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Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Boston  Series:New England Public Policy Center Working Paper 

Working Paper
The labor market for direct care workers

As the baby boom cohort nears retirement age, the question of how to provide necessary health care and personal services to a growing elderly population has become a looming policy problem. Beginning in 2020, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will surpass the number of primary providers of formal and informal long-term care (women between the ages of 20 and 44). Perceptions of shortage and very high turnover in today?s direct care labor market are compounding the potential problem. ; This paper provides an overview of the labor market for direct care workers in the United States, ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 07-4

Working Paper
The challenge of energy policy in New England

New England needs a reliable supply of energy for its day-to-day functioning and its economic growth. The right mix of fuels and technologies must be in the right place at the right time, all the time. Because of the long lead times in building energy infrastructure, ensuring system reliability requires making decisions, investments, and policy today that will allow the region to meet expected demand many years from now, while at the same time buffering the region from the impact of unexpected short-term changes in energy markets. And this, in turn, requires both well-functioning markets and ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 05-2

Working Paper
The lengthening of childhood

Forty years ago, 96 percent of six-year-old children were enrolled in first grade or above. As of 2005, the figure was just 84 percent. The school attendance rate of six-year-olds has not decreased; rather, they are increasingly likely to be enrolled in kindergarten rather than first grade. This paper documents this historical shift. We show that only about a quarter of the change can be proximately explained by changes in school entry laws; the rest reflects "academic redshirting," the practice of enrolling a child in a grade lower than the one for which he is eligible. We show that the ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 08-3

Working Paper
The fiscal impacts of college attainment

This study quantifies one important part of the economic return to public investment in college education, namely, the fiscal benefits associated with greater college attainment. College graduates generally pay much more in taxes than those not going to college. Government expenditures are also generally much less for college graduates than for those without a college education. Indeed, over an average lifetime, total government spending per college degree is negative. That is, direct savings in post-college government expenditures are greater than government expenditures on higher education. ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 07-2

Working Paper
Spatial competition and cross-border shopping

This paper investigates competition between jurisdictions in the context of cross-border shopping for state lottery tickets. We first develop a simple theoretical model in which consumers choose between state lotteries and face a trade-off between travel costs and the price of a fair gamble, which is declining in the size of the jackpot and the odds of winning. Given this trade-off, the model predicts that per-resident sales should be more responsive to prices in small states with densely populated borders, relative to large states with sparsely populated borders. Our empirical analysis ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 10-1

Working Paper
Designing formulas for distributing reductions in state aid

Local governments depend on state aid to provide residents and businesses with vital public services, such as education, police and fire protection, and safe public roads. However, in response to the recent fiscal crisis, many states are quickly and deeply cutting local aid. The Congressional Budget Office reported that 22 states reduced aid to local governments in FY 2010, and 20 states have proposed additional cuts in FY 2011. ; States tend to cut aid either on an ad hoc basis or across the board, with every community receiving the same percent aid cut. This paper proposes a new, more ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 11-2

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
Childhood lead and academic performance in Massachusetts

It is now widely accepted that childhood exposure to even low levels of lead can adversely affect neurodevelopment, behavior, and cognitive performance. Using individual-level data on childhood lead levels and test scores in Massachusetts, this paper investigates the link between lead levels in early childhood in the 1990s and student test scores in elementary school in the 2000s. Elevated levels of blood lead in early childhood are shown to adversely impact standardized test performance, even when controlling for community and school characteristics. Accordingly, public health policy that ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 11-3

Working Paper
Measuring fiscal disparities across the U. S. states: a representative revenue system/representative expenditure system approach, fiscal year 2002

States and their local governments vary both in their needs to provide basic public services and in their abilities to raise revenues to pay for those services. A joint study by the Tax Policy Center and the New England Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston uses the Representative Revenue System (RRS) and the Representative Expenditure System (RES) frameworks to quantify these disparities across states by comparing each state?s revenue capacity, revenue effort, and necessary expenditures to the average capacity, effort, and need in states across the country for fiscal year 2002. ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 06-2

Working Paper
The lack of affordable housing in New England: how big a problem?: why is it growing?: what are we doing about it?

Although housing costs in greater Boston and elsewhere around the region have leveled off, affordable housing is still high on the public policy agenda in every New England state. A growing chorus of employers and policymakers are warning that the region's high cost of housing is now undermining its ability to attract and retain workers and businesses. This paper presents a thorough, region-wide analysis of the housing affordability problem in New England. We construct three affordability indicators to examine differences in the cost of housing across socioeconomic, demographic, and ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 06-1

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