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University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Department of Public Policy
e-News

Public Policy Building

May 2013

In this issue:

People
Research

Highlight - Research on Local Governmentsphoto of towson, md

Two new research reports from Public Policy faculty Dr. Donald F. Norris and Dr. Eric Zeemering highlight ways that local governments are addressing the challenges that they face:
e-government, and shared services. Both professors teach in our Public Management concentration.

The use of e-government, particularly social media, has expanded significantly in the United States, according to new research by Dr. Donald F. Norris (with Christopher G. Reddick),
Local E-Government in the United States: Transformation or Incremental Change?
(Public Administration Review, Vol. 73, Issue 1, January/February 2013). The study is based on surveys
of local government information technology directors and chief information officers. The researchers found that the percentage of local governments offering information and communication applications on their Web sites has grown, in many cases considerably, since 2004. Further, more than two-thirds of governments reported that they use social media, primarily Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, the authors found that, in contrast to earlier predictions, e-government has not yet evolved into electronic democracy with full online citizen participation. The top barriers to moving to electronic democracy include: lack of funding, lack of expertise, and issues surrounding security.

A report co-authored by Dr. Eric Zeemering (with Daryl Delabbio) examines how local governments, specifically county governments, are implementing a variety of shared services. The report, A County Manager's Guide to Shared Services in Local Government, was funded by a grant from the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Shared services among counties can range from affordable housing to recycling and police services. While local governments might be giving more thought to shared services for economic reasons, they are also finding them attractive for non-economic reasons such as stimulating innovation, improving decision making, increasing quality of service, and improving working relationships with other local governments. The authors identify three preconditions for a successful shared service delivery venture: leadership; trust and reciprocity; and clear goals and measurable results.

Faculty

Dr. Timothy J. Brennan (Public Policy) received the 2013 Public Utility Research Center (PURC) Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the understanding of regulatory economics and finance. The Award recognizes the cumulative impact of an individual’s research and policy analyses on the academic community and on regulatory policymakers. Dr. Brennan received the award at the Annual PURC Conference on February 13, 2013 at the University of Florida. Dr. Brennan is also a Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future. During 2006, he held the T. D. MacDonald Chair in Industrial Economics at the Canadian Competition Bureau.

The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) has named Dr. Donald F. Norris an inaugural honoree of the new UAA Service Honor Roll. This award recognizes the contributions of Dr. Norris to the association and the field of urban studies. The UAA credits honorees with contributing to the current breadth and richness of the discipline. Dr. Norris was recognized at an award luncheon for Honor Roll inductees on April 5 at the UAA conference in San Francisco.

Students

Ph.D. student Shreyasi Deb has been selected for the National Association for Social Insurance (NASI) nationally competitive Somers Aging and Long-Term Care Internship. NASI is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advance solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security. The research-oriented Somers Aging and Long-Term Care Internship focuses on aging and long-term care issues. Ms. Deb will work for 12 weeks this summer at Altarum Institute's Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness.

The Public Policy Graduate Student Organization (PPGSO) has been selected by the UMBC Graduate Student Association as Graduate Student Organization (GSO) of the Year. The Graduate Student Association established the Outstanding GSO Award during the 2012-2013 academic year to honor a graduate student organization that strives to aid graduate students in a social and/or academic setting. Headed by Public Policy student Gretchen Shaub, the PPGSO organized alumni panels and networking events throughout the academic year to provide career guidance and a sense of community for full and part-time students.

Alumni

Dr. Frances Carter-Johnson (Ph.D., 2011) has accepted a 2013-2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship. She will be working at the NIH Center for Scientific Review, where she will gain in- depth exposure to the NIH research grant peer review process, and experience in federal policymaking. Her assignment will begin in September 2013. Dr. Carter-Johnson is currently a postdoctoral associate for educational research in the Teaching and Learning Laboratory at MIT, conducting research and evaluations with faculty and administrators.

Dr. James Kimani (Ph.D., 2007) is working with the Population Council (PC), in Nairobi, Kenya, as a Senior Analyst in the Reproductive Health Program. The PC conducts biomedical, social science and public health research in more than 50 countries to stop the spread of HIV, expand contraceptive choices, and improve reproductive health. The PC has worked in Kenya since the 1960s when it helped to develop the country's first population policy and program. Dr. Kimani joined PC in January 2012, after completing a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the African Population and Health Research Center, also in Nairobi.

