skip to main content
Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Use the search fields below to find specific publications that match certain criteria. If you want to find other information on our website that is not publications, you can use the search field in the navigation bar at the top, or click here to search the entire website.

Use the dropdown to select the field in which you would like to perform a keyword search.

Input the keyword you would like to search by in the textbox.

You can put multiple words inside quotes "like this" to indicate that you only want results where the entire phrase is found.

You can use the minus symbol "( - )" to indicate you only want results without the indicated word, such as: "teacher -substitute".

Select a publication author(s) to filter results by author. Once selected, you may remove an author from the search by clicking the "x".
"ANY of these authors" will return all results that include any of the authors you specified in your search criteria.

"ALL of these authors" will return only those results that include every author you specified in your search criteria.

Select a topic(s) to filter results by topic. Once selected, you may remove a topic from the search by clicking the "x".
"ANY of these topics" will return all results that include any of the topics you specified in your search criteria.

"ALL of these topics" will return only those results that include every topic you specified in your search criteria.

Select a date range if you would like to only see results published during a specified time period.


Found 626 results

Early Achievers Evaluation Report Four: Analysis of Benefits and Costs

Open Publication PDF

Rebecca Goodvin, Amani Rashid, Kara Krnacik - December 2022

In the Early Start Act of 2015, the Washington State Legislature required child care and early learning providers who serve non-school-aged children and receive state subsidies to participate in Early Achievers (EA), the state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). This legislation also directed WSIPP to examine the relationship between EA quality ratings and long-term outcomes for children who participate in state-subsidized child care and early learning programs. WSIPP was required to produce annual reports to the legislature from December 2019 through December 2022; the final report must include a benefit-cost analysis of EA.

We previously found that attending a site meeting EA quality standards in the pre-kindergarten year was associated with better outcomes in kindergarten, compared with attending a rated site that did not yet meet standards. In this fourth report, we focus on projected monetary benefits tied to those outcomes. On average, attending an EA quality Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) or child care center may return benefits of approximately $4,300 to $7,000 per child over the course of the lifespan. Analysis of aligned program costs was limited by data availability.

This report—along with a concurrent report examining low-income families’ access to publicly funded EA quality child care and early learning—concludes WSIPP’s Early Achievers evaluation series.


Legal Financial Obligations in Washington State: Final Report

Open Publication PDF

Paige Wanner, Morgan Spangler, Nathan Adams, Devin Bales - December 2022

The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to study legal financial obligations (LFOs). This is the second report in a two-part series.

For the final report, WSIPP used administrative data from multiple Washington State sources to describe the level of criminal LFO impositions, adjustments, and payments made annually at all court levels.

Additionally, WSIPP completed the following:

  • Reviewed Washington State policies implemented since December 2021;
  • Discussed court budgets and the flow of LFO dollars through the criminal justice system;
  • Described the level of funding attributed to LFO accounts and earmarked for use in programming; and
  • Described legislation and policy changes completed by other states that aim to delink court funding from the collection of LFOs.

We found that available LFO data are limited. As a result, patterns in the data over time cannot be identified. Further, the data do not allow us to trace dollars from the collection to expenditure. More consistent data collection and reporting across courts may assist efforts to identify patterns over time in the future. A preliminary report covering LFO background, state statutes that impose LFOs, and a 50-state review of court funding and LFOs was released in December 2021 and can be found here.


Wilderness Therapy Programs: Stakeholder Perspectives in Washington

Open Publication PDF

Julia Cramer, Colin Gibson - December 2022

This is the second report in a two-part series focused on wilderness therapy programs. Wilderness therapy combines therapeutic elements with outdoor activities in a natural setting to help support individuals with a range of behavioral, emotional, and substance use issues.

In 2021, the Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to research wilderness therapy programs in the context of behavioral health treatment and prevention. As part of this assignment, we were asked to assess the “interest and likelihood of support” for wilderness therapy programs among interest groups like “state prevention coalitions and tribes.” We interviewed ten individuals representing a variety of stakeholder perspectives in Washington.

Generally, we found that interview respondents view wilderness therapy as potentially beneficial for the individuals they serve or those who live in their communities. However, we found that most respondents had concerns about cost, safety, access, and the lack of information about programs. Respondents also expressed wanting legislators to be aware of issues related to program flexibility, equitable access, and ongoing outreach if they consider policy decisions related to wilderness therapy in the future.

The first report on this topic was published in June 2022 and can be found here.


The Impacts of a Buy American Steel Policy in Washington State

Open Publication PDF

Cory Briar, Colin Gibson, Chasya Hoagland - December 2022

The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to study the economic and environmental impacts of a Buy American Steel policy in the state. Such a policy would require that steel used in the fulfillment of Washington State government contracts be partially or exclusively sourced from within the US. This report describes the findings from two economic analyses: a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) and an economic impacts analysis (EIA).

The BCA finds that the increase in cost to taxpayers to carry out projects under a domestic steel requirement would likely exceed new income to workers in the Washington steel industry, but net changes to the state economy would be small. The EIA finds that the requirement would support jobs in the steel industry, but the increased cost to taxpayers would lead to job losses in other sectors. Like the BCA, the net changes predicted by the EIA are small, ranging from a loss of 12 to a gain of 13 jobs per year statewide under a domestic steel requirement.

We also conduct an analysis of how the policy would impact global emissions of greenhouse gases. While the net change in emissions is ambiguous, this analysis suggests that the change in emissions could only range from a decrease of 1.2% to an increase of 1.6% of steel production-generated emissions in Washington.


Does Substance Use or Nutrition in Adolescence Predict Mental Health in Young Adulthood? A Systematic Review

Open Publication PDF

Marna Miller, Katelyn Kelley - December 2022

The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to review the research for any relationships between adolescent substance use and adolescent nutrition on subsequent mental illness in early adulthood.

