View in Browser/Mobile November 2013

IPR enews

Katherine Baicker
Harvard health economist Katherine Baicker, a former economic adviser for President George W. Bush, discusses healthcare research and policymaking with IPR Director David Figlio.

The State of Healthcare

At a time when healthcare has been high on the public’s radar, more than 90 people turned out to hear Harvard’s Katherine Baicker discuss the topic as IPR’s Fall 2013 Distinguished Public Policy Lecturer. She spoke about her involvement with the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, the first randomized controlled evaluation of Medicaid in the United States, and what its results might indicate about the Affordable Care Act. MORE

Faculty Awards & Honors 
Larry Hedges
IPR education researcher and statistician Larry Hedges was named Statistician of the Year by the Chicago chapter of the American Statistical Association. MORE

Diane Schanzenbach
IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach received the 2013 Vernon Memorial Award for co-authoring the best research article published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

David Figlio
Education economist and IPR Director David Figlio has been appointed to the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8.

MORE faculty awards & honors.

Faculty in the Media
The Huffington Post
The biggest mistake in the healthcare site?
Communications researcher and IPR associate Eszter Hargittai explains in an opinion piece how ignores the large variation in technological proficiency and wrongly assumes all Americans have a basic level of competency in online navigation.

The Huffington Post
An occasionally informed public misses too much
Media, technology, and society researcher and IPR associate Pablo Boczkowski penned an opinion piece about the perils of only consuming political news around election time.

CBS News
Millions on food stamps facing benefits cuts
IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach’s research on the long-term benefits of food stamps continues to be referenced in the news, as cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program went into effect on November 1.

The Washington Post
When earning a D is 'doing well'
IPR labor economist Kirabo Jackson’s research on the impact of teachers on both test scores and students' noncognitive skills is cited in a featured post on relative standards for student success.

The Atlantic
Black boys have an easier time fitting in at suburban schools than black girls
Social policy expert and IPR associate Simone Ispa-Landa’s work on the impact of gender on outcomes for minority students in suburban schools was part of a feature story about how social integration is easier for black boys than it is for black girls in predominantly white schools.

Find these and other clips HERE.
News & Research
Stress and Health in the Real World
IPR psychobiologist Emma Adam is a leader in the collection and use of saliva as a reliable and noninvasive way to measure the real-life effects of everyday events and emotions on human health and development. Her research shows how dealing with seemingly mundane social events can lead to changes in biology that increase vulnerability to outcomes such as depression and cardiovascular disease. MORE
Emma Adam

Unearthing the Foundations of Health
Compared with their peers, individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES) are two times more likely to be hospitalized and have 50 percent higher death rates. The recently launched Foundations of Health Research Center, led by IPR psychologists Edith Chen and Greg Miller, seeks to expand knowledge about the underlying biological mechanisms that influence the connection between low SES and higher risk for disease and mortality

Birth Weight, Breast-Feeding, and Health
When it comes to health, “It’s better to be poor in Europe, than rich in the United States,” according to IPR anthropologist Thomas McDade. McDade’s research agenda examines issues associated with this “U.S. health disadvantage,” in particular how early environments shape adult health, with his most recent work investigating links between breast-feeding, birth weight, and chronic inflammation in early adulthood. MORE

Black Picket Fences Revisited
Sociologist and IPR associate Mary Pattillo recently spoke about the second edition of her ground-breaking book Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril Among the Black Middle Class—one of only a few ethnographic studies of a black middle-class neighborhood. In the 2013 edition, she revisits the same topics discussed in the 1999 original—namely the economy, crime, and housing—putting them in the context of the economic downturn and the foreclosure crisis. MORE

IPR Faculty Tackle Urban Challenges at Global Conference
By 2050, the United Nations projects that more than two-thirds of the world’s inhabitants will live in an urban center, rising from more than half today. At a recent international conference, several IPR faculty encouraged participants to think about how university research could help address some of the major infrastructural challenges of living in an increasingly urbanized world. MORE

New IPR Working Papers

Find all IPR working papers HERE.

“The Great Divide: Elite and Mass Opinion About Social Security” (WP-13-23)
Fay Lomax Cook and Rachel Moskowitz

Often called “the third rail of American politics,” Social Security was once seen as untouchable. Cook and Moskowitz show that this political wisdom has changed. They use the theoretical framework of competitive counterframing to describe the breakdown in consensus among elites during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. Has this breakdown in consensus at the elite level weakened the public's long-standing support? Has increasing U.S. economic inequality between the wealthy and the less affluent translated into distinctive policy preferences by income? Overall, the authors find that the general public continues to support Social Security, but small, and widening, gaps between the views of the affluent and low-income Americans bear careful watching.

“Presidents as Agents of Change” (WP-13-22)
Daniel Galvin

Presidents have long been seen as operating within a political environment that is highly resistant to change. Recent historical-institutional research, however, has revealed presidents as powerful agents of structural change. Building on this emergent literature, this essay endeavors to demonstrate that Terry Moe's analytical framework—of structures, incentives, and resources—remains helpful for historically oriented scholars. Galvin offers methodological suggestions for conducting historical research and illustrates the potential gains by reconsidering some recent research into the relationship between presidential actions and party development. Each illustration shows that presidents, through their efforts to more closely align inherited party structures with their incentives, contributed to long-term party developments. Rather than leave their structural environment undisturbed, as leading theories might predict, their actions reconfigured party arrangements and altered their trajectories, influencing the choices made by subsequent presidents and other political actors.

“Pathologies of Studying Public Opinion, Political Comm-
unication, and Democratic Responsiveness”
James Druckman

The research literature on democratic representation and on public opinion formation have largely ignored one another. Once one considers the reality of the political communication environment, a fundamental tension between these two literatures emerges. In this essay, Druckman reviews work on each, highlighting problems with how “quality opinion” is often defined and with how representation is typically studied, and then offers a way forward.

Upcoming Events
11/21/13 - "Breaking the Glass Ceiling: The Effect of Board Quotas on Female Labor Market Outcomes
                  in Norway" by Marianne Bertrand (U. Chicago)
11/25/13 - "Fifty Shades of Fiscal Federalism" by Therese McGuire (IPR/Kellogg)
12/2/13 - "The Great Divide: Elite and Mass Opinion About Social Security" by Fay Lomax Cook

Find the complete calendar HERE.

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