Measuring a Foundation's Performance
Michael McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation, addressed the conundrum of measuring performance among foundations in a special lecture on November 10 held at Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. McPherson, an education economist, has been president of the foundation for the past 12 years.
Learning New Words? Linguistic Context is Key for Infants (Infographic)
IPR psychologist Sandra Waxman discovers that even before infants can speak many words, they use the few words they already know to learn more.
Connecting Compensation and Skill
Law professor and IPR associate Max Schanzenbach reassesses the public-sector pay gap—the difference in earnings between public- and private-sector workers—to determine how differences in skill might account for those in pay.
The Unintended Effects of Expanding Educational Access
Does increasing access to education always lead to positive effects? Not necessarily, finds economist and IPR associate Nicola Bianchi, who studied an Italian reform that drastically increased enrollment in college-level STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs in the 1960s.
Fan Forums Emulate (or Mirror) History Class
Digital learning expert and IPR associate Jolie Matthews studied an online fan community and discovered that its members engaged in many of the practices for studying history that teachers advocate in the classroom.
Faculty Spotlight: Leslie McCall
Long before Occupy Wall Street or presidential candidates raised the topic of income inequality, IPR sociologist Leslie McCall was fixated on the topic. Since then, her interest in it has fueled two books and many journal articles and book chapters, as well as a growing list of projects.
Faculty Spotlight: John Heinz
IPR faculty emeritus John Heinz's decision to pursue law led to a half century-long career of research, teaching, and institutional service, encompassing groundbreaking studies on the legal profession’s structure and networks; directing the American Bar Foundation; and his latest project, analyzing letters written by ordinary mid-19th century women.
Helping Central Banks Think about Uncertainty and Expectations
IPR economist Charles F. Manski was an invited presenter at the third International Monetary Fund (IMF) Statistical Forum in Frankfurt on November 19. Before a group of approximately 200 international economists, statisticians, central bankers, and other invited guests, Manski discussed his work on expectations and the heterogeneity of expectations that persons might hold for uncertain future events.
Peering into Our Robot Future
Driverless Google cars have traveled more than 1 million miles on U.S. highways, one of three couples stands at the altar because of a dating algorithm, and computers regularly beat chess and Jeopardy champions. According Australian parliamentarian Andrew Leigh, these are but a few examples of how technological breakthroughs currently affect our lives—with more to come. Leigh discussed our robot future at his Distinguished Public Policy Lecture on October 27.
Faculty Spotlight: Rachel Davis Mersey
IPR mass communication scholar Rachel Davis Mersey joined the faculty at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in 2008, where she has pioneered research on how readers' identities affect their media preferences, the ways in which digital media can build communities, and determining what information audiences need.
Infographic: In Today's Complex Media Environment, How Do People Consume News?
From newspapers to news apps, Americans today have more options than ever when it comes to how they get the news. In a recent study, IPR associate Stephanie Edgerly examines how different audiences take advantage of the ever-expanding news media environment.
Do Gun Laws Lead to More, or Less, Crime?
Does allowing citizens to carry guns deter crime, or lead to more of it? In a new working paper, IPR economist Charles F. Manski and the University of Virginia's John Pepper seek to explain why people who use the same data about gun laws' effects can come to such vastly different conclusions.
The Costs of Imperfect Census Data
IPR statistician Bruce Spencer and IPR graduate research assistant Zachary Seeskin examine in a recent working paper if it is possible to cut costs for the upcoming 2020 census in the United States, how much accuracy you get for that money, and if the accuracy is sufficient for the uses of the census. In another working paper, they conduct a cost-benefit analysis for South Africa.
Tracking Disorders in Youth After Detention
Almost two-thirds of males and three-quarters of females who enter juvenile detention do so with psychiatric disorders such as depression and drug and alcohol use disorders. But what happens when they are released? Using data from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, behavioral scientist and IPR associate Linda Teplin, Northwestern's Karen Abram (the study's lead author), and their colleagues empirically investigate disorders in youth after detention in an article in JAMA Psychiatry.
