Research

Under Review (Available Upon Request)

  • Al-Turk, Akram. “The Effects of Resource Dispersion and Policy Implementation on New Policy Adoption: The Case of Affordable Housing in the U.S.” Revise and Resubmit.

    Abstract: How are resources mobilized to effect policy change? And how does the implementation of old policies shape the ways in which those resources are mobilized? Drawing on different theoretical traditions in sociology, political science, and organizational studies, I examine the case of affordable housing policy adoption in the most populous cities in the United States from 1996 to 2010 to address these questions. Using Cox regression and fixed-effects models, I find that the dispersion of financial resources among affordable housing organizations in a city, rather than organizational density, is positively associated with the likelihood of a local affordable housing ordinance being passed. I also find that the implementation of a past, federal housing policy has no effect on the likelihood of a new, local policy being adopted but does have a positive effect on the growth of the affordable housing nonprofit sector in a city. Taken together, these findings build on the policy feedback literature by suggesting that policy changes are often not simply a response to the way an old policy is implemented but are instead a response to the collective action that an old policy sets in motion.

    Keywords: resource mobilization; policy implementation; policy feedback; nonprofit organizations; affordable housing

  • Al-Turk, Akram. “The Supply and Demand of New Ideas: How the Federal Government and Academics Shaped Education Policy in the U.S., 1965-1983.”

    Abstract: How does a new policy paradigm – a coherent set of problem definitions and policy prescriptions – emerge? A new paradigm in education policy in the U.S. emerged in the 1980s that shifted the focus from inequitable access to education toward the need for effective schools and high standards. I draw on government documents, data on changes in academia, and text analysis of academic research to advance an argument about how policies, government agencies, and academics drive the demand for and supply of new ideas that shape new paradigms. I find that the demand for new ideas was driven by the government’s funding of policy-focused and program evaluation studies. In conjunction, many academics in education were dissatisfied with the findings and methods in the field, shifting the focus of how to improve student achievement from socioeconomic conditions to school efficiency. The supply of new ideas was driven by education agencies’ increasing funding of studies of assessment and classroom instruction and by an increasing focus, in academia, on school curriculum and educational psychology. While scholarship on policy paradigms often focuses on interest groups, political elites, and public opinion, my findings contribute to an understanding of how political institutions and knowledge regimes shape those paradigms.

    Keywords: policy paradigms; policy feedback; scientific-intellectual movements; education policy; text analysis

Works in Progress (Articles Available Upon Request)

  • Al-Turk, Akram and David Rigby. “Framing Contests and Salience: The Emergence and Transformation of Policy Issues in the U.S. Congress, 1948-2015.”

  • Al-Turk, Akram. “Assessing the Effects of Policy and Temporally Proximate Threats on Mobilization: The Case of Nonviolent Resistance in the Palestinian Territories, 2003-Present.”

    Abstract: When and how do different types of threats lead to mobilization? While social movement scholars have examined how the costs of action influence collective action – largely by focusing on the effects of state repression – less attention has been paid to the costs of inaction. A few scholars, however, have argued that two dimensions of threat due to inaction may lead to mobilization. The first is a policy threat – a state action that affects a broad swath of the population and that may potentially serve as a focal target for collective action. The second is a physical, temporally proximate threat to a group that is potentially existential. A fuller understanding of how the costs of inaction affect mobilization requires examining the interplay between these two dimensions – broad policy threats and oftentimes localized, temporally proximate threats. Using a dataset I have compiled on nonviolent resistance in the occupied Palestinian territories since 2003, I argue that while local, proximate threats (e.g., home demolitions, the construction of the separation barrier) may have spurred this latest wave of Palestinian resistance, policy threats (e.g., announcements of settlement expansions, the breakdown of peace negotiations) both expand the scope of the movement and sustain it.

    Keywords: social movements; policy threats; nonviolent resistance

  • Andrews, Kenneth T. and Akram Al-Turk. Civil Rights and the Black Freedom Struggle (under contract, Polity Press).

  • Levy, Brian L. and Akram Al-Turk. “Stratification in the Storm: How Residential Segregation Produces Inequality in Outcomes of ‘Natural’ Disasters.”

Recent Publications

In this chapter, the authors investigate the degree to which organizational ecology (OE) had a long-term impact on the way scholars …

Academic research has become increasingly collaborative, not just in the hard sciences and engineering but also in the social sciences. …

Scholars of nonprofits, interest groups, civic associations, and social movement organizations employ samples of organizations derived …

Teaching

I have taught the following courses while at UNC. For short course descriptions, a list of other things I’ve taught, and more about my teaching, click here.

Courses

Other Writing

For policy-related and non-academic writing, click here.

Data and Code

Below is some code (usually in Python or R) that I’ve used to collect or analyze data for research projects I’ve worked on or am currently working on. My goal is to add more in the coming months. Email me if you have questions or suggestions!

Using Structural Topic Modeling in R

Parsing XML Files to Create a Dataset of Articles from the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)

Using Python to Get Nonprofit Data from the National Center For Charitable Statistics

Experience

 
 
 
 
 

Planning Commissioner

Durham Planning Commission

Jul 2016 – Present Durham, NC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Senior Research Assistant

The Brookings Institution

Jan 2010 – Aug 2012 Washington, DC

Contact