IPR's Top 10 of 2016
One of the oft-heard critiques of academic research is that it is conducted in a vacuum on arcane topics, unconnected to real people or events. Yet many of IPR's top-read research articles over the year challenge this type of thinking. In many cases, they were based on bodies of research or single studies that had research findings aligning with 2016's biggest headlines—from the water crisis in Flint to the 2016 election, global inequality, trust in police, and gender gaps, to name a few. 

Faculty Spotlight: Greg Miller
A child born into economic hardship has a higher risk of heart disease, disability, and even premature mortality than a child born to a higher-class family. While many studies have noted this disparity, IPR health psychologist Greg Miller has spent years unpacking the nuances of how socioeconomic status connects to health.

Manufacturing a Better Organ Transplant Process
What do organ transplants and manufacturing have in common? According to Jane Holl, pediatrician and IPR associate, a common technique in the manufacturing world—known as a Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA)—can also be used to improve complex processes in healthcare such as procuring and transporting organs for transplantation.

Polling by Probabilities?
When pollsters call up likely voters, they usually ask a simple question: Who are you going to vote for in the upcoming election? According to IPR economist Charles F. Manski, there might be a better way to phrase this question. Manski studies probabilistic polling, an alternative polling method that helped one major 2016 poll predict Donald Trump's victory.

Infographic: Race and Gender Dynamics in an Urban-to-Suburban Busing Program
Using in-depth interviews with students, IPR education sociologist Simone Ispa-Landa finds African-American students in an urban-to-suburban busing program expressed different views of race and gender than students not in the program.

Rare Look at Youth Post Detention Is Bleak
A new study from IPR associate Linda Teplin offers a bleak assessment in a rare look at the outcomes of delinquent youth five and 12 years after juvenile detention. Central to poor outcomes for the youth post detention are stark and persistent racial, ethnic, and gender disparities, according to the massive study that began in the mid-1990s.

Earthquake Faults Are Smarter Than We Think
IPR's Seth Stein, Bruce Spencer, and Edward Brooks have developed a new computer model and discovered that earthquake faults are smarter—in the sense of having better memory—than seismologists have long assumed.


'Alienated, Aggrieved, and Distrustful'
The writing was on the wall as early as 2014 for why working-class whites might throw their support behind Donald Trump, the Republican candidate and now president-elect, according to Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin, who delivered IPR's Fall 2016 Distinguished Public Policy Lecture on October 26.

Policy Implications of the 2016 Election
Through presentations on bipartisanship, the Supreme Court, healthcare, and immigration, four expert panelists dove deep into the policy implications of the 2016 election—all the while underscoring the future’s unknowns. 

Faculty Spotlight: Onnie Rogers
For IPR developmental psychologist Onnie Rogers, feeling like an "exception" sparked questions about identity and self-perception. These questions have informed her research, which focuses on how cultural norms, expectations, and stereotypes affect how youth see themselves, particularly in terms of schooling and education.

Infographic: Children Living with Uninsured Family Members
While scholars have identified many ways in which “nontraditional” family structures contribute to inequality among children, the association between family structure and disparities in health insurance coverage has been less documented. In research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, IPR sociologist Christine Percheski and her co-author examine how health insurance coverage rates differ according to family structure—such as whether the child’s family is led by two married parents, two unmarried parents, or a single parent.

Panel to Enhance Online Survey Platform TESS
Since 2002, the National Science Foundation-funded project, Time-sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences (TESS) has enabled researchers to conduct survey experiments with nationally representative samples, free of cost. TESS, which is currently housed at IPR, is now working with a new online data collection platform, the AmeriSpeak®Panel from NORC at the University of Chicago.

Workshop Brings Scholars Together to Fight Corruption
Corruption in government affects societies across the globe. Given its ubiquity and many forms, can it be curbed, and if so, how? An interdisciplinary group of scholars, co-organized by IPR sociologist Monica Prasad and Northwestern University political scientist Jordan Gans-Morse, met October 28–29 on the University’s Evanston Campus to discuss a forthcoming report and share their research and insights.

