IPR's Top Stories of 2018
Amid the nonstop news cycle throughout the year, IPR faculty research has provided a rigorous, evidence-based foundation for dialogue on pivotal policy issues. Many of IPR’s most-read 2018 articles reflect wider policy concerns, from bias in medicine and sexism, to crime and the future of work. They also reveal who our faculty experts are as leaders in their fields and why they do the work that they do.

The Changing Safety Net for Children
New research from IPR Director and economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach points to how safety net programs are “extremely effective at reducing poverty," but changes in government spending might harm the poorest children.

What Can the Midterms Tell Us About 2020?
At a recent IPR panel, Northwestern scholars discussed what the record-breaking midterms might mean for Congress, the media, and the economy over next two years and for the 2020 presidential election.

Inequality in Homicide Rates in Chicago Neighborhoods Increased Over 20-Year Period
A new study by IPR sociologist Andrew Papachristos finds that despite the decline in violent crime over the past two decades, violent crime remains stubbornly concentrated in socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

Faculty Spotlight: Elizabeth Gerber
IPR associate Elizabeth Gerber studies "collective innovation," or the process of discovering new products and services interactively with the community.

Launching the Northwestern Neighborhood and Network Initiative
IPR sociologist Andrew Papachristos sat down with IPR to discuss the launching of his new initiative, which aims to understand how people and institutions in neighborhoods are connected. 

Confronting Stereotypes
In a Northwestern Magazine profile, IPR developmental psychologist Onnie Rogers discusses how kids understand and engage with issues of inequality. 

What's Next for Healthcare? 
Vox senior health policy correspondent Sarah Kliff recently spoke at Northwestern about what Americans can expect for healthcare policy following the 2018 midterms.

How Contempt Divides America
American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks delivered a distinguished public policy lecture to the Northwestern community about how contempt divides America and what we can do about it.


Resilience May Be Neurobiological
A new study by IPR's Gregory Miller, Edith Chen, and Robin Nusslock published in PNAS explores why a second-hand experience of violence affects some youth but not others.

Gender Parity: The Long Game
IPR education sociologist Simone Ispa-Landa wrote an op-ed for Garnet News where shes ays key cultural shifts are still needed to change how girls are viewed, requiring parents and educators to play the "long gender game."

What Do Test Scores Miss?
A new study by IPR labor and education economist Kirabo Jackson finds that test scores alone can’t identify the teachers who have the biggest impact on students.

Education Lab Receives $15 Million Donation from AbbVie
The Education Lab out of the University of Chicago Urban Labs, codirected by IPR economist Jonathan Guryan, is receiving $15 million from AbbVie to give more students the resources they need to stay in school and succeed in life.


50 Years of Research Excellence and Policy Impact
In fall 1968, a small group of Northwestern scholars launched the Center for Urban Affairs—now the Institute for Policy Research—to bring faculty researchers together from across different disciplines to shed light on urban poverty and social ills. Across the year, IPR will celebrate its 50th anniversary, culminating with a two-day conference in the spring.

Faculty Spotlight: Joseph Ferrie
Economist and IPR associate Joseph Ferrie mines historical data to gain insight into today's policy questions.

Sheridan Fuller Named Robert Wood Johnson Scholar
IPR graduate research assistant Sheridan Fuller is one of 40 students nationwide who has been named a 2018 Health Policy Research Scholar by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Ending an Epidemic
IPR associate Ronald Ackermann, who directs the Institute for Public Health and Medicine, is using community-based research to curb America's diabetes crisis.

Northwestern Expands Landmark Study on Delinquent Youth
For the past two decades IPR associate Linda Teplin has explored the lives (and deaths) of nearly 2,000 people who entered the U.S. juvenile justice system as adolescents. New funding is adding an intergenerational component to the project.

Securing Food and Water
Conversations with women worldwide drive IPR anthropologist Sera Young’s research.


The Great Recession: 10 Years Later
Though the U.S. economy steams ahead, many Americans continue to experience aftershocks of the worst U.S. economic crisis since the Great Depression, according to research by IPR faculty.

Larry Hedges Named 2018 Yidan Prize Winner
IPR statistician Larry Hedges, a preeminent scholar and global heavyweight in education research, has been awarded the 2018 Yidan Prize, the world’s largest prize in education research.

Infographic: Payday Loans Tied to Health Risks
In SSM - Population Health, IPR biological anthropologists Christopher Kuzawa and Thomas McDade outline how payday loans are associated with greater anxiety and more inflammation, which could be a sign of health problems.

