January 28, 2011
The Institute for Policy Research (IPR) is an interdisciplinary public policy research institute founded in 1968-69 at Northwestern University. Our mission is to stimulate and support excellent social science research on significant public policy issues and to disseminate the findings widely—
to students, scholars, policymakers, and the public. www.northwestern.edu/ipr
>> News and Research
> What Do the Midterm Elections Mean for Bipartisanship, Healthcare Reform, and the Tea Party?
An IPR forum examined some of the potential consequences of the 2010 midterm elections. IPR political scientist Laurel Harbridge found little reason to hope for more bipartisanship despite recent calls to the contrary in the wake of the Arizona shootings. Political scientist Kenneth Janda discussed the tea party movement, finding no evidence of a cohesive national movement. With House Republicans voting to repeal healthcare reform, economist and IPR associate David Dranove enumerated what might remain of the legislation.
> One Family, One Health Insurance Plan for Better Child Outcomes
Insurance alone isn't enough to ensure timely, quality healthcare for children, according to recent research by IPR sociologist Christine Percheski. Policymakers need to consider the consequences of having children in a single family on multiple plans.
> Rise and Shine? It's Easier for Kids When a Parent Works Part-Time
Children who have a stay-at-home parent sleep on average about 20 minutes less—and children whose parents work overtime sleep about a half hour less—than those with a parent who works part-time, according to new research by IPR graduate research assistant and lead author Cassandra Hart, IPR psychobiologist Emma Adam, and Emily Snell of MDRC.
> Black Media in the Obama Era
IPR cultural anthropologist Micaela di Leonardo examines why mainstream media have focused heavily on conservative white talk radio while ignoring minority radio outlets—and minority media in general—that often have much larger audiences. In particular, she discusses the most successful black radio show in the United States today, the 16-year-old, syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, which has an audience of 8 million.
> Seed Grants Seek to "Grow" Policy-Relevant Research Projects
IPR seed grants provide support for innovative, multidisciplinary projects on a small scale, expanding their capacity to eventually attract additional funds and support. So far the Institute has awarded six grants, including ones to examine the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation, to use empirical research to protect juvenile due process rights, and to improve a dual-generation, postsecondary education/training intervention for low-income mothers and their children.
> New IPR Working Papers
For the complete list of IPR working papers, go to http://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/publications/workingpapers/index.html
"Paint the White House Black: Minority Media in the Obama Era"
IPR anthropologist Micaela di Leonardo discusses the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the most successful black radio show in the United States, with a significantly larger audience than many media-hyped conservative ones, also following the show's coverage of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, election, and early governance.
"Genes, Eyeglasses, and Social Policy"
IPR economist Charles F. Manski divides the literature relating human genetics to personal outcomes into two types of work, heritability and using specific genes as covariates, discussing how they may inform social policy. He cautiously argues that research using genes as covariates is potentially informative.
"Bias in Political Communication Experiments"
IPR political scientist James Druckman and IPR graduate research assistant Thomas Leeper discuss how and when pretreatment events affect experimental outcomes, possibly leading to studies that overstate the malleability of the mass public, miss identifying two groups of potential voters, and contradict macrolevel work on aggregate public opinion trends.
"Congressional Agenda Control and the Decline of Bipartisan Cooperation"
Looking at House roll call votes and bill cosponsorship coalitions and then examining congressional agenda control, IPR political scientist Laurel Harbridge adds to evidence contradicting the popular notions that polarization in Congress has increased substantially since the 1970s and that responsiveness of representatives to their constituents has declined.
> New Book: "The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods"
IPR faculty emeritus John McKnight and co-author Peter Block argue that rampant consumerism has led to crippled communities where residents believe they must purchase or outsource their community needs, from healthcare to childcare and recreation. However, the authors offer practical ways for communities to discover and nurture voluntary, self-organizing structures to reweave their social fabric to create a more satisfying life for all families and residents.
> IPR Faculty in the Media
IPR political scientist Wesley G. Skogan was interviewed about the reasons behind Chicago's record-low 2010 murder rate and on the decline of Chicago community policing by Chicago Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune, and the New York Times. The UK's Guardian interviewed behavioral scientist and IPR associate Linda Teplin about her study showing the mentally ill were more likely to be crime victims rather than perpetrators. IPR education researcher James Rosenbaum explains in the Sacramento Bee why a vocational certificate, instead of a college degree, might be a more realistic goal for many high school students with mediocre grades. Political scientist Victoria DeFrancesco Soto discusses President Barack Obama's intentions for immigration reform following his State of the Union address on Univision (in Spanish).
>> Upcoming Events
> IPR Winter Colloquium Series
IPR's Monday colloquium series continues with a multidisciplinary roster of speakers addressing a wide variety of topics, such as the news industry and the demos, affirmative action in college admissions, and state taxes and school finance reform. Another Q-Center event is also on the calendar for Tuesday, March 15, with speaker Howard Bloom of MDRC.
> Building an Education Science: Investigating Mechanisms, SREE Conference,
The Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) will hold its fourth annual conference in Washington, D.C., March 3-5. Keynote speakers and distinguished panelists include the University of Chicago's Stephen Raudenbush; David Olds of the University of Colorado; John Easton, director of the Institute of Education Sciences; and Michael McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation. A record 500 attendees are expected.
> Forthcoming Lectures by Census Director Robert Groves, Johns Hopkins' Katherine Newman, and Michigan's Sheldon Danziger
IPR is looking forward to welcoming Census Director Dr. Robert Groves for its annual Distinguished Public Policy Lecture on Monday, May 2. Dean Katherine Newman of Johns Hopkins will inaugurate the Joint IPR/Sociology Social Inequality and Difference Lecture on Thursday, May 19, and Sheldon Danziger, director of the National Poverty Center, University of Michigan, will speak on Thursday, May 26.
> Long-Term Effects of Early Health, Policy Research Briefing, May 23
Mark your calendars for a policy research briefing that will trace the links between early health and child and adult outcomes. Panelists will be IPR developmental psychologist Lauren Wakschlag, IPR economist Jonathan Guryan, and MIT economist Michael Greenstone. The event will be held on Northwestern's Chicago Campus from noon to 1:30 p.m. Registration will begin in March.
For more information about these and other events, please visit: http://planitpurple.northwestern.edu/calendar/815
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