Housing & Community Development

A Room of One’s Own or A Room with a View? Housing and Educational Stratification

A Room of One’s Own or A Room with a View? Housing and Educational Stratification
Sociological Forum. 2001, Vol. 16(2), pp. 263-280.

Conley, D.
01/01/2001

This study attempts to understand the role that housing plays in the system of social stratification. First, it generates a model of how housing outcomes are stratified along dimensions of socioeconomic status and race. Second, it asks what role housing conditions play in the system of educational stratification of offspring. Using two-generational data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this paper demonstrates that home ownership is predicted by family income and race and that this indicator has a significant effect in predicting the educational attainment of offspring. Household crowding is also related to income and race and also affects the educational attainment of offspring. Meanwhile, housing quality—as measured by the physical condition of the unit—is not related to income or race and has no effect on educational attainment. Of particular note is that when socioeconomic status and housing conditions are held constant, African-Americans demonstrate more than a half-grade advantage over their non-black counterparts in years of completed schooling. In conclusion, the paper argues that housing matters not only for the immediate well-being of families, but also for the life-chances of the subsequent generation, and should be a standard variable in the conception of class background.

Beyond Normative Models and Development Trends: Strategic Design and Implementation of Decentralization in Developing Countries

Beyond Normative Models and Development Trends: Strategic Design and Implementation of Decentralization in Developing Countries
prepared for the Management, Governance and Development Division, United Nations Development Program, New York,

Smoke, P.
01/01/2001

This paper considers recent thinking on and experience with decentralization and local government reform in developing countries, primarily from the perspective of national policy. The paper begins by reviewing why decentralization has re-emerged as an important development trend and considers whether this is sensible. The third section examines why recent attempts to decentralize have not been particularly successful.  The fourth section selectively summarizes a few experiences from the 1990s in which attempts were made to overcome common obstacles to decentralization. The paper closes with a few modest lessons for the design and implementation of decentralization and local government reform programs.

Changing Water and Sewer Finance: Distributional Impacts and Effects on the Viability of Affordable Housing

Changing Water and Sewer Finance: Distributional Impacts and Effects on the Viability of Affordable Housing
Journal of the American Planning Association, 67(4): 420-37.

Schill, M., Netzer, D. & Susin, S.
01/01/2001

In this article, we focus on the distributional impact of a shift to charging for water and sewer service based entirely on actual water use measured by meters. In particular, we examined what the impact of universal metering in New York City would be on low- and moderate- income housing. We found that, despite its possible positive effects on conservation, universal water metering would have a substantial and regressive impact on both the providers and consumers of the city's low-income housing.

Decomposing the Black-White Wealth Gap: The Role of Parental Resources, Inheritance, and Investment Dynamics

Decomposing the Black-White Wealth Gap: The Role of Parental Resources, Inheritance, and Investment Dynamics
Sociological Inquiry. 2001, Vol. 71, pp. 39-66.

Conley, D.
01/01/2001

Much research has shown that even after controlling for income, African Americans suffer from drastically lower net worths than their white counterparts; these differences in net worth have important implications for the overall well-being of blacks and whites. If not directly from labor market disadvantages-i.e., income differentials-then from what does this racial gap in wealth arise? The current study assesses two complementary accounts of this race difference in asset holdings. The first, the historical legacy thesis, suggests that net wealth differences in the current generation are largely a result of discrimination in past generations; that is, they can be traced to the "head start" that whites have enjoyed in accumulating assets and passing them on. The second theory, the contemporary dynamics thesis, holds that current dynamics of institutional racism in the housing and credit markets are more responsible for the gap. The current study tests the relative impact of multi-generational forces and contemporary property and credit dynamics by using two-generational data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. It finds that parental wealth and income levels and inheritance all have a significant impact on the wealth levels of the current generation net of respondent socioeconomic characteristics; however, parental wealth and inheritance fail to explain the black-white gap. Further, this study shows that even predicting net worth from that same family's net worth five years prior (also controlling for savings during the interim), there remains a significantly negative effect of African American race. However, breaking out initial net worth into asset types shows that it may be different investment types and returns that explain the difference in asset accumulation over a five-year period.

Local Property Taxation in Theory and Practice: Some Reflections

Local Property Taxation in Theory and Practice: Some Reflections
in Wallace E. Oates, editor, Property Taxation and Local Government Finance, Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,

Netzer, D.
01/01/2001

The property tax is considered a most unpopular tax, among both scholars and taxpayers. Yet, recent research and analysis has proposed at least a partial rehabilitation of this tax and its role in the arena of local public finance. Based on a conference sponsored by the Lincoln Institute in January 2000, this book presents a systematic and comprehensive review of the economics of local property taxation and examines its policy implications. The ten papers and paired commentaries are written in a nontechnical form to make the findings available to a broad audience of policy makers and other noneconomists.

