White Papers

Examined and written by undergraduate Rose Institute research assistants.

Time Served in State Prisons for Serious Offenses 1981-2009
by Lane Corrigan’17 and Wesley Whitaker’18 (2018 October)

This is the second comprehensive report on crime and criminal justice in the United States, which tracks the length of prison sentences actually served for a number of serious crimes.

Single-Payer, Many Obstacles: Californian Health Care Reform
by William Frankel’21 (2018 May 22)

A Broken Justice System: Examining the Impact of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and Public Law 280
by Sophia Helland’20 (2018 April)

Federalism in the Trump White House (The Federalism Series)
by Ellen Lempres’18 (2018 March)

Competitive Districts
by Kathryn Ridenour’18 and Nicholas Fedorochko’19 (2018 January)

This paper investigates campaign spending behaviors in California’s 2014 elections. Among the findings, it was discovered that over $132 million was spent on the 2014 races, and the candidates with the highest spending won their race 87% of the time.  Fedorochko says, “This paper dives into campaign finance and independent expenditure data for state legislative races, drawing important conclusions about how much it costs to run for office in California.”

Federalism: Barriers to the Border Wall and Sanctuary Jurisdictions (The Federalism Series)
by Caroline Peck’18 and Ellen Lempres’18 (2017 April)

Quiet Revolution in California Local Government Gains Momentum
by Tyler Finn’17, Tim Plummer’17, Ellen Lempres’18, Shivani Pandya’18, Skip Wiltshire-Gordon, under the supervision of Justin Levitt’06 and Douglas Johnson’92 (2016 November)

Federalism in the 2016 Election (The Federalism Series)
by Caroline Peck’18 and Ellen Lempres’18 (2016 September)

Three Strikes Analysis: Comparison of Offense Types in Urban Counties
by Jessica Jin’16, Katie Hill’18 (2016 May 5)

Three Strikes Analysis: Urban vs. Rural Counties
by Jessica Jin’16 (2016 May 3)

Three Strikes Analysis: Second and Third Striker (Offense Category)
by Andrew Nam’15, Jessica Jin’16 (2016 April 29)

Three Strikes Analysis: Demographic Characteristics of Strike Offenders
by Jessica Jin’16, Francesca Hidalgo’17 (2016 April 26)

The Crime Funnel
by Elise Hansell ’15, Charlotte Bailey ’16, Nina Kamath ’16, Lane Corrigan ’17 (2016 April)

Fiscal Analysis: How Do Affluence and Size Affect City Spending
by Timothy Plummer’17 (2015 December)

Fiscal Analysis: Analyzing Police Operating Expenditures and Crime Rates
by Ben Fusek’17

Written-in Fiction: the Myth of the Write-in Vote in California and Beyond
by Ian O’Grady’15* (2015 May) –  NOTE: This paper is currently being updated for the 2016 cycle.

 Abstract: According to the California Election Code, “Except for a voter-nominated office at a general election, each voter is entitled to write on the ballot the name of any candidate for any public office.”1 Though the statute may entitle voters to write in any candidate’s name, their votes will be counted only if their write-in candidate of choice has completed a series of requirements. Voters, therefore, may not write in the name of any candidate, as is implied by the Elections Code, but only the names of duly qualified write-in candidates.

This report examines write-in voting in California. It describes the write-in process for candidates, voters, and election officials. The report then compares California to other states, giving California write-in regulations national context. In addition, the report summarizes legal and constitutional standards surrounding write-in voting, assessing whether voters have a right to write-in their candidates of choice. In the end, the report finds that write-in voting is, in fact, a misnomer. It is more accurately referred to as a secondary filing process for less organized and less serious candidates.

*Ian O’Grady ’15 directed the research for this Rose Institute publication, with help from Lane Corrigan ’17, Francesca Hidalgo-Wohlleben ’17, and Caroline Peck ’18.

Saving The Golden State: California’s Pension Problems and the Solutions We Need
by Gavin Landgraf’14 (2015 April)

The paper compiles data on various aspects of California’s pension system, including real estate investments and fund liabilities. The paper also examines different structural methods for operating pension funds, suggesting that those with an independent investment council may be more successful than those that place the control of the pensions system in the hands of the board of governors. It also identifies accounting tricks and manipulations that can misrepresent the health of a pension fund — and the problems that arise from doing so. Loose regulations from the Government Accounting Standards Board and the lack of enforcement capabilities from credit rating agencies make these misrepresentations possible. The paper then analyzes California specifically, using it as a case study for how pension systems can go wrong. Finally, it suggests concrete solutions for California to make the pension system more stable in both the short- and long-term.

Gavin Landgraf’s senior thesis on California’s pension problems identifies the sources of problems within California’s pension system and suggests possible solutions. Gavin graduated in May with a BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE), and is currently an Executive Fellow in the California Capital Fellows program. In November, he received the George J. Mitchell scholarship to study natural resource economics at the University of Ireland in Galway. Gavin worked under the guidance of Professor Ken Miller, Associate Director of the Rose Institute.

Numerical Politics:  State Revenue Estimating Processes and Lessons for California
by Gavin Landgraf’14 and Tim Plummer’17 (2015 February)

Developing California’s annual budget is the most important set of decisions state government makes. The budget allocates limited resources to a vast number of programs and thereby establishes, in concrete terms, the state’s priorities. Reaching agreement on the budget is an arduous process. After the governor submits his or her recommendations to the state legislature in early January, lawmakers have less than six months to answer two questions: how much money does the state have to spend? And, how will revenues be distributed among the state’s many programs?

 Business and Prosperity: Optimal Business Taxation in State and Local Government
by Marina Giloi ’14  (2014 May)

This paper uses collected sample data from 96 cities across 33 states in the U.S. to examine statistical relationships and predictions between business tax rates, city financial statement line item rations, and bond ratings. It finds a model that predicts city bond ratings based on selected tax rates and financial ratios. This paper then tests the model on California cities and finds that it can accurately predict many California city bond ratings. These bond ratings are then compared to other states’ business tax rates to indicate that lower business tax rates may predict better city bond ratings and, by extension, greater city prosperity.

Can Cities Manage Growth Through Taxation?
by Katya Abazajian’14 (2014 May)

Local government policy often relies on taxation to address the central concern of ensuring municipal growth. This paper uses the Kosmont Cost of Doing Business rating compiled by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government called to discuss the effects of tax policy on growth. The goal of this paper is to use the spatial equilibrium model to estimate the correlation between the cost of doing business and certain basic observable outcomes. These outcomes are reflected in wage, population, and price levels. The underlying spatial equilibrium model leads to “deep effects” equations, which are used to connect these observable correlations to more tangible measures of growth. Through the deep effects equations, we analyze the effect of the cost of doing business on the productivity, amenities, and economic success of California’s cities. We find that a higher cost of doing business does not lead to lower productivity and amenities, but rather improves amenities and maintains steady levels of productivity under a long-term equilibrium.

The Original Intent of California’s Blaine Provisions
by Brian R. Callanan’03 (2003 May)

The Political Consequences of Redistricting: Three Scenarios in 2001
by Steve Haskins’98, Christopher Skinnell’99, Christiana Dominguez’01 (2000 March)

The Opponents of Proposition 5
by Christopher E. Skinnell’99 (1999 September)