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School of Public Policy

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 1351
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    Navigating the Privacy Landscape of Large Language Models: Challenges, Technologies, and Policy Directions
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2024-05-05) Kelklie, Moges
    Data privacy has become a key concern of large language models(LLMs), both in the large trove of information they can infer and in the inherent inflexibility of models in forgetting the learned data. LLMs do not have an easy way to delete information; sensitive data could be inferred through prompt engineering, thus raising concerns about data privacy. This article attempts to address the challenge of LLM data privacy and how policy can help mitigate some of the privacy concerns.
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    Three Essays on Skills and Individual Decision-Making
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-12-10) Churkina, Olga
    The dissertation examines the concept of skills, and and their impact on charitable giving behavior, labor market outcomes, and marital choices. The first essay conducts a controlled laboratory experiment, investigating the relationship between worker performance and their pro-social behavior in the context of charitable contributions. The second essay estimates the employment premium associated with online certificates in data science through a randomized field experiment. The third essay expands on a multi-period microeconomics model of educational and marital choices in developing countries. The outcomes of this study address questions that are shared concern for the academic community and policy-makers.
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    Public Use of Open Access Research: Evidence from the National Academies and Harvard DASH Repository
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-08-09) Doshi, Ameet
    Once only available to those with university or scientific affiliations, the peer-reviewed literature is increasingly globally accessible to anyone with internet access. Over the past 20 years, this “open access” (OA) movement has transformed publishing business models, and changed the ways scholars use and cite research. However, given this unprecedented level of access to scientific and technical information, do non-researchers, or lay persons, who are not steeped in the foundational knowledge of a field use this information? Specialist knowledge requires effort by the general public to understand (Epstein, 1996; Savolainen, 1995; Shen, 1975). What motivates people to overcome obstacles to find and synthesize scholarly research into their everyday lives? The proposed research seeks to better understand this phenomenon in an emerging era of open access to science. There is an increase in government mandates to make publicly-funded research open (for example: NIH Open Access policy, OSTP Public Access Plan, EU Plan S). These mandates implicitly and explicitly assume that non-researchers desire access to, and can make productive use of, scientific literature. Thus, the question of how the public uses open access scholarship is a policy relevant inquiry worthy of study. As more journals offer (sometimes costly) OA options for publication in response to institutional mandates we can anticipate continued growth of openly accessible peer-reviewed science. Yet evidence is lacking about why non-researchers seek, read and integrate OA into their lives. Generally, there is a need to better understand open access use from the public’s perspective. This is a policy relevant area of inquiry since federal and international mandates are changing the way research is published, ostensibly to expand access to a wider array of society. Yet very little empirical work exists to understand if, and why, non-researchers use open access research. My thesis aims to fill this gap.
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    Who Owns America? A Methodology for Identifying Landlords’ Ownership Scale and the Implications for Targeted Code Enforcement
    ( 2023-05) An, Brian Y. ; Jakabovics, Andrew ; Orlando, Anthony W. ; Rodnyansky, Seva ; Son, Eunjee
    Scholars and practitioners are increasingly interested in understanding who owns real estate in communities and resultant implications for targeted planning approaches. Yet, practitioners lack an efficient and comprehensive methodology to assess landlords’ ownership scale, namely how many properties they own in a given geographic area. The existence of variegated ownership, multiple legal entities, siloed databases within government bureaucracies, and inconsistencies in spelling and documentation across data entries make it time-consuming and costly to determine the extent of real estate ownership by the same landlords. To address these challenges, this study provides a data-driven natural language processing solution. Using OpenRefine, an open-source software, we present a step-by-step, practice-oriented methodology for amassing data, cleaning textual inconsistencies, and clustering properties to uncover the truer ownership scale in local housing markets. Applied to a large U.S. urban county—Fulton, home to Atlanta, Georgia—our proposed methodology demonstrates its superior efficiency, comprehensiveness, and accuracy, compared to traditional approaches. Using code enforcement as a study frame, we then empirically examine a linkage between landlords’ ownership scale and their code violation patterns. With the proposed methodology in place, the analysis consistently shows that the ownership scale is related to both the likelihood and number of code violations. In contrast, the analysis misses such a critical linkage without applying the methodology. Our methodology yields practical implications regarding targeted code enforcement.
