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GWIPP Research: Social Policy


Title: Joint Contributions of SNAP and Unemployment Insurance to the Social Safety Net

Funding: USDA Economic Research Service

Researcher: Michael Wiseman

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: When viewed cross-sectionally, only a small proportion of those who receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits also receive SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), even though many could qualify for SNAP receipt. The SNAP-UI project hypothesizes that there is a more complex relationship between use of these two safety net programs. By merging administrative SNAP and UI records from 2006-2009 in seven diverse states, this project hopes to illuminate the coincidence of SNAP and UI and understand better the characteristics of those who use both programs. The intent is to improve access to SNAP for those who are struggling in this difficult economy.


Title: The Benefit Offset National Demonstration

Funding: Social Security Administration

Researcher: Michael Wiseman

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Currently, a person who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) faces large disincentives for returning to work. A person on SSDI may attempt to work for nine months during a trial work period and make any amount of employment income without seeing an impact on her/his SSDI benefits. However, after the nine-month trial work period (and a three-month grace period), if the SSDI recipient makes more than what is termed "substantial gainful activity" (SGA, currently set at $1,000 per month), s/he loses her/his entire SSDI benefit at once. This is sometimes called a "cash cliff" because the person can make an extra $20 from work and lose $1,000 in benefits. The BOND project is a random assignment study that was mandated by Congress to explore the impacts of smoothing out this cliff, by offering a $1 reduction of benefits for every $2 in employment income over SGA. The intended goals of the offset are to encourage


Title: Linking MCH and WIC: Integrating Perinatal Depression Screening and Prevention for High Risk Women

Funding: Department of Health and Human Services/ Health Resources and Services Administration/Maternal and Child Health Bureau (R40MC17179)

Researcher(s): Huynh-Nhu Le, Deborah Perry, Joan Yengo

Start Date: February 2010

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Perinatal depression is a significant public health problem, and its negative effects extend beyond women to their children, families, and society at large.  The purpose of this project is to embed routine perinatal depression screening for pregnant and postpartum women with infants <1 year old and evaluate a preventive intervention for low-income, ethnically diverse, high risk perinatal women receiving Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services in a community-based public health center in the Washington DC area. 


Title: Private Two-Year Colleges and Their Students: Pathways, Returns, and Policy

Funding: Ford Foundation

Researcher(s): Stephanie Cellini

Start Date: March 2009

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy, Education Policy

Summary:


Title: The Cumulative Effect of the PreK-3rd Education Experience on English Language Learners   

Funding: Foundation for Child Development

Researcher(s): Dylan Conger

Start Date: November 2008

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy, Education Policy

Summary: The primary goal of this study is to understand how the cumulative primary school experience influences the academic proficiency of English Language Learners (ELL) in the Miami-Dade County Public School System.  By primary school experience, we refer to the amount and type of services that students receive in the PK-8th grades from the public school system, including their grade upon entry into the system (with specific attention to the PK and K entry points); the characteristics of the schools, teachers, and peers to which they are exposed; and the types of English language instruction services they receive.


Title:  Cybersegregation:  Is Neil a More Desirable Tenant than Tyrone or Jorge?

Funding:  National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Through the University at Albany, State University of New York)

Researchers:  Samantha Friedman and Gregory D. Squires

Start Date:  September 2008

Status:  Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Racial and ethnic minorities encounter unlawful discrimination approximately one out of every five times they inquire about renting a home.  Such practices deny the targeted victims access to decent schools, safe streets, good jobs and many other public and private amenities which has direct impacts on their health. We propose to use the audit methodology whereby equally qualified applicants, one with a distinctively black sounding name, one with a Hispanic name, and the other a white name, respond via e-mail to a random sample of ads placed by a major electronic listing service in two major metropolitan areas, Boston, MA and Dallas, TX, to see if the name affects services provided, a virtually untested domain of the housing market.

Product:  

Cybersegregation in Dallas and Boston: Is Neil a More Desirable Tenant Than Tyrone or Jorge?
http://paa2010.princeton.edu/abstractViewer.aspx?submissionId=101314
Samantha Friedman/University at Albany--State University of New York (SUNY); Gregory Squires/George Washington University; Chris Galvan/University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). aper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Dallas, TX, April 17, 2010.


Title:  The Determinants of Residential Employment: A Literature Review

Funding:  District of Columbia Office of Revenue Analysis

Researcher(s): Hal Wolman, Garry Young, Alice Levy, Matt Darst

Start Date: June 2008

Status: Completed 

Category: Social Policy, Housing Policy

Summary: A review of existing theory and research findings on the determinants of employment for individuals and the probability of employment for individuals with specific characteristics.  The purpose of the literature review is to inform the development of a proposal to study the determinants of employment for residents of Washington, DC.

