Economics

Measuring School Efficiency: Lessons from Economics, Implications for Practice

Measuring School Efficiency: Lessons from Economics, Implications for Practice
in Improving Educational Productivity: Lessons from Economics, David Monk, Herbert Wahlberg, and Margaret Wang, ed., pp. 115-137.

Schwartz, A.E. & Stiefel, L.
01/01/2001

Estimating efficiency and productivity in education involves confronting and addressing a host of difficulties in measuring inputs and outputs, capturing environmental influences, compensating for data scarcity, and determining causality. Nevertheless, recent improvements in data quality and availability and accompanying advances in statistical methods offer the promise of improved measures of school efficiency and the prospect of identifying the determinants of efficiency across schools and school districts and over time. This chapter discusses approaches to measuring K-12 efficiency and the relative merits of each, explaining the complexities of applying these techniques in the real world, and concludes with lessons learned for practitioners.

Microenterprise Development for Better Health Outcomes

Microenterprise Development for Better Health Outcomes
Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.

Rodriguez-Garcia, R., Macinko, J. & Waters, W.
01/01/2001

Showing that economic development and public health, often thought of as distinct, are both interdependent and dependent on social and political conditions, this book provides a new appreciation of the close relationship between microenterprise development and health in developing countries. Many of the world's poor earn a living from microenterprises, often outside the formal economy, and international practitioners have recently turned their attention to this underground economy, providing support through group poverty lending and village banking models, but overlooking the potential benefits of linking income generation with public health. This book argues for a conceptual and practical relationship between microenterprise development and household health, nutrition, and sanitation. To support their framework, the authors look at specific actions for harnessing the power of microeconomic development to improve health and human development. They support their argument further with case studies of innovative programs carried out in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The book challenges the reader to cross disciplinary and professional boundaries to not only understand the interrelationships between health and income generation but to use available tools to enhance those interrelationships.

Outsourcing by Nonprofit Organizations

Outsourcing by Nonprofit Organizations
Task force report, Avner B'Ner chair, National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise,

O'Regan, K.
01/01/2001

This chapter examines the issue of when nonprofits should choose to employ their own staff or house their own operations, versus contracting out tasks and activities to other suppliers. Various examples are offered of nonprofits decisions that may be outsourced or retained in-house. The concepts of specialization, comparative advantage and transactions costs are used to explain the logic of outsourcing, how it applies to various circumstances encountered by nonprofit organizations, and the desirability of this strategy in each case.

Quality Adjusted Net Price Indices for Four Year Colleges

Quality Adjusted Net Price Indices for Four Year Colleges
Bureau of Labor Statistics Working Paper number WP-337.

Scafidi, B. & Schwartz, A.E.
01/01/2001

Since the earlier 1980's the "sticker price" of a college education in the United States has, according to estimates from the Consumer Price Index (CPI), risen significantly faster than the overall rate of inflation. For the CPI, the government collects data on the "sticker price" of college (tuition and fees) without adjusting for scholarships given or other discounts. Further, no adjustments are made for changes in the quality or characteristics of the services provided, such as attributes of the faculty, the course offerings, or the facilities. Thus, the estimated price indices reflect changes in quality and characteristics of college as well as changes in prices. In this paper, we develop and explore the construction of a quality-adjusted price index for US colleges, based on the estimation of a hedonic model of the price of college. Our analysis indicates that estimating price indexes using hedonic methods is both feasible and useful.

Risk and Insurance in Transition: Perspectives from Zouping County, China

Risk and Insurance in Transition: Perspectives from Zouping County, China
Chapter 8 in Community and Market in Economic Development, Oxford University Press, edited by Professors Masahiko Aoki and Yujiro Hayami.

Morduch, J. & Sicular, T.
01/01/2001

This book explores the role of community in facilitating the transition to market relationships in economic development, and in controlling and sustaining local public goods such as irrigation, forests, grazing land, and fishing grounds. Previously it was customary to classify economic systems in terms of varying combinations of state and market control of resource allocation. In contrast, this book recognizes community as the third major element of economic systems. This new approach also departs from the conventional view that markets and community norms should be treated as mutually exclusive means of organizing economic activity, instead clarifying the situations in which they may become complementary. Further discussion focuses on the conditions under which management of local commons can, and should, be delegated to local communities rather than subjected to the control of central government.

