News


June


Faculty Spotlight: Beth Redbird
IPR sociologist Beth Redbird is pursuing a full and diverse research agenda in her first year at Northwestern. She is studying how groups affect inequality by controlling social resources, whether affluence creates social segregation, and what speeches by political elites might tell us about inequality.

How Do Preemies Perform in School?
Parents of prematurely born babies often fear their children may go on to struggle in school, but findings from a new large-scale study from the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University and Northwestern Medicine should reassure parents.

Your Brain on Reward
Why would someone choose to gamble away $700,000 of his or her life savings at a Vegas poker table rather than save it for retirement? For psychologist and IPR associate Robin Nusslock, this choice is an example of a larger and more fundamental question, “To what extent do basic reward systems in the brain inform the decisions—both healthy and unhealthy—that we make in our life?”

New Book Calls for Putting More Humanities Into Economics
In a passionately argued new book, Northwestern University literary scholar Gary Saul Morson and Northwestern President and IPR economist Morton Schapiro make the claim that economics is missing its humanity, and economists must look to literature to make their research work in the real world.

Positive Engagement in Preschool Key to Developmental Gains
For the most part, focusing on the quality of early childhood education has emphasized teachers, often missing the central role that children play in their own development. A new study by developmental psychologist and IPR associate Terri Sabol has found that children's individual engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks was important to the gains they made during the preschool year, even after taking into account differences in classroom quality.

Teachers Benefit from Proximity
A study by education professor and IPR associate James Spillane suggests teachers may benefit from the chance encounters that stem from working near one another inside the school building.

Destiny Peery Brings Interdisciplinary Approach to Law and Bias
A JD with a PhD in social psychology, IPR associate Destiny Peery explores the intersection of law and issues of race, identity, equality, and discrimination. Her scholarship seeks to understand how the law defines and understands discrimination, with one goal being to determine how legal institutions can catch up with dynamic perceptions of race and ethnicity.

Exploring the DNA of Discovery
As part of the Science in Human Culture Program, sociologist and IPR associate Steven Epstein focuses on the relationships among social movements, domain experts, and health institutions.

Trivial Times: Fake News Guides Real Opinions in Digital Media Environment
IPR associate Stephanie Edgerly, who joined Medill in 2012 after finishing her PhD at the University of Wisconsin, explores how young people interact with media in the context of news, entertainment, and sharing via social networks. That research is closely intertwined with the fake-news phenomenon.

SESP Community Honors Dean Peterson
The Student Affairs Office, long considered the heart of the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP), will be renamed the Penelope Peterson Office of Student Affairs, Northwestern University Provost Dan Linzer announced during a May 31 celebration of Peterson’s tenure as dean.

May


Dissecting Key Aspects of the Political Landscape
The 11th annual Chicago Area Political and Social Behavior Workshop (CAB) focused on key aspects shaping the current political landscape, “highlighting the reach of politics in topics such as wealth, geography, homes, and journalism,” said IPR political scientist James Druckman in opening the workshop on May 5 at Northwestern University’s Evanston Campus.

The Vital Role of Government Statistics
According to a recent bipartisan report between the American Enterprise Institute and the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, government data are critical not only to policy, but to businesses and families—even your local weather anchor—and should not be a partisan issue.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
Pairing early childhood education for low-income children with career training for their parents in a single program has the potential to break the cycle of poverty, according to IPR researchers studying the CareerAdvance program.

Combating Medical Students' Racial Bias
Although many medical schools include diversity training in their curriculum, racial disparities in quality of care persist. Research shows these sometimes stem from physician attitudes, leading to differences in treatment and undermining trust in medical care. A new study by psychologist and IPR associate Sylvia Perry and her colleagues identifies one possible cause of biased attitudes and proposes possible solutions.

Infographic: Income Segregation in French and U.S. Cities
Large U.S. cities are more socioeconomically segregated than French metropolises of the same size, according to research by IPR sociologist Lincoln Quillian published in Demography.

April


A Moment of 'Democratic Imperative'?
When and why do governments become less authoritarian? Why have some countries moved from authoritarianism toward instability, while others have become more democratic? Are democracies in the United States and Western Europe headed for breakdown? At an April workshop led by IPR political scientist Rachel Beatty Riedl, an international group of scholars discussed how past cases of democratic change can inform the contemporary moment.

Faculty Spotlight: Heather Schoenfeld
From a forthcoming book on the rise of mass incarceration to studies of state prison reforms, IPR sociologist and legal scholar Heather Schoenfeld applies a historical-sociological lens to understanding how the United States became the world's biggest jailer, and what policies might do to change it.

Creating Order Out of War
"Civil war" usually conjures up images of "anarchy and a collapse of order," according to political scientist and IPR associate Ana Arjona. But are civil wars always chaotic? According to Arjona's new book, Rebelocracy: Social Order in the Colombian Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2016), not necessarily.

Research Suggests Divide in How Millennials Value News
The way young adults consume news varies by socioeconomic background, according to a study by assistant professor of journalism and IPR associate Stephanie Edgerly. The research also highlights that millennials today are highly skeptical of news in general and do not believe everything they read.

IPR Economist Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Charles F. Manski has been named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. He was recognized for the far-reaching impact of his research, his exceptional service to the economics and statistics professions, and the exemplary role he has played in advising the nation on research and public policy.

Food Security and Women's Empowerment
The 61st session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women was dedicated to examining women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. In a panel organized by the Women’s U.N. Report Network, two Northwestern professors described some of the causes and consequences of women’s food insecurity, as well as how it holds women back.

Infographic: Cash for Carbon
A recent study in Uganda, led by IPR development economist Seema Jayachandran and her colleagues, suggests that paying people to conserve their trees could be a highly cost-effective way to reduce deforestation, and therefore carbon emissions.