New Publications

Books

Cover of Supplemental Security book

Cover of Benefit Cost book

Cover of stress testing book

Larry DeWitt, a Public Policy Ph.D. student, is co-author of a new book with Edward D. Berkowitz, The Other Welfare: Supplemental Security Income and U.S. Social Policy (Cornell University Press, 2013). The book offers a comprehensive history of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), from its origins in 1972 as part of President Nixon's social reform efforts to its pivotal role in the politics of the Clinton administration. Mr. DeWitt is the former Public Historian of the U.S. Social Security Administration. Benefit-cost analysis is a process for calculating the benefits and costs of a project. Dr. Scott Farrow (Economics) is an author and editor of a new book, Principles and Standards for Benefit-Cost Analysis (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013). The book, co-authored with Dr. Richard Zerbe, Jr., brings together researchers and practitioners to recommend strategies and standards to improve the consistency and credibility of benefit-cost analyses. John Rennie Short (Public Policy) has published a new book, Stress Testing the USA: Public Policy and Reaction to Disaster Events (Palgrave McMillian, 2013). Identifying the United States as a nation under stress, Dr. Short analyzes four major recent disasters in the U.S.: the Iraq invasion, Hurricane Katrina, the financial meltdown, and the BP oil spill. He summarizes the main findings for each event and reveals the connections between them and the stresses on the nation.

Articles and Chapters

Dr. George LaNoue (Public Policy) published an article, "Defining social and economic disadvantage: Are government preferential business certification programs narrowly tailored?" The article, published in the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class (Volume 12, No. 2) examines the legal framework for race and gender preferential contracting programs, and the concept of social disadvantage.

Dr. Nancy Miller (Public Policy), Dr. Adele Kirk (Public Policy), Brandy Alston (MPP, 2011) and Ph.D. student Lukas Glos examined ways to increase access to preventative services for persons with disabilities. Their research, "Effects of gender, disability and age in the receipt of preventative services," was published in The Gerontologist (March 2013).

Research by Dr. Nancy Miller (Public Policy), Dr. Luis Pinet-Peralta (Ph.D., 2010), and Dr. Keith Elder (Ph.D., 2002), found that middle aged adults in nursing homes tend to have chronic medical and psychiatric conditions. Relative to their share of the state population, black middle-aged adults are overrepresented in nursing homes. The article, "A profile of middle aged and older adults admitted to nursing homes: 2000-2008," appears in the Journal of Aging and Social Policy (Vol. 24, Issue 3, 2012).

Ph.D. candidate Arpit Misra and Dr. Ryan Mutter (Ph.D., 2006) were co-authors of a study that developed a profile of congestive heart failure patients with the strongest positive association with readmission to a hospital. The authors found that people more likely to be readmitted after congestive heart failure had been discharged against medical advice, were covered by Medicaid, had more severe loss of function, and had certain comorbidities such as drug abuse. The article, "Congestive heart failure: Who is likely to be readmitted," appeared in Medical Care Research and Review (October 2012).

Dr. Ryan Mutter (Ph.D., 2006) co-authored an article about a technique to measure health care quality and efficiency in nursing homes. "Investigating the Impact of Endogeneity on Inefficiency Estimates in the Application of Stochastic Frontier Analysis to Nursing Homes" was published in the Journal of Productivity Analysis (April 2013, Vol. 39, Issue 2).

Dr. Chava Sheffield (Ph.D., 2011) co-authored an evaluation of a community-based occupational therapy known as "Aging in Place" for individuals over the age of 65 who have significant activity of daily living (ADL) impairments and receive some agency service. "Evaluation of an agency-based occupational therapy intervention to facilitate aging in place" appeared in The Gerontologist (December 2012).

Dr. John Rennie Short authored the chapter "Economic Wealth and Political Power in the Second Gilded Age" in the book Geographies of the Super-Rich (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013). The book considers the geographical implications of the super-rich at various places around the world.

An article by Daniel Smyth (MPP, 2007) examines censorship of U.S. journalists in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and Persian Gulf War, trends in types of censored information, and ways that the government or military could legitimately ensure safe reporting. "Avoiding Bloodshed? U.S. Journalists and Censorship in Wartime" is in War and Society (Volume 32, No. 1, March 2013).

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