PRACTICE AREAS

RCF provides expert services in the following practice areas:

MARKET ECONOMICS AND RESEARCH

RCF economists are experts in performing market studies including econometric and statistical forecasting, regional and local economic forecasting, demographic analysis, economic impact studies, zoning studies, local tax policy analysis, labor economics studies, analyses of real estate markets, business damage assessments and lost wages analyses. RCF has provided sales forecasts to the U.S. Postal Service and testimony before the Postal Regulatory Commission for well over two decades.  To assist client decision making, RCF has analyzed demand and supply factors and prepared forecasts for a variety of products and services.  RCF has completed detailed evaluations of market consequences of proposed or anticipated changes in market conditions for businesses in many industries and for agencies at all levels of government.  Economists from RCF have provided expert testimony based on thorough economic analysis of events under litigation.

Market Economics and Research Experience

Sales Forecasting and Expert Support

U.S. Postal Service, 1978 to the present Under contract to the United States Postal Service, RCF uses econometric, statistical and other quantitative techniques to analyze and forecast the sales volume of over twenty classes of domestic mail and six classes of International Mail. RCF has supplied the Postal Service volume testimony and oral cross examination witnesses in every general rate case before the Postal Rate Commission since 1980. RCF's mail volume forecasts are used by the Postal Service for many aspects of planning including pricing, budgeting, resource allocation and marketing. Our service to the Postal Service includes specialized demand studies and custom computer software.

Advertising Expenditures and Effectiveness

U.S. Postal Service, 1995 to the present RCF economists apply economic models to advertising industry expenditures and econometrically estimate specific effects of developments in electronic communication and electronic commerce, changes in the regulatory regime of financial institutions, and declining readership rates for print media. RCF provides forecasts for advertising trends, and analyzes the effectiveness of direct mail advertising.

The Economic Impact of Oil Production in Illinois

Illinois Oil & Gas Association, 2009, 2016, 2017 RCF conducted the first comprehensive study of the economic impacts of the oil production industry on the Illinois economy using input-output modeling, extensive research, and interviews with industry leaders. In 2008-2009 employment, income and output impacts were presented and mapped by legislative districts. Results of the study were presented at the 2009 IOGA Conference. A follow up study was completed in 2017 looking at how the industry performed through the Great Recession.

Employment Impacts of Proposed Capital Investment Projects in Northeastern Illinois

Chicagoland Foreign Investment Group and Kameli Associates, 2009 to 2016 RCF estimated direct and indirect employment impacts of projects proposed under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's EB-5 Visa Program in the greater Chicago Metropolitan Area.

Quarterly Report on US Economy

Prudential Capital Group, 2003 to 2015 RCF Economists prepared a quarterly report on the outlook for the US economy for Prudential Capital Group, which was then distributed to Prudential's clients. The report presented an overview of recent macroeconomic trends affecting interest rates, economic growth, and employment and includes analysis and projections of Federal Reserve policy and a variety of economic indicators. On an annual basis, RCF also provided an in-depth analysis of a particular key issue. Past issues have included the long-term outlook for inflation, the ongoing decline in the US dollar, and the housing market slump.

Busan as a Financial Center

Busan National University, 2010 At the request of Busan National University, Dr. George Tolley visited Korea and made a presentation entitled "Busan--Financial Center: The View from Chicago." Dr. Tolley covered contrasts and similarities between Busan and Chicago as financial centers. He compared the financial derivatives markets between the two cities, and the evolution of each market over time with emphasis on possibilities for Busan to become a maritime derivatives center. He provided a checklist of questions based on Chicago's experience to be considered in enhancing Busan as a financial center.

Effects of Proposed Illinois Gross Receipts Tax

Illinois Association of Realtors, 2007 RCF analyzed proposed legislation which would have fundamentally changed the business tax structure in Illinois. RCF estimated the magnitude of the cascade effect of a gross receipts tax on the price of a house in Illinois. Employment impacts on the construction industry also were analyzed. RCF presented results in testimony before a special full session of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Litigation Support in a Discrimination Case in Kyle, Texas

City of Kyle, Texas, 2007 In a case defending the City of Kyle's new zoning ordinances against charges of racial discrimination, RCF corrected impact calculations conducted by expert witnesses for the plaintiff and showed that any differential impact on housing affordability by an ethnic group was minimal.

Capital Requirements and Account Loss Analysis

Confidential Client, 2006 To assist a large bank in its compliance with Basel II rules on holding capital reserves against operational risks, RCF assisted in the development of statistical analyses of capital requirements and used the model to analyze account loss data.

Analysis of Financial Market Innovations and Regulations

Chicago Board of Trade, 2004 RCF analyzed the effects of call-around markets on the information quality of derivatives prices for one of the nation's foremost financial markets. A call-around market is an off-exchange trading venue where trades are arranged by telephone instead of through a central exchange and then cleared through exchange facilities and serve as an adjunct to the main trading venue, but the results of the trades are not necessarily reported immediately. A prime example of a call-around market is Eurex's futures-options trading on German debt instruments. As electronic trading becomes more prevalent, questions arise as to the desirability of allowing call-around trading. RCF's report evaluated the benefits and costs of call-around practices.

