Volume 11

Spring 2013 Edition


1. Collateral Damage & The War on Drugs: Estimating the Effect of Zero Tolerance Policies on Drug Arrest Rates, 1975–2002

Suhaib Kebhaj, Nima Shahidinia, Alexander Testa, & Justin Williams

For years, policymakers and researchers have investigated the relationship between drug use and crime. Beginning in the early 1980s, the United States adopted more punitive approaches in order to deter drug use and distribution. While much research has been done on the effects of zero tolerance and similar policies, this study attempts to estimate the impact of these policies on U.S. drug arrest rates over a 27-year period. We use state-level panel data to estimate the impact of habitual drug offender laws, repeat drug offender laws, and sentencing enhancements for drug offenses on U.S. drug arrest rates. We find that repeat and habitual drug offender laws have a non-significant relationship with drug arrest rates. However, sentencing enhancement laws have a significantly negative relationship with drug arrest rates. These results imply that, while all zero-tolerance policies have the same deterrence objective, each policy can have drastically different impacts on drug crime. These results highlight the need for the United States to consider alternative policy solutions.

2. The Effect of Extending Unemployment Insurance Benefits on State Unemployment Rates

Rehana Absar, Tonia Bui, & Kathy Young

The U.S. Congress established the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) Program on June 30, 2008, to address the needs of the long-term unemployed. Conditional on a state’s unemployment rate, this program provides unemployed workers up to ninety-nine weeks of unemployment benefits after exhausting their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits of twenty-six weeks. As a first step toward investigating the impacts of the ninety-nine-week UI extensions on unemployed individuals, this study evaluates whether the extension of UI benefits decreases workers’ incentive to return to the labor market as determined by the unemployment rate. Using a state fixed effects model, our results demonstrate a positive relationship between the weeks of UI extensions and state unemployment rates. Our findings help inform policymakers on how to address the issue of high unemployment during times of economic downturn.

3. The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in U.S. Environmental Policy: Case of the EPA and the U.S. Semiconductor Industry

Manjyot Bhan

The aim of this paper is to investigate a special type of cross-sector collaboration called public-private partnerships (PPPs) that are gaining currency in policymaking in the United States and around the world. Using case studies of three noteworthy partnerships between the EPA and the U.S. semiconductor industry, this paper evaluates their performance, outlines a few pitfalls and challenges, and offers lessons for scholars and practitioners interested in such collaborative partnerships. Results show that the three partnerships experienced mixed success; however, they have created some long-lasting policy changes in U.S. environmental policymaking and prompted more private sector participation.

4. Do Local Level Principal Preparation Programs Prevent Principal Turnover? Evidence from the 2008–2009 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) Principal Follow-Up Survey

Sarah McKibben

The demonstrated importance of effective principals for high student achievement, coupled with a dearth of highly qualified, experienced principals who stay in high-needs schools, creates a matter of national urgency for schools and districts to devise programs and policies that not only increase principal quality but also improve the retention of those principals where they are most needed. This study applies multinomial logistic regression to a sample of 5,000 public school principals from the 2008-2009 National Schools and Staffing Principal Follow-up Survey. With that, it examines the impact of school- or district-level principal pre-service training programs on three possible principal turnover outcomes: principals staying in the same school, moving to become principal of another school, or leaving the principal profession. The analysis finds no effect of such programs on principal turnover, which suggests that schools and districts cannot assume local training programs of just any type or quality will help them retain principals, but perhaps the quality of training is more important than simply having access to it.

5. Operation Streamline: The Border Patrol Prosecutions Initiative

Hailey Anne Sheldon

The traditional penalty for unauthorized migration is deportation, a civil sanction. Once deported, a non-citizen is barred from seeking readmission for at least five years. Operation Streamline enhances this consequence by piling on a criminal charge, Entry Without Inspection (EWI), on top of the civil sanction. An EWI conviction serves to classify a non-citizen as a criminal immigrant, which is a blight on any future visa applications. This article focuses on the process and implications of delivering these enhanced consequences.

6. The Effect of German Reunification on Tax Morale & the Influence of Preferences for Income Equality and Government Responsibility

Sean Streiff

Large-scale social surveys, such as the World Values Survey, have made empirical analysis of individual-level social capital measures a more promising avenue for policy analysis. Recent work has recognized the beneficial effects of social trust on aggregate economic performance by reducing transaction costs. One such mechanism involves individual willingness to fulfill pecuniary obligations, such as paying taxes. This trait—referred to as tax morale—has obvious implications for public policy and administration. Ordinary least squares (OLS) and ordered probit regression are used with data from two waves of the World Values Survey, from 1990 and 1997, to estimate a model that relates individual tax morale to the change in form of government and measures of two individual preferences that are plausibly relevant to tax morale. Using the 1990 reunification of East and West Germany as a natural experiment, this study investigated whether the shift to an arguably more representative form of government is associated with a change in the relationship between tax morale and preferences regarding income inequality and government responsibility for individual welfare. The estimated impact of the change in government on tax morale is statistically and substantively significant, ceteris paribus. The relationship between tax morale and the preference measures is statistically modest and substantively negligible. However, the effect of the change in government on tax morale is found to differ substantively and statistically for individuals who prefer varying levels of government responsibility.