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  1. An Analysis of Fiscal Policies in the Sudan: A Pro-Poor Perspective, Working Paper 017 [Download]

    Title: An Analysis of Fiscal Policies in the Sudan: A Pro-Poor Perspective, Working Paper 017
    Author: Ahmed, Medani M.
    Description:
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/15/2015
  2. Economic Wellbeing and Where We Live: Accounting for Geographic Cost-of-Living Differences, Working Paper 018 [Download]

    Title: Economic Wellbeing and Where We Live: Accounting for Geographic Cost-of-Living Differences, Working Paper 018
    Author: Curran, Leah
    Description: Regional cost-of-living differences affect the quality of life that individuals and families experience in different metropolitan areas. Yet, lack of metropolitan cost-of-living indexes has left analysts without the ability to make accurate cost-of-living adjustments to measures of economic wellbeing. We evaluate seven alternative inter-regional cost-of-living measures based on four criteria: (1) their data collection methodologies, (2) the variables included in cost-of living measurement, (3) their accuracy in measuring the cost-of-living experiences of high-, low and moderate-income populations, and (4) the measures' availability and affordability. We then applied one of the indices for illustrative purposes to various metropolitan area data sets, including median household income, the number of people living in poverty, and family eligibility for the Free and Reduced Price School Lunch and Head Start programs to illustrate some of the policy impacts of adjusting economic indicators of wellbeing for geographic cost-of-living differentials.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/15/2015
  3. Does the Community Reinvestment Act Help Minorities Access Traditionally Inaccessible Neighborhoods?, Working Paper 014 [Download]

    Title: Does the Community Reinvestment Act Help Minorities Access Traditionally Inaccessible Neighborhoods?, Working Paper 014
    Author: Friedman, Samantha
    Description: Recent research has established that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has increased mortgage lending in low-income and minority communities. This study examines the extent to which the CRA has helped racial minorities purchase homes in predominantly white neighborhoods from which they have traditionally been excluded. Using 2000 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reports (HMDA) and 2000 decennial census data, we find that in metropolitan areas where a relatively high proportion of loans are made by institutions covered by the CRA, blacks and Latinos are more likely to purchase homes in predominantly white neighborhoods than in areas where relatively fewer loans are made by such lenders. This finding holds after controlling for a range of socioeconomic characteristics. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for revising the CRA and its enforcement mechanisms.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/15/2015
  4. State and Local Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth and Development, Working Paper 026 [Download]

    Title: State and Local Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth and Development, Working Paper 026
    Author: Bell, Michael
    Description: The purpose of this report is to address three fundamental questions: 1. What factors determine and drive local economic growth and development? 2. How do state and local tax and expenditure policies influence economic growth and development? 3. Is there a balanced system of taxation that supports economic growth and development while not unduly burdening any particular industry or segment of the economy? We approach the project with a clear recognition that the primary engine for strong state and local economies is a strong private sector. The purpose of this report is to identify those state and local fiscal policies that facilitate and support growth in the private sector. Such state and local policies fall into two general categories: 1. traditional economic development policies primarily targeted at external sources of growth through attracting new firms or firm relocations; and 2. policies which recognize that the engine for economic growth is typically the small firm and, therefore, focus on promoting internal growth by supporting entrepreneurship and creating an environment conducive to private economic activity. To address these issues, the report is broken into six sections following this introductory section. The next section discusses what is meant by local economic growth and development. That is followed by a section, which lays out the general theoretical framework for thinking about local economic growth and development. This section is followed by a general discussion of why some metropolitan areas grow and some do not. The next section discusses the literature on which factors affect firm location and economic growth. That is followed by a discussion of the specific impact of state and local fiscal policies on local economic growth and development. The final section then discusses the notion of a balanced tax system, which promotes local economic growth and development, but does not unduly burden any individual sector of the economy.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/15/2015
  5. All Centers Are Not Equal: An Exploration of the Polycentric Metropolis, Working Paper 015 [Download]

    Title: All Centers Are Not Equal: An Exploration of the Polycentric Metropolis, Working Paper 015
    Author: Sarzynski, Andrea
    Description: There is now widespread recognition among urban researchers that a fundamental shift is underway in the internal structure of American urban areas. Polycentrism is increasingly supplanting monocentrism as the dominant urban form. However, the extent to which this has occurred and the implications of this change in urban form, while widely noted and discussed, have, surprisingly, not been the subject of a large body of carefully conducted and generalizable empirical research. We explore the extent of polycentrism for a sample of fifty U.S. metro areas, using an absolute threshold definition for identifying employment centers. We situate our results within the broader literature on subcenters, and compare our results to previous research on polycentrism. Using cluster analysis, we identify broad types of metros according to the incidence and patterning of centers within our sample. Variables of interest include the number of centers, the relative concentration of jobs within centers, the relative dominance of the core center, and the concentration of employment in major and minor centers. We also explore relationships between types of polycentrism and various metro attributes, such as population size, city age, geographic region, municipal fragmentation, and economic function. Finally, we set out a detailed agenda for future research.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 10/15/2015
  6. Testing the Conventional Wisdom about Land Use and Traffic Congestion: The More We Sprawl, the Less We Move?, Working Paper 13 [Download]

