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IPPSR is MSU’s new hub for public policy information and research. Search our summaries of scientific research with implications for public policy by inputting keywords in the search box or selecting options from the menus below.

Policy Research

Twenty Years Of School-Based Health Care Growth And Expansion

Hayley E. Love, John Schlitt, Samira Soleimanpour, Nirmita Panchal, Caroline Behr

May 2019

This article addresses how youth in impoverished communities suffer from greater prevalence of certain mental and physical health challenges, while also lacking access to regular healthcare. School-based health centers (SBHCs) are created to help close this gap in care by providing healthcare to students (and sometimes others in the community) during and after school, including , often, during the summer. The use of SBHCs is associated with greater health outcomes and greater student achievement. Racial and ethnic minority students especially benefit from access to SBHCs. More research does need to be done on the quality of care that these centers provide.

Do Red Flag Laws Save Lives or Reduce Crime?

John R. Lott Jr., Carlisle E. Moody

December 2018

This study analyzes the association (or lack thereof) between Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), better known as Red Flag laws, and lowering rates of murder and suicide at the state level. Using a fixed effects regression model across every state and Washington, D.C. from 1970 to 2017, researchers considered the following gun laws: “Three strikes, Right to carry, Castle doctrine, Stand your ground, Use a gun go to jail, Waiting period, Background check, private sale Background check, Safe storage law, Juvenile gun ban, One gun per month, and Saturday night special bans.” In the end, the study found a slight increase in murder and suicide in the immediate aftermath of a Red Flag law’s implementation, followed by a gradual decrease in both until they returned to pre-statute levels. Thus, according to this article, Red Flag laws have no effect

Perspectives on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and the Cyberbiosecurity of Freshwater Systems

David G. Schmale, Andrew P. Ault, Walid Saad, Durelle T. Scott

June 2019

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have been increasing in a recent trend in freshwater systems like the Great Lakes, likely because of higher temperatures and nutrient runoff. These HABs are extremely dangerous to human health, but also hard to detect. The article suggests that there’s a lot to be done to better understand how HABs can be detected, how they spread, and how waterways can be protected. According to the authors, this threat needs to be faced with advancements in technology that allows for better detection of HABs in order to better respond. Consequently, the reliance on technology to understand HABs means the technology must be protected from potential cyber-threats.

Opportunity Zones Should Help Modernize Public School Facilities

Mary Filardo, Jeff Vincent

October 2018

This article from the Center for Cities and Schools, a program from the University of California Berkeley, raises the issue of public-school infrastructure and asks if the opportunity zone program could help reduce the amount of inequity that currently exists in our nation’s public schools. The article states that not only would these improvements on facilities make jobs during the construction, but they would also help teacher retention due to upgraded facilities. These new schools would hopefully transform into a community center as well, including facilities such as health clinics, adult education, recreation, and elder services. Funding from opportunity zones could be just the thing these schools need to improve.

Opportunity Zones: What We Know and What We Don’t

Scott Eastman, Nicole Kaeding

January 2019

This article reviews the effects of place-based incentive programs, namely opportunity zones, as well as the effect that these zones have on their residents. The article finds that place-based incentives can be difficult to measure due to geographies, but also finds that there is no consensus on whether these programs work as intended and can often lead to replacement of nonsubsidized firms. Displacement of residents and underutilization of local workforce were also concerns raised. This displacement could be exacerbated by this economic development, pushing out the residents of the area the incentive was meant to bring economic growth.

The Education Opportunity in Opportunity Zones

John P. Bailey

July 2019

The article quickly identifies an important cause of lack of economic development in distressed areas: lack of access to capital needed for these projects. It also shows that philanthropy is concentrated in only a few areas, mainly urban areas such as New York City, while lacking in rural areas of the country. The author points out that previous incentives of a similar nature have been hard to label as successful, so it is hard to see if opportunity zones are a fix to this issue by focusing on investors rather than projects. Additionally, opportunity zones are mentioned to have been connected to gentrification, but the author remains hopeful that not only are these cases spatially limited, but are not actually cases of gentrification, but rather poverty concentration. Despite these risks, education around these opportunity zones are important, such as sharing best practices, and having access to philanthropic support. Education can be a powerful asset to a community when invested in, so developers are encouraged to work with them to expand and upgrade. This is not limited to K-12 schools. Post-secondary education centers, workforce training centers, and entrepreneurs are also highlighted. The author suggests that investment is “not guaranteed just because a community is designated an Opportunity Zone” and it is up to local government to support the people who can benefit

Did States Maximize Their Opportunity Zone Selections?

Brett Theodos, Brady Meixell, Carl Hedman

May 2018

The article questions the effectiveness of the establishment of opportunity zones on census tracts around the country, scoring each opportunity zone on investment flows and the social and economic impacts they have experienced. Data revealed that these opportunity zones, placed by state governors, were established in tracts with higher rates of poverty, vacancy, unemployment, and several other factors.

Oil Spill Economics: Estimates of the Economic Damages of an Oil Spill in the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan

Robert B. Richardson, Nathan Brugnone

May 2018

In the Straits of Mackinac, the Line 5 oil pipeline proves to be at potential risk of spilling into the Great Lakes, which would prove to be damaging for the state economically. This report is an estimation of these economic damages in the cost of natural resource damages and the cost associated with restoring it as well as the impact on the private sector and the municipalities in the surrounding area. The economic impact would be in areas like tourism, commercial fishing, municipal drinking water and sewer systems, and real estate. The total estimated economic damages from a spill from Line 5 in this report is $5.6 billion dollars.

Why The Michigan Business Development Program Is More Effective than Typical Incentives

Timothy J. Bartik

May 2019

This article covers the Michigan Business Development Program, a program to provide grants and loans to encourage investment. According to Upjohn research, the program boasts a 4-1 ratio of benefits to costs. 80% of benefits of the MBDP are from higher earnings per capita for residents. The article cites the program as being successful because of incentivized amount per job created, the incentives are front-loaded, and the incentives are aimed at firms that are effective at producing job growth outside of the directly incentivized firm.

Loss Of SNAP Is Associated With Food Insecurity And Poor Health In Working Families With Young Children

Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, Mariana Chilton, Allison Bovell-Ammon, Molly Knowles, Sharon M. Coleman, Maureen M. Black, John T. Cook, Diana Becker Cutts, Patrick H. Casey, Timothy C. Heeren, Deborah A. Frank

May 2019

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as “food stamps”) is a federal program that helps low-income working families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities afford to purchase food. While SNAP benefits are often insufficient to be able to purchase a healthy, balanced diet, SNAP participation is still associated with greater food security, increased health, and improved economic and educational outcomes among eligible households. SNAP participation in childhood also has lifelong benefits. Like many government assistance programs, when SNAP recipients begin to experience an increase in income, their benefits may be reduced or even terminated. In many cases, this increase in income is not enough to offset the negative effects of losing SNAP benefits. The study found that, on average, those with reductions in or the cutoff of their SNAP benefits saw greater food insecurity (including for children), housing instability, and energy insecurity. They were also more likely to forgo healthcare due to not being able to afford it and experienced poorer health outcomes.