Finnish Educators Call FUSE an 'Inspiration'
Schools in Finland are adopting the FUSE Studio program because it promotes “well-learning” and reflects the goals of the country’s new core curriculum, Finnish educators said during a recent panel discussion at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy.


Experts Eye Election, Offer Reflection
After three months of intense campaigning following the Republican and Democratic conventions, both of the major-party nominees now find themselves in the final sprint toward the Election Day finish line on November 8. To take stock of some of the election’s structural factors, IPR asked 10 of its experts in the fields of political science, economics, social policy, and sociology to share their thoughts. What does their research reveal about five key features of presidential elections—candidate debates, polls, voter blocs, election laws, and political party dynamics?

Faculty Spotlight: Wesley G. Skogan
As a pioneering expert in policing, IPR political scientist Wesley G. Skogan has been on the cutting edge of studies of crime and policing for more than four decades. This affords him a longer-term perspective on what he sees as the most pressing issue facing American policing today, its “legitimacy crisis.”

Improving Nutrition Interventions
Almost 800 million people around the world are chronically undernourished, and more than 2 billion have micronutrient deficiencies. Despite this pressing need, programs aimed at improving nutrition are not always successful. In a chapter of the newly published Good Nutrition: Perspectives for the 21st Century (Karger Publishers, 2016), IPR anthropologist Sera Young and her colleagues illustrate the importance of nutrition interventions that reflect program beneficiaries’ desires and environments, rather than what program designers envision.

“Masking” the Loss of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs
Without the housing boom of the early 2000s, unemployment would have spiked years before the start of the Great Recession, according to a recent study by IPR economist Matthew Notowidigdo and his colleagues. Instead, the housing boom—and the related increase in construction jobs—concealed a substantial loss in manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2007.

Identifying Barriers to HIV Prevention for Young Gay Men
In AIDS and Behavior, IPR associates Gregory Phillips II and Brian Mustanski, along with their colleagues, explore awareness and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a drug that prevents HIV infection, among young men who have sex with men.

Spotting Early Warning Signs of Psychosis
Schizophrenia affects about 1 percent of the population. That might sound like a small number, but to psychologist and IPR associate Vijay Mittal, it isn't small at all—and neither are its consequences. Mittal and his colleagues have identified early warning signs of schizophrenia that can be spotted in young people before they develop into full-blown psychosis.

Infographic: Substance Abuse and Dependence After Juvenile Detention
Abuse and dependence on "hard drugs" are far less common among delinquent African-American youth than delinquent Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, according to a study co-authored by behavioral scientist and IPR associate Linda Teplin, associate professor Leah Welty, and their colleagues. "We found that African-Americans are less likely than other racial/ethnic groups to abuse hard drugs. Yet African-Americans are disproportionately incarcerated for drug crimes," Teplin said.


IPR Welcomes Eight New Fellows
This September, IPR will welcome eight new fellows, one of its biggest incoming faculty cohorts ever. With research interests ranging from the economics and politics of developing countries to identity development and social inequality, these eight experts represent five disciplines, with six housed in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and two in the University’s School of Education and Social Policy.

A Sample of One?
Can a randomized clinical trial be informative with a sample size of just one per treatment? The answer is yes, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by IPR economist Charles F. Manski and Alexsey Tetenov, a former IPR graduate research assistant, now at the University of Bristol. The two challenge the use of hypothesis tests in medical decision-making, suggesting a way to reduce sample size in clinical trials and better inform treatment choice.

Reports of Childhood Abuse and Risk of Adult Death

Childhood abuse has been linked to a variety of adult psychiatric problems, but its association with risk of death as an adult is not well understood. Research led by IPR psychologist Edith Chen—and co-authored with IPR psychologists Greg Miller and Dan Mroczek—uncovers a link between self-reported childhood abuse and an increased risk of premature death in women.

Involving Fathers in Their Child's Care From “deadbeat” to “stay-at-home” dads, the public’s perception of fathers’ roles has shifted from more negative to more positive portrayals over the years. Though moms still shoulder the bulk of care, a recent clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics—co-authored by pediatrician and IPR associate Craig Garfield—shows that fathers are now more involved in their children’s lives than ever.

