Monthly Archive for December, 2010

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block

Source: New York Times
By: Matthew Bloch, Shan Carter, and Alan McLean

Browse local data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, based on samples from 2005 to 2009: Map of the distribution of racial and ethnic groups by Census Tract.

Related article: Immigrants Make Paths to Suburbia, Not Cities, by Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff.

The State of Our Unions, 2010

The State of Our Unions
Source: National Marriage Project/Center for Marriage and Families

The State of Our Unions monitors the current health of marriage and family life in America. Produced annually, it is a joint publication of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values.

Full report (PDF)

Social Indicators of Marital Health and Well-being:
Unmarried cohabitation
Loss of child centeredness
Fragile families with children
Teen attitudes about marriage and family

Least Developed Countries Report, 2010

Least Developed Countries Report, 2010: Towards a New International Development Architecture for LDCs
Source: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

From Introduction:

Over the past three decades, the LDCs have been following a development strategy designed to release the creative potential of market forces by reducing the role of the State in the development process. For the first two of those decades, there was little indication that this strategy was working. But after the turn of the millennium, with the emergence of new Asian growth drivers and favourable movements in the terms of trade, economic growth began to accelerate. Some observers attributed this to the market-oriented policy reforms undertaken
by a number of LDCs, though others raised doubts about their pattern of growth. Surging commodity prices, in some cases driven by speculative investment, debt forgiveness, increased aid flows, remittances and foreign direct investment (FDI) seemed vulnerable to a global economic downturn. There were also concerns that growth was not translating into substantial improvement in human well-being. When commodity prices suddenly fell at the end of 2008, heralding a bust in the global economic cycle, many LDCs experienced a sharp slowdown,
with major adverse social consequences. It was clear from this that markets are not only creative but also can be destructive.

Full report (PDF)

Reports on the Effectiveness of Drug Courts from the Urban Institute

Do Adult Drug Courts Work? Drug, Crime and Other Psychosocial Outcomes
Presentation by: Dana Kralstein

This presentation includes findings from both the offender surveys conducted for the MADCE and the 24-month post-enrollment criminal justice records. One focus will be on reporting substance abuse impacts. Using 6- and 18-month follow-up survey data and oral test results, we will report on 1) the trajectory of recovery and 2) whether, and for whom, drug courts work in terms of reducing drug use. The other primary theme will use the survey and administrative records to address 1) whether drug courts impact crime and incarceration, 2) to what extent these effects are durable over time, and 3) whether drug courts are most effective for high- or low-risk offenders.

Continue reading (PDF)

The Net Benefits of Drug Court
By: P. Mitchell Downey and John Roman

More than a dozen cost-benefit analyses have been conducted on drug courts in the last decade. We build on these findings and extend them in several ways: 1) a larger sample allows us to draw inferences from a large sample of individuals (nearly 1,800) and courts (23); 2) survey data on a number of domains which have never been included in past analyses (such as employment, hospital use, homeless shelter use, mental health treatment, and many more) increases the range of program costs and benefits considered; 3) we employ statistical techniques less common in criminal justice cost-benefit analyses, although not new, to identify individual characteristics which make drug court most cost-effective; and 4) we separately analyze each drug court’s cost effectiveness to draw inferences about which drug courts are and are not cost effective under different combinations of price structures, program design, and offender population characteristics.

Continue reading (PDF)

Drug Court Policies and Practices and How They Relate to Offender Outcomes
By: Janine M. Zweig, Christine Lindquist, P. Mitchell Downey, John Roman, Shelli B. Rossman

This presentation documents how key drug court policies and practices influence participants’ outcomes related to relapse and recidivism. The policies and practices include those related to treatment, leverage, judicial supervision, judicial interaction, case management, drug testing, sanctions, rewards, and graduation requirements. It addresses the following critical research issues: 1) how policies, practices, and courtroom experiences vary across drug court programs; 2) which policies, practices, and courtroom experiences make drug courts more or less effective; and 3) whether combining particular sets of policies and practices leads to even greater success for program participants.

Continue reading (PDF)

New Reports from the Urban Institute

Education and Achievement A Focus on Latino “Immigrant” Children
By: Eugene Garcia

The high number of English language learners (ELLs) has brought a change in the demographics of public schools and a need to account for the educational experiences of these students, both linguistically and academically. A comprehensive English language development program that facilitates English language acquisition has never been comprehensively articulated and evaluated. This paper argues that robust and rigorous research could be highly useful for policy and education practice modifications. The expanded utilization of dual-language programs is a hopeful sign of that possibility as they offer an alternative with solid empirical evidence for success in selected populations and specific conditions.

Report (PDF)

Nutrition Assistance for Older Adults
By: Sheila R. Zedlewski

While a surprisingly small share of low-income older adults receives government nutrition assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and Meals on Wheels (MOW) home delivery program provide important food assistance to them. During 2007 and 2008, about 2 in 10 low-income older adults received assistance from one of these programs; only 1 percent reported getting help from both. Receipt of SNAP declines with age and receipt of MOW rises with age, indicating that these programs tend to complement each other.

