Critical Value is a podcast from the Urban Institute that explores issues of significance for research, policy, and people. We talk with experts and highlight the best available data and evidence to elevate the debate on topics that matter.
info_outline How Can We Alleviate Economic Insecurity During The Pandemic? 03/20/2020
How Can We Alleviate Economic Insecurity During The Pandemic? The coronavirus is already having widespread, dramatic effects on our economy – particularly those who are the most financially vulnerable. In the second in a series of podcasts on the pandemic, host Justin Milner speaks with Urban’s Donald Marron and the Tax Policy Howard Gleckman about the economic impact of the pandemic and the most powerful economic solutions we can use to respond.
info_outline How can we address housing insecurity during the pandemic? 03/19/2020
How can we address housing insecurity during the pandemic? The coronavirus poses a particular threat to people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. In the first of a series of podcasts on how the pandemic will affect vulnerable populations, host Justin Milner speaks with Mary Cunningham, vice president of the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and researcher Samantha Batko about how the pandemic impacts those experiencing homelessness, those on the edge of becoming homeless and what policymakers can do to help.
info_outline Can the Research Process Be Hacked? 03/05/2020
Can the Research Process Be Hacked? Research can take months—even years—to complete before publishing a final product. Is it possible to accelerate the research process? Recently, Urban researchers looked to hack the process by completing a research project in just one day. Host Justin Milner speaks with Christina Stacy and Brett Theodos to discuss their findings and the advantages and disadvantages that come with speeding up the research process.
info_outline Sin Taxes Are Sweeping the States! 02/12/2020
Sin Taxes Are Sweeping the States! Alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, and much more—states are implementing “sin taxes” on a range of activities and behaviors these days. Host Justin Milner talks with Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center researchers Richard Auxier and Lucy Dadayan about how states are experimenting with sin taxes and key things policymakers should keep in mind when implementing them.
info_outline How America Spends through the Tax Code 01/29/2020
How America Spends through the Tax Code At $1.4 trillion per year, tax expenditures are an enormously important way our government spends money. But these provisions in the tax code, often receive less scrutiny than direct spending for programs like Medicare or Social Security. Speaking to host Justin Milner, Institute fellow Frank Sammartino and codirector of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center Eric Toder explain how tax expenditures work, who they benefit, and why taxpayers should pay more attention.
info_outline Top of Mind: Exciting New Research Ideas for 2020 01/16/2020
Top of Mind: Exciting New Research Ideas for 2020 We're starting off the year with a new segment called "Top of Mind" exploring compelling research topics that will be a big deal in 2020. Host Justin Milner speaks with Urban's Vice president, Marge Turner, researchers Carlos Martín and Solomon Greene, and chief data scientist Graham MacDonald to get a sense of what top of mind for their work in the coming year.
info_outline Elevate the Debate: How to Drive Fact-Based Policy Conversations 12/06/2019
Elevate the Debate: How to Drive Fact-Based Policy Conversations In a crowded and chaotic media environment, it can be hard for facts and data to break through and inform the important policy conversations that affect people’s everyday lives. Host Justin Milner talks with Urban’s chief communications officer Bridget Lowell, senior researcher and dataviz expert Jon Schwabish, and strategic communications director Kate Villarreal about how researchers and nonprofit leaders can become expert communicators and shapers of today’s policy debates.
info_outline #42 Youth Apprenticeship: Connecting High School Students to Work-Based Learning 11/14/2019
#42 Youth Apprenticeship: Connecting High School Students to Work-Based Learning Youth apprenticeships can expand career options, strengthen the nation’s workforce and promote economic mobility. Host Justin Milner discusses youth apprenticeship programs with Urban researchers Robert Lerman and Diana Elliott; Darla Burton, Wisconsin’s State Youth Apprenticeship Program Coordinator; and Kevin Yonker, winner of West Central Georgia’s Youth Apprenticeship Program.
info_outline How Foundations are Looking to Increase Impact 11/04/2019
How Foundations are Looking to Increase Impact Institutional philanthropy is in a remarkable era of expansion and experimentation. Foundations are looking to increase their impact in innovative ways and also contending with the implications of their increasing influence. Host Justin Milner speaks with Arnold Ventures President Kelli Rhee, Hudson Webber Foundation President Melanca Clark, Center for Effective Philanthropy President Phil Buchanon and Urban researcher Ben Soskis to survey the emerging landscape.