Cultural Values Affect Educational Outcomes
In addition to genes, research has shown that our parents pass along socioeconomic traits related to their education, wealth, and income that help us succeed in school and life. A new study, co-authored by IPR experts David Figlio and Paola Sapienza, finds yet another passed-on trait that aids in success: culture. 

Is Stress Contributing to the Achievement Gap?
In a review published in the journal American Psychologist, Emma Adam and her colleagues argue that the psychological stress associated with perceptions of discrimination and stereotype threat—and the body’s physiologic response to that stress—may help explain the achievement gap.

Faculty Spotlight: James Druckman
IPR political scientist James Druckman—who was an undergraduate at Northwestern and eventually found his way back to the University as a professor, mentor, and one of the nation’s leading political scientists—focuses on the study of public opinion. Examining how citizens form opinions and how governments respond to those opinions “gets at the heart of studying the quality of democracy,” Druckman said.


Do Stop-and-Frisk Policies Affect Chicagoans' Trust in Police?
For police departments across the country, stop-and-frisk—when an officer stops and questions an individual and then searches him or her—has become the strategy of choice for deterring crime. In an IPR working paper, political scientist and policing expert Wesley G. Skogan examines the consequences of such a policy in Chicago, especially focusing on how stop-and-frisk affects the public's trust in police.

Ready for School, Ready for Life
Early education is an issue on lawmakers’ minds: President Barack Obama has proposed making preschool universal, and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s new antipoverty plan emphasizes ways to strengthen early childhood development. At IPR's “Ready for School, Ready for Life” policy research briefing, three IPR experts addressed key issues of early education, including cost effectiveness and quality, before more than 60 researchers, nonprofit leaders, and congressional staffers.

How 'Magical Thinking' and 'Buy American' Shape Public Opinion
In the 10 years since it started, the annual Chicago Area Political and Social Behavior workshop has become a prime opportunity for the Midwest political science community to engage with leading social scientists on discussions of crossdisciplinary research—from a political scientist’s study of gender stereotypes to an economist’s take on probabilistic polling.

Faculty Spotlight: Simone Ispa-Landa
From observing how individuals cope with having a visible criminal record, to how white students and teachers in affluent suburban schools structure the experiences of their black classmates, IPR education sociologist Simone Ispa-Landa seeks to uncover how race, gender, and stigma operate on the day-to-day, experiential level.

'Not Too Late'
In April, the Chicago Tribune announced the city’s 1,000th gunshot victim, a 16-year-old male gunned down in a Southside public housing complex. Many wonder what can be done in the face of such ubiquitous violence. One answer might lie in a program for at-risk youth being evaluated by IPR economist Jonathan Guryan.

The Future of Collective Innovation
“Technology is enabling new forms of organizing,” allowing diverse methods of innovation, IPR associate Elizabeth Gerber explained during a May 23 IPR colloquium. But without careful attention to organizational structure, she continued, technology’s rapid growth could cripple broad engagement.

Who Governs?
As American voters turn toward electing their 45th president in November, they likely see themselves as casting votes for a candidate who will best represent “the people.” But just how much do presidents reflect the will of the people? A recent book by IPR political scientist James Druckman and the University of Minnesota’s Lawrence Jacobs deploys innovative research that explores how presidents manipulate public opinion to drum up support for their policies. 

Blue, Green, or 'Nol'?
Research from IPR psychologist Sandra Waxman finds that even before infants can talk, language shapes their cognition, with implications for thinking and memory processes.


Tackling Global Inequality Through Research
Thanks to a unique effort by two of Northwestern’s premier research institutes, the 50 participants who took part in the May 12-13 Global Inequality Workshop added to a more nuanced and interdisciplinary understanding of inequality in the world.

Infographic: Gender-Science Stereotypes in 66 Nations
Surveying 350,000 people across 66 countries, Northwestern graduate student David Miller, IPR psychologist Alice Eagly, and their co-author find that the level of female representation in science in these countries varies according to stereotypes that typically associate science with males.

