Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (October 2008)
This paper investigates the role of family background and neighborhood conditions over
the life course, particularly during childhood, in influencing health later in life, with a focus on
the case of hypertension. Most of the black-white difference in life expectancy stem from racial
differences in mortality rates prior to age 65. Thus, understanding sources of racial health
disparities requires the investigation of exposures to socioeconomic conditions and risk factors
earlier in the life cycle. Blacks’ higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease-related risk factors
account for more than half of the racial disparity in life expectancy (Barghaus, Cutler, Fryer, and
Glaeser, 2007), with hypertension the leading culprit.
For a US cohort born between 1951 and 1970, I produce nationally representative
estimates of the onset of hypertension through mid-life by race/ethnicity, childhood
socioeconomic status, and childhood neighborhood poverty. I provide evidence on the
consequences of childhood neighborhood poverty on the risks of hypertension; this is the first
such study of the full US population. I use nationally representative longitudinal data from the
US spanning nearly four decades to estimate hazard models of onset of hypertension. The data
set, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), has the additional unique feature of allowing
analyses of siblings and child neighbors throughout much of their life course. I use the
resemblance between neighboring children’s subsequent likelihood of hypertension in adulthood
in comparison to the similarity between siblings to bound the proportion of inequality in this
health condition that can be attributed to disparities in neighborhood and family background. I
estimate four-level hierarchical random effects hazard models of the onset of hypertension, which
provide a better understanding of the relative importance of family and neighborhood
backgrounds. The results demonstrate that both childhood neighborhood conditions and family
background influence the disease process and risk of hypertension later in life.
I find childhood neighborhood poverty and its attendant stressors play an influential role
in shaping risks of onset of hypertension in middle-age. Other notable neighborhood factors that
were shown to influence risks of onset of hypertension in adulthood include childhood
neighborhood crime exposure and county per-pupil school expenditures. Notable family
background factors include birth weight, parental health status, and parental socioeconomic
status. These effects appear linked in part to low intergenerational economic mobility,
particularly among blacks. The results indicate that racial differences in these early life
neighborhood conditions and family background characteristics play a significant role in
explaining racial disparities in hypertension through at least age 50, while contemporaneous
economic factors account for relatively little of the racial disparities in this health condition in
Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (September 2008)
Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper: GSPP08-006 (August 2008)
This paper was commissioned for a plenary session at the Association for Cultural Economics International 2008 Research Conference recognizing the 25th anniversary of the publication of Patrons Despite Themselves: Taxpayers and Arts Policy. It proposes five “big questions” to which arts policy research should attend if carried on in the spirit that animated the book, namely that arts policy should seek to generate “more, better, engagement by more people with better art.” The five issues are:
1. Waste of cultural resources represented by works that are not heard or seen, such as unperformed music and works in reserve collections of museums.
2. Design and implementation of a workable business model for works in digital form (recordings, video, text, etc.).
3. Increasing the value created by amateur participation (in contrast to passive consumption of art provided by professionals).
4. Withdrawal of elites, especially economic elites, from their historic participation in arts governance and support.
5. Fragmentation of collective patrimony as people have fewer and fewer works commonly experienced and art serves niche markets.
Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper: GSPP08-003 (August 2008)
This paper argues that the new interest in so-called "corporate social responsibility" is founded on a false notion of how much discretion a modern public corporation has to sacrifice profits for the sake of certain social goods, and that the promotion of corporate social responsibility by both the private and public sectors misleads the public into believing that more is being done by the private sector to meet certain public goals than is in fact the case.
Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (August 2008)
Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper: GSPP08-002 (July 2008)
The scale of the technological transformation required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to "safe" levels while minimizing economic impacts necessitates an emphasis on designing climate policy to foster, or at least not impede, environmental innovation. There is only a weak empirical base for policy-makers to stand on regarding the comparative innovation effects of various climate policy options, however. Empirical scholarship in environmental innovation is hindered by the complexity of both the innovation process and the interactions between the dual market failures of pollution and innovation that are in play, and it appears that the field would benefit from the structure provided by a common lexicon. This paper focuses on the issues related to policy categorization in this field; these issues have received little attention in the literature despite their importance to making insights gained from empirical studies generalizable. The paper reviews the origins, strengths, and weaknesses of the dominant policy typology of technology-push versus demand-pull instruments. Its primary contribution, however, is to assemble a comprehensive chronology of solar policy in California and its impacts on innovation, where known, and then use this as a basis for building a new policy categorization that takes advantage of the intuitive resonance of the dominant typology, while encompassing the broader range of policy instruments that are employed in practice in order to stimulate environmental innovation. The most noteworthy aspect of the new categorization is that it introduces a third category of environmental innovation policy instrument that focuses on improving the interface between technology suppliers and users. This reflects developments in the economics of innovation literature as well as considerable evidence in the domain of distributed solar energy technologies that opportunism by some of the actors that work at this interface can be a barrier to innovation.
Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (June 2008)
This paper considers dynamics in the reversal of booms in the housing market.
We analyze three related mechanisms which govern the propagation of changes in the housing
market throughout the rest of an advanced economy: wealth effects, income effects, and effects
through ﬁnancial markets. As the decade-long boom in the US housing market unwinds, we
anticipate that there will be small wealth effects transmitted to the economy, but there will be
large income effects affecting the rest of the economy and substantial ﬁnancial market effects.
If the current decline in housing starts and residential investment echoes the declines of the
last three housing downturns, we estimate that gross national product (GNP) growth will be
reduced by close to 3 per cent. Beyond the decline in housing investment, the recent turmoil in
ﬁnancial markets makes a recession induced by housing market conditions increasingly likely.
Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper: GSPP08-010 (May 2008)
Different models of judicial decision making highlight particular goals. Traditional legal theory posits that in making decisions judges strive to reach the correct legal decision as dictated by precedent. Attitudinal and strategic models focuses on the ways in which judges further their preferred policies. The managerial model emphasizes the increasing caseload pressures that judges at all levels face. Each model accurately captures some of what every judge does some of the time, but a sophisticated understanding of judicial decision making should explicitly incorporate the notion that judges simultaneously attempt to further numerous, disparate, and often conflicting, objectives. We offer a preliminary account of a more psychologically plausible account of judicial cognition and motivation, based on principles of goal management in a constraint satisfaction network.