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Julia Sass Rubin

Associate Professor, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Areas of Expertise:

About Julia

Rubin's research examines the intersection of education policy, community development, and social justice. She has written extensively about developmental finance, specifically the use of equity, near equity, and debt investments as a means of generating community economic development to address poverty. More recently, Rubin has written about charter schools and community resistance to neoliberal education reform. Rubin was one of the founders of the grassroots group Save Our Schools NJ and chairs the board of the 501c3 nonprofit Save Our Schools NJ Community Organizing. Both organizations work to ensure that every child in NJ has access to a high quality public education. Rubin also was one of the founding members of and serves on the board of the Good Government Coalition of NJ, a nonpartisan grassroots group whose mission is to strengthen democracy by working with residents across our state to bring greater transparency, accountability, and participation to our state and local; governments. Rubin has advised a number of organizations, including the United States Small Business Administration; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. Prior to becoming an academic, she consulted for McKinsey & Company; worked in brand management for the Procter & Gamble and Eastman Kodak Companies; and taught strategic management and marketing at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand, as a Henry Luce Scholar.

In the News


"What Enables Communities to Resist Neoliberal Education Reforms? Lessons from Newark and Camden, New Jersey" (with Stephen Danley). Journal of Urban Affairs (forthcoming).

Examines what facilities sustained community resistance to neoliberal reform in the presence of undemocratic governance mechanisms and finds that access to social and economic capital, and timely access to information via an engaged press are present in the existing accounts of such resistance. Explores this emerging hypothesis via in-depth comparative case studies of Newark and Camden, New Jersey. Provides additional evidence for the hypothesis that access to social and economic capital and to information makes sustained resistance possible. Identifies a third variable, extreme political control as manifested through political machines, that intersects with the other variables to limit the sustainability of resistance movements in the presence of undemocratic governance mechanisms.

"New Jersey Charter School Funding," Rutgers University, October 30, 2015.

Helps dispel the confusion around charter school funding by providing a detailed explanation of the mechanics of that funding. Does so by examining several specific school districts. Examines trends related to charter and district student demographic composition in the nine districts with the largest charter school enrollments. Provides additional specifics about New Jersey's charter school funding, including facility funding, and concludes with policy and research recommendations.

"Developmental Venture Capital: Conceptualizing the Field" Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance 11, no. 4 (2009).

Introduces a conceptual framework for the developmental venture capital industry based on the social objectives of individual funds. Differentiates between two forms of corrective venture capital, based on the capital access obstacles that each is trying to address and whether the resulting economic models require subsidy.

Financing Low-Income Communities: Models, Obstacles, and Future Directions (Russell Sage Foundation, 2007).

Brings together leading experts in the field to assess what we know about the challenges of bringing financial services and capital to poor communities, map out future lines of research, and propose policy reforms to make these efforts more effective.

"Community Development Financial Institutions: Current Issues and Future Prospects" Journal of Urban Affairs 26, no. 2 (2004).

Outlines the history of the community development financial institution (CDFI) industry and details how CDFIs are responding to three specific development needs: basic financial services; affordable credit for home purchase, rehabilitation, and maintenance; and loan and equity capital for business development. Considers the strengths and limitations of CDFIs, concentrating especially on the relationship between CDFIs and conventional financial institutions. Concludes by examining the impact that these alternative financial institutions realistically can hope to achieve.

"The Los Angeles Community Development Bank: The Possible Pitfalls of Public-Private Partnerships" (with Gregory M. Stankiewicz). Journal of Urban Affairs 23, no. 2 (2001): 133-153.

Examines why the innovative public-private economic development partnership, created in response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, confronted such difficulties.