Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs: 2001

Brookings Institution Press
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Designed to reach a wide audience of scholars and policymakers, this new series contains studies on urban sprawl, crime, taxes, education, poverty, and related subjects. Contents of the second issue include: "Decentralized Employment and the Transformation of the American City" Edward Glaeser (Brookings Institution) and Matthew Kahn (Columbia University) "Urban Sprawl: Lessons from Urban Economics" Jan K. Brueckner (University of Illinois) "Can Boosting Minority Car-Ownership Rates Narrow Inter-Racial Employment Gaps? Steven Raphael (University of California, Berkeley) and Michael Stoll (UCLA) "The Effects of Urban Poverty on Educational Outcomes: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment" Jens Ludwig (Georgetown University), Helen F. Ladd (Duke University), and Greg J. Duncan (Northwestern University) "Explaining Recent Declines in Food Stamp Program Participation" Janet Currie and Jeffrey Grogger (UCLA and NBER) "Racial Minorities and the Geography of Self-Employment" Dan Black, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and Stuart Rosenthal (Syracuse University)
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About the author

William G. Gale is a vice president and director of the Brookings Institution's Economic Studies program, where he holds the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy. He is also founding codirector of the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. Janet Rothenberg Pack is professor of business and public policy and real estate at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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Additional Information

Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Dec 1, 2010
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Business & Economics / Urban & Regional
Political Science / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
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An epic, riveting history of New York City on the edge of disaster—and an anatomy of the austerity politics that continue to shape the world today

When the news broke in 1975 that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible. How could the country’s largest metropolis fail? How could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? Yet the city was indeed billions of dollars in the red, with no way to pay back its debts. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was unworkable. The city had to slash services, freeze wages, and fire thousands of workers, they insisted, or financial apocalypse would ensue.

In this vivid account, historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the remarkable story of the crisis that engulfed the city. With unions and ordinary citizens refusing to accept retrenchment, the budget crunch became a struggle over the soul of New York, pitting fundamentally opposing visions of the city against each other. Drawing on never-before-used archival sources and interviews with key players in the crisis, Fear City shows how the brush with bankruptcy permanently transformed New York—and reshaped ideas about government across America.

At once a sweeping history of some of the most tumultuous times in New York's past, a gripping narrative of last-minute machinations and backroom deals, and an origin story of the politics of austerity, Fear City is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the resurgent fiscal conservatism of today.

Designed to reach a wide audience of scholars and policymakers, this new series contains studies on urban sprawl, crime, taxes, education, poverty, and related subjects. "This journal will set the tone for urban economics for the coming decades. It will play a major role not only in academia, but also in ensuring that we have better urban economic policy." —George Akerlof, University of California, Berkeley Contents of the third issue include: "Local Government Fiscal Structure and Metropolitan Consolidation" Dennis Epple (Carnegie-Mellon University), Stephen Calabrese (University of South Florida), and Glenn Cassidy Should the Suburbs Help Finance Central City Public Services? Andrew Haughwout (Federal Reserve Bank of NY) and Robert Inman (University of Pennsylvania) "Tax Incentives and the City" Therese McGuire (UCLA) and Teresa Garcia-Mila (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) "Does Gentrification Harm the Poor?" Jacob Vigdor (Duke University) "Corruption in Cities: Graft and Politics in American Cities at the Turn of the Twentieth Century" Rebecca Menes (George Mason University) "Immigrant Children and Urban Schools: Lessons from New York on Segregation, Resources and School Attendance Patterns" Ingrid Gould Ellen, Katherine O'Regan, Amy Ellen Schwartz, and Leanna Stiefel (New York University) William G. Gale is the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution. Janet Roterber Pack is professor public policy and management and real estate at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
While the suburbs of most metropolitan areas are wealthier than their urban counterparts, rapid regional growth can improve the welfare of both city and suburb, according to a new book from Janet Rothenberg Pack. In Growth and Convergence in Metropolitan America, Pack identifies growth trends that have contributed to the convergence of welfare among regions. Pack analyzes demographic, social, and economic data from 277 metropolitan areas in the northeastern, midwestern, southern, and western United States between 1960 and 1990. Her analysis reveals a strong connection between regional growth and improved socioeconomic vitality. She finds little connection between population growth—the focus of many previous studies—and well-being, but a strong connection between per capita income growth and well-being. Moreover, there has been a major change in the factors associated with economic growth between the 1970s and 1980s. In the latter decade, the importance of an educated labor force and major universities have assumed major importance. This appears likely to have continued to be true in the 1990s. While current urban policy has focused on intra-metropolitan cooperation as the key to improving conditions in declining or slow-growing urban areas, Pack's analysis emphasizes the major differences among the larger regions of the country—both their cities and suburbs. From this perspective, national policies, both macro-economic policy and the progressive income tax, appear to be the most effective influences promoting regional convergence and improving the socio-economic well-being of both city and suburban residents.
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