Financial Access Initiative research on the unbanked cited in House testimony
The Financial Access Initiative, a research consortium of leading development economists that is focused on substantially expanding access to financial services for low-income individuals worldwiide, was cited by U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) at a hearing on the future of the microfinance poverty-fighting strategy on Jan. 27 conducted by the House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology. Among other facts, Rep. Maffei noted FAI's finding that 2.5 billion people currently have no savings or credit account with a tradition or alternative financial institution (see study "Half the World is Unbanked, Oct., 2009) The congressman's videotaped remarks begin at minute 19:28 here.
Additionally, FAI research was cited at the hearing in testimony by Susy Cheston of Opportunity International (see P. 6).
The Financial Access Initiative is housed at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Its managing director and lead researcher is Jonathan Morduch, professor of public policy and economics at NYU Wagner.
NYU Wagner co-sponsors Irving H. Jurow Lecture on 'The Fate of Conservatism'
Wagner Prof. Bob Shrum and NY Times' Sam Tanenhaus at NYU Jurow Lecture
Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of The New York Times Book Review and Week in Review and the author of "The Death of Conservatism," delivered the 11th Irving H. Jurow Lecture at NYU's Silver Center for Arts and Science on February 1. David Oshinsky, Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor at NYU and Jack S. Blanton Chair of the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin, offered introductory remarks. A panel discussion was moderated by Oshinsky, with Ellen Schall, the Dean of NYU Wagner and the Martin Cherkasky Professor of Health Policy and Management; Robert Shrum, Senior Fellow, NYU Wagne and author of "No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner"; and Tannenhaus.
The event was co=sponsored by the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and the College of Arts and Science at NYU.
Furman Center Releases New Report on Foreclosed Properties in New York City
On January 14, 2010, the Furman Center released a new report, Foreclosed Properties in NYC: A Look at the Last 15 Years. The report analyzes the outcomes of 1-4 family properties that entered foreclosure in New York City between 1993 and 2007, paying particular attention to trends in recent years. While foreclosure filings continue to rise, little is known about what happens to those properties-how many homeowners are able to stay in their home, how many sell their homes, how many complete the foreclosure process and end up in REO. This report sheds new light on these questions. View the press release.
What to read on foreign aid, according to NYU Wagner Prof. John Gershman
Professor John Gershman, clinical associate professor and director of undergraduate programs at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, offered Foreign Affairs magazine his ideas on what's worth reading on the issue of foreign aid. To see his annotated syllabus, go here.
President Obama Highlights Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
"In the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college."
-President Barack Obama, 1/27/10
In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama highlighted the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This program, a part of the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, allows some federal student loan borrowers who work in the public and nonprofit sectors to have remaining loan balances forgiven after 10 years of qualifying employment and loan repayment.
To learn more about the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, please visit our Web site.
The post-racial conversation one year later, with NYU Wagner's Irshad Manji
ONE YEAR after the inauguration of America's first African-American president, MSNBC presented "Hope and Fear in Obama's America: 2010" on Monday, January 18, a lively, extended discussion on race held at Texas Southern State University with national thought leaders, including NYU Wagner Visiting Scholar Irshad Manji -- the director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University. Tune in Manji's comments and offer your own.
WagNerds win volleyball championship!
WagNerds co-ed volleyball champions.
The co-ed WagNerds volleyball team was dazzling enough to win this year's NYU Intramural championship! It accomplished this impressive feat after finishing the semester with a won-loss record of 5-1 in the regular season. It then went on to win five more games -- and captured the 32-team, year-end tournament held in December.
In the finals, the NYU Wagner team defeated the Ballerz team by a score of 25-9 / 25-1 -- something that would have been impossible without the huge cheering section from Wagner and the crucial help all along of Christina DeCesare, Secretary of the Wagner Student Association (WSA), who coordinates Wagner's intramural programs.
Team members who participated in the playoff games included: Trish Bertuccio; Danielle Gilbert; Luke Heinkel; Jake Leos-Urbel; Noah Levine; Michael Lobiondo; Fedor Novikov; Jared Pruzman; Rebecca Smith; and Virginia Zuco.
