Facebook Pixel

Selected Publications

  • Using Qualitative Data-Mining to Identify Skillful Practice in Child Welfare Case Records

    Using qualitative data-mining methods, this study analyzed 39 child welfare case records in order to identify examples of skillful practice. Conducted in partnership with a public child welfare agency in northern California, the study found that child welfare workers are implementing many of the practices promoted by statewide and national child welfare practice frameworks. Broad categories of skillful practice identified included: (1) effective communication by social workers, (2) support for client self-determination, and (3) active intervention strategies. Study findings provide support for incorporating case record review processes in training and supervision in order to integrate practice-based expertise with research-based evidence.

  • The Joint Effects of Income, Vehicle Technology, and Rail Transit Access on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Boarnet, M. G., Bostic, R. W., Eisenlohr, A., Rodnyansky, S., Santiago-Bartolomei, R., & Jamme, H. T. W. (2018). Transportation Research Record: Journal of theh Transportation Research Board.

    This paper examines the relationship between income, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for households with varying access to rail transit in four metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and Sacramento—using data from the 2010–2012 California Household Travel Survey. Daily vehicle GHG emissions are calculated using the California Air Resources Board’s 2014 EMFAC (emission factors) model. Two Tobit regression models are used to predict daily VMT and GHG by income, rail transit access (within or outside 0.5 miles of a rail transit station in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and linear distance to rail in San Diego and Sacramento), and metropolitan area. Comparing predicted VMT and GHG emissions levels, this paper concludes that predicted VMT and GHG emission patterns for rail access vary across metropolitan areas in ways that may be related to the age and connectivity of the areas’ rail systems. The results also show that differences in household VMT due to rail access do not scale proportionally to differences in GHG emissions. Regardless, the fact that GHG emissions are lower near rail transit for virtually all income levels in this study implies environmental benefits from expanding rail transit systems, as defined in this paper.

  • Do It Yourself: Obtaining Updated Transit Stop and Route Shapefiles in Urban and Nonurban Areas

    Rodnyansky, Seva. Cityscape 20, no. 1 (2018): 205-214.

    Research that combines housing and transportation aims to jointly understand the elements of neighborhood accessibility, affordability, and sustainability. Access to highquality public transit and nonmotorized transportation helps reduce emissions and transportation costs for all households, including those with lower incomes. Transit access also expands the range of community destinations and shopping opportunities for those without cars. However, researchers often struggle to obtain accurate, geocoded data—especially in suburban and nonurban areas—on transit station locations, routes, and schedules. This article highlights a newer tool, the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) from Google, which provides an open source database of updated transit data. This free data source combines static and dynamic transit data and can be incorporated into analysis using geographic information system, or GIS, software. It also significantly eases cross-sectional, rural, and metropolitan-areawide analyses of housing using transportation as a key input. This article summarizes the GTFS data type, gives an overview of methods for using the data, explores current uses of the data, and suggests future applications.

  • The Case for Ends Paternalism: Extending Le Grand and New’s Framework for Justification of Government Paternalism

    Dan Acland (2018), Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 5: No. 1, pp 1-22.

    Le Grand and New, in their recent book, “Government Paternalism: Nanny State or Helpful Friend,” present a novel definition of paternalism and a framework for thinking about whether any given paternalistic policy can be considered justifiable. I show that their framework is flawed in that it restricts justifiable paternalism to that which is intended to alter individuals’ judgment about the means they use to pursue their self-determined ends. I show that the principles they use to justify certain kinds of means paternalism also justify certain kinds of ends paternalism. In particular, when there is a body of rigorous social-science evidence that individuals select ends that they themselves, if they had adequate information or experience would prefer not to pursue, and when other conditions are met, ends paternalism may be considered to improve the wellbeing of the individual as determined by the individual themselves. I present examples of policies that could be justified under this framework, and offer cautionary notes.

