Wednesday, October 3, 2018

What Interventions Work Best for Families Who Experience Homelessness? Impact Estimates from the Family Options Study | JPAM Featured Article

In the United States, families with children represent about one-third of the 1.4 million people who experience sheltered homelessness each year. This paper presents findings from the Family Options Study, the first large-scale randomized trial to investigate the effects of interventions for families who experience homelessness. The study compares priority access to three types of programs with assignment to a usual care group that did not receive priority access to any type of program.


Spotlight: University of California, Berkeley


During the late 1960's, educators nationwide recognized the need for a new kind of public leadership and a new type of graduate education, fostering the vision, knowledge, and practical skills to empower a new generation of policy makers. The Goldman School of Public Policy, founded at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969, was one of the nation’s first graduate programs of its kind. As such, it has helped define the art and science of modern public policy.

Today, the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley conducts leading-edge research in budgeting and the economy, political participation, labor, education, inequality, racial profiling, criminal justice, health care, renewable energy and the environment, and national security. Masters and doctoral-level students actively participate in this research, benefit from focused faculty attention in the classroom and gain valuable experience as they work for clients solving real-world policy problems.

The versatility of a degree from the Goldman School prepares alumni to work in a wide range of policy-related fields: as policy researchers and analysts; professional staff for political leaders in all levels of government; program staff in multilateral organizations; consultants in private firms; and in a variety of public and non-profit sector agencies and a growing number of private corporations.

“The Goldman School’s faculty, students, and alumni are engaged in finding solutions to important public policy problems,” says Dean Henry E. Brady. “They are working on fiscal and economic issues, education, housing policy, criminal justice, health care, governmental institutions, global warming and the environment, defense policy, and many other areas. Members of the faculty are inventing and designing new public policies, analyzing existing and proposed policies, and commenting on them almost every day in the news media. Our alumni are in the thick of things in Washington, Sacramento, and around the world. Our students are fired up over the chance to solve these problems.”

A Growing International Focus

goldman_2In the past decade, the Goldman School of Public Policy has worked to increase its international presence by training leaders who understand and analyze pressing global issues and who can create innovative solutions. GSPP’s global programs bring emerging leaders from foreign governments to learn about North American public policy, create opportunities for these emerging leaders and GSPP students to share best practices and offer U.S. students opportunities to engage in capstone research, and client-team based projects around the world.

The global networks built while at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy will provide a platform that allows fellows and students to continue to draw on each other’s expertise in creating social change.


Goldman School centers assemble the school’s expertise to increase academic dialogue and public engagement. Additionally, centers offer students research opportunities and bring prestigious speakers and visiting faculty to the School.

Two highlights:

goldman_1The Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement focuses on preparing current and future leaders to successfully engage people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints in the resolution of public policy issues. Through research, teaching, fellowships/internships, and public events, students and the wider public learn about the range of deep beliefs and values which drive human social behavior.

The Goldman School is collaborating with UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources and other campus units to launch the Berkeley Food Institute. The institute will conduct interdisciplinary research and develop policy recommendations and to transform the global food system to one that is sustainable and affordable.

New Faculty

This fall, the Goldman School welcomes five new faculty members:

Jennifer_BussellJennifer Bussell is a political scientist with an interest in comparative politics and the political economy of development and governance, principally in South Asia and Africa. Her research considers the effects of formal and informal institutions—such as corruption, coalition politics, and federalism—on policy outcomes. Her book Corruption and Reform In India: Public Services in the Digital Age examines the role of corrupt practices in shaping government adoption of information technology across sub-national regions and is based on fieldwork in sixteen Indian states, as well as parts of South Africa and Brazil. Her current research uses elite and citizen surveys, interviews, and experiments to further explore the dynamics of corruption and citizen-state relations as they relate to public service delivery in democratic states. She also studies the politics of disaster management policies in developing countries. Her work has been published in Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, and Economic and Political Weekly.

Professor Bussell received a Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the faculty of the Goldman School, she taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Yale University.

Alex_GelberAlex Gelber’s research concerns the economic effects of public sector programs, particularly income taxation. He is interested inmicroeconomic issues, including the federal budget, housing, Social Security, labor, education, immigration, energy and environment, health care policy, small business policy, insurance policy, banking policy, and financial sector reform. He participates in inter-agency discussions and aids the Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy in formulating economic advice for the Secretary of the Treasury to shape public policy in these critical areas.

He has published in leading academic journals, including the Review of Economic Studies, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Public Economics, and theNew England Journal of Medicine.

Professor Gelber holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. Prior to joining the faculty of the Goldman School, he was an Assistant Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Wharton School. During the 2012-2013 academic year served Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the U.S. Treasury.

Hoynes-profileHilary Hoynes is a noted public finance and labor economist who studies poverty, inequality, and the impacts of government tax and transfer programs on low income families. Her current projects include evaluating the impact of the Great Recession across demographic groups, examining the impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on infant health, and estimating impacts of U.S. food and nutrition programs on labor supply, health and human capital accumulation. Her work has been published in many prestigious journals such as the American Economic Review, Econometrica, AEJ Applied, the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Journal of Public Economics. She is co-editor of the American Economic Review.

Professor Hoynes holds a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. Prior to joining the faculty of the Goldman School, she was on the faculty at UC Davis.

Solomon_HsiangSolomon Hsiang combines data with mathematical models to understand how society and the environment influence one another. In particular, he focuses on how policy can encourage economic development while managing global climate change, how natural disasters impact societies and the effectiveness of associated policy responses, and how environmental conditions influence social instability and violence.

He is a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a contributing editor of EARTH magazine.

Professor Hsiang earned a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development from Columbia University. He was a post-doctoral Fellow in Applied Econometrics at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining the faculty of the Goldman School, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Amy_LermanAmy Lerman focuses on how government activities shape citizens' attitudes and behaviors. The goal of her research is to think critically about, and to measure empirically, the way that public policies and state institutions structure micro-level politics.

She is particularly concerned with the role of political processes in shaping the civic orientations of low-income, youth, and racial minority communities. Her work examines the ways that growing economic inequality, persistent racial bias, and the rise of the carceral state influence political beliefs, racial identities and rates of political participation.

Professor Lerman holds a Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the faculty of the Goldman School, she was part of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


For more information on the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, visit their webpage or follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Article contributed by Bora Reed, UC Berkeley.


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