Faculty Spotlight: Rachel Beatty Riedl
From studies of democratic transitions to research on religion and political engagement, IPR political scientist Rachel Beatty Riedl is capturing African politics through a comparative lens.

Late-Term Births May Offer Future Cognitive Benefits
When mothers deliver later, babies are more likely to have physical problems, but they also are likely to have cognitive benefits down the road, suggests new research by IPR Director and education economist David Figlio, along with IPR economist Jonathan Guryan and IPR postdoctoral fellow Krzysztof Karbownik.

Where Are the Women on Wikipedia?
Though millions of Internet users edit one or more pages of Wikipedia each month, only 16 percent of the site’s editors are women. This gender gap reflects a “matter of public concern,” communication studies researchers and IPR associates Eszter Hargittai and Aaron Shaw write in a recent article.

Do Government Old-Age Support Programs Affect Labor Supply?
"Having a good sense of how government programs affect labor supply is becoming more important than ever," according to economist and IPR associate Lee Lockwood. In an IPR working paper, Lockwood and Daniel Fetter of Wellesley College analyze how the Old Age Assistance Program (OAA), created under the 1935 Social Security Act, affected employment. 


How Culture Can Affect Disease Treatment
One out of 10 individuals of Mexican descent living in the United States will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes—twice the rate of the general American population. While previous research has focused on causal factors, from genetics to diet and lifestyle, IPR anthropologist 
Rebecca Seligman and her colleagues examine the issue of “self-care,” or how Mexican Americans manage their own illness.

IPR to Co-Host Global Inequality Workshop
The Institute for Policy Research is co-hosting the Global Inequality Workshop with the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies on May 12-13, bringing together some of the world’s leading social scientists for in-depth, interdisciplinary discussions on key issues and new forms of inequality. 


Major Awards Recognize Innovative Research of Two IPR Fellows
Two fellows at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR) received competitive awards this April from two of the country’s leading foundations in recognition of their achievements and promise as researchers: IPR labor economist Kirabo Jackson was named as an Andrew Carnegie Fellow and IPR social psychologist Mesmin Destin as a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar.

Faculty Spotlight: Bruce Spencer
As one of the world's leading experts on statistical accuracy, IPR statistician Bruce Spencer is empowering policymakers and governmental agencies around the world to make better policy decisions on issues ranging from census data to earthquake hazard predictions.

Can Chicago Restore Public Trust in Police?
IPR political scientist Wesley G. Skogan was one of 46 experts on the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, which released a hard-hitting report on the CPD earlier this month. The 190-page report documents widespread racial disparities, excessive use of force, accountability failures, and inadequate recruitment and training. It also makes more than 100 recommendations to address the current ills facing the CPD.

Back-of-the-Envelope Estimates for Better Policy
What do earthquakes and water heaters, and bathtub spills and terrorist attacks, have in common? They both concern policy issues that can be evaluated with a Fermi estimate, according to geophysicist and IPR associate Seth Stein and IPR graduate research assistant Edward Brooks, who used Fermi estimates to examine earthquakes in Chicago.

Women, Work, and Worship in Lincoln's Midwest
IPR faculty emeritus John Heinz's new book draws on a trove of letters from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to provide an unusual glimpse into the lives of ordinary women in mid-19th century, rural America. "Letters written by women who lack wealth or position seldom survive," he explains. The book was co-edited with Anne Heinz, a former assistant dean at the University of Chicago.


White House Report to Congress Cites IPR Faculty Researchers
The White House Council of Economic Advisers' 2016 economic report to Congress last month emphasized the need to reduce inequality in America, starting from an early age. The report included evidence to support policies aiming to do just that from some of the nation’s leading academics, including six IPR experts.

IPR Experts Present National Education Policy Proposals in D.C.
On March 28, IPR economist Jonathan Guryan and professor of entrepreneurship and IPR associate Benjamin Jones presented two new proposals for national policies to help to strengthen U.S. student learning—one involves an intensive tutoring program for at-risk students and the other an online platform for rigorous evaluation of technology for use in K–12 classrooms. Both were vetted through rigorous research projects and were presented at The Hamilton Project in Washington, D.C.