info_outline How Workforce Systems Improve Access to Skills and Jobs 10/18/2019
How Workforce Systems Improve Access to Skills and Jobs Even in a strong economy, not everyone has access to jobs that pay well. And sometimes there are disconnects between the skills employers need and the training people receive. One way cities are tackling this challenge is through their local workforce system. Host Justin Milner talks with Urban researcher Amanda Briggs, Atlanta CareerRise founder Cinda Herndon-King, and JPMorgan Chase’s head of Workforce Initiatives, Global Philanthropy, Jennie Sparandara about driving change through workforce systems.
info_outline Measuring the Latinx ‘Tsunami’ and its Impact on the US 10/03/2019
Measuring the Latinx ‘Tsunami’ and its Impact on the US The United States is home to over 50 million of Hispanic/Latinx origin. Host Justin Milner talks with Urban’s Chief Methodologist Rob Santos and Matt Barreto, a political scientist from UCLA and co-founder of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions, about Latinx identity and how to accurately collect data to reflect their presence, particularly in the 2020 Census.
info_outline Ripple Effects of our Shifting Immigration Policies 09/18/2019
Ripple Effects of our Shifting Immigration Policies A new policy could have huge effects on who gets the chance to walk down the path to US citizenship – and who doesn’t. Host Justin Milner discusses how just the possibility of the ‘public charge rule’ is changing the daily lives of immigrant communities with Mary’s Center President and CEO Maria Gomez and Urban researchers Hamutal Bernstein and Dulce Gonzalez.
info_outline Artificial Intelligence + Government 09/04/2019
Artificial Intelligence + Government Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more prevalent in our daily lives – from facial recognition and public security to resume reviews and hiring. To kick off Season 2 of Critical Value, host Justin Milner has a live conversation Dr. Vivienne Ming, a neuroscientist and co-founder of Socos Labs, about the opportunities and challenges that AI may present in the coming years.
info_outline Your Summertime Reading List! 08/05/2019
Your Summertime Reading List! Hey y’all, as the Fresh Prince once said, it is now: summer, summer, summertime! And what better way to take advantage than a dive into our summer reading list made just for you? On this episode, you’ll hear from various Urban staff about the books that can keep you company during these sunny summer days. Listen to hear what nonfiction and fiction novels are the most compelling reads of the season (according to us).
info_outline Raising the Income Floor for American Workers 07/22/2019
Raising the Income Floor for American Workers Despite a growing economy, financial instability and economic anxiety have many Americans in a financial rut. Host Justin Milner talks with Chris Hughes of the Economic Security Project and researchers Elaine Maag and Len Burman from the Tax Policy Center about expanding and redesigning the Earned Income Tax Credit to provide a basic level of economic security for all working individuals.
info_outline The Gathering Storm of Student Loans 06/26/2019
The Gathering Storm of Student Loans It’s no secret that our nation’s total student loan debt has grown exponentially in recent years. Why is overall debt increasing? When is taking on student loan debt a good idea? And what are some emerging proposals to fix our growing debt balance? Host Justin Milner talks with Urban Institute researcher Matt Chingos about the balance of access to higher education and risk that comes with student loan borrowing.
info_outline Research in the Next 50 Years 06/11/2019
Research in the Next 50 Years The Urban Institute recently marked its 50th birthday. To celebrate, we hosted an event thinking about the role of research to support changemakers for the next five decades. Host Justin Milner talks with Urban Institute president Sarah Rosen Wartell and preeminent leaders from different sectors about key challenges facing our society and the way forward.
info_outline Bold Solutions to Improve Financial Well-Being 05/20/2019
Bold Solutions to Improve Financial Well-Being What policies could better lead to financial security for all Americans? Host Justin Milner discusses airhorn-worthy solutions like universal basic income, guaranteed jobs, and revamping social insurance with researchers Caroline Ratcliffe and Caleb Quakenbush.
