2012 Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Policy Summit on Housing, Human Capital, and Inequality

This year's Policy Summit, the 10th annual, focused on effective strategies for strengthening and rebuilding communities. In short, what works and how do we know it? Sessions showcased current research and tested approaches on topics ranging from education and workforce development to REOs and rental housing, loss mitigation strategies, and how funders are forging new partnerships to make the most of ever-scarcer dollars.

June 28–29, 2012

InterContinental Cleveland Hotel, Cleveland, Ohio

Agenda 

 

Thursday, June 28

 

REGISTRATION

 

LUNCHEON & KEYNOTE SPEECH

 

OPENING SPEECH

Keynote speaker:
Sandra Pianalto, President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

President Pianalto, who in 2012 again became a voting member of the FOMC, will open the conference with an informative speech on policies that can drive improved outcomes for the residents, communities, and regions of the Fourth Federal Reserve District.

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OPENING DAY PLENARY

 

THE SHIFTING LANDSCAPE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Economic development isn't what it used to be. The current environment of high unemployment, reduced budgets, continued challenges in education, and less reliance on construction and homeownership as an economic development strategy is forcing a reconsideration of economic development in its entirety—policies that promote it, ways in which it is funded, and programs through which ED strategies are carried out. In this opening plenary, a panel of national experts will tackle the issue of economic development in the here and now. Given how the crisis has altered the environment and undermined long-held beliefs about the ideal path to regional prosperity, what policies can both remove roadblocks to and actively propel regional economic development?

Moderator:
Mark Sniderman, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Speakers:
Harry Holzer, Professor of Public Policy, Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University

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Eric Anthony Johnson, Executive Director, University Park Alliance

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Michael Rubinger, President and CEO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

CONCURRENT SESSION A

 

Research A1: EDUCATION POLICY AND STUDENT OUTCOMES

In this session, researchers present their findings on studies of a diverse range of primary and secondary education policies, including teacher accountability reforms, disciplinary policies, and high school exit exams. In particular, the session will focus on the impact these polices have on both current and future academic achievement.

Moderator:
Jon James, Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Speakers:
Tom Ahn, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky, "The Stigma of Failure: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Graduation Standards and Their Impact on Students' Academic Trajectories"

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Josh Kinsler, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Rochester, "School Discipline: A Source or Salve for the Racial Achievement Gap?"

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Hugh Macartney, Assistant Professor of Economics, Duke University, "The Dynamic Effects of Educational Accountability"

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Research A2: WEALTH, ASSETS, AND THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT

The accumulation of wealth is associated with an array of positive life outcomes. However, wealth disparities within the United States remain vast. A very small portion of the population holds a large percentage of the wealth in this country, with low-income households having very little accumulated wealth. The growing wealth gap and the Occupy Movement, launched in 2011, underscore the importance of understanding the factors contributing to this gap and whether wealth-building interventions designed for low-income individuals are in fact successful. This panel provides research findings and expert analysis to help shed light on the current context and how programs and policies may be shaped to provide solutions.

Moderator:
Gary Engelhardt, Professor of Economics, Syracuse University

Speakers:
Ray Boshara, Senior Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, "From Asset Building to Balance Sheets: Reflections on the First and Next 20 Years of Federal Assets Policy"

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Michal Grinstein-Weiss, Associate Professor and Director of the Asset-Building Research Group at University of North Carolina

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Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director for Research, Pew Hispanic Center, “Twenty to One: Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics”

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Practitioner A3: RENTAL HOUSING: CAN IT BE ACCESSIBLE, AFFORDABLE, AND A WAY TO BUILD EQUITY?

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, many families and individuals are finding homeownership either impossible or undesirable. The obvious option for shelter, then, is rental housing. In many markets, however, administrators face policy and practical challenges to ensuring that rental housing is affordable, safe, and of decent quality. Making rental housing affordable involves keeping production and maintenance costs under control, and setting rents at levels tenants can manage. But can rental housing also offer economically challenged individuals pathways to financial security? Panelists will discuss national policy programs that support the development of affordable rental housing as well as on-the-ground challenges faced by multi-family rental property owners. The session also features a look at Renter Equity, an innovative program that allows renters to share management responsibilities while accumulating assets.

Moderator:
Geoff Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Housing Studies, DePaul University

Speakers:
Sherry Riva, Founder and Executive Director, Compass Working Capital

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Margery Spinney, Executive Director, Cornerstone Corporation for Shared Equity

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Steve Smith, CEO, Model Group

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Practitioner A4: FAMILIES FACING FORECLOSURE: WHAT COMES NEXT?

