January 2, 2019
This article’s authors use linked administrative data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration to evaluate SSA’s investment in services provided by the federal-state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. A unique data resource permits a comparison of the value of SSA payments to state VR agencies for services provided to disability program beneficiaries who find and maintain a substantial level of work with the value of the cash benefits those beneficiaries forgo because of work. The authors find that the value of cash benefits forgone by beneficiaries after applying for VR services is substantially greater than the value of SSA payments to state VR agencies for those services.
via Social Security Administration Payments to State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies for Disability Program Beneficiaries Who Work: Evidence from Linked Administrative Data by Jody Schimmel, Paul O’Leary :: SSRN
September 18, 2018
This article reviews the basic theoretical models that are appropriate for analyzing different types of welfare reforms, as well as the related empirical literature. We first present the canonical labor supply model of a classical welfare program and then extend this basic framework to include in-kind transfers, incomplete take-up, human capital, preference persistence, and borrowing and saving. The empirical literature on these models is presented. The negative income tax, earnings subsidies, US welfare reforms with features that differ from those in other countries, and childcare reforms are then surveyed in terms of both the theoretical models and the empirical literature surrounding each.
via Welfare Reform and the Labor Market by Marc K. Chan, Robert A. Moffitt :: SSRN
September 15, 2018
The United States is often described as the only developed nation without a public commitment to universal health care. Instead, its health care system is widely considered a product of bio-scientific free enterprise – technologically sophisticated, extremely expensive, but inaccessible to the poor. This chapter offers a contrasting account, refuting the conventional narrative of U.S. health policy as private, competitive, and entrepreneurial. Beginning over 20 years ago, the poor performance of the American health care system has been slowly revealed. For nearly as long, steps that might improve that performance have been identified. But little has changed. Why? The answer, in large part, lies in an accumulation of laws, regulations, self-regulatory practices, and financial subsidies which locks US health care into inefficient, unfair patterns and practices. While most of these provisions were well-intentioned when put into place, this “deep legal architecture” now serves mainly to prevent meaningful competition in medical markets and to distort or limit collective investment in the nation’s health.
via Explaining America’s Spendthrift Health Care System: The Enduring Effects of Public Regulation on Private Competition by William M. Sage :: SSRN
September 10, 2018
Based on the fiscal year 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports of the 50 states, this study ranks states’ fiscal solvency using 14 metrics that assess whether the states can meet their short-term bills and long-term obligations. State finances are analyzed according to five dimensions of solvency: cash, budget, long-run, service-level, and trust fund. These five dimensions are combined to produce an overall ranking of state fiscal solvency.
via Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition, 2015 Edition by Eileen Norcross :: SSRN
June 7, 2018
In this paper, we undertake a systematic disaggregate analysis of the effects of government spending on economic activity in the US. The level of disaggregation we consider is the highest available and is unprecedented in the empirical literature. More specifically, public consumption and public investment are decomposed into various subcategories, which are measured at the levels of the federal (defence and non‐defence), and state and local governments. For each subcategory, we estimate a structural vector autoregression that identifies public spending shocks through the conditional heteroskedasticity of the structural disturbances, thus relaxing the identifying restrictions commonly used in the literature. Our analysis reveals significant heterogeneity in the effects of public spending shocks on output both across subcategories and government levels. Shocks to spending on durables and structures are found to have the largest and most persistent effect on aggregate output, with a peak multiplier that exceeds 1. Our results also suggest that there is little association between the size of a given category of public expenditures and the magnitude of its effect on output.
via Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: A Disaggregate Analysis of the Effects of Public Spending in the US by Hafedh Bouakez, Denis Larocque, Michel Normandin :: SSRN
May 29, 2018
For many children in the United States, school meals represent a vital source of reliable and nutritious food. Utilizing variation caused by the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) in Georgia schools, we estimate models of school-level child health measured by the percentage of healthy weight children and average Body Mass Index (BMI) score. CEP eligibility is used as an instrument for CEP participation and the percentage of students enrolled in free and reduced-price school lunches, as well as in the reduced form. We find that CEP participation increases the percentage of healthy weight students in a school and reduces average BMI. We find no statistically significant evidence to support a deleterious effect from either the CEP or free school meals on child health outcomes. Subsample analyses suggest that that the effect of school meals on health varies across grade and location type, with no effect on high schools or rural schools.
via Estimating the Effects of Subsidized School Meals on Child Health: Evidence from the Community Eligibility Provision in Georgia Schools by Will Davis, Tareena Musaddiq :: SSRN
May 17, 2018
Innovation is a primary source of economic growth, and is accordingly the target of substantial academic and government attention. Grants are a key tool in the government’s arsenal of tools to promote innovation, but legal academic studies of that arsenal have given them short shrift. While patents, prizes, and regulator-enforced exclusivity are each the subject of a substantial literature, grants are typically addressed briefly, if at all. According to the conventional story, grants may be the only feasible tool to drive basic research, as opposed to applied research, but they are a blunt tool for that task.
Three critiques of grants underlie this narrative: grants are allocated by government bureaucrats who lack much of the relevant information for optimal decision-making; grants are purely ex ante funding mechanisms and therefore lack accountability; and grants misallocate risk by saddling the government all the downside risk and giving the innovator all the upside. These critiques are largely wrong. Focusing on grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health, the largest public funder of biomedical research, this Article delves deeply into how grants actually work. It shows that grants are awarded not by uninformed bureaucrats, but by panels of knowledgeable peer scientists with the benefit of extensive disclosures from applicants. It finds that grants provide accountability through repeated interactions over time. And it argues that the upside of grant-investments to the government is much greater than the lack of direct profits would suggest.
Grants also have two marked comparative strengths as innovation levers: they can support innovation where social value exceeds appropriable market value, and they can directly support innovation enablers — the people, institutions, processes, and infrastructure that shape and generate innovation. Where markets undervalue some socially important innovations, like cures for diseases of the poor, grants can help. Grants can also enable innovation by supporting its inputs: young or exceptional scientists, new institutions, research networks, and large datasets. Taken as a whole, grants do not form a monolithic, blunt innovation lever; instead, they provide a varied and nuanced set of policy options, and we should recognize and develop their usefulness in promoting major social goals.
via Grants by W. Nicholson Price :: SSRN