The next season starts in the spring with a men's volleyball league and a women's volleyball league, along with many other sports groupings. Students who want to play on any of the teams can contact Christina to sign up.
Brademas Center report calls for a role for arts in enhancing America's global image
The 2008 election of Barack Obama has offered an historic opportunity for the restoration of America's image around the world. In January 2009, the John Brademas Center of NYU Wagner convened a group of experts to explore the public policy implications for American arts and culture of a renewed focus on U.S. public diplomacy, and issued a call for an expansion of international arts and cultural exchanges in the service of this new direction. A December, 2009, report from the Brademas Center is the result of their expert opinions and deliberations, including those of Wagner's Professor Ruth Ann Stewart, a coauthor of the report. The report, aimed at the President and Congress, is entitled "Moving Forward: A Renewed Role for American Arts and Artists in the Global Age."
Furman Center releases new study on racial segregation and subprime lending
On November 19, 2009, the Furman Center released a new report examining the relationship between residential segregation and subprime lending. The study examined whether the likelihood that borrowers of different races received a subprime loan varied depending on the level of racial segregation. It looked both at the role of racial segregation in metropolitan areas across the country and at the role that neighborhood demographics within communities in New York City played. The report found that, nationally, black borrowers living in the most racially segregated metropolitan areas were more likely to receive subprime loans than black borrowers living in the least racially segregated metropolitan areas. When looking just at New York City neighborhood demographics, the report found that living in a predominantly non-white neighborhood made it more likely that borrowers of all races would receive a subprime loan.
The Furman Center is a leading academic research center, and a joint initiative of NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the School of Law. The director is Vicki Been, the Boxer Family Professor of Law, and the co-director is Professor Ingrid Ellen of Wagner.
Half the world is 'unbanked,' says new Financial Access Initiative paper
The Financial Access Initiative (FAI), a research consortium based at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, has identified that 2.5 billion adults worldwide do not have a savings or credit account with either a traditional (regulated bank) or alternative financial institution (such as a microfinance institution). Nearly 90% of the financially un-served live in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. FAI published the findings in a November, 2009, paper, "Half the World is Unbanked" (click below to access it).
"Until now, the margin of error when considering the world's unbanked was about plus or minus a billion-unacceptable in any other field," said Jonathan Morduch, professor of economics and policy at NYU Wagner, managing director of the Financial Access Initiative, and author of Portfolios of the Poor, a new book examining the surprisingly sophisticated financial lives of the world's poor. "These findings are a real step ahead, and they show how better data can help policymakers truly target and serve poor populations with appropriate financial services."
The analysis also revealed new insights; for example, that India, a country with low per capita income and a large rural population, demonstrates much greater use of financial services than many relatively richer and more urban countries. The global data indicate that countries can improve levels of financial inclusion by creating effective policy and regulatory environments and enabling the actions of individual financial service providers. More than 800 million of those using financial services live on less than $5 per day, so it is possible to provide these services to very low-income communities-but there are still nearly 2 billion to reach.
The Financial Access Initiative (FAI) is a consortium of leading development economists focused on substantially expanding access to quality financial services for low-income individuals, offering the next generation of thinking about microfinance. FAI is housed at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and led by managing director Jonathan Morduch and directors Dean Karlan (Yale University) and Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard University). FAI focuses on basic research and measurement tools that reveal the most effective means of implementing microfinance initiatives. FAI studies the value of microfinance by identifying the demand for financial services; the impact of financial access on incomes, businesses, and broader aspects of well-being; and mechanisms that can increase impact and scale of microfinance.
At NYU Wagner event, OMB Director Orszag describes remedies for U.S. deficit [Video]
Peter Orszag, Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Peter Orszag, Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), talked about the enormous U.S. budget deficit, its primary causes, and its potential implications for health care, higher education, and the career prospects of younger people in an address November 3rd at New York University sponsored by the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Orszag was introduced by John Sexton, NYU's President, and Ellen Schall, the Dean of NYU Wagner, who served as the event's moderator and in her opening remarks noted that Orszag was the youngest member of President Barack Obama's cabinet.
