that the relationship is straightforward, with good research designed to be relevant to policy-making securely and rationally based on relevant research findings. framework for thinking about the interaction between research and policy. Read chapter 9 The Relationship Between Research and Policy Development: Today, the nation faces an array of housing and urban policy challenges. To integrate research findings into the policy making process and to .. long relationship between the HPRG researchers and policy makers.
Significantly, communication is regarded as much more than a mere conference presentation and peer-reviewed publication. ICTs emerge as being instrumental for participant-driven production and communication of research as it unfolds; encompassing social media and other Web 2. Again, there are structural disincentives that inhibit academic engagement with these tools for the dissemination of research findings. If researchers do not engage with wider impact processes, then intermediaries are seen as an alternative; either as individual communication specialists or institutions that take on this role.
Intermediaries can also help stimulate the demand for research findings among professionals who may be unaware of their availability or potential but who would be in a position to direct research capacity towards real-world problems in search of resolution.
This would involve engaging with the political context within which research might be conducted, repeatedly identified as a determining factor for whether research-based evidence is likely to be adopted by policy makers and practitioners. Such engagement denotes the need for closer relationships between researchers and research users, requiring co-creation of content and greater involvement in the promotion of results. Achieving this is only possible through active participation in networks, through which research findings and concepts circulate and are gradually filtered.
Think tanks, advocacy coalitions, policy streams, policy communities and national and regional networks are frequently cited as being important in this regard. Finally, as a fundamental and decisive determinant of the factors that influence the impact of research on policy and practice, incentives stand out. Researchers need to be rewarded for making the knowledge they generate accessible and useable by wider audiences and officials need to be more involved within knowledge transfer processes and further sensitised to the strength of evaluation and evidence that research can produce.
Research is often undertaken to address these issues, to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs, answer specific questions about them, and suggest modifications. It is an iterative process.
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This is particularly true of the research program, and most particularly true in recent years as the size of the research budget has been constant or shrinking. Research is undertaken to answer questions or resolve problems; when the budget is limited, fewer questions or problems can be addressed.
This reduction in research can have negative consequences for HUD policy makers and the public; use- ful information is not available when it is relevant. The cost is real, albeit indirect and easily overlooked. The research activities in any given year will not cover all of the major program areas of HUD.
But over time research has covered nearly all of them. Policy development in any given year draws on the research activities of the last several years, and even longer. Section 8 new construction; tenant-based assistance, with a focus on cost; housing vouchers, with a focus on program outcomes; the Community Development Block Grant CDBG formula; housing mar- ket discrimination; and regulation of the government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
There is some overlap between the first two examples, since both programs were authorized under Section 8 inand some of the major research projects over the next several years covered both.Importance of research for policy making
Also, the second and third both concern the programs that provide assistance to households, tracing the development of policy along different dimensions and over somewhat different periods of time.
Housing assistance has routinely constituted well over one-half of the HUD budget. It differed from previous project-based subsidy programs in that the subsidy was explicitly based on the income of the assisted household. The commitment to an income-conditioned subsidy was derived in part from Housing in the Seventies U.
Department of Housing and Urban Development,the major study of previous subsidy programs. The study did not recommend enacting a program like Section 8 new construction, but its recommendation for income-conditioned subsidies became part of the program.
By the late s it was becoming clear to policy makers that the Section 8 New Construction Program was exceptionally expensive. The evaluation by Abt Associates Wallace et al.
With respect to outcomes, the evaluation found that the new construction program primarily served white elderly households and that few minority households participated; in contrast the certificate program was generally representative of the eligible population. The recommendations of the commission report were adopted by the administration, and inCongress repealed the Section 8 New Construction Program. The repeal applied to further projects.
The inventory of Section 8 projects remained as assisted housing. By the early s, the question of whether and how to preserve these projects for their low-income residents became an important public policy concern. Like its predecessor program under Sectionthe subsidy contracts for Section 8 new construction had a year term, after which the owners could opt out of the program. This study, with results published in andprovided the most extensive data yet available on the Section 8 inventory.
In Congress enacted the Mark to Market Program to preserve as much of Section 8 inventory as financially reasonable and provide housing assistance for the residents of those projects whose owners chose to convert them to market-rent housing. Rents were marked down to the fair market rents for existing housing in the local market, thus lowering the subsidy. In addition, the project mortgage was restructured so that the subsidies and tenant rents were sufficient to cover the payments on a new first mortgage; the remainder of the original mortgage became a second mortgage on which payments were to be made if funds were available or when the project was sold.
Congressional staff who met with the committee identified this evaluation as an important resource for policy makers in the deliberations that led to the reauthorization of the program in One of the most important policy decisions in this area concerns how much of the total budget to allocate to individual programs. Good information about the comparative performance of different programs is essential for making good allocation decisions.
This section assesses the past contribution of HUD-funded research on comparative performance to better inform decisions concerning the alloca- tion of the budget for rental housing assistance to particular programs, and it suggests some important opportunities for future contributions.