Inequality in the Spatial Allocation of Social Provision: The Distribution of Government Contracts to Nonprofit Organizations in New York City
Date: March 4, 2013
Time: 12:15 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: 165 Wallace Hall
Please feel free to bring a lunch.
Publicly-supported social services are an increasingly important component of welfare spending, accounting for approximately one-fifth of today’s welfare spending. There is little research that examines how these public resources are allocated. Direct services are often delivered by third-party providers, usually private, nonprofit organizations. Public funds to support these services are allocated through purchase of service contracts between providers and multiple state and municipal agencies. This study uses a unique dataset on social service contracts to nonprofit organizations in New York City between 1997 and 2001 to study the relationship between the allocation of services funding across neighborhoods and neighborhood need. This study finds that organizations serving their immediate neighborhoods do a better job targeting public funds to neighborhoods of socioeconomic disadvantage than do organizations providing services in neighborhoods other than their own. The study also finds a spatial mismatch between services funded and the location of vulnerable populations, particularly families with children.
Nicole P. Marwell is Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and Academic Director of the Baruch Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 2000. Her research sits at the intersection of three sociological subfields – urban, organizational, and political sociology – with a substantive focus on nonprofit organizations, local and state politics, and Latino communities. She has published articles in the American Sociological Review, City and Community, the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, and the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. Her 2007 book, Bargaining for Brooklyn: Community Organizations in the Entrepreneurial City was published by the University of Chicago Press. Current work includes several studies on government contracting to nonprofit organizations in New York City, and a book project about the Latino middle class.