Performance Management in New York City: COMPSTAT and the Revolution in Police Management

Performance Management in New York City: COMPSTAT and the Revolution in Police Management
in Quicker, Better, Cheaper? Managing Performance in American Government, ed. Dall Forsythe. Albany: Suny Press,

Bratton, W. & Smith, D.C.
01/01/2001

Scholars may argue about the effectiveness of the "reinvention movement" at the state and federal level. At the local level, the managers of urban police forces have in fact reinvented American police administration, and in doing so have contributed to dramatic reductions in crime all across the nation. The story of this reinvention is complex, but central to it is a radical shift in the way police organizations strategically use information about performance to achieve greater managerial accountability. Because these new performance management techniques were pioneered in New York City in the mid-1990s, the development and implementation of Compstat by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is a valuable case study of this new approach to policing.

Principles to Guide Housing Policy in the New Millenium

Principles to Guide Housing Policy in the New Millenium
in Cityscapes: A Journal of Policy Development and Research. 5(2): 5-19.

Schill, M. & Wachter, S.
01/01/2001

The 1990s were a tumultuous time for Federal housing policy. The decade began with deep divisions in the housing community over how to deliver housing assistance. Federal budget cuts in the mid-1990s, for the first time in recent history, essentially froze the number of households that received housing assistance. At roughly the same time, the continuing existence of HUD was itself in doubt, as the New York Times Magazine in 1995 published its lead article proclaiming "The Year That Housing Died."

As the new millennium begins, things have changed dramatically. Not only is Congress no longer seriously questioning whether to disband HUD, but in response to a record-setting economic expansion and internal reforms within the agency, Congress has substantially increased HUD 's budget. In marked contrast to the beginning of the last decade, remarkable consensus exists among housing policymakers and analysts over the future direction of housing policy. In this article, we explore this emerging consensus and set forth our views regarding the principles that should guide housing policy over the next decade.

Race, Class and Social Control in the Streets

Race, Class and Social Control in the Streets
Sociological Forum. 2001, Vol. 16(4), pp. 759-772.

Conley, D. & Ryvicker, M.
01/01/2001

Jane Jacobs has recently become the most popular, pop sociologist around. There has been a spiked resurgence of media interest in her 1961 urban studies classic, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. This may be due partly to the recent release of her new book, The Nature of Economies. But there is probably something more to it. For journalists, Jacobs' account of the neighborhood life of New York City's Greenwich Village of the 1950s seems to induce nostalgic longings for a greater sense of community. The bustling, narrow streets Jacobs describes were filled with both small shops and tenement residences, with hoards of pedestrians engaged in both business and sociability, and with strangers and lifelong inhabitants alike. This apparent chaos was actually a ballet of multitudes and Jacobs uncovered the latent order that undergirded the community.

Risk and Insurance in Transition: Perspectives from Zouping County, China

Risk and Insurance in Transition: Perspectives from Zouping County, China
Chapter 8 in Community and Market in Economic Development, Oxford University Press, edited by Professors Masahiko Aoki and Yujiro Hayami.

Morduch, J. & Sicular, T.
01/01/2001

This book explores the role of community in facilitating the transition to market relationships in economic development, and in controlling and sustaining local public goods such as irrigation, forests, grazing land, and fishing grounds. Previously it was customary to classify economic systems in terms of varying combinations of state and market control of resource allocation. In contrast, this book recognizes community as the third major element of economic systems. This new approach also departs from the conventional view that markets and community norms should be treated as mutually exclusive means of organizing economic activity, instead clarifying the situations in which they may become complementary. Further discussion focuses on the conditions under which management of local commons can, and should, be delegated to local communities rather than subjected to the control of central government.

State Autonomy & Civil Society: The Lobbyist Connection

State Autonomy & Civil Society: The Lobbyist Connection
Critical Review 2001, Volume 14, Number 2.

Kersh, R.
01/01/2001

The much-noted decline of state autonomy theories owes partly to external challenges to state power, such as globalization, supranational regimes, and the like. But advanced democratic states have also long been seen as threatened from within, especially by powerful private interest groups.The extent of private-interest influence on policy making depends in important part on corporate lobbyists, a group whose activities are chronicled in this essay. Lobbyists exercise considerably more autonomy from the private clients who hire them than has previously been acknowledged. This portrait ultimately suggests that the national state and civil society may be mutually supportive rather than strictly separate spheres.

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