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  1. Have central cities come back?, Working Paper 005 [Download]

    Title: Have central cities come back?, Working Paper 005
    Author: Furdell, Kimberly
    Description: Did the residents of large central cities really experience a rebound in their economic fortunes since the 1980s? Much has been made of the revival of distressed cities during the 1990s, yet how much of this asserted revival really worked its way down to residents? We find that residents of distressed central cities were, more often than not, worse off in 2000 than they were in 1980. We first construct a four-variable index of the economic well-being of central city residents, called the Municipal Distress Index, for the 98 central cities that had at least 125,000 residents in 1980 with metropolitan area populations of at least 250,000. We then compare the change in the economic wellbeing of the residents of the 33 cities with the lowest index scores in 1980 against (1) their own performance over this time period, (2) the performance of the 65 nondistressed central cities, and (3) the performance of the nation. In the third section we build regression models of change in the index and of each of the components of the index to determine what accounts for the improved economic well-being of city residents. In the last section of the paper we examine the residuals of the models to find out which cities performed much better and worse than expected in terms of promoting the economic well-being of their residents. The residual analysis is offered as an objective means for selecting places for case study.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 09/28/2015
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Community Building and a Human-Capital Agenda in Hampton, Virginia: A Case Analysis of the Policy Process in a Medium-Size City, working paper 012 [Download]

    Title: Community Building and a Human-Capital Agenda in Hampton, Virginia: A Case Analysis of the Policy Process in a Medium-Size City, working paper 012
    Author: Stone, Clarence
    Description: Cities, particularly older and land-locked cities like Hampton, Virginia, face intense economic pressure. Their responses, however, are not structurally determined, but involve a significant role for political agency in setting and pursuing an agenda. This case study of Hampton traces how key players saw the problems they faced, the responses they made, and the bundle of skills, strategies, and resources they brought together in responding. Working through city government and a nonprofit concerned with youth development, a group of talented professionals devised a revitalization agenda around the ideas of community building and human-capital development. By devising a process that aligned community resources with city and nonprofit programs, they linked their efforts in mutually reinforcing ways that could be sustained. Thus they created an institutional legacy that could endure even as new issues and new players came on the stage.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 09/28/2015
  6. Recommendations for the Design of the Federal Docket Management System, Working Paper 008 [Download]

    Title: Recommendations for the Design of the Federal Docket Management System, Working Paper 008
    Author: Coglianese, Cary
    Description: In recent years, regulatory agencies, Congress, and the White House have taken steps to increase the use of information technology in the management of the rulemaking process. The latest such “e-rulemaking” effort is the design of a new, government-wide regulatory information system being developed by Bush Administration. The system, known as the Federal Docket Management System, will for the first time make all information pertaining to federal regulation available to the public via the Internet. By making information about government regulation available on-line, the Administration’s eRulemaking Initiative seeks to improve the quality and legitimacy of the government’s regulatory decisions. If developed properly, the Initiative’s new online docket management system can also facilitate academic research that in the longer term should improve regulatory policymaking. The recommendations in this paper, joined by a group of fifty-five other scholars of regulation, were originally delivered in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, which is spearheading the Administration’s eRulemaking Initiative. The paper describes the information currently maintained by government agencies and emphasizes the importance of ensuring that no loss of information occurs in making the transition to the on-line system. It also offers steps that the administration should take to ensure a high level of quality of the information stored in the new system as well as effective search and downloading capabilities.
    Keywords: Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 09/28/2015
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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