March 25, 2010

The Institute for Policy Research (IPR) is an interdisciplinary public policy research institute founded in 1968-69 at Northwestern University. Our mission is to stimulate and support excellent social science research on significant public policy issues and to disseminate the findings widely—
to students, scholars, policymakers, and the public.

>> News and Research

> IPR Holds Capitol Hill Policy Briefing on No Child Left Behind
At an IPR policy research briefing on Capitol Hill last month, three education researchers presented data-validated recommendations to policymakers for how best to retool No Child Left Behind. They pointed to the benefits of higher state standards and eliminating the single-proficiency threshold or giving partial credit for achievement gains made under the threshold.
Slides, video, and related papers:

> IPR Welcomes First Joint Appointment with the Medical School
In February, clinical and developmental psychologist Lauren Wakschlag became IPR’s first faculty fellow with a joint appointment in Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She will be part of the newly created Department of Medical Social Sciences and IPR’s Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health.

> How Can Policymakers Cope with Ambiguity?
In a paper featured in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), IPR economist Charles F. Manski examines how health officials can select a vaccination policy when they only have a limited understanding of its full impact. Manski will be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences on April 26.

Related IPR working papers:
"Adaptive Partial Drug Approval"
"Diversified Policy Choice with Partial Knowledge of Policy Effectiveness"

> New Book: “Gaining Ground in Illinois: Welfare Reform and Person-Centered Policy Analysis"
IPR social policy professor Dan A. Lewis has a new book combining data and lessons learned from his four years directing Illinois’ study of welfare reform. The study was mandated by the state legislature and spearheaded by then-state Sen. Barack Obama. Lewis shows how welfare reform affected the state’s poorest citizens and seeks to give policymakers some direction in how to move past ideological debates and improve the lives of the poor.

> Gender on the Bench
IPR associate and law professor Lee Epstein tracked hundreds of federal appellate judges and their decisions in cases in 13 areas of law, ranging from abortion to affirmative action. Yet she found that gender accounted for differing decisions among male and female judges in only one—sexual discrimination.

>> Upcoming Events

> Obama Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee to Deliver IPR Lecture on April 26
IPR will welcome Austan Goolsbee as its Distinguished Public Policy Lecturer on April 26. He will speak on “The Uses—and Non-Uses—of Economic Analysis in Difficult Times.” Goolsbee is staff director and chief economist of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at or by calling 847-491-3395.

> IPR Spring Colloquium Series and Events, April 5 to May 24
IPR’s spring colloquium series will start on April 5. Talks will cover labor markets and alternative teacher certification programs, performance-driven nonprofits, and a psychological portrait of George W. Bush, among others. For a complete listing of IPR talks, go to:

>> IPR Media Highlights

IPR economist Burton Weisbrod and research coordinator Evelyn Asch publish three articles (Inside Higher Ed, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Change Magazine) based on their extensive research on college endowments for their book, “Mission and Money: Understanding the University.” The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago's CBS 2 profile a new study by IPR sociologist Celeste Watkins-Hayes on how Chicago-area women with HIV/AIDS manage their health and their finances. The New York Times asks law professor and IPR associate Shari Seidman Diamond about the difficulty of finding “untainted jurors” for high-profile cases. The Northwestern NewsCenter looks at journalism professor and IPR associate Jack Doppelt’s new project, in which students meet immigrants and present their stories on a Web site: The Daily Northwestern finds IPR's Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants Program a "perfect opportunity" for students to get hands-on research experience, boost their resumes, and earn money doing it. See these and other press clips at:

> Watch: Understanding the Healthcare Legislation
Healthcare experts have been weighing in on the effects of the historic healthcare bill that President Obama signed into law on Tuesday, March 23. See what two IPR health economists, Burton Weisbrod and David Dranove, have to say.
First Business:
"Chicago Tonight", WTTW:,8,80

> Listen: Immigration in Chicago
IPR political scientist Victoria DeFrancesco Soto discusses the history of immigration and immigration reform in Chicago on WBEZ’s "Eight Forty-Eight".

> Listen: What’s Wrong with Race-Based Medicine?
In an interview on Minnesota Public Radio, IPR/C2S law professor Dorothy Roberts talks about her research on race-based medicine—including on Bidil, the first race-specific drug approved by the FDA for African Americans with heart disease.

>> Faculty Honors and Notable Talks

Sociologist Leslie McCall was elected a member of the General Social Survey Board and will serve until 2012. IPR director and social policy professor Fay Lomax Cook gavea talk on "Fostering Interdisciplinary Research" at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice's 2009 annual retreat. Education researcher and statistican Larry Hedges gave an invited address on “Infrastructure Needed For Urban Education Research” at the conference America's Urban Infrastructure: Confronting Her Challenges, Embracing Her Opportunities at Washington University in St. Louis on November 19. Sociologist Mary Pattillo was named Harold Washington Professor. Sociologist Steven Epstein, recently named John C. Shaffer Professor in the Humanities at Northwestern, received a distinguished book award from the American Sociological Association for "Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research." Education and social policy professor Carol Lee received the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and also the President's Pacesetters Award from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education. Oncofertility specialist Teresa Woodruff delivered the Dr. Jacob Probstein Lecture in obstetrics & gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis on November 3.

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