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  • Author: Ammar A. Malik, Harsh Parikh
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Urban residents around the world know that housing close to mass transit commands a price premium. Living near transit stations saves residents time and money, which is reflected in rents. Studies evaluating the impact of bus rapid transit (BRT) services in Beijing, China, and Brisbane, Australia, have found rents of properties near stations to be 10 and 20 percent higher than those farther away. The value of properties within six miles of mass urban transit are known to increase two to three times faster than those outside. But does this relationship hold true everywhere? And what factors complicate it?
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Transportation, Rent, Public Service
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Jamie Boex, Ammar A. Malik, Devanne Brookins, Ben Edwards
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Cities are engines of economic growth that provide spaces for social transformation and political inclusion. Their ability to deliver widely accessible and efficiently functioning public services drives productivity and sustains development. We design and apply an assessment framework to 42 cities in 14 African and Asian countries to better understand the functional, administrative, and political dimensions determining the quality and coverage of water, sanitation, and solid waste collection services. We find that urban local governments are constrained in their authority and discretion to deliver basic public services. Reforming intergovernmental institutional structures to better match responsibilities is essential for realizing cities’ full economic potential.
  • Topic: Government, Water, Governance, International Development, Economic Growth, Urban, Sanitation, Services, Cities
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Madeline Roth, Ammar A. Malik
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Cities are widely regarded as engines of economic growth. Their ability to attract and retain talent and financial capital drives productivity and the well-being of societies. But cities across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, two of the world’s most populous and rapidly urbanizing regions, are unable to provide basic services to most of their residents. Countries with greater levels of urbanization have traditionally enjoyed greater prosperity, but the rise of poor megacities in recent years has cast doubts on this relationship. By 2040, over half the world’s poor earning less than $1 per day are expected to live in cities. To realize their full economic potential, cities must offer quality public amenities, modern urban infrastructure, and widely accessible basic public services such as water and sanitation. What factors prevent cities from better serving residents? And what can city governments do improve the status quo?
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Urbanization, Economic Growth, Public Service
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Edwards, Mohammad Hamze
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The world’s urban population is projected to add 2.5 billion people by 2050, with nearly 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. The provision of safe, clean drinking water in urban settings is a high priority for international development, and justifiably so. Drinking water that is protected from contamination improves health, education, and economic growth, yet roughly 150 million urban dwellers do not have access, with numbers on the rise. Fortunately, the problem has not gone unrecognized. An expansive body of work explores the causes of water market failures and the policy interventions national governments can use to mitigate them. This body of work, however, has paid less heed to local governments’ role in implementing those policies, a critical link in the chain of service provision.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Water, Cities
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Wayne Vroman, Vera Brusentsev
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Nearly twenty years have passed since the transition from a centrally-planned towards a market-oriented economy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (CEE-FSU). This paper documents the differing patterns of unemployment during the period 1990 to 2006 in the 28 countries that constitute the CEE-FS U group and outlines how unemployment protection programs developed in response. We also suggest some tentative explanations for the observed trends in unemployment and unemployment compensation. Our approach is novel in that we compare the performance of the CEE-FSU group to the worldwide average and to other major economies. In addition, we demonstrate important contrasts across the CEE-FSU sub-regions.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Tatiana Lykova, Sergei Sivaev, Raymond J. Struyk, Ekaterina Petrova
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: When Russia's housing allowance program, the country's first means-tested program, was introduced in 1994, it was truly innovative. But there were difficulties from the start, many arising from the division of authority for setting program parameters among different levels of government and the potential for variation in the treatment of similar households in different cities. In 1996, the program's original simple basis for benefit determination was seriously impaired by the introduction of different principles for very low-income households. Moreover, local governments have exhibited a willingness to vary benefits from year-to-year, depending on political and budgetary considerations. The analysis presented here documents the impact of these variations on participation rates in a sample of Russian cities. Large inequities are obviously present in the treatment of similar households from city to city. Indeed, it is questionable whether the program as currently configured is fulfilling the social safety net function envisioned for it in the original legislation.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Sergei Sivaev, Raymond J. Struyk, Valentin Andrianov, Emin Askerov
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: During the past two winters, breakdowns in district heating services in Russia have grabbed international headlines. In Russia these services and water and sewerage services are the responsibility of municipal governments; these governments set the tariffs for these services. This article examines the tariff-setting process during 1997–2001 for these two services with particular emphasis on the decision process for considering tariff increases. We find that little progress has been made during the transition period in developing the legal base for rational tariff-setting procedures. Overall, tariff increases have been substantially less than the rate of inflation. Statistical analysis confirms that decisionmaking is highly politicized and that in times of extreme inflation tariff increases lag even further behind inflation, with the sector being used as a kind of shock absorber to cushion the full impacts of inflation on the population. There is an obvious acute need for leadership at the national level to address these problems.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Raymond Struyk, Douglas E. Whiteley
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The objective of this paper is to introduce the concept of mortgage default insurance as developed in the United States into the context of Russian mortgage lending. The first part of the paper discusses the broad principles and operations of mortgage default insurance offered by private companies as it works in the United States. The pricing of this product and the preconditions for offering such insurance are highlighted. The second section outlines the operation of the U.S. government-supported default insurance offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The final part applies the foregoing information to the situation in Russia today and concludes that the conditions necessary for launching mortgage default insurance do not currently exist in the country. Nevertheless, there are a number of essential actions that can and should be taken over the next several months to put Russia on the road to establishing such insurance in a few years. The paper finishes with a possible action plan for the next two years.
  • Topic: Development, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Raymond J. Struyk, L. Jerome Gallagher
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: A hallmark of the administration of social assistance under the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and the USSR was the universal nature of eligibility for benefits, either to all citizens or to categories of deserving citizens, e.g., the physically handicapped. During the transition period since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has taken limited steps to improve the targeting of benefits. The challenge to improvement is acute because the administration of the great majority of programs rests with agencies of local government. The question addressed here is how amenable local program administration is to improved targeting and more progressive program administration in general. Presented is an analysis of the results of assessments of two pilot programs implemented in two Russian cities in 2000–2001. The “school lunch pilot” introduced means testing in the school lunch program on a citywide basis; eligible families receive cash payments and all children pay the same price for their lunches in cash. The “jobs pilot” is a new, local means-tested program that provides cash support to families while unemployed workers search for work; continued receipt of funds is conditional on a minimum job search effort. We find that both programs were successfully implemented and that there was little resistance to the sharper targeting. On the other hand, a variety of problems with program administration were identified—problems that need to be addressed if program integrity and credibility are to be maintained.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Raymond J. Struyk, Kirill Chagin
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: In the Russian Federation the delivery of social services to deserving population groups is mostly the responsibility of municipalities and other local governments. Services are delivered by municipal agencies. One way to inject competition into the delivery system is for local government to hold competitions to contract for social service delivery. The competitions can be open to nonprofit organizations (NPOs), some of which have been providing assistance in recent years to needy individuals and families similar to those that would be contracted.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia