Fall 2020 Edition

Articles

“Health Disparities Experienced by LGBTQ+ Older Adults”
Hannah Diamond
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
LGBTQ+ older adults experience health disparities at higher rates than their heteronormative peers. This article explores interventions aimed at improving health outcomes for LGBTQ+ older adults in long-term care facilities. Specific options include maintaining the status quo, mandating cultural competency trainings for both staff and peers within long-term care facilities, and expanding upon the definition of sex discrimination within Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Utilization of analytical tools, specifically a causal loop diagram, problem definition framework, market failure frameworks, a logic model equipped with assumptions and risks, as well as an outcomes matrix, assist the reader in both understanding specific vulnerabilities that contribute to poor health outcomes for this population, as well as the rationale behind the suggested policy options. It is predicted that cultural competency training is the most effective policy to reduce the rate of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) based discrimination from both staff and peers, increase SOGI reporting from queer older adults themselves, and ultimately improve health outcomes. Although expanding the legal definition of sex discrimination provides enhanced legal protections that would both reduce discrimination rates and increase SOGI reporting, this option does not equip staff with the education needed to develop tailored health services for queer older adults.


“Can A Higher Minimum Wage Rate Help Close The Persistent Racial Wage And Earnings Gaps?”
Kimberly McKee
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
In this paper, I estimate the effect of minimum wage increases on the racial wage and earnings gaps between black and white workers in the United States, during the years 2000 to 2004. Using fixed-effects and a state-year trend model, I find that an increase to the minimum wage is associated with a 3.6% increase in black workers’ wages, almost double the increase experienced by white men, suggesting a narrowing of the racial wage gap. Conversely, white workers’ overall earnings increased by 1.1%, compared to only 0.78% for black workers. This result suggests that the minimum wage does not reduce overall racial economic disparities. I conclude that the overall benefits workers may receive from minimum wage increases are likely to be concentrated among white men.


“Colonial Political Thought and Independence”
Daniel Mullin
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
The Colonial Charters of Virginia established the rights of settlers, and these rights became the basis of Colonial-era political thought. They were repeated in Revolutionary texts to cite the grievances of colonists and to justify their declaring independence from the British. These rights of settlers cited in the Charters inherently implied they could develop economic and political activities, and Jefferson preserved this when he was tasked with writing the Declaration. This piece makes three claims. First, the political philosophy that the natural rights of men entitled them to democratically governed economic and political activity, stated implicitly in the Charters and similarly repeated in the Boston Pamphlet and Declaration of Independence, predates enlightenment thinkers and this political philosophy was learned from the British system. Secondly, this philosophy has a basis in economic rights, and this basis, as well as liberty left for colonists’ decision-making in the Charters, provided the foundation for expanded political rights and political development in the Colonial era. Thirdly, fundamental colonial political philosophy was largely unchanged from settlement through the time of the revolution, but the development of political rights meant increased British involvement, or interference, in colonial economic and political affairs was antithetical to the Colonial era. Therefore, by establishing these rights the British sowed the seeds of their own destruction in Colonial America, and these rights provided the basis for colonial political thought eventually leading to the classic liberal tradition of life, liberty, and property. The Colonial era inherited its fundamental understanding of economic and political rights from British-American colonist ancestors. These ancestors were provided significant autonomy in their economic and political rights, so they declared their independence for those reasons.


