Public Policy Research Works

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    Information sharing and state revenue forecasting performance
    (Wiley, 2022-09-18) Spreen, Thomas L.; Martinez Guzman, Juan P.
    This study evaluates whether intergovernmental information sharing enhances forecasting performance. This is accomplished by examining the accuracy of state revenue forecasts following the federal passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. The quantitative analysis suggests that states that shared information produced more accurate corporate income tax forecasts than nonsharing states. This result is consistent with surveys and interviews of federal and state officials that reported significant information-sharing activity arising from uncertainty about the TCJA's corporate income tax provisions. This study demonstrates that information sharing plays an important yet overlooked role in mitigating forecast uncertainty.
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    Delivering public services to the underserved: Nonprofits and the Latino threat narrative
    (Wiley, 2022-03-24) Tremblay-Boire, Joannie; Prakash, Aseem; Apolonia Calderon, Maria
    Some politicians employ harsh rhetoric demanding that government deny public services such as food, housing, and medical care to immigrants. While nonprofits assist immigrants in this regard, their work is sustainable only if private donors support them. Using a survey experiment, this article examines whether donors' willingness to support a charity depends on the legal status of its beneficiaries, and the region from which they have come. We find that, in relation to a charity that serves low-income families (control group), donors are less willing to support a charity serving immigrants, but the region from which beneficiaries emigrated is irrelevant. Donor willingness diminishes substantially when beneficiaries are undocumented or face deportation. While shared ethnicity between donors and beneficiaries does not increase charitable support, bilingualism does. In addition, support for the charity rises substantially among Latinx donors who were born outside the US and do not speak English at home.
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    Preferential Trade Agreements, Geopolitics, and the Fragmentation of World Trade
    (Cambridge University Press, 2023-04-14) Dadush, Uri; Dominguez Prost, Enzo
    Failure to reestablish an effective World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement procedure, stop the erosion of multilateral rules and end the China–US trade war causes capitals to rethink trade policy. One response is to redouble efforts to strike trade agreements with major trading partners. Already countries accounting for about 78% of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are members of mega-regional agreements, and based on our computations, preferential trade agreements (PTAs) will soon cover about two-thirds of world trade. Can PTAs replace a fading WTO or mitigate its effects? Amid deepening geopolitical rifts, how will trade relations among China, the EU, and the US, each a hegemon in their respective regions, evolve, and what will be the impact on smaller economies? In short, how will a trading system based increasingly on PTAs and weak multilateral rules look, and how will nations adapt? Absent reforms, the trading system is likely to fragment progressively into regional blocks organized around the hegemons. Trade within the regional blocks, mainly conducted under a mega-regional agreement, will likely remain quite open and predictable, but without strict multilateral rules and where PTAs are absent (as they are among the hegemons), interregional trade relations will become increasingly uncertain and unstable.
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    Better than my neighbor? Testing for overconfidence in COVID-19 preventive behaviors in Latin America
    (Springer Nature, 2022-05-18) Boruchowicz, Cynthia; Lopez Boo, Florencia
    Procrastination and lack of attention may often hinder the implementation of preemptive actions necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 like washing hands, covering nose and mouth with a mask, and keeping social distance. It is in such “easy” tasks that people (mistakenly) believe that they are better than others. In this paper we test for overconfidence bias in COVID-19 preventive behaviors in Latin America. Using a phone survey in nationally representative samples from 10 Latin American countries where randomly, half of the sample in each country was asked about self-reported compliance to COVID-19 guidelines, and half about preventive behavior of fellow citizens compared to them; we tested: if the proportion of individuals claiming that others comply with a certain measure “Always more frequent than me” is higher than those stating that they “Never” or “Sometimes” comply with the same measure (i.e. people believe they are better at doing something than what they actually are). Over 90% of Latin-Americans claim to always wear a mask and sanitize their hands and more than 80% state to always keep social distance. We also find evidence of overconfidence in every behavior – except for keeping distance in public transportation. Moreover, the magnitude of such overconfidence is higher for behaviors such as wearing masks in public or washing hands than for those regarding keeping the 2-m distance. To our knowledge, this is the first study to measure overconfidence in COVID-19 preventive behaviors in Latin America. Results show that more effort is needed to encourage people to comply with the regulation when it does not only depend on them: a better organization of closed stores and public transportation are, for instance, crucial to allow social distancing. It also suggests that a reinforcement of basic measures is essential, as individuals report to be performing them more frequently than when they have to think about such behaviors compared to others.
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    To Fight in the Most Important Battlefield: Formosan Association for Public Affairs on the Hill, A Story Behind the Taiwan Travel Act
    (2021) Liu, Hsiu-An
    This paper explains the functions of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), a grassroots advocacy organization that aim to promote US-Taiwan relations in the United States, including the process of approaching members of Congress, cultivating public awareness on issues, and introducing bills, and the strategy behind these movements. The paper also examines different factors contributing to a successful grassroots campaign launched by FAPA which ultimately led to the legislature of the Taiwan Travel Act (TTA). As the TTA was proposed four times throughout three different presidencies before it passed in the year 2018, I weigh the relevant factors to its success or failure by comparing the TTA campaigns at different times. I conclude that the ability to find friends in Congress to support bills and resolutions is always a critical determinant for a grassroots organization’s success, and FAPA has always been good at finding champions in Congress. Also, a campaign based on the target state’s own values and interest are more likely to succeed. FAPA has always been good at framing issues to align with US values and interests. The fundamental factors that changed over time and led to the ultimate success of the TTA campaign are the change of public opinions towards Taiwan and China and the change in US interests in US-China relations. This conclusion proves that the legislative process efficiently represents US interests and public opinions in the making of the TTA, not just the FAPA's interests or Taiwan's interests.