Incorporating policy criteria in spatial analysis

Anand Desai, Robert T. Greenbaum, Yushim Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although spatial analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have become prevalent in the social and policy sciences, GIS and its mapmaking capability remains an underutilized tool among the decision support tools available to policy makers. Using a case study of Medicaid expenditure changes in Ohio, the authors demonstrate how spatial analysis and display can incorporate useful weights for policy makers. Through the use of dependence indices based upon the distributions of the affected recipients and service providers to weight the expenditures, the link between the effects of policy changes and the spatial distributions of these populations becomes clearer. The article argues that policy makers can be given a more appropriate picture of the potential local implications of statewide policy changes through the use of weights. Because of the power of maps to so starkly display these distributions, the article concludes with a caution that such tools should be used ethically with considered judgment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-42
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Location quotients
  • Medicaid policy
  • Spatial analysis
  • Visual display

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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