Anzia, Sarah F., and Terry M. Moe. Forthcoming. “Interest Groups on the Inside: The Governance of Public Pension Funds.” Perspectives on Politics.
New scholarship in American politics argues that interest groups should be brought back to the center of the field. We attempt to further that agenda by exploring an aspect of group influence that has been little studied: the role interest groups play on the inside of government as official participants in bureaucratic decision-making. The challenges for research are formidable, but a fuller understanding of group influence in American politics requires that they be taken on. Here we carry out an exploratory analysis that focuses on the bureaucratic boards that govern public pensions. These are governance structures of enormous financial consequence for state governments, public workers, and taxpayers. They also make decisions that are quantitative (and comparable) in nature, and they usually grant official policymaking authority to a key interest group: public employees and their unions. Our analysis suggests that “interest groups on the inside” do have influence—in ways that weaken effective government. Going forward, scholars should devote greater attention to how insider roles vary across agencies and groups, how groups exercise influence in these ways, how different governance structures shape their policy effects, and what it all means for our understanding of interest groups in American politics.
Johnson, Rucker C. Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works (Forthcoming). New York, NY: Basic Books and Russell Sage Foundation Press.
Many Americans believe that the racial integration of US schools was a social experiment doomed from the start. But in fact, economist Rucker C. Johnson contends, school integration efforts in the 1970s and 1980s were overwhelmingly successful, and our retreat from them has had dire effects on our society.
In Children of the Dream, Johnson unearths the astonishing truth about integration’s spectacular achievement in America. Drawing on original longitudinal studies going back to the 1960s, he shows that students who attended integrated and well-funded schools were more successful in life than those who did not—and that this holds true for children of all races. Indeed, Johnson's research shows that such schools were nothing less than the primary engine of social mobility in the decades after the civil rights movement. Yet in the face of racial backlash, America gave up on integration. Since the highpoint of integration in 1988, we have regressed, and segregation again prevails.
Explaining why integration worked, why it was abandoned, and how it can be revived to the benefit of all, Children of the Dream offers a radical new perspective on American social policy. It is essential reading in our divided times.
Looking for Influence in All the Wrong Places: How Studying Subnational Policy Can Revive Research on Interest Groups
Anzia, Sarah F. 2019. “Looking for Influence in All the Wrong Places: How Studying Subnational Policy Can Revive Research on Interest Groups.” Journal of Politics 81(1): 343-351.
The American politics literature on representation focuses on voters and elected officials, but a growing group of political scientists are arguing that more should be done to study interest groups. Yet there already is a large literature on interest groups, and it has struggled to show evidence of interest group influence. I argue here that the interest group literature’s near-exclusive focus on the federal government has hindered its progress: basic questions have gone unasked, important interest groups have gone underappreciated, and the amount of influence has been underestimated. By studying US subnational policymaking, scholars would discover different constellations of interest groups, and they would find that the variation in subnational governments allows for empirical designs that are better able to detect interest group influence when it exists. The payoffs of a subnational focus would be substantial—both for our understanding of interest groups and for the study of political representation.
Reducing Inequality Through Dynamic Complementarity: Evidence from Head Start and Public School Spending
Johnson, Rucker C. and C. Kirabo Jackson (Forthcoming). “Reducing Inequality Through Dynamic Complementarity: Evidence from Head Start and Public School Spending”. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.
We compare the adult outcomes of cohorts who were differentially exposed to policy-induced changes in Head Start and K12 spending, depending on place and year of birth. IV and sibling-difference estimates indicate that, for poor children, these policies both increased educational attainment and earnings, and reduced poverty and incarceration. The benefits of Head Start were larger when followed by access to better-funded schools, and increases in K12 spending were more efficacious when preceded by Head Start exposure. The findings suggest dynamic complementarities, implying that early educational investments that are sustained may break the cycle of poverty.
Halley M., Rustagi A., Torres J., Linos E., Plaut V., Mangurian C., Choo E., Linos E. 2018. Physician Mothers’ Experience of Workplace Discrimination: A Qualitative Analysis. British Medical Journal (BMJ). 363:k4926
Objectives To report woman physicians’ experiences, in their own words, of discrimination based on their role as a mother.
