Dr. Garry Young

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youngg@gwu.edu
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GWIPP Research: Garry Young

This page features research funded through GWIPP and performed by Garry Young.


Title: Using Market Analysis of Home Values to Measure the Economic and Fiscal Effects of Multi-Use Trails

Researcher(s): Garry Young, Andrea Sarzynski, Joe Cordes, Hal Wolman, and Jeremy Larrieu

Funding: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Start Date: January 2010

Status: Current

Category: Housing Policy

Summary: Multi-use trails encourage and facilitate physical activity among all age groups. Their separation from motorized traffic makes them especially attractive for families with children.  One concrete way to evaluate the economic benefit of trails to a community is to measure their impact on housing values. Does the presence of a trail affect housing prices? Does ease of access to a trail affect housing prices? In this proposed study we will estimate the economic impact of trail presence and access on housing values in Montgomery County, Maryland.  In addition, the study will use its findings to calculate the impact of property tax revenues produced by the trails and compare those values with the construction and maintenance costs of the trails borne by the Montgomery County government.


Title: Property Tax in Fifty States: State Property Tax Policy Roundtable; Compendium of State Property Tax Regimes

Funding: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Start Date: July 2006

Category: State and Local Fiscal Policy

Status: Current

Summary: This two-part project is a collaborative multi-year undertaking by Lincoln and GWIPP to promote research in the areas of property tax policy and administration. As a follow-up to the 2005-06 pilot project, a data collection team is compiling and classifying a wide range of material that characterizes property tax structures and processes in all fifty states to produce a "Compendium of State Property Tax Regimes." The compendium will be available as a data set, and researchers will be able to perform simple queries through an interactive web site. Key results will be presented in a series of tables, patterned after the biennial Significant Features of Fiscal Federalism , produced by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) through 1994. Plans are being made to update the compendium annually.

Under the contract, GWIPP will produce the following research papers: A Calculation of Effective Tax Rates; A Broad-Based Property Tax: Calculations and Implications; A Broad-Based Property Tax: Calculations and Implications; Tax and Expenditure Limitations (TELs) and Their Impact; The Increasing Use of Preferential Assessments to Subsidize Specific Land Uses.

A State Property Tax Policy Roundtable will be scheduled for Fall 2007 in Washington, DC. Papers written by GWIPP research faculty will be supplemented by several commissioned papers, focusing on the topic “Erosion of the Local Property Tax Base: Trends and Consequences.”


Title: Assessing the Design, Adoption, and Impact of State Solar Financial Incentives 

Funding: GW Institute for Analysis of Solar Energy 

Start Date: October 2008

Status: Complete 

Category: Environmental and Energy Policy

Summary: As the nation considers how to transition to a clean energy economy, it appears committed to utilizing financial incentives to encourage adoption of solar and other renewable technology. States have shown substantial policy leadership and innovation as they design and implement solar incentive programs.

This research has three parts. The first catalogues and assesses the design and variation of state incentives, providing a research base for further analysis. The second assesses the impact of existing state incentives, in terms of program participation and project costs. This research will allow us to identify the characteristics of incentive design and implementation that are most likely to be successful in encouraging program participation and adoption of solar technology, while keeping down costs. The third part probes the diffusion of policy incentives, offering insights for advocates seeking expansion of state programs.

See Working Paper: WP039 - Young, G. and A. Sarzynski. (2009). “The Adoption of Solar Energy Financial Incentives Across the States, 1974-2007.” Working Paper. Washington, DC: George Washington Institute of Public Policy.

Work products:
Sarzynski, A. (2009). State Policy Experimentation with Financial Incentives for Solar Energy.
Washington, DC: George Washington Institute of Public Policy.

Sarzynski, A. (2009). The Impact of Solar Incentive Programs in Ten States. Washington, DC: George Washington Institute of Public Policy.


