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    Social cohesion or ‘myth of oneness’?: Implications of the ban on ethnicity statistics in Fiji
    (2024-05-01) Nailatikau, Merewalesi
    Race and ethnicity have played significant roles in Fiji’s political landscape since gaining independence in 1970. Acknowledging the distinction between ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity,’ the terms are often used interchangeably in Fijian nomenclature practice, particularly concerning relations between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians. The Bainimarama regime, following the 2006 military coup, implemented policies erasing ethnic identifiers and mandating ‘Fijian’ for all citizens, while prohibiting the publication of racially disaggregated statistics under the guise of combating racism. This move hindered understanding of poverty experiences among different communities. The newly elected government in 2022 has lifted these restrictions, focusing on economic recovery through a consultative multi-sectoral approach. This paper examines Fiji census data and government addresses to explore the implications of the 16-year ban on publishing ethnically disaggregated statistics on collective memory and data equity. Despite efforts to shape a master narrative, the ban has hindered progress in racial equity and understanding emerging inequality hotspots. Recommendations include advancing an integrated national data system, incorporating data in truth and reconciliation processes, establishing institutional norms to prevent abuse of power, and fostering social cohesion through consensus-building that acknowledges diverse perspectives.
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    Consolidation, Competition, and Antitrust Law: A Changing Landscape for Minnesota Farmers
    (2024-05-01) Keliher, Matthew
    Much of the research on farming and agricultural market concentration focuses on the importance of quantitative elements such as price, access to markets or capital, or concentration ratios. And while these quantitative measurements are critical for understanding the impact consolidation has on consumers and producers within the broader agricultural industry, it only represents one aspect. This qualitative study aims to capture the perspectives of Minnesota farmers to explore how consolidated agriculture markets impact farmers’ communities and livelihoods. Comparing their perspectives with the current literature regarding market concentration in agriculture and food distribution, this study aims to illuminate the views of independent farmers that are subject to the control of dominant firms that abuse their market power. Semi-structured interviews with Minnesota farmers highlight key elements of the reviewed literature and demonstrate connections between challenges faced by farmers with economic indicators such high costs of farming inputs, the limitations of quality rural healthcare, and the burden placed on farming communities through restrictions on repairing agricultural equipment. A key theme throughout the interviews revealed that many farmers view consolidated industries as systems of control. Control over how they can farm, how they can care for and feed their livestock, how they can repair their machinery, where they can sell their produce and for how much. These systems of control are often hailed as “efficiencies” by consolidated corporate power. But for farmers, these systems of control represent an end to two things farmers and all citizens value most: creativity and liberty.
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    The Economic and Educational Attainment of DACA Recipients in Minnesota Compared with Wisconsin
    (2024-05-01) Torres DeSantiago, Edwin
    This study examines both the impact of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the impact of Minnesota’s policy allowing Minnesotans in the DACA program to pay in-state tuition and receive state-based scholarships. DACA participants were compared to individuals who just missed the age-cutoff for DACA eligibility in Minnesota and Wisconsin (who, unlike Minnesota, does not permit DACA participants to receive the benefits of residents for state colleges and universities). Using American Community Survey data from 2012 to 2021, the findings reveal a significant educational advantage for DACA-eligible individuals in Minnesota, who are 11.5 percentage points more likely to complete 4+ years of college education compared to non-DACA eligible individuals, but not in Wisconsin. In terms of income, DACA-eligible individuals in both Minnesota and Wisconsin earn about $8,000 more annually on average than their non-DACA counterparts. These results demonstrate the economic benefits of DACA eligibility but also underscore the importance of state-specific policies in shaping the success of DACA recipients, suggesting a need for further research to understand these impacts across diverse policy environments.
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    Relationship Between Maternal Education and Childhood Health Status in Myanmar
    (2024-05-01) Thant, Shine Min
    This study examines the relationship between maternal education and childhood health status measured by the child’s height-for-age Z-score (HAZ), weight-for-height Z-score (WHZ), and whether the child has received two full doses of the measles vaccine. The paper utilizes IPUMS’s 2015 Myanmar Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data. The paper employs a standard ordinary least square (OLS) regression and a cluster fixed effects regression. The study shows that a mother’s education is not significantly related to her child’s WHZ, and the relationship between her education and her child’s HAZ becomes insignificant after controlling for socioeconomic variables. The child’s measles vaccine status, on the other hand, is significantly correlated with the mother’s education, even after controlling for socioeconomic variables. After adding cluster-fixed effects, the relationship between the mother’s education and the child's WHZ and HAZ disappears. Still, the mother’s education and the child’s measles vaccine status remain significant at the 10% significance level.