Product:

Working Paper 033 - Literature Review on the Determinants of Residential Employment. Alice Levy, Robert Darst, Hal Wolman, and Garry Young, October 2008.


Title: Etiology and Course of Depressive Symptoms in African American Adolescents

Funding: National Institute of Mental Health

Researcher(s): Dylan Conger, Sharon Lambert

Start Date: December 2007

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Adolescent depression is a significant public health problem associated with concurrent and later impairment in multiple domains, including interpersonal difficulties, academic and occupational problems, substance use, and suicidal behavior, as well as increased risk of depressive disorders and psychiatric comorbidity. To date, however, there have been few prospective longitudinal examinations of the course of depressive symptoms in adolescence, limiting our understanding of the etiology and course of depressive problems in youth and restricting the knowledge base available to inform the development of preventive interventions and health policies targeting adolescent depression. Moreover, the available research on adolescent depression has been conducted almost exclusively with middle class and Caucasian samples to the relative neglect of ethnically diverse samples.

Additionally, there has been relatively little attention to the role of contexts beyond the family in the emergence and maintenance of depressive symptoms. Therefore, this examines the longitudinal course of depressive symptoms in a community epidemiologically-defined sample of urban African American adolescents, and the role of the neighborhood context in the etiology of depressive symptoms in these adolescents. Multilevel and geostatistical models will be used to understand the effects of location on these adolescents' mental health adjustment, and inform the development of contextually relevant interventions. Implications of this work for public health policies regarding the content, timing, duration, and location of interventions for adolescent depression will be presented.


Title: Technical Assistance for the Administration for Children and Families

Researcher: Michael Wiseman

Funding: Administration for Children and Families

Start Date: October 2007

Status: Complete

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Project product will be the TANF Disability Transition Demonstration Initiative designed to motivate States to develop programs to encourage employment of individuals with health barriers to work.  It will also provide technical assistance to the Disability Transition Project by assisting in the development of a development of a draft initiative implementation and evaluation plan.


Title: Time to English Proficiency Among Young English Learners

Funding: Foundation for Child Development

Researcher(s): Dylan Conger (GWIPP)

Start Date: July 2007

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Acquiring English proficiency early in school is a crucial step to high academic performance and, ultimately, to successful labor market outcomes and social integration. Yet there is substantial variation in the speed with which young children pick up their second language, and inconclusive evidence about the factors that influence these varying trajectories.  Aiming for a more complete understanding, this project investigates how long it takes students to become English proficient and how the time to proficiency varies according to students’ background characteristics (e.g. country of origin), the grade at which they enter school, and the type of English instruction they receive.  The study uses longitudinal panels of young English Language Learners in New York City public schools.


Title: The Implications of High School Course Availability and Course-Taking for Achievement, Graduation, and Postsecondary Enrollment

Funding: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Researcher(s): Dylan Conger, Patrice Iatarola (Florida State University), and Mark Long (University of Washington)

Start Date:July 2007

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Responding to increases in the demand for skilled labor, persistent racial and income gaps in academic outcomes, and the higher relative performance of secondary students from other developed countries, U.S. policymakers and educators have turned their attention, once again, towards high school curriculum.  To inform this effort, our study identifies the determinants of course-offerings across schools and course-taking within schools, and the effects of course-taking on outcomes at multiple stages of the students' high school and postsecondary careers.  We seek primarily to estimate: 1) the share of socioeconomic and demographic disparities in course-taking that can be attributed to variation across schools in their course offerings versus variation in course-taking among students within schools; and 2) the share of socioeconomic and demographic disparities in 10th grade test scores, four-year graduation rates, and enrollment rates in postsecondary institutions that can be attributed to differential returns to course-taking, differential course-taking within schools, and differential course offerings across schools.  The research relies on administrative data from the Florida Department of Education on the census of 8th through 12th grade public school students (and their schools) from 1998 to 2005.