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:  Economic Competitiveness of Washington, DC and the Region

Funding:  District of Columbia Office of Revenue Analysis

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

Start Date: June 2008

Status: Completed 

Category: Economic and Industrial Development Policy

Summary:  Our project asks what affects the economic competitiveness of the District of Columbia and why business establishments locate (or do not locate) in the District.  To answer these questions, our analysis considers the factors that affect the overall regional economy and the factors that affect the District given the state or nature of the regional economy.  The project will create a profile of the overall District economy as it relates to both the Washington metropolitan regional economy and the national economy.  In addition, we will interview establishments that have recently located or opened within the Washington region to explore the various factors (e.g., land costs, business regulations, taxes) that influenced the decision to locate in the region and the further decision to locate at a specific spot within the region (either in or out of the District).  Finally, we will produce a set of statistical models that predict economic performance for the region, and then for the District, that take into account the wide-range of factors that we know affect the economy, such as the nature of the local labor market, land costs, energy costs, taxation, transportation infrastructure, and so on. These models will give us the capacity to predict how changes in local conditions – including policy changes in areas such as taxation, education of the labor force, and business regulation – are likely to affect future economic performance.


Title:  Economic Competitiveness and the Determinants of Sub-National Economic Activity: A Literature Review

Funding:  District of Columbia Office of Revenue Analysis

Researcher(s): Garry Young

Start Date: June 2008

Status: Completed

Category: Economic and Industrial Development Policy Studies

Summary: A review of existing theory and research findings on regional and local competitive advantage and on firm location decisions.  The purpose of the literature review was to inform the development of a proposal to study economic competitiveness in the Washington, DC region.

Products:

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

Working Paper 034 - Economic Competitiveness and the Determinants of Sub-National Area Economic Activity. Hal Wolman, Alice Levy, Garry Young, and Pamela Blumenthal, September 2008.


Title: School Finance Referenda and Housing Values

Funding: National Center for Real Estate Research

Researcher(s): Garry Young

Start Date: January 2007

Status: Current

Category: Education Policy, Economic and Industrial Development Policy

Summary: Housing values are influenced by a variety of factors. There is substantial and well-established literature that suggests that housing and property values are a function of the physical characteristics of the house and the land on which it sits, proximity to amenities and disamenities, the level and quality of local government services provided, and the level of property taxes collected to pay for these services. Within the context of government service provision and financing, local school quality and cost play a particularly important role in affecting house prices.

A critical component to educational finance in the United States is the requirement that school-related financial arrangements must receive direct voter approval in most school districts. The referendum requirement applies most commonly to the sale of bonds for capital improvements, but extends well beyond bond issues. The results of school referenda have major consequences for housing values in school districts, since both taxes and school quality are substantially capitalized into property values. Yet, we know little about the outcomes and outcome trends of school finance referenda and we have little systematic evidence about the relationship between these referenda outcomes and housing values. The purpose of this project is to gather data on school finance referenda across the states going back to 1995 and then study the relationship between referenda outcomes and housing values.


Title: Significant Features of the Property Tax

Researcher(s): Charlotte Kirschner, Pat Atkins, Hal Wolman, Garry Young, Kristin Broughton, Dan Coogan, Matt Darst, Dillon Kiel, Lisa Lowry, Daniel Ramsey

Funding: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Start Date: June 2006

Status: Current

Category: Economic and Industrial Development Policy

Summary: This multi-year undertaking between the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and GWIPP aims to provide a rich compendium of data and information for policymakers, practitioners, elected officials, researchers, and journalists on the local property tax in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  It is inspired by and meant to replace, at least partially, the Significant Features of Fiscal Federalism report that the US Advisory Commission of Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) published annually before the Commission was disbanded in 1996.  The online database makes it easy to compare features of the property tax across states or to learn about the property tax in detail for one or more specific states. Access to the database is available at no cost at: http://www.lincolninst.edu/subcenters/significant-features-property-tax/. The database currently provides features of the property tax as they were in calendar year 2006. These data will be updated annually, with 2007 and 2008 data expected to be released during the spring and summer 2010. 


GWIPP and Lincoln have held two property tax roundtables during the course of the project. The first round table brought property tax scholars from across the country to Washington, DC in October 2007 to discuss the erosion of the property tax base. The second roundtable, held in February 2009, examined the impacts of changes in the property tax on local autonomy.   GWIPP staff presented research papers at both roundtables. An edited volume from the first roundtable, “Erosion of the Property Tax Base: Trends, Causes, and Consequences,” was published in May 2009 and is available at http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/1570_erosion-property-tax-base. The edited volume from the second roundtable is forthcoming.

