Tackling poverty in place

By Margery Turner  ::  December 10th, 2014

Initiatives that focus on our country’s most distressed neighborhoods have been the subject of lively and insightful debate lately. Three big themes animate my own thinking about this work, highlighted in a talk I gave last week at a forum hosted by the USC Price School of Public Policy: Place matters. If we care about [...]

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Managing Ebola outbreaks with better health governance

By Ben Edwards  ::  December 10th, 2014

Over 6,000 people have died of Ebola since the outbreak began in West Africa early this year. While the outbreak appears to be subsiding in Liberia and Guinea, the situation in Sierra Leone is worsening. A recent New York Times article suggests that cultural practices are behind the depth and breadth of the outbreak in [...]

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New credit availability measure shows product risk, not borrower risk, fueled the housing crisis

By Wei Li and Laurie Goodman  ::  December 9th, 2014

As we seek to reform the housing finance system, we must clearly understand how well the market is providing access to mortgage credit for those who need it. Yet, the four most commonly used measurements of credit availability suffer variously from being too narrow, too subjective, limited in time, opaque, or inaccurate in certain situations. [...]

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How much do we know about the prevalence of sexual violence across ethnic and racial groups?

By Nathaniel Anderson and Jon Schwabish and Ben Southgate  ::  December 9th, 2014

The data we have about sexual violence are lacking. Using data on sexual violence from one of the largest surveys on personal health behaviors—the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System—we are only able to find estimates for 28 of 90 different minority groups. We also don’t know how rates of sexual violence vary across different racial and ethnic [...]

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Sharing data for America’s communities

By Ellen Seidman  ::  December 9th, 2014

As late as the early 1990s, people working in and for America’s low-income communities relied primarily on the Decennial Census for information. The Census was the only publicly available, reliable, and comprehensive source of data about the community—the people and the housing. If you wanted different or more recent data or information about places with [...]

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Putting the people back in policy and practice

By Molly M. Scott  ::  December 8th, 2014

This post originally appeared on RealClearPolicy.com.  Poverty is a seemingly intractable problem. Policymakers, practitioners, and researchers have been looking for solutions for decades now without a whole lot of success. It seems like we need some more help from the real experts—the people who live in poverty. Common sense, definitely. Common practice, not quite yet. [...]

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Boxed in by pension funding gaps, states must think outside the box

By Richard Johnson  ::  December 8th, 2014

States and municipalities across the country have responded to growing funding gaps in their pension plans by cutting benefits or requiring employees to contribute more. These steps may improve plan finances, but they often backfire, undermining employees’ retirement security and making it harder for governments to attract and retain qualified workers. Instead of simple cost [...]

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The complicated economic benefit of lower gas prices

By Zach McDade  ::  December 4th, 2014

You’ve probably noticed and appreciated the recent fall in gas prices—about 40 percent down from their summer peak. Many headlines have touted the drop’s short-term benefit to the economy, stimulating spending by leaving more money in consumers’ wallets. And the economic benefit may be even greater than current headlines suggest for very low-income workers. The [...]

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Risk-sharing deals support reduction in Freddie and Fannie guarantee fees

By Laurie Goodman  ::  December 3rd, 2014

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the conservator of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is currently considering what fee to charge lenders for Fannie and Freddie’s guarantee. The GSEs’ guarantee ensures timely payment of principal and interest to investors in mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Recent GSE deals that allow the private market to [...]

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