Three essays in public policy: Metric conversion, university host community size, and issue visibility in congressional voting
These three papers share the common theme of finding, studying, and measuring benefits for certain groups or sectors in U.S. society: "The Education System Benefits of U.S. Metric Conversion" reviews U.S. metric conversion efforts, particularly as they have affected education. Education system benefits and costs are estimated for three possible measurement system conversion plans. Of the three, the soft-conversion-to-metric plan, in which all inch-pound instruction is dropped, appears to provide the largest net benefits. The primary benefit is class time freed up by teaching just one measurement system. "The Effect of University Host Community Size on State Growth" examines the effect of university community size on state growth. It is argued that if some positive spillovers from universities are localized, needing a host community for capture, or if universities share agglomeration economies with their host communities, and if these effects are large, one may find a significant effect on state growth. Using pooled data from eight U.S. censes--primarily state-level and university county-level variables--a significant positive effect of university community size is found on state aggregate personal income growth. Weaker effects are found on state employment growth (positive) and state population growth (negative). "The Effect of Issue Visibility on the AMA's Attempt to Gain Antitrust Immunity" recounts the history of a bill introduced in Congress which, if passed, would have prohibited the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jurisdiction over the activities of state-licensed professionals. The bill passed easily in committee, but was ultimately defeated on the floor, the first defeat of a deregulation bill in several years, highlighting congressional behavior at a time of changing political momentum. This article focuses on the behavior of Senate Commerce Committee members, testing the hypothesis that the ultimate floor vote differed from the committee votes because the issue had achieved a high level of public visibility. The hypothesis is supported by empirical tests.
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|Authors:||Phelps, Richard Philip|
|Type of publication:||Other|
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