In carrying out their assignment, panel members came to realize that the properties of data sources and statistical procedures used to produce formula estimates, interacting with formula features such as thresholds and hold-harmless provisions, can produce consequences that may not have been anticipated or intended. It also became evident that there is a trade-off between the goals of providing a reasonable amount of stability in funding from one year to the next and redirecting funds to different jurisdictions as true needs change. In one instance, for example, the annual appropriation included a 100 percent hold-harmless provision, ensuring that no recipient would receive less than the year before. However, there was no increase in the total appropriation, with the result that new estimates showing changes in the distribution of program needs across areas had no effect on the allocations.
Choosing the Right Formula provides an account of the presentations and discussions at the workshop. The first three chapters cover the overview, case studies, and methodological sessions, respectively. Chapter 4 summarizes the issues discussed in the roundtable and concluding sessions, with emphasis on the identification of questions that might be addressed in a panel study.
Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion identifies measurement approaches that can lead to improved understanding of civic engagement, social cohesion, and social capital - and their potential role in explaining the functioning of society. With the needs of data users in mind, this report examines conceptual frameworks developed in the literature to determine promising measures and measurement methods for informing public policy discourse. The report identifies working definitions of key terms; advises on the feasibility and specifications of indicators relevant to analyses of social, economic, and health domains; and assesses the strength of the evidence regarding the relationship between these indicators and observed trends in crime, employment, and resilience to shocks such as natural disasters. Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion weighs the relative merits of surveys, administrative records, and non-government data sources, and considers the appropriate role of the federal statistical system. This report makes recommendations to improve the measurement of civic health through population surveys conducted by the government and identifies priority areas for research, development, and implementation.