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    The Myth of the Full-Time Student: The incompatibility of student work hours and full-time graduate education
    (2024-05-15) Oliver, Margaret
    The Humphrey School of Public Affairs offers masters degrees that have remained largely unchanged since they were created, despite substantial shifts in conditions affecting students. This paper seeks to understand how changing societal and educational patterns have affected students’ well-being, particularly focusing on the difficulties students have in reconciling the structure of their masters degree programs and their employment. I address economic challenges that students face, including financial hardships, concerns about meeting basic needs, utilization of financial aid resources, and levels and sources of debt, with attention to intersecting identities such as race and sexuality. Data were collected through a comprehensive survey administered to the masters student population. The findings reveal that students, particularly those who were employed, struggled to support themselves and felt as though their job(s) impeded their success in school. Despite their efforts to manage work and study, many had trouble with financial security, meeting monthly expenses, and having enough food. Additionally, debt remains a pervasive issue. These findings underscore the pressing need for the Humphrey School to reassess and update its policies and program structures to better align with the realities and needs of its student body. Addressing these challenges is imperative for fostering an inclusive and supportive academic environment conducive to student success and well-being.
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    Flattening the Eviction Curve: A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of the Brooklyn Center Tenant Protection Ordinance
    (2024-02-29) Gramlich, Jack
    This paper uses two quasi-experimental methods—synthetic control (SC) and difference-in-differences (DiD)—to evaluate the effects of the 2022 Brooklyn Center Tenant Protection Ordinance. The ordinance was adopted at a time when eviction filings were on the rise across the state. Descriptive statistics provide an indication that after the ordinance was adopted, Brooklyn Center’s eviction rate did not increase by as much as the eviction rate in other parts of suburban Hennepin County. For SC models, I compared Brooklyn Center to most other Hennepin County cities. I found statistically significant evidence that the ordinance reduced eviction rates in the period 37-48 weeks after policy adoption. This result survived several placebo tests (though it was sensitive to whether Brooklyn Park was included in the donor pool). Results for filing rates did not survive all placebo tests. For DiD, I drew from a sample of most block groups in suburban Hennepin County. Conditioning on pre-treatment covariates via doubly robust DiD, I found the policy brought reduced eviction rates and filing rates in some of the first eight months after policy adoption. DiD models survived a wide variety of robustness checks. SC and DiD provided consistent evidence of reduced eviction rates in some periods of time. The two methods produced mixed evidence on filing rates, and did not produce strong evidence of policy effects for other outcomes. This paper concludes that when evictions spiked across Minnesota following the expiration of COVID-19 eviction moratorium policies, the City of Brooklyn Center flattened the eviction curve.
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    The Influence of Private Equity on Eating Disorder Treatment Centers
    (2024-03) Thompson, Leslie
    This systematic literature review analyzes the influence of private equity (PE) firms in the landscape of residential eating disorder treatment. Given the absence of peer-reviewed research on this topic, this review broadens its scope to include an examination of research on residential treatment facilities serving other vulnerable populations, including nursing homes and substance abuse facilities, and the grey literature specifically focused on residential eating disorder treatment. The synthesis of findings aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of PE firm influence on critical aspects of eating disorder treatment. Following the synthesis, research and policy recommendations are proposed to address the identified issues in the findings. Key themes explored in this review encompass the systematic preference for patients with specific insurance benefits and lower clinical complexity, discernible shifts in service provision after PE acquisitions, and differences in the quality of care in PE firm-owned healthcare facilities, such as staff-to-patient ratios. This review contributes to advancing the understanding of how the presence of PE shapes the landscape of residential eating disorder treatment by offering valuable insights for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers.