Design Qualitative analysis of physician mothers’ free-text responses to the open question: “We want to hear your story and experience. Please share” included in questions about workplace discrimination. Three analysts iteratively formulated a structured codebook, then applied codes after inter-coder reliability scores indicated high concordance. The relationships among themes and sub-themes were organized into a conceptual model illustrated by exemplary quotes.
Participants Respondents to an anonymous, voluntary online survey about the health and wellbeing of physician mothers posted on a Facebook group, the Physician Moms Group, an online community of US physicians who identify as mothers.
Results We analyzed 947 free-text responses. Participants provide diverse and vivid descriptions of experiences of maternal discrimination. Gendered job expectations, financial inequalities (including lower pay than equally qualified colleagues and more unpaid work), limited opportunities for advancement, lack of support during the pregnancy and postpartum period, and challenging work-life balance are some of the key themes identified. In addition, participants’ quotes show several potential structural drivers of maternal discrimination and describe the downstream consequences of maternal discrimination on the physician herself, her career, family, and the healthcare system.
Conclusions These findings provide a view of maternal discrimination directly from the perspective of those who experience it. Women physicians report a range of previously uncharacterized ways in which they experience maternal discrimination. While certain aspects of these experiences are consistent with those reported by women across other professions, there are unique aspects of medical training and the medical profession that perpetuate maternal discrimination.
Nead K., Linos E., Vapiwala N. 2018. Increasing Diversity in Radiation Oncology: A Call to Action. Advances in Radiation Oncology. December 6.
Linos E., Reddy V., and Rothstein J. 2018. Increasing Take-up of Cal Grants. In Designing Financial Aid for California’s Future. The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) Research Report. November.
In just four decades, the size of the U.S. state prison population grew by more than 700 percent. By 2008, the number of incarcerated individuals in the United States hit an all-time high, with 1 in 100 adults in either prison or jail and fully 1 in every 31 American adults under some form of correctional jurisdiction (including incarceration, probation, and parole).
Researchers have noted these patterns and trends with alarm. Yet while expansive studies have been conducted on correctional systems in the United States, most of this work begins and ends with a focus on the incarcerated. Much of the early literature either ignores correctional personnel altogether, or paints an overly simplistic picture. While interest in those who work inside American prisons has begun to grow, we still know surprisingly little about what happens to correctional personnel as a function of spending a career inside the prison system.
Like the number of people incarcerated, the ranks of people employed by the U.S. criminal justice system have increased substantially. As of 2003, almost 13 percent of all public employees (and a larger percentage in 15 states and the District of Columbia) worked in the criminal justice sector. Corrections alone accounts for more than 63 percent of state criminal justice employees, with police protection and judicial/legal employees accounting for the other 14 and 22 percent, respectively. In recent years, the correctional system has employed more people than General Motors, Ford, and Wal-Mart combined.
On the front lines of the prison system, correctional officers, perhaps more than anyone else, directly affect the practice of incarceration in the way that they perform their jobs. Because of this, correctional programs and policies can have little chance of success without their overall health. This is particularly important when considering the mission of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and its goals of promoting public safety through a professional staff, as well as a constructive correctional and rehabilitation environment. Understanding that correctional work can negatively impact the well-being of both inmates and correctional officers, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), the CCPOA Benefit Trust Fund (BTF), and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) have joined forces with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) to address the issues of law enforcement health and wellness.
As a starting point, Dr. Amy E. Lerman and her team at UCB developed the California Correctional Officer Survey (CCOS). The CCOS is a large-scale effort to gather individual-level information on the thoughts, attitudes, and experiences of criminal justice personnel. The CCOS was first conducted in 2006, and the instrument was then expanded and replicated from March to May of 2017. The most recent survey includes a sample of 8,334 officers and other sworn staff, providing a vast cross-section of officers across all of California’s correctional institutions and parole offices.
This report summarizes the results of the CCOS across a set of broad but related categories: mental and physical wellness; exposure to violence; attitudes towards rehabilitation and punishment; job training and management; work-life balance; and training and support.