High Road Publications

Below is a list of our reports related to the high road, in descending order by year published. Explore other topics here and all COWS reports here.

  • Developers often approach cities disguising their private ventures as irresistible public goods. Asking for public money for sports stadiums and entertainment venues, they promise economic development, urban renewal, and neighborhood revitalization. Despite the big promises, public investments are often neither transparent nor accountable. As a result, securing public benefit from these deals is rare.

    Developers have seized soccer’s increasing popularity to design soccer stadium projects with ancillary commercial and residential development in urban centers across the nation. As with other urban developments and sports stadiums, the payoffs for communities remain murky at best.

    This trend has come to Milwaukee. In May 2022, Kenosha-based Bear Development and Kacmarcik Enterprises released a development plan for an “Iron District” on the southwestern end of downtown Milwaukee. Playing with Public Money in Milwaukee provides Milwaukee residents and political leaders background information and additional context as this proposal is considered, offering an overview of relevant research on the economic impact of sports arenas and information on recent public investment in soccer stadiums in five other cities.

    Document
  • Laura Dresser, and Walker Kahn. Toward a New Tradition in "Nontraditional Occupations". COWS, 2021.

    For decades, a handful of women have been celebrated as pioneers in construction, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution careers. Despite years of work, these occupations remain “nontraditional” for women and people of color and present unique barriers and challenges. Raising Women’s Success in Apprenticeship (RSWA) is driving systemic change to make these industries more open, accepting, and inclusive of nontraditional workers. This report summarizes the network’s work, identifies key factors of success for getting women into nontraditional jobs, and identifies the remaining challenges that will require a substantial change in policy and practice to make success for women the norm.

    Document
  • Xavier de Sousa Briggs, and Joel Rogers. A More Democratic Federalism?. no. 62.
    Read more Document
  • Scott Bernstein, and Joel Rogers. 7 Steps to Municipal Resilience & Recovery. COWS, 2021, p. 9.
    Document
  • Joel Rogers. Biden’s Task and Ours. Vol. 50, no. 4, Social Policy, 2020, p. 9.
    Document
  • City leaders, including mayors, play a critical role in community wealth building and are this brief’s intended audience. However, this work requires multiple actors, including community organizers and developers. This brief is useful to anyone committed to equitable economic development in their community but is intended primarily for city leaders. This report was made possible by generous funding from the Surdna Foundation.

    Document
  • Joel Rogers, Kevin Knutson, and Mike Bell. Productive Places in a Post-Pandemic Era: A Roadmap for Cities and Counties. Envisio Blog, 2020.
    Read more Document
  • Joel Rogers. How About Productive Democracy for a Change. no. 1, Social Policy, 2020, pp. 19-25.
    Document
  • Kristinn Már Ársælsson, and Joel Rogers. Digital’s Promise for Worker Organizing: A 2018 Update. LIFT (Labor Innovation for the 21st Century), 2019.

    Digital tools and technologies—most familiarly, apps, websites, internet search engines and social media platforms—have become a central and pervasive feature of our lives.

    Document
  • In the 20th Century, people from around the world came to Wisconsin and the Midwest, seeking opportunity in the industrial boom. Manufacturing and unions helped create good jobs for many black workers, but discrimination and segregation limited that sharply. When industrial jobs declined, black Midwesterners suffered the most. Over the last 40 years, opportunity and outcomes for black residents in Wisconsin have fallen below national averages. As a result, black Wisconsinites face stubborn barriers and road blocks that many white people don’t even know are there. Racial disparity in Wisconsin is not inevitable, but closing the gap will require a broad focus and multifaceted approach.

    ‘Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity’ provides a Wisconsin-focused summary to ‘Race in the Heartland‘, which shows the persistence of racial disparities in the Midwest and what can be done about them.

    Wisconsin has the regrettable distinction of ranking among the worst states in the nation for racial inequality. Disparities among black and white residents of our state – spanning poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration – have been documented consistently for more than a decade. Although activists and policymakers have increasingly focused on addressing these issues, they remain pressing.

    ‘Race in the Heartland’ and ‘Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity’ provide a careful historical context and a broadly informed policy framework that are critical to winning greater racial equity throughout this region.

    Document