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    Illuminating Common Ground: Success Factors for Tribal Solar Energy Development
    (2023) LaValle, Sarah
    Tribal energy development is a complex multi-faceted topic. The objective of this work is to identify common themes across tribal solar energy deployment projects, focusing specifically on lessons learned and recommendations. Identifying these commonalities and learning from the experiences of tribes that have embarked in energy development efforts can help to inform the development of future tribal solar energy projects. A thematic qualitative analysis approach was used to analyze project reports and presentations for 41 tribal solar deployment projects funded by the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, applying a framework of success factors developed from the literature. The results of the qualitative analysis are described in four discrete parts: comprehensive and inclusive planning, fostering partnerships and collaboration, building capacity, and exercising and advancing tribal sovereignty. Each of the overarching themes inform recommendations for tribes to promote the success of solar projects.
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    Increasing Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities: An Analysis of the Connect 700 Program and Legislation in the State of Minnesota
    (2023) Terakanambi, Sumukha
    Despite the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, employment remains a barrier for people with disabilities. Large disparities in employment rates between people with and without disabilities continue to persist. In response to this issue, policymakers have developed State as Model Employer policies. The Connect 700 program is one such policy within the Minnesota state government that offers an alternative non-competitive process for qualified individuals with disabilities. Participants have an on-the-job demonstration of up to 700 hours to showcase their skills and abilities while allowing supervisors to make more informed hiring decisions. The aim of this paper is to (1) provide background on the C700 program including a brief history, the application process, and essential components of the program (2) present quantitative data from various reports regarding the C700 program and incorporate interview data (3) provide an interpretation of the data and describe the current issues with the C700 program and (4) provide background on recently proposed legislation, summarize the provisions of the legislation, and analyze how the provisions of the legislation address the current issues facing the C700 program. I will end with a discussion which will include the reason why the state legislature should pass the legislation, the prospects of the legislation passing, and the limitations with my approach where I will emphasize the importance of better data collection.
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    Hennepin County Pedestrian Crash Study
    (2023) Ackerman, Ryan; Johnson, Isak; Murphy, Daniel; Trejo, Tristan
    Our study analyzed historical pedestrian crashes throughout Hennepin County and ranked crash locations based on crash occurrence over a ten-year period (2012-2021). For analysis purposes, crashes were split into two categories: intersections and midblocks. Crashes primarily occurred in urban areas, and collisions resulting in fatal injuries were rare. We created a tiered ranking system to group together locations with similar levels of crash occurrence to guide potential county improvement projects. Using ArcGIS Pro, we developed crash point maps to spatially represent crash locations and severity in each Hennepin County Commissioner District. We then created Safety Performance Functions (SPFs) by conducting a statistical analysis of crash data using a Negative Binomial Regression model. The variables we chose for statistical analysis were identified in previous studies as statistically significant variables that influenced pedestrian crashes. We used our SPFs to predict future crash locations and crash severity at intersections and midblocks over the next ten years. Our SPFs predicted fewer crashes at intersections and midblocks over the next ten years than the actual number of crashes over the tenyear study period. This can be partially attributed to our model, which was relatively weak, but can also be attributed to a lack of data. In particular, pedestrian count data would likely have increased the accuracy of our model, but this is not easily accessible. Our study opens the door to future research by transportation planning professionals who can make proactive, informed decisions about reducing pedestrian crash risk throughout Hennepin County based on our research.
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    Identifying high-value opportunities for non-wire alternatives: A retrospective of state-led approaches
    (2023) Angulo Paniagua, Jam
    State legislatures and Public Utilities Commissions are interested in ensuring prudency in utility investments and their alignment with the public interest. They are also increasingly recognizing the potential climate, financial and technical benefits of incorporating Distributed Energy Resources (DER) in utility planning. Non-wire alternatives (NWAs) have gained popularity in the last decade as a strategy to identify cost-effective opportunities for DER that can defer or replace investments in traditional infrastructure. Therefore, states have established procedures to standardize their consideration. This paper describes and compares the approach of eight states to identify high-value opportunities for NWAs. State’s considerations and frameworks are discussed and compared in the context of five characteristics: i) integration of NWAs to utility planning and the prioritizing of: ii) transparency, iii) accessibility, iv) flexibility, and v) creativity in NWA identification. The discussion is done by identifying NWAenabling legislation or regulation in each state and related policy proceedings, legislation, plans, and media. After the analysis, the paper proposes key considerations to strengthen the role of NWA identification approaches in promoting utility prudency and collaborative culture in utility planning.
