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Fake News, Big Lies: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going?

Distinguishing truth from lies can be a difficult task when every day Americans read and hear false “facts”—misinformation—and deliberately misleading information created to cause harm—disinformation.
IPR faculty experts have generated a noteworthy body of research across different disciplines that explores what drives people to believe in untruths—and how the U.S. may be especially susceptible to disinformation. They also examine how misinformation and disinformation have affected the media, our politics, and even our health.

Research News

Year in Review 2020–21

During this unusual and challenging time, the Institute for Policy Research has continued to thrive—taking our innovative, apolitical, rigorous, and relevant work to new heights. Check out IPR's 2020–21 brochure for research highlights, including publication of nearly 300 peer-reviewed journal articles by fellows, more than 5,750 national and international media mentions, and 39 national academy memberships.

Leadership Updates

David Figlio Named Provost at the University of Rochester

The University of Rochester named IPR economist David Figlio as its next provost, effective July 1, 2022. Figlio, an acclaimed researcher and economist, has been an IPR fellow since 2008 and directed IPR from 2012–17.

Surveys Reveal New Insights on Masks, At-Home Test Kits, and Misinformation

New surveys by IPR political scientist James Druckman show 26% of Americans are unsure if N95 masks offer more protection than cloth masks, and an estimated 6% of adult COVID-19 cases are not being counted due to the use of at-home test kits. The results also reveal that 73% of healthcare workers point to social media as a leading source of COVID-19 misinformation for patients.

Why Leaders’ Competence Is a Life-and-Death Matter

Competent elected leaders are often successful in improving the lives of those they serve, but incompetent ones can have an outsized, and even deadly, impact on their citizens, according to IPR political scientist John Bullock. He and his co-author argue that researchers should focus more on the competence of elected leaders instead of voter competence, or how well ordinary voters understand politics. 

Faculty Research in Brief

New research from IPR faculty includes how Black residents’ political behavior changed after Chicago Public Schools shut down schools in their neighborhoods, the effects of school spending on students’ education and earnings, and whether police departments should remove “bad apples,” officers with high numbers of complaints.

Faculty in the News

Changing the language of one's deed is minimal in terms of affecting overall contemporary patterns of discrimination or practices of discrimination, but it's still an important symbolic step.”
Working Papers

Geographic Disparities in COVID-19 Case Rates Are Not Reflected in Seropositivity Rates Using a Neighborhood Survey in Chicago (WP-21-18)*
Brian Mustanski, Rana Saber, Daniel Ryan, Nanette Benbow, Krystal Madkins, Christina Hayford, Michael Newcomb, Joshua Schrock, Lauren Vaught, Nina Reiser, Matthew Velez, Ryan Hsieh, Alexis Demonbreun, Richard D’Aquila, Elizabeth McNally, and Thomas McDade

Diversity in Schools: Immigrants and the Educational Performance of U.S. Born Students (WP-21-19)
David Figlio, Paola Giuliano, Riccardo Marchingiglio, Umut Özek, and Paola Sapienza

Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 Within the Household Is Associated with Greater Symptom Severity and Stronger Antibody Responses in a Community-Based Sample of Seropositive Adults (WP-21-20)*
Joshua Schrock, Daniel Ryan, Rana Saber, Nanette Benbow, Lauren Vaught, Nina Reiser, Matthew Velez, Ryan Hsieh, Michael Newcomb, Alexis Demonbreun, Brian Mustanski, Elizabeth McNally, Richard D’Aquila, and Thomas McDade

Low Levels of Protective Humoral Immunity Following Mild or Asymptomatic Infection with SARS-CoV-2 in a Community-Based Serological Study (WP-21-21)
Thomas McDade, Amelia Sancilio, Richard D’Aquila, Brian Mustanski, Lauren Vaught, Nina Reiser, Matthew Velez, Ryan Hsieh, Daniel Ryan, Rana Saber, Elizabeth McNally, and Alexis Demonbreun

From Mancession to Shecession: Women’s Employment in Regular and Pandemic Recessions (WP-21-22)
Titan Alon, Sena Coskun, Matthias Doepke, David Koll, and Michèle Tertilt

* Designates that the working paper has been published.

More Working Papers

Registration is required to attend IPR’s events for Winter 2022 online. You can always find the latest event information by visiting our online calendar.

Jan. 31: “Norm-Based Messaging as an Anti-Corruption Tool: Evidence from Three Experiments in Ukraine”
Jordan Gans-Morse (Political Science/IPR)

Feb. 7: “U.S. High School Student Outcomes in 1960 and Universal Pre-K, 1943–46”
Joseph Ferrie (Economics/IPR)

Feb. 14: “Downstream Effects of Social Media on COVID-Related Attitudes and Behaviors”
Erik Nisbet (Comm. Studies/IPR)

Feb. 21: “The Lasting Impacts of School Shootings”
Molly Schnell (IPR/Economics)

Feb. 28: TBA
Aaron Shaw (Comm. Studies/IPR)

More IPR Events
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