“Great Streets Small Business Grant Program: Criminological Effects in Washington, D.C.’s Emerging Corridors”
April Hurry & Meghan Ballard
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
The Great Streets program in Washington, D.C. was initially designed in the mid-2000s to assist small business owners experiencing financial stress resulting from the city’s transportation-related construction projects. The program has since evolved to support hundreds of small businesses in the city’s emerging neighborhood corridors. While a causal connection between socioeconomic deprivation and criminal behavior has long been theorized, there are few studies analyzing the relationship between commercial revitalization and crime rates at the business level. Our research attempts to address the question: How does giving a small business a public retail revitalization grant affect crime rates in the immediate proximity of the storefront? Using grantee and crime data from Open Data DC and demographic data from the United States Census Bureau, this study employs an innovative donut geospatial modeling technique to set treatment and control areas in concentric circles with equal square footage around each grantee. Because the two areas are equal, crime counts occurring in each could be directly compared. A difference-in-differences approach was used to analyze the impact of small business grants on crime in the immediate vicinity of grantees. Crime outcomes were evaluated for the District as a whole, then separated by corridor. Our results suggest that the effectiveness of the Great Streets program to reduce property crime is dependent on the demographic makeup and socioeconomic shifts of a neighborhood. This is consistent with contemporary criminological research which shows that as communities absorb higher-income residents, these residents are often more likely to report property crime. These results indicate promise for business development grants to curb certain types of crime in particular neighborhoods.


“Analyzing the Effectiveness of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program”
Prateek Patel
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program was created by The Tax Reform Act of
1986 to provide incentives for private developers to build low-income housing units. The LIHTC program is now the largest subsidy program for low-income rental housing in the country. The program has financed the creation of more than 1.4 million new units per year. Under the LIHTC program, investors can reduce their federal income taxes by $1 for every dollar of tax credit received. They are able to receive this credit for up to 10 years, and the property must remain occupied by low-income households for at least 15 years. This paper explores the effectiveness of the program and whether the program lives up to its anticipated goals and objectives.


“Public Policy Process and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'”
Dakota Strode
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
The public policy process as defined by Kingdon (2011) poorly articulates the stages in which the American public is involved during the passage of legislation. In the agenda-setting/identification stage of the public policy process, the public is the most involved. Within the first two stages, various groups attempt to facilitate and cultivate public opinion towards their argument about a policy. This paper uses the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 to argue that the public is the most involved in the first stages of the public policy process. Through an in-depth analysis of the process to pass the bill, inclusive of the actors and legislative process, I conclude that the public is primarily involved in the first stage of Kingdon’s process. Using quantitative data provided by the Human Rights Campaign, I confirm that the public was most involved during this stage due to their invoked engagement. Thus, this study builds on the public policy process model by expanding the theory behind Kingdon’s work. Specifically, it illuminates stages in which non-elite actors are involved beyond Kingdon’s elite framing of the process. By using a social rights bill, this study helps to define how the public policy process model applies to a specific type of policy.


“Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact: Coordinating Climate Change Response Through New Government Structures”
Caroline Nickerson
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (SFRCCC) was founded in 2009 by the Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties as a means to share resources, reduce competition, and more effectively address evident climate change impacts. Despite a relatively informal structure, this regional network has been remarkably successful, in large part due to the voluntary implementation of different recommendations and support by grants. However, the success of the SFRCCC, especially as time goes by and climate impacts worsen nationally, may not be able to be replicated in other regions and at different levels of government due to competition for grant dollars and to the inherent difficulty of scaling a regionally unique solution.


“Where the Sidewalk Ends: Built Environment Decline and Depression”
Olivia Savage & Karlee Naylon
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
This study utilizes panel data collected in 1986 and 1989 to analyze the relationship between the quality of neighborhood sidewalks and individuals’ levels of depression. Based on the well-established association between social isolation and negative mental health outcomes, we hypothesized that residents living in areas with poor sidewalks would report higher levels of depression due to limited walkability in their neighborhoods. We found that poorly maintained sidewalks were indeed associated with higher levels of depression (p < .001). We identified additional relationships between sidewalk quality and social integration (positive; p < .001) and between social integration and depression (inverse; p < .001). These findings carry implications for urban planners and local government finance.