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    Planning for Redby's Future; Improving the Highway 1 Corridor and Developing a Land Use Inventory
    (2023) Bakken, Noelle; Bretheim, Laura; Drometer, George; Needham, Revee
    The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (RLBCI or Red Lake Nation) is engaged in ongoing efforts to increase livability, with a focus in the downtown area of the community of Redby. RLBCI has collaborated with the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs on transportation-related projects since 2016 and asked for assistance from a team of students at the Humphrey School to further address pedestrian safety needs in the Highway 1 corridor and create a land use inventory of Redby. The Red Lake Nation is also working with MnDOT on planning upcoming Highway 1 roadway improvements. The goal of the project was to provide background data, evidence, maps, and designs to guide tribal decisions about future infrastructure projects, and support future grant proposals and community visioning work. The project coalesced around two research topics: the first focused on community preferences for improving pedestrian safety and livability in the downtown corridor of Redby, and the second on existing land use in the community. As such, the report consists of two parts that correspond to those research topics. Part I provides key context on current conditions in Downtown Redby and then explains the development, implementation, and results of a community preferences survey. Part II provides context on the history of land use inventories in Redby, details the methodology behind developing an existing land use inventory of Redby, and includes the results of that inventory – a series of maps generated with GIS mapping software.
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    Program Evaluation for the Alongside Network Wellbeing Groups
    (2023) Dalsheim, Hannah; Gillespie, Aimee; Lohr, Dr. Jamie
    This capstone group designed and carried out a program evaluation for the Alongside Network. The specific work agreed upon was 1) a program evaluation of the Alongside Network’s Wellbeing Groups (AWBG); and 2) informational interviews with healthcare providers with interest and expertise in traumatic medical stress to identify areas in which Alongside Network could support systematic efforts to reduce traumatic stress for patients and families. Alongside Network’s Wellbeing Groups are facilitated virtual meetings designed to provide validation, networking and mental health support to family members and caregivers of children who have been hospitalized due to severe illness or injury. Alongside Network will use this information to help support program growth, access and collaboration with partners to support children and families who have experienced traumatic medical events.
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    Damned if They Go, Demand if They Stay: The Compounding Effect of Selective Misidentification, Marginalization, and Nation-State Politics on the "Intractability" of Romani Statelessness
    (2023) Hulmequist, Rumyana
    Romani statelessness is an intentional product of Western historical political processes, especially in the European context. It is therefore not intractable, as it may seem to be based on the decades of unsuccessful attempts at “integrating” Roma into the European Union’s society. Broadly, this paper illustrates distinct, Romani-specific social and cultural conditions that contextualize the complexities of Romani statelessness via a comparative analysis that demonstrates the negative impacts of selective misidentification, marginalization and nation-state politics both individually and jointly. Selective misidentification conceptually refers to an iterative historical process in which inconsistent labeling or perception of Roma, whether or not it is true, perpetuates and/or exacerbates disparate treatment and harms for Roma while benefiting or aligning with the desired social and political outcomes of others, especially the state. I consider selective misidentification broadly, referring to its various manifestations in both concrete and discrete forms. Concrete forms of selective misidentification such as in legal documentation of citizenship or property ownership, or discrete forms such as the politics of ethnic/racial identity and assimilation, are products of social, political, and cultural norms expressed and preserved through policy-making and implementation.
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    Houston, We Have a Problem: Addressing 'Space Junk' in the New Space Age
    (2023) Carter, Chris
    Space debris poses a new and evolving threat to our on-orbit activities, threatening our global economy, military capabilities, and civil scientific capacity. The space sector has developed rapidly and is now in an era of commercialization, with the number of satellites launched into low-Earth orbit increasing exponentially. The current slate of U.N. space treaties, adopted during the Space Race at the height of the Cold War, are ill-equipped to address this new challenge. Space, since the early days of space law, has been governed as a “global public good”, a framing that I argue has led to critical failings in space governance. This paper uses Elinor Ostrom’s institutional design principles to assess and evaluate the successes and failures of the four primary space treaties, and how they relate to the proliferation of space debris. I also discuss the potential solutions to the threats posed by space debris, including active debris removal and the establishment of sustainable standards in the space sector, and stresses the need for a new perspective of space as a “common-pool resource” as we develop a new body of space law. This paper draws comparisons between global climate governance and global space governance to highlight potential strategies for the future of international space law.
