Improving Governance for Marginalized Older Populations: Evidence-Based Policy from an Experimental Study in Urban Mexico
Public governance plays an important role in the effective implementation of programs to ensure that no group is marginalized in social policy. With elderly populations dramatically rising, many countries are facing a governance challenge in how to effectively implement social policy targeting vulnerable and marginalized elderly. Dr. Aguila’s research examines the implementation design of a social security program for the elderly and will provide recommendations for creating equal access to social security benefits for marginalized elderly in a developing country. Specifically, she will identify barriers to entry for the most marginalized elderly and test if these barriers change when disbursements are cash transfers versus electronic payments. Her research uses longitudinal data from two randomized controlled trials conducted in urban areas in Yucatan, Mexico.
Banglatown in Rome: Negotiating the Identity of Diaspora in a Heritage District
Tridib Banerjee, with doctoral student Maria Francesca Piazzoni
Dr. Banerjee’s research investigates how the immigrants who occupy urban spaces of host nations present a challenge to existing socio-political orders. In particular, his research will explore (a) how Bangladeshi illegal immigrants who are employed as street vendors in Rome negotiate their cultural identity, (b) the politics of their belonging to a reluctant host country, and (c) how these phenomena inform new modalities of citizenship. U.S. studies on immigrant assimilation have typically focused on the impact of immigration, especially undocumented, on existing institutions of governance, especially their right to the city and citizenship. Looking at how European countries manage immigrants’ inflows in terms of legal and spatial policies will contribute to the discourses on immigrant assimilation from a comparative perspective.
Revisiting the Neighborhood Council System in Los Angeles: Is It Effective in Promoting Civic Engagement?
Terry L. Cooper, with doctoral students Hui Li and Bo Wen
Dr. Cooper’s research revisits the Los Angeles neighborhood council (NC) system, a significant institutional governance innovation established in 1999 with the intention of reducing citizens’ alienation from city governance and increasing public trust in city officials. His project will evaluate the effectiveness of the NC system in reducing alienation, promoting civic engagement, and improving local governance. He also aims to produce new insights on the relationship between participatory initiatives and urban governance, and examine whether a civic institution like this can channel citizens’ interests and improve city policymaking. Dr. Cooper will also provide recommendations on how policymakers can foster mutual understanding among citizens, elected officials, and agency administrators.
The Politics of Uninsurance Disparities
The Affordable Care Act is in full implementation mode with thirty states expanding their Medicaid programs and fourteen states running their own health insurance exchanges. By extending health insurance coverage to more people, the ACA offers the potential to decrease health inequities between subpopulations. State-level political actors play a critical role in both the success of the policy and the reach of public health programs, regulations, and services across a state. The different timing of ACA implementation and variation in these choices affords a unique opportunity to study the mechanisms by which political and administrative structures and processes influence policy outcomes. Dr. McCann’s research will consider how political factors and choices intersect with public administrators and the public health system to influence population health outcomes and, more precisely, health inequities. This project is co-funded by the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.
Initiating Direct Citizen Engagement in Local Government
While most local governments lack any specific legal or budgetary mandates to solicit public participation in policy implementation, public managers are often expected to develop and deliver participation arrangements that give citizens the opportunity to participate in the policy process. Drs. Resh and Zerunyan will examine how public managers are intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to initiate citizen engagement efforts, and how those efforts can result in individual outcomes such as job satisfaction or burnout. They hypothesize that (1) prosocial motivation leads to more individual initiative toward citizen engagement efforts; and (2) prosocial motivation, past citizen engagement, and positive performance interact to increase individual initiative. This research is the first to reverse the lens of citizen engagement and coproduction from the effects on citizen satisfaction to the effects on individuals’ job satisfaction, burnout, and continued work efforts.