The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
Daniel L. Smith, assistant professor of public budgeting and financial management at NYU Wagner, has co-authored a new paper for the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Working Paper Series. According to the paper entitled "The Great Recession's Impact on New York City's Budget," New York City has effectively handled the effects of the recession on its budget, but asked lower income residents to "bear a substantial portion of the burden...."
According to the abstract, "Strong property tax growth and proactive policies - including beginning the recession with a substantial surplus of $5.3 billion (9 percent of revenues) - offset a severe contraction in income tax receipts, protecting the City's budget such that it never contracted in absolute terms during or immediately following the Great Recession. Policymakers increased property and sales tax rates, utilized fund balances, cut agency budgets repeatedly, and re-appropriated retiree health benefits in response to the fiscal challenges brought about by the Great Recession.
"Whether one attributes it to compliance with a strong, state-mandated, balanced budget rule or adept leadership, New York City certainly appears to be dealing effectively with the Great Recession's impact on its budget. However, City leaders have asked lower income residents to bear a substantial portion of the burden by favoring more regressive tax policies and by cutting the social service agency's budget substantially. With forecast budget gaps of $3 billion and $4 billion in FY 2012 and FY 2013, the long-term impact of the Great Recession on New York City's budget remains an open question."
The paper was co-authored by Lawrence J. Miller of the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration.
The Financial Access Initiative (FAI) at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service has launched an important new study to better understand the financial lives of low-income Americans.
FAI, in partnership with Bankable Frontier Associates and The Center for Financial Services Innovation, will track families in four geographic regions in the U.S. over 16 months and collect highly detailed data on household financial activity. The study promises a timely and independent look at how low-income Americans are managing their financial lives. The $3 million project is supported by a grant from the Citi Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
FAI's managing director discusses the launch of the U.S.-centered financial diaries project in this video. The managing director is Jonathan Morduch, professor of public policy and economics at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.
The "Financial Diaries" methodology employed to conduct this research has been successfully applied in Bangladesh, India and South Africa. The results of that FAI research were detailed in a groundbreaking book Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton University Press, 2009). Instrumental in broadening conceptions of global poverty, the book revealed that poor households lead surprisingly active and sophisticated financial lives, driven by the need to cope with irregular and unpredictable incomes but few reliable tools to absorb economic shocks.
"Improving access to reliable, flexible financial products and services is an important step to help poor and low-income households better manage their economic lives," says Professor Morduch. "The Financial Diaries research has proven to be an effective means of gathering important information to inform the design of these kinds of financial tools."
"The findings in Portfolios of the Poor provided an eye-opening look at the financial lives of the poor in other countries, and we're excited to use this lens in the U.S. context," says Brandee McHale, Chief Operating Officer at the Citi Foundation. "This research can fill an important gap in the current data on how low-income families in our own backyards are making ends meet and help reduce the barriers to financial well-being that these families currently face."
In the U.S., the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that some 17 million adults live in households without any bank accounts. Another 43 million have accounts but are "underbanked," relying on non-bank services such as pay-day lenders and pawn shops. Yet, there is little concrete data about the needs, preferences and use of financial services by low-income families.
"Remarkably, more than 30 million low-income families across the U.S. lack access to traditional banking and financial systems," says Frank DeGiovanni, director of financial assets at the Ford Foundation. "This landmark study will help us to better understand their financial lives, greatly improving the ability the financial industry of nonprofits, and policymakers to meet their needs and increase the quality, affordability, and accessibility of financial services."
To conduct this groundbreaking research, the U.S. Financial Diaries team will spend one-and-a-half years with 300 families, distributed across 4 research sites-in the South, the Northeast, the Midwest and the West. Researchers will meet with families every two weeks to collect highly detailed data on household cash flows.
This methodology of regularly observing household finances over long periods of time allows researchers to identify often-overlooked strategies of financial management, such as the use of informal borrowing and lending with neighbors and family members. The study is designed to capture spending and savings habits that often remain hidden in large surveys. The findings will be published in a series of reports beginning in mid-2012.
A reporter's Week in Review piece in The New York Times refers to research co-authored by Professor Joe Magee of NYU Wagner in 2006.
"In one recent study," according to the May 23, 2011, article entitled "A Sexist Pig Myth," "researchers led by Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University primed participants to feel powerful by having them write about an incident in which they had control over others and then distribute lottery tickets to themselves and another study subject. These 'high-powered' people were significantly less accurate in reading emotions from facial photographs than a comparison group of participants who were not primed in the same way. This and other experiments suggest that power can blind people to the emotions of those around them and lead to 'objectifying others in a self-interested way,' " the authors concluded.
Joe Magee is associate professor of management at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. His research is concerned with roles of hierarchy in organizations and society.
In a guest commentary, NYU Wagner Professor Natasha Iskander and fellow researcher Nichola Lowe, of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, writes on the role scholars can play in reshaping the political dialogue and debate about immigration and its impact on the national economy. The piece is hosted by the Institute for the Study of the Americas at UNC-Chapel Hill. (See, too, a recent study coauthored by Iskander, entitled "Hidden Talent: Skill Formation and Labor Market Incorporation of Latino Immigrants in the United States.")
On Friday, April 8, 2011, meanwhile, Professor Iskander visited the World Bank in Washington, D.C., to deliver a lecture about her recently published book, Creative State: Forty Years of Migration and Development Policy in Morocco and Mexico
Professor Sonia M. Ospina will serve as a co-editor of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, a top-tier journal of public administration.
As the official journal of the Public Management Research Association, it serves as a bridge between public administration or public management scholarship and public policy studies. Having served as an active reviewer, Dr. Ospina will now be one of six co-editors shaping the articles submitted and selecting what is published.
Professor Ospina is Faculty Director of RCLA -- the Research Center for Leadership in Action.