furthermore on panhandling
So I was in one of my favorite places to work yesterday, the Matheson Reading Room at Emory’s main library (which will still allow the public in with valid ID, and is promising a ground-floor cafÈ this fall), and found a paper that reminded me of our earlier discussion of the proposed anti-panhandling ordinance (begun here, continued here and here).
The paper was titled “The Economics of Anti-Begging Regulations,” by one Dr. Patricia Smith at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. The purpose of the paper was not to say which were the proper ways to handle begging, so don’t read this and get all mad at Dr. Smith, who probably never intended to get quoted willy-nilly on blogs. Rather, she set out to analyze the characterists of cities that passed anti-begging regulations. As best I could tell, Atlanta wasn’t included in her sample study.
Her conclusions, quoted as verbatim as I could type:
The results also indicate that the larger share of disabled citizens in a city, the higher the likelihood that the city will regulate begging. This supports the hypothesis that the greater incidence of disability, or the lesser availability of rehabilitation for the disabled, the greater the supply of beggars and the demand for anti-begging regulations. It contradicts the idea that people are generally more tolerant of disabled beggars. Cities with higher crime and denser populations are more likely to adopt anti-begging regulations due to the increased visibility and greater perceived danger associated with beggars.
The only bit I’d argue with is the part about “lesser availability of rehabilitation for the disabled,” as it would make more sense to me if a city with higher availability of rehab facilities had more disabled residents — supply meeting demand, in a sense. But the description of a high-education, high-crime city seemed to me to fit Atlanta fairly well.