Policy and Practice 2011-2012

The student-run journal of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Welcome to the 2011-2012 edition of Policy and Practice, a student-run academic journal comprised of all disciplines within the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Policy and Practice publishes effective and inspiring policy reports that address global issues on a multi-disciplinary level.

Created in 2009 by graduate students of the USC Price School, Policy and Practice incorporates the expertise of all programs at the Price School of Public Policy. The goal of the journal is to promote discourse amongst graduate and professional degree students of Public Policy, Public Administration, Real Estate Development, Health Administration, and Planning programs by encouraging students to produce work that inspires dialogue on a broad range of topics.


Healthcare Policy

Financial implications of Excess Hospital Readmissions

by Joseph B. Henderson, J.D.

Abstract — A 2007 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report to Congress determined that in 2005 17.6% of all Medicare hospital admissions were readmissions (return hospitalizations), which accounted for $15 billion annually in expenditures. Furthermore, $12 billion of these expenditures were labeled as potentially preventable. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) seeks to reduce excess hospital readmissions for Medicare patients by penalizing hospitals with “excess readmissions ratios” for three medical conditions which account for half of all readmissions. This paper will illustrate the financial implications of excess readmissions, analyze the problem of excess admissions as well as the PPACA’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, identify patient populations at risk for readmissions and discuss alternative cost-effective strategies to reduce readmissions. This paper was originally submitted as coursework for the course HMGT 540 Healthcare Economics, Financing and Reimbursement taught by Professor Glenn Melnick. Read more »

Keywords: healthcare policy

Urban Development and Planning, Community Values

Tattoo: Community Values and the Planner

by Ruben Jubinsky

Abstract — Many planning theories advocate the planner as a neutral stakeholder in the planning process, able to rationally absorb and process multiple, often competing perspectives. But is the ideal of the neutral, rational planner even possible? In this paper I explore three aspects – diversity, communication, and control – of a recent planning controversy, zoning for tattoo parlors in Hermosa Beach, California, through the perspectives of various theorists to illustrate that planning decisions are heavily influenced by community values. Planners and people making planning decisions must understand that they inhabit and represent many different communities, and must find a way to appropriately balance these oft-competing value systems. Read more »

Keywords: urban development and planning, community values

Urban Development and Planning, Immigration Policy, Literature Review

Ethnic Enclaves: Sanctuary or Impediment?

by Marie Sullivan

Abstract — Ethnic Enclaves are a controversial topic amongst economists, sociologists, and planners alike as an important factor in immigrant integration. Alejandro Portes first theorized in the 1980s that living in ethnic enclaves gave new immigrants a distinct advantage over those who dispersed immediately into the mainstream economy and the city at large. Since his initial development of the ethnic enclave theory, other academics have both upheld and disputed the theory. This paper explores the literature on ethnic enclaves and ethnic networks, to see how they both help and hinder the lives of new immigrants to the United States. Read more »

Keywords: urban development and planning, immigration policy, literature review

Education Policy, Cost-Benefit Analysis

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of LAUSD’s Early Retirement Incentives

by Brent Tercero, Jessica Papia, Robert Trombley

Abstract — During the 2008-2009 school year, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) experienced a budget shortfall of more than $800 million. To help reduce the deficit and prevent teacher layoffs, the district implemented an early retirement incentive program. This benefit-cost analysis demonstrates that incentivized retirements will save the district $103 million over the next five years. It is less clear how these retirements will affect the institutional knowledge of the district; however, the impact on student achievement should be minimal. As California continues to suffer budget shortfalls, efforts to prevent layoffs and programming will be crucial to LAUSD’s reform efforts. Read more »

Keywords: education policy, cost-benefit analysis

Environmental Policy

Combating Climate Change through Development: A Critical Analysis of SB 375 and the Influence of the Sacramento Blueprint

by Carley Markovitz

Abstract — This paper begins with a case study on the Sacramento Blueprint in order to preface the region’s role in laying the groundwork for California Senate Bill 375 (SB 375). The majority of the paper then explores the central elements of SB 375, including its relation to transportation and housing development and its potential to induce “smart growth” development. It also assesses possible successes and failures of SB 375 as the bill goes through the implementation process. Ultimately, this paper concludes that the issues of implementation time, local accountability, internal consistency of SB 375’s regional programs, and the role of the Blueprint in the implementation process need to be adequately addressed for SB 375 to be put into action both effectively and efficiently. This paper was written in June 2010, while Carley Markovtiz was a Bachelor’s of Arts student at Dartmouth College. The paper was revised in February 2012 for publication. Read more »

Keywords: environmental policy

Urban Development and Planning, Cultural Capital, Literature Review

Cultural Economy of the City: A Literature Review

by Brettany Shannon

Abstract — The following paper reviews select literature that delves into the various phenomena comprising the creative milieu’s articulation in the postindustrial city. It comprises four sections, each giving us insight into how and why art’s fit in the city is so natural, supported, and supportive. In this paper, I examine these various strands of research on art’s peculiar social and economic proceedings within the urban milieu. What themes emerge in this literature? What are the proposed implications for cities and development? What of the tensions? The short answer: “myriad and in flux.” The bulk of this paper refers to the literature to substantiate this response and concludes with questions that predictably emerge from such an inquest. Read more »

Keywords: urban development and planning, cultural capital, literature review