  • CALIFORNIA’S AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FIGHT: Power Politics and the University of California

    This essay discusses the contentious events leading to the decision by the University of California’s Board of Regents to end affirmative action in admissions, hiring and contracting at the university in July 1995. This controversial decision provided momentum for California’s passage of Proposition 209 the following year ending “racial preferences” for all of the state’s public agencies. In virtually any other state, the debate over university admissions would have bled beyond the confines of a university’s governing board. The board would have deferred to lawmakers and an even more complicated public discourse. The University of California’s unusual status as a “public trust” under the state constitution, however, meant that authority over admissions was the sole responsibility of the board. This provided a unique forum to debate affirmative action for key actors, including Regent Ward Connerly and Governor Pete Wilson, to persuade fellow regents to focus and decide on a hotly debated social issue related to the dispersal of a highly sought public good – access to a selective public university. Two themes are explored. The first focuses on the debate within the university community and the vulnerability of existing affirmative action programs and policies - including a lack of unanimity among the faculty regarding the use of racial preferences. The second relates to the political tactics employed by Connerly and the saliency of his arguments, which were addressed to a larger public, and not to the academic community. Connerly attacked not only the idea of affirmative action but also the coherency of the university’s existing admissions programs, the effectiveness of using race in admissions decisions, and the credibility of the university’s administrative leaders who defended affirmative action.

  • THE RISE OF THE PUBLICS: American Democracy, the Public University Ideal, and the University of California

    In the post-Revolutionary War era, private institutions dominated America’s emerging higher education landscape, all tied to sectarian communities and often with limited forms of public financing. The United States could have sustained that dominance, essentially differing to the private sector in expanding access, and delaying the “rise of the publics.” This did not happen. A major turning point came in the mid-1800s. Private colleges seemed incapable or simply not interested in serving the broader needs of American society. Institutions such as the University of Virginia, and the new state universities in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, offered the first examples of a new institutional breed. Each was borne out of public debates regarding the purpose of public universities in a new nation, including the initial idea of a federal university. Out of this early period of institution building came important ideas on the potent role of higher education in shaping the American experiment, intimately linked with revolutionary ideas on human abilities and the requirements for creating a functioning, participatory democracy. By the mid-1800, state governments, with federal government prompting, launched a dramatic number of new public universities distinct in their governance, in their commitment to broad access, in the scope of their academic programs, and in their commitment to public service. This essay explores these debates and how they influenced institution building, with a focus on the establishment of the University of California by an act of the California legislature – the 1868 Organic Act. In its stated purpose, governance, and planned academic and professional programs, California’s Land-Grant University embodied all the elements of this new breed of public universities with the intent of shaping a progressive society.

    This year the University of California celebrates its 150 anniversary since establishment in 1868.  This ROPS contribution is part of a series published this year by the Center for Studies in Higher Education related to the history of the University of California and, more broadly, America’s unique investment and faith in public universities.

  • The Role of Universities in Economic Competitiveness in California

    Commissioned by the Associació Catalana d’Universitats Públiques (ACUP), this report provides a case study of the University of California’s (UC) role in helping to create a highly competitive economy and in a manner that may be of use in Catalonia. The report provides a discussion on the role of research universities as important players in larger innovation ecosystems, the economic impact of UC on California, specific examples of university-private sector engagement, and relevant UC policies that set what we call the “rules of engagement” that both encourage economic engagement and protect academic freedom and university autonomy.

  • When Does a Group of Citizens Influence Policy? Evidence from Senior Citizen Participation in City Politics

    Anzia, Sarah F. Forthcoming. “When Does a Group of Citizens Influence Policy?  Evidence from Senior Citizen Participation in City Politics.” Journal of Politics.

    When does a group of citizens influence public policy?  Mainstream American politics research emphasizes the importance of the group’s turnout and presence in the electorate, but there have been few empirical tests of those hypotheses.  Meanwhile, other scholars argue that group cohesiveness, organization, and non-voting political activity are potentially more important than voting for shaping policy.  These two strands of the literature have largely developed in parallel, however, in part because they tend to employ different empirical methods.  In this paper, I attempt to bridge the divide between them and test these ideas within the same empirical framework, using senior citizens and senior-friendly transportation policy as a test case.  My results show that senior voting does not unconditionally predict policies friendlier to seniors.  Instead, I find that city policies are friendlier to seniors when seniors are a more cohesive, meaningful group, and when they engage in activities other than voting.