A heated debate is raging over our nation’s public schools and how they should be reformed, with proposals ranging from imposing national standards to replacing public education altogether with a voucher system for private schools. Combining decades of experience in education, the authors propose an innovative approach to solving the problems of our school system and find a middle ground between these extremes.
Reinventing Public Education shows how contracting would radically change the way we operate our schools, while keeping them public and accessible to all, and making them better able to meet standards of achievement and equity. Using public funds, local school boards would select private providers to operate individual schools under formal contracts specifying the type and quality of instruction.
In a hands-on, concrete fashion, the authors provide a thorough explanation of the pros and cons of school contracting and how it would work in practice. They show how contracting would free local school boards from operating schools so they can focus on improving educational policy; how it would allow parents to choose the best school for their children; and, finally, how it would ensure that schools are held accountable and academic standards are met.
While retaining a strong public role in education, contracting enables schools to be more imaginative, adaptable, and suited to the needs of children and families. In presenting an alternative vision for America’s schools, Reinventing Public Education is too important to be ignored.
One famous target of Progressive Era attempts to rein in monopolistic big business was the eastern Sugar Trust. Less known is how federal regulators also tried to break monopoly control over beet sugar in the West by going after the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, a business supported and controlled by the Latter-day Saints church and run by Mormon authorities. As sugar beet agriculture boomed, the Mormon church’s involvement led directly to monopolistic practices by Utah-Idaho Sugar and to federal investigations. Church leaders encouraged members, a majority population in much of the intermountain West, to patronize the company exclusively, as suppliers and consumers. As early as 1890, Mormon church president Wilford Woodruff had called missionaries to raise money for the fledgling company and asserted divine inspiration for church support.
Utah-Idaho bridged the cooperative, theocratic, self-sufficient economic model of nineteenth-century Mormonism and the integration of the Mormon West into the national market economy. Religion, Politics, and Sugar shows, through the example of an important western business, how national commercial, political, and legal forces in the
early twentieth century came west and, more specifically, how they affected the important role the Mormon church played in economic affairs in the region.
Resource Allocation in Higher Education describes how colleges, universities, and government agencies can use budgeting processes to improve program planning and productivity. Drawn from the contributors' direct experiences as well as research findings, it blends conceptual foundations with practical insights. Many resource allocation processes in higher education need reform, and this volume will stimulate and assist that effort.
Beginning with the economic theory of nonprofits, the essays examine current budgeting systems in both theoretical and practical terms. Resource allocation systems from other domains such as health care are explored for relevant insights. Throughout, decentralization remains a major theme. Topics range from the eminently practical--how to establish a global accounting system or choose an endowment spending rate--to the more abstract--the theory of how various nonprofit enterprises balance academic values against market pressures. The volume ends by proposing value responsibility budgeting, which offers institutions a potentially better way of pursuing their academic values while remaining responsive to market pressures.
Those within higher education institutions who are responsible for resource allocation, such as provosts, chief financial officers, or budget directors, will find much that speaks to them. While mostly in the domain of higher education economics, management, and planning, the essays are written for any serious reader concerned with the problem of reform in higher education.
William F. Massy is Professor of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University.
Americans spend hours every day sitting in traffic. And the roads they idle on are often rough and potholed, their exits, tunnels, guardrails, and bridges in terrible disrepair. According to transportation expert Robert Poole, this congestion and deterioration are outcomes of the way America provides its highways. Our twentieth-century model overly politicizes highway investment decisions, short-changing maintenance and often investing in projects whose costs exceed their benefits.
In Rethinking America’s Highways, Poole examines how our current model of state-owned highways came about and why it is failing to satisfy its customers. He argues for a new model that treats highways themselves as public utilities—like electricity, telephones, and water supply. If highways were provided commercially, Poole argues, people would pay for highways based on how much they used, and the companies would issue revenue bonds to invest in facilities people were willing to pay for. Arguing for highway investments to be motivated by economic rather than political factors, this book makes a carefully-reasoned and well-documented case for a new approach to highways that is sure to inform future decisions and policies for U.S. infrastructure.