Earnings Loss

Confidential Client, 2002 RCF provided litigation support for a lost earnings case filed by a professional football player against the NFL and its insurance company. RCF economists provided an extensive analysis of the present value of lost earnings, as well as the statistical length of the player's career, based on NFL player data. These reports were used by the NFL's insurance provider as the basis for settlement.

Guidelines for Foreign Businessmen in the United States

Samsung Corporation, 2002 George Tolley developed and presented a lecture for Korean businessmen on the structure of and operation of the U.S. economy and its institutions as part of the 2002 Samsung Global Expert Program.

Airport In-Flight Passenger Survey Study

Landrum & Brown, 1997 For the City of Chicago, RCF conducted a survey of more than 7,500 in-flight passengers at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. RCF designed the questionnaire with stratified sampling techniques to ensure that the survey matched the characteristics of all scheduled departures. The questionnaire enabled facility planners to understand passenger trends, evaluate airport services, and model future terminal building facilities.

International Market Study of Telecommunications

Motorola, 1997 RCF analyzed the market penetration of two-way radio in Germany to estimate market potential in the developing countries of Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. RCF economists estimated the increases in GNP due to worker productivity increases made possible by the use of two-way radio, and forecast potential gains for different regulatory regimes. The client used this report to negotiate with government agencies for greater access to their nation's radio spectrum.

Analysis of Living Wage Ordinances

City of Chicago, 1996 RCF analyzed the effects of the proposed "Living Wage" (minimum wage increase) ordinance for Chicago employees and contractors. This study included an in-depth investigation of the direct effects of such a policy proposal on budgets and labor supply activity. Furthermore, the study analyzed the indirect effects, and ultimate consequences of creating this new wage policy. The predicted costs to the Chicago economy in terms of direct labor costs, lost business, and decreases in employment were presented in the RCF study "Economic Analysis of a Living Wage Ordinance." The City of Chicago used this study to help them find alternative approaches to satisfying the advocates of the living wage ordinance.

Tax Policy

Amex International, Inc., 1993 A study was undertaken advising the Gambian government on tax reforms. Policy advice was given on reduction in the company profits tax, taxation of fringe benefits and taxation of rental income. Recommendations were made for improving tax analysis capabilities.

Chicago Casino Complex

Jasculka-Terman, 1991 Estimates were made of effects of the proposed Chicago casino complex on the Illinois economy based on gaming dollars attracted into the state, dollars retained because residents would travel less to other states, and diversion of dollars from other activities within the state. Econometric predictions were made of effects on horse racing attendance.

Regional Economic Activity Analysis

The Haymarket Group, 1990 To assist efforts by Olympic Savings and Loan to avoid takeover by the FDIC's Resolution Trust Corporation, RCF prepared an analysis documenting the depressed economic development of southern Illinois. The report supported qualification of the association for over $100 million of federal aid by considering theoretical and generally accepted methods of evaluating regional economic conditions. The report centered on the definition of depressed regions and showed that the association should qualify as an institution with operations within depressed areas.

Antitrust Testimony

City of Grayslake, 1984 In a well-known Grayslake antitrust case in which a developer sued local governments over denial of water services, RCF estimated the effects of national and local real estate trends on the ability of the developer to sell houses if he had been allowed to build. RCF economists provided expert trial testimony in this matter.

Tax Policy

United States Department of the Treasury, 1978 A study estimating effects of capital taxation on levels and growth of income in OECD countries was completed for the U.S. government. The results were presented at an American Enterprise Institute Conference and edited by Professor John Kendrick.

ENERGY ECONOMICS

RCF has extensive experience in energy economics including electric power, fuels, and the utility industry. Economists at RCF have been retained by utilities, large electric energy consumers, and the U.S. Department of Energy to perform a wide variety of studies.  RCF routinely uses public and private data, market research, industry surveys, and modeling and forecasting to inform our rigorous and comprehensive analyses.  RCF has assisted in a wide variety of negotiations and has provided key expert testimony in numerous regulatory proceedings.  RCF led a 4-company team to prepare a report to Congress for the Department of Energy on the employment impacts of a transition to a hydrogen transportation economy.

Energy Economics Experience

RCF Publication Accepted in Energy Policy: Property Values and Tax Rates Near Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage

Energy Policy, December 2018 RCF's study of “Property Values and Tax Rates Near Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage” was published in the December 2018 issue of Energy Policy.  The study, conducted by RCF President George Tolley and RCF Associate Kirstin Munro, Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance at St. John’s University, considers the impact on property values of proximity to spent fuel at the site of a former nuclear power plant, as well as what happens to local property values following the shutdown of a nuclear power plant.  Using geospatial analysis and hedonic modeling, individual home characteristics, tax rate, distance from nuclear site and time of sale were analyzed to estimate the effects of the closed plant and spent nuclear fuel on residential property values in a 10-kilometer radius surrounding the former Zion Nuclear Plant located in Zion, Illinois. Major decisions are being made with respect to the country’s nuclear power generation facilities in response to current short-run electricity market conditions, including the recent announcements of several plant retirements. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation and ISO New England have expressed concerns that multiple nuclear power plant retirements will threaten the reliability of the North American power grid.  Findings of the study indicate that negative perceptions of nuclear power plants and spent fuel storage do not translate into market behavior from home buyers and sellers.  The study fails to find evidence that proximity to the spent nuclear fuel affects residential property values.  Further, results provide evidence that operating nuclear facilities have a positive impact on surrounding communities by helping reduce property tax burdens on local residents.  A copy of the complete study can be found here: Property values and tax rates near spent nuclear fuel storage JEPO 123.

