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How Does Unemployment Affect Family Arrangements for Children? (Discussion Papers/Low Income Working Families)
Stephan Lindner, Elizabeth Peters

This study analyzes whether and how the event of a job loss in families with children changes family arrangements. Comparing outcomes for children whose parents become unemployed with children whose parents do not, we find a positive relationship between a parent’s job loss and destabilizing changes in family arrangements in subsequent months for children initially living with married parents, a single mother, or a mother cohabiting with a partner. Among single mothers, these negative consequences are concentrated among those with no high school degree.

Posted to Web: August 28, 2014Publication Date: August 28, 2014

Putting Mortgage Insurers on Solid Ground (Research Report)
Mark M. Zandi, Jim Parrott, Cristian deRitis

The mortgage insurance industry plays an important role in the housing finance system, providing insurance against default by borrowers with low down payment loans. The industry struggled during the housing bust, and while it has done much to shore up its financial health in the subsequent recovery, more needs to be done to strengthen and stabilize the industry if it is to play the central role in the housing finance system that many envision for it. The Private Mortgage Insurance Eligibility Requirements, recently put forth by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, are intended to do precisely that. A thoughtful effort, these standards should succeed in ensuring that private mortgage insurers are strong counterparties to the government-sponsored enterprises and a much improved bulwark against excessive risk in the system. Several features of the rules as currently written, however, would likely unnecessarily increase costs and cyclicality in the mortgage and housing markets. With a few modest changes, these flaws can be remedied without sacrificing the considerable benefits of the new standards.

Posted to Web: August 26, 2014Publication Date: August 26, 2014

State Variation in Hospital Use and Cost of Firearm Assault Injury, 2010 (Research Report)
Embry M. Howell, Samuel Bieler, Nathaniel Anderson

Hospital use and hospital mortality related to firearm-assault injuries varies considerably across demographic groups and states, as does the percentage of firearm-assault injury hospital costs borne by the public. Healthcare data from six states--Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Wisconsin--show that hospital use for firearm-assault injury is disproportionately concentrated among young males, particularly young black males. Additionally, uninsured victims have higher hospital mortality rates for firearm-assault injury. Across all six states, the public pays a substantial portion of the hospital cost for injuries caused by firearm assault.

Posted to Web: August 25, 2014Publication Date: August 25, 2014

Starting Small and Thinking Long-Term: Q&A with Performance Measurement and Evaluation Professionals (Research Brief)
Sarah Gillespie

Despite the importance of performance measurement to nonprofit effectiveness, the state of performance measurement among nonprofits varies widely, and resources to improve capacity are scarce. While learning communities are available to other professionals, very few networks exist for staff focused on performance measurement and evaluation. It’s often described as an isolating position, and staff just getting started in this field are eager for support and advice. We spoke with three nonprofit performance measurement staff who have been navigating their positions within the Washington DC, area for several years, to share lessons learned and tips for getting started and growing.

Posted to Web: August 25, 2014Publication Date: August 25, 2014

Political Activity Limits and Tax Exemption: A Gordian's Knot (Research Report)
Roger Colinvaux

The article considers the correct tax treatment of political activity, examines administrative and legislative options to problems raised, and concludes that after the Citizens United decision, definitional political activity limits on noncharitable exempts should be eliminated, but only if the 527(f) tax on investment income remains vital and there are uniform donor disclosure rules. In addition, Congress should: extend the income tax to transfers of appreciated property to noncharitable exempts, take steps to prevent the laundering of independent expenditures through the charitable form, and develop a new tax baseline for political activity conducted "for profit" or outside of section 527.

Posted to Web: August 25, 2014Publication Date: August 05, 2014

Physician Network Transparency (Research Report)
Linda J. Blumberg, Rebecca Peters, Erik Wengle, Rachel Arnesen

Urban Institute researchers studied nine marketplace websites (California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington) and healthcare.gov, and offer recommendations on how to improve the transparency of the marketplace sites. Recommendations include creating clear and accurate "hover over" definitions of plan and network types and sizes for consumers scrolling over specific plans, and creating fully functional physician directories for each plan within the marketplace website.

Posted to Web: August 22, 2014Publication Date: August 22, 2014

Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2013 (Research Report)
Erika Huber, David Kassabian, Elissa Cohen

The Welfare Rules Databook provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2013, as well as longitudinal tables describing selected state policies from 1996 through 2013. The tables are based on the information in the Welfare Rules Database (WRD), a publicly available, online database tracking state cash assistance policies over time and across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Databook summarizes a subset of the information in the WRD. Users interested in a greater level of detail are encouraged to use the full database, available at http://anfdata.urban.org/wrd.

Posted to Web: August 21, 2014Publication Date: August 21, 2014

Homeless LGBTQ Youth (Research Brief)
Mary K. Cunningham, Mike Pergamit, Nan Astone, Jessica Luna

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) youth are over-represented among the homeless youth population. Researchers and practitioners are working to improve data on homeless youth, especially LGBTQ youth, across the country. This brief summarizes the findings on LGBTQ homeless youth counted during the 2013 YouthCount!, a federal interagency initiative that aims to improve counts of unaccompanied homeless youth. The brief also shares best practices on how to improve counts of LGBTQ homeless youth, and areas where policymakers can act to improve LGBTQ youth outcomes.

Posted to Web: August 21, 2014Publication Date: August 21, 2014

Housing Finance At A Glance: A Monthly Chartbook (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Laurie Goodman, Ellen Seidman, Jim Parrott, Sheryl Pardo, Jun Zhu, Wei Li, Bing Bai, Taz George, Maia Woluchem, Alison Rincon

The August edition of At A Glance, our reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes a special quarterly feature of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan composition, default rates, and repurchase activity.

Posted to Web: August 20, 2014Publication Date: August 20, 2014

Tax Expenditures for Asset Building in 2014 (Article/Tax Facts)
C. Eugene Steuerle, Caleb Quakenbush

Government directs a large amount of resources toward helping families build assets in the form of home equity, retirement savings, human capital, and business ownership. This Tax Fact summarizes the cost of different asset-building tax subsidies. These tax expenditures total to more than $370 billion in 2014 and are projected to grow to more than $500 billion over the next 5 years. Deductions and exclusions for homeownership and retirement savings form the majority of subsidies, with education coming in a distant third. Smaller subsidies for small business and other personal savings round out the total.

Posted to Web: August 20, 2014Publication Date: August 20, 2014

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