February 2016

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. "It's insidious. It's not something you would notice, it's not something you can breathe. It's in the water that we drink." MORE

At elite universities, first-generation students can suffer academically and psychologically, surrounded by many who often lack understanding of their situation. IPR social psychologist Mesmin Destin investigates an intervention to help such students in stressful college situations.

Faculty Awards & Honors

Carol Lee, Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Education and Social Policy and IPR associate, was named to the board of directors of the National Academy of Education.

Thomson Reuters named David Cella, professor and founding chair of medical social sciences and IPR associate, one of 2015's most highly cited scholars.

Read about other faculty awards

Faculty in the Media


How do you fix schools? Maybe just give them more money.

IPR economists Kirabo Jackson and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach have both found that increased school spending might help improve student outcomes.

The Washington Post

Admitting what we don't know

In an interview with Jared Bernstein, IPR economist Charles Manski explains why federal agencies should communicate uncertainty in official economic statistics.

U.S. News & World Report

Academia's baby penalty

In an op-ed, IPR psychologist Sandra Waxman and social policy professor and IPR associate Simone Ispa-Landa highlight academia's 'baby penalty' for mothers.

The Atlantic

Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever?

Research by IPR associates Mary Pattillo and Lauren Rivera is cited in an article on the effects of continued racial segregation.


Electorate representation index: Which states most closely resemble the U.S.?

IPR political scientists Laurel Harbridge and Thomas Ogorzalek discuss the primary election system in the United States.

Find these and other articles

Research and Working Papers

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 today's most timely health and social issues. MORE

For Women in India, Friendship Can Improve Business Success

Economist and IPR associate Seema Jayachandran and her colleagues show how bringing a friend along to a training session can help female micro-entrepreneurs in India become more successful. MORE

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. MORE

How Early Is Infants' Attention Affected by Culture?

Research led by IPR psychologist Sandra Waxman suggests that culture does play a role in how infants pay attention to the events and objects around them, and this seems to happen by the time they are two years old. MORE

IPR Working Papers

“Motivation and Incentives in Education: Evidence from a Summer Reading Intervention” (WP-15-24)

Jonathan Guryan, James S. Kim, and Kyung Park

Who responds to incentives in education and under what conditions? In the context of a summer reading program, the researchers test if students' responses to an incentive are related to their initial motivation to read. To do so, they randomly assigned rising fourth- and fifth-grade students to one of three groups: One group received books weekly during the summer, another received books each week and prize points for each book read, and the third acted as a control group. The researchers show that the incentives most benefited students who were more motivated to read at baseline. This suggests that real-world incentives in education might be missing their target of encouraging the least motivated students.

“Housing Booms and Busts, Labor Market Opportunities, and College Attendance” (WP-15-23)

Kerwin Kofi Charles, Erik Hurst, and Matthew Notowidigdo

This working paper examines how the recent national housing boom and bust affected college enrollment and attainment during the 2000s. The researchers show that the housing boom improved labor market opportunities for young men and women, thereby raising their opportunity cost of going to college. The researchers find that the boom substantially lowered college enrollment and attainment for both young men and women, with the effects concentrated at two-year colleges. They also find that the bust generally undid the boom’s positive employment and wage effects. However, college attendance rates for those of college-going age during the housing boom remain persistently low after the end of the bust, suggesting that reduced educational attainment might be an enduring effect of the housing cycle.

“Friendship at Work: Can Peer Effects Catalyze Female Entrepreneurship?” (WP-15-22)

Erica Field, Seema Jayachandran, Rohini Pande, and Natalia Rigol

Does a lack of peers contribute to the observed gender gap in entrepreneurial success—and is the constraint stronger for women facing more restrictive social norms? The researchers offered two days of business counseling to a random sample of customers of India’s largest women’s bank. A random subsample was invited to attend with a friend. For those who trained with a friend, the intervention had an immediate and significant impact on their business activity. Four months later, those female entrepreneurs who trained with a friend were more likely to have taken out business loans and were less likely to be housewives. They also reported increased business activity and higher household income, with the effects stronger among women from religious or caste groups with social norms that restrict female mobility.

Read more IPR working papers
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