Impacts of Market Penetration of Hydrogen Vehicles, Manufacturing and Fuel Infrastructure Deployment in Five Regions of the US, 2020-2050

United States Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, 2016-2018 RCF developed a multi-year, multi-region economic forecast working with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) to provide the United States Department of Energy (DOE) with estimates of the net economic impacts for the US economy resulting from the deployment of fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen fuel sales, and deployment of hydrogen fuel production and distribution infrastructure.  Five regions of the US were analyzed using different market penetration scenarios for hydrogen vehicle adoption.  Assumptions were made regarding US manufacturing of fuels cells and hydrogen vehicles, as well as deployment of hydrogen fuel production and distribution infrastructure necessary to meet demand.  Multiple data sources including engineering models and technology forecasts, EIA fuel and vehicle forecasts, and economic data from Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and U.S. Census Bureau, were integrated for the analysis which utilized the REMI PI+ model.

The Economic Impact of Oil Production in Illinois

Illinois Oil & Gas Association, 2009, 2016, 2017 In 2008, RCF conducted the first comprehensive study of the economic impacts of the oil production industry on the Illinois economy using input-output modeling, extensive research, and interviews with industry leaders. Employment, income and output impacts were presented and mapped by legislative districts. Results of the study were presented at the 2009 IOGA Conference. A follow up study was completed in 2016 looking at how the industry performed through the Great Recession. In 2017, RCF completed additional regional analyses of oil production industry employment compared to other industries in downstate Illinois.

Effects of Dry Cask Storage on Property Values at Pilgrim Nuclear Station

Entergy Corporation, 2014 and 2016 RCF provided expert witness support in a legal proceeding focusing on property value impacts of a proposed, on-site nuclear waste storage facility at the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant, Pilgrim, Massachusetts.  In an April 2017 decision, the Massachusetts Land Court credited Dr. George S. Tolley, President of RCF, and Professor Emeritus of Economics at University of Chicago, with successfully testifying that no proof had been offered of depressive effects on property values from spent nuclear fuel in dry cask storage.  The case involved the Pilgrim plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Dr. Tolley’s testimony was instrumental in convincing the court that Plaintiffs had not offered credible evidence of damages, saving the defendant Entergy the expense that would have ensued from loss of the case.  Dr. Tolley further demonstrated there were positive property value impacts from Entergy’s payments in lieu of taxes, which had the effect of reducing local property taxes thus acting actually to increase property values.

Natural Gas Vehicles and Fueling Infrastructure

U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, 2012 to 2016 RCF worked with Argonne National Laboratory to develop a publicly available Excel-based model for the U.S. Department of Energy that explores the employment and economic impacts resulting from near-term deployment of natural gas vehicles and natural gas fueling stations in the U.S. Using the RIMS II (Regional Input-output Modeling System) model of the U.S. economy, the model provides the ability for users to calculate the economic impacts of the deployment of multiple types of natural gas vehicles and natural gas fuel stations.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Vehicle Fueling Infrastructure

U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, 2010 to 2016 RCF worked with Argonne National Laboratory to complete work on JOBS FC (Jobs and economic impacts of Fuel Cells), a publicly available Excel-based spreadsheet tool for the U.S. Department of Energy designed to help users estimate the economic impacts of the manufacturing and use of select types of hydrogen fuel cells in the United States. JOBS FC uses RIMS II input-output methodology to estimate the economic impacts associated with changes in industry expenditures, and calculates the ripple effects of these changes throughout the economy. The hydrogen fuel cell technologies represented in the tool are materials handling, backup power, and prime power replacement. The capability to estimate the economic impacts from the construction of fuel cell manufacturing facilities is also included. The tool is designed to be as flexible as possible, and to allow users with diverse interests to perform economic impact estimates.

Effects of Indian Point Nuclear Energy Center on Property Values

Entergy Corporation, 2009 to 2012 Over several years, RCF provided extensive expert witness testimony, supporting information, including rebuttal testimony, and conducted original, path-breaking original research on the subject of the economic impact of relicensing of a nuclear power plant on land values of the surrounding community vs. the no-action alternative. A rigorous hedonic regression analysis was developed and applied. 

Economic Benefits of Smart Grid Technology

Commonwealth Edison Company, 2011 RCF was requested to develop and prepare a paper outlining the economic benefits of pending smart grid legislation (Senate Bill 1652) on the economy of the state of Illinois. RCF worked collaboratively with Commonwealth Edison upper management. Considerable progress was made exploring the economic impacts of SB 1652 on the state's economy before the measure was ultimately approved by the state General Assembly. A detailed outline entitled "Energy Modernization and the Illinois Economy" was prepared and forwarded to the client.

