Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

8. Elizabeth Bell. (Forthcoming). The Politics of Designing Tuition-Free College: How Does Policy Design Influence Policy Support? The Journal of Higher Education.

  • In this article, I leverage a nationally representative survey experiment and policy design theory to explore the power of social constructions of target populations in shaping a cornerstone of politically feasible tuition-free college—public opinion. In line with theoretical expectations, the analysis reveals that including a minimum high school GPA requirement increased support for tuition-free college, while targeting benefits to low-income families reduced perceptions of fairness, relative to a universal policy design. The findings also reveal that the effect of policy design on public perceptions of tuition-free college is moderated by region and age.

7. Deven Carlson, Elizabeth Bell, and Byron Carlson. Forthcoming. Interjurisdictional Competition and Policy Preferences of the Public: Modeling Public Preferences on the Oklahoma Penny Sales Tax Referendum. The Journal of Politics.

  • Prior research provides evidence that jurisdictions compete with one another in several of these domains. This evidence, however, comes almost exclusively from the decisions of political elites and provides little insight into potential public responsiveness to interjurisdictional competition. In this paper, we leverage a statewide referendum on education funding levels in Oklahoma to examine whether the degree of competition from across state borders systematically affected public support for increased educational funding. Results indicate that voting precincts facing stiff educational competition from school districts in other states supported the referendum at higher rates than precincts facing little competitive pressure.

 

6. Bell, Elizabeth. Forthcoming. Deserving to Whom? The Heterogeneous Effects of Social Constructions on Public Support for Affirmative Action. Policy Studies Journal.

  • Using a nation-wide survey experiment, I investigate variation in public support for affirmative action policies with randomly assigned target populations. The findings indicate that the public formulates policy preferences on the basis of perceived deservingness of target groups similar to political elites. In addition, the findings uncover significant variation across the ideological spectrum and across different racial/ethnic group identities in the conceptualization of deservingness.

5. Carlson, Deven, Elizabeth Bell, Matthew Lenard, Joshua Cowen, and Andrew McEachin. Forthcoming. The Effects of Socioeconomic Integration on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Wake County Public School System. American Educational Research Journal.

  • In this paper, we leverage the school assignment system that the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) employed throughout the 2000s to provide evidence on this issue. Although our results show that WCPSS’ socioeconomic-based assignment policy had negligible effects on average levels of segregation across the district, it substantially reduced racial segregation for students who would have attended majority-minority schools under a residence-based assignment policy. The policy also exposed these students to peers with different racial/ethnic backgrounds, higher mean achievement levels, and more advantaged neighborhood contexts. We explore how residential context and details of the policy interacted to produce this pattern of effects and close the paper by discussing the implications of our results for research and policy.

4. Bark, Tracey, and Elizabeth Bell. (2019). Issue Prioritization by University Presidents: The Influence of Organizational Structure. Administration and Society, 51 (6): 915-950.

  • This article brings theories of issue attention and prioritization to bureaucracy, focusing on how institutional factors affect bureaucracies’ prioritization of issues. Using quantitative survey data, we assess the impact of institutional factors on the prioritization of competing issues such as equity, accountability, and affordability in higher education. We find that these institutional factors significantly affect the prioritization choices of universities, beyond the influence of individual leadership traits.

3. Bell, Elizabeth, Wesley Wehde, and Madeleine Stucky. Forthcoming. Supplement or Supplant? Estimating the Effects of Lottery Earmarks on State Higher Education Funding. Education Finance and Policy.

  • In this manuscript, we estimate the impact of designating lottery earmark funding to higher education on state appropriations and state financial aid levels in a difference-in-differences design for the years 1990-2009. Main findings indicate that lottery earmark policies are associated with a 5% increase in higher education appropriations, and a 135% increase in merit-based financial aid. However, lottery earmarks are also associated with a decrease in need-based financial aid of approximately 12%. These findings have serious distributional implications that should be considered when state lawmakers adopt lottery earmark policies for higher education.

2. Jennifer Delaney, Elizabeth Bell, and Maria Soler. (2019). Public Perceptions of Income Share Agreements: Evidence from a Public Opinion Survey. Journal of Education Finance.