Tax and the City

Tax and the City
in Re-thinking the Urban Agenda, John Mollenkopf and Ken Emerson, eds., Century Foundation, pp. 63-74.

Schwartz, A.E.
01/01/2001

The culmination of a year-long lecture series cosponsored by The Century Foundation and the City University of New York Graduate Center's Center for Urban Research, 'Rethinking the Urban Agenda' takes up the challenge provided by a changing of the guard in New York City government-the election of a new mayor and city council-to outline a new conceptual and political road map for New York City's future and, in many important respects, for the future of urban America.

The Effects of Job Loss on Older Workers

The Effects of Job Loss on Older Workers
Peter P. Budetti, Richard V. Burkhauser, Janice M. Gregory and H. Allan Hunt (editors), Ensuring Health and Income Security for an Aging Workforce, Kalamazoo: W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research,

Sewin Chan & Ann Huff Stevens
01/01/2001

This article uses data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine the employment patterns of workers aged 50 and above who have experienced an involuntary job loss. Hazard Models for returning to work and for exiting post displacement employment are estimated and used to examine work patterns for 10 years following a job loss. Our findings show that a job loss results in large and lasting effects on future employment probabilities. Four years after job losses at age 55, the employment rate of displaced workers remains 20 percentage points below the employment rate of similar nondisplaced workers.

The utility of social capital in studies on health determinants

The utility of social capital in studies on health determinants
Milbank Quarterly Volume 79, Number 3, pages 387-428.

Macinko, J. & Starfield, B.
01/01/2001

Social capital has become a popular subject in the literature on determinants of health. The concept of social capital has been used in the sociological, political science, and economic development literatures, as well as in the health inequalities literature. Analysis of its use in the health inequalities literature suggests that each theoretical tradition has conceptualized social capital differently. Health researchers have employed a wide range of social capital measures, borrowing from several theoretical traditions. Given the wide variation in these measures and an apparent lack of consistent theoretical or empirical justification for their use, conclusions about the likely role of "social capital" on population health may be overstated or even misleading. Elements of a research agenda are proposed to further elucidate the potential role of factors currently subsumed under the rubric of "social capital."

The Welfare State and Infant Mortality

The Welfare State and Infant Mortality
American Journal of Sociology. November, Vol. 106.

Conley, D. & Springer, K.
01/01/2001

This article seeks to understand the effects of welfare-state spending on infant mortality rates. Infant mortality was chosen for its importance as a social indicator and its putative sensitivity to state action over a short time span. Country fixed-effects models are used to determine that public health spending does have a significant impact in lowering infant mortality rates, net of other factors, such as economic development, and that this effect is cumulative over a five-year time span. A net effect of health spending is also found, even when controlling for the level of spending in the year after which the outcome is measured (to account for spurious effects or reverse causation). State spending affects infant mortality both through social mechanisms and through medical ones. This article also shows that the impact of state spending may vary by the institutional structure of the welfare state. Finally, this study tests for structural breaks in the relationship between health spending and infant mortality and finds none over this time period.

Thinking About Children in Time.

Thinking About Children in Time.
The Dynamics of Child Poverty in Industrialised Countries. Edited by Bradbury, D. and S. Jenkins, J. Micklewright. Cambridge University Press.

Aber, J.L. & Ellwood, D.T.
01/01/2001

A child poverty rate of ten percent could mean that every tenth child is always poor, or that all children are in poverty for one month in every ten. Knowing where reality lies between these extremes is vital to understanding the problem facing many countries of poverty among the young. This unique study goes beyond the standard analysis of child poverty based on poverty rates at one point in time and documents how much movement into and out of poverty by children there actually is, covering a range of industrialised countries - the USA, UK, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Russia. Five main topics are addressed: conceptual and measurement issues associated with a dynamic view of child poverty; cross-national comparisons of child poverty rates and trends; cross-national comparisons of children's movements into and out of poverty; country-specific studies of child poverty dynamics; and the policy implications of taking a dynamic perspective.

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