Clean Coal Cost Estimates

Commonwealth Edison Company, 2011 RCF was retained to produce a report on the costs of clean coal technology in response to the Illinois Power Authority's Draft Power Procurement Plan for the period June 2012 to May 2017 which included clean coal as a resource. Levelized costs of energy for all major technologies were assembled and compared. The report included a discussion of the uncertainty surrounding clean coal technology and the current lack of climate legislation for control of greenhouse gas emissions which would have the potential for raising costs of alternatives to levels above those of clean coal.

Hydrogen Infrastructure and Market Adoption of Hydrogen Vehicles

U.S. Department of Energy, 2006 to 2010 RCF led an inter-disciplinary effort featuring economic and physical modeling, with industry co-operators and Department of Energy Input through Argonne National Laboratory. Factors affecting the rate of adoption of hydrogen vehicles from early transition to a mature hydrogen economy were analyzed using an agent-based approach where the individual actors are vehicle purchasers/drivers and infrastructure investors. Effects were estimated of seemingly irrational actions in the form of bounded rationality, learning, expectations formation, risk perception, risk aversion, and alternative hydrogen infrastructure technologies. The results were brought together in the form of a scenario approach adaptable as a tool for evaluating future policy actions as conditions change in the future.

Multi-State Economic Impact Study of Climate and Energy Legislation

The Energy Foundation, 2009 RCF completed an eleven state study of the economic impacts of the Waxman-Markey Act. This study focused on employment impacts, changes to the energy supply portfolio, and development of renewable energy generation in the Midwest.

Jordan Cogeneration Feasibility Study

U.S. Department of Energy, 2008 to 2009 In 2008, the Kingdom of Jordan requested that the U.S. Department of Energy conduct a feasibility study for proposed cogeneration plants in the Aqaba region. These plants would produce electricity using nuclear power, and also would desalinize water that could be exported to Israel and other neighboring countries. In response to this request from Jordan, Argonne National Laboratory and RCF developed an economic model that analyzed how such cogeneration projects might be affected by changes in the overnight capital costs of nuclear power, possibilities of exporting water at a premium price, the price of water, and the price of electricity.

Economic Impacts of Green Energy In Illinois

Environmental Law and Policy Center, 2008 To help the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) update its 2001 study, Repowering the Midwest, RCF conducted an input-output analysis of the employment and income impacts of building solar and wind generation facilities and of savings from more efficient use of electricity.

Modular Construction of Reprocessing Facilities

AREVA, 2007 In preparation for participation in the U.S. Department of Energy's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership program, RCF carried out a study for AREVA of possibilities for the construction of nuclear reprocessing facilities in modular increments as contrasted with single, large units.

Employment Impacts of Transitioning to a Hydrogen Economy

U.S. Department of Energy, 2006 to 2007 RCF led a 4-company team to prepare a report to Congress for the U.S. Department of Energy on the employment impacts of a transition to a hydrogen economy in the U.S. This project was executed on an accelerated, 3-month schedule to meet legislative requirements facing DOE. Engineering analysis of new technologies identified sectoral locations (5-digit NAICS industries) of initial impacts, and input-output analysis yielded estimates of secondary and induced impacts. Impacts on five regions were also estimated. Separate analysis estimated effects on U.S. international competitiveness.

The Economic Future of Nuclear Power in the United States

U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, 2004 RCF led a team of University of Chicago students and recent graduates, and staff members of Argonne National Laboratory, in an analysis requested by the Undersecretary of Energy of the cost of electricity from new nuclear reactor designs in the United States. The study's findings were influential in recent legislation and administration policy recommendations, as well as in major utilities' decisions to begin actively considering new nuclear power plants.

Statistical Tests of Incentive Measures to Improve Rate Structure

Pacific Gas & Electric, 1992 RCF developed a series of statistical tests to evaluate alternative schemes of incentive regulation. The goal of the work was to determine whether an improved incentive scheme could be practically implemented in a rate structure. This work required the development of a comprehensive database including relevant FERC cost data.

Renewal of Commonwealth Edison Company’s Franchise Agreement with the City of Chicago

City of Chicago, 1990 and 1992 RCF performed an extensive cost/benefit analysis for the City of Chicago on various alternative scenarios to the City's franchise agreement with Commonwealth Edison Company. The report included in-depth studies of the existing rate structure, demand growth, and energy usage patterns, as well as a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of acquisition of facilities by the City of Chicago.

Cost Factors Affecting Inter-Utility Electricity Rate Differences

Public Utilities Fortnightly article, 1990 George Tolley co-authored a paper evaluating different production costs associated with alternative rate-making structures, cost estimates and economic forecasts.

Recommended Acquisition Price for a Utility

Northern States Power Company, 1988 RCF evaluated and recommended an acquisition price for a municipal utility including debt versus equity financing, generation asset, regulatory structures, rates structure and design, and valued the utility using engineering, accounting, and economic methods.

