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What's Inside the Winter 2012 JPAM

January 9, 2012 02:35 PM

A quick summary of articles found in the Winter 2012 issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Energy Demand-Side Management: New Perspectives for a New Era
Sanya Carley

factoryDemand-side management has become a popular carbon mitigation policy strategy among U.S. states. Over the course of the past 15 to 20 years, several states adopted policies that mandate specific levels of energy efficiency savings, provide funding for energy efficiency investments, and allow utilities to earn performance incentives above regular rate returns for demand-side management spending. These programs, if successfully structure and implemented, have substantial potential to reduce consumers’ energy use and modify energy consumption behavior.

A Preliminary Theory of Dark Network Resilience
René M. Bakker, Jörg Raab, and H. Brinton Milward

network_constellationAn analysis of social networks and, in particular, the development of a new terrain of research called dark networks. These are covert networks operating illegally, outside the boundaries of the law, and can pose a threat to the stability of nation states. International crime and terrorism are increasingly organized as transnational dark networks, which have flourished as the state has ceded territory to markets.

The Efficiency of a Group-Specific Mandated Benefit Revisted: The Effect of Infertility Mandates
Joanna N. Lahey

SchwangerschaftstestHealth insurance mandates require that insurance companies provide coverage for specific services or provider types when they offer insurance to companies. As the number of state health insurance mandates increases, it is important to determine the effects of these mandates on the labor market. To empirically examine the labor market effects, this paper focuses on a mandate that is similar to the maternity mandate, but differs in a way that changes the theoretical predictions of its effect on labor markets. The proposed theory and these empirical results demonstrate that the labor market effects of state mandates depend on the characteristics of the mandates, and should be looked at individually rather than as a group in policymaking.

Research Frontiers in Comparative Policy Analysis: An Introduction
Assem Prakash and Matthew Potoski

world_atlasUnderstanding public policy requires taking into account the complex relations among policy actors, institutions, and processes, all of which are in turn influenced by a variety of factors, including culture, history, and global relations. Each country’s policy choices and outcomes reflect its own internal dynamics as well as influences from an increasingly globalized world. In the face of such complexity, a cross-national comparative perspective can offer analytical leverage to shed light on which policies countries adopt, the ones that work, those that do not, and why.

Four articles are presented that survey important policy domains. These surveys provide a comparative summary of labor market, urban, environmental, and long-term care policy. The topics cover a mix of traditional and emerging areas of policy analysis. They also provide a forward-looking perspective, identifying analytical themes and empirical puzzles for future research.

Labor Market Policy: A Comparative View on the Costs and Benefits of Labor Market Flexibility
Lawrence M. Kahn

This paper reviews theories and evidence on wage-setting institutions and labor market policies in an international comparative context. These include collective bargaining, minimum wages, employment protection laws, unemployment insurance (UI), mandated parental leave, and active labor market policies (ALMPs). As it is unlikely an unregulated private sector would provide the income insurance these institutions do, these policies may enhance economic efficiency.

The authors also examine several questions: Does labor market flexibility create jobs? Do policies that protect workers such as union bargaining, high costs of firing workers, or generous UI benefits have unintended consequences? Do public policies create a society of insiders with protected jobs and outsiders looking in? Have any countries been able to protect their workers while at the same time mitigating these possible adverse consequences of labor market interventions? Is it possible to protect workers and maintain labor market flexibility?

The Challenge of Urban Policy
Edward L. Glaeser

More than half the world lives in urban areas, and the growth of these places is sure to continue as poorer nations develop. Urbanization is closely correlated with national prosperity, which suggests that the move to cities is an important part of world economic growth. But the concentration of vast numbers of humans into densely packed areas also creates enormous policy challenges. The negative effects of proximity, if not properly managed, can destroy the quality of life in any urban area.

This article examines how two main approaches to externalities—engineering solutions, like aqueducts and new highways, and interventions that attempt to alter private behavior such as public health education and congestion charges—have been successful in some areas and not in others. It also addresses the privatization of public services, exploring its costs, its benefits, and its controversies—most notably the contentious debates around the establishment of charter schools.

Voluntary Environmental Programs: A Comparative Perspective
Assem Prakash and Matthew Potoski

Companies around the world have been joining voluntary environmental programs in droves. By the end of 2009, more than 223,149 facilities had received ISO 14001 certification, the voluntary environmental program sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization. Other voluntary environmental programs have been sponsored by NGOs, trade associations, and even governments, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency being a world leader in launching programs.

In this article, the authors draw on international lessons to investigate why sponsors establish voluntary programs, improving participants’ environmental activities and others end up as empty greenwashes. With voluntary approaches to governance becoming increasingly popular in other policy areas, examples from around the world provide lessons on how to harness their upside while avoiding their pitfalls.

Long-Term Care: Common Issues and Unknowns
Katherine Swartz, Naoko Miake, and Nadine Farag

Industrialized countries’ rapidly aging populations have created a new social problem: the risk of high costs for long-term care (LTC) assistance. Significant gains in life expectancy for people who reach age 65 have meant rising numbers of elderly who need help with activities of daily living and an increasing fraction who need formal care services for a long period of time. Together with the larger share of the industrialized countries’ populations who will be elderly by 2030, these facts are forcing countries to confront the need to develop formal LTC policies.

Because LTC need is a relatively new public policy issue, data needs are new. Just as American researchers use state variations and differences in programs to identify the effects of programmatic design choices, researchers could learn from difference in countries’ LTC policy design if standardized data was gathered for this purpose. A concerted effort is needed to generate both questions that international comparative research on LTC could answer and the data needed to address the questions.

Point/Counterpoint

The Post-Recession Employment Situation: A Comparative Perspective
Kenneth A. Couch

great_depressionFour groups discuss the employment situation in the United States in the wake of the Great Recession, focusing on the following questions:

 

 

  • What national initiatives have worked and which were less effective in helping stimulate employment? Might more be done?
  • Should other services or additional support be provided to unemployed workers, their households, and others impacted by the recession?
  • How do government financial and structural deficits interact with employment policy?
  • To what extent did countries coordinate policy responses and learn from best practices? Are there still lessons that might be drawn from different experiences across countries?

European Labor Market in Critical Times: The Importance of Flexicurity Confirmed
Sigried Caspar, Ines Hartwig, and Barbara Moench

Addressing the Employment Situation in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
David Newmark and Kenneth Troske

Crisis and Employment: The Case of Korea
Dongchul Cho and Sukha Shin

Policy Responses to the Recent Poor Performance of the U.S. Labor Market
Robert Haveman, Carolyn Heinrich, and Timothy Smeeding

A Strategic and Integrated Labor Market Approach: Essential to Overcome the Crisis and to Assist Structural Adjustment
Sigried Caspar, Ines Hartwig, and Barbara Moench

Lessons from Other Countries, and Rethinking (Slightly) Unemployment Insurance as Social Insurance Against the Great Recession
David Neumark and Kenneth Troske

Time to Shift From Macro- to Micro-Policies
Dongchul Cho and Sukha Shin

Climbing Out of a Deep Hole: Which Path Up?
Robert Haveman, Carolyn Heinrich, and Timothy Smeeding

 

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