Housing & Community Development

The Search for Social Entrepreneurship

The Search for Social Entrepreneurship
Brookings Institution Press

Light, P.C.
01/01/2008

Research on social entrepreneurship is finally catching up to its rapidly growing potential. In The Search for Social Entrepreneurship, Paul Light explores this surge of interest to establish the state of knowledge on this growing phenomenon and suggest directions for future research. Light begins by outlining the debate on how to define social entrepreneurship, a concept often cited and lauded but not necessarily understood. A very elemental definition would note that it involves individuals, groups, networks, or organizations seeking sustainable change via new ideas on how governments, nonprofits, and businesses can address significant social problems. That leaves plenty of gaps, however, and without adequate agreement on what the term means, we cannot measure it effectively. The unsatisfying results are apple-to-orange comparisons that make replication and further research difficult. The subsequent section examines the four main components of social entrepreneurship: ideas, opportunities, organizations, and the entrepreneurs themselves. The copious information available about each has yet to be mined for lessons on making social entrepreneurship a success. The third section draws on Light’s original survey research on 131 high-performing nonprofits, exploring how they differ across the four key components. The fourth and final section offers recommendations for future action and research in this burgeoning field.

Notes from the Field: Jumpstarting the IRB Approval Process in Multicenter Studies

Notes from the Field: Jumpstarting the IRB Approval Process in Multicenter Studies
Health Services Research, Volume 42, Number 4, August 2007 , pp. 1773-1782(10) Blackwell Publishing.

Blustein, J., Regenstein, M., Seigel, B. & Billings, J.
08/01/2007

Objective. To identify strategies that facilitate readiness for local Institutional Review Board (IRB) review, in multicenter studies.

Study Setting. Eleven acute care hospitals, as they applied to participate in a foundation-sponsored quality improvement collaborative.

Study Design. Case series.

Data Collection/Extraction. Participant observation, supplemented with review of written and oral communications.

Principal Findings. Applicant hospitals responded positively to efforts to engage them in early planning for the IRB review process. Strategies that were particularly effective were the provisions of application templates, a modular approach to study description, and reliance on conference calls to collectively engage prospective investigators, local IRB members, and the evaluation/national program office teams. Together, these strategies allowed early identification of problems, clarification of intent, and relatively timely completion of the local IRB review process, once hospitals were selected to participate in the learning collaborative.

Conclusions. Engaging potential collaborators in planning for IRB review may help expedite and facilitate review, without compromising the fairness of the grant-making process or the integrity of human subjects protection.

The Impact of Supportive Housing on Surrounding Neighborhoods

The Impact of Supportive Housing on Surrounding Neighborhoods
2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper, July

Gedal, M. & Been, V., Ellen, I.G., Voicu, I.
07/01/2007

Communities across New York City and around the nation commonly oppose proposals to open supportive housing in their neighborhoods because of fear that the housing will decrease the quality of life in the neighborhood, and lead to reductions in property values. This study aims to give supportive housing providers and local government officials the  objective, credible information they need to guide policy decisions and to respond to opponents' fears and arguments. Using a difference-in-difference regression model to isolate the effect of supportive housing from more general macro and micro market trends and neighborhood variations, this paper examines the impact that almost 14,000 units of supportive housing created in New York City over the past twenty five years have had on their host neighborhoods over time.

In a preliminary analysis, we find little evidence that supportive housing facilities diminish the value of surrounding properties. We find evidence that prices of properties surrounding supportive housing facilities are lower than comparable properties in the same neighborhood prior to the opening of the facility, and that this gap tends to narrow following the opening of a facility. Specifically, the preliminary analysis suggests that modestly-sized supportive housing developments (which are typical in New York City) may have small, positive impacts on neighboring property values, though these positive impacts decline as project size increases. Very large facilities may have negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.

 

The Political Economy of School Choice: Support for Charter Schools Across States and School Districts

The Political Economy of School Choice: Support for Charter Schools Across States and School Districts
Journal of Urban Economics, July 2007, Vol. 62 Issue 1, p27-54, 28p.

Stoddard, C. & Corcoran, S.P.
07/01/2007

Public charter schools are one of the fastest growing education reforms in the US, currently serving more than a million students. Though the movement for greater school choice is widespread, its implementation has been uneven. State laws differ greatly in the degree of latitude granted charter schools, and-holding constant state support-states and localities vary widely in the availability of and enrollment in these schools. In this paper, we use a panel of demographic, financial, and school performance data to examine the support for charters at the state and local levels. Results suggest that growing population heterogeneity and income inequality-in addition to persistently low student outcomes-are associated with greater support for charter schools. Teachers unions have been particularly effective in slowing or preventing liberal state charter legislation; however, conditional on law passage and strength, local participation in charter schools rises with the share of unionized teachers.