Evaluation of Energy Conservation Programs

Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company, 1987 RCF assessed the costs and benefits of its energy conservation programs. To do this, RCF managed the collection, organization and analysis of household energy use data both before and after the creation of the conservation programs. A focus of the study was measuring the effects of "free riders," those households who would have undertaken their own conservation measures without any conservation program.

Commercial Cool Building Decision Guide

Electric Power Research Institute, 1983 RCF prepared a report detailing the costs and benefits of cool storage in commercial buildings to reduce peak electricity load demand and energy costs.

Evaluation of Thermal Energy Storage for Utility Load Management

Potomac Electric Power Company, 1980 RCF addressed the economic attractiveness and marketability of thermal energy storage. This study assessed electric utility load management for commercial building applications within the PEPCO service territory. RCF calculated rates of return on investment for commercially available storage systems and estimated market penetration under alternative assumptions about future load curves and electricity pricing schedules.

Economic Effects of Switch from Illinois to Western Coal

Commonwealth Edison Company, 1978 RCF evaluated the overall effects to the Illinois economy of changing from Illinois-based high-sulfur coal to Western low-sulfur coal versus installing air pollution control equipment in order to meet the air pollution control regulations. Findings included increased unemployment for Illinois coal miners, reduced pollution, and lower overall costs to customers.

ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS

RCF experts helped pioneer the multidisciplinary analysis of the benefits and costs of activities affecting the environment and have extensive experience in direct and indirect damage estimation utilizing methodologies such as contingent valuation, hedonic estimation, travel cost measurements, and input-output analysis.  RCF has participated extensively in environmental regulatory proceedings and litigation.  RCF is also able to offer clients planning support for compliance with developmental, zoning, and planning regulation from an environmental perspective.  This service has been very useful to clients in formulating long-term policy, as well as settling disputes during litigation.

Environmental Economics Experience

Climate Change and Land Use

Urban Land Institute (ULI), 2009 RCF co-authored ULI's first-of-its-kind report on the combined issues of climate change, land use, and energy. The report examined the role of land use and real estate in dealing with climate change and energy use in the United States and worldwide. Topics included the effects of investment practices on sustainable development in the economic downturn and on long-term risks and rewards in the real estate investment community.

Local Economic Effects of Impaired Recreation Water Quality: Summary Report on Great Lakes

International Joint Commission, 2008 RCF summarized existing economic estimates related to beach and recreation water quality to provide guidance for evaluating the economic benefits from clean and safe Great Lakes beaches and water quality. RCF found significant values related to recreation uses, property values and human health associated with Great Lakes water quality. The report provides information for conducting economic analyses and producing benefit transfers estimates for benefits associated with Great Lakes protection and restoration.

Local Great Lakes Restoration Financing and Policy: A Resource Guide for Identifying and Measuring Economic Benefits

Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2008 RCF produced a guide to the measurement of economic benefits from local community-based environmental protection and restoration. This included discussion of economic estimates, methodology for primary data collection and analysis and a step-by-step guide for conducting economic impact assessments, and benefit transfer and meta-analyses for evaluating economic benefits from local policy measures. The guide also provided a set of resources for identifying local financing and implementation strategies. The report was used to add an economic component to the Alliance's overall strategy for identifying, assessing, financing and implementing Great Lakes protection and restoration projects.

Regulatory Impact Analysis of EPA Proposed Ozone Standard for Houston Area

Baker Botts, L.L.P., 2007 On behalf of the Houston 8-Hour Coalition, RCF analyzed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) of its proposed new ozone standard, RCF's analysis focused on the RIA's assessment of how the new standard would affect the Greater Houston Metropolitan Region. RCF's report was used by the 8-Hour Coalition in the public hearing on the proposal.

Economic Impact of Oil Field Development in Saudi Arabia

King Fahd University/Saudi Aramco, 2006 For the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, RCF estimated the economic impacts of a causeway construction and dredging for oil field development in Manifa Bay in the Saudi Arabian Gulf. RCF provided an assessment of the impacts of the development on the commercial fishing industry in the Manifa region and the subsequent employment effects on the Saudi economy.

Management Planning for Species Preservation

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission/Escambia County, 2005 RCF's staff and ecological consultants assisted a unique consortium of three public agencies in Florida-the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Escambia County in the development of a business plan for preserving an endangered species on Perdido Key, just west of Pensacola, which is an area of intense condominium development. The agencies specified the preservation activities in a conservation plan, and RCF estimated their implementation costs over a 100-year period and calculated the values of contributions to a preservation fund that would pay for the program.

Recreational Benefit Estimation

The University of Chicago, 2005 Researchers at RCF designed and implemented a large-scale survey of Chicago beach goers to determine the economic value of spending a day at the beach. Using several non-market valuation methods, the study determined the value of a day at the beach and the total seasonal value of the beaches to beach goers. The study also assessed the economic loss associated with the increasing number of swimming bans.

