Economics

The Property Tax, Land Use and Land Use Regulation

The Property Tax, Land Use and Land Use Regulation
Edward Elgar Publishing,

Netzer, D., ed.
01/01/2003

This comprehensive volume of essays by respected scholars in economics and public finance explores the connections among the property tax, land use and regulation. The authors examine the idea that the property tax is used as a partial substitute for land use regulation and other policies designed to affect how land is utilized. Like many economists, the contributors see some type of property taxation as a more efficient means of helping to shape land use. Some of the essays analyze a conventional property tax, while others consider radically different systems of property taxation.

Following an introduction by the book's editor Dick Netzer, the first paper sets the stage by modeling taxes on land and buildings in the context of a dynamic model of real estate markets. The remaining papers examine how various tax mechanisms and non-tax alternatives to regulating and determining land use, such as zoning and private neighborhood associations, complement or substitute for one another. Urban planners and economists interested in local public finance will welcome this wide-ranging review and analysis.

Dick Netzer, a leading public finance economist specializing in state and local issues and urban government, is professor emeritus of economics and public administration at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University. He organized a conference sponsored by the Lincoln Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona, in January 2002 and edited the papers presented at that conference for this volume.

 

Welfare Reform in Philadelphia: Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and Neighborhoods

Welfare Reform in Philadelphia: Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and Neighborhoods
MDRC,

Michalopoulos, C., Edin, K., Fink, B., Iandriscina, M., Polit, D., Polyne, J..& Verma, N.
01/01/2003

The 1996 welfare reform law called for profound changes in welfare policy, including a five-year time limit on federally funded cash assistance (known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF), stricter work requirements, and greater flexibility for states in designing and managing programs. The law's supporters hoped that it would spark innovation and reduce welfare use; critics feared that it would lead to cuts in benefits and to widespread suffering. Whether the reform succeeds or fails depends largely on what happens in big cities, where poverty and welfare receipt are most concentrated. This report - one of a series from MDRC's Project on Devolution and Urban Change - examines the specific ways in which reform unfolded in Philadelphia. The study uses field research, state records, surveys and ethnographic interviews of welfare recipients, and indicators of social and economic trends to assess TANF's implementation and effects. Because of the strong economy and ample funding for services in the late 1990s, the study captures welfare reform in the best of times but focuses on the poorest families and neighborhoods.

Which 'Broken Windows' Matter? School, Neighborhood, and Family Characteristics Associated with Youth's Feelings of Unsafety

Which 'Broken Windows' Matter? School, Neighborhood, and Family Characteristics Associated with Youth's Feelings of Unsafety
Journal of Urban Health, Volume 80, Number 3, pages 400-415.

Mijanovich, T. & Weitzman, B.C.
01/01/2003

Young people’s fears of victimization and feelings of unsafety constitute a serious and pervasive public health problem and appear to be associated with different factors than actual victimization. Our analysis of a population-based telephone survey of youths aged 10–18 years in five economically distressed cities and their suburbs reveals that a substantial minority of youths feel unsafe on any given day, and that an even greater number feel unsafe in school. While some traditional predictors of victimization (such as low socioeconomic status) were associated with feeling unsafe, perceived school disorder was the major factor associated with such feelings. Disorderliness may thus be the school’s version of “broken windows,” which serve to signal to students a lack of consistent adult concern and oversight that can leave them feeling unsafe. We suggest that fixing the broken windows of school disorderliness may have a significant, positive impact on adolescents’ feelings of safety.

Pollution Prevention and Management Strategies for Mercury in the NY/NJ Harbor and its Watershed

Pollution Prevention and Management Strategies for Mercury in the NY/NJ Harbor and its Watershed
New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), July

de Cerreño, A.L.C.
07/01/2002

Issued in June, 2002, the report discusses major sources of mercury and methylmercury to the Harbor. It identifies pathways of mercury into the harbor, discusses environmentally sound and economically feasible strategies to avoid this pollution, and identifies the key players in implementing these strategies.

Promises Kept: Enforcement and the Role of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations in an Economy

Promises Kept: Enforcement and the Role of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations in an Economy
Journal of International Development, Volume 14, May, pp. 393-411.

Chiteji, N.
05/23/2002

Rotating savings and credit associations (roscas) are a popular form of informal finance in developing countries. This paper examines the rosca's ability to enforce its terms of membership and the implications that this has for their existence in an economy. A connection between enforcement costs and the desirability of rosca formation is illustrated using a framework that focuses on the nature of the financial contract that the rosca offers, allowing inferences to be drawn about the likely viability of roscas throughout the development process and the implications this has for debates about financial dualism. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Editorial: Introduction to the Special Issue on Race and Ethnicity

Editorial: Introduction to the Special Issue on Race and Ethnicity
Sociological Forum. 2002, Vol. 17(4): pp. 549-551.

Conley, D.
01/01/2002

The tension between ascribed and achieved status pervades much of sociology, sometimes as a latent theme and sometimes manifest. The articles in this issue of Sociological Forum revisit this tension through the lens of race and ethnicity. They examine contexts varying widely from adolescents in the United States to upper-caste Muslims in India. The specific issues they address are also diverse: the relationship between race, democracy, and equal opportunity; deviant behavior among teenagers of different ethnic groups; intermarriage among whites and minorities in contemporary U.S. society; the strategic commonalities between the Deaf, gay and white supremacist movements; and finally, the tension between modernization, economic development, and finally, the tension between modernization, economic development, and caste/racial identity. Yet, the articles also share a broader common theme; each concerns the paradoxes that emerge when ascribed racial or ethnic identity collides with powerful forces that represent the conditions of achieved position.

