Colloquia - Winter 2012


IPR Colloquia


David Figlio

Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy, and IPR Associate Director and Fellow, Northwestern University

“School Accountability and Family Sorting”

Abstract: Using U.S. Census microdata, Figlio and his colleagues investigate whether schoolaccountability systems affect families’ decisions about school choice and about where they reside. Exploiting time differences in the introduction of a state-level school accountability system, the researchers find evidence forschool accountability systems increasing the likelihood that families will enroll their children in private schools. The researchers also show that accountability systems influence where new residents to a metropolitan areachoose to reside. The results are particularly pronounced in those states with low assessment standards, where large fractions of students—and therefore schools—pass the accountability standards. The results differ by family type.

January 9, 2012 • IPR Conference Room, 617 Library Place • IPR Colloquium


Daniel Galvin

Assistant Professor of Political Science and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

“Resilience in the Rust Belt: Michigan Democrats and the UAW”

Abstract: Beginning in the 1970s, globalization-related trends put pressure on left-leaning parties around the world to fashion new policy agendas and revise their electoral strategies in order to stay competitive. Not all parties did—or did so successfully. A key inhibiting factor, scholars found, was the strength of their ties to labor unions. Adaptation, they posited, required weakening or severing those ties. Examining the case of Michigan, Galvin finds some peculiar dynamics: The relationship between the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) and the UAW remained unusually strong from 1970 to 2000, yet Democratic politicians frequently promoted “third-way” policies that contradicted or diverged from labor’s longstanding priorities. Drawing on archival research and more than two dozen elite interviews, Galvin argues that deep party-union integration led union officials to internalize the party’s strategic considerations (and support adaptation) and magnified the party’s organizational capacities (providing base stability). Offering an amendment to existing theories, this case suggests that past a certain point of integration, strong party-union linkages might generate synergies that help foster electoral resilience.

January 23, 2012 • IPR Conference Room, 617 Library Place • IPR Colloquium


Kathleen Cagney

Director, Population Research Center, and Associate Professor of Sociology and Health, University of Chicago

“Internalizing Neighborhood Disorder”

Abstract: Cagney and her colleagues draw on social disorganization and self-presentation theories to consider how neighborhood disorder is internalized and reflected in personal care. The researchers focus attention on older adults, consistent with the view that people internalize neighborhood influences more readily as they age. Using the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project’s unique module that asks interviewers to record a respondent’s level of self-care, they find that personal disorder is associated with both C-reactive protein and obesity, net of individual and contextual controls. They use structural equation modeling to examine pathways, finding that neighborhood disorder is most strongly associated with personal disorder--and personal disorder with physical health. This research suggests thatnormative contexts should receive greater attention in the sociology of health.

January 30, 2012 • Annenberg Hall, Room 303, 2120 Campus Drive • IPR/C2S Colloquium


Mesmin Destin

Assistant Professor of Human Development & Social Policy and Psychology, Northwestern University

“How Socioeconomic Contexts Influence Identity and Motivation for Youth”

Abstract: Most American children expect to attend college, but many fail to reach their imagined “college-bound” future selves. Minorities and youth from low socioeconomic status (SES) families are more likely to perform poorly in school and show decreased effort and motivation, despite lofty long-term goals. Destin proposes an identity-based motivation model asserting that the way young students think about their possible futures helps explain why this gap occurs. A series of brief field experiments with middle school students improved motivation by making the pathway to future goals such as college feel “open” through need-based financial aid and linking education to attractive, successful identities through information on the education-income correlation. Follow-up studies have explored how these effects are moderated by the socioeconomic context and mediated by the salience of future goals.

