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Author:Zhao, Bo 

Working Paper
Does changing employers’ access to criminal histories affect ex-offenders’ recidivism?: evidence from the 2010–2012 Massachusetts CORI Reform

This paper examines how changes in employers? access to job applicants? criminal histories affect ex-offender recidivism. We use extensive state administrative data on individual criminal histories spanning the 2010?2012 Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Reform, widely regarded as landmark legislation governing access to individuals? criminal information. The CORI Reform: i) banned inquiring about criminal history on initial job applications, and ii) broadened the list of groups eligible to use the state?s criminal records repository while simultaneously restricting ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-31

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

Briefing
Reforming municipal aid in Massachusetts: the case for a gap-based formula

This policy brief evaluates the distribution of municipal aid in Massachusetts in FY 2011 and suggests an approach for reforming municipal aid without redistributing current aid. We use the ?municipal gap,? a measure that is outside the control of local officials, to determine a community?s need for municipal aid. To show the general pattern of municipal gaps across the state, we compare five prototype communities -- large cities, job-center suburbs, higher-income residential suburbs, rural towns, and resort towns. The analysis shows that the distribution of FY 2011 municipal aid does not ...
New England Public Policy Center Policy Brief

Discussion Paper
Reinvigorating Springfield's economy: lessons from resurgent cities

As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper analyzes the economic development approaches of other mid-sized manufacturing-oriented cities during the past half century. From among a comparison group of 25 municipalities that were similar to Springfield in 1960, the study identifies 10 "resurgent cities" that have made substantial progress in improving living standards for their residents, and that are recognized as vital communities in a broader sense by experts on urban economic ...
Public Policy Discussion Paper , Paper 09-6

Report
Measuring municipal fiscal disparities in Connecticut

Fiscal disparities exist when some municipalities face higher costs for providing a given level of public services or fewer taxable resources to finance those services than others. A municipality's economic and social characteristics can affect both costs and resources. The potential for fiscal disparities in Connecticut is particularly high given the vast socioeconomic differences observed across the state's 169 cities and towns. This paper measures the non-school fiscal health of Connecticut municipalities using a "municipal gap." Municipal gap is the difference between the ...
New England Public Policy Center Research Report , Paper 15-1

Working Paper
Estimating the Cost Function of Connecticut Public K–12 Education: Implications for Inequity and Inadequacy in School Spending

Facing legal challenges and public pressures, Connecticut needs an objective and rigorous study of its public education costs. This study is the first to estimate the cost function of Connecticut public K–12 education and to evaluate the equity and the adequacy in the state’s school spending based on regression-estimated education costs. It finds large disparities across districts in education costs and cost-adjusted spending. Districts with the largest enrollments, the highestschool-age-child-poverty rates, or the least amount of property wealth, on average, have the highest costs and ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-6

Working Paper
The role of economic, fiscal, and financial shocks in the evolution of public sector pension funding

Many studies have documented the pervasive underfunding of public sector pension plans in the United States in recent years. The deterioration of the funded status of public pension plans coincided with severe fiscal crises that state and local governments experienced in the 2000s. This development has led to a suspicion that state and local governments have decreased employer pension contributions as a backdoor means of running fiscal deficits. In this paper, the authors investigate the extent to which this phenomenon has occurred. They estimate panel data regressions using the Boston ...
Working Papers , Paper 13-26

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

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

Discussion Paper
Towards a more prosperous Springfield, MA: what jobs exist for people without a college education?

This paper analyzes projections of Massachusetts employment opportunities by occupation to address concerns about a shortage of jobs for those who lack a college education. While occupations requiring a college degree will grow more rapidly over the period 2006-2016 than occupations that do not require college, replacement needs will ensure large numbers of job openings that do not require college. Wage levels in jobs that do not require college are generally low, however. The exceptions usually require meaningful training of another sort, such as long-term on-the-job training or courses in ...
Public and Community Affairs Discussion Papers , Paper 2009-02

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