Colloquia - Spring 2014


IPR Colloquia

Sandra Waxman

Louis W. Menk Chair in Psychology and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

"Infants, Language, and Gateways to Learning"

Abstract:  Language is a hallmark of our species. It is the primary conduit through which we share the contents of our minds and learn from others. Language abilities of young children now serve as benchmarks in investigations of social disparities, especially in the United States. But the power of language does not come from language alone—it derives from its fundamental links to human cognition. In this talk, Waxman will describe basic research revealing that even before infants begin to speak, their cognitive and linguistic systems are powerfully linked, and that this early link is rapidly tuned by infants’ early experiences to shape later outcomes in language and concept development. Throughout development, language fuels the acquisition of concepts. The presentation will highlight the ways in which this basic research could be integrated with investigations of early development in infants and young children from diverse populations.

March 31, 2014 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


Alice Eagly

James Padilla Professor of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Psychology, and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

"Glass Ceilings, Labyrinths, and Jungle Gyms: Has Anything Changed for Women as Leaders?"

Abstract:  In many nations, women have gained considerable access to leadership roles and are increasingly praised for their excellent skills as leaders. In fact, as Eagly’s research has shown, women, somewhat more than men, manifest leadership styles associated with effective leadership performance. Yet women remain underrepresented in leadership roles—especially at higher levels in organizations and governments. Because the reasons for this phenomenon are complex, women’s paths to leadership can be described as resembling a labyrinth that contains varied impediments. These impediments include stereotypes that leadership requires the culturally masculine qualities of assertiveness and dominance. Although this image has eroded somewhat, it continues to make it more difficult for women than men to show that they are qualified to lead, producing conflicting demands that women leaders have to negotiate.

April 7, 2014 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


Thomas D. Cook, Yang (Tanya) Tang, Shari Seidman Diamond

Thomas D. Cook, Joan and Sarepta Harrison Chair in of Ethics and Justice; Professor of Sociology, Education and Social Policy and Psychology; and IPR Fellow, and Yang (Tanya) Tang, Doctoral Student in Statistics and IPR Graduate Research Assistant; and Shari Seidman Diamond, Howard J. Trienens Professor of Law, Professor of Psychology,
Research Professor, and IPR Associate

"Labeling Social Interventions and the Way Social Science Evidence Is Used in Public Policy: A Case Study of Bail Bond Reform”

Abstract:  Cook and his colleagues present a case study of a reform of the bail bond hearing system in Cook County courts in 1999, when bail   hearings for most felonies were done by video rather than face-to-face with a judge. A previous comparative interrupted time series (CITS) study  showed that the intervention had the unintended side effect of increasing bail bond amounts, threatening the right to fair treatment under the law.  In part due to this finding, the new hearing system ended in 2008. The researchers, however, present daily CITS evidence over 17 years showing that the 1999 reform led to various managerial efficiencies and that the increased bail amounts were not due to the video, but instead to how judges were assigned to the video bail hearings. As planned, fewer judges were used in the new system, but for unknown reasons the judges chosen tended to assign higher bail amounts even prior to 1999. Analyses of decisions by judges who handled bail decisions before and after the new system indicate no increase in bail bond amounts, so the causal agent was not the one featured in the name given to the reform. The talk will also discuss the importance of the construct validity of the cause in policy research.

April 14, 2014 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


Lincoln Quillian

Professor of Sociology and IPR Fellow and Chair of Urban Policy and Community Development, Northwestern University

"Race, Class, and Location in Neighborhood Migration"

Abstract:  What factors uphold persistent neighborhood racial segregation in American metropolitan areas? Quillian analyzes migration as a neighborhood sorting process along multiple dimensions to address this question. Black and white migration is analyzed as guided by neighborhood racial composition, housing prices, neighborhood income level, geographic distance, and characteristics of the origin neighborhood. He uses a conditional logit discrete-choice model and data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1997–2009. For whites, neighborhood racial composition is the strongest driver of neighborhood mobility decisions that produce segregation, and its influence weakens little after accounting for the other dimensions of neighborhood sorting. For blacks, a significant part of race-sorting in mobility reflects the influence of correlated conditions like price and distance. Counterfactuals applied to the model suggest that direct neighborhood race effects and geographic distance are the largest contributors to segregated patterns of mobility.

April 21, 2014 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


Evelyn Brodkin

Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

"Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and the International Workfare Project"

Abstract:  Brodkin will discuss her new edited volume, Work and the Welfare State (Georgetown University Press). In it, scholars place street-level organizations at the analytic center of welfare-state politics, policy, and management. They offer a critical examination of efforts to change the welfare state to a workfare state by looking at on-the-ground issues in six countries: Australia, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, United States, and United Kingdom. These studies investigate what really goes on in the name of workfare and activation policies and what that means for the poor, unemployed, and marginalized populations subject to these policies. By adopting a street-level approach to welfare-state research, the volume reveals the critical, yet largely hidden, role of governance and management reforms in the evolution of the global workfare project. Brodkin discusses how these reforms have altered organizational arrangements and practices to emphasize workfare’s harsher regulatory features and undermine its potentially enabling ones.

