All posts by Jeffery Green

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science Jeffery is a freelance writer, researcher and consultant for technology startups and other interesting ventures.

College Towns

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

Living in a college town appears to be a nice option because of all the intangible benefits that come from being in proximity to an institution of higher learning, but must one enjoy these fruits while assuming a higher likelihood of being a victim of crime? Do college towns experience higher crime rates?

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Startup Hubs

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

A white paper released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation finds that Kansas City and other areas viewed as “new” startup hubs have actually been fostering a culture of entrepreneurship for some time. Many of these cities have a history of strong technology sectors or have experienced strong growth among technology startups over the past two decades.

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Population and Exercise Activity

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

The benefits of exercise are well-documented as crucial to overall health (Sullum, Clark, and King, 2000). Some of the documented physical benefits of exercise include increased muscle and bone strength, a decrease in body fat, and overall fitness (Blair and Rodney, 1999; Warburton et al., 2001). Physical activity also has been demonstrated to improve the health status of chronically ill individuals (Paffenbarger et al. 1986).

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Income and Poor Physical Health

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

An annual study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides insight into health outcomes at the county level, which often are not captured in statewide health indicators conveying the health status of a state’s population.  From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation data a number of indicators were incorporated to rank each county’s overall health status. These indicators incorporate measures of population health: risk behavior, such as alcohol and drug consumption and environmental factors, such as food options and the state of the physical environment. The table below displays the 50 unhealthiest counties in the United States ranked by the number of days per month its residents indicated were poor health days. As Figure 1 indicates, the vast majority of the unhealthiest counties in the United States are located in the southern part of the country. When examining this data, one can arrive at some broad assumptions regarding widespread health habits in these counties, which lends some insight into their status as the unhealthiest in the nation. Looking at the top 20 unhealthiest counties when ranked on the measure of reported monthly poor health days[1], the following counties fill out the top 20.

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Education and Funding

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

The question of equitable and adequate school funding resonates throughout a number of debates, implicating the government’s obligation to educate the young, questions of fairness and equality in education and broad debates concerning the distribution of public benefits across regions and locales. This debate became more complex in the wake of the 2008 recession, as austerity measures aimed at offsetting state budget shortfalls diminished K-12 public school funding. Austerity measures coincided with the depletion of Federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) after 2010. Consequently, state funding of K-12-education has continued to decline on a steady trajectory since 2010. Confirming this trend, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) finds that 34 states provided less funding per student for the 2013-14 fiscal year when compared to pre-recession numbers.

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Baseball Fan Geography and Mental Health

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

The geographic distribution of baseball loyalties provides significant insight into the social geography of our country. Our loyalties tend to follow distinct geographic patterns that, in some cases, follow the adage of rooting for the home team; in some cases, they tend to mirror patterns of population migration throughout the country. With baseball loyalties following a logical pattern of geo-spatial distribution, what insight can be gained from the characteristics of these populations? As a caveat, it bears mentioning that baseball fandom most likely does not (at least to our knowledge) hold any kind of social, economic, political or any other real-life implications beyond the misery that may fall upon you if your team is utterly useless (sorry Astros and Cubs fans). The Facebook Data Science Team examined the geographic source of Facebook likes on team pages.

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Education Funding Disparity

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

It is often the case that one does not need to travel a great distance to witness disparities in the distribution of public goods across a state. Since humans began clustering in organized societies, there has always been a hub and spoke effect between centers of trade and government and peripheral regions. Wealth and public goods historically center on the hub, while the remainder is often apportioned out to peripheral regions. To be clear, this is not always a product of greed or an act of thumbing the government nose at the hinterlands. Often there are bona fide reasons for distributing public goods in this manner. The hubs are often centers of commerce and government, and, therefore, attract more people. As such, more public services need to be provided, resulting in more funding.

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How Does the Presence of a Major Employer Affect Crime Rates?

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

On October 12, 2002, known locally as “Black Friday,” the Maytag Corporation announced plans to close a 1,600-worker refrigerator factory in Galesburg, Illinois. On “Black Friday,” Maytag announced it was transferring much of its production to Reynosa, Mexico, where Maytag had just opened its first non-U.S. factory. This was much like any other story of offshoring manufacturing which had occurred throughout the 1990s in the post-NAFTA era. However, what struck a chord in Galesburg was that Maytag leaving marked the proverbial final nail in the civic coffin of what had been a town who had focused on two main industries: the railroad with Burlington Northern-Santa Fe operating a massive rail yard on the South end of town, and numerous manufacturers such as Gates Rubber, Gales Manufacturing, Butler Manufacturing and Maytag, which had provided countless well-paying union jobs for people right out of high school. What stung even more was that Maytag – whose facility sat on the edge of town and acted as a metaphorical cornerstone between the corn and bean fields which lay to the south and west of town – had previously extracted a massive price from the town to stay. Making the sting much worse was that this came on the heels of Maytag constructing a brand new facility in the early 1990s with the benefit of huge tax incentives, which had smoothed over threats of the manufacturer leaving. It is estimated that the town had invested nearly $10 million into keeping the employer in the city in the previous decade.

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Firearms and Crime Rate

Jeffery Green, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD) Political Science

Firearm ownership and its impact on the safety of populations provides a diverse array of conclusions as to the causality of firearms and their impact on crime rates in particular. It is often stated that an armed population is a safe population due to the presumptive deterrent effect of firearm ownership on those who may be pondering committing a crime. Most right-thinking people would be a bit reticent to force their way into a house in the middle of the night to steal a television or harm the occupants if they knew that a loaded firearm was waiting to greet them. There is a certain mythology, which may be grounded in some fact or a great deal of fiction, that guns make us safer. We cling to this old west homesteader notion of the gun as a tool. In those days, a firearm provided the means to hunt and offered protection in what was an unruly society wherein human life was certainly cheap. Today we live in a more rule-governed and somewhat more orderly state. To state that a firearm is a necessary tool for a household is a point of debate. Certainly, a number of Americans still feel that a firearm in the home is important for protection. A recent national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that that nearly half of gun owners (48 percent) report that the main reason they own a gun is for protection. This is compared to 32 percent who state they own a gun primarily for hunting.

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