Title: Trajectories of Immigrant Performance Over Time

Funding: Spencer Foundation

Researcher(s): Dylan Conger, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel (New York University)

Start Date: September 2006

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Despite the difficulties of learning a new language and new customs, prior research suggests that young immigrant children fare relatively well in U.S. public schools. Yet, very little research has carefully studied how immigrant children fare over time in school and how their performance trajectories are shaped by the schools they attend, the age upon which they enter the U.S., and other family and student attributes. This study carefully examines the performance trajectories of immigrant children in New York City public schools. Specifically, we are tracking several cohorts of immigrant and native-born students and comparing changes in their relative performance from elementary through high school.  In addition to determining how their performance changes over time, we are exploring the effect of age upon entry—separately from the effect of length of residency—on children’s performance upon immigration and their trajectories over time.  Finally, we distinguish among the foreign-born, identifying the multiple pathways that they take and the factors that determine those pathways.  With this final analysis, we seek to identify the various peer groups that immigrant children assimilate to as they age and how their demographic and educational characteristics along with their schools influence these trajectories.  Our research is aimed at informing New York City educators and educators across the nation facing growing immigrant populations.


Title: The Ingredients for Successful and Vibrant Cities

Funding: CEOs for Cities

Researcher(s): Hal Wolman, Royce Hanson, Pamela Blumenthal, Nancy Y. Augustine, and Ned Hill (Cleveland State University)

Start Date: September 2005

Status: Ongoing

Category: Social Policy, Economic Policy

Summary: What are the ingredients that go into making a city successful? What public policy processes, investment strategies, and political actions are required to support the ingredients for city success? Affiliates of CEOs for Cities, a network of elected and appointed officials and business leaders in American cities, are being asked these questions to provide insight on the policies that help cities achieve success and help prioritize the allocation of political energy, capital, and financial resources to promote city renewal.

Products:

Blumenthal et. al, "Ingredients for Successful and Vibrant Cities," Report to CEOs for Cities, June 16th, 2008.

Wolman et. al, "Bringing Urban Leaders Together for Effective Change: What We Know." October 27th, 2006.

Blumenthal, P., Hill, E., and Wolman, H., “ Understanding the Economic Performance of Metropolitan Areas in the United States,” Urban Studies, March, 2009, pp. 605-627.

Wolman, H., Hill, E., Blumenthal, P., and Furdell, K., “Understanding Economically Distressed Cities,” in R. McGahey and J. Vey (eds.), Retooling for Growth: Building a 21st Century Economy in America’s Industrial Regions, Brookings Institution Press, 2008 pp. 151-178.

Curran, L.; Wolman, H.; Hill, E.; and Furdell, K, “Economic Well-Being and Where We Live:
Accounting for Geographic Cost of Living Differences,” Urban Studies, December, 2006,
pp. 2443-2466.


Title: The District of Columbia and Its Lack of Representation in Congress: What Difference Does it Make?

Funding: Trellis Foundation

Researcher(s): Garry Young, Hal Wolman, and Royce Hanson (GWIPP)

Start Date:

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Viable representation in Congress is a key goal for many citizens of the District of Columbia. Yet, the debate over representation lacks some specifics. What will be the substantive effect of representation? How will the District’s influence over Congress change and how will this change in influence alter public policies directly relevant to the District? These are questions the proposed project seeks to answer. In the project we will consider several different possible forms of District representation. We will then evaluate those forms in regard to their likely impact on policy benefits through legislation (passed or stopped) and fiscal allocation. We will also consider the impact of representation in other areas such as the congressional ombuds role, oversight of executive branch regulation, and the symbolic importance of representation.

Official Website


Title: Back Home from Prison: Understanding Why Offenders Recidivate

Funding: Smith Richardson Foundation

Researcher(s): Charis E. Kubrin

Start Date:

Status: Completed

Category: Social Policy

Summary: With more than 600,000 prisoners returning to society each year, the issue of prisoner reentry is at the forefront of domestic public policy. How many of these prisoners will reoffend, and which factors influence the likelihood of recidivating? Prior studies have focused exclusively on individual-level characteristics of offenders and their offenses to determine the correlates of reoffending. Notably absent from recidivism studies are measures reflecting the neighborhood contexts in which the individuals live. Few studies document the types of neighborhoods prisoners are released into or whether ex-offenders tend to disproportionately live in socially disorganized neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, joblessness, and residential mobility—factors that can facilitate recidivism. Neighborhood context is fundamental to our understanding of why people reoffend yet we know little about how ecological characteristics of communities influence the reoffending behavior of prisoners. Using data on a sample of released offenders in Washington, D.C., this study will examine both individual and neighborhood level correlates of recidivism. The questions that motivate this research are: 1) To what extent do neighborhood characteristics account for variation in the reoffending behavior of prisoners that is not explained by their individual-level characteristics?, 2) How do individual-level and neighborhood- level characteristics interact to influence rates of recidivism?, and 3) Does neighborhood context help explain why minorities are more likely to reoffend than whites once released.