Retrospectives on Public Finance contains original analyses by internationally recognized public finance scholars, including Carl Sumner Shoup, one of the discipline’s most famous practitioners. Shoup, along with Richard Musgrave and his students, pioneered the “prescriptive” or “political economy school” of public finance known for its hands-on approach and its commitment to applying theory to real world problems. Each contributor provides a retrospective on Shoup’s various contributions to the field, reviewing the literature and assessing its relevance to current problems in public finance theory and policy. The essays highlight and analyze fiscal theory and public policy developments from the 1930s to the present in four areas: the Shoup tax missions to Japan, Venezuela, and Liberia; the tax mix; the expenditure mix; and macro public finance.
Contributors. Lorraine Eden, Carl S. Shoup, Malcolm Gillis, Minoru Nakazato, Charles E. McLure Jr., John Bossons, Richard Goode, William Vickery, Wayne Thirsk, John Graham, Stanley Winer, W. Irwin Gillespie, Melville L. McMillan, Cliff Walsh, John G. Head, Enid Slack, Edwin G. West, Richard M. Bird, Peggy B. Musgrave, Douglas A. L. Auld, John B. Burbidge, Jack M. Mintz, John Sargent, Richard A. Musgrave
In the 1949 Housing Act, Congress declared "a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family" our national housing goal. Today, little more than half a century later, upwards of 100 million people in the United States live in housing that is physically inadequate, unsafe, overcrowded, or unaffordable.
The contributors to A Right to Housing consider the key issues related to America's housing crisis, including income inequality and insecurity, segregation and discrimination, the rights of the elderly, as well as legislative and judicial responses to homelessness. The book offers a detailed examination of how access to adequate housing is directly related to economic security.
With essays by leading activists and scholars, this book presents a powerful and compelling analysis of the persistent inability of the U.S. to meet many of its citizens' housing needs, and a comprehensive proposal for progressive change.
Our current social security system operates on a pay-as-you-go basis; benefits are paid almost entirely out of current revenues. As the ratio of retirees to taxpayers increases, concern about the high costs of providing benefits in a pay-as-you-go system has led economists to explore other options. One involves "prefunding," in which a person's withholdings are invested in financial instruments, such as stocks and bonds, the eventual returns from which would fund his or her retirement. The risks such a system would introduce—such as the volatility in the market prices of investment assets—are the focus of this offering from the NBER. Exploring the issues involved in measuring risk and developing models to reflect the risks of various investment-based systems, economists evaluate the magnitude of the risks that both retirees and taxpayers would assume. The insights that emerge show that the risk is actually moderate relative to the improved return, as well as being balanced by the ability of an investment-based system to adapt to differences in individual preferences and conditions.
Risk Quantification and Allocation Methods for Practitioners offers a practical approach to risk management in the financial industry. This in-depth study provides quantitative tools to better describe qualitative issues, as well as clear explanations of how to transform recent theoretical developments into computational practice, and key tools for dealing with the issues of risk measurement and capital allocation.
The recent financial crisis and the difficulty of using mainstream macroeconomic models to accurately monitor and assess systemic risk have stimulated new analyses of how we measure economic activity and the development of more sophisticated models in which the financial sector plays a greater role.
Markus Brunnermeier and Arvind Krishnamurthy have assembled contributions from leading academic researchers, central bankers, and other financial-market experts to explore the possibilities for advancing macroeconomic modeling in order to achieve more accurate economic measurement. Essays in this volume focus on the development of models capable of highlighting the vulnerabilities that leave the economy susceptible to adverse feedback loops and liquidity spirals. While these types of vulnerabilities have often been identified, they have not been consistently measured. In a financial world of increasing complexity and uncertainty, this volume is an invaluable resource for policymakers working to improve current measurement systems and for academics concerned with conceptualizing effective measurement.
Until about twenty years ago, the consensus view on the cause of financial-system distress was fairly simple: a run on one bank could easily turn to a panic involving runs on all banks, destroying some and disrupting the financial system. Since then, however, a series of events—such as emerging-market debt crises, bond-market meltdowns, and the Long-Term Capital Management episode—has forced a rethinking of the risks facing financial institutions and the tools available to measure and manage these risks.
The Risks of Financial Institutions examines the various risks affecting financial institutions and explores a variety of methods to help institutions and regulators more accurately measure and forecast risk. The contributors--from academic institutions, regulatory organizations, and banking--bring a wide range of perspectives and experience to the issue. The result is a volume that points a way forward to greater financial stability and better risk management of financial institutions.