    Title: Testing the Conventional Wisdom about Land Use and Traffic Congestion: The More We Sprawl, the Less We Move?, Working Paper 13
    Author: SARZYNSKI, ANDREA
    Description: We explore relationships between seven dimensions of land use in 1990 and subsequent levels of three traffic congestion outcomes in 2000 for a sample of 50 large U.S. urban areas. Multiple regression models are developed to address several methodological concerns, including reverse causation and time lags. Controlling for prior levels of congestion and changes in an urban area’s transportation network and relevant demographics, we find that: housing-job proximity is inversely related to commute time; density/continuity is positively related to roadway ADT/lane and delay per capita; and housing centrality is positively related to delay per capita. Expect for proximity, the results suggest that congestion is not directly related to land use patterns as claimed by conventional wisdom.
    Keywords: Public Policy
    Date Uploaded: 09/28/2015
  7. Thin the Soup or Shorten the Line: Washington Area Nonprofits Adapt to Uncertain Times, Working Paper 006 [Download]

    Title: Thin the Soup or Shorten the Line: Washington Area Nonprofits Adapt to Uncertain Times, Working Paper 006
    Author: Atkins, Patricia
    Description: Human services nonprofit organizations are crucial partners to government and the private sector in developing and maintaining healthy communities and families. They are able to leverage multiple funding streams to create a greater capacity to deliver services than any single funding source could achieve on its own. Because they often have strong relationships with the people and neighborhoods where they work, nonprofits are well-positioned to meet community needs. However, in the current economic climate, Washington-area human services nonprofits are being squeezed by rising demand, escalating costs, and increasing administrative tasks, all accompanied by only sluggish revenue growth. An analysis using survey results, tax documents, interviews, and local government budget data finds that these organizations have coped with fiscal stress in a variety of ways—many of which could lead to significant erosion in the quality and quantity of services provided to the community. There are models, though, to bolster nonprofits which should be considered by regional philanthropic organizations and government alike. But overall, the public and private sectors need to work with the nonprofit sector to jointly develop solutions that will meet the needs of community residents without overly burdening the resources of any one sector.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 09/28/2015
  8. THE HIGH PERFORMANCE BONUS, working paper 007 [Download]

    Title: THE HIGH PERFORMANCE BONUS, working paper 007
    Author: Wiseman, Michael
    Description: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 authorized payment of a bonus to states with exceptional Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs based on a formula to be established by the Department of Health and Human Services. The resulting High Performance Bonus (HPB) awards have been made for federal fiscal years 1998-2003. This paper reviews the development of the HPB program, explores the underlying data related to employment, identifies certain conceptual, statistical, and administrative problems, and suggests possible improvements. The reliability of HPB data as a source of information on state TANF programs has improved over time, principally as the result of shift of responsibility for performance assessment to the federal government and to use of information from the National Directory of New Hires. The data reveal significant differences across states in patterns of TANF receipt that should be the object of study both as consequences of differences in client populations and specific state program content. Nevertheless, the HPB measures and the NDNH data have quirks that deserve more attention, and efforts must be made to speed the delivery of the outcomes information generated by the HPB system to state TANF program managers and policymakers. The 2001 expansion of HPB performance measures beyond employment outcomes is of doubtful utility and should be reconsidered.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 09/28/2015
  9. STATE POLICY EFFECTS ON URBAN PERFORMANCE, Working Paper 016 [Download]

    Title: STATE POLICY EFFECTS ON URBAN PERFORMANCE, Working Paper 016
    Author: Furdell, Kimberly
    Description: Cities are creatures of their state governments. As such, state policy can have important effects, intended or otherwise, on the well-being of cities and their residents. States affect cities in a variety of ways, and the importance to local governments of the state government role has long been recognized. States determine the institutional forms of their local governments, the land use and regulatory frameworks under which they operate, and the revenue systems they may use. Cities and their residents are directly affected by state tax policies and by state programs and policies. While some states have explicit “urban policies” directed at promoting the wellbeing of their cities, in every state cities are affected, adversely or beneficially, by a range of state activities not necessarily devised with cities and their residents in mind. This paper describes the initial stages in a research project that attempts to tease out how state policy effects the performance of cities. We first use factor analysis to explore the performance of central cities between 1990 and 2000 by measuring changes in a set of measures meant to broadly capture the economic and social well-being of city residents. We then employ linear regression to predict cities’ factor scores using a set of non-policy variables that describe the demographic characteristics and economic structures of the cities. By explaining performance using non-policy variables in this way, we attempt to isolate the potential impact of policy on performance, which should be captured in the unexplained variation in the cities’ factor scores. In the final part of our statistical analysis, we estimate how much of the unexplained variation can be attributed to state-level factors by using state fixed-effects models to predict the residuals from the previous stage regressions. The next stage in our research will be to use the state-fixed effects models as guides in choosing states for case study research. We will conduct a series of intensive case studies in both well- and poorly-performing states in order to determine how and why state-level policy affects the well-being of cities within those states.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 09/28/2015
  10. THE GOVERNMENT OF SUDAN: INTERGOVERNMENTAL POLICIES AND ISSUES, Working Paper 011 [Download]

    Title: THE GOVERNMENT OF SUDAN: INTERGOVERNMENTAL POLICIES AND ISSUES, Working Paper 011
    Author: Bell, Michael E.
    Description: The Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement have agreed to a framework for ending Africa’s longest running civil war. As part of that agreement, there is a need to revise the intergovernmental grant system in Sudan. This paper describes the current intergovernmental grant system, concluding that it is only marginally redistributive. After discussing a general framework for designing intergovernmental grants systems, the results of alternative grant simulations are presented. Under virtually all of the simulations poorer states receive larger grants than under the current system. The final section of the paper identifies and discusses issues that must be addressed to successfully implement any intergovernmental changes. These issues include, for example, the need to strengthen local revenue mobilization and improve local revenue administration.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 09/28/2015