Economics

Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment

Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D
05/01/2009

This report focuses on the effect of the recession and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on economically marginalized communities. The Network highlights four key areas of impact for women of color and their families: job creation and employment, housing and social services, education, and tax cuts to individuals.

Microfinance Meets the Market

Microfinance Meets the Market
February Journal of Economic Perspectives 23(1), Winter:  167-192.

Morduch, J., Cull, R. & Demirguc-Kunt, A.
02/01/2009

In this paper, we examine the economic logic behind microfinance institutions and consider the movement from socially oriented nonprofit microfinance institutions to for-profit microfinance. Drawing on a large dataset that includes most of the world's leading microfinance institutions, we explore eight questions about the microfinance "industry": Who are the lenders? How widespread is profitability? Are loans in fact repaid at the high rates advertised? Who are the customers? Why are interest rates so high? Are profits high enough to attract profit-maximizing investors? How important are subsidies? The evidence suggests that investors seeking pure profits would have little interest in most of the institutions we see that are now serving poorer customers. We will suggest that the future of microfinance is unlikely to follow a single path. The recent clash between supporters of profit-driven Banco Compartamos and of the Grameen Bank with its "social business" model offers us a false choice. Commercial investment is necessary to fund the continued expansion of microfinance, but institutions with strong social missions, many taking advantage of subsidies, remain best placed to reach and serve the poorest customers, and some are doing so at a massive scale. The market is a powerful force, but it cannot fill all gaps.

Recent Changes in Dutch Health Insurance: Individual Mandate or Social Insurance

Recent Changes in Dutch Health Insurance: Individual Mandate or Social Insurance
Expanding Access to Health Care. T.F. Buss and P. Van de Water (eds.) National Academy of Public Administration. New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Okma, K.
01/01/2009

The U.S. health care system faces well-known problems: 47 million people without health insurance, rapidly rising costs that consume 16 percent of the country'e economic output, and widely uneven quality of care. Even many people with coverage are experiencing serious problems paying for the rapidly rising costs of health care and insurance.

This book--a joint product of the National Academy of Public Administration and the National Academy of Social Insurance--undertakes a sweeping analysis of the management and administrative issues that arise in expanding health care coverage. The book identifies the core administrative functions that need to be performed in assuring access to health coverage, describes how these functions are performed at present and under proposed alternatives, draws lessons from experience in the U.S. and abroad, and assesses suggested administrative approaches designed to facilitate the improvement and expansion of health care coverage.

Adequate health care is one of today's most crucial domestic policy concerns. Expanding Access to Health Care is designed to bring together in one place some of the best thinking on the subject, not as an exercise in advocacy, but rather to lay out the issues in a balanced way so that policymakers, researchers, and citizens can better understand the complex details of health care reform.

Siting, Spillovers, and Segregation: A Re-examination of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program

Siting, Spillovers, and Segregation: A Re-examination of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
In Edward Glaeser and John Quigley, Eds. Housinmg Markets and the Economy: Risk, Regulation, Policy; Essays in Honor of Karl Case. Cambridge, Mass: Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, pp. 233-267.

Ingrid Ellen, Katherine O'Regan, Ioan Voicu
01/01/2009

The timing of this volume could not be more opportune. It is based on a 2007 conference to honor the work of Karl "Chip" Case, who is renowned for his scientific contributions to the economics of housing and public policy. The chapters analyze risk in the housing market, the regulation of housing markets by government, and other issues in U.S. housing policy. Chapters investigate derivative markets; the role that home equity insurance can play in reducing risk; the role that the regulation of government-sponsored enterprises has played in extending credit to home purchasers in low-income neighborhoods; and the growth in the market for subprime mortgages. The impact of local zoning regulations on housing prices and new construction is also considered. This is a must read during a time of restructuring our nation’s system of housing finance.

The Unbanked: Evidence from Indonesia

The Unbanked: Evidence from Indonesia
October   World Bank Economic Review 22(3): 517-537

Morduch, J. & Jonston Jr., D.
10/01/2008

To analyze the prospects for expanding financial access to the poor, bank professionals assessed 1,438 households in six provinces in Indonesia to judge their creditworthiness. About 40 percent of poor households were judged creditworthy according to the criteria of Indonesia's largest microfinance bank, but fewer than 10 percent had recently borrowed from a microbank or formal lender. Possessing collateral appeared as a minor determinant of creditworthiness, in keeping with microfinance innovations. Although these households were judged able to service loans reliably, most desired small loans. Calculations show that the bank, given its current fee structure and banking practices, would lose money when lending at the scales desired. So, while innovations have helped to extend financial access, it remains difficult to lend in small amounts and cover costs.

Understanding Client and Occupation Barriers in New York City

Understanding Client and Occupation Barriers in New York City

Women of Color Policy Network
09/01/2008

In 2006, the Network was commissioned by United Way of New York to access the viability of New York City's first workforce development program. Using a mix method approach of surveys, individual interviews with program participants and extensive secondary data, the Network helped identify labor and workforce trends as well as barriers and challenges to sustained employment within low-income communities. A three-part series of our findings and recommendations for future programs in workforce development was released. An Assessment of Client Barriers: A Sample of NYC Works Program Participants Industry and Occupational Assessment of NYC Works NYCWorks program staff perceptions of Client Barriers

"What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Worker Knowledge and Retirement Decision-Making"

"What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Worker Knowledge and Retirement Decision-Making"
Review of Economics and Statistics, volume 90(2), May 2008

Chan, S. & Stevens, A.H.
05/01/2008

This paper provides an answer to an important empirical puzzle in the retirement literature: while most people know little about their own pension plans, retirement behavior is strongly affected by pension incentives. We combine administrative and self-reported pension data to measure the retirement response to actual and perceived financial incentives and document an important role for self-reported pension data in determining retirement behavior. Well-informed individuals are far more responsive to pension incentives than the average individual. Ill-informed individuals seem to respond systematically to their own misperceptions of pension incentives.

Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice
Encyclopedia of Quantitative Risk Assessment. Edited by B. Everitt and E. Melnick. John Wiley Publishers. New York, NY,

Restrepo, C. & Zimmerman, R.
05/01/2008

Quantitative risk assessment is a growing, important component of the larger field of risk assessment. The need to understand the risks of an activity, be it economic, environmental, public health/biomedical, or even based on terrorist or other hazardous impacts, has led to a number of methods of analysis for many different application scenarios. Indeed, all major areas of the larger endeavor - hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization - rely on and benefit from quantitative operations. Within these contexts, enhanced understanding of both the variability and the uncertainty inherent in the risk identification process is critically dependent upon proper implementation of appropriate statistical methodologies.

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