ABCD Institute Celebrates 20 Years
IPR talked with John McKnight, Professor Emeritus of Education and Social Policy, former IPR fellow, and co-founder of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) about ABCD's past, present, and future, as well as its 20th anniversary conference in Blackpool, England, this past June.
Unpacking the Narrative of Poverty in Education
On October 22, five IPR experts offered reporters shorthand versions of some of their recent research findings and advice on how to enrich reporting at an Education Writers Association seminar in Chicago.
Australian Parliamentarian Discusses Robotic Future in IPR Lecture
Australian parliamentarian Andrew Leigh discussed the effects of rapid advances in automation on economic inequality worldwide at IPR's Distinguished Public Policy Lecture.
Babe Ruth and Earthquake Hazard Maps
IPR researchers have turned to an unusual source—Major League Baseball—to help learn why maps used to predict shaking in future earthquakes often do poorly.
Protecting Workers Through Policy
As discussions of raising the minimum wage take place at the state and federal level, IPR political scientist Daniel Galvin looks at what happens when workers are not paid the wages to which they are legally entitled.
Challenging the Local Warming Effect
IPR political scientist James Druckman researches the connection between daily temperature and beliefs about global warming, testing whether short-term perceptions of temperature might be altered to reflect a more long-term view.
Improving Education Research through Summer Training
More than 60 education researchers from around the nation took part in two summer training workshops, sponsored by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) and its National Center for Education Research (NCER) and led by IPR faculty.
IPR Economist Tapped for National Economic Initiative
The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution, appointed IPR economist Diane Schanzenbach as its new director. Her two year appointment began August 3.
Mass Incarceration's Enduring Consequences
Sociologist, legal scholar, and IPR associate John Hagan studies the cascading effects of parental jail time on young adults who came of age during the Great Recession.
Studying Economic Inequality among American Children
In a new project, IPR social demographer Christine Percheski offers insight into disparities in net worth among families with children under 18.
How Venture Capital Firms Compete
Associate professor of strategy and IPR associate Michael Mazzeo looks at how venture capital firms choose which startups to fund, and how that affets their own success in the marketplace.
Is Day-to-Day Teen Depression the Same for Boys and Girls?
IPR developmental psychobiologist Emma Adam investigates how depressive symptoms affect adolescents' day-to-day emotional lives, and how the daily experiences of depression differ between girls and boys.
Country-to-City Links, Migration Can Improve Rural Lives
Three-quarters of the world's migrants are internal migrants who migrate somewhere else within their own country. IPR economist Cynthia Kinnan examines whether internal migration is a good thing for household members left behind.
Summer Research Job Offers Policy Insights, Some Travel
Northwestern undergraduates obtained resume-building experiences through IPR's Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants program. Some lucky RAs even got to travel to New Orleans!
Breaking Through the "Class Ceiling"
A new book from management and organizations professor and IPR associate Lauren Rivera finds that elite investment banks, consulting firms, and law firms overwhelmingly favor white, upper-class applicants during the hiring process.
Men Gain Weight When They Become Dads
A team of IPR researchers discovers that men's body mass indexes increase after they become dads.
Education in the Digital Age
The pros and cons of online classes, the worrying gap in young people’s Internet skills, and a dramatic increase in preschool iPad use were just a few of the topics broached during IPR’s May 19 policy research briefing on Capitol Hill.
Faculty Spotlight: Mesmin Destin
IPR social psychologist Mesmin Destin seeks out interventions to guide high schoolers, middle schoolers, and first-generation college students and that will help address inequities they might face.
Biology and Beyond
At IPR's Cells to Society: The Center for Social Disparities and Health, interdisciplinary scholars are decoding complex social impacts on genes and exploring dynamic new models of human development.
The Economics of Human Development
On April 27, more than 180 faculty, students, and members of the public gathered to hear James Heckman, a Nobel laureate and University of Chicago economist, speak about his game-changing work on human potential as the IPR Spring 2015 Distinguished Public Policy Lecturer.