Equity Inequity

Equity Inequity
Annual Editions: American Government New York: McGraw Hill / Dushkin & 2003 and originally appearing in The Nation. 3/26/01; 272(12), pp. 20-22.

Conley, D.
01/01/2002

The article reports on racial inequality. The author says the while African-Americans do earn less than whites, asset gaps remain large even when black and white families at the same income levels are compared. For instance, at the lower end of the economic spectrum (incomes less than $ 15,000 per year), the median African-American family has a net worth of zero, while the equivalent white family's net worth is $10,000. Likewise, among the often-heralded new black middle class, the typical white family earning $40,000 per year enjoys a nest egg of around $80,000; its African-American counterpart has less than half that amount.

Health Policymaking: The Role of the Federal Government

Health Policymaking: The Role of the Federal Government
in M. Danis, C. Clancy and L. Churchill (eds.), Ethical Dimensions of Health Policy. Oxford University Press, Winter

Boufford, J.I. & Lee, P.R.
01/01/2002

This book takes the conversation between bioethics and health policy to a new level. Moving beyond principles and normative frameworks, bioethicists writing in the volume consider the actual policy problems faced by health care systems, while policy-makers reflect on the moral values inherent in both the process and content of health policy. The result is a vigorous dialogue with some of the nation's leading experts at the interface of ethics and health policy. the book provides a history of the values implicit in U.S. health policy, a discussion of the federal and state roles in policymaking, an ethical examination of the social goals expressed through various policies, an analysis of the role of public opinion in the creation of health policy, and an exploration of the value of the private sector in health policy. In addition, the authors examine some of the major ethical controversies in health policy, such as the challenge of balancing ethical concerns with economic realities, the need to allocate scarce health resources, the call for heightened accountability, and the impact of various policies on vulnerable populations. The book concludes with an examination of the ethical issues in health services research, including the threats to privacy that arise in such research. To a greater extent than any previous volume, it establishes a strong connection between the disciplines of medical ethics and health policy.

Learning from Experience: A Primer on Tax Increment Financing

Learning from Experience: A Primer on Tax Increment Financing
Fiscal Brief, New York City Independent Budget Office, September

Devine, T.
01/01/2002

To fund the estimated $1.5 billion extension of the No. 7 subway and perhaps other redevelopment proposals on Manhattan’s Far West Side, there has been increasing discussion of using a borrowing method known as tax increment financing, or TIF. The basic idea underlying TIF is that a city or town finances an improvement in a specific district with the property tax revenue generated by that improvement. While TIF has been used extensively throughout the country in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., it has never been used here. This report provides a primer on TIF––what it is, key features of the laws that authorize it, the types of projects undertaken, some of the reasons for its popularity, and a review of how it has worked in some other localities. Among the lessons from our review: • While TIF has proven to be an effective and flexible financing method in a variety of settings, some municipalities have encountered problems with their projects, including insufficient revenue to pay debt service. • TIF has been used to finance a variety of public works projects, but most have been small-scale. Larger projects usually have been joint ventures, mostly with private partners. No TIF project has been as costly as the proposed No. 7 extension. The report concludes with a discussion of issues that will have to be considered before relying on TIF for financing the proposed subway extension. These considerations will be more closely examined in a subsequent IBO report that will look at the viability of tax increment financing for extending the No. 7.

Private Money/Public Schools: Early Evidence on Private and Non-Traditional Support for New York City Public Schools

Private Money/Public Schools: Early Evidence on Private and Non-Traditional Support for New York City Public Schools
in Fiscal Issues in Urban Schools, Research in Education Fiscal Policy and Practice: Volume One, Christopher Roellke and Jennifer King Rice, editors. Information Age Publishing.

Schwartz, A.E., Bel Hadj Amor, H. & Fruchter, N.
01/01/2002

The use of private money to support public schools in New York City captured the attention of the public in 1997, as parents in a Greenwich Village elementary school tried to raise private salary funds to prevent one of their teachers from being reassigned. While some heralded the parents for their commitment to their children's education and their willingness to fight to improve their public school, others lamented the action, citing concerns for funding equity between more affluent schools and economically disadvantaged schools. In the end, the Chancellor decided to maintain the teacher in question, but not to accept the privately-raised revenues out of a concern for setting a precedent for allowing parents to fund "core functions" rather than "enrichment" programs. Clearly, this concern stemmed, at least in part, from an underlying worry that allowing schools to seek and accept privately-raised revenues would pose a threat to the equity of schooling in New York City. Would accepting privately-raised money lead schools serving higher income students to have better funding (or better teachers, smaller classes, for example) than those serving lower income students? At the same time, privately-raised resources may also present efficiency concerns. Would curricula or programmatic offerings be chosen based upon the availability of outside funding, rather than the particular needs of the students? This paper explores both the equity and efficiency issues surrounding the use of privately-raised revenues to support public schools, and provides some evidence on the distribution of privately-raised support across public schools in New York City.

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