Publications

  • The Utilization of Rental Housing Assistance By Immigrants in the United States and New York City

    The large influx of immigrants to the United States and New York City from poorer countries has sparked considerable debate as to whether immigrants are becoming a “public charge” to American society. Most arguments have centered around immigrants’ use of cash assistance programs. This article compares immigrants’ receipt of rental housing assistance with that of native-born Americans.

    Bivariate analyses reveal that immigrants, as a group, are no more likely than native-born households to use any form of rental housing assistance. Indeed, in most instances immigrants are less likely than native-born households to receive assistance, with two exceptions: immigrants who have been in the United States since 1970 and immigrants from the former Soviet Union in New York City. Multivariate analyses reveal similar results, except that immigrants who have been in the United States since 1970 are no more likely than other immigrants to receive housing assistance when we control for other factors.

  • Reducing the Cost of New Housing Construction in New York City: 2005 Update

    As was the case in 1999, the major housing problem facing residents of New York City in 2005 is the affordability of housing. More than one out of every five renters in the city pay over half their incomes in rent. It is especially problematic that the vast majority of households who experience these severe housing affordability problems earn low incomes. Nevertheless, high housing costs are a significant problem for households throughout the income spectrum. While limited data suggest that housing affordability problems may have moderated a tiny bit for renters from 1999 to 2004, they worsened for owners.

  • School Finance Court Cases and Disparate Racial Impact

    Although analyses of state school finance systems rarely focus on the distribution of funds to students of different races, the advent of racial discrimination as an issue in school finance court cases may change that situation. In this article, we describe the background, analyses, and results of plaintiffs’ testimony regarding racial discrimination in Campaign for Fiscal Equity Inc. v. State of New York. Plaintiffs employed multiple regression and public finance literature to show that New York State’s school finance system had a disparate racial impact on New York City students. We review the legal basis for disparate racial impact claims, with particular emphasis on the role of quantitative statistical work, and then describe the model we developed and estimated for the court case. Finally, we discuss the defendants’rebuttal, the Court’s decision, and conclude with observations about the role of analysis in judicial decision making in school finance.

  • Impact Fees and Housing Affordability

    The increasing use of impact fees and the costs that they may add to the development process raises serious concerns about the effect using impact fees to fund infrastructure will have on the affordability of housing.

  • Comment on ‘The Effects of Affordable and Multifamily Housing on Market Values of Nearby Homes’

    Advocates of growth management and smart growth often propose policies that raise housing prices, thereby making housing less affordable to many households trying to buy or rent homes. Such policies include urban growth boundaries, zoning restrictions on multi-family housing, utility district lines, building permit caps, and even construction moratoria. Does this mean there is an inherent conflict between growth management and smart growth on the one hand, and creating more affordable housing on the other? Or can growth management and smart growth promote policies that help increase the supply of affordable housing?

  • What’s Happened to the Price of College? Quality Adjusted Net Price Indices for 4 Year College

    In this paper we estimate hedonic models of the (consumer) price of college to construct quality-adjusted net price indexes for U.S. four-year colleges, where the net price of college is defined as tuition and fees minus financial aid. For academic years 1990–91 to 1994–95, we find adjusting for financial aid leads to a 22 percent decline in the estimated price index for all four year colleges, while quality adjusting the results leads to a further, albeit smaller, decline. Nevertheless, public comprehensive colleges, perhaps an important gateway to college for students from low-income backgrounds, experienced the largest net price increases.

  • The Impact of School Reform on Student Performance

    This paper evaluates the impact of the New York Networks for School Renewal Project, a whole school reform initiated by the Annenberg Foundation as part of a nationwide reform strategy. It uses data on students in randomly chosen control schools to estimate impacts on student achievement, using an intent-to-treat design. After controlling for student demographic, mobility, and school characteristics, the authors find positive impacts for students attending reform schools in the fourth Grade, mixed evidence for fifth Grade, and slight to no evidence for sixth Grade. On average, there is a small positive impact. The paper illustrates how relatively inexpensive administrative data can be used to evaluate education reforms.

  • Lucas vs. The Green Machine

    This title provides a law student with an enriched understanding of twelve leading property cases. It focuses on how lawyers, judges, and policy factors shaped the litigation, and why the cases have attained noteworthy status. The volume is suitable for adoption as a supplement in a first-year property course, or as a text for an advanced seminar.

  • Immigrants and the Distribution of Resources within an Urban School District

    In New York City, where almost 14% of elementary school pupils are foreign-born and roughly half of these are “recent immigrants,” the impact of immigrant students on school resources may be important. While immigrant advocates worry about inequitable treatment of immigrant students, others worry that immigrants drain resources from native-born students. In this article, we explore the variation in school resources and the relationship to the representation of immigrant students. To what extent are variations in school resources explained by the presence of immigrants per se rather than by differences in student educational needs, such as poverty or language skills, or differences in other characteristics, such as race?

  • The Role of Cities in Providing Housing Assistance: A New York Perspective

    In recent years, the federal government has increasingly relied upon states and cities to create and administer social policy. This paper examines available theory and evidence regarding the appropriate role of different levels of government, focusing in particular on the role of cities. Exploring the case of New York City, the paper also offers new empirical evidence on the extent to which investments in affordable housing can help to eliminate externalities and rebuild inner city communities. The authors conclude that although cities should play a major role in administering housing programs, they should only fund them under a limited set of circumstances. Redistribution of income, a major objective of most housing subsidy programs, should generally be paid for by the federal government, not cities. In contrast, cities should consider funding housing production programs when they are part of a comprehensive strategy either to remove negative externalities or to generate positive spillovers. The authors' empirical analysis of New York City's investment in new housing suggests that housing programs can generate significant external benefits to their neighborhoods. Thus, the results point to a potentially important role for cities, based upon the spillover effects of housing construction and rehabilitation in distressed neighborhoods.