info_outline Lifelong Learning in a Changing Labor Market 05/06/2019
Lifelong Learning in a Changing Labor Market The class of 2019 is facing an ever-changing job market. How can we best prepare people with the skills they’ll need to join the workforce of tomorrow? And how do we figure out which skills employers actually want? Urban Institute researcher Shayne Spaulding and host Justin Milner discuss a reimagined postsecondary education and training system that would provide people with what they need throughout their entire working lives.
info_outline What is Philanthropy’s Role in Cities? 04/22/2019
What is Philanthropy’s Role in Cities? What role can philanthropy play in making cities more equitable, so that people have a real say in how dollars flow into their communities? Host Justin Milner discusses philanthropy’s increasingly central role with Rip Rapson, president of the Kresge Foundation.
info_outline How Denver Is Breaking the Homelessness-Jail Cycle, Part 2 04/03/2019
How Denver Is Breaking the Homelessness-Jail Cycle, Part 2 Denver, Colorado adopted an uncommon approach, called pay for success, to address chronic homelessness. In the second of two episodes, host Justin Milner discusses how this collaborative project is playing out on the ground – and explores the evidence to see if it’s working.
info_outline How Denver Is Breaking the Homelessness-Jail Cycle, Part I 03/20/2019
How Denver Is Breaking the Homelessness-Jail Cycle, Part I Denver, Colorado is tackling chronic homelessness in an innovative way. The city is bringing together service providers, city officials, and others to focus on a single goal: getting people who are chronically homeless into housing and off the streets for good. In the first of two episodes, host Justin Milner takes a close look at this unique approach.
info_outline The Green New Deal 03/11/2019
The Green New Deal If you have been listening to the news lately, three words may have jumped out at you: Green New Deal. So what’s it all about? In this episode, host Justin Milner talks with Urban Institute experts Carlos Martín and Christin Durham about what we know and don’t know about this proposal and how the evidence can play into the discussion.
info_outline The Wealth Gap (Redux) 02/21/2019
The Wealth Gap (Redux) The US economy seems to be in good health, but wealth inequality is something we continue to talk a lot about these days. In a return to an episode from last year, host Justin Milner talks to Urban Institute expert Signe-Mary McKernan about the growing gap between rich and poor and the difference between wealth and income.
info_outline The First Step Act 02/07/2019
The First Step Act In late 2018, Congress passed the first major criminal justice reform legislation in nearly a decade. So what is the First Step Act, and how will it impact the federal prison population? Host Justin Milner talks with researchers Nancy La Vigne and Julie Samuels from Urban’s Justice Policy Center and Matthew Charles, who has spent years studying sentencing law and is one of the first people to be released from prison thanks to the First Step Act.
info_outline How Secure Is Employment at Older Ages? 01/24/2019
How Secure Is Employment at Older Ages? People are now working longer and later in life – but new research shows that older workers are increasingly pushed out of longtime jobs. Host Justin Milner sits down with retirement expert Richard Johnson and ProPublica contributing reporter Peter Gosselin to talk about the landscape of the labor market and barriers facing older workers.
info_outline Rethinking Long Prison Terms (Redux) 01/04/2019
Rethinking Long Prison Terms (Redux) Over the past few decades, people have been spending more time in prison, and the lengthiest prison terms have been getting even longer. In a return to our first-ever episode, host Justin Milner sits down with researcher Ryan King to discuss the policies behind the problem. This episode features the voices of people who have served long prison terms, through audio excerpts from Urban’s interactive feature “A Matter of Time.”
info_outline Creating A Culture of Giving 12/19/2018
Creating A Culture of Giving Year-end giving is a big deal to nonprofits around the country -- but the landscape of charitable giving is changing, as technology and social media in particular are making giving easier than ever. Host Justin Milner sits down with Shena Ashley and Brice McKeever of Urban's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy to talk about creating a culture of giving that educates and engages everyone around the issues they're most passionate about.
info_outline How Neighborhood Gun Violence Impacts Communities 12/05/2018
How Neighborhood Gun Violence Impacts Communities Neighborhoods with high rates of gun violence also tend to be dealing with high rates of poverty and limited opportunity – and these systemic challenges can have long-term impacts. Host Justin Milner talks with researchers Jocelyn Fontaine and Elsa Falkenburger about the challenges facing communities that struggle with gun violence, and a starting point for creating policies that are community-driven and trauma-informed.