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IPR's Top Articles of 2018

Most-read news and research articles reflect wider policy concerns

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“It can be hard to keep up with the news, but IPR faculty are providing research that allows us to slow down and examine issues that affect our day-to-day lives,” said IPR Director Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Amid the nonstop news cycle of 2018, IPR faculty research has provided a rigorous, evidence-based foundation for dialogue on pivotal policy articles

Many of IPR’s most-read 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.

“It can be hard to keep up with the news, but IPR faculty are providing research that allows us to slow down and examine issues that affect our day-to-day lives,” said IPR Director Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an economist. “I’m proud of our experts who continue to demonstrate how IPR’s research can shed light on social issues while having a clear policy impact.”

Read more about IPR’s most-read articles from 2018 below.

Research | Community | Events


Sexism Follows Women Across States—and Their Lives

A working paper co-authored by IPR economist Jonathan Guryan finds that the level of sexist beliefs in the state where a woman was born can take a toll on her earnings and career prospects, even if she later moves to a less sexist state. States with more sexist attitudes had more respondents who believed that women should take care of the home and family, that men are more suited for politics than women, and that men should be the achiever outside the home.

Racial Bias in Medicine

In a study published in Social Science and Medicine, psychologist and IPR associate Sylvia Perry 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. The researchers then compared the findings with clinicians in France, where healthcare providers did not exhibit significant bias toward either race.

Examining Discrimination to Understand Its Impact

The #metoo, Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQIA movements, among others, 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. From health and education, to the workplace and criminal justice system, IPR faculty experts from psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, medicine and law are examining various aspects of discrimination with an eye toward understanding how policies can bring about change.


Larry Hedges Named 2018 Yidan Prize Winner

IPR education researcher and statistician Larry Hedges a preeminent scholar and global heavyweight in education research, was awarded the 2018 Yidan Prize, the world’s largest prize in education research, at a ceremony in Hong Kong on December 10. The Yidan Prize for Education Research, which comes with U.S.$3.9 million in support, was announced by the Yidan Prize Foundation, recognizing Hedges for his ground-breaking statistical methods for meta-analysis, which serve as a foundation for much of the rigorous, evidenced-based education policy across the country and the globe.

Faculty Spotlight: Mary Pattillo

Chicago is IPR associate Mary Pattillo’s home and also her research subject. A sociologist and African American studies researcher, she found a city where she could investigate questions that fascinated her, first as a PhD student at the University of Chicago, and now as a professor at Northwestern University. Pattillo’s imagination and curiosity have led her to delve into “race in the city” in Chicago and beyond throughout her research career. This concept imbues her pioneering work on the role of the black middle class, urban housing issues, public education, and the criminal justice system—all of which provide insights into inequality.

SURA 2018 Student Blog

Each summer since 1998, the IPR has run its Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants (SURA) program, which gives undergraduate students first-hand experience in the conceptualization and conduct of policy-relevant social science research. This year, six SURA students—Alex Carther, Dakota Baker, Jonathan Sun, Ericka Woods, Thalia Perez, and Dylan Doppeltshared their experiences on getting to work on live research projects that covered topics on political gridlock, biases, and student environments, among others.

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.


Crime in Chicago: What Does the Research Tell Us?

At a March 9 policy research briefing in downtown Chicago moderated by Mary Pattillo, IPR experts political scientist Wesley Skogan, sociologist Andrew Papachristos, and economist Jonathan Guryan discussed what their research says about crime in Chicago. Skogan covered the “Great Chicago Crime Spike” of 2016; Papachristos used network science to understand the spread of violence; and Guryan discussed his study of the “Becoming a Man” program, which has dramatically boosted graduation rates and lowered incidents of involvement in violent crime for at-risk youth in Chicago.

The Future of Work

With the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robots, and other technologies, how will workplaces—and workers themselves—have to adapt? Former IPR director Fay Lomax Cook returned to Northwestern University on April 26 to address “The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier.” “What we really don’t know enough about is how emerging technologies are affecting our lives,” Cook said. “The impacts are crucial: employment, opportunity, productivity, economic growth, competitiveness, national security, and U.S. global leadership.” At the time of the lecture, Cook was assistant director of the National Science Foundation and head of its Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate.

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 University of Chicago sociologist and former IPR graduate research assistant Robert Vargas (PhD ‘12) explains, these violent hot spots are due to a lack of resources and territorial disputes. Vargas spoke at the inaugural Spencer Foundation Lecture on February 15, a new lecture series that seeks to bring together researchers from different Chicago-area institutions.

Published: December 20, 2018.