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Preview the Spring 2013 JPAM

March 29, 2013 09:00 AM

A summary of articles in the Spring 2013 edition (vol 32, issue 2) of the JPAM.

The Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Program on Mothers’ Leave-Taking and Subsequent Labor Market Outcomes

School Vouchers and Student Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from Washington, DC

Politics Can Limit Policy Opportunism in Fiscal Institutions: Evidence from Official General Fund Revenue Forecasts in the American States

Spillover Effects of Voluntary Environmental Programs on Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Lessons from Mexico

High School Exit Exams and Dropout in an Era of Increased Accountability

Municipal Rebate Programs for Environmental Retrofits: An Evaluation of Additionality and Cost-Effectiveness

Are Charitable Giving and Religious Attendance Complements or Substitutes? The Role of Measurement Error

Point/Counterpoint: China’s One-Child Policy

Policy Retrospectives

International Conference News

Book Review

Award Given by The Vernon Prize Committee for Volume 31 of JPAM

Announcements from APPAM

The Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Program on Mothers’ Leave-Taking and Subsequent Labor Market Outcomes

Maya Rossin-Slater, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jane Waldfogel

mother_and_babyThis analysis uses March Current Population Survey data from 1999 to 2010 and a differences-in-differences approach to examine how California's first in the nation paid family leave (PFL) program affected leave-taking by mothers following childbirth, as well as subsequent labor market outcomes. Robust evidence indicates that the California program doubled the overall use of maternity leave, increasing it from an average of three to six weeks for new mothers—with some evidence of particularly large growth for less advantaged groups.
 

School Vouchers and Student Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from Washington, DC

Patrick J. Wolf, Brian Kisida, Babette Gutmann, Michael Puma, Nada Eissa, Lou Rizzo

graduationThe District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) has operated in the nation's capital since 2004, funded by a federal government appropriation. Because the program was oversubscribed in its early years of operation, and vouchers were awarded by lottery, the authors were able to use the “gold standard” evaluation method of a randomized experiment to determine what impacts the OSP had on student outcomes. Analysis reveals compelling evidence that the DC voucher program had a positive impact on high school graduation rates, suggesting that the program increased reading achievement, with no evidence that it affected math achievement.

Politics Can Limit Policy Opportunism in Fiscal Institutions: Evidence from Official General Fund Revenue Forecasts in the American States

George A. Krause, David E. Lewis, James W. Douglas

us_mapGovernments make policy decisions in the same areas in quite different institutions. Some assign policymaking responsibility to institutions designed to be insulated from myopic partisan and electoral pressures and others do not. In this study, we claim that differences in political context and institutional design constrain the policy choices governments make. Testable propositions based on an analysis of varying electoral incentives and time horizons created by these different contexts are empirically tested using panel data on official general fund revenue forecasts in the American states, 1987 to 2008. The empirical evidence reveals that executive branch agencies and independent commissions produce more conservative forecasts than legislatures with one important exception: Executive branch revenue forecasts in states with gubernatorial term limits are indistinguishable from legislative branch forecasts.

Spillover Effects of Voluntary Environmental Programs on Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Lessons from Mexico

Irene Henriques, Bryan W. Husted, Ivan Montiel

factory_emissionsThis is a comparison of the environmental performance of voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) with different attributes. Using club theory, the authors contend that the differential performance of VEPs is due in part to their specific design attributes that will either enhance or diminish their ability to improve both targeted and untargeted environmental impacts. We analyze two VEPs in Mexico, the global standard ISO 14001 and the local standard Clean Industry. These two VEPs differ in the stringency of the standards and in their ability to sanction noncompliant facilities. These differences ensure that firms adopting the local standard are less likely to shirk their responsibilities and enhance potential spillover effects on untargeted environmental emissions.

High School Exit Exams and Dropout in an Era of Increased Accountability

Steven W. Hemelt, Dave E. Marcotte

math_testA key form of student-level accountability is the requirement for students to pass high school exit exams (HSEEs) in order to receive a diploma. The authors examine the impact of HSEEs on dropout during a period when these exams became more common and rigorous. Does offering alternate pathways to graduation for students who cannot pass HSEEs moderate any dropout effects? The authors estimate dropout effects by grade for all students as well as by race, sex, and urbanicity and found that HSEEs increase dropout rates for students in the 12th grade, with especially large effects for African-American students.