February 6, 2012 • IPR Conference Room, 617 Library Place • IPR Colloquium


Rebecca Seligman

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

“Social Suffering, Emotional Distress, and Diabetes Self-Care Among Mexicans in the United States”

Abstract: Diabetes disproportionately affects Hispanics in the United States, especially those of Mexican descent. From a biomedical perspective, causes of diabetes are understood to be located within individuals in unhealthy lifestyles and genetic vulnerability. Diabetes management is seen as a matter of personal responsibility centered on “self-care.” Narrative and freelist data from a two-phase exploratory study of Mexicans with diabetes demonstrate that from the perspective of study participants, causes of diabetes include various forms of social suffering and emotional distress related to things like noxious living situations, immigration, and gender-based violence. Emotions are also linked closely to diabetes control, and families, rather than individuals, are seen as the best source of diabetes management. These findings are used to support an argument that biomedical models of self-care are mismatched with lived experiences and understandings of self among Mexicans in the United States.

February 13, 2012 • IPR Conference Room, 617 Library Place • IPR Colloquium


Lauren Wakschlag

Professor and Vice Chair for Scientific and Faculty Development, Department of Medical Social Sciences, and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

“Triangulating Theory, Measurement Science, and Neuroscience to Elucidate the Boundaries of Developmental Psychopathology”

Abstract: Early intervention is key to promoting young children’s socioemotional development. Yet the overlap between the normative misbehavior of early childhood (such as tantrums, aggression, and noncompliance) and clinical symptoms of disruptive behavior provides a vexing challenge to accurate identification. This paper presents a theoretical approach for integrating developmental and clinical science to delineate boundaries between normative and atypical behavior in young children. The use of measurement science to put this “theory to the test” via validation of direct observation and parent-report tools designed to operationalize theoretical constructs into measurable behaviors is described. Initial work on the use of neuroscientific methods to elucidate whether measured distinctions between typical and atypical behavior have distinct neural substrates is also highlighted. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

February 20, 2012 • Annenberg Hall, Room 303, 2120 Campus Drive • IPR/C2S Colloquium


Linda Teplin

Owen L. Coon Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

“Mental Health Needs and Outcomes of Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Implications for Public Health Policy”

Abstract: Linda Teplin presents data from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, the first large-scale longitudinal study of psychiatric disorders, risky behaviors, and adult outcomes of juvenile detainees. The study addresses a key omission in the field. Most prior investigations examine community populations to see who becomes delinquent. Far fewer studies examine youth after they become involved in the juvenile justice system. Teplin will present epidemiologic data on psychiatric disorders, child maltreatment, death rates, and other outcomes. The discussion will focus on how the study’s findings can inform juvenile justice policy and improve public health for disadvantaged youth.

March 5, 2012 • Annenberg Hall, Room 303, 2120 Campus Drive • IPR Colloquium


Q-Center Colloquia

Roderick Little

Associate Director for Research & Methodology and Chief Scientist, U.S. Census Bureau; Richard D. Remington Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics, University of Michigan (on leave)

“Calibrated Bayes, Models, and the Role of Randomization in Surveys and Experiments”

Abstract:The calibrated Bayes approach to statistical inference capitalizes on the strength of Bayesian and frequentist approaches to statistical inference. In this approach, inferences under a particular model are Bayesian, but frequentist methods are used for model development and model checking to yield inferences that are calibrated—in the sense of having good repeated-sampling properties.The Bayesian approach to inference was historically regarded as not supporting randomization for sample selection or treatment allocation since the randomization distribution is not the basis for inference. Little discusses why randomization is important to his work as a calibrated Bayesian and provides some supporting examples.

January 26, 2012 • IPR Conference Room, 617 Library Place • Q-Center Colloquium


Ben Hansen

Associate Professor of Statistics, University of Michigan

“The Hidden Role of the Propensity Score”

Abstract: Propensity scores play two overt roles in the analysis of observational studies, helping to avoid extrapolation and promoting “covariate balance.” Purportedly, they also play an important hidden role: Matching on them is said to rearrange the sample in such a way that certain of its statistical characteristics resemble those of randomized experiments. A new large-sample theory linking the propensity score’s overt and hidden roles reveals that estimation error is more important than other contributors to mismatch on the propensity score. This mismatch can be contained with simple but non-standard adjustments to the matching procedure. Imperfections will remain, but they are easy to address post-matching. The resulting picture largely vindicates, but here and there repudiates, received wisdom about how best to match.

February 14, 2012 • IPR Conference Room, 617 Library Place • Q-Center Colloquium