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    Essays in Education Policy Analytics: Prediction of At-Risk Students, International Mobility, Cognitive Trade-Offs
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-03-21) Zullo, Matteo
    The dissertation includes three essays contributing to our understanding of human capital development and student talent allocation. The first essay provides insights into the impact of algorithmic student advising programs, while the second essay highlights the role of higher education agencies in promoting international student mobility. The third essay evaluates the cognitive development trade-offs entailed by technical coursework. The first essay discusses the Graduation and Progression (GPS) program, which is an algorithmic student advising platform implemented by Georgia State University. The study analyzes the impact of this program on student course-taking by comparing GPS-advised students with those who did not receive advising. The study failed to credit the program to have increased graduation rates by improving academic fit but found that marginal students tended to leave college earlier. Also, the study provides evidence of assortative matching between students and course selection, albeit only for STEM Computational majors. The second essay examines the relationship between the 1996-2016 expansion of the German agency DAAD's outbound offices and international student enrollment in Germany. The findings suggest that an increase in the number of DAAD offices has a positive impact on international student enrollment in Germany, and that the first office foundation has the largest effect. The study concludes by discussing the policy implications of these findings for countries competing in the global race for talent. The third essay evaluates cognitive development trade-offs between numeracy and literacy skills. The study uses PISA data and analyzes the educational and financial gains from technical education versus the potential underdevelopment of verbal skills. The study finds that the technical track outperforms the Liberal Arts track due to greater educational production efficiency, which overcompensates for worse educational production inputs. The findings suggest that the STEM advantage is linked to the four additional instructional units in math and physics, and that there are no secondary effects due to differences in preexisting levels of student skills.
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    The Mobilization of Social Networks in Professional Development Decision-Making – A Mixed-Methods Study in a Technical Field
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022-08-02) Ruthotto, Isabel
    THE MOBILIZATION OF SOCIAL NETWORKS IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DECISION-MAKING –A MIXED-METHODS STUDY IN A TECHNICAL FIELD Isabel Ruthotto 171 pages Directed by Dr. Julia Melkers Vast technological innovations have been transforming labor markets and workplaces. Against this background, identifying ways to foster a skilled and resilient technical workforce and determining what role industry, higher education institutions, and policymakers play in this regard has become a core concern of political and societal debates. The dissertation contributes to this discourse by looking at how adults working in tech decided to invest in skill development and professional advancement through the pursuit of an online graduate degree in computer science. The dissertation seeks to understand whether, when, and how social networks influenced this decision process. The focus on networks is important since it addresses a distinct gap as to how decision-making has traditionally been conceptualized. The results support the central argument that the decision to pursue an online graduate degree is seldom an internal, autonomous thought process, but is often shaped by social relationships through consultation, advice, and support. Family members, friends, coworkers, supervisors, and acquaintances all matter in this process – albeit to varying extents and in different capacities. A complex set of individual and contextual factors influence the broad range of social support-seeking during decision-making. The results validate the importance of examining professional development choices in social contexts, offer several theoretical and policy implications, and open avenues for future research.
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    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022-08-01) Coskun, Muhammet Emre
    This dissertation presents a quantitative analysis of the association between ownership types and quality of services in the long-term care sector in the United States. The study employs dynamic difference-in-differences models to investigate the effects of for-profit ownership conversions on nursing home quality indicators by drawing on national-level panel data for the years between 2013 and 2021. Additionally, the adverse effects of information asymmetries are examined by comparing changes in government-inspected quality measures with changes in self-reported quality measures following a for-profit conversion of a nursing home. Furthermore, the impact of the recent regulatory changes implemented at the end of 2016 in the nursing home sector and the facility-level factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic outcomes in nursing homes are examined with respect to the quality trends and differences in quality by ownership types. Lastly, this study explores the relationship between ownership and quality in assisted living facilities in the State of Georgia using state inspection data. Overall, this dissertation finds that for-profit ownership status is associated with worse quality outcomes among nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including adverse outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the analyses show that the recent regulatory reforms had little to no effect on improving the quality of nursing homes over time. The findings are discussed to help policymakers formulate new policies and effective regulations to improve the quality of long-term care.