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    Collective Care: Rethinking Societal Values and Envisioning Care as a Public Good
    (2023) Holman, Tess Korbesmeyer
    This paper advocates for a shift in societal values and policies towards prioritizing care as a public good, rather than relying on individual responsibility and acts of altruism to fill gaps in social services. It discusses how care, as a fundamental aspect of human nature, can be recognized and supported as a public good through policy, governance, and community initiatives. It explores the concept of communities that work together cooperatively to provide care as a means of addressing societal issues and promoting well-being. Using case studies from around the world, this paper challenges the U.S. to shift the paradigm toward valuing care as a collective responsibility.
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    Proactive Traffic Safety Improvements
    (2023) Christianson, Mark; Coll, Sebastian; Hoge, Jenna; Miller, Elias
    The City of Minneapolis has adopted a Vision Zero goal, committing to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries on streets in Minneapolis by 2027. City officials have focused on seven specific street modifications that can encourage motorists to drive more slowly and increase their ability to see pedestrians, thus reducing the likelihood of a crash. These treatments are safe lane conversions, pedestrian safety islands, curb extensions, curb protected bike lanes, bikeway medians, raised crossings, and hardened centerlines. Using criteria from the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and Minnesota’s Department of Transportation, the Proactive Traffic Safety Treatments Tool (“the tool”) identifies which treatments are feasible across intersections and streets on Minneapolis’s most crash-prone streets. The tool assigns relevant criteria to each treatment and then imports existing street data to nearly automatically assess the feasibility of each treatment in each location (1,940 target segments total). While some data points - such as the presence of buildings or businesses that generate pedestrian traffic (e.g. schools) - require human judgment to identify, and final design decisions require engineering and planning expertise, the tool automatizes portions of the planning process. In addition to making the decision-making process more efficient, the tool also reduces potential friction between staff, residents, and other agencies. This report details the benefits of and criteria for each of the proposed traffic safety treatments; the tool’s development, characteristics, use, and limitations; and models the tool’s use for a sample of Minneapolis streets.
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    Addressing Barriers to Extended Foster Care
    (2023) Luna, Christina; Olinger, Emily; Weiner, Evelyn
    Fifteen years ago, federal legislation was passed which provided states with the option of allowing eligible individuals to remain in foster care beyond age 18, paving the way for Minnesota to establish its Extended Foster Care program in 2011. Through this program participants receive monthly stipends and case management support. Research indicates lasting positive effects for participants, as time spent in EFC is associated with positive outcomes such as decreased instances of homelessness and involvement in the criminal justice system. Still, little has been known about the utilization of the program in Minnesota. Our team sought to fill this gap in research by investigating the current utilization rate and factors that affect participation. To do so, we utilized a mixed-methods approach which included interviews with systems actors, summary statistics of program data, and a review of program documents. Through this process, our team identified key strengths, weaknesses, and barriers present in Minnesota’s. Ultimately, we propose recommendations related to data and evaluation, service delivery, program design, and investment in resources to remove barriers and increase participation.
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    The Roles Generation And Transmission Cooperatives Play in DER Implementation
    (2023) Henke-Fiedler, Brandon; Wang, Jiaqun; Southwick, Kayla; Vadali, Monika
    Distributed energy resources have large and increasing potential to contribute to a renewable and resilient energy grid in the United States. Great River Energy, a generation and transmission electric cooperative in Minnesota, is interested in helping to expand distributed energy resources within its service territory and that of its member-owner distribution cooperatives. In this report, we analyze and describe the part that U.S. generation and transmission cooperatives have in expanding distributed energy resources, applied to the case of Great River Energy. Through literature review, analysis of case studies, conversations with referred experts and our capstone partner, and data analysis, we synthesize and give a set of recommendations for Great River Energy to consider investigating to meet its goal for increasing its generation of and support for renewable energy.