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  1. Learning from Abroad: A Framework, Working Paper [Download]

    Title: Learning from Abroad: A Framework, Working Paper
    Author: Wolman, Harold
    Description: How can US local governments learn in order to better address their jurisdiction’s problems and their residents’ needs? One of the most effective methods is to look at the experience of local governments elsewhere that face problems similar to their own. This is an effective approach because it in effect constitutes a “policy experiment” in which an interested local government can actually observe whether a policy or practice in place elsewhere works.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 06/14/2016
  2. Learning from Abroad: Multi-Purpose Special Districts in British Columbia as a Possible Model for Governance Innovation for Local Governments in the United States, Working Paper [Download]

    Title: Learning from Abroad: Multi-Purpose Special Districts in British Columbia as a Possible Model for Governance Innovation for Local Governments in the United States, Working Paper
    Author: Wolman, Harold
    Description: Would regional districts or their equivalent work in the United States? The report considers several possible differences in setting that might affect transferability to regions in the U.S., including differences in institutional, legal, political, cultural, historical, and demographic contexts. The report concludes that the major contextual concerns are political in nature and particularly the fear local governments have of surrendering their autonomy and decision making to external institutions. However, it also emphasizes the voluntary nature of RDs and the ability of individual local governments to either opt in or opt out of each service delivery agreement provides a new and innovative feature that should greatly reduce a local government’s political reluctance. The report also notes that questions of membership, representation and voting rights and weights will have to be worked out on a region by region basis.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 06/14/2016
  3. Developing Legitimacy for Action by Connecting Citizens and Government: Lessons for U.S. Local Government Leaders from a Citizen Engagement Process in Australia, Working Paper [Download]

    Title: Developing Legitimacy for Action by Connecting Citizens and Government: Lessons for U.S. Local Government Leaders from a Citizen Engagement Process in Australia, Working Paper
    Author: Barnes, William
    Description: The four-year “Geraldton 2029 and Beyond” initiative effectively addressed the entwined challenges of "legitimacy for action on sustainability” and “trust in government” that the City of Greater Geraldton faced in 2009-2010. The 2029 citizen engagement process navigated substantial difficulties. The City government discovered and acted to address a “trust in citizens” problem of its own. As of late 2015, two years beyond the project’s planned duration, the citizen engagement effort continues and aims for additional, longer-term, improved governance on many topics. This report concludes that the practice that emerges from the Geraldton experience, which is not without risks, can be considered for adaptation by US local governments. The practice is not limited to the “sustainability” focus. Comparison with other localities that used similar approaches suggests that the practice can produce useful results in many kinds of places and on many kinds of topics. This is an approach, not a mechanism or a tool or an event. It can be described as follows: 1. It is to be used in governance situations where the functional issue is significant, complicated, contentious, and stalled, and is entwined with trust-in-government and legitimacy-for-action issues. The goals are thus both to address the functional issue and also to produce systemic, enduring improvement in local governance. 2. It requires a City Hall leadership committed to hard thinking about and a clear grasp of the “problems” to be addressed (including problems internal to the government) and the goals to be sought, as well as a resolve to address difficulties and unpleasant facts as they arise. 3. It conducts governance–in the short-term engagement processes and also aimed at building a better governance for the longer-term –that tries to be more inclusive of ordinary citizens; more deliberative; and, for the citizens’ engagements, more influential. 4. It requires very strong process design, selection and assembly of apt tools and tactics, and adaptive management of the activities as they occur. Careful consideration should be given to how the processes will involve citizens in dealing with budget constraints or other hard choices.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 06/14/2016
  4. The TANF Resources Problem [Download]

    Title: The TANF Resources Problem
    Author: Meni, David
    Description: 2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). Among other things, PRWORA replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Whereas a federal support for AFDC was an open-ended matching grant, TANF is funded with a block grant from the federal government combined with a “Maintenance of Effort” obligation for states. The block grant and MOE contributions are set for the most part at nominal levels from the mid-1990s. This paper looks at recent trends in TANF funding compared to trends in prevalence of child poverty. Compared to other work with similar intent, the novelty here lies in use of a more comprehensive poverty measure, incorporation of adjustments for interstate variation in prices, and a minor exploration of the connection between TANF resources and state fiscal capacity. Over the past decade inequality in state resources per poor child has increased. The disparities are great, making application of common performance standards without adjustment for resources questionable. Options for reform include separation of federal support for income maintenance from support for the various other programs that now garner well over half of TANF funding.
    Keywords: Public policy, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF, Child poverty
    Date Uploaded: 04/15/2016
  5. Information Resources to Facilitate Middle Skills Workforce Development, Working Paper [Download]

