Redefining Biomedical Research and Healthcare Spending
Robert Kaplan, who delivered IPR’s 2015 Distinguished Public Policy Lecture, has devoted his career to assessing the impact of medical treatments on patients’ longevity and quality of life, with thought-provoking results.
Faculty Spotlight: Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
Majoring in economics seemed like a natural fit for Schanzenbach, a native of Florissant, Mo., During her education in schools attended by students from both sides of the socioeconomic spectrum, she honed her talent for math and nurtured her passion for helping the less privileged.
When Should Vaccines Be Mandated?
What to do in the event of an Ebola scare or a measles outbreak? Deciding on the right course of action when it comes to vaccines is difficult because officials are working in an environment of “partial knowledge”—that is, they can point to some of a vaccine’s effects, but not all. IPR economist Charles F. Manski addresses this topic in a recent IPR working paper.
Can Microfinance Save the Poor?
Microfinance institutions (MFIs), which extend small loans to impoverished households in developing countries, have exploded over the past 10–15 years. Yet do MFIs actually spur business growth, empower women, and lift families out of poverty? A team of researchers including IPR economist Cynthia Kinnan undertakes the first randomized evaluation of a microcredit lending model in Hyderabad, India, with surprising results.
The Bright Side of Aging
In the United States, the number of people over the age of 65 has more than tripled since 1950, and declining birth rates and rising life expectancies means populations will continue to gray worldwide. Such news has worried some, explained IPR associate and developmental psychologist Claudia Haase, due to patterns of decline in functioning. Though one might assume that such patterns hold for all aspects of age-related functioning, Haase and her colleagues have uncovered “a bright side” to aging.
Can Breastfeeding Reduce Chronic Inflammation?
A body plagued by chronic inflammation is at increased risk for a host of diseases and poor health conditions. Yet little is known about how early life conditions can have an impact on chronic inflammation in adulthood. In a recent article, IPR anthropologist Thomas McDade, IPR developmental psychobiologist Emma Adam, pediatrician and IPR associate Craig Garfield and their research team examine the link between breastfeeding and inflammation in adults.
Are Most Published Research Findings False?
The Anti-False-Positives (AFP) movement demands more stringent guidelines for researchers and journals to minimize false positives in scientific data. But in their race to rectify the issue, the AFP movement has “overreached,” social psychologist and IPR associate Eli Finkel and his colleagues—the University of Texas at Austin’s Paul Eastwick and Harry Reis of the University of Rochester—argue in a new article.
Research Traces Effects of Partisanship on American Politics
In the 114th Congress, sworn in last week, Republicans now hold their largest majority since 1928. Following the November election, House speaker John Boehner (R–OH) called for more bipartisan cooperation. Will senators, representatives, and even the president comply—or will Congress remain polarized, uncooperative, and unpopular? Congress’ actions serve to underscore the fact that partisanship (including bias in favor of one’s own party) and polarization have become deeply rooted in American politics. Several IPR political scientists have projects that investigate this phenomenon of growing polarization and partisanship in Congress, in the White House, and in the public sphere.
Faculty Spotlight: James Rosenbaum
Those outside of academia sometimes accuse researchers of working in an ivory tower—of offering policy solutions that sound good on paper, but result in little real-world impact. IPR education researcher James Rosenbaum was determined to be a different kind of researcher. “My goal has really been to make research that can be helpful in the policy world,” Rosenbaum said. Throughout his career, he has led studies that have had important implications for improving outcomes for U.S. students and the disadvantaged.
Racial Disparities in America, Part II
In the second part of the series, IPR researchers outline some ideas for addressing and thinking about racial disparities stemming from their research on race, education, and neighborhoods. Part I looked at IPR research on interracial relations and racial disparities in health outcomes.
Online "Turbulence": Who Experiences the Bumpiest Ride?
In a world where social network sites allow us to share information with hundreds of people in mere seconds, it is not surprising that some Internet users experience “turbulence”—times when their personal information is distributed beyond their desired or intended social circles with negative consequences. But who is more likely to encounter such online turbulence? Communications studies researcher and IPR associate Eszter Hargittai and graduate student Eden Litt look for answers in a recent study.
Understanding Immigrant Sexual Citizenship
Issues of immigration and of gay rights continue to make American headlines, yet “there’s been very little public attention to the ways that issues of immigration and issues of sexuality might actually have something to do with one another,” said sociologist and IPR associate Steven Epstein. Recently, Epstein, along with sociologist and IPR associate Héctor Carrillo and their research team, interviewed gay and bisexual male Mexican immigrants about their experiences as immigrants to the United States.
Improving Earthquake Maps to Save Lives, Minimize Damages
In 2011, the 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake and its resulting tsunami killed more than 15,000 people and caused nearly $300 billion in damages. The shaking from the earthquake was significantly larger than Japan’s national hazard map had predicted, devastating areas forecasted to be relatively safe. Such hazard-mapping failures prompted three Northwestern researchers—geophysicist and IPR associate Seth Stein, IPR statistician Bruce Spencer, and graduate student Edward Brooks—to search for better ways to construct, evaluate, and communicate the predictions of hazard maps.
Teaching ABCs in a Digital Classroom
From federal and local tax dollars to finance “one-on-one” classrooms, where each student has a tablet or laptop, to technology-related grants from donors like the Gates Foundation, millions of dollars for technology in classrooms are being funneled into K-12 schools across the country. Yet, as existing research points out, though more is being spent on classroom technology, its successful integration into lesson plans is another matter. Communication studies researcher and IPR associate Ellen Wartella and her colleagues are examining this puzzling relationship.