Research

Furman Center Receives MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

Furman Center Receives MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy a recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. This distinguished award recognizes the Furman Center's excellence in providing objective, policy-relevant research to address the challenges facing neighborhoods in New York City and across the nation. The award, announced on February 16, comes with a grant of $1 million, which the Furman Center will use to broaden its research and policy analysis to more national issues.

"We are humbled and honored that the Furman Center was selected for such a prestigious award," said Vicki Been, faculty director of the Furman Center. "The demand for our work has grown dramatically with the housing crisis and the increasing need for sustainable and affordable housing across the country. This award presents a remarkable opportunity for us to expand our research beyond New York City to help policymakers in Washington and across the nation make more effective housing and community development investments and policies."

"Because we are based at New York University, and are a joint project of the NYU School of Law and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, we're able to draw on the talents of a diverse team of faculty and students to produce rigorous, interdisciplinary research on urban policy issues," Furman Center Co-Director Ingrid Gould Ellen said. "The MacArthur Award comes at a critical time, allowing us to continue to expand the work we've always done in New York City to cities and neighborhoods across the country, and to address a broader range of national issues and public policy debates."

From analyses of how subsidized housing investments affect neighborhoods, to studies of the impacts the foreclosure crisis has had on local crime, neighboring property values, tenants, and the educational trajectories of children, the Furman Center has been committed to producing objective and empirically rigorous research on pressing policy issues. Its policy breakfasts, roundtable discussions, and conferences bring thought leaders from all sectors and all points of view together to discuss topics ranging from new models for housing extremely low-income households to creative ways of addressing credit needs in a volatile and declining housing market. The Center launched an Institute for Affordable Housing Policy in 2010 to bring research, policy analysis, and debate about promising new ideas and innovative practices to bear on the challenges of creating cost-effective affordable housing programs. Through its annual State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods report, Quarterly Housing Updates, and Subsidized Housing Information Project, the Center provides essential data and analysis for the media, government agencies, non-profit housing providers, and affordable housing developers and financiers.

The award is both a recognition of the excellence of the Furman Center's prior research and policy analysis and an investment in the Furman Center's future. The Furman Center will use the grant to build data and research partnerships that will allow it to broaden the geographic scope of its research, strengthen and expand its policy analysis, and improve its communications and data management infrastructure.

More information, including an overview video about the Furman Center, is available here.

The Furman Center is one of only 15 organizations from six countries to be recognized today with the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. "From Chicago to Kampala, these extraordinary organizations demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness," said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. "They provide new ways to address old problems. They generate provocative ideas and they reframe well-worn debates. And their impact is altogether disproportionate to their size."

The MacArthur Foundation does not seek or accept nominations for its Creative and Effective Institutions awards. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur's core programs.

 

 

Furman Center releases new study on racial segregation and subprime lending

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.

Furman Center Sees Sharp Rise in Sub-prime Mortgages in NYC

Furman Center Sees Sharp Rise in Sub-prime Mortgages in NYC

In October, 2007, the website Gotham Gazette interviewed NYU Wagner Professor Ingrid Ellen and NYU School of Law Professor Vicki Been about "2006 State of New York City Housing and Neighborhoods," a widely cited report of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy operated jointly by Wagner and the Law School. As the Q@A reflects (click below), the Center has found a dramatic increase in subprime loans to individuals with problematic credit histories, as well as high rates of foreclosures in some parts of the city. Professor Ellen, Co-director of the Furman Center (Professor Been is Director), also addressed the issue of subprime mortgages and their impact on minority communities at an Oct. 4, 2007, forum at the Wagner School with Sarah Gerecke, CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC. That forum, "Risking the American Dream," was sponsored by the Students of African Descent Alliance Wagner Student Group. On October 15, the New York Times featured an article on the Furman Center analysis on sub-prime lending, entitled "Racial Disparity Found Among New Yorkers with High-Rate Mortgages." The Times also published an editorial on the Furman Center analysis in the Oct. 17 edition.

Getting Out the Vote, Innovatively

Getting Out the Vote, Innovatively

A fascinating article in the Sunday magazine of The New York Times describes how techniques developed by behavioral science researchers are at the forefront of a dramatic change in how politicians and parties get out the vote. The emerging data-driven approach to moving voters was co-pioneered by Don Green, currently Visiting Distinguished Professor at NYU Wagner & NYU Abu Dhabi.

"As the 1998 elections approached, Green [and fellow Yale professor of political science Alan Gerber] partnered with the League of Women Voters to split 30,000 New Haven voters into four groups," the article explains. "Some received an oversize postcard encouraging them to vote, others the same message via a phone call or in-person visit. One control group received no contact whatsoever. After the election, Gerber and Green examined Connecticut records to see who actually voted. The in-person canvass yielded turnout 9.8 percent higher than for voters who were not contacted. Each piece of mail led to a turnout increase of only 0.6 percent. Telephone calls, Gerber and Green concluded, had no effect at all."

The Times article goes on to describe why the results have proven so seminal.

As it happens, the article appeared just a few days after Professor Green spoke at Wagner's doctoral colloquium October 28.

Green has written extensively on a range of topics, including voter turnout, campaign finance, perceptual bias, rational learning, experimental methods, and rational choice theory. He is currently writing a book on field experiments in the social sciences. His resume and other materials can be found here.

 

Global Research Institute names Natasha Iskander as Research Fellow

Global Research Institute names Natasha Iskander as Research Fellow

Natasha Iskander, assistant professor of public policy at NYU Wagner, has been named a research fellow at the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina.

Professor Iskander conducts research on labor migration and its relationship to economic development, labor mobilization, and processes of institutional innovation and organizational learning. She recently authored Creative State: Forty Years of Migration and Development in Morocco and Mexico (Cornell University Press: 2010), which examines how nations' governments elaborated policies to build a link between labor emigration and local economic development.

There are six 2011-'12 Global Research Institute fellows, the second cohort to receive research support from the Institute. The focus this year is the theme of immigration. The fellows' work contributes to the development of policy recommendations designed to keep North Carolina competitive on a national and global level.

 

Half the world is 'unbanked,' says new Financial Access Initiative paper

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.

 

 

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