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.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has released a report by the New York City Panel on Climate Change that outlines the need for early and ongoing adaptation actions in New York City and identifies best practices in climate change adaptation planning. The report, "Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response," is one of the most comprehensive studies on climate change adaptation undertaken by a municipality and was published in the latest issue of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. NYU Wagner Professor Rae Zimmerman contributed to the report. The chapter that she prepared is as follows: R. Zimmerman and C. Faris, "Infrastructure Impacts and Adaptation Challenges," Chapter 4 in New York City Panel on Climate Change 2009 Report, Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response, C. Rosenzweig and W. Solecki, Eds. (Prepared for use by the New York City Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1187. New York, NY, NY Academy of Sciences, 2010. ISBN 978-1-57331-800-6.) Dr. Zimmerman is Director of the Institute of Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS) at Wagner, and a professor of planning and public administration.
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.
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.
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.
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.