Factsheet (PDF)

Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools
By: Tim Sass, Jane Hannaway, Zeyu Xu, David Figlio, Li Feng

Differences in teacher quality would appear to be the most likely reason for disparities in the quality of high-poverty and lower-poverty schools. However, the linkages between teacher quality and socio-economic-based disparities in student achievement are quite complex. Using data from North Carolina and Florida, this paper examines whether teachers in high-poverty schools are as effective as teachers in schools with more advantaged students. Bottom teachers in high-poverty schools are less effective than bottom teachers in lower-poverty schools. The best teachers, by comparison, are equally effective across school poverty settings. The gap in teacher quality appears to arise from the lower payoff to teacher qualifications in high-poverty schools. In particular, the experience-productivity relationship is weaker in high-poverty schools and is not related to teacher mobility patterns. Recruiting teachers with good credentials into high-poverty schools may be insufficient to narrow the teacher quality gap. Policies that promote the long-term productivity of teachers in challenging high-poverty schools appear key.

Full report (PDF)

Basic Facts About Low-Income Children, 2009

Basic Facts About Low-income Children, 2009: Children Under Age 18
By: Michelle Chau, Kalyani Thampi, and Vanessa R. Wight
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

Children represent 25 percent of the population. Yet, they comprise 36 percent of all people in poverty. Among children, 42 percent live in low-income families and approximately one in every five live in poor families. Winding up in a low-income or poor family does not happen by chance. There are significant factors related to children’s experiences with economic insecurity, such as race/ethnicity and parents’ education and employment. This fact sheet describes the demographic, socio-economic, and geographic characteristics of children and their parents – highlighting the important factors that appear to distinguish low-income and poor children from their less disadvantaged counterparts.

Full report (PDF)

For comparable information about infants and toddlers, see Basic Facts About Low-income Children, 2009: Children Under Age 3, or about young children, see Basic Facts About Low-income Children, 2009: Children Under Age 6 and Basic Facts About Low-income Children, 2009: Children Aged 6 through 11, or about adolescent children, see Basic Facts About Low-income Children, 2009: Children Aged 12 through 17.

Household Food Security in the United States, 2009

Household Food Security in the United States, 2009
By: Mark Nord, Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson
Source: USDA, Economic Research Service

Household Food Security

Eighty-five percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2009, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (14.7 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 5.7 percent with very low food security. In households with very low food security, the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. Prevalence rates of food insecurity and very low food security were essentially unchanged from 14.6 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively, in 2008, and remained at the highest recorded levels since 1995, when the first national food security survey was conducted. The typical food-secure household spent 33 percent more on food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and household composition. Fifty-seven percent of all food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs during the month prior to the 2009 survey.

Summary (PDF)
Entire Report (PDF)

World Health Report, 2010

The world health report – Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage

World Health Report
“Good health is essential to human welfare and to sustained economic and social development. WHO’s Member States have set themselves the target of developing their health financing systems to ensure that all people can use health services, while being protected against financial hardship associated with paying for them.

In this report, the World Health Organization maps out what countries can do to modify their financing systems so they can move more quickly towards this goal – universal coverage – and sustain the gains that have been achieved The report builds on new research and lessons learnt from country experience. It provides an action agenda for countries at all stages of development and proposes ways that the international community can better support efforts in low income countries to achieve universal coverage and improve health outcomes.” (From website announcement)

Full report

New Working Papers from the NBER

For Better or for Worse, But How About a Recession?
by Jeremy Arkes, Yu-Chu Shen
Abstract; PDF

Are Household Surveys Like Tax Forms: Evidence from Income Underreporting of the Self Employed
by Erik Hurst, Geng Li, Benjamin Pugsley
Abstract; PDF

Toward an understanding of the relative strengths of positive and negative reciprocity
by Omar Al-Ubaydli, Uri Gneezy, Min Sok Lee, John A. List
Abstract; PDF

A Revealed Preference Approach to Measuring Hunger and Undernutrition
by Robert T. Jensen, Nolan H. Miller
Abstract; PDF

Income Uncertainty and Household Savings in China
by Marcos Chamon, Kai Liu, Eswar S. Prasad
Abstract; PDF

Valuing Identity
by Roland G. Fryer, Jr., Glenn Loury
Abstract; PDF

Height as a Proxy for Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Ability
by Andreas Schick, Richard H. Steckel
Abstract; PDF

Classification, Detection and Consequences of Data Error: Evidence from the Human Development Index
by Hendrik Wolff, Howard Chong, Maximilian Auffhammer
Abstract; PDF

Beware of Unawareness: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Awareness of Chronic Diseases
by Pinka Chatterji, Heesoo Joo, Kajal Lahiri
Abstract; PDF

Estimating the Cream Skimming Effect of School Choice
by Joseph G. Altonji, Ching-I Huang, Christopher R. Taber
Abstract; PDF

The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels
by Elizabeth Ty Wilde, Lily Batchelder, David T. Ellwood
Abstract; PDF

Scarring and Mortality Selection Among Civil War POWs: A Long-Term Mortality, Morbidity and Socioeconomic Follow-Up
by Dora L. Costa
Abstract; PDF

Human Development Report 2010 — 20th Anniversary

The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development
Source: United Nations Development Programme

For the first time, the Report looks back rigorously at the past several decades and identifies often surprising trends and patterns with important lessons for the future. These varied pathways to human development show that there is no single formula for sustainable progress—and that impressive gains can be achieved even without consistent economic growth.

* Download the 2010 Report
* Read the 2010 Report Summary
* View the 2010 Human Development Index
* Access 20 years of Human Development Reports
* New inequality, gender and poverty indices
* Explore our new database and applications