Impacts of Environmental Policy on the Competitiveness of Nuclear Power

U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, 2003‐2004 RCF conducted a major study of the economic future of nuclear power in the United States for the Undersecretary of Energy in 2003. The baseline comparison of the assessment was the generation costs of new nuclear reactor designs relative to the generation costs of coal-and gas-fired generation with current environmental regulations. An alternative comparison added the costs of carbon sequestration to the generation costs of fossil generation.

Least-Cost Implementation of Air Quality Standards

Greater Houston partnership, 2000‐2001 RCF conducted a study for the Greater Houston Partnership on how the City of Houston could comply with the Clean Air Act in view of its reputation as having high levels of air pollution. The study examined the costs and benefits of the proposed state implementation plan (SIP) for reducing air pollution, and short-run and long-run impacts of the SIP on the Houston area economy. RCF proposed an alternative SIP program, eliminating high cost measures that achieve little reduction, and provided for emissions trading and market incentives to promote least cost reductions. The study was instrumental in changing the final plan.

Impact of Environmental Disamenities on Property Values

Prairie Crossing, 2000 RCF identified $150-$200 million in property value losses and foregone tax revenue from property value losses caused by the proposed location of a peaking combustion turbine energy facility in Libertyville, Illinois.

Emissions Trading

George S. Tolley, Presentation/Publication, 1996 RCF analyzed gains and losses from emissions trading programs designed to reduce the cost of environmental regulation. Fourteen slippage factors that reduced the economic benefits of emissions trading were identified. Methods of correcting the slippage factors were suggested. The results of this approach appeared in Market Based Approaches to Environmental Policy, University of Illinois Press, 1996.

Economic Feasibility of Remediation

Lewis & Clark, 1995 In a case which tested amendments to Wisconsin environmental law, RCF examined the economic feasibility of remediation options in a case involving chromium contamination. In light of requirements that economic feasibility considerations be included in environmental remediation decisions, RCF compared reductions in exposure under proposed remediation alternatives with their costs. RCF found that moderate levels of remediation satisfied economic feasibility requirements, which resulted in a favorable settlement.

Economic Costs of Ozone

City of Chicago, 1993 RCF analyzed the effects of urban smog in the Chicago metropolitan area on human health and physical structures. The damage estimates RCF produced were compared to costs of reducing ozone emissions precursors. The study compared the costs of several policy options to bring Chicago into Clean Air Act attainment for ambient air quality standards. This study was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, as part of Cost Effective Control of Urban Smog, 1993.

Business Damages

Domain, 1992 RCF estimated damages to a feed manufacturer whose property was contaminated by leakage of underground storage tanks from a neighboring gasoline station. To estimate the feed company's loss in sales, RCF examined stigma-induced reductions in sales for products involved in similar incidents including Perrier bottled water, Washington apples sprayed with Alar, Chilean grapes, and the Audi 5000. A favorable settlement was reached in the case.

Costs to Coal Industry of Clean Air Regulations

National Coal Conference, circa 1990 For the National Coal Conference, RCF analyzed the costs to industry of federal clean air legislation, focusing on control of acid rain.

Cost of Delay of Compliance

Covington and Burling, 1989 RCF estimated the financial implications to J.T. Baker Company (a subsidiary of Proctor & Gamble) of different starting dates for implementation of environmental control measures in New Jersey. This study included calculation of the time cost of money, the cost of inflation, and the cost of capital. RCF economists also provided expert testimony for the adjudication process. The ruling was in favor of the estimates provided by RCF.

Location of Nuclear Waste Sites

U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, 1989 For the U.S. Department of Energy, RCF studied the socioeconomic impacts expected from location of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. To assess proposed waste storage siting, the study evaluated different means of measuring risk perception and risk response behavior. RCF also evaluated the consequences for the Nevada economy of storing nuclear waste.

Economic Impacts of Environmental Regulation

Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources, 1980‐1985 RCF has carried out economic impact studies for the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources and has frequently presented testimony before the Illinois Pollution Control Board on a number of environmental regulation issues. The studies used a multidisciplinary approach involving cost of control estimation, air quality modeling, environmental damage assessment and local economic multipliers. Subjects included: • Economic Development and Air Quality in the City of Chicago • Reasonably Available Control Technologies (RACT) for Air Quality Regulation in the State of Illinois • Alternative Air Pollution Control Strategies • Costs and Benefits of Location Restrictions on Hazardous Waste Landfills • Economic Impacts of Proposed Atomic Radiation Regulations • Financial Assurance for Closure of Waste Disposal Sites

Cost of NOx Regulation

American Petroleum Institute, circa 1982 RCF estimated the national costs of a short-term NOx control program for the American Petroleum Institute. RCF economists also developed techniques for estimating the benefits and costs of air pollution control based on the analysis of impacts to affected industries.

Location of Hazardous Waste Landfills

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, circa 1980 For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, RCF developed a methodology for assessing the costs and benefits of alternative locations for hazardous waste landfills, taking account of risks. Factors evaluated included population density, frequency of earthquakes and floods, soil permeability, and haulage distance.

Environmental Benefit Estimation

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, circa 1980 For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, RCF reviewed and critiqued methods of estimating benefits from controlling air and water pollution.