Encouraging Interdisciplinary Dialogue
The ninth annual Chicago Area Political and Social Behavior (CAB) Workshop previewed some cutting-edge social and political science research to the 80-plus faculty and graduate students at Northwestern University on May 8.
To Reduce Incarceration, Recognize Humanity
Harvard sociologist Bruce Western, who has pioneered research on America’s “prison boom,” described the latest research findings in the field, depicted the struggles of former prisoners, and pointed to mass incarceration’s pernicious and widespread effects during the Social Inequality and Difference Lecture on May 7.
Saying No to ACA Medical Expansion Costs States Money
Twenty-one states have opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), arguing that the expansion would be too expensive. But according to new research by IPR economist Matthew Notowidigdo, the cost to hospitals from uncompensated care in those states roughly equals the cost of Medicaid expansion.
IPR Faculty Receive Guggenheim Fellowships
IPR sociologist Monica Prasad and IPR social psychologist Jennifer Richeson are among the newly named 2015 Guggenheim Fellows, representing U.S. and Canadian 175 scholars and artists selected from more than 3,100 applicants.
Faculty Spotlight: Rebecca Seligman
How do social and cultural experiences become embedded in physical and mental health? This is one of the central questions driving IPR anthropologist Rebecca Seligman’s research.
Is Bipartisanship Dead?
Research on Congress’ rising polarization has only looked at half the picture, IPR political scientist Laurel Harbridge argues in her new book, Is Bipartisanship Dead? Policy Agreement and Agenda-Setting in the House of Representatives.
Chase-Lansdale, Others, Discuss Two-Gen Interventions at Panel
On April 7, the Aspen Institute released its Two Generations. One Future: An Anthology, which groups essays on the challenges and opportunities inherent to implementing two-generation policies and programs. IPR developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale served as a contributor and one of the three editors of the anthology.
Improving the Transition to a Tough Position
Being a school principal is a difficult job—and one that often has a steep learning curve. In an article in Educational Administration Quarterly, education professor and IPR associate James Spillane, with the University of Texas at Austin’s Linda Lee, examines what new principals face when transitioning into their positions.
The New Forgotten Half
IPR education researcher James Rosenbaum served as one of the authors of “The New Forgotten Half and Research Directions to Support Them,” a new report commissioned by the William T. Grant Foundation on young people who pursue, but do not complete, their higher education. He also took part in a May 1 discussion on the report.
The High Cost of Stereotypes
Stereotype threat—when one group suffers from a societal stereotype cast over their abilities—“happens everywhere,” said social psychologist Claude Steele during a February 4 keynote lecture at Northwestern. At IPR, an interdisciplinary cadre of researchers continue to push this field into new territory, detailing the effects of stereotypes, as well as pointing to potential interventions for addressing them.
Faculty Spotlight: Alice Eagly
Although the era of second-wave feminism had visible political successes sand challenges, psychological research wasn’t initially a robust part of the conversation. IPR social psychologist Alice Eagly was among a group of scholars who sought to change that.
Women in Mali Save, Invest, with No Banks Nearby
The newest and most popular saving and lending programs in Mali are “savings groups,” where women contribute money to a group fund and then collectively decide if they should loan money from the fund to other members of the group. In a recent IPR working paper, IPR economist Lori Beaman and her co-authors evaluate the impact of these savings groups on reducing poverty.
Does Medical Malpractice Law Affect Health Outcomes?
Surprisingly little is known about the relationship between the medical liabililty system and quality of care. In a recent NBER working paper, IPR health and law scholar Michael Frakes and his colleague study the relationship between such reforms and quality of care.
IPR Policing Expert Testifies Before Presidential Task Force
In the midst of heightened tensions between police officers and the public, President Obama established the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. IPR political scientist Wesley G. Skogan was one of the experts invited to make a presentation on February 13 in Phoenix.
Subtle Discrimination Harms, Too
In a recent IPR working paper, IPR psychobiologist Emma Adam, IPR social psychologist Jennifer Richeson, several IPR graduate research assistants, and their colleagues consider whether experiences of perceived racial and ethnic discrimination during adolescence and young adulthood affect how bodies react to stress later in life.
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.