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Policy Research

Sustainability assemblages: From metrics development to metrics implementation in United States agriculture

Jason Konefal, Maki Hatanaka, Johann Strube, Leland Glenna, David Conner

October 2019

With a growing focus on the effects agriculture can have on the environment there have been increasing questions on how improvements in sustainability could be measured. Two metrics being used in the US include Field to Market and the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC), both including similar processes to reduce energy and waste. Field to Market metrics apply to commodity crops and SISC is for specialty crops like fruits and vegetables. In order to get these metrics implemented, it requires the cooperation of growers, processors, aggregators, and other supply chain actors. All of these actors may have interests that go against sustainability thus making these metrics hard to put into place.

Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions

Alan S. Gerber, Dean Karlan, Daniel Bergan

April 2009

This article is centered around the first natural field experiment aimed to see the impact of political news content on political behavior and attitudes. To conduct this test, Prince William, a Virginia county, was used to discover which households do not receive the newspapers, the Post or the Times. Individuals were sampled from a list of registered voters and a consumer database list. They were then randomly assigned subscriptions to these papers for 10 weeks, or to neither for the control group. The Post is known to lean left, while the Times leans right. However, receiving either paper led to more Democratic support, which indicated that media slant did not matter as much as simply exposure. The Post estimated increasing probability of choosing the Democrat by 11.2 percentage points among voters, and by 7.2 across all respondents. This experiment also found an increased turnout of citizens in 2006 that was barely significant, but no significant increase in self- reported or administratively measured turnout in 2005. This study found three problems with noncompliance in terms of treatment administration that are worth noting. The first is that six percent of people chose not to receive the free newspaper subscriptions. The second is some of the home addresses were said to be undeliverable. The final issue is that a number of the households were already subscribing to either of the papers before the study was conducted. It also found a few limitations that are important. One is the relatively small sample size, and another is that although houses receive papers, it cannot be proven if the individuals read them.

Renewable energy consumption in EU-28 countries: Policy toward pollution mitigation and economic sustainability

Seyi Saint Akadiri, Andrew Adewale Alola, Ada Chigozie Akadiri, Uju Violet Alola

November 2019

It has become increasingly clear that the issue of climate change is one that will need to be addressed by changes in policy that reflect the severity of the issue. The EU has shown that it is possible to find a balance between reducing environmental degradation and sustainable economic growth. This article shows a long-term positive relationship between energy consumption and economic growth for 28 EU countries, proving that they likely have a sound idea of effective environmental policy. Some of the changes they have made are subsidies and tax credits for companies that make the switch to more renewable energy, this often offsetting the initial cost to the company for making the change.

“A Mom First and a Candidate Second”: Gender Differences in Candidates' Self-Presentation of Family

Brittany L. Stalsburg , Mona S. Kleinberg

July 2015

Conventional wisdom states that while parenthood is an asset for male political candidates, it is often a liability for female candidates. Female politicians are less likely to have children than male ones and, when they do, they often have less of them and their children tend to be older. Female politicians also emphasize their role as a mother less in campaign materials, such as pictures. However, even though women face more negative impacts for parenthood than men, childless women face even more scrutiny than mothers in politics, due to the perception that they are not fulfilling their societal role of motherhood and are, therefore, viewed as deviant. Thus, the article states that motherhood can sometimes be used as an asset, especially in recent years.

Is this a women’s movement? The relationship of gender to community-supported agriculture in Michigan

Laura DeLind, Anne Ferguson

June 1999

The growing trend of community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a way to connect people with local farmers for fresh agriculture. It provides more economic opportunity and security for small farmers, as well as creating more relationships between farmers and the community. In CSA, it has “members” of the community who pay farmers prior to each season, which shares some of the risk and up-front costs of farming between the producer and consumer. A key part of CSA is how it empowers female farmers, who make up a majority of those involved. In this article they discuss with focus groups in Michigan made up of both men and woman as to why there is this large number of women in CSA. Some answers range from women being more community minded, to women enjoying a way to make money while being a stay-at home mom in a rural family.

Your Account Balance is Due—Pay Up or Get Out: Streamlining the Eviction Process in Michigan

Mary Jo Weindorf

January 2010

This article explains the eviction process in Michigan and argues that it should be changed to become more “pro-landlord”. It claims that tenants are favored in both the statute and application of the legal process, as the burden of filing for eviction and going through the court process is placed on the landlord. Thus, the article suggests that the process should become more favorable towards landlords by increasing the speed of the process and creating a government agency to act as a middleman between the tenant and landlord. This, the article argues, will alleviate problems in the housing and rental market as landlords will feel more secure in their rights and will, therefore, be more likely to invest in new properties as well as invite new landlords into the market.

Does Non-Quota Strategy Matter? A Comparative Study on Candidate Selection and Women’s Representation at the Local Level in Germany

Florian Ruf

August 2019

This study analyzed the effectiveness of various strategies German political parties used in local elections to achieve women’s representation on the ballot. The study focused mainly on strategies other than gender quotas, as non-quota methods have been studied less in this field. The study found that non-quota methods (such as establishing women’s sections within the party, mentoring programs, and party targets to increase equality) do, in fact, increase the likelihood of women being nominated on party tickets. It also found that female representation is better when party gatekeepers are women.

Energy efficiency and consumption — the rebound effect — a survey

June 2000

This article argues that when energy consumption becomes more efficient due to improved technology, it will reduce the per-unit price of energy. This will in turn, raise the consumption of energy services, offsetting the efficiency. However, the conclusions of the study where inconclusive and the micro level of this study, and not much research has been done on the macro implications of this argument.

Homeless in God’s Country: Coping Strategies and Felt Experiences of the Rural Homeless

Timothy Hilton, Cornell DeJong

November 2010

This ethnography examines the lived experiences of homeless people in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP). It finds five distinct categories of coping behaviors (how they search for basic necessities) in the UP: shelter users; campers (those living outdoors or in cars); couch surfers (those temporarily staying with friends and family); mixed users; and circumstantial homeless (“atypical” homeless experiences). Across these categories, however, the participants’ experiences are extremely diverse in their coping behaviors, especially in terms of the use of government agencies and social services.

Conserving Energy and Preserving the Environment: The Role of Public Transportation

Robert J. Shapiro, Kevin A. Hassett , Frank S. Arnold

July 2002

Americans use an immense amount of energy for transportation, even more than what’s used for the production of goods. In order to change dependence on non-renewable resources, Americans will need to change the way they travel, and public transportation is a very energy efficient option. This paper illustrates how traveling by public transit per person and per mile, creates less pollution and uses less energy than travel by private vehicle.