March 2016

White House Report to Congress Cites IPR 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. "We must choose policies that not only make us stronger today, but also reflect the kind of country we aspire to be in the coming decades," President Barack Obama wrote in his introduction to the report. MORE

Research and Working Papers

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. This niche focus has led him to conducting some novel studies with unanticipated results. MORE

IPR Experts Offer Education Policy Proposals in D.C.

At a March 28 forum at The Hamilton Project in Washington, D.C., IPR economist Jonathan Guryan and IPR associate Benjamin Jones presented new proposals for national policies to help to strengthen U.S. student learning. Guryan's proposal involves an intensive tutoring program for at-risk students and Jones was for an online platform to rigorously evaluate technology for use in K-12 classrooms. MORE

IPR Summer Workshops Accepting Applications

Applications are underway for two IPR education methodology workshops organized by IPR researchers, one on cluster-randomized trials led by Larry Hedges and the other on quasi-experimentation led by Thomas Cook. Both take place over the summer and are supported by the National Center for Education Research in the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. MORE

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 reverse mass incarceration in the United States. MORE

New Northwestern Institute to Improve LGBT Health

Northwestern University has launched the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, the first university-wide research institute in the United States that is focused exclusively on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health. Brian Mustanski, professor of medical social sciences and an IPR associate, will direct the new institute. MORE

IPR Working Papers

Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago (WP-15-27)

Sara Heller, Anuj Shah, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Harold Pollack

The researchers present the results of three large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) carried out in Chicago, testing interventions to reduce crime and dropout by changing the decision-making of economically disadvantaged youth. They study a program called Becoming a Man in two RCTs carried out in 2009-10 and 2013-15. Participation in the program reduced total arrests during the intervention period by 28-35 percent, reduced violent-crime arrests by 45-50 percent, improved school engagement, and in the study where they have follow-up data, increased graduation rates by 12-18 percent. The third RCT tested a program carried out in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, which reduced readmission rates to the facility by 21 percent. These large behavioral responses combined with modest program costs imply benefit-cost ratios for these interventions of up to 70 to 1. The researchers find suggestive support for the hypothesis that the programs work by helping youth slow down and reflect on whether their automatic thoughts and behaviors are well-suited to the situation they are in, or whether the situation could be construed differently.

Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Attitudes: Evidence from India (WP-15-26)

Diva Dhar, Tarun Jain, and Seema Jayachandran

In this working paper, the authors examine how gender attitudes pass between generations in India, a country with extremely high rates of discrimination against women and girls, by surveying over 5,500 sixth and seventh graders (boys and girls) in 314 rural schools and their parents on their gender attitudes. The researchers find that when a parent holds a more discriminatory attitude, her or his child is about 15 percentage points, on average, more likely to hold the view. As a benchmark, classmates' average gender attitudes have a similar effect size. The researchers find that mothers hold greater sway over their children's gender attitudes than their fathers. Parents' attitudes also affect their children's aspirations: Girls with more discriminatory parents are less likely to want to continue their education beyond high school.

Beyond Income: What Else Predicts Very Low Food Security Among Children? (WP-15-25)

Patricia Anderson, Kristin Butcher, Hilary Hoynes, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Which U.S. households are more likely to report very low food security (VLFS) among their children? The researchers use 11 years of data from the Current Population Survey, plus data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to understand how those households where food is severely scarce for children differ from those where it is not. Household income plays an important role in determining VLFS among children, the researchers determine, but other household characteristics, such as if there are teens, and if the households take part in safety-net programs are also important in explaining VLFS, even after controlling for income-to-poverty rates. Additionally, their examination of NHANES and ATUS data suggests an important role for both mental and physical health of parents in their children's food security status.

Read more IPR working papers

Obesity in America disproportionately affects low-income Americans and minorities, particularly Hispanics/Latinos. 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.

Faculty Awards & Honors

IPR psychologist Alice Eagly received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Attitudes and Social Influence Interest Group.

IPR communication studies researcher Eszter Hargittai was awarded the 2016 Public Sociology Award from the Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology section of the American Sociological Association.

Read about other faculty awards

Faculty in the Media

The Washington Post

Does social science have a replication crisis?

Research from IPR political scientist
James Druckman uncovers a high level of replication between online social science surveys and population-based ones.


Good news! Being a good parent probably won't physiologically destroy you

IPR health psychologist Edith Chen
weighs in on the psychological and physiological toll of parental empathy.

The Conversation

When good intentions aren't supported by social science evidence: Diversity research and policy

In an op-ed, IPR psychologist Alice Eagly
discusses the difference between research findings and advocates' claims on issues of social inequality.

Chicago Tribune

Kids who end up in juvenile jail have high rates of drug dependency: Study

A study led by behavioral scientist and IPR associate Linda Teplin shows high levels of drug and alcohol dependency for young men and women who passed through Cook County's juvenile detention center.

The Washington Post

Hot-wired for happiness?

An article on novel ways to identify and treat depression cites psychiatrist, behavioral scientist, and IPR associate Eva Redei's discovery of a blood test for depression.

Chicago Sun-Times

Opinion: A missed chance at Lathrop Homes

In an opinion piece about the redevel-opment of Lathrop Homes, a public housing complex in Chicago, sociologist and IPR associate Mary Pattillo stresses the role that affordable housing can play in providing opportunity.

Pacific Standard

Do you have to help parents to help their children?

An article focuses on IPR developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale's research on two-generation initiatives, which combine education and job training to help low-income children and parents simultaneously.

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