April/May 2017

A Moment of 'Democratic Imperative'?

When and why do governments become less authoritarian? Why have some countries moved from authoritarianism toward instability, while others have become more democratic? Are democracies in the United States and Western Europe headed for breakdown? At an April workshop led by IPR political scientist Rachel Beatty Riedl, an international group of scholars discussed how past cases of democratic change can inform the contemporary moment. MORE

Research and Working Papers

Faculty Spotlight: Heather Schoenfeld

From a forthcoming book on the rise of mass incarceration to studies of state prison reforms, IPR sociologist and legal scholar Heather Schoenfeld applies a historical-sociological lens to understanding how the United States became the world's biggest jailer, and what policies might do to change it. MORE

U.N. Panel: Faculty Discuss Women's Food Insecurity

The 61st session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women examined women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work. In a panel organized by the Women's U.N. Report Network, IPR anthropologist Sera Young and Northwestern colleague Lori Post drew attention to an "invisible" factor that keeps women from achieving economic empowerment: depression and its connection to food insecurity. MORE

Developmental Consequences of Superfund Sites

Children who live near hazardous waste sites can benefit from environmental cleanups, suggests a study led by IPR Director David Figlio, an education economist, and former IPR graduate research assistant Claudia Persico, who looked at the effects of prenatal exposure to Superfund sites on brain development. MORE

Creating Order Out of War

"Civil war" usually conjures up images of "anarchy and a collapse of order," according to political scientist and IPR associate Ana Arjona. But are civil wars always chaotic? According to Arjona's new book, Rebelocracy: Social Order in the Colombian Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2016), not necessarily. MORE

A Divide in Millennial News Consumption

The way young adults consume news varies by socioeconomic background, according to a study by assistant professor of journalism and IPR associate Stephanie Edgerly. The research also highlights that millennials today are highly skeptical of news in general and do not believe everything they read. MORE

IPR Working Papers

The Effect of Single-Sex Education on Academic Outcomes and Crime: Fresh Evidence from Low-Performing Schools in Trinidad and Tobago (WP-16-23)

Kirabo Jackson

In 2010, the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago converted 20 low-performing secondary schools from coed to single sex. Jackson uses these conversions to identify the effect of single-sex schooling holding other school inputs, such as teacher quality, constant. After also accounting for student selection, both boys and girls in single-sex cohorts at pilot schools score 0.14 higher in the academic subjects on national exams, while there is no robust effect on non-academic subjects. Additionally, treated students are more likely to earn the secondary-school leaving credential, and the all-boys cohorts have fewer arrests. Survey evidence reveals that these single-sex effects reflect both direct gender peer effects due to interactions between classmates, and also indirect effects generated through changes in teacher behavior. Importantly, these benefits are achieved at zero financial cost.

The Causes and Consequences of Increased Female Education and Labor Force Participation in Developing Countries (WP-16-22)

Rachel Heath and Seema Jayachandran

Two important recent trends in developing countries have been the rise in female labor-force participation and the closing of gender gaps in school enrollment. In this article, Jayachandran and Heath explore both the causes of these trends and the effects that they have had on the lives of women. A central theme that emerges is the relationship between the two phenomena: As increases in education have prompted more women to enter the labor force, improved labor-market opportunities have also prompted increases in female education.

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Cash for Carbon: A Deforestation Experiment


Deforestation accounts for an estimated 9 percent of human-induced carbon emissions. A study in Uganda, led by IPR economist Seema Jayachandran and her colleagues, suggests that paying people to conserve their trees in developing countries could be a highly cost-effective way to reduce deforestation, and therefore carbon emissions. MORE

Faculty Awards & Honors

Oncofertility specialist and IPR associate Teresa Woodruff received a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship, April 6.

IPR statistician Charles F. Manski was named a distinguished fellow by the American Economic Association, April 14.

Read about other faculty awards

Faculty in the Media

Harvard Business Review

How gender bias corrupts performance reviews, and what to do about it

IPR psychologist Alice Eagly's research on gender differences in leadership style could help reduce gender bias in performance reviews.


Ready or not (for kindergarten), some research says, enroll anyway

"Academic redshirting"—when parents hold their kids back from kindergarten—is "generally not worth it," explains IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach.


'Organ on a chip' re-creates the female menstrual cycle

Oncofertility specialist and IPR associate Teresa Woodruff and her colleagues have created an innovative 3-D model of the female reproduction system that could fuel new research and drug development.

Education Week

Can requiring a post-graduation plan motivate students? Chicago thinks so.

Schools must provide supports for high schoolers to succeed post-graduation, finds IPR social psychologist Mesmin Destin.

The Christian Science Monitor

Breakthroughs arise from a precise mix of old and new knowledge, say scientists

Kellogg professors Brian Uzzi and Benjamin Jones, both IPR associates, find that the most-cited research articles rely on a "specific mix of old and new research."

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