New Research Brief: The Costs of Issuing Municipal Bonds
The Haas Institute’s Just Public Finance Program and the Roosevelt Institute’s ReFund America Project announce the release of the research brief “Doubly Bound: The Costs of Issuing Municipal Bonds.”
The study, authored by Marc Joffe, examines the fees paid by local entities when bonds are offered. Fees come from a variety of services provided by private firms throughout the course of offering bonds. The study suggests that issuance costs are higher for smaller bond issuances and finds a significant range of costs for small issuers and large issuances. The case is made for greater financial transparency in the fee structure for municipal bond markets and other policy implications are suggested. Read the full press release.
In a widely circulated article in the Atlantic Monthly from 1990, Bernard Lewis wrote about what he perceived as the “The Roots of Muslim Rage,” offering an analysis of the conflicting relationship between “Islam” and the “West.” Lewis wrote “we are facing a mood and a movement far transcending the level of issues and policies and the governments that pursue them…this is no less than a clash of civilizations, the perhaps irrational but surely historical reaction of an ancient rival against our Judeo-Christian heritage, our secular present, and the worldwide expansion of both.”
Lewis’s analysis assumes a position that both Islam and the West constitute a monolithic social, political, and cultural entity. His article set the stage for a “clash of civilizations” narrative that has been seized on by academics (Samuel Huntington), media pundits (Bill Maher and Bill O’Reilly), legislators (Congressman Peter King), and a new crop of demagogues (Ben Carson andDonald Trump). Lewis established an “us” vs. “them” framework for Islamophobic rhetoric in the U.S. political landscape that has been repeatedly used by American leaders (the Bush administration in the post-9/11 world), and has created a platform from which Islamophobia has arisen to its current state.
How does one make sense of a U.S. presidential candidate calling for the banning of Muslims entering the country, and the tracking and profiling of those who live here? How does one make sense of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice suggesting that Blacks should not go to top-tier universities?
We live in strange times and yet we must claim these times to be ours. We live in a strange and anxious world and yet we must claim this world to be ours.
There are real concerns and fears about the escalation of violence. We are all well aware of ISIS and the destruction and death they bring to people in Syria and Iraq, the majority of whom are Muslims. There should be no apology for speaking up to condemn this violence, but we must also recognize their violence is largely directed at people trapped in situations we helped to create. In the name of U.S. safety and interest, we destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq apparently in search of weapons of mass destruction, in reality making the world safe for the flow of oil and other resources to the United States.
The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society is excited to welcome former Mayor of Oakland and experienced public servant Jean Quan. Jean Quan will be joining the Haas Institute as a Senior Fellow, working on special projects as well as with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) team.
Over the next year, she will focus on advancing a number of initiatives ranging from developing a workshop on the use of data in police reform, to supporting the development of local cohorts across California of local government explicitly advancing equity.
On October 5, 2015, the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive, multi-trillion dollar international treaty — the largest regional trade accord in history. The TPP was negotiated by the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Indonesia joined the agreement on October 27, 2015, and the Philippines is considering joining as well. The full text of the TPP was finally released on November 5, 2015.
The TPP agreement would cover 40% of global economic output and one-third of all world trade. It is one of three concurrent global trade deals: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed trade agreement between the US and the European Union, considered to be the Atlantic counterpart of the TPP; the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), another proposed international treaty among 50 countries that would cover 70% of the global services economy.
Acclaimed Professor and Disability Studies Expert to Join Berkeley Faculty as Endowed Chair of Equity and Inclusion
For Karen Nakamura, leaving her esteemed position at Yale University was no easy decision. In the end, though, Nakamura, a Professor of Anthropology and East Asian Studies, believed that the offer of a new appointment at UC Berkeley “was literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” she couldn’t pass up.
“Aside from not shoveling snow, it is the opportunity to be part of the large community of scholars interested in disability studies in the UC system as well as the large community of disabled activists in the Bay Area,” Nakamura said recently. “The UC has a commitment to public service that resonates strongly with my own sentiments regarding the role of public anthropology and scholarship.”
Institute Releases Report on the US Farm Bill, Analyzing Effects of Corporate Control and Structural Racialization on the Food System.
The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society has released a new report examining the US Farm Bill—the cornerstone of food and agricultural legislation since its inception in 1933—finding that corporate control and structural racialization within the US food system leaves marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by the agricultural policies and outcomes generated by the Farm Bill.
From an early age, Jovan Scott Lewis had his feet firmly planted in two very different worlds: Montego Bay, Jamaica and Lauderhill, Florida, the latter of which is well-known for its high population of Jamaicans. "I was aware that I was a part of these two 'Jamaica's'," Lewis said in a recent interview. "And have been shaped from then by a kind of 'diasporic positionality' of contrast and similarity."
Jason Corburn is an Associate Professor of Public Health and City & Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and the new director of the UC Berkeley Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD). His research interests include urban environmental health and policy, environmental justice, health impact assessment, and climate change, among other things. Here, Prof. Corburn, a member of the Haas Institute's Diversity and Health Disparities research cluster, discusses the importance of addressing chronic health inequities, how location can determine life chances, and upcoming plans for IURD.