  • This study utilizes nationally representative public opinion data to explore public opinions on ISAs—income contingent financing mechanisms that provide individuals with access to capital to pay for college after individuals commit to pay a specified percentage of their future income. This survey, complete with detailed demographic information including previous experience with financing education, political views, and beliefs about higher education policies, provides a glimpse into the previously unexplored opinions of ISAs across the U.S.

 

1. Lamothe, Scott, Meeyoung Lamothe, and Elizabeth Bell. (2018). Understanding Local Service Delivery Arrangements: Are the ICMA ASD Data Reliable? Public Administration Review, 78 (4): 613-625.

  • We utilize the two latest ICMA Profile of Local Government Service Delivery Choices surveys to investigate whether the service provision and delivery arrangement information reported in the surveys accurately represents reality and, if not, what factors contribute to generating incorrect or unreliable survey responses. Interviews with practitioners are used to better understand both the accuracy of the survey responses and improvements that could be made to the survey instrument. Results suggest that the ICMA ASD survey data are highly erratic, with more than 70 percent of the cases (N = 70) investigated containing some inaccuracies. A qualitative analysis shows that the majority of the errors appear to be caused by the lack of a clear definition of service provision or by the service titles being too vague or too broad, both of which likely lead to discretion in interpreting survey questions and thus inconsistent answers by individual respondents over time.

 

Book Chapters & Other Publications

  1. Elizabeth Bell, Alisa Hicklin Fryar, and Nicholas Hillman. (2018). “When Intuition Misfires: A Meta-analysis of Performance-Based Funding” in Research Handbook on Quality, Performance and Accountability in Higher Education, edited by Ellen Hazelkorn, Alexander McCormick, and Hamish Coates. Edward Elgar Publishing.

  • Invited for public facing article by Scholar Strategy Network & Forum of the American Journal of Education. Cited in media article in National Review.

  1. Meeyoung Lamothe and Elizabeth Bell. (2017). “Nonprofit Lobbying” in Global of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, edited by Ali Farazmand. Springer International Publishing.

  2. Elizabeth Bell. (2016). “Alternative Affirmative Action: Evaluating Diversity at Flagship Universities under Race Blind Admissions.”

 
 

Working Papers

Manuscripts Under Review

  1. “The Role of Mission and Expertise in Shaping Public Support for Nonprofit Advocacy”—with Alisa Hicklin Fryar, and Tyler Johnson. (Revise and Resubmit at Nonprofit Policy Forum).

  2. “Matching Potential with Promise: The Effects of Oklahoma’s Early Commitment Financial Aid on Academic Undermatch”—with Kylie Smith. Submitted for review.

  3. “Perspectives from the Front-line: Street-level Bureaucrats, Administrative Burden and Access to the Promise of Higher Education”—with Kylie Smith. Submitted for review.

  4. “The Effects of a Narrow Promise: Estimating the Impact of Tulsa Achieves on Student Persistence and Degree Completion.” Submitted for review.

  5. “Promise or Penalty? Free Community College and Postsecondary Degree Attainment for Racially Minoritized Students.”—with Denisa Gandara. Submitted for review.

  6. “Just or Unjust? Street-level Bureaucrats Policy Preferences and Justifications of Beliefs on Administrative Burden.”—with Kylie Smith, Ani Ter-Mkrtchyan, and Wesley Wehde. Submitted for review.

  7. “Socioeconomic Status, Race, and Public Support for School Integration Policy. Submitted for review”—with Deven Carlson. Submitted for review.

Working Papers

  1. “Who Deserves Administrative Burden? How Social Constructions of Target Populations Shape Public Support for Adding Burden to Free College.”

  2. “Racial Discrimination as a Means of Cream-Skimming? A Conjoint Experiment Among US Charter School Principals.”—with Sebastian Jilke.

  3. “Discriminatory Administrative Burden: An Audit Experiment Among US Charter School Principals.”—with Sebastian Jilke.

  4. “Organizational Problem Solving and the Use of Research in the U.S. Department of Education.”—with Sam Workman, Deven Carlson, and Tracey Bark,

  5. “Integrating Identity in Policy Design Theory: How Identity Salience and Complexity Shapes Who is Perceived as Deserving of Affirmative Action.”—with Edith Lui.

  6. “Who Gets the Last Ventilator? A Conjoint Experiment on Disability and Deservingness during COVID-19”—with Monica Schneider, Rebecca Kreitzer, Dara Strolovich, and Justin Holmes.

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