“Political Participation Among Politically Active Women Post-2016”
Jacqueline Pelella
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
Little research has looked into politically active women post the 2016 Presidential Election. Women are mobilizing at high rates and as we saw in 2018, they are running and winning offices across the Nation. Women hold strong political power and have been a key part of many political and social movements even before they got the right to vote. In the post-2016 era, many things we thought we knew before about political participation have changed, but some themes still ring true today. I created a survey of 25 questions to uncover the attitudes and motivations of politically active self-identified women, as well as what messages work to motivate them. With the help of the Virginia League of Women Voters and American University’s Women and Politics Institute, I distributed my survey and received over 600 responses. Looking into this niche group, I uncovered that politically active women are highly involved, and the ones that are not, family responsibilities and time come in the way of political activities. Additionally, reproductive rights, health, and justice is the key issue motivating women to get politically active today. When it comes to increasing their political activity, many women noted needed more tangible tasks from organizations and campaigns, even some at the local level. The themes and findings through this research are critically important as we head into the 2020 election cycle because women will be a force on the ground, at the ballot box, and getting elected into office. We need to learn from 2016 and politically active women in order to keep this momentum going.


“Putting Stock in Students: Exploring Effective Retention Efforts on College Campuses”
Holly Turcich
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
College attendance rates have been on the rise since the early 2000s (National Center for Education Statistics, 2018). Retention came to the forefront of higher education shortly after the financial crisis, when students were fleeing the market in pursuit of opportunities that did not cost upwards of $100,000 (Matthews, 2009). Institutions were forced to re-strategize, so they shifted their focus from initial enrollment to retention. Since 2009, the overall retention rate has continued to rise with an increase of about 2.6 percentage points (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2018). This paper examines both the statistical and practical impact each of the financial or post-admission retention designs have on students. Many of these studies examine the impact of these efforts on underserved students, and although these efforts are both vital and necessary for these students, this article focuses on the causal nature of retention efforts as a means to retain any student, rather than specific communities on campus that may particularly be susceptible to high drop-out rates.


“The Federal Job Guarantee: A Hopeful Plan That’s Too Expensive to Deliver”
Prateek Patel
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Rep. Bonnie Coleman (NJ) introduced S.2746 and H.R.6467 to establish a federal jobs guarantee program in at least 15 high-unemployment communities and regions across the United States. These pilot 15 unemployed communities must follow the following criteria to be accepted, “has an unemployment rate that is not less than 150 percent of the national unemployment rate, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (except in the case of tribal entities which may submit their own employment data where no such Federal data is available for such entities) based on the most recent data available at the time the Secretary solicits applications for grants under this section (S.2746, 2017).” The pilot program will be available to anyone over the age of 18 residing in the unemployed community, and the program should be eliminated no later than three years since the program began. These criteria signal that many modes and impacts will be evaluated to signal the success of the program, and with the political standstill in the country, many of these criteria have various definitions of what classifies as a success. The idea of generating more income for the public will boost our overall economy and reduce the wealth inequality that encompasses the country. However, the policy may not be able to completely solve unemployment, and it is also true that we cannot continually borrow more and more funds to fund another long-term investment. Ultimately, the intrinsic and extrinsic costs of implementing this policy outweigh the potential benefits the Federal Job Guarantee plan has to offer.


“A Case Study on the Drug Enforcement Administration Marijuana Growers Program”
Arsene Frederic
Published: November 2020

Abstract:
This case study was constructed in the Fall of 2019 to bring attention to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Marijuana Growers Program. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the use of federal resources to construct the marijuana growers program, which aims to increase the number of licensed marijuana growers to research and examine the effects of marijuana. Since the announcement of this program, cannabis growers across the country sprang into action to submit applications. However, in its initial stages, the statutory landscape complicated the approval process due to the U.S. obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 (Single Convention). It is recommended that the DEA routinely analyze regulatory guidelines to improve regulatory policy. Additionally, I recommend compliance centers to be instituted in this program to equip the DEA with the components needed to advance the regulatory objectives of the program and increase accountability. Lastly, I recommend the preparation of an administrative team to provide a clear pathway for trust and confidence as this program develops.