Faculty Spotlight: Matthew Notowidigdo
IPR labor economist Matthew Notowidigdo examines "overlooked" niches in economics, examining how different policies might affect a host of employment, health, and financial outcomes.

Ending Mass Incarceration in the United States
California’s prison downsizing experiment is the nation's largest. But Republican states are the ones leading the way, according to sociologist and IPR associate Heather Schoenfeld, who is investigating why states are seeking reform and how these efforts might help the U.S. reverse mass incarceration.

New Northwestern Institute Committs to Improving LGBT Health
Northwestern University has launched the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, the first research institute in the United States established university-wide that is focused exclusively on LGBT health. The new institute will be directed by IPR associate Brian Mustanski.

Infographic: For Hispanic and Latino Adults, Chronic Stress Linked to Obesity
More than 40 percent of Latino men and women in the United States are obese, compared with 32 percent of non-Hispanic, white Americans. Professor of medical social sciences and IPR associate Frank Penedo seeks to understand what might be driving the racial and ethnic disparities in obesity rates.


The Long-Term Effects of Lead: Flint and Beyond
Long before news of Flint's water crisis broke, economist and IPR associate Joseph Ferrie was examining how lead affects human cognition and outcomes. "There is no safe level of lead exposure," especially when it comes to kids, he explains.

Faculty Spotlight: Christine Percheski

From research on health insurance and economic inequality, to studies of family formation and the demographic effects of the Great Recession, IPR sociologist Christine Percheski is applying a sociological lens to some of the most timely health and social issues.

How Childcare Affects Dads' Testosterone
Using data from Cebu, Philippines, IPR biological anthropologist Christopher Kuzawa is tracking men's testosterone levels to determine how major life events like marriage, fatherhood, and divorce affect health, well-being, and educational outcomes.

"Do Violent Video Games Make People More Violent?"

On January 4, IPR statistician and education researcher Larry Hedges spoke about his time serving on an American Psychological Association (APA) task force assembled to review the organization’s 2005 resolution on violence and video games. Readers can find the task force's report and the adopted 2015 resolution, along with the organization's press release, here.

How Early Is Infants' Attention Affected By Culture?
Research led by IPR psychologist Sandra Waxman suggests that by 24 months, infants’ attention may already be shaped subtly by the attentional patterns characteristic of adults in their cultural communities. 

For Women in India, Friendship Can Improve Business Success
In India, women face difficulty in entering the workforce, in part due to the country’s stifling social restrictions. In a recent IPR working paper, IPR associate Seema Jayachandran focuses on female micro-entrepreneurs in India, examining if peer support in training might increase their success as entrepreneurs.

Infographic: For First-Generation College Students, Backgrounds Matter
Understanding the importance of personal backgrounds can help students thrive in stressful college situations, finds IPR social psychologist Mesmin Destin.


Beyond College Access to Success for Low-Income Students
Only 20 percent of those who enroll in community college manage to get a bachelor's degree. But these students have options beyond traditional bachelor's programs, such as certificate and associate's degree programs, noted IPR education researcher James Rosenbaum and project coordinator Caitlin Ahearn.

Government's Public Policy Iceberg
When public policies are administered indirectly, citizens might not realize they are being excluded from them, says political scientist and IPR associate Chloe Thurston. This is where citizens' advocacy groups come in.

Online Privacy? Beware of Posts Made from Your Home Computer
IPR associate and communication studies researcher Eszter Hargittai investigates how a person’s privacy might be affected by the device they use for a Facebook post and the location from which they make the post. 

Infographic: Can Stricter State Penalties Reduce Underpayment of Employees?
IPR political scientist Daniel Galvin conducted a state-by-state analysis of policies surrounding wage theft—when employers pay their employees below the minimum wage—finding that stricter policies could play a role in enforcing state and federal minimum wages.

Why Do So Few Women Hold Positions of Power?
At a December 4 IPR policy research briefing in Chicago, IPR psychologist Alice Eagly, IPR economist Lori Beaman, and Brigham Young political scientist Christopher Karpowitz dove into an interdisciplinary discussion of what might be possible to ensure that more women attain—and maintain—positions of power.

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