Last year, Orszag told the audience of more than 400 people at NYU's Kimmel Center, the federal deficit was $1.4 trillion ,and a comparable budget gap is projected for the present fiscal year. Over the next decade, he said, the federal government is projected to generate additional red ink of $9 trillion. "Deficits of this size are serious and ultimately unsustainable," Orszag said.
The event was broadcast live by Fox Business while generating a significant amount of public interest and media coverage. To read an official text of the speech or view the NYU webcast, click on the links below.
New York Times spotlights NYU Wagner's 'Visual Explorer' application tool
When NYU Wagner reviews applications for admission, we try to add up the many components that make up an applicant and ask ourselves: Who is this person? Two years ago, we added an optional Visual Explorer essay to our application. This essay section provides all applicants with an opportunity to offer information about themselves that is not always captured through the standard essay question on the application. They are asked to select a photograph from an archive of two dozen conceptual images and then write about it. The process draws out their creativity, while grounding them in a moment of reflection about their motivation to study and work in public service.
"Too often," notes Wagner's dean, Ellen Schall, "applying to graduate school is transactional. We added Visual Explorer because we wanted to signal that the Wagner experience is transformational. Visual Explorer calls for people to slow down enough to reflect on their own experiences, connect their passion for public service to their professional goals, and offer their own perspectives on how to change the world."
On Nov. 1, 2009, the Education Life supplement of The New York Times spotlighted Wagner's pattern-breaking application tool, the images for which are provided in collaboration with the nonprofit Center for Creative Leadership, or CCL.
View the interactive feature at the New York Times.
Lt. Gov. Ravitch sizes up state deficit at Rudin Center forum
Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch and Prof. Charles Brecher
"Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch's appearance at an NYU forum yesterday was overbooked almost as soon as it was announced, and the audience wasn't disappointed as Gov. Paterson's No. 2 let loose on a variety of subjects." So began a Crain's Insider dispatch on Ravitch's bracing, widely reported discussion Oct. 28, 2009, at NYU Wagner on New York State's huge budget challenges and the implications for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which he formerly headed, the $2 transit fare, and the controversial idea of introducing East River bridge tolls.
Ravitch, a major figure in the development of fiscal practices in the city and state since 1970s, offered his assessments with Wagner's Professor Charles Brecher (moderator) as a guest of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, housed at the school, and the Center's director, Anthony Shorris, who previously headed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "The State of New York," Ravitch said, "has in the remainder of this fiscal year a deficit of $4 billion--$3 or $4; people argue about it," he said, speaking to students and transportation professionals at NYU's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy. "Next year it's between $7 and $8 [billion], assuming revenues level off. The year after that, when the stimulus bill no loner provides any one-shots for the State of New York, the deficit will be between $15 and $18 billion. These are numbers that are unprecedented."
Hear the full discussion in the Wagner Podcast.
UPSA Hosts Mayor Bloomberg on NYC's future
Mayor Bloomberg with UPSA chair Sandra Rothbard
Mayor Michael Bloomberg provided an optimistic forecast of the city's future in a talk he delivered October 26, 2009, at New York University's Kimmel Center as a guest of NYU Wagner's Urban Planning Students Association (UPSA). More than 100 Wagner students attended the event and heard an introduction by UPSA chair Sandra Rothbard. Bloomberg, in his remarks, said he envisions improvements in transit service, affordable housing, education, public safety, and the environment. He said he was pleased to talk with students who attend the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, a school, he noted with a smile, that is named for a "distinguished three-term mayor." Bloomberg ended his remarks with a straight-forward nod to Wagner and its "impressive" alumni working in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.
All kidding aside, Newark's Mayor Booker relates his policy challenges and success
Dean Ellen Schall and Mayor Cory Booker.
In a public conversation at NYU Wagner before more than 125 students, Newark, N.J., Mayor Corey Booker offered hard-won insight, progress reports and humor in describing how his administration's strategies to reduce recidivism are contributing to broad civic improvement.
