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Edward M. Bassett

A compact but complete handbook of zoning covering the story of the spread of this movement, the reasons for zoning, the experiences of various zoned cities, the correct principles and best practice, the legal pitfalls and a selected list of reference.

The Colors of Poverty

Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Exist
Ann Chih Lin
David R. Harris

Given the increasing diversity of the nation—particularly with respect to its growing Hispanic and Asian populations—why does racial and ethnic difference so often lead to disadvantage? In The Colors of Poverty, a multidisciplinary group of experts provides a breakthrough analysis of the complex mechanisms that connect poverty and race.

Visiting Journalist Eyal Press Wins June Sidney Award

June 24, 2016

Eyal Press, a 2016 Visiting Journalist at RSF, has received the June 2016 Sidney Award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation for his New Yorker article “Madness,” which uncovered a pattern of abuse of mentally ill inmates at the Dade Correctional Institution in Florida. The Sidney is awarded monthly to an outstanding piece of journalism that appeared in the prior month.

Press is the author of Absolute Convictions (2006) and Beautiful Souls (2012). He has contributed to the New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and other publications. During his time at RSF, he is working on a book which explores “society’s most thankless, morally compromising jobs,” including immigrants working in meatpacking plants, maximum-security prison guards, and military drone operators.

Spotlight on Poverty Interviews RSF Author Stefanie DeLuca

June 21, 2016

Stefanie DeLuca (Johns Hopkins University), co-author of the recent RSF book Coming of Age in the Other America, sat down this month with Jodie Levin-Epstein to discuss some of the book’s findings in a new video interview for Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.

In Coming of Age in the Other America, authors Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin explore how some disadvantaged urban youth manage to achieve upward mobility despite overwhelming odds. Based on over a decade of the authors’ original fieldwork with parents and children in Baltimore, the book illuminates the profound effects of neighborhoods on impoverished families and shows how the right public policies can help break the cycle of disadvantage.

Video: Former Visiting Scholar Rucker Johnson Gives Spencer Lecture

June 15, 2016

Earlier this spring, former RSF Visiting Scholar Rucker Johnson (University of California, Berkeley) delivered the annual Spencer Foundation Lecture. Titled “Winning with the Power of Mass Equality: School Funding, Integration, and Access for Later-Life Success,” Johnson’s talk focused on the long-term benefits of public school desegregation.

During his time as a Visiting Scholar at the foundation, Johnson studied the consequences of school desegregation and school quality on adult educational attainment, earnings, incarceration, and health status. He also evaluated the impact of War on Poverty policies that were designed to improve school resources for minority and poor children. His research will be published in a forthcoming RSF book.

The full video of Johnson’s Spencer Lecture is available below.

New RSF Book: A Pound of Flesh

June 14, 2016

Over seven million Americans are either incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, with their criminal records often following them for life and affecting access to higher education, jobs, and housing. Court-ordered monetary sanctions that compel criminal defendants to pay fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution further inhibit their ability to reenter society.

A new book from the Russell Sage Foundation, A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor, analyzes the rise of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system and shows how they permanently marginalize the poor. Author Alexes Harris exposes the damaging effects of a little-understood component of criminal sentencing and shows how it further perpetuates racial and economic inequality.

Harris, who investigated court practices in Washington state for over eight years, reveals how fees for public defenders and other processing charges—known as legal financial obligations (LFOs) in the court system—penalize low-income defendants. Until these debts are paid in full, individuals remain under judicial supervision, subject to court summons, warrants, and jail stays. As a result of interest and surcharges that accumulate on unpaid financial penalties, these monetary sanctions often become insurmountable legal debts which many offenders carry for the remainder of their lives.

In her research, Harris shows that because Washington charges 12% interest and an annual $100 collection fee, legal debts continue to build even when defendants make regular payments. As the graph below shows, an individual making the minimum monthly payment ($5) on the average LFO amount sentenced in Washington ($1,347) would accumulate an additional debt of nearly $500 after five years.


RSF Books Win ASA Section Awards

June 9, 2016

Three books published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2015 have received American Sociological Association (ASA) Section Awards. ASA sections represent different areas of interest within sociology and grant awards annually to recognize achievements in their respective areas of academic expertise.

The Asian American Achievement Paradox, by Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou, received the 2016 Pierre Bourdieu Award for Outstanding Book from the Sociology of Education Section. In their book, Lee and Zhou correct the long-standing myth that the success of the children of Asian immigrants is due to unique cultural values. They show that a combination of immigration laws, institutions, and culture interact to foster high achievement among certain Asian American groups.

Parents Without Papers: The Progress and Pitfalls of Mexican American Integration by Frank D. Bean, Susan K. Brown, and James D. Bachmeier, received the 2016 Otis Dudley Duncan Book Award from the Sociology of Population Section. The book explores how the “membership exclusion” experienced by unauthorized Mexican immigrants—that is, their fear of deportation, lack of civil rights, and poor access to good jobs—inflicts multiple hardships not just on the immigrants themselves, but also on their children and grandchildren, even those who are U.S.-born.

Carla Shedd’s book Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice received the 2016 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the Race, Gender and Class Section. Unequal City investigates how disadvantaged youth in Chicago navigate their neighborhoods, life opportunities, and encounters with the law, focusing in particular on how schools either reinforce or ameliorate the social inequalities that shape the worlds of these adolescents.

Hungry Not Homeless: Event with RSF Trustee Kathryn Edin

May 27, 2016

On Tuesday, June 7, RSF trustee Kathryn Edin (Johns Hopkins University) will speak at the Brooklyn Historical Society about her book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. In the book, Edin and co-author Luke Shaefer investigate the rise of households surviving on virtually no cash income and find that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million American households, including about three million children. Through in-depth interviews with struggling families, the authors discover a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor.

At the Brooklyn Historical Society, Edin will discuss poverty and hunger with Barbara J. Turk, Director of Food Policy for New York City. The talk, which is offered in connection with the exhibition “Hidden in Plain Sight: Portraits of Hunger in NYC,” is open to the public and free to Brooklyn Historical Society members.

RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences

Russell Sage Foundation

RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars. It is designed to promote cross-disciplinary collaborations on timely issues of interest to academics, policymakers, and the public at large. Each issue is thematic in nature and focuses on a specific research question or area of interest.

New RSF Book Engines of Anxiety in the News

May 23, 2016

Each spring the U.S. News & World Report releases its law school rankings to the media and the public. These rankings of over 200 law schools allow prospective students and the public to assess and compare differences in the quality of law schools. However, Engines of Anxiety: Academic Rankings, Reputation, and Accountability, just published by the foundation, shows that the increasing reliance on these rankings has negative consequences for students and educators and has implications for all educational programs that are ranked using similar methods.

Based on a wealth of observational data and over 200 in-depth interviews with law students, university deans, and other administrators, authors Wendy Espeland (Northwestern University) and Michael Sauder (University of Iowa) show how the scramble for high rankings has affected the missions and practices of many law schools. For instance, admissions officers face pressure to admit applicants with high test scores over lower-scoring candidates who possess other favorable credentials in order to boost their school’s ranking. As a new profile of Engines of Anxiety in Inside Higher Ed puts it, “The authors found an overwhelming focus on LSAT scores—above everything else and sometimes regardless of other indications of whether an applicant would be a good or bad law student or lawyer.”

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