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    Science Gone Wrong: Understanding scientific work by examining "failures" across productions, consumptions, and careers in science
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022-08-01) Woo, Seokkyun Joshua
    This dissertation examines “failures” across three different dimensions of the production of science (production of data, impacts, careers) to further expand our understanding of scientific work, thereby providing effective implications for science policy. The first study (Chapter 2) involves ethnographic observation of the work of bench scientists at material science labs to understand the problem-solving activities involving frequent interruptions in producing experimental data. The second study (Chapter 3) expands our understanding of citation practice in scholarly communication. In doing so, I examine citations to retracted references to test existing theories and propose an additional mechanism for how scientists embed other scientists’ works into their papers. The last study (Chapter 4) addresses the long-standing issue of gender inequality in scientific careers. In doing so, I ask how the increasingly bifurcated production role in science may shape career longevity and how this relationship may differ between women and men scientists. Together, these studies use a sociology of work perspective to better understand various components of the production of science in order to develop a deeper understanding of the science of science as well as to inform policy debates and other initiatives designed to improve the production of science.
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    Setting the Agenda for AI: Actors, Issues, and Influence in United States Artificial Intelligence Policy
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022-06-02) Schiff, Daniel S.
    As research and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) has significantly advanced in the early 21st century, determining how to govern AI has become a global priority. Key questions include how AI should be understood as a policy domain, which policy problems are most pressing, which solutions are most viable, and who should have a say in this process. This dissertation seeks to provide key insights into the early years of AI policy, focusing on the development of the emerging AI policy agenda in the United States. To do so, it examines and reveals which issues, actors, and influence efforts are playing a prominent role in the complex, ambiguous, and contested process of agenda-setting. The research performed draws on a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including document analysis, text-as-data and time series approaches, and experimental techniques. Data examined include text from U.S. federal AI policy documents, traditional and social media discourse from federal policymakers, media, and members of the public, and engagement data collected from state legislators who participated in a field experiment. The results reveal that social and ethical dimensions of AI receive a heightened degree of attention in AI policy discourse. However, consideration of these issues remains partially superficial and subsumed into concern about AI's potential for economic innovation and role in geopolitical competition. Further findings demonstrate that policy entrepreneurs can use persuasive narratives to influence legislators about AI policy, and that these narratives are just as effective as technical information. Finally, despite pervasive calls for public participation in AI governance, the public does not appear to play a key role in directing attention to AI's social and ethical implications nor in shaping concrete policy solutions, such that the emerging AI agenda remains primarily expert-driven. The dissertation's findings and theoretical and methodological approaches offer key contributions to policy process scholarship and related fields of research, and provide a baseline on which to understand the evolution of the AI policy agenda and AI governance going forward.
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    Manifestations of the Positive Death Movement in America: Medical Aid In Dying, Voluntarily Stopping Eating & Drinking, and End-Of-Life Doulas
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022-04-06) Incorvaia, Aubrey DeVeny
    Western society is in an era of death awareness, its most recent salience: A Positive Death Movement. This dissertation examines manifestations of the movement, framing them as direct, indirect, and induced effects of public policy. Policies have intended consequences, off-target effects, as well as more distant, rippling impacts on society at-large. The empirical research herein investigates these dimensions of policy’s influence, leveraging an assortment of theoretical lenses, which originate from policy design, social psychology, and sociology. Methods incorporate both qualitative and quantitative approaches, tools, and techniques. Chapter one presents the history of American death culture and overviews the movement for death positivity and its scholarship. Chapter two shows that implementation of Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) policy reduces self-harm and undetermined intent death rates for those with cancer. Specifically, use of regression analysis to generate a difference-in-differences estimation indicates that implementation of MAID results in a statistically significant 20 percent reduction in self-harm and undetermined intent cancer death rate, even when controlling for individual and macro-level risk factors. Chapter three examines a church’s response to Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking, revealing that a church community may be a source of legitimacy and support for this end-of-life choice to hasten death in the face of terminal illness. A case study of one southern Anabaptist congregation employs a focus group and one-on-one interviews during which study participants reported their affirmation of VSED, but professed uncertain and conditional involvement in respite care provision post VSED initiation. Responses varied widely to faith-based justifications for the practice. Chapter four uses analytic autoethnography to elucidate a new role arising within the system of deathcare, End-of-Life Doulas (EOLDs). Two EOLD training programs framed their education in hallmark terms of the movement and are seeking to professionalize the role through the use of functionalist / trait – oriented documents, an approach aligned with a ‘sociology of professions’ framework. Chapter five concludes the dissertation by summarizing results and considering opportunities for future research, while also acknowledging the necessity of addressing ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the racial reckoning currently underway in the United States.