March


Expanding the Evanston-Northwestern Education Partnership
Evanston’s educational research-practice partnership will expand thanks to $1 million in combined support from the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. The partnership, which brings together Evanston schools, their administrators, and Northwestern University researchers from the University’s Institute for Policy Research, seeks to improve the lives of Evanston students through the implementation of practical research findings.

Northwestern Leaders Join National Academy of Education
IPR Director David Figlio, an education economist, and Northwestern University President and IPR economist Morton Schapiro have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Education, an honor society that advances high-quality research to inform and improve education policy and practice.

Living on Less than $2 a Day
In her IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lecture, Johns Hopkins sociology Kathryn Edin zeroed in on extreme poverty, recounting the day-to-day struggles of those who live on less than $2 a day and dissecting national data on the trend. Edin also highlighted possible solutions and offered a litmus test for any proposed reform.

Faculty Spotlight: Burton Weisbrod
From his early studies in chemical engineering, IPR economist Burton Weisbrod found the "blanks" between elements in the periodic table intriguing. This idea of blanks stuck with him when he switched over to studying economics in college, and he has spent his career filling in the blank between private enterprise and government with studies of a third sector—nonprofits.

Infographic: School Shootings Linked to Increased Unemployment
Many researchers have tried to understand why school shootings are a uniquely American phenomenon, but past studies have presented fragmented and even contradictory findings. A new Northwestern study takes a novel approach to the data and reveals a surprising predictor of increases in U.S. school shootings—times of economic hardship. 

Do Boycotts Work?
Kellogg’s, Pepsi, Uber, L.L. Bean. In recent months, a number of high-profile companies have been the targets of boycotts, many of which have taken on a distinct political tone. IPR associate Brayden King explains his research on boycotts, which finds that media attention, more than petition signatures, make boycotts effective.

A Contemporary Understanding of Human Trafficking
For most, human trafficking is sex trafficking, including forced prostitution. However, federal trafficking legislation also covers labor trafficking, including debt bondage, forced labor, and involuntary child labor. But do media and public opinion reflect this broader definition? Tabitha Bonilla, an IPR research assistant professor, discussed her examination of the topic at a February 6 IPR colloquium.

February


David Figlio Named Dean of Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy
David Figlio, the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy, and director and faculty fellow of the Institute for Policy Research, has been appointed dean of the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) at Northwestern University, effective Sept. 1.

Faculty Spotlight: Seema Jayachandran
IPR economist Seema Jayachandran set out to study engineering and physics, but two years into her PhD program in theoretical physics at Harvard, she realized it wasn’t the right fit. Today, instead of studying theories behind the mass of quarks or leptons, she now studies gender differences in the mass of humanity—as well as other developmental issues with practical policy applications in countries such as India and Uganda.

Infographic: The Affordable Care Act and Emergency Room Access
As Senate Republicans begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), IPR economist Matthew Notowidigdo and IPR associate Craig Garthwaite, a strategy professor, find that Medicaid expansion led to more Medicaid patients in the emergency room and lower travel times to the hospital than before states expanded the program.

No White House Access, No Problem?
Since taking over the White House briefing room, the Trump administration has floated several ideas that would make radical changes to how the press covers the White House and potentially restrict press access.  This means “the media will need to think about how to cover the White House in a whole new way,” said IPR mass communication scholar Rachel Davis Mersey at Northwestern University’s Science Café event on January 18.

Undergraduates Tackle Research, Prepare for 'Knowledge Society'
Students in IPR's Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants (SURA) program learned how a research project gets off the ground and discovered more about what they want to do after graduation. The application period for the 2017 SURA program closes February 27.

IPR Anthropologist Receives Grant to Measure Water Insecurity
Under a new £250,000 (approximately $310,000) grant from the U.K.-funded Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) research initiative, IPR anthropologist Sera Young and an international team of researchers seek to develop a cross-cultural scale of perceived household water insecurity.

January


Are Great Teachers Poor Scholars?
Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and Professor David Figlio, both IPR economists, have published research asking the question that has challenged elite universities and liberal arts colleges alike in recent times: “Are Great Teachers Poor Scholars?” Their answer is that there is no relationship between the teaching quality and research quality of tenured Northwestern faculty.

Faculty Spotlight: Claudia Haase
Growing up in East Germany, "We had no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, we lived behind a wall," recalled Claudia Haase, a developmental psychologist and IPR associate. "But there were some people who showed remarkable resilience in the face of this adversity." Today, Haase draws on that observation to study how different factors—from social to biological—affect humans across their lives.

Communicating Science in a Politicized Era
IPR political scientist James Druckman has been studying public opinion on climate change to understand the hurdles and antidotes to effectively communicating information on seemingly controversial scientific topics. In doing so, he seeks to answer key questions of how researchers and policymakers can help the public to better understand science and related policies. 

Two-Gen Researchers Receive $1.4 Million Grant
Northwestern University’s Two Generation Research Initiative has received a four-year, $1.4 million grant to study the expansion of CareerAdvance, an innovative education program that combines quality early learning for preschoolers with career training in the healthcare field for their low-income parents.

Op-Ed: Be 'Color-Brave' With Your Kids
IPR's Sandra WaxmanOnnie Rogers, and Jennifer Richeson argue that instead of shielding children, we should be 'color-brave'—bold, intentional, and deliberate when discussing race with them.

Infographic: Does School Spending Matter?
study by IPR labor and education economist Kirabo Jackson finds strong ties between school spending and long-term student outcomes. Published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, the study tracks large spending increases that resulted from court cases in 28 states between 1971 and 2010.

For 2016 news, visit: www.ipr.northwestern.edu/about/news/2016/html