February/March 2017

Expanding the Evanston-NU Education Partnership

Evanston's educational research-practice partnership will expand thanks to $1 million in combined support from the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. The partnership, which brings together Evanston schools, their administrators, and Northwestern University researchers from the University's Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and its School of Education and Social Policy (SESP), seeks to improve the lives of Evanston students through the implementation of practical research findings. MORE

Research and Working Papers

Faculty Spotlight: Seema Jayachandran

IPR economist Seema Jayachandran set out to study engineering and physics, but two years into her PhD program in theoretical physics at Harvard, she realized it wasn't the right fit. Today, instead of studying theories on the mass of quarks or leptons, she studies gender differences in the mass of humanity—as well as other developmental issues with practical applications in countries such as India and Uganda. MORE

David Figlio Named Dean of School of Education and Social Policy

David Figlio has been appointed dean of the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) at Northwestern University, effective September 1. He is the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and of Economics and director and faculty fellow of the Institute for Policy Research. MORE

Undergraduates Tackle Research, Prepare for 'Knowledge Society'

Students in IPR's Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants (SURA) program learned how a research project gets off the ground and discovered more about what they want to do after graduation. "This was a great opportunity to learn about the underground work that goes on to produce impactful research," noted Ross Chu (WCAS '17), a recent participant. MORE

No White House Access, No Problem?

Since taking over the White House briefing room, the Trump administration has floated several ideas to change how the press covers the White House and potentially restrict press access. This means "the media will need to think about how to cover the White House in a whole new way," says IPR mass communication scholar Rachel Davis Mersey. MORE

IPR Working Papers

Credible Ecological Inference for Personalized Medicine: Formalizing Clinical Judgment (WP-16-19)

Charles F. Manski

This working paper studies the inference problem that arises when clinicians seek to personalize patient care exploiting observed patient attributes beyond those used in existing evidence-based risk assessments. The literature in psychology suggests that instead of predicting patient outcomes based on all observed attributes, clinicians should use available evidence-based risk assessments even though they do not take all attributes into account. Manski's analysis shows how clinicians can make coherent and informative personalized risk assessments using all observed patient attributes.

The Effect of Mentoring on School Attendance and Academic Outcomes: A Randomized Evaluation of the Check & Connect Program (WP-16-18)

Jonathan Guryan, Sandra Christenson, Amy Claessens, Mimi Engel, Ijun Lai, Jens Ludwig, Ashley Cureton Turner, and Mary Clair Turner

This working paper presents results from a randomized evaluation of a student monitoring and mentoring program aimed at increasing student attendance. The program, called Check & Connect (C&C), provided a mentor to 765 first-to-eighth-grade students in 23 schools in the Chicago Public School (CPS) system. Mentors tracked data to monitor students' attendance and academic progress and met regularly with students to deliver personalized interventions meant to increase attendance and engagement with school. The researchers find that participation lowered student absences for students who started the program in fifth to seventh grade by a statistically significant 3.4 days, but there was no statistically significant effect for students who began the program in first through fourth grade. However, for both cohorts of students, the effect of participating in C&C was larger in the second year of the intervention, suggesting that student-mentor relationships might be an important mechanism for the program. The evaluation did not uncover significant effects on grade point average, but did find a statistically significant decline in courses failed. There were mixed results for test scores, but no evidence that test scores increased significantly.

Read more IPR working papers

The ACA and Emergency Room Access


As Republicans begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), IPR faculty researchers Matthew Notowidigdo and Craig Garthwaite find that Medicaid expansion led to more Medicaid patients in the emergency room and lower travel times to the hospital than before states expanded the program.  MORE

Faculty Awards & Honors

IPR developmental psychologist Onnie Rogers was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Black Child Development Institute.

IPR associate Melissa Simon, who is George H. Gardner, MD, Professor of Clinical Gynecology, was appointed to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Read about other faculty awards

Faculty in the Media

Chicago Sun-Times

Silencing the guns: Peace begins with getting youths to slow down

IPR economist Jonathan Guryan and Anuj Shah of the University of Chicago explain why Becoming a Man (BAM), a cognitive behavioral therapy program, could combat gun violence among Chicago youth.

USA Today

Congress debates: Should tax dollars be used to buy junk food?

Speaking before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach said that SNAP, a federal nutrition assistance program, should be considered "an investment in children."

WTTW Chicago Tonight

Anniversary of 1812 earthquake ushers in preparedness month

Seth Stein, a geophysicist and IPR associate, discusses the possibility of an earthquake hitting southern Illinois, and what hazard maps say about the potential damage that would ensue.


What the Trump-Nordstrom Twitter feud says about boycotts

In an op-ed, IPR associate Brayden King, who is Max McGraw Chair of Management and the Environment, highlights the limited impact of corporate boycotts and the corporate benefits of staying politically neutral.

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