Municipal Rebate Programs for Environmental Retrofits: An Evaluation of Additionality and Cost-Effectiveness

Lori S. Bennear, Jonathan M. Lee, Laura O. Taylor

toolWhen policies incentivize voluntary activities that also take place in the absence of the incentive, it is critical to identify the additionality of the policy—that is, the degree to which the policy results in actions that would not have occurred otherwise. Rebate programs have become a common conservation policy tool for local municipalities seeking to retrofit residential properties with efficient appliances. This research evaluates whether such rebates can be cost-effective means for water utilities to promote water conservation.
 

Are Charitable Giving and Religious Attendance Complements or Substitutes? The Role of Measurement Error

Matthew Kim

churchGovernment policies sometimes cause unintended consequences for other potentially desirable behaviors. One such policy is the charitable tax deduction, which encourages charitable giving by allowing individuals to deduct giving from taxable income. Whether charitable giving and other desirable behaviors are complements or substitutes affect the welfare benefit of the deduction—complements increase the benefit, while substitutes decrease the benefit. This paper focuses on the effect of the deduction on one behavior in particular: religious attendance.

Point/Counterpoint: China’s One-Child Policy

Kenneth A. Couch

China embarked on a national campaign of family planning in the 1970s after concerns regarding the carrying capacity of its national resources. By 1980, a policy that encouraged families to have only one child was in place along with contraceptive measures and penalties for noncompliance. Some aspects of these policies cut against the idea that reproductive choices should be made freely. Nonetheless, the policies, along with economic development, appear to have resulted in the desired reduction in the growth rate of the Chinese population.

What was perhaps less foreseen, as these polices were adopted, was the influence that declining fertility would have on the demographic structure of a Chinese society. Like many other countries, China is facing problems of a rapidly aging society. The implications are familiar: A disadvantageous ratio of the young to the old and a possible decline over time in size of the labor force.

The One-Child Policy Needs an Overhaul by Yijia Jing
China's Demographic Challenge Requires an Integrated Coping Strategy by Xizhe Peng
Barriers to Policy Change and a Suggested Path for Change by Yijia Jing
Understanding China’s Demographic Dividends and Labor Issue by Xizhe Peng

Policy Retrospectives

Class Size and Student Outcomes: Research and Policy Implications

Matthew M. Chingos

International Conference News

Labor Activation in a Time of High Unemployment: Lessons From Abroad

Douglas J. Besharov, Douglas M. Call, Stefano Scarpetta

In the 1980s and early 1990s, many member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) experienced extended periods of high and persistent unemployment, often coupled by low or declining rates of labor force participation and increasing numbers of recipients of government benefits (essentially unemployment, disability, and social assistance). In response, a number of countries over the past two decades have introduced policy reforms aimed at activating those recipients apparently able to work: requiring them to actively seek employment or engage in other specified work- or job training-related activities.

In the 1990s, the United States took the lead in activating those on social assistance (cash welfare) with its welfare-to-work programs. In recent years, other OECD countries made similar reforms to their social assistance programs, but they have also made more fundamental reforms to their unemployment and disability programs. To explore these developments, the University of Maryland Center for International Policy Exchanges (CIPE) and the OECD held an international conference in Paris, France in November 2011 on Labour Activation in a Time of High Unemployment.

The conference consisted of five sessions: the political economy of labor activation reform; activation of unemployment insurance (UI) benefit recipients; outsourcing of labor activation services; activation of social assistance benefit recipients; and activation of disability benefit recipients. Each session included presentations of policy papers written by European researchers, further elaborations by European government officials, and discussion papers from prominent U.S. researchers that synthesized the policy lessons for the United States. In total, approximately 90 people attended from 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Book Review

Governing Fables: Learning from Public Sector Narratives, by Sandford Borins.

Award Given by The Vernon Prize Committee for Volume 31 of JPAM

Announcements from APPAM

 

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