Benefits and Costs of Improved Visibility

Energy Impact Associates, 1980 In response to the Clean Air Act of 1977, RCF studied the costs and benefits of controls on fine particulates resulting from the emission of sulfur dioxide and smog-like aerosols related to nitrogen dioxide. Methods of valuation, types of costs, and income distribution impacts were reviewed.

Environmental Costs of Coal in the Production of Electricity

George S. Tolley, ORSA/TIMS Conference Presentation, 1978 George S. Tolley examined the spatial impacts of increased air pollution from requiring the use of coal-fired boilers in the United States. Effects of pollution on health and property were estimated and ranked.

REAL ESTATE AND URBAN ECONOMICS

RCF has performed real estate and urban economics studies including regional and local economic forecasting, demographic analysis, economic impact studies, zoning studies, local tax policy analysis, labor economics studies, and analyses of real estate markets.  RCF staff have testified in important court cases involving such topics as developer disputes, discrimination, and siting of public facilities.  RCF has studied the effects of regulations, including taxation policy, on federal, state, and local government agencies, and businesses. RCF is experienced in the analysis of demographic trends and the evaluation of regional economic changes.  This work has involved the extensive use of input-output and econometric techniques.

Real Estate and Urban Economics Experience

RCF Study on Property Values and Tax Rates Near Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage

Energy Policy, December 2018 RCF announces the upcoming publication of “Property Values and Tax Rates Near Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage” in the December 2018 issue of Energy Policy.  The study, conducted by RCF President George Tolley and RCF Associate Kirstin Munro , Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance at St. John’s University, considers the impact on property values of proximity to spent fuel at the site of a former nuclear power plant, as well as what happens to local property values following the shutdown of a nuclear power plant.

The Economic Impact of Residential Property Sales in Illinois

Illinois Association of Realtors, 2007 and 2011 In 2007, RCF conducted an analysis of the economic impacts of buying and selling residential property on the overall Illinois economy. In addition, impacts were calculated for 11 individual metropolitan statistical areas throughout the state. RCF repeated the study  in 2011 to examine the effects of the Great Recession.

Economic Effects of Closing Chicago & O'Brien Locks

Chaddick Institute of Metropolitan Studies, DePaul University, 2010 RCF assisted the Chaddick Institute of Metropolitan Studies at DePaul University in a study for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce assessing the economic impact of closing the connections between the Chicago Waterways and Lake Michigan in response to threats from a potential Asian carp invasion. RCF conducted an assessment of the economic losses associated with changes in recreational opportunities from tour boat operations and river use associated with lock operation and the associated losses in property values from reductions in river water quality.

Litigation Support in Fair Housing Case

Town of Flower Mound, Texas, 2010 In a Federal court case defending the Town of Flower Mound against a charge that its zoning ordinances are discriminatory, RCF provided testimony that jurisdictional differences in affordable rental housing are the result of differences in market demand.

Development Strategies Reports for the Chicago Metropolitan Area

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), 2009 To support the development of the CMAP'S GO To 2040 Plan, RCF developed five reports with recommendations for economic development strategies. The five reports included the following:
  • "What Makes Regions Grow" - presents the factors known to contribute to economic growth and development of a major metropolitan area, and outlines the roles that state and local government can play in support of economic growth.
  • "Innovation Strategy Report" - summarizes the innovation related activities taking place in the metropolitan economy, and provides recommendations for improvements.
  • "Green Economic Development" - presents opportunities for green development in the region, and includes goals, objectives and strategies to serve as a framework for a regional green economic development plan.
  • "Infrastructure to Support Economic Development" - provides economic development perspectives and recommendations for infrastructure systems in the CMAP region including: transportation, electricity and natural gas, telecommunications, waste disposal and recycling, water management, public buildings, and convention facilities.
  • "Export Promotion/Import Replacement Strategies" - examines the possibilities for export promotion and import substitution for the metropolitan economy. Major export industries are identified, and suggestions for export promotion are provided. Targets of opportunity for the replacement of imports used by local export firms in their production processes are also identified.

Effects of Proposed Illinois Gross Receipts Tax

Illinois Association of Realtors, 2007 RCF analyzed proposed legislation which would have fundamentally changed the business tax structure in Illinois. RCF estimated the magnitude of the cascade effect of a gross receipts tax on the price of a house in Illinois. Employment impacts on the construction industry also were analyzed. RCF presented results in testimony before a special full session of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Litigation Support in a Discrimination Case in Kyle, Texas

City of Kyle, Texas, 2007 In a case defending the City of Kyle's new zoning ordinances against charges of racial discrimination, RCF corrected impact calculations conducted by expert witnesses for the plaintiff and showed that any differential impact on housing affordability by ethnic group was minimal.

Retail Chain Stores and Economic Development in Chicago

Illinois Retail Merchant Association (IRMA), 2004 RCF testified before the Chicago City Council on the relation between retail chain stores and economic development in various Chicago neighborhoods. The testimony documented the absence of large retail stores in low income communities, and the corresponding lack of retail employment opportunities for residents of those communities. The experience of Chicago's low income communities was contrasted with other areas of the city where existing retail chains were found to be economic magnets, spurring increases in employment and business activity.