Mayor Booker fielded questions October 8, 2009, about his pattern-breaking efforts from Ellen Schall, Dean of Wagner, and the audience on a day when, as it happened, he was attracting national attention for countering quips delivered by TV talk-show host Conan O'Brien at Newark's expense. The mayor told students that New Jersey's largest city is simply "not the butt of jokes," but conceded that matching O'Brien laugh-for-laugh is no easy challenge.
But Booker had the audience chuckling at several points, even as he described serious and substantial efforts since his election in July, 2006, to set a national standard for urban transformation. He noted he has created several public/private partnerships and brought together civic group to rehabilitate and green the city's parks and playgrounds, doubled affordable housing construction, and set up model programs to assist at-risk youth and empower ex-offenders to thrive in meeting their family obligations.
Booker said with evident pride that only 3 percent of the ex-offenders who participated in an innovative fraternity on fatherhood begun by the city two years ago have been re-arrested, showing that carefully tailored programs can end a publicly and personally tragic cycle of recidivism. He said he calls the fatherhood program DADS, or Delta Alpha Delta Sigma, he joked. He hopes that by working to bring proven business analytical measurements and operational management techniques to the city administration, such efforts will be scaled up and replicated elsewhere. "Most cities," he said, "don't have a mature prisoner-reentry system."
The 39-year-old Mayor Booker said he's working to turn the city's well-regarded charter schools -- currently overseen by Wagner alumnus De'Shawn Wright -- "from "islands of excellence to hemispheres of hope." With the help of philanthropic organizations and researchers, transferring the Newark charters' formula for high achievement to the rest of the 45,000-student school system is achievable, he said.
"Hopelessness is probably one of the worst toxins in any city, it's a cancer, and it really undermines what you're trying to do," said the mayor. But in referring to his deepening involvement in public service, he then added, "It hasn't been easy, but it's been so rewarding."
The evening event was sponsored by The NYU Wagner Students for Criminal Justice Reform and The Black Allied Law Students Association.
NYU Wagner students 'Ask An Adjunct' at new Office of Career Services event
NYU Wagner's Office of Career Services held its first Ask-an-Adjunct event on September 24. The event provided students with the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with public service practitioners who are leaders in their respective fields.
Wagner's adjunct faculty are outstanding teachers, expert practitioners, and an invaluable resource for Wagner's students both inside and outside of the classroom.
Ask-an-Adjunct was preceded by a Job Search Strategies workshop that gave students tips and tools for finding the jobs they wanted. About 75 students attended the workshop and then headed to Ask-an-Adjunct where they met with adjunct faculty members representing a wide range of fields including health policy, consulting,international development, finance, and nonprofit management.
On counting calories: new research explores NYC menu labeling initiative
Do patrons alter their food choices when they see how many calories their selections contain? A study published October 6, 2009, in the journal Health Affairs by Brian Elbel, Rogan Kersh, Victoria L. Brescoll, and L. Beth Dixon examines how likely customers of restaurant chains in low-income New York City neighborhoods are to make healthier choices when the menus include prominent, now-mandatory calorie postings. The researchers collected about 1,100 cashier receipts two weeks before the city's calorie labeling law took effect and four weeks after. They found that eating habits did not change significantly in the wake of the initiative.
The researchers concluded, "In an ideal world, calorie labeling on menus and menu boards would have an immediate and direct impact on everyone's food choices. However, as has been seen in previous attempts to change the behavior of vulnerable populations (for example, [in relation to] cigarette smoking), greater attention to the root causes of behavior, or multifaceted interventions, or both, will be necessary if obesity is to be greatly reduced in the overall U.S. population."
Brian Elbel is an assistant professor at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. Rogan Kersh is an associate professor and associate dean of NYU Wagner. Victoria Brescoll is an assistant professor in the Yale School of Management. Beth Dixon is an associate professor in the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The research for the study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Eating Initiative, the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and the New York University Wagner Dean's Fund.
