Spring 2012 Edition
1. United Nations ‘Persons of Concern’ and the Environment in State of Origin
Aubrey Leigh Grant
Studies evaluating the causes of forced migration are often narrow and fail to analyze relationships on an international level. This study seeks to determine what kind of internal state environments lead to increases in forced migration, specifically refugees and internally displaced persons (persons of concern). The data used in this study are a compilation of data provided by the World Bank, the United Nations (UN), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); including information regarding the internal environments of 191 states. Using the ordinary least squares regression model, four hypotheses are tested to determine if any relationship exists between four independent variables and the number of UN persons of concern. Specifically, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, government effectiveness, Gini coefficient of income equality, and ethnic fractionalization are tested. The findings suggest that there are correlations at the 0.01 level between government effectiveness, ethnic fractionalization, and UN populations of concern. GDP per capita and the Gini coefficient of income equality failed to have a statistically significant relationship with UN persons of concern. These findings suggest that international development policies aimed at preventing refugees and internally displaced persons should focus on ethnic tensions and effective internal government policies.
2. Closing the Achievement Gap: Identifying Social, Societal, Familial and Psychological Factors Affecting Black Students’ Academic Performance
Chanon M. Bell
This analysis seeks to identify key factors that continue to affect academic achievement among black students. Several variables from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS, 2002) are used in two regression analyses to test the impact of 1) parental involvement, 2) students confidence and aspirations for postsecondary education, 3) participation in extra-curricular activities, 4) gender, and 5) the race of math and English teachers on black tenth-grade students performance on the Math and Reading Item Response Theory (IRT) standardized tests.
3. Cost Redundancies for Combating Washington, D.C. Crime
During a time of budget challenges, the Washington, D.C. government has needed to increase appropriations to the public safety and justice title while reducing appropriations to other municipal services. The need to increase policing costs by $1 million to $469.7 million in fiscal year 2012 diverges from the city’s efforts to improve underserved neighborhoods through urban renewal. Although the District’s vision to improve underserved neighborhoods has many goals, reducing crime is a major component. Efforts to reduce crime through policing and urban renewal could overlap if crime is related to several components of urban renewal, and a correlation between lower crime rates and urban renewal projects could advise future budget decisions as to the opportunity cost of funding short term policing efforts at the cost of long-term infrastructure development. To determine if there is a relationship, the numbers of adult arrests in all 431 unit blocks were tested against four major components of urban renewal: the number of bus stops per square mile, commercial development percentage, unemployment percentage, and vacant lot percentage. The four variables were found to be weakly correlated to the number of adult arrests. However, crime was found to increase in areas with higher levels of commercial development and a greater number of bus stops. These findings appear to contradict the belief that urban renewal lowers crime in the immediate community.
4. Payments in Lieu of Taxes: Calculating the Fiscal Impact of Boston’s PILOT Program
Emily K. LaClair
Over the past decade, revenue pressures have motivated local governments throughout the country to introduce fiscal policy aimed at reducing the impact of nonprofit organizations’ property tax exemptions on city revenues. In many instances, cities have implemented voluntary payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) programs, which are premised as an avenue through which nonprofit landholders contribute toward the cost to the city of providing these organizations with public services. Using the city of Boston, MA, a leader in PILOT program implementation, as a sample, this paper seeks to assess the effectiveness of PILOT programs as a revenue supplement for municipalities with high concentrations of nonprofit landholders. The paper employs fiscal impact analysis to determine the public costs associated with nonprofit organization land-holding in Boston and compares those cost estimates with PILOT payments made by the city’s institutions of higher education and medicine. The following analysis will show that without a systematized process, PILOT payments represent an inequitable and inefficient method of revenue generation.
5. The Impact of Anganwadi Centers’ Services on Infant Survival in India
This study explores the positive association between healthcare programs of Anganwadi Centers (AWCs) and the infant survival rate in India by using three complementary log-log regression models. This study employed AWCs’ three services—nutritional aid, immunization, and health-check—targeting pregnant/lactating mothers and children for the performance evaluation. The India Human Development Survey I, which collected the data of households including mothers who partook in Anganwadi program in her most recent childbirth between 2000 and 2005 and households including those who did not, was used in order to investigate the effectiveness of these services. The survival status of the infants as an outcome variable, a predictor variable reflecting each service, and seven control variables are included in each complementary log-log regression model. Although prior studies illustrate the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of Anganwadi services, the results of this study show a statistically significant, positive association between those receiving supplementary nutrition from AWCs and infant survival rate. Further research is necessary to confirm this finding because there are several limitations in this study. Finally, this study recommended refining women’s education programs and assisting self-help groups to solve India’s socio-economic problems based on a discovered positive association between women’s education and the infant survival rate.