Financial Performance and Outreach: A Global Analysis of Leading Microbanks

Financial Performance and Outreach: A Global Analysis of Leading Microbanks
Economic Journal, February 2007, Vol. 117, Issue 517, pp. F107-F133

Morduch, J., Cull, R. & Demirguc-Kunt, A.
02/01/2007

Microfinance promises to reduce poverty by employing profit-making banking practices in low-income communities. Many microfinance institutions have secured high loan repayment rates but, so far, relatively few earn profits. We examine why this promise remains unmet. We explore patterns of profitability, loan repayment, and cost reduction with unusually high-quality data on 124 institutions in 49 countries. The evidence shows the possibility of earning profits while serving the poor, but a trade-off emerges between profitability and serving the poorest. Raising fees to very high levels does not ensure greater profitability and the benefits of cost-cutting diminish when serving better-off customers.

Civic Engagement & National Belonging

Civic Engagement & National Belonging
International Journal of Public Administration and Management .

Kersh, R.
01/01/2007

In his essay “All Community Is Local,” political scientist William Schambra urges that researchers and activists “direct our gaze away from the failed project of national community and focus once again on the churches, voluntary associations, and grass-roots groups that are rebuilding America’s civil society one family, one block, one neighborhood at a time.” Schambra’s is a rather extreme version of a view expressed by many theorists of citizenship, as well as by political figures from both right and left: that the nation is too distant from most people’s lives (or its governing officials too impersonal or corrupt) to inspire a sense of shared purposes or civic spirit. Only intense local involvement yields rightly-constituted citizens, and small communities are the likeliest realm for realizing the public good.[1]

Does Federally Subsidized Rental Housing Depress Neighborhood Property Values?

Does Federally Subsidized Rental Housing Depress Neighborhood Property Values?
Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, Spring 2007, Vol. 26 Issue 2, p257-280, 24p.

Ellen, I.G., Schwartz, A.E., Voicu, I. & Schill, M.H.
01/01/2007

Few communities welcome federally subsidized rental housing, with one of the most commonly voiced fears being reductions in property values. Yet there is little empirical evidence that subsidized housing depresses neighborhood property values. This paper estimates and compares the neighborhood impacts of a broad range of federally subsidized rental housing programs, using rich data for New York City and a difference-in-difference specification of a hedonic regression model. We find that federally subsidized developments have not typically led to reductions in property values and have, in fact, led to increases in some cases. Impacts are highly sensitive to scale, though patterns vary across programs.

Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York

Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York
W.W. Norton.

Ballon, H. & Jackson, K.T. eds.
01/01/2007

"We are rebuilding New York, not dispersing and abandoning it": Robert Moses saw himself on a rescue mission to save the city from obsolescence, decentralization, and decline. His vast building program aimed to modernize urban infrastructure, expand the public realm with extensive recreational facilities, remove blight, and make the city more livable for the middle class. This book offers a fresh look at the physical transformation of New York during Moses’s nearly forty-year reign over city building from 1934 to 1968. It is hard to imagine that anyone will ever have the same impact on New York as did Robert Moses. In his various roles in city and state government, he reshaped the fabric of the city, and his legacy continues to touch the lives of all New Yorkers. Revered for most of his life, he is now one of the most controversial figures in the city’s history. Robert Moses and the Modern City is the first major publication devoted to him since Robert Caro’s damning 1974 biography, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. In these pages eight short essays by leading scholars of urban history provide a revised perspective; stunning new photographs offer the first visual record of Moses’s far-reaching building program as it stands today; and a comprehensive catalog of his works is illustrated with a wealth of archival records: photographs of buildings, neighborhoods, and landscapes, of parks, pools, and playgrounds, of demolished neighborhoods and replacement housing and urban renewal projects, of bridges and highways; renderings of rejected designs and controversial projects that were defeated; and views of spectacular models that have not been seen since Moses made them for promotional purposes. Robert Moses and the Modern City captures research undertaken in the last three decades and will stimulate a new round of debate.

What Do Business Improvement Districts Do for Property Owners?

What Do Business Improvement Districts Do for Property Owners?
Proceedings of the Annual Conference on Taxation, p431-437, 7p

Schwartz, A.E., Ellen, I.G. & Meltzer, R.
01/01/2007

The article discusses the implication of business improvement districts (BIDS) to property owners in the U.S. The scheme first arrived in the country in mid-1970s when urban centers were losing both residents and businesses to suburbs. Such scheme is beneficial to companies because it delivers fair basic services such as security, maintenance, marketing and capital improvements.

Gasoline Prices, Interest Rates, and the 2008 Election

Gasoline Prices, Interest Rates, and the 2008 Election
The New York Observer June

Moss, M.
06/01/2006

Forget immigration, global warning, Donald Rumsfeld and abortion rights.

The hot issues of today will quickly fade away if the current surge in gasoline prices and home-mortgage rates continues unabated. And all indications are that both the price of gas and the cost of borrowing are moving in one direction only: north.

 

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