April 28, 2014 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


Celeste Watkins-Hayes

Associate Professor of African American Studies and Sociology and IPR Faculty Fellow, Northwestern University

"Resources Gained, Resources Lost: Making Ends Meet While Living with HIV/AIDS"

Abstract:  With medical advances that have transformed HIV/AIDS from an inevitable death sentence to a chronic illness, experts now feel comfortable publicly pondering the prospect of “the beginning of the end of AIDS” in well-resourced countries like the United States. Yet it will be difficult to produce an “AIDS-free generation” without systematic attention to how the disease’s social dimensions shape the economic realities of those most affected. In this qualitative study of more than 100 HIV-positive women of various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds in Chicago, Watkins-Hayes investigates how evolving policies and shifts in the economy both contribute to and undermine the economic survival strategies of this population. The case of HIV/AIDS reveals how individuals grappling with complex disadvantages negotiate strategic engagement with both government and nonprofit institutions in the wake of a shifting safety net.

May 5, 2014 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


Craig Garthwaite

Assistant Professor of Management and Strategy, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

"Hospitals as Insurers of Last Resort"

Abstract:  A combination of factors—an unfunded government mandate, charitable obligations, and medical ethics—require U.S. hospitals to provide emergency medical care to patients regardless of health insurance status or ability to pay. Garthwaite and his co-authors use previously confidential hospital financial data to study how these factors shape the relationship between health insurance and hospital uncompensated-care costs, or medical care for which no payment is received. Using both across- and within-state variation in health insurance rates, they find that a 10 percentage point increase in a state’s share uninsured raises total hospital uncompensated care costs by roughly $80 per person. These results are highly concentrated in private nonprofit hospitals with an emergency department (ED), while for-profit hospitals and hospitals without an ED are largely unaffected. They use hospital-level panel data to show that uncompensated care costs fall sharply when a hospital permanently closes its ED, and that hospital closures increase the uncompensated care costs of nearby hospitals. Taken together, the results reveal private nonprofit hospitals are insurers of last resort and help understand the challenges with maintaining access to emergency medical treatment for individuals living in areas with low rates of health insurance.

May 12, 2014 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


David Baker

Michael A. Gertz Professor of Medicine; Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics; Deputy Director, Institute for Public Health and Medicine; and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

"Multilevel Interventions to Address Healthcare Disparities"

Abstract:  Healthcare disparities usually result from a complex set of issues. As a consequence, single-component or single-level interventions might have limited or no benefit. Multilevel, multicomponent interventions are needed to make major reductions in disparities. However, researchers often study single-level interventions, such as patient education, clinician reminders, or financial incentives to improve care. This talk will review a randomized controlled trial of a multicomponent, multilevel intervention to improve colorectal cancer screening at a federally qualified health center that serves a mostly uninsured Latino, Spanish-speaking population with low educational attainment and high rates of poverty. This study serves as an example of the type of interventions needed to address disparities, and the policy challenges to get support for even highly effective, low-cost interventions.

May 19, 2014 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


Thomas Ogorzalek

Assistant Professor of Political Science and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

"What's the Matter with Park  Slope? Identities, and Interests in the 2013 New York Mayoral Election"

Abstract:  Current accounts of urban politics emphasize the centrality of realistic group conflict in electoral politics and the importance of developmental—as opposed to redistributive—politics for local city governance. For more than two decades, New York City politics fit with these theories, but Bill DeBlasio’s 2013 rise to the mayoralty seems to fly in the face of these long-held assumptions about city politics. What role did his distinctive policy positions play, and what was the role of identity politics in the outcome? This analysis leverages geographic variation in turnout and vote choice to examine the role of policy positions, political organizations, and political ideologies in this distinctive electoral outcome, as well as assessing DeBlasio’s prospects for governance.

June 2, 2014 • IPR Conference Room, 617 Library Pl. • IPR


IPR Seminar on Performance Measurement

Henry Hansmann

Oscar M. Ruebhausen Professor of Law, School of Law, Yale University

"The Performance of Foundation-Owned Companies"

Abstract:   A number of world class companies—such as the Tata Group, Robert Bosch, and Bertelsmann—are majority-owned by charitable nonprofit foundations. This structure places control of the company in the hands of a self-perpetuating foundation board that is immune to outside discipline through a proxy fight or hostile acquisition, and whose members receive no incentive compensation. Conventional economic theories of corporate governance predict that such companies would be riven with agency costs and therefore highly inefficient. Yet previous studies find that companies owned by industrial foundations seem to perform as well as more conventional investor-owned companies. Hansmann and colleagues reassess the relative performance of foundation-owned companies by comparing a substantial sample of them from the Nordic countries with various different samples of investor-owned Nordic companies, including matched pairs of companies in the same industry and of comparable size. They find that, overall, foundation-owned companies have similar accounting profitability, take less risk, and grow more slowly than listed investor-owned companies. They offer alternative theories regarding the costs and benefits of foundation ownership that appear consistent with their results.

May 7, 2014 • 3245 Andersen Hall, 2003 Sheridan Rd. • IPR/SPM


Q-Center Colloquia

Trivellore Raghunathan

Chair and Professor of Biostatistics, and Research Professor, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

"Combining Information from Multiple Sources for Medical Expenditure Modeling"

Abstract:  Expenditures, prevalence of diseases, and other demographic factors are needed to understand the cost burden of medical care and to develop strategies for improving the efficiency of the healthcare system. Unfortunately, there is no one data set or source that can be used to perform this task.  This talk will report on a strategy that combines multiple imperfect data sources and uses various statistical techniques to estimate prevalence rates of diseases, to use modeling to attribute costs to different diseases, and to make cost projections under various what-if scenarios. The focus is on analyzing data on elderly adults using the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey and the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey for the years 1999–2009.

April 16, 2014 • IPR Conference Room, 617 Library Place • IPR/Q-Center