Colloquia - Winter 2017

IPR Colloquia

Greg Miller
Professor of Psychology and IPR Fellow

“Physical Health Consequences of Childhood Socioeconomic Disadvantage: Mediators, Buffers, and Puzzles”

Abstract: Children who are exposed to social and economic adversity in the early years of life show increased susceptibility to chronic diseases of aging, like heart disease, when they reach their 50s and 60s. These findings raise challenging but fascinating mechanistic questions: How does early adversity “get under the skin” in a manner that is sufficiently persistent to affect vulnerability to diseases that arise many decades later? Miller will discuss findings from ongoing research, which suggest that early adversity gets embedded in cells of the innate immune system at the level of the genome, resulting in a pro-inflammatory tendency that probably contributes to the chronic diseases of aging. He will also discuss ongoing research to identify processes that moderate these effects. These studies reveal powerful buffering effects of nurturant parenting. But the situation is more complex for self control, another factor often shown to be protective for youth at risk. Here, there seems to be a tradeoff between academic success and physical health in low-income youth, suggesting a cost to mobility.

January 9, 2017 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR

Lincoln Quillian

Professor of Sociology and IPR Fellow

“Discrimination in American and European Labor Markets: An International Meta-Analysis of Field Experiments”

Abstract: Studies suggest that labor market discrimination against racial and ethnic minority groups is present in most countries around the world. Yet little is established about how discrimination rates vary across countries and how national conditions influence discrimination rates. Quillian and his colleagues address this gap through a cross-national meta-analysis of all available field experiments of hiring discrimination against racial or ethnic minority groups. They focus on nine North American and European countries with larger numbers of field experiments of hiring discrimination—all of which are experimental studies where fictionalized candidates from different race or ethnic groups apply for jobs. Countries vary greatly in rates of hiring discrimination, with the United States having rates similar to those European countries with low rates. Quillian will also discuss variations in rates of discrimination across target groups.

January 23, 2017 • 617 Library Place • IPR

Benjamin Jones 
Gordon and Llura Gund Family Professor of Entrepreneurship, Professor of Strategy, and IPR Associate

“The Dual Frontier: Patentable Inventions and Prior Scientific Advance”

Abstract: Jones builds a new knowledge map, linking 4.8 million U.S. patents to 32 million research articles in the Web of Science, to determine the minimum citation distance between patentable inventions and prior scientific advances. The distance metric provides a new typology to characterize fields, funders, institutions, and individuals. The metric can also inform long-standing ideas about the nature of scientific and technological progress. Jones finds that the integrated citation network encompasses the majority of both patents and papers. Yet the linkages are typically indirect, with most patents and papers located 2-4 degrees from the patent-paper boundary, and fields vary enormously. These findings, together with the prevalence of university-to-firm linkages across the paper-patent boundary, are consistent with some core conceptions of the “linear model” of science. However, consistent with more recent theories of scientific and technological progress, advances along the patent-paper boundary appear strikingly more impactful within their respective domains.

January 30, 2017 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR

Tabitha Bonilla
IPR Research Assistant Professor

“The Evolution of Human Trafficking Policy”

Abstract: Among political elites and ordinary citizens there is near unanimous agreement that human trafficking is a morally reprehensible practice that should be eradicated. Yet the definition of public trafficking has evolved over the last century. In this talk, Bonilla examines how contemporary understanding of human trafficking developed in the United States, and how this understanding impacts support for counter-trafficking activities. First, she outlines the history of anti-trafficking policy to demonstrate that human trafficking legally evolved from a gendered issue of white women smuggled into sexual slavery to a broader issue that affects a diverse set of people coerced into a variety of sectors. Second, she describes how the emphasis on women and sex trafficking is represented in both anti-trafficking organizations and print media discussions of human trafficking. Finally, she uses a survey experiment to demonstrate that while the focus on sex trafficking has little effect on the public’s concern for human trafficking, it does affect support for policy and mobilization around anti-trafficking efforts.

February 6, 2017 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR

Joseph Feinglass
Research Professor of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, and Preventive Medicine, and IPR Associate

“The Affordable Care Act and Emergency Room Use in Illinois”

Abstract: In this talk, Feinglass will present the research background and recent results from studies of Illinois Emergency Department (ED) visit rates before and after the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansions in 2014. He analyzed more than 15 million ED visits at 204 Illinois hospitals from 2011–2015, and used annual American Community Survey data to compute statewide, insurance-specific rates (by four types: uninsured, private, Medicaid, or Medicare disability) for average monthly ED visits and ED hospitalizations per 1,000 Illinois residents aged 18–64. An interrupted time-series analysis of the data demonstrated a significant increase in ED visits after the ACA expansions. In further analyses, he explored the ACA’s effects at the level of 88 Illinois Public–Use Micro Areas, providing insights into both the magnitude of pre-existing small-area variation and the widely differential effects of area changes in insurance coverage. Feinglass will outline these results and discuss how epidemiologic surveillance of ED visit rates provides important metrics for evaluating the success of local-care coordination efforts.

