Research Quick Take

Here at the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (COSSPP), our faculty have been quite busy! Here are some of the projects that our faculty have recently published.

“Inclusionary housing in the United States: dynamics of local policy and outcomes in diverse markets” by Dr. Holger Kern

Holger Kern | Political Science

In his recent article, Dr. Kern reports the results from a large-scale correspondence study of street-level bureaucrats in the American public school system. To do so, he emailed the principals of a large sample of public schools and asked for a meeting, randomly assigning the religious (non)affiliation of the family. To get at potential causal mechanisms, religious belief intensity was also randomly assigned. The findings show evidence of substantial discrimination against Muslims and atheists on a par with, and sometimes larger than, the racial discrimination found in previous studies. These individuals are substantially less likely to receive a response, with discrimination growing when they signal that their beliefs are more intense.

“Inclusionary housing in the United States: dynamics of local policy and outcomes in diverse markets” by Dr. Sowmya Balachandran

In her recent article, Dr. Balachandran examines how inclusionary housing (IH) helps
address the affordable housing crisis and build inclusive communities. To do so, she collects data on 1,019 local IH programs are documented in 734 local jurisdictions of 31 states and the District of Columbia. She finds distinct patterns in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, where state laws largely impact program adoption and production. A
subset of 258 programs reported producing about 110,000 inclusionary units, and 123 programs have collected close to $1.8 billion in fees for affordable housing development.

“The Effect of Inter-School District Competition on Student Achievement: The Role of Long-Standing State Policies Prohibiting the Formation of New School Districts” by Dr. Katie Sherron

Katie Sherron | Department Of Economics

In her recent book chapter, Dr. Sherron discusses the effects of a state having an increased number of school districts. To do so, she identifies 9 states in which the state requires that the school districts be county-wide or state-wide; these laws have been in place for almost 7 decades. In states with no restrictions on the formation of school districts, larger metropolitan areas have more school districts, and thus more inter-district competition. As expected, student test scores are higher in larger metro areas that do not require county-wide or state-wide districts. On the other hand, test scores are no higher in large metro areas than in small metro areas in states that prohibit any rise in the number of districts as the metro area grows.

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