The prospect of losing one’s home is frightening. For some, the uncertainty goes on for months or even years. This session presents research on the outcomes of delinquent borrowers, based on qualitative and quantitative methods. The panelists' presentations will cover, among other things, the effects of mortgage counseling and modifications during delinquency and, further along the path, outcomes for those for whom default is unavoidable. Ample time will be allowed for questions from the audience.

Moderator:
Avis Vidal, Professor, Wayne State University

Speakers:
Urvi Neelakantan, Community Development Research Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, “Staring Down Foreclosure: Findings from a Sample of Homeowners Seeking Assistance”

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David Rothstein, Project Director, Policy Matters Ohio, “Broken Homes, Broken Dreams: Families in Foreclosure”

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Max Schmeiser, Economist, Board of Governors, “Estimating the Effects of Mortgage Default Counseling”

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CONCURRENT SESSION B

 

Research B1: LENDING AND LOSS MITIGATION: TOWARDS A STRONGER HOUSING MARKET

This session will present research on lending, loan performance, and loss mitigation that is relevant to housing market recovery. For example, did affordable housing policies affect lending in low-income communities? Are loss mitigation programs performing? And how do geography and servicer type influence the rate and quality of loan modifications? Presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer period.

Moderator:
Dennis Keating, Professor, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University

Speakers:
Lei Ding, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Wayne State University, “Servicer and Spatial Heterogeneity in Loss Mitigation Practices in Soft Housing Markets”

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Andra Ghent, Assistant Professor, Baruch College, CUNY, “Did Affordable Housing Legislation Contribute to the Subprime Securities Boom?”

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Mary Weselcouch, Research Analyst, Furman Center For Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, “Determinants of the Incidence of Loan Modifications”

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Research B2: WHERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD?

This session addresses issues that face neighborhoods after foreclosures have surged and many households have departed. Authors of these research papers will discuss specific efforts aimed at stabilizing neighborhoods and breaking the self-reinforcing cycles of abandonment, crime, population loss, falling home values, and additional foreclosures. What have we learned about these efforts, whether they have been successful or not, that can help inform neighborhood stabilization policy going forward?

Moderator:
Stephan Whitaker, Research Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Speakers:
Erin Graves, Policy Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, "What do the Neighbors Think? Residents' Reactions to Foreclosure Intervention"

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Andrew Jakabovics, Senior Director, Policy Development and Research, Enterprise Community Partners, "The Impact of Delayed Foreclosures on Neighborhoods"

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Lisa Nelson, Senior Policy Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, "The Impact of Recovery Efforts on Residential Vacancies"

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Christina Plerhoples, PhD candidate, Michigan State University, "The Effect of Vacant Building Demolitions on Crime Under Depopulation"

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Practitioner B3: REO TO RENTAL PROPOSALS: EXPLORING ONE MODEL

In August of 2011, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requested information about converting FHA’s, Fannie’s, and Freddie's portfolios of foreclosed properties into rentals. Lauded by some and critiqued by others, their REO-to-rental project is moving forward. In this session panelists will discuss the proposal itself, the nature of their discussions with FHFA and other potential program participants, how an REO to rental program might proceed, and the potential challenges and opportunities the proposal presents.

Moderator:
Tom Fitzpatrick, Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Speakers:
Tony DiBlasi, Chief of Asset Management, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing

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Danny Gardner, Chief Operating Officer, National Community Stabilization Trust

Paul Weech, Executive Vice President, Housing Partnership Network

Practitioner B4: BUILDING A BETTER WORKFORCE

A key component to a prosperous economic future for our regions is a skilled and productive workforce. Workforce development programs are essential in the retraining of unemployed workers and the training of low- wage workers and connecting them to employers seeking their skills. Research has shown that programs that are sector-specific and based on the needs of employers have positive outcomes on workers’ earnings. Panelists in this session will discuss collaborative workforce development initiatives that show promise in meeting the needs of employers and training job seekers to meet those needs. One such example is the WorkAdvance model, a program that was recently tapped by the Social Innovation Fund, among other funders, for replicating in urban areas across the country, including those in Cuyahoga and Mahoning Counties.

Moderator:
Bethia Burke, Manager of Emerging Initiatives, Fund for our Economic Future

Speakers:
David Berman, Deputy Director for Programs & Evaluation, New York City Center for Economic Opportunity

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Richard Hendra, Senior Associate, MDRC (Manpower Demonstration Research Corp)

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Rebecca Kusner, WorkAdvance Program Coordinator, Towards Employment

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Friday, June 29

 

REGIONAL BREAKFAST PANEL

Join us over breakfast for an interactive discussion with a panel of regional, city, and county executives on the challenges presented by dwindling tax bases and scarcer federal and state dollars. How do civic leaders make tough budget calls? Is data helping them make decisions, and how are they using it to evaluate programs and policies? Their brief presentations will be followed by a facilitated discussion, giving the audience the opportunity to share their experiences.