Gender Identities Disrupted—and Reinforced
New research by IPR developmental psychologist Onnie Rogers finds that older children—and girls—are more likely to tell alternative narratives that disrupted the gender status quo.


Meet IPR's New Fellows
Robin Nusslock, Terri Sabol, Hannes Schwandt, Chloe Thurston, and Elizabeth Tipton join IPR’s more than 140 faculty researchers. IPR sociologist Julia Behrman will also be coming to campus after a year-long sabbatical at the University of Oxford.

Let Them Eat Clay
IPR anthropologist 
Sera Young recently presented on pica, or the craving and intentional consumption of earth, starch, chalk, and other non-food items. She examined why people eat earth at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) in Amsterdam in June.

Sexism Follows Women Across States—and Their Lives
A new IPR working paper, co-authored by IPR economist Jonathan Guryan, is the first to document a persistent gap in women’s socioeconomic outcomes across job markets in the United States

Social Policy Can Save Lives
Income inequality and health inequality are not necessarily connected, according to a new study of U.S. and French death rates co-authored by IPR economist Hannes Schwandt.

SURA 2018 Student Blog
Each summer since 1998, IPR has run the Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants (SURA) program, which gives undergraduate students first-hand experience in the conceptualization and conduct of policy-relevant social science research. SURA students are sharing their research experience from their own perspective, and we will feature one student discussing the research project s/he is part of each week as part of an ongoing blog.


The Impact of Going Global
From the impact of millions of refugees on host countries to the effects of rising global trade on domestic workers, the 2018 Northwestern University Workshop on Globalization focused on the effects, both positive and negative, of the growing connections between people, countries, and economies. The Buffett Institute for Global Studies and Institute for Policy Research welcomed more than 40 interdisciplinary scholars to Northwestern's Evanston campus for the workshop.

Faculty Spotlight: Andrew Papachristos
Growing up at the height of Chicago's homicide epidemic, IPR sociologist Andrew Papachristos witnessed gang violence, crime, and policing first-hand in the Greek diner his parents owned in Rogers Park. After graduating college, he had an offer to become a police officer, but instead went to graduate school to study sociology and criminology. He now studies how network science can be applied to understand the spread of crime and violence.

Spreading the (Partisan) Word
Only 10–15 percent of the American public watches partisan news outlets like MSNBC and Fox News. But according to research by IPR political scientist James Druckman, their polarizing impact reaches beyond the viewers of their broadcasts. He finds if someone who watched a partisan outlet discusses the media's slant on issues with friends or colleagues, that can influence people who do not even consume partisan media.

Locked Out of Homeownership 
Tracing how government policies have opened the door to a home for many Americans, IPR political scientist Chloe Thurston also shows how the same programs often serve to lock women and minorities out of home ownership in her new book, At the Boundaries of Homeownership: Credit, Discrimination, and the American State(Cambridge University Press, 2018).

IPR Faculty Receive Cascade of Honors
From fellowships and research grants to presidential and leadership awards, IPR faculty have received multiple awards and honors since spring, recognizing excellence in their respective fields. 

SURA 2018 Student Blog
Each summer since 1998, IPR has run the Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants (SURA) program, which gives undergraduate students first-hand experience in the conceptualization and conduct of policy-relevant social science research. SURA students are sharing their research experience from their own perspective, and we will feature one student discussing the research project s/he is part of each week as part of an ongoing blog.

Riedl Named Director of Program of African Studies
Northwestern University has appointed IPR political scientist Rachel Beatty Riedl as director of the long-running Program of African Studies (PAS), the first of its kind in the United States. 

Turning Their Backs on Compromise
Research by IPR political scientist Laurel Harbridge-Yong explains why some politicians still resist compromise, even when presented beneficial solutions.

New University-Community Partnership Focuses On Refugee Resettlement
The Community Partnerships for Settlement Strategies (COMPASS) is designed to promote social and economic wellbeing of refugees in the Evanston area through a microloan program. The partnership is led by the Center for Forced Migration Studies, directed by political scientist and IPR associate Galya Ben-Arieh.


The Future of Work
With the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robots, and other technologies, how will workplaces and workers adapt? Former IPR director Fay Lomax Cook returned to discuss the National Science Foundation's "Big Ideas" to spark innovation in science and engineering research.

Faculty Spotlight: Ofer Malamud
A global outlook on decision making comes naturally to IPR economist Ofer Malamud. Born in Israel, his family moved to Japan when he was 6 years old, and then three years later to Hong Kong, where he attended a British secondary school. 

From Online Town Halls to One-on-One Discussions
Scholars and graduate students from the Midwest and beyond gathered for the 12th annual Chicago Area Political and Social Behavior Workshop. It featured presentations on representative democracy, identity, immigration, and youth engagement by four prominent and rising political scientists. 

