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Working Paper Series

  • The Politics of Venture Philanthropy in Charter School Policy and Advocacy

    Janelle Scott, Christopher Lubienski

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (January 2009)

    Philanthropists have long funded a wide range of educational research, practice, and policy initiatives, primarily through namesake foundations. Some observers have criticized these efforts as doing little to change the status quo in education and have called for more aggressive action on the part of this sector. Out of this critique has emerged a new philanthropic form, often termed venture philanthropy. Perhaps nowhere is venture philanthropy more prevalent than in the charter school and policy and advocacy terrain. Drawing from document analysis and a review of historical literature, this article provides a sociopolitical, descriptive discussion of this “new” form of philanthropy in supporting the charter school reform network. It also examines the funding strategies of venture philanthropies and the areas of policy intersection in program initiatives. The article concludes with a discussion of some political and philosophical tensions that venture philanthropy raises and also provides suggestions for further research.

  • Methodological Note: Estimating the Effects of the Food Price Surge on the Welfare of the Poor

    Alain de Janvry, Elisabeth Sadoulet

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (December 2008)

  • Race Differences in the Incidence & Duration of Exposure to Concentrated Poverty over the Life Cours

    Rucker Johnson

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (December 2008)

    This study is among the first to use nationally-representative data from the US to analyze
    the persistence in neighborhood quality over the life course. The analysis utilizes the
    Panel Study of Income Dynamics, spanning 1968-2005, and follows a cohort born
    between 1951 and 1970 from childhood into adulthood. I examine the extent of upward
    and downward residential mobility/instability from childhood through mid-adulthood
    using PSID geocoded neighborhood information and residential location patterns over 35
    years. Characterizing the length of exposure to poor neighborhood conditions for
    different demographic groups also serves to shed light on the age-profile of neighborhood
    effects on later-life attainments, including adult health and economic status.

    The results highlight substantial race differences in the incidence and duration of
    exposure to concentrated poverty over the life course. The study reveals high rates of
    immobility from poor neighborhoods over the life course, especially among AfricanAmericans. The results demonstrate that the average black child spent ¼ of childhood years in high poverty neighborhoods, one-third of early-to-mid adulthood years in high
    poverty neighborhoods, and fifteen percent of adulthood years lived in low poverty
    neighborhoods. This is in stark contrast to those rates for the average white child, who
    spent just three percent of childhood and adulthood years in high poverty neighborhoods,
    spent eighty percent of childhood years in low poverty neighborhoods, and more than
    half of early-to-mid adulthood years in low poverty neighborhoods. The analysis shows
    that black-white differences in adulthood exposure to neighborhood poverty are largely
    accounted for by differences in the likelihood of being born into a poor neighborhood,
    and to a lesser extent by differences in rates of upward and downward socioeconomic
    mobility over the life course.

  • Cost-Effectiveness of Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

    Daniel Kammen, Samuel M Arons , Derek Lemoine , Holmes Hummel

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper: GSPP08-014 (November 2008)

    We find that plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) could significantly reduce automotive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and petroleum consumption, while improving energy security and urban air quality. Widespread PHEV adoption will depend upon technological and economic advances in batteries because the initial fuel savings do not rapidly compensate consumers for the capital costs of batteries today. For PHEV purchases to become economical to consumers, battery prices must decline from $1,300 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to about or below $500/kWh, or U.S. gasoline prices must remain at about $5 per gallon-or the federal government must institute policy innovations with equivalent effects, such as policies to lower battery cost and increase battery lifetimes (e.g. a broad and sustained program of battery RD&D), or those to widen the difference between gasoline and electricity prices (e.g. changes in energy taxes). However, even before PHEVs become cost-effective consumers, their purchase can still be highly valuable to society if their significant GHG reductions can be achieved cost-effectively (using a benchmark price of about $50/t-CO2-eq). Using the GREET model, we determine that in order for PHEVs' reductions to become cost-effective, either their purchase must approach current unsubsidized prices-requiring the same policy innovations described above-or very low-GHG electricity must be used to power them. This requires policies to decrease the GHG intensity of electricity, such as renewable portfolio standards, feed-in tariffs or other measures. Importantly, we find that any carbon price would have to exceed $100/t-CO2-eq in order to render PHEVs' reductions cost-effective, and hence a carbon price alone represents an impractical short-term means of achieving this goal.

  • The Place of Race in Hypertension: How Family Background and Neighborhood Conditions in Childhood

    Rucker Johnson

    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

  • Mortgage Guarantee Programs and the Subprime Crisis

    John Quigley, Dwight M. Jaffee

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (September 2008)

  • Arts Policy Research for the Next Twenty-Five Years: A Trajectory after Patrons Despite Themselves

    Michael O’Hare

    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.

  • The Case Against Corporate Social Responsibility

    Robert Reich

    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.