Title: Explaining Suicide among Blacks and Whites: How Socio-Economic Factors and Gun Availability Affect Race-Specific Suicide Rates

Funding: Smith Richardson Foundation

Researcher(s): Charis E. Kubrin (GWIPP and GWU Sociology Department)

Start Date:

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: What are the correlates of suicide among blacks and whites? One body of literature suggests that structural factors such as poverty, inequality, joblessness, and family disruption are the key contributors while another literature considers the availability of firearms to be the central factor. No studies have thoroughly explored both of these possibilities together and thus we know little about the relative contributions of motivation to commit suicide due to structural conditions and opportunity to commit suicide due to firearm availability. The current research addresses this issue. We examine the roles of motivation and opportunity in shaping suicide rates among young white and young black males in U.S. cities using suicide data from Mortality Multiple Cause of Death Records and 2000 Census data. We find racial differences in the predictors of suicide; although concentrated disadvantage directly affects suicide among young white males, it only raises levels for young black males by increasing their access to firearms. This finding is confirmed in additional analyses, which examine the effects of concentrated disadvantage on black and white gun and non-gun suicides separately. The findings have important implications for the study of race and suicide.


Title: The Open Method of Coordination

Funding: The Annie E. Casey Foundation/Rockefeller Foundation

Researcher(s): Michael L. Wiseman

Start Date:

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: The European Union has adopted procedures for identifying common member state goals for social welfare policy, monitoring progress toward attaining these ends, and sharing information on best practice and successful innovation. The system is known as the “Open Method of Coordination.” This project is intended to bring OMC ideas to the attention of American policy makers and to investigate possible application to issues of coordination of state Food Stamp, TANF, and Workforce Investment policies.


Title: High Performance Bonus Data for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Funding: Department of Health and Human Services

Researcher(s): Michael L. Wiseman (GWIPP)

Start Date:

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: Since April, 2002 the Office of Family Assistance of the Administration for Children and Families has contracted with GWIPP for consultative services on a range of issues related to design, operation, and evaluation of state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. Topics investigated include the TANF “High Performance Bonus,” requirements for state program descriptions, strategies for improving management, and results of various program evaluations. This work has involved TSPPPA students, and is ongoing.


Title: Office Policy

Funding: Social Security Administration

Researcher(s): Michael L Wiseman

Start Date:

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: This project involved work on a variety of issues of concern to the Social Security Administration, including policy related to support for persons with disabilities, creating a “safety net” for the elderly after Social Security reform, and international policy comparison under auspices of the International Social Security Association.


Title: Focus on Success: How do Children from Poor Families Escape from Poverty?

Funding: University of Maryland Baltimore County - The Ford Foundation

Researcher(s): Hal Wolman, Nancy Augustine, George Galster (Wayne State), David Marcote (UMBC), and Marvin Mandell (UMBC)

Start Date: October 2000

Status: Completed

Category: Social Policy

Summary: What accounts for the fact that some children who grow up in very poor households in a very poor neighborhood, nonetheless succeed? To answer this question we utilize PSID, a panel database, and follow the cohort of children born between 1967-1974 into their adulthood. We examine the adult outcomes of these children – income, employment, educational attainment, etc. – and, using simultaneous equation models, test the relative impact of parental background characteristics, parental behavior, neighborhood effects, social capital, and housing tenure as a child on adult outcomes.

Products:

Galster, G., Marcotte, D., Mandell, M., Wolman, H., and Augustine, N., “The Impact of Parental Homeownership on Children’s Outcomes during Early Adulthood,” Housing Policy Debate, 2007, Vol. 18 (4) pp. 785-828.

Galster, G.; Marcotte, D.; Mandell, M.; Wolman, H.; and Augustine, N., “The Influence of Neighborhood Poverty During Childhood on Fertility, Education, and Earnings Outcomes,” Housing Studies, 2007, V. 22 (Sept.), pp. 723-751.


Title: Job-Centered Welfare: Review and Planning for UK/US Exchange

Researcher(s): Michael L. Wiseman

Funding: Rockefeller Foundation

Start Date:

Status: Current

Category: Social Policy

Summary: A key element of British welfare reforms is a program of linking social assistance for working-age persons with efforts to work by collocating welfare and employment services in a single agency, called “Jobcentre Plus.” The Jobcentre Plus idea originated with visits by British policymakers to similar facilities in Wisconsin, and the program is similar in some respects to the “One-Stop” employment services centers fostered in the United States by the Workforce Investment Act. This project explores these transatlantic connections.