For substance use, we found that adolescent alcohol use was associated with an increased risk of later depression. Adolescent cannabis use was associated with an increased risk for depression and psychosis, but we found no evidence that adolescent misuse of opioids or cocaine is associated with mental illness in young adults.

For nutrition, we found that higher quality diet in adolescence was associated with a lower risk for later depression. Obesity during adolescence was associated with an increased risk for depression in young adults, especially in females. Finally, we found no evidence of a link between adolescent intake of omega-3 fatty acids and any mental illness in young adulthood.


Washington State’s Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative: Introduction to the Series

Open Publication PDF

Lauren Knoth-Peterson, Katelyn Kelley - November 2022

In Washington State, individuals convicted of certain offenses may be eligible to receive a sentencing alternative called the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA). Established in 1995 and modified several times over the last 25 years, DOSA allows individuals to serve some or all of their standard prison sentence under community supervision instead of spending the entire sentence incarcerated. This sentencing alternative requires that individuals participate in substance use treatment programs based on their assessed needs and comply with behavioral requirements while incarcerated and/or during community supervision.

In 2020, the Washington State Legislature further expanded DOSA and directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to analyze its effectiveness in reducing recidivism compared to standard sentencing. The directive requires WSIPP to update its evaluation in 2028 and every five years thereafter. This report introduces the forthcoming report series by describing the development of DOSA over time and reviewing prior evaluations of DOSA’s effectiveness.


Washington State’s Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative: 2022 Outcome Evaluation

Open Publication PDF

Lauren Knoth-Peterson, Katelyn Kelley - November 2022

In Washington State, some individuals convicted of a criminal offense may be eligible to receive a Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA) in lieu of the standard incarceration sentence.

Using administrative data from the Department of Corrections and WSIPP’s Criminal History Database, this study examined whether individuals participating in prison or residential DOSA were less likely to recidivate compared to similar individuals who received a non-DOSA sentence.

Our findings indicate the prison DOSA reduces the likelihood of recidivism by 6.9 percentage points. These reductions in recidivism were consistent across subgroups by sex, race, and ethnicity.

Our findings for residential DOSA were less conclusive. In general, residential DOSA had no effect on the likelihood of recidivism compared to a standard sentence. While we provide several potential explanations for the differences in the effectiveness of prison and residential DOSA, future research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which the two DOSA programs impact individuals’ outcomes, including recidivism.


Technical Review of the Washington State Environmental Health Disparities Map

Open Publication PDF

Bailey Ingraham, Kara Krnacik - November 2022

The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to conduct a technical review of the measures and methods used in the Washington State Department of Health’s Environmental Health Disparities (EHD) Map.

We found that Washington’s EHD Map is one of many in the United States. It uses a similar range of indicators, methodology, and source data compared with the most sophisticated environmental justice (EJ) mapping tools. These EJ tools use some of the best data available at small geographical levels to measure environmental exposures and health disparities. They provide insight into a variety of the environmental harms present in communities and how well-equipped these communities are to overcome those challenges.

Over time, developers will need to regularly review their EJ map tools. The HEAL Act requires the Washington EHD Map to be regularly revised and updated, with comprehensive evaluations occurring every three years. Currently, Washington's tool is comparable in sophistication and detail to other existing tools. However, there are a few additional or enhanced features found in other state tools that Washington does not have, including the following:

  • Additional indicators reflecting sensitive populations;
  • Additional water quality measures;
  • Specific statistical adjustments for missing data; and
  • Easily accessible user guides and how-to videos on the hosting website.


Washington State's Reentry Community Services Program: Background and Study Outline

Open Publication PDF

Lauren Knoth-Peterson, Corey Whichard - November 2022

For the last 20 years, Washington State has provided unique reentry services for individuals who are at high-risk for recidivism and who have a mental illness. The Reentry Community Services Program (RCSP) provides eligible individuals with coordinated pre- and post-release services to assist with reentry. Individuals are eligible to receive 60 months of mental health services and housing assistance. Additional services are provided on an individual basis depending on need and the availability of resources.

Prior research shows that compared to similar individuals who do not receive these services, RCSP participants are more likely to access mental health services in the community, more likely to access social welfare services during reentry, less likely to require inpatient hospitalization after release, and less likely to recidivate. In addition, research finds that the program achieves these outcomes in a cost-beneficial way.

In 2021, the Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to update its evaluation of the RCSP, examine the potential expansion of the program, and investigate additional therapeutic components to further support individuals’ reentry to the community.

This preliminary report reviews prior research on the RCSP and provides an outline of the approach WSIPP intends to take for its final report to be published in November 2023.


Findings From the 2021 Survey of Health and Recreation in Washington State: Gambling Behaviors and Prevalence

Open Publication PDF

Marna Miller, Rebecca Xie - October 2022

In 2021, the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) conducted a survey of adults in Washington to better understand the prevalence of gambling and problem gambling. HCA contracted with WSIPP to conduct additional analyses.

WSIPP’s analysis found that fewer than half of respondents reported they had gambled in the past 12 months. Of those who had gambled, 3.5% were classified as problem gamblers. Statistically significant differences were detected in the prevalence of gambling and problem gambling among some different demographic populations (demographics collected include gender, marital status, ethnicity, age, education, military service, employment, type of insurance, and geographic region). Compared to those who gambled only in brick-and-mortar establishments, online gamblers were significantly more likely to be problem gamblers. Gamblers who self-identified as having problems with substance use, mental health, or other behaviors, were more likely to be problem gamblers than others not reporting these problems. Most of the population said they thought the harms of gambling outweighed the benefits. A similar proportion said the availability in Washington was fine—neither too available nor not available enough.