Emmanuel Saez is a UC Berkeley economist who is renowned for his scholarship on wealth and income inequality. Saez, a member of the Haas Institute's Economic Disparities research cluster, holds the Chancellor's Professorship of Tax Policy and Public Finance and is the director of the Center for Equitable Growth at UC Berkeley. He has helped maintain the World Top Incomes Database with Facundo Alverado, Tony Atkinson, and Thomas Piketty since 2011. We spoke with him about the 1%, high tax rates, and the power of government institutions to tackle inequality.
New Publication: Semi Annual Newsletter
The latest edition of the Haas Institute newsletter is now available. Representing activities from the Haas Institute and our 90+affiliated faculty from June 2014 to June 2015, this issue showcases our latest research, events, publications, and includes features on the intersection between mind science and social justice; the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act; a perspective on BlackLivesMatter and today's civil rights era; and much more. Download it here.
Jonathan Simon is a professor at the Berkeley Law School and a member of the Haas Institute's Diversity and Democracy research cluster. His scholarship focuses on the role of crime and criminal justice in governing modern societies. He recently published a book, Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America, which offers a critique of mass incarceration in California and explores current efforts to challenge this system. Prof. Simon blogs at prawfsblawg and governingthroughcrime, and tweets @jonathansimon59.
Recent blog posts from Haas Institute and Faculty
A summer classic: Moral panic over a pier shooting
"It comes at a time when white anxiety over the growing Latino population in the United States has become a dominant obsession with the Republican party. Indeed, Republican politicians have found themselves in something of a dilemma over which to attack among two of their favorite targets: liberal cities like San Francisco or the Obama administration."
"The alleged Charleston perpetrator chose the historic black church not just to kill nine innocent blacks people but to send a message. And while his method was vicious and extreme, there are still many messages and symbols driven by the anxiety of the decline of white dominance and the growing population of those considered "other."'
Obergefell v. Hodges: A Dead-End for LGBT Civil Rights?
"Only 22 states prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In most states, LGBT persons can be legally discriminated against in employment or housing, for example. A decision in Obergefell grounded in constitutional rights and equal protection for same-sex couples would have potent precedential value by establishing new constitutional norms. "
"My answer is: its an act of terrorism that calls for a political response, but we need a more complicated framework to think about how mental illness and acts rooted in diseased ideation can parallel acts of terrorism."
July 1, 2015: The critical Supreme Court decision that granted same-sex couples the right to marry across the nation is a historic moment and one that we at the Haas Institute not only applaud, but deeply celebrate. Extending the right to marry, and the benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples, advances a larger vision of belonging and equal protection for all members of society.
Friday morning's decision was the precursor to a weekend of nationwide expressions of celebration and unbridled joy. Many expressed astonishment this victory could happen in our lifetimes. Many felt their lifetime's work and love of another lifted up by that single statement at the end of the majority opinion: It is so ordered.
June 25, 2015: The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society applauds the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold a key legal protection in the 1968 Fair Housing Act in its decision for Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. the Inclusive Communities Project. The Institute was also thrilled to learn that the opinion of the Court, delivered by Justice Kennedy, directly cited an amicus brief that was jointly filed last December by the Haas Institute and the Economic Policy Institute in support of The Inclusive Communities Project. Entitled the Brief of Housing Scholars, it was signed by 62 of the nation’s most widely known and respected historians, social scientists, demographers, and housing scholars.
In its opinion, the Court held for the first time that the Fair Housing Act prohibits race-neutral housing policies that nonetheless have a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or family status. Disparate impact, a standard previously applied by eleven of the United States Courts of Appeals, enables courts to invalidate discriminatory policies, regardless of whether such discrimination was intentional.
July 3, 2015: The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society published a “hopeful and speculative” essay arguing that Americans are poised to enter a new era of enduring prosperity led by African Americans and immigrants, those who previously have been held back.
In recent months, prominent national Liberal and Progressive analysts issued studies dramatically describing the crisis of extreme inequality and putting forward a bold but familiar policy agenda to address it. Authored by Mark Gomez, Realizing Possibilities of the Connected Economy instead looks at the opportunity presented by our remarkable prosperous Connected Economy and our current“formative political” period.
The Future of SNAP? Improving Nutrition Policy to Ensure Health and Food Equity.
A Workshop for Academics, Policymakers, and Community Representatives
According to the USDA, food insecurity occurs when “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 15.8 million children. Food insecurity exists in every county in America, and disproportionately affects single parent households, Black households, and Latino* households at higher rates.
On Friday, May 29, 2015, the Haas Institute and the Berkeley Food Institute convened an all-day, interdisciplinary workshop to discuss the future of the SNAP program. The workshop brought together researchers and students, federal & state agency representatives, program administrators, and community representatives to share research findings, report challenges, and share policy and education recommendations for the program moving forward.
We are actively seeking feedback on the conference! Please fill out our online evaluation form.
We would also like to collect as many unique personal and professional perspectives on Othering and Belonging as possible - please let us know if you are interested in publishing a blog post about your conference experience or your work. Contact the Haas Institute editorial team to discuss possible contribution.
#BlackLivesMatter: Haas Institute Responses
The collective and sustained outcry we are in the midst of represents both a systematic failure in our society that can be revealed "wherever we are willing to look" as well as a transformative opportunity to build a real movement for change. Read all responses, media appearances, and opinion pieces from Haas Institute and UC Berkeley's Diversity Research Faculty