February 13, 2017 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR

Destiny Peery
Assistant Professor of Law and IPR Associate

“In the Eye of the Beholder: When Race Perception Clashes with Anti-Discrimination Law”

Abstract: Cases involving the misperception of plaintiffs in race discrimination cases have shone a light on the implications of an anti-discrimination law doctrine that does not define race and is not sure how to deal with questions of race perception and misperception. Relying on both social psychological research on perceptions of race and race misperception discrimination cases, Peery's talk covers what happens when race perception clashes with anti-discrimination doctrine and the implications of this clash for the future of race discrimination cases. It will feature both experimental work on the interaction of multiple racial cues, including appearance and ancestry, as well as discussion of the ongoing doctrinal debate about the relevance of race perception for identifying whether someone had been discriminated against because of race.

February 20, 2017 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR


David Figlio
Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and IPR Fellow

Paola Sapienza
Donald C. Clark/HSBC Chair in Consumer Finance Professor and IPR Associate

Morton Schapiro
Northwestern University President, Professor, and IPR Fellow

“Student Course Performance and Future Course-Taking: Differences by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity”

Abstract: The authors use longitudinal data from Northwestern students to investigate the factors associated with students’ decisions to continue study in a subject. They find that, while at first glance, women appear to be more responsive to grades than men are when deciding whether to persist in a subject, in reality much of these gender differences can be explained by differences in how men and women respond to subject types—such as mathematical subjects, subjects where brilliance is seen as importance for success, and departments with relatively hard or easy grading standards. They also explore the factors associated with racial and ethnic differences in course-taking and persistence. They discuss potential implications of these findings for explaining gender, racial, and ethnic differences in STEM course-taking, persistence, and majoring.

February 27, 2017 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR

Laurie Zoloth
Charles McCormick Deering Professor of Teaching Excellence; Professor of Religious Studies, Bioethics, and Medical Humanities; and IPR Associate

“May We Make the World? Gene Drives and the Radical Ethics of Malaria Eradication”

Abstract: Malaria is one of humanity’s oldest menaces. Globally, there are 627,000 malaria deaths annually—about 1,000 people a day, largely children. The burden of malaria is most fully borne by the very poorest and most marginalized populations, in areas that are also sites of ecological decline and war and that lack stable education or civil services. Malaria has proven a difficult foe. In the 1950s mass insecticide campaigns using DDT came close to eliminating malaria, but were stopped because of concern about the environmental effects. Bed nets have been widely distributed and have reduced the exposure rate, but the nets need constant replacement, and are temptingly useful as fishing or hunting tools. Additionally, the parasite quickly adapts and becomes resistant to drugs that treat the disease. One new strategy is to use gene editing to alter the rate at which female mosquitoes are born. Since only females bite humans, this would eventually reduce the transmission rate enough to eliminate the disease. But it may well eliminate the species, raising complex ethical, political, and social questions about human mastery. This presentation will consider how we make science policy faced with competing moral appeals.

March 6, 2017 • Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street • IPR

IPR Q-Center Colloquium Series

Daniel Almirall
Assistant Professor, Survey Research Center, and Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

“Cluster-Level Adaptive Interventions and Their Development Using Cluster-Level SMART Designs”

Abstract: Recently, there has been a surge of clinical and methodological interest in developing and evaluating dynamic treatment regimens via clinical trials. Specifically, there is great interest in the use of sequential multiple assignment randomized trials (SMART), a type of multi-stage randomized trial design, to build high-quality adaptive interventions. However, there is little research on methods for adaptive interventions when the unit of analysis is a cluster (an intact group of individuals). The present talk introduces the idea of clustered-level adaptive interventions and the use of cluster-randomized SMART designs for their evaluation. To illustrate ideas, Almirall draws primarily on two examples of SMARTs: The first examines an adaptive intervention involving school, classroom, peer, and parent intervention components to improve academic outcomes in schoolchildren with autism. The second is a study to develop an adaptive implementation intervention to improve the uptake/adoption of an evidence-based intervention in community mental health settings.

February 1, 2017 • 617 Library Place • IPR

IPR Performance Measurement and Rewards Series

Iftikhar Hussain
Lecturer in Economics, University of Sussex

“Consumer Response to School Quality Information Shocks: Evidence From the Housing Market and Parents’ School Choices”

Abstract: There is scant evidence on the impact of short-term innovations in school quality on either hedonic prices or parents’ school choices. Using a well-established disclosure regime, in a setting where there is some limited school choice, this talk first investigates the impact of information relating to school productivity on house prices. The measure of school quality, inspection ratings, is novel and Hussain establishes that (i) changes in ratings are correlated with changes in underlying school productivity but uncorrelated with changes in student peer quality, and (ii) students enrolled in a school experiencing an uprating make larger test score gains. Exploiting exogenous temporal variation in the release of ratings, he finds robust evidence of the causal impact of changes in ratings on house prices. The impact is especially large for schools serving advantaged students. There is almost no impact at the bottom end of schools; potential explanations include credit constraints and excess capacity at such schools. However, these two explanations are ruled out by the school choice analysis. This shows that even when the local school is in families’ choice set, schools serving high proportions of disadvantaged students experience no increase in demand in response to improved ratings. Conversely, at the top end, there is a large school choice response, suggesting that the house price results are lower bound estimates of richer households’ marginal willingness to pay for school quality. Finally, he documents dramatically asymmetric school choice responses to up- versus down-ratings. Hussain will discuss this finding in light of the prior literature.

February 15, 2017 • 617 Library Place • IPR