Moderator:
Tom Murphy, Senior Resident Fellow, Urban Land Institute

Speakers:
Rich Fitzgerald, Chief Executive, Allegheny County (Pa.)

The Honorable Frank Jackson, Mayor, City of Cleveland

Roxanne Qualls, Vice Mayor, City of Cincinnati

CLOSING DAY PLENARY

 

GRADING EDUCATION-REFORM EFFORTS

This plenary will be an engaging, timely discussion of education reform: what works, how do we know, and where should policymakers direct their efforts next? We'll hear firsthand from national experts in this field, whose research sheds light on how recent reforms, such as charter schools, vouchers, and early childhood education programs, have impacted education outcomes. The plenary will address what we have learned from recent research, what we hope to learn from ongoing research, and how this can help inform education policy. Audience members will have ample opportunity to direct questions to the presenters.

Moderator:
Eric Gordon, CEO, Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Speakers:
Kimber Bogard, Director, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies/National Research Council

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Susan Dynarski, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

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Rebecca Maynard, Commissioner, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences

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CONCURRENT SESSION C

 

Research C1: LABOR MARKET INTERVENTIONS

Policy interventions to improve the labor market outcomes (employment and wages) of low- to moderate-income individuals abound. This session reviews the outcomes from three such interventions: enterprise zones, minimum wage, and workforce development programs.

Moderator:
Emre Ergungor, Senior Research Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Speakers:
Arindrajit Dube, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, “Do Frictions Matter in the Labor Market? Accessions, Separations and Minimum Wage Effects”

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Matthew Freedman, Assistant Professor, Cornell University, "Targeted Business Incentives and Local Labor Markets"

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Christopher King, Senior Research Scientist and Director, Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, “How Effective Are Workforce Development Programs? Implications for U.S. Workforce Policies beyond the Great Recession”

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Research C2: HIGHER EDUCATION ACCESS FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES

The development of human capital is a critical avenue toward helping individuals overcome disadvantaged backgrounds. Papers in the session will examine and evaluate policies that are attempting to influence the accessibility of college to low-income families. The research includes analyses of college-savings incentives and scholarship programs such as the Kalamazoo Promise program.

Moderator:
Jaison Abel, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Speakers:
Alissa Dubnicki, PhD graduate student, Syracuse University, “Educational Savings Incentives for Low-Income Families: Experimental Evidence from the Michigan SEED Program”

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Michelle Miller-Adams, Visiting Scholar, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, "Promise Scholarship Programs: Building Assets for Community Change"

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Practitioner C3: GRANTMAKERS: JOINING FORCES TO FILL THE GAPS

The economic downturn has decreased levels of private wealth, foundation endowments, and corporate gifts, which in turn has affected foundation and corporate giving programs. State and local government budgets have also been hard hit as needs in the community continue to grow. In an effort to get a 'bigger bang for their buck,' foundations and other grantmakers have developed ways to address needs holistically and are interested in measuring impact. Grantmakers have also come together collaboratively to explore the ways and means of aligning resources in what is expected to be a prolonged time of austerity. This session will feature representatives from private philanthropy, public charities, and community foundations.

Moderator:
Scot Spencer, Associate Director for Advocacy and Influence, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Board Chairperson, The Funders’ Network

Speakers:
Alicia Andrews, Director, Programs for Children and Youth, United Way of Allegheny County

Keith Burwell, President & CEO, Toledo Community Foundation

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Denise Zeman, President & CEO, Saint Luke’s Foundation

Practitioner C4: ASSESSING SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM PERFORMANCE

This session will offer both research and practitioner perspectives on the performance of school voucher programs, with a particular focus on Ohio’s EdChoice, a program that saw its number of available scholarships skyrocket from 14,000 to 60,000. How are children in the program performing? How does the program affect educational outcomes of public schools in general?

Moderator:
Piet van Lier, Communications Director/Education Researcher, Policy Matters Ohio

Speakers:
Jim Carl, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Curriculum and Foundations, Cleveland State University, "School Vouchers and American Freedom: the Non-educational Aims of Voucher Supporters"

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Matthew Linick, graduate student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “Second Order Effects of School Choice Programs: Research on Competitive Effects”

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Christopher Lubienski, Associate Professor of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “First Order Effects of School Choice Programs: Research on Academic Achievement in Vouchers Programs”

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LUNCHEON & CLOSING KEYNOTE SPEECH

 

CLOSING SPEECH

Keynote speaker:
Alex Kotlowitz, Journalist and Writer-in-Residence, Northwestern University

Award-winning writer and filmmaker Alex Kotlowitz has examined poverty, race, and crime in some of America's bleakest neighborhoods. His closing remarks will focus on what he's learned about working toward better outcomes for our nation's most vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's Research and Community Development Departments