that user fees are far from sufficient to cover the highway (and transit ) expenditures, discuss the possible solutions to reduce congestion.
4. Discuss the key factors that result in low ridership of public transit in general and discuss the possible solutions.

Question 5: Empirical Analysis (10 points)
Use the data provided in (Urban Economics Data 1)
1. The dataset provides variables to measure land use controls (from column Z to column AG), discuss the hypotheses of the impact of those variables on urban spatial size (column W)
2. Run a regression with urban spatial size as dependent variable and land use control variables in addition to standard monocentric urban variables (population, income, rural land rent, and transportation cost) and report the results in a table.
3. Discuss your results of each land use control variables (whether it is statistically significant, whether consistent with your hypothesis; if not , what could be possible explanations).



Sample Solution

Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.



Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies4(8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.