Do Politicians Understand Public Opinion?
In the ongoing National Candidate Study, data scientist Christopher Skovron, an IPR postdoctoral fellow, and his collaborators are seeking to understand what politicians believe about public opinion.

Infographic: Communication Between Healthcare Providers and LGBTQ Youth
LGBTQ youth report that their healthcare providers often don't ask about their sexuality. In a new study, professor of medical social sciences and IPR associate Brian Mustanksi finds that less than 29 percent of adolescent males who have sex with males feel comfortable discussing sexual orientation with their doctors.

More Students Report Carrying Guns in Chicago than New York or Los Angeles
More students report carrying guns in Chicago than in New York or Los Angeles, a new Northwestern Medicine study by Joseph Feinglass shows. The findings provide historical background for Chicago’s 2016 spike in gun violence, which occurred mostly among youth and young adults.

Christopher Kuzawa Elected to National Academy of Sciences
Christopher Kuzawa
, an IPR anthropologist, was given one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States.

Research Demonstrates Effects of Inequality on Health
The latest issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, edited by IPR biological anthropologist Thomas McDade and University of North Carolina sociologist Kathleen Mullan


Decision Making in a 'Broken Political System'
As an economic advisor to President Bill Clinton and a secretary of the U.S. Treasury in the 1990s, Robert Rubin faced many tough decisions, from the economic maelstrom of the Mexican peso crisis to passing government budgets and debating tax cuts—many of which bear striking parallels to current headlines.

Faculty Spotlight: Sera Young
Whether attending an international high school in Wales or learning Swahili while living with a Zanzibari family, IPR anthropologist Sera Young has found immersing herself in different cultures is the way to think differently. She now focuses on maternal and child health issues, closely examining the causes and consequences of food and water insecurity.

The Legacy of Hardship
Can poverty affect health across generations? In Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, IPR health psychologist Greg Miller and his colleagues find that a mother’s economic hardship during childhood can lead to negative birth outcomes for her children. 

Simone Ispa-Landa Named William T. Grant Scholar
IPR education sociologist Simone Ispa-Landa has been named a 2018 William T. Grant Scholar, one of six early career researchers to receive the honor this year. She will investigate how different disciplinary approaches in schools shape the experiences of students of different races.

Racial Bias in Medicine
A new study published in Social Science & Medicine finds that American clinicians rated white patients as significantly more likely to improve and more likely to adhere to recommended treatments than black patients, and to be more personally responsible for their health than black patients. 

Building the Prison State
The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any industrialized nation, with about 1 in 100 American adults currently behind bars, the majority of whom are racial minorities. How did we get here, and what can we do about it? In her new book, Building the Prison State: Race and the Politics of Mass Incarceration (University of Chicago Press, 2018), IPR sociologist and legal scholar Heather Schoenfeld addresses this question.

Overcoming Barriers to Safety Net Sign-Ups
Why do people fail to sign up for social safety net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), despite being eligible? IPR economist Matthew Notowidigdo and his MIT colleague Amy Finkelstein are seeking to understand this issue by examining how to improve outreach methods to low-income households not participating in social safety net programs.

More Students Report Carrying Guns in Chicago than New York or Los Angeles
According to a new study by IPR associate Joe Feinglass, 9 percent of high school freshmen and sophomores in Chicago reported carrying a gun, compared with 6 percent in Los Angeles and 4 percent in New York.


Crime in Chicago: What Does the Research Tell Us?
Chicago has a national reputation for violence. Even though shooting deaths dropped in the city last year, 664 people still died from gun violence. At a recent policy research briefing, IPR experts presented their findings on the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to Chicago's enduring violence problem.

Putting a “Premium on Civil Discourse”
For Strobe Talbott, a former journalist and State Department official who led one of the U.S.’ premier think tanks until last year, the lack of trust in expertise is “challenge number one, two, and three” for academics hoping their work can influence policymakers. Talbott joined IPR and the Buffett Institute for a special lecture about academia's role in policymaking.

The Political Weaponization of Gun Owners
IPR graduate research assistant Matthew Lacombe reveals how the NRA creates identity for its members, politically mobilizing them.

Two Cheers for the Truth?
According to IPR political scientist John Bullock, insincere answers are part of the wedge driving political partisans further apart. People may know that what they are saying is false, but if the claim seems to support their political party—or criticize the other party—they may say it anyway.