Local Economic Forecasting for Business Planning

Bank of America, 2003 As part of one Chicago bank's acquisition program, RCF was asked to examine the demographic and economic trends for communities in the southern suburbs of the Chicago metropolitan area. Historical trends were identified using Census Bureau data at the census tract level. Community characteristics examined included population, employment, income, housing and racial composition. Factors affecting trends in these characteristics were identified, including local influences such as geography, transportation systems and major employers as well as external influences such as population and economic growth in the larger metropolitan area, income displacement, and racial displacement. RCF also prepared predictions of demographic trends for each community in the area.

Bankrupt Condominium Development

Confidential Client, 2003 RCF assisted one of the nation's three largest financial institutions defend itself in the penalty phase of an $80 million lawsuit regarding responsibility for the bankruptcy of a large, oceanfront condominium in Atlantic City, New Jersey. RCF's analysis and testimony resulted in an out-of-court settlement for a small fraction of the original claim.

Impact of Zoning Regulations on Labor Supply and Metropolitan Growth

Mid‐North Financial Services, Inc., 2000 Down-zoning regulations in the City of Chicago have restricted residential densities below what would have been achieved by the market. RCF showed the impact of these regulations on prices and the supply of moderately priced housing affordable by entry-level workers, the subsequent job loss for the city, and the multiplier losses of income for the city. These regulations were subsequently struck down.

Race and the Cost of Housing

Confidential Client, 2000 RCF economists offered testimony in deposition before a U.S. District Court on the effects of race on housing prices and mortgage interest rates.

Tax Increment Financing

City of Chicago, 1998 RCF has worked extensively in the area of tax increment financing (TIF), performing economic impact studies, and forecasting likely effects of TIF-designated zones in several areas of the city. Most recently, RCF economists assisted the City of Chicago in determining which areas in Chicago would most benefit in the short-term and long-term from application of TIF zone designation. RCF economists recommended methods of estimating the revenue effects of using tax increment financing and applied the proposed methods in evaluating the technique for financing the North Loop Redevelopment Program in Chicago. RCF has analyzed the important complexities of areas with TIF designation: whether its application will cause temporary vs. permanent employment increases, and if business created in TIF-designated areas will result in overall additions to the urban economy, or simply shift economic activity from some other part of the city.

Urban Taxation Policy

Fitzpatrick, Cooper and Clark, 1998 For the City of Yonkers, New York, RCF analyzed proposed tax initiatives and examined the tax effects upon employment, firm location decisions, and public service provisions. RCF also provided an analysis of finance projections for the Yonkers public schools. RCF economists provided expert testimony based on the analyses.

Regional Housing Supply

United States Navy, 1996 RCF provided an analysis on the effects upon regional housing markets of discontinuing the provision of on-base housing. The study analyzed regional employment and residential patterns, housing supply and demand elasticities, and the effects upon new housing construction.

Regional Employment Effects

City of Chicago, 1996 RCF analyzed the employment effects of a proposed minimum wage ordinance for the city of Chicago. RCF economists analyzed the public sector labor markets for the city and suburb municipal governments. RCF also examined the effects of changes in government employment patterns on the non-government labor market.

Zoning and Local Economic Development

Heartland Partners, 1990 RCF developed estimates of the economic impacts of alternative zoning proposals for Goose Island on Chicago's near northwest side. To forecast tax revenue consequences, RCF analyzed income consequences of industrial retention versus mixed use residential and retail development. The study showed that mixed use zoning was preferable, from the point of view of both employment and tax revenues. RCF presented the results before the Chicago Plan Commission.

Housing and Urban Policy

George S. Tolley, 1990 RCF economists presented testimony before the Presidential Commission on Affordable Housing. A fundamental analysis of the effects of taxation and inflation on home ownership was undertaken for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and support was provided for a re-examination of the relation between the location of jobs and housing.

EB-5 JOB CREATION ANALYSIS

RCF is a leader in regional input-output analysis and has a highly successful track record of preparing economic impact studies required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) under the EB-5 program.  Since 2009, RCF has completed over 60 reports in support of EB-5 projects across 8 states.  We are experienced in applying input-output modeling to calculate economic impacts for a wide range of projects and activities and can provide analyses for any state or other regional area.  Our analyses have modeled both construction impacts and operations impacts for various businesses.  We can apply input-output methodology to any EB-5 project.

RCF economists typically use the Regional Input-Output Modeling System II (RIMS II) developed and maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. RIMS II is a widely used input-output model for calculating jobs created from investment under the EB-5 program.  In addition to RIMS II, RCF economists have extensive experience in other economic impact models such as IMPLAN and REMI.

RCF also provides independent review of previously completed studies (i.e., third-party validation), consultation on existing or future projects, assistance with responses to USCIS RFE questions, TEA designation studies, and preliminary planning studies.

For additional information or a consultation please contact:

Mr. Andrew Hong (312) 431-1540 ext. 6784  or  Ms. Catherine Mertes (312) 431-1540 ext. 1530