    Title: Information Resources to Facilitate Middle Skills Workforce Development, Working Paper
    Author: Reamer, Andrew
    Description: The aim of this paper is to suggest improvements in information resources that would enable a well-functioning supply chain for middle-skill jobs, i.e., jobs that require some postsecondary education but not a four-year degree. The paper begins with a summary of the types of labor market participant decisions that require good information, follows with an overview and assessment of currently available information resources, and then offers recommendations for enhancing these information resources so that labor markets function well and participants have a reasonable likelihood that their decisions work as intended.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 04/07/2016
  6. Urban Politics Revisited: A Policy-centered Look at Local Political Ecologies [Download]

    Title: Urban Politics Revisited: A Policy-centered Look at Local Political Ecologies
    Author: Stone, Clarence
    Description: This paper elaborates the policy-centered research program proposed by Hacker and Pierson (2014) by exploring how policy-centered research contributes to an understanding of urban politics and how the urban subfield contributes to a policy-centered research program. Using a bi-level analysis of the drug war and local union organizing, we highlight the local consequences of national policies and show that the consequences of national initiatives vary substantially, particularly for marginalized groups.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 02/12/2016
  7. OECD Countries Local Government Fiscal Context, Working Paper 053 [Download]

    Title: OECD Countries Local Government Fiscal Context, Working Paper 053
    Author: Wolman, Hal
    Description: Below we present a contextual overview of local government finance in the OECD countries. The overview consists of a set of tables (see below) and discussion of the role of local government in the public sector, the extent of local government autonomy in each of the countries, and the functional assignment of responsibility of the various local government systems (who does what?). The six countries that are the focus of our study are thus placed within the broader context of all OECD countries for which relevant data are available. A more complete discussion of the local government context of the six countries is then included.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  8. National Fiscal Policy and Local Government During the Economic Crisis, Working Paper 052 [Download]

    Title: National Fiscal Policy and Local Government During the Economic Crisis, Working Paper 052
    Author: Wolman, Hal
    Description: Funded by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, this report examines how national government policy, and particularly national grant systems, affected local governments during the “Great Recession” and its aftermath, which in many countries consisted of a period of fiscal consolidation designed to cope with a debt/deficit crisis. We term these two events occurring over a four year period from late 2007 through 2011 “the economic crisis.” Our particular concerns are national government policy towards local governments and whether local government fiscal responses were counter- or pro-cyclical during the period of slow or negative economic growth. In other words, did national government policy promote additional local government spending during the recession (a counter-cyclical policy), or did it encourage reduced subnational government spending (a pro-cyclical policy)? We also examine whether local government fiscal policy was consistent with stated national government policy, and whether and how the imposition of fiscal austerity policy and fiscal consolidation programs at the national level affected local government spending.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  9. Undocumented College Students in the United States: In-State Tuition Not Enough to Ensure Four-Year Degree Completion, Working Paper 050 [Download]

    Title: Undocumented College Students in the United States: In-State Tuition Not Enough to Ensure Four-Year Degree Completion, Working Paper 050
    Author: Conger, Dylan
    Description: This brief review the literature on undocumented college students in the U.S. and provides a comparison of the performance of undocumented students to that of U.S. citizens and other legal migrants using restricted-access data from one of the largest urban public university systems in the U.S. where many undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition. Overall, undocumented students perform well in the short-term, earning higher grades and highers rates of course and associate degree completion than their U.S. citizen counterparts. But undocumented students are less likely to earn their bachelor's degrees within four years. This finding suggests that, despite their earlier college successes and their access to in-state tuition rates, at some point after enrollment, undocumented students experience higher costs to completing their bachelor's degrees than they had anticipated upon enrollment. We offer a number of policy considerations for university officials and policymakers who aim to help undocumented college students succeed in postsecondary institutions.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015
  10. Explaining the Economic Competitiveness of the District of Columbia, Working Paper 051 [Download]

    Title: Explaining the Economic Competitiveness of the District of Columbia, Working Paper 051
    Author: Young, Garry
    Description: In this report we assess the determinants of city job growth over time. Our focus is on the determinants of job growth in the District of Columbia, and, as a result of our analysis, we project the likely change in job growth in the District over time under various scenarios. The District of Columbia anchors one of the nation’s most dynamic regional economies. From 1990 to 2008 the Washington metropolitan area grew by 27% to over 5.3 million people. In contrast to its surrounding region, the District’s population declined by about 3% from 1990 to 2008, employment grew only slightly from 1990 to 2008, and most of the people holding those jobs reside elsewhere in the region. This same sort of central city/regional difference largely resembles many metropolitan areas across the nation. Central city job loss or slow growth relative to suburban areas is not new as nationally suburbs generally increase jobs at a faster rate than their central cities. Our purpose in this report is to understand the factors that affect the District’s economic competitiveness. Specifically we focus on understanding what affects the location of jobs in the city. Using a statistical model that includes the District and twenty‐two other central cities from 1989 to 2008, we examine the impact of city‐specific factors on city employment while also controlling for the effects of regional economic performance.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/16/2015