Products:

Erosion of the Property Tax Base: Trends, Causes, and Consequences. Nancy Y. Augustine, Michael Bell, David Brunori, and Joan M. Youngman, 2009.

The Property Tax and Local Autonomy. Michael Bell, David Brunori, and Joan Youngman, editors, forthcoming.

Working Paper 027 - The Property Tax: Its Role and Significance in Funding State and Local Government Services, David Brunori, Richard Green, Michael Bell, Chanyung Choi, Bing Yuan, March 2006.

Working Paper 035 - Comparing Local Government Autonomy Across States. By Hal Wolman, Robert McManmon, Michael Bell, and David Brunori.


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: Foreign Capital Cities and Their Relationship to the National Government: What Washington, DC Can Learn

Funding: Trellis Foundation

Start Date: January 2006

Status: Completed

Category: Washington Area Studies, International and Comparative Policy

Summary: The District of Columbia, as the capital of the United States, is in a unique set of circumstances with respect to other American cities, but it is not unique in the world. All countries have capital cities and they face many of the same problems as Washington, DC. The object of this study is to determine what can be learned from these cities and their relationship to their national governments that is relevant to the circumstances of Washington, DC, and will better inform the debate about the issues related to Washington's role as a capital city.


Title: Promoting Bicycling in Three Metropolitan Washington Counties

Funding: Active Living Research, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Start Date: August 2005

Status: Completed

Category: Washington Area Studies; Planning, Growth Management, and Sprawl

Summary: There is increasing evidence that the built environment of communities can inhibit or enhance activity levels among all age groups. A key aspect of the built environment is provision of facilities and opportunities for bicycling, which has long been recognized as an activity with important health benefits. Yet the quality of bicycling facilities varies dramatically, as some communities have recently developed high quality bicycling assets while others demonstrate very little progress in this regard. The cause of this variance remains unstudied.

This project consists of comparative case studies of policy changes in three counties of Metropolitan Washington--Arlington, VA; Fairfax, VA; and Montgomery, MD--that have resulted in significantly different levels of bicycling facilities in each county despite a common metropolitan environment and many shared characteristics among the three counties. The study will explain how significant differences in the county policies evolved, why different policy tools were chosen, and the consequences of those choices.


Title: Estimating Economic Impacts of Homeland Security Measures

Researcher(s): Joe Cordes, Anthony Yezer (Economics), Garry Young, Mary Katherine Foreman, and Charlotte Kirschner

Funding: Homeland Security Institute

Start Date: 2005

Status: Completed

Category: Economic and Industrial Development Policy Studies

Summary: Information on the economic impact of policies and programs undertaken to enhance homeland security is important in the future design and evaluation of measures undertaken to enhance homeland security. This project will: (a) provide a complete list of the types of countermeasures that have been or might be proposed to reduce either the risk or the consequences of terrorist attacks; (b) produce an in-depth survey of both the economic literature and federal government "best practices" and official guidelines for estimating the economic impacts these measures; and (c) apply one or more of the methods identified in (b) to estimate the economic impact of an actual measure (or set of measures) that have been or might be implemented to reduce either the risks of, or the consequences of terrorist attacks.


Title: Lessons Learned in Homeland Security

Funding: Homeland Security Institute

Start Date: October 2004

Status: Completed

Category: Homeland Security Policy

Summary: This project involves mining relevant information repositories to construct a qualitative database of the Lessons Learned from catastrophes, both man-made and natural, with an eye towards recognizing trends and patterns in problems and solutions.


Title: Soft Metrics for Critical Infrastructure Protection (Research Design)

Funding: Homeland Security Institute

Start Date: October 2004

Status: Completed

Category: Homeland Security Policy

Summary: This project involves creating a research design with two components. In the first component the GWIPP team will produce a survey methodology for measuring how the American people rank order national icons – such as national monuments, federal buildings, and significant natural landmarks – in terms of importance. In the second component the GWIPP team will develop a design for exploring how to measure the impact of a major terrorist attack on public perception in four areas – national security, governance, public confidence, and economic scope and duration.