On December 6, 2016, two Rutgers-Camden scholars (Shauna Shames, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Spencer Clayton, Ph.D. Candidate in Public Affairs) will release new research entitled Is South Jersey Getting Its ‘Fair Share’ of Public Goods?  This report investigates multiple differences between counties in three New Jersey regions: North, Central, and South.  In particular, it seeks to answer the longstanding question of whether state resources are divided in a just way across these regions.

 To study these three regions, and the counties within them, in a systematic way, the scholars have compiled a unique and extensive dataset (to be made public along with the analytical report) using data on demographics, infrastructure, crime, education, public health, political participation, and other county-level variables, and adding in economic data from county budgets.  The authors performed various statistical analyses on pooled county-level data over a period of 15 years, and report results by region, especially comparing Southern counties on average to counties in the Central and Northern regions.

The report finds some striking differences in the provision of public goods across regions, with South Jersey counties on average receiving less state assistance, a smaller share of transportation infrastructure, fewer educational opportunities, and lower rates of public health and safety rates, even when controlling for population, tax rates, demographics, voter turnout, and other key possible causal variables.  Even with other possible causes taken into account, in other words, whether or not a county is in the Southern region is a significant predictor of receiving fewer public goods.

December’s research forum is part of WRI’s ongoing Faculty Fellows program.  More information on the original research WRI has enabled is available on our website.