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Fall 2010 - 60835 - PA680PA - Policy Research Project

Financial Asset and Poverty

Instructor(s): Wong, Pat
Unique Number: 60835
Day & Time: Th 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.214
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Section Description

PRP Background: RAISE Texas (http://www.raisetexas.org/) is a network of nonprofit organizations and financial institutions committed to encouraging asset building activities among low-income families in Texas. This network is the client in this Policy Research Project.

Asset-building is a huge topic. Asset policy issues affecting low-income families range from the regulation of sub-prime mortgage and payday lending, through basic banking services like savings account and check-cashing, to policy regarding education savings account and asset limits on public benefit program eligibility.

PRP Tasks: This PRP will not deal with the full range of issues. Instead, RAISE Texas has asked the LBJ School to examine several aspects of Texas asset-building policy as part of their OpportunityTexas project:
 

  1. Compiling and analyzing county-level indicators to develop a descriptive profile of assets and opportunities across different areas in Texas. The deliverable in this project will be a county-level scorecard that parallels the state-level score card (http://scorecard.cfed.org/) produced by the national organization Corporation for Economic Development (http://www.cfed.org/). Deliverable is due December 15, 2010.
  2. Conducting policy analysis on specific research questions pertinent to the 82nd  Legislative Session in 2011. The details of these policy analytic topics will be determined by September 2010, but examples might include: prevalence in the use of payday lending in Texas, and efficacy of matched savings accounts for children. Deliverables are policy briefs, to be completed at various points between November 1 and December 15 of 2010.
  3. Tracking legislation and continuing to write policy briefs during the Legislative Session in the spring, 2011, semester. These policy briefs might include regulatory issues for local municipalities to consider.
  4. Possibly preparing for and/or hosting a conference on OpportunityTexas at some point during the fall semester before the beginning of the legislative session, with details to be determined.
  5. Possibly assisting RAISE Texas in formulating a research plan to analyze regional credit scores across Texas.

PRP Learning Experiences:  Students participating in this PRP can expect the following learning experiences:

  • Substantive knowledge about asset-building policy issues and their relationship to poverty and financial security;
  • Understanding the political environment and policy dynamics, and advocacy process in Texas social policy.
  • Experience in searching for and compiling administrative data at the county or lower level within Texas;
  • Team coordination and division of labor in research, writing, and (possibly) conference production;
  • (Possibly) experience in using the national Survey of Consumer Finance data file, housed at the Federal Reserves; and/or Texas student academic performance assessment data file, housed at Texas Education Agency.