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Author:Zhao, Bo 

Report
Reintegrating the ex-offender population in the U.S. labor market: lessons from the CORI Reform in Massachusetts

Policymakers have proposed and enacted policies that seek to limit the negative consequences that a criminal record imposes on ex-offenders, their families, and society at large. Some states have changed how criminal records are accessed and governed in the interest of removing unduly burdensome barriers to employment for some ex-offenders. Between 2010 and 2012, Massachusetts enacted the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Reform, changing access guidelines for criminal records and preventing employers from inquiring about criminal history on an initial application for employment. ...
New England Public Policy Center Research Report , Paper 17-1

Discussion Paper
Greater Springfield employment challenges: findings of employer survey and interviews

This paper presents the findings from in-depth interviews and a survey of employers in the Greater Springfield area regarding (a) employment opportunities for entry-level workers with limited skills and (b) barriers that residents of Springfield's low-income neighborhoods face in accessing these jobs. The survey and interviews indicate that entry-level jobs that do not require college are available in the Springfield area. However, even entry-level jobs require the ability to perform a variety of tasks, and many applicants lack the skills needed to perform these jobs or have work readiness ...
Public and Community Affairs Discussion Papers , Paper 2009-04

Report
Achieving greater fiscal stability: guidance for the New England states

This report considers the New England states? past preparedness for revenue downturns caused by business cycle fluctuations and assesses policy actions that could promote greater fiscal stability in the future.
New England Public Policy Center Research Report , Paper 15-2

Discussion Paper
Jobs in Springfield, Massachusetts: understanding and remedying the causes of low resident employment rates

As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper explores the causes of and potential remedies for the city's low resident employment rates. When compared to the state as a whole and to other midsize New England cities, the share of employed city residents is low, particularly for residents of downtown Springfield and its nearby neighborhoods. By analyzing the availability of jobs across Springfield's various neighborhoods and in nearby towns and cities, this paper's goal is to learn why so few ...
Public and Community Affairs Discussion Papers , Paper 2009-05

Working Paper
Municipal aid evaluation and reform

The distribution of unrestricted municipal aid has been a major policy concern in many states. Using Massachusetts as a case study, this paper examines the extent to which unrestricted municipal aid is responsive to the variation in the underlying fiscal health of municipalities. The paper uses a measure of ?municipal gap??based on local economic and social characteristics outside the direct control of local officials?to indicate the underlying fiscal health of cities and towns. The analysis finds large disparities in municipal gaps among Massachusetts cities and towns, and that those ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 11-1

Working Paper
Measuring disparities in non-school costs and revenue capacity among Massachusetts cities and towns

This paper develops new measures of environmental costs and local revenue capacity as the basis for a new municipal aid formula in Massachusetts. On the cost side, unlike previous studies, we quantify the effects on local non-school spending of characteristics related to uncontrollable costs. On the capacity side, we account for the constraints of a tax limitation, for the first time in the literature, by estimating these constraints as a function of residents? incomes. The estimates of costs and capacity indicate substantial inter-local fiscal disparities in Massachusetts. Our approach is ...
Working Papers , Paper 06-19

Report
Measuring Disparities in Cost and Spending across Connecticut School Districts

Despite multiple court cases and repeated efforts at reform, there are still significant concerns about the equity and the adequacy in Connecticut’s public K–12 education funding. One vital component of any attempt to reform education finance is a methodologically rigorous evaluation of what it would cost school districts across the state to achieve target performance standards given their student characteristics. This report addresses that need, evaluating the equity and the adequacy of school spending in Connecticut based on education costs. Different from actual school expenditure, a ...
New England Public Policy Center Research Report , Paper 20-2

Working Paper
The effect of changing employers’ access to criminal histories on ex-offenders’ labor market outcomes: evidence from the 2010–2012 Massachusetts CORI Reform

Many regard the 2010?2012 Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI)Reform as a national model to improve ex-offenders? labor market outcomes. This reform prohibits most employers from inquiring about an individual?s criminal history on the initial job application (the ?ban the box? reform), and reduces employers? access to an applicant?s criminal record (the record-access reform). Using the CORI Reform as a natural experiment and a unique large confidential dataset linking individuals? CORI records with their unemployment insurance quarterly wage records, we examine the impact ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-30

Report
Forecasting the New England States’ Tax Revenues in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic

State governments across the United States face the prospect of sharply declining tax revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They need reliable and up-to-date revenue forecasts to make financially sound policy decisions during this public health and economic crisis. This paper proposes an objective, transparent, simple, and efficient method to forecast state tax revenues in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The model is based on only two input factors: the state unemployment rate and an empirically determined time trend. The predictions from the model closely track the actual values of tax ...
Current Policy Perspectives

Discussion Paper
Jobs in Springfield, Massachusetts: understanding and remedying the causes of low resident employment rates

As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper explores the causes of and potential remedies for the city's low resident employment rates. When compared to the state as a whole and to other midsize New England cities, the share of employed city residents is low, particularly for residents of downtown Springfield and its nearby neighborhoods. By analyzing the availability of jobs across Springfield's various neighborhoods and in nearby towns and cities, this paper's goal is to learn why so few ...
Public Policy Discussion Paper , Paper 09-11

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