In 1973, businesswoman and lawyer, feminist and activist Edessa Rose founded the Rose Institute of State and Local Government as a part of Claremont McKenna College to address issues specific to California’s state and local governments. In its early period (1973-1990), the Rose Institute developed the nation’s first comprehensive statewide demographic and political database. Faculty, staff, and students worked together to match California’s 50,000 precincts to its 5,000-plus census tracts, following the political and demographic trends in the State. In 1979, the California Business Roundtable gave a million dollar grant to fund a significant redistricting reform and education program at the Institute.
From the start, the Institute committed itself to conducting research with faculty-student teams. Over the years, more than 300 students of Claremont McKenna College, Claremont Graduate University and the other Claremont Colleges have worked in the Rose Institute. Students have contributed significantly to the Institute’s survey research programs, providing high-quality interviewing services, assisting in data presentation, and often playing key roles in analysis. Today, all Rose Institute students are trained in GIS, survey research, fiscal analysis, and legal and regulatory analysis.
In 2010, the Rose Institute partnered with the Lowe Institute for Political Economy to establish the Inland Empire Center. Before the partnership, there was very little political and economic analysis of the region, despite the Inland Empire ranking as the 14th largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the United States at the time. Recognizing the significance of the region to California’s economy, the two institutes – both based at Claremont McKenna College – saw the need for an organization that could deliver analysis on current issues impacting the Inland Empire.
For both public and private clients, the Institute: performs economic impact studies with the goal of clarifying the budgetary impact of particular policy proposals; handles survey projects from start to finish, designing the questionnaire, collecting the data, and assessing the policy implications; and works with cities, counties, and other entities to evaluate present policy and recommend future fiscal and policy changes.
These projects have addressed a range of topics, including tribal sovereignty, transportation, housing, and water quality and availability. In one recent project, Rose Institute researchers conducted a comparative analysis of public services in California’s largest counties for Voice of San Diego, a prominent online news organization. The Institute also conducts research on legal and constitutional issues, such as the impact of a full-time legislature and the history of initiatives in California and other states, resulting in the Miller-Rose Institute Initiative Database—the most complete online database of voter-approved statewide ballot initiatives: [roseinstitute.org/initiatives].
The Miller-Rose Initiative Database summarizes original research on statewide ballot initiatives throughout the United States from post-election legal challenges to initiatives. The result is a legal resource available complete with expert analysis on the implications for California politics.
The California Almanac is a resource for California residents to learn more about their local elected officials and discover their own cities. Information included ranges from demographic statistics to contact information for elected officials.
Redistricting in America is the crowning achievement of the Rose Institute following the 2010 census, keeping Americans up-to-date on the effects of redistricting and gerrymandering. Students and staff work to provide in-depth analysis on the legal and social implications of redistricting, as well as providing descriptions on each state’s mechanisms for redrawing Congressional lines.
The Inland Empire Center is the Rose Institute’s partner in conducting the annual economic forecast conferences held in Southern California with the help of the UCLA Anderson School of Management. The Inland Empire Center also partners with the Rose Institute to publish the Inland Empire Outlook.
A Kosmont-Rose Survey for local governments and businesses across America to investigate the costs of doing business in their locales.
The newest of the Rose Institute’s projects, Video Voter is a resource in which voters can find information about upcoming votes on California initiatives. The result is a consolidated source of information that serve as a one-stop shop for voters with questions about initiatives on the ballot.
While the Rose Institute analyzes state and local government policies throughout California and the nation, it places special emphasis on Southern California.
The Rose Institute conducts fiscal, regulatory, and survey analysis for counties, municipal governments, Native American tribal governments, news organizations, and other businesses across Southern California—from Los Angeles and Orange County to the Inland Empire and San Diego. Through this work, the Rose has developed a sophisticated understanding of this dynamic region’s diverse political and economic institutions.
In a joint venture with the Lowe Institute of Political Economy, the Rose Institute recently launched the Inland Empire Center for Economics and Public Policy. The Inland Empire is one of the fastest growing places in the United States and now has a larger population than 24 states. The Center publishes Inland Empire Outlook, an economic and political newsletter, and has created new indices that will become leading measures of the Inland Empire’s economic activity. These indices, along with specialized public policy analysis and modeling, will be published regularly in print and online, and presented at conferences in the Inland Empire hosted jointly with the UCLA Anderson Forecast.
Especially noteworthy contracts in the Institute’s recent history include: research on representation conducted for the California Roundtable; work on juvenile justice codes performed by Professor Ralph Rossum for the US Department of Justice; fiscal analyses of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and Monterey Counties by Dr. Steven B. Frates; an atlas of South Central Los Angeles created for the Ford Foundation in the wake of the Watts riots; and survey and data work for the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership and the San Fernando Economic Alliance.David Dreier, former member of the United States House of Representatives.