Title: Thin the Soup or Shorten the Line: Choices Facing Washington Area Nonprofits

Funding: Fannie Mae Foundation

Researcher(s) Pat Atkins, Joe Cordes

Start Date: November 2003

Status: Completed

Category: Washington Area Studies

Summary: Research on the state of non-profit human services agencies in the Washington, D.C. region during changing economic conditions showed that non-profits are taking short term responses to their rising client need, their increasing costs, their expanded reporting requirements, and their sluggish revenue growth. Many have dipped into reserve funds, frozen salaries, reduced direct assistance, or initiated staff layoffs. Some responsive non-profit human services agencies have begun to make longer-term adjustments by restructuring their organizations to acquire new sources of revenue, expanding private donor campaign efforts, and initiating revenue sources that are more market-based. The report particularly focused on the fiscal contributions of local governments to the human services nonprofit sector, discovering a multitude of support processes unique to each of the six jurisdictions examined.

Product:

Patricia Atkins, Mallory Barg, Joseph Cordes, and Martha Ross. Thin the Soup or Shorten the Line: Washington Area Nonprofits Adapt to Uncertain Times. The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, August 2004.


Title: The Welfare We Want

Funding: The Rockefeller Foundation

Researcher(s): Michael L. Wiseman

Start Date:

Status: Completed

Summary: Since 1997 Britain’s “New Labour” government has introduced the world’s most wide-ranging reform of social assistance. This project assembled a review of the Labour program by British authorities.

Product:

The Welfare We Want: The British Challenge for American Reform (Policy Press) published in 2003 and various papers.


Title: Does the Community Reinvestment Act Encourage Integration of Urban Communities? Mortgage Lending, Homeownership and Black Wealth Accumulation in Metropolitan America

Researcher(s): Samantha Friedman (Dept. of Sociology, GWU) & Gregory D. Squires (Dept. of

Sociology, GWU)

Funding: The Ford Foundation

Start Date:

Status: Completed

Category: Social Policy

Summary: This paper, which has been revised and resubmitted to Social Problems, examines the extent to which the Community Reinvestment Act (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.

Products:

Working Paper 014 - Does the Community Reinvestment Act Help Minorities Access Traditionally Inaccessible Neighborhoods?, Samantha Friedman and Gregory D. Squires, July 2004.

Friedman, Samantha and Squires, Gregory, "Does the Community Reinvestment Act Help Minorities Access Traditionally Inaccessible Neighoborhoods?" Social Problems, May 2005, Vol. 52, Issue 2, pp. 209–231.


Title: State TANF Strategies

Funding: APPAM

Researcher(s): Michael L. Wiseman

Start Date:

Status: Completed

Category: Social Policy

Summary: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996 substantially increased the latitude granted states in the design of social assistance programs for families with children. This project critically examined aspects of the changes the states adopted.


Title: HRA Program Initiativesl
Researcher(s): Michael L. Wiseman (GWIPP)
Funding: New York Human Resources Agency
Start Date:
Status: Completed

Summary:
This project focuses on various aspects of welfare reforms introduced in New York City by the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani between 1997 and 2002, including conversion of welfare offices into “Job Centers,” development of the JobStat performance assessment system, and organization of special services tracks for persons with exceptional social services needs. The project produced various papers now under revision or submitted for publication.


Title: Housing and the Locational Attainment of Immigrants in Metropolitan America
Researcher(s): Samantha Friedman (Dept. of Sociology, GWU) and Emily Rosenbaum (Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Fordham University)
Funding: The Fannie Mae Foundation
Start Date:
Status: Completed

Summary:
This project has examined nativity-status differences in housing and neighborhood conditions in metropolitan America using data from the 2001 American Housing Survey. In the first paper, which is forthcoming in Housing Policy Debate, we found that when compared with native-born households, recently-arrived immigrant households are significantly more likely to be crowded, but either as likely or significantly less likely to live in poorer quality housing. Further analyses revealed, however, that race/ethnicity is a stronger predictor than immigrant status in predicting households' housing outcomes.


Title: Organizing Access to Capital: Advocacy and the Democratization of Financial Institutions
Researcher(s): Gregory D. Squires (GWIPP)
Funding: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Start Date:
Status: Completed

Summary:
This grant supported the production of an edited book, Organizing Access to Capital: Advocacy and the Democratization of Financial published by Temple University Press and two public forums to examine the role of community organizing and related advocacy efforts to increase mortgage and small business lending in distressed urban communities. One forum, sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Dem-IL) was held on Capitol Hill and the other was held in Chicago as part of the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Woodstock Institute, a community reinvestment research organization.