View in Browser/Mobile October 2013

IPR enews

Workshop group
Clockwise, from far right: Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago talks with Katherine Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harvard's Raj Chetty, and IPR's Quincy Thomas Stewart after a workshop session on the long-term impacts of teachers.

Matching Administrative Data to Inform Policy

On October 10 and 11, more than 50 academics, policymakers, and practitioners gathered at Northwestern University for an inaugural meeting that seeks to establish an interdisciplinary network connecting these three groups around building state-level matched administrative data sets. MORE

Faculty Awards & Honors 
Emma Adam
IPR developmental psychologist Emma Adam received the 2013 Curt Richter Award, an international award recognizing her research on adolescent stress, depression, and anxiety. MORE

Monica Prasad
The Land of Too Much by IPR sociologist Monica Prasad won three book awards from the American Sociological Association (ASA) in 2013. IPR sociologist Lincoln Quillian also received a 2013 ASA Award for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship in Population.

James Druckman
IPR political scientist James Druckman (above), IPR social policy researcher Fay Lomax Cook, and communications studies researcher and IPR associate Aaron Shaw all received awards at the American Political Science Association's 2013 conference.

MORE faculty awards & honors.

Faculty in the Media
The New York Times
Government already has tools available
IPR sociologist and African American studies researcher Celeste Watkins-Hayes calls on the government to take small steps to improve borrowing opportunities for minority and underserved communities.

Who needs nouns? How toddlers learn to speak
New research co-authored by IPR clinical psychologist Sandra Waxman examines how children learn new words and acquire language differently based on their native language.

The New York Times
At Northwestern, 'caught napping' can be a positive
IPR psychobiologist Emma Adam is part of a new assessment that monitors and evaluates the sleep habits of Northwestern football players to improve their performance on and off the field.

Los Angeles Times
Amid slow economic recovery, more Americans identify as 'lower class'
Both the media and the public have become much more aware of the growing gap in income between the rich and the poor, according to IPR sociologist Leslie McCall, especially since Occupy Wall Street and the 2012 election.

Find these and other clips HERE.
News & Research
Healthcare Reform in Perspective
Katherine Baicker, professor of health economics at Harvard University's School of Public Health and co-principal investigator of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, will deliver IPR's Fall 2013 Distinguished Public Policy Lecture. "A Conversation with Katherine Baicker" will take place on October 28, moderated by IPR Director David Figlio. RSVP required. MORE
Katherine Baicker

Who Cares About Inequality? Americans Do
Most research asserts that Americans generally care little about, or even ignore, income inequality and dislike redistributive policies. But in her latest book, The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs About Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution, IPR sociologist Leslie McCall is upending conventional wisdom on the topic. MORE

Food Stamps, Redshirting, and Universal Pre-K
IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach had three research studies
that she co-authored covered by major media outlets in the span of one week. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote about her research on the positive impact of food stamps on children on September 22. The Wall Street Journal covered a study on September 19 about the effects of introducing universal preschool programs. Also on September 19, The New Yorker discussed a randomized study on "redshirting," the practice of holding children back for an extra year before kindergarten to give them an advantage. MORE

The Impact of Tenure-Track Faculty on Student Learning
Tenure in American higher education is on the wane. In the mid-1970s, more than 50 percent of faculty held tenure, dropping to 30 percent by 2009. A new working paper (see abstract below) by IPR education economists David Figlio and Morton Schapiro with consultant and recent alumnus Kevin Soter compares learning outcomes for undergraduates in classes with tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty. MORE

New IPR Working Papers

Find all IPR working papers HERE.

“The Impact of Chicago's Small School Initiative” (WP-13-20)
Lisa Barrow, Amy Claessens, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Is the small schools education reform movement working? A new analysis of Chicago Public Schools’ small high school initiative adds evidence to the growing consensus that small schools improve academic achievement but do not raise standardized test scores, and that educational interventions aimed at older students are more effective at improving their noncognitive skills than their cognitive skills. In a recent working paper, IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, with Amy Claessens of the University of Chicago and Lisa Barrow of the Federal Reserve, shares findings from the first research using a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the performance of small schools in Chicago. Using data from the Consortium on Chicago School Research, Schanzenbach and her colleagues analyzed student enrollment patterns and test scores for students entering high school at one of 22 new small schools, comparing them to their eighth-grade classmates who did not attend small schools.

“Randomizing Regulatory Approval for Diversification and Deterrence” (WP-13-19)
Charles F. Manski

When a pharmaceutical company asks the Food and Drug Administration to approve a drug or a mining company asks the Environmental Protection Agency for permission to open a coal mine, the agencies fulfill one of their assigned societal functions—regulatory approval of private activities. Yet how should society evaluate such processes? In a new working paper, IPR economist Charles F. Manski proposes a broader evaluative process than current reliance on the narrow scope of judicial review. He argues for allowing agencies, which often face uncertainty, to use diversification and deterrence to randomize regulatory approval. Randomization from diversification would serve to limit potential errors, much in the same way an investor diversifies a financial portfolio, and to improve an agency’s decision-making processes over time. In terms of deterrence, randomization would enable an agency to choose an approval rate that could either encourage more socially beneficial, or discourage harmful, applications for regulatory approval.

“Are Tenure-Track Professors Better Teachers?” (WP-13-18)
David Figlio, Morton Schapiro, and Kevin Soter

As the higher education landscape changes and colleges and universities rely increasingly on a combination of nontenure- and tenure-track faculty, IPR education economists David Figlio and Morton Schapiro, also Northwestern University president and professor, analyzed data from Northwestern freshmen to compare the impacts of tenure-track versus nontenure-track faculty on student learning outcomes. With Kevin Soter, a Northwestern alumnus and consultant for The Greatest Good, they found that students were relatively more likely to take a second course, and to earn a higher grade in that subsequent course, when the introductory course had been taught by a nontenure-track instructor. Their findings held consistently across subjects, and the benefits of taking introductory courses with nontenure-track faculty were strongest for the incoming freshmen with lower academic indicators.

Upcoming Events
10/28/13 - IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lecture with Katherine Baicker (Harvard)
                 Registration required by October 23.
11/4/13 - "Foreign Aid and Social Development" by Monica Prasad (IPR/Sociology)
11/11/13 - "The Suffocation of Marriage" by Eli Finkel (IPR/Psychology)
11/12/13 - Human Development and Social Policy Brown Bag with Clancy Blair (NYU)
11/14/13 - "TBA" by Enrico Moretti (UC-Berkeley)

Find the complete calendar HERE.

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