Professor Rae Zimmerman and NYU Collaborators Receive NSF Grant
Rae Zimmerman, NYU Wagner Professor of Planning and Public Administration, was awarded along with her fellow researchers at New York University a more-than $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) based on the Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship For Service (SFS) program for research and teaching of security and privacy issues on the Internet and other critical information infrastructure. Zimmerman is the Director of the Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems based at Wagner.
The three-year grant was given to Nasir Menon and Ramesh Karri of NYU-Poly, who lead the effort, and several professors from New York University - Anindya Ghose, NYU Stern Assistant Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences, Helen Nissenbaum of NYU Steinhardt, and Rae Zimmerman of NYU Wagner - to provide funding for their interdisciplinary program, "ASPIRE: An SFS Program for Interdisciplinary Research and Education." The grant will support faculty research and curriculum innovation. It will also provide scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students participating in the program in order to stimulate the growth of a cadre of scholars with expertise in security and privacy issues.
This NYU-wide collaboration will focus on identifying and providing practical, cost effective solutions to information security and privacy problems from technical, ethical, policy and business perspectives. Zimmerman's focus is on the connection between cyber threats and the public services that infrastructure provides.
Six Wagner grads publish case studies in Prof. Kovner's 'Health Services Management'
The critically praised new edition of the casebook Health Services Management: Cases, Readings, and Commentary (9th ed., Health Administration Press: 2009), includes essays by six graduates of NYU Wagner and Anthony R. Kovner, professor of public health and management at Wagner and co-editor of the volume. The revised volume provides a distinctive overview of management and organizational behavior theory. The book's essays are organized into six parts: The Role of the Manager; Control; Organizational Design; and Professional Integration; Adaptation; and Accountability. The Wagner contributors are former students of public administration and health management who have gone on to work as leaders in the healthcare field. For example, Claudia Caine (MPA '84), in an essay co-written with Professor Kovner, drew on her experiences as Chief Operating Officer at Lutheran Medical Center of Brooklyn, N.Y. Their case study reveals how quality control moves significantly reduced patients' average wait time at an inner-city hospital's emergency room, from 90 minutes to between 30 and 35 minutes, door to doctor. And Jacob Victory (MPA '98), director of operational performance management for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, wrote two essays, entitled "Mid-Career Change" and "Integrating Rehabilitation Services into the Visiting Nurse Service of America." Overall, the book's cases take place in a variety of organizations, such as a faculty practice, a neighborhood health center, a small rural hospital, and an HMO. Kovner's co-editors include Duncan Neuhauser, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University, and Ann Scheck McAlearney, associate professor of health services management and policy at The Ohio State University's College of Public Health. Professor Kovner is also co-author of a newly published textbook, Evidence-Based Management in Health Care, the result of work by he and other distinguished management experts to foster more reliable, evidence-based decision making education and practice widely in the healthcare industry.
U.S. Health and Human Services Taps Former Wagner Adjunct for Senior Post
NYU Wagner has a high-caliber group of adjunct professors, including many seasoned practitioners who work on critical public problems in and across a variety of fields and sectors.
Now, David A. Hansell, who was a Wagner adjunct assistant professor from 2000 to 2006, has been named to a senior post at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
His new title, which was effective on June 29, 2009, is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, according to an announcement by New York State.
In his most recent role, Hansell is the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and has a breadth of knowledge in the development and delivery of social service policy and programs, including TANF, child support, LIHEAP, food stamps, and services for victims of domestic violence, persons with HIV/AIDS, home care clients, and adults in need of protection.
Prior to his appointment as Commissioner of the NYS OTDA, Hansell was Chief of Staff of the New York City Human Resources Administration, where he assisted in the management of all of the city's public assistance programs. Before joining HRA, Hansell served in a number of positions at Gay Men's Health Crisis, including Director of Legal Services and Deputy Director for Government and Public Affairs. From 1997-2001, he was the Associate Commissioner for HIV Services at the New York City Department of Health, and subsequently served as Associate Commissioner for Planning and Program Implementation.