A Climate of Change
A global response to climate change is needed, according to law professor and IPR associate David Dana. Part of his research addresses how framing climate change in different ways affects perceptions of the problem, support for regulatory initiatives, and policy choices made by legislators and regulators.

How Turf Wars Lead to Violence in Chicago
Chicago’s Little Village ranks among the top 10 most violent neighborhoods in the city, with much of the violence concentrated on the neighborhood’s east side. As sociologist and former IPR graduate research assistant Robert Vargas (PhD WCAS 12) explains, these violent hot spots are due to a lack of resources and territorial disputes.


Examining Discrimination to Understand its Impacts
The #metoo, Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQIA movements have raised awareness about the stubborn persistence of various kinds of discrimination that people from all walks of life, racial and ethnic backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations face every day. IPR researchers are providing multidisciplinary insights to help address these issues.

Faculty Spotlight: Cynthia Kinnan
As a college student gathering background materials for her debate team on development assistance in Africa, IPR economist Cynthia Kinnan found fraught claims about what did and did not work. That realization led her to the study of development economics, and ever since, she has sought to bring scientific tools to the conversation around poverty in the developing world. 

Chronic Lack of Sleep Tied to Racial/Ethnic Differences for Disease Risk
Northwestern sleep researcher and IPR associate Kristen Knutson finds that chronic lack of sleep is tied to racial/ethnic differences in obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Democracy in America
In their new book, Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It (University of Chicago Press, 2017), political scientist and IPR associate Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens of Princeton University present an indictment of today’s politics, pointing specifically to how the American public has little say in policy decisions.

Infants Can Learn Abstract Rules
Three-month-old babies cannot sit up or roll over, yet they are already capable of learning patterns from simply looking at the world around them, according to a recent study from IPR developmental psychologist Sandra Waxman and her colleagues.

Study: Visualizing Success Can Ease Student Anxiety
Visualizing a successful future can help anxious college students manage challenges and stress, according to a Northwestern University-led study published in the journal Motivation and Emotion authored by IPR social psychologist Mesmin Destin.

Romantic Relationships Show Protective Effect for Gay, Lesbian Youth
Lesbian and gay youth showed significantly less psychological distress and were buffered against the negative effects of bullying and victimization when they were in a relationship than when they were not, IPR associate Brian Mustanski finds.


IPR's Top Articles Reflect Policy Debates
2017 saw a new administration settle into office, with policy debates spilling over from Capitol Hill and the White House into state legislatures, courts, town halls, and the streets. Many of IPR’s top-read articles from 2017 reflect such wider policy concerns—from research on boycotts to partisan polarization to the benefits of safety-net programs.

Faculty Spotlight: Mary Pattillo
Chicago is IPR associate Mary Pattillo’s home and also her research subject. A sociologist and African American studies researcher, Pattillo has delved into "race in the city" in Chicago and beyond throughout her career.

Northwestern Honors IPR Health Psychologists
Internationally renowned IPR health psychologists Edith Chen and Greg Miller, partners in both research and life, traced the influences on their respective and overlapping career paths at the investiture ceremony for their endowed chairs on November 28 at Northwestern University.

The 51 Percent
The U.S. economy will only reach its full potential if women are able to fully participate in the labor market, according to a new book co-edited by economist and IPR Director Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. In The 51 Percent: Driving Growth Through Women’s Economic Participation (Hamilton Project, 2017), researchers propose evidence-based public policy reforms aimed at addressing the structural problems in the economy that are holding women back.

Infographic: Racial Diversity Among Coaches Drives Diversity of Beliefs
Since NFL player Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the national anthem during the 2016 season, political protests have become a major topic of discussion in sports. A new study by Northwestern University researchers examines beliefs about athlete protests within one institution, the NCAA, finding that coaches’ race can affect their views.

In Memoriam: Cynthia (CC) DuBois, 1985–2018
Cynthia (CC) DuBois (SESP PhD ’17), an emerging, award-winning scholar and former IPR graduate research assistant, died as a result of brain cancer on Jan. 2 in Chicago. She was 32.

Food or Water?
While in Kenya studying food insecurity during the first 1,000 days of life, IPR anthropologist Sera Young stumbled upon an equally severe problem facing new mothers and their children: access to water. Young is now working to create a cross-culturally validated household-level water insecurity scale.

Promoting Unhealthy Foods to Kids Online
Food companies are marketing less to children online—which advocates consider a win in the fight against the epidemic of childhood obesity. Some of these same companies, however, have increased their online advertising budgets targeting at children by 50 percent—and are embedding “advergames” on their websites. These online games commonly feature advertisements promoting unhealthy foods, according to a study by communication studies researcher and IPR associate Ellen Wartella


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