View in Browser/Mobile April 2013

IPR enews


MIT economist Jonathan Gruber talks with two IPR graduate research assistants about research and policymaking after the IPR/Hollister lecture.

The Future of Healthcare

As the IPR/John H. Hollister Lecturer, MIT healthcare economist Jonathan Gruber retraced the challenges of passing and implementing the nation’s most sweeping reform of healthcare since the 1965 passage of Medicaid and Medicare. Gruber was a key architect of Massachusetts’ 2006 healthcare reform and the federal 2010 Affordable Care Act. MORE

Faculty Awards & Honors  
Lindsay Chase-Lansdale
In honor of the 40th anniversary of their Science & Technology Policy Fellowship, the American Association for the Advancement of Science chose one fellow from each class to highlight as part of its commemoration, including IPR developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale. MORE

MORE faculty awards & honors.

Faculty in the Media
PBS Newshour
Should public money be used for private schools?
A recent study co-authored by David Figlio, IPR education economist and director, found that increased access to private schools through the use of vouchers put more competitive pressure on public schools, leading to improvements in public student test scores.

The New York Times
Pay equity is subject to economic trends
Examining women’s and men’s earnings over time at different pay levels can provide a context for understanding how the overall economy can contribute to the gender pay gap, according to IPR sociologist Leslie McCall.

Flying with a net, literal and figurative
Celeste Watkins-Hayes, an IPR sociologist, was featured in a discussion on the role of the social safety net, where she explained why resources for low-income families are often reduced when budget cuts need to be made.

Los Angeles Times
The 1% aren't like the rest of us
A new study led by political scientist and IPR associate Benjamin Page finds that the biggest concern of the top 1 percent of U.S. wealth holders is curbing budget deficits and government spending—and that they have a disproportionate amount of influence over our nation's leaders.

Christian Science Monitor
Proposals to ban purchase of sugary drink with food stamps won't work
In an op-ed piece, IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach explains why proposals to ban the use of food stamps to purchase high-sugar beverages will not help fight obesity and could actually harm the food stamp program by increasing administrative costs.

Find these and other clips HERE.
News & Research
IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lecture
Princeton economist Cecilia Rouse, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, will deliver IPR's 2013 Distinguished Public Policy Lecture on April 8. MORE

Affirmative Action: From "Open Doors" to Fisher
Ongoing research by IPR sociologist Anthony Chen and sociologist Lisa Stulberg of New York University is filling out our understanding of how race-conscious affirmative action programs came to be instituted and unearthing some unexpected findings. MORE

Faculty Spotlight: Daniel Galvin
IPR political scientist Daniel Galvin studies how the American presidency and political parties have changed over time and what this means for the nation's political process. His latest book project, Rust Belt Democrats: Party Legacies and Adaptive Capacities in Postindustrial America, will examine the factors that have facilitated or frustrated party adaptation in those states hit hardest by trends related to globalization. MORE

New IPR Working Papers

Find the complete list of IPR working papers HERE.

“Variation in the Heritability of Educational Attainment:
An International Meta-Analysis”
Amelia Branigan, Kenneth McCallum, and Jeremy Freese

Using a meta-analysis of globally diverse samples, the three researchers examine the influence of genetic differences on educational attainment in various environmental contexts. Their results show that for men and individuals born in the latter half of the 20th century, genetic variation explains more of the variance in attainment, whereas shared environment explains more of the variance in attainment for women and those born in the earlier half of the century. Their findings demonstrate that heritability of educational attainment is itself dependent on environment, suggesting that variables such as nation, sex, and birth year influence how much genetic and environmental factors explain variation in educational attainment.

“The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children's Cognitive Development” (WP-13-08)
David Figlio, Jonathan Guryan, Krzysztof Karbownik, and Jeffrey Roth

This working paper makes use of a new data resource—merged birth and school records for all children born in Florida from 1992 to 2002—to study the effects of birth weight on cognitive development from kindergarten through high school. Using twin fixed-effects models, the researchers find that the effects of birth weight on cognitive development are essentially constant over the school career, that these effects are very similar across many family backgrounds, and that they are invariant to measures of school quality. They conclude that the effects of poor neonatal health on adult outcomes are set very early.

“Public Reporting of Hospital Infection Rates: Not All Change is Progress” (WP-13-07)
David Hyman and Bernard Black

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a major public health issue. In response, 25 states have adopted public reporting of hospital-specific HAI rates, but there is considerable diversity in how each state presents information. In this working paper, the authors focus on three states—California, Pennsylvania, and Washington—which have made substantial changes in their HAI public reports, websites, or both during the short period since they began disclosing HAI rates. They find that these changes have not necessarily led to progress in public reporting and discuss the lessons for other states to draw.

“Public Reporting of Hospital Infection Rates: Ranking States on Report and Website Content, Credibility, and Usability” (WP-13-06)
Ava Amini, David Birnbaum, Bernard Black, and David Hyman

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are mostly preventable but kill about 100,000 people annually. In response, 25 states and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services require public reporting of hospital infection rates for some types of infections, with such reporting spreading. The authors find wide variation in websites and their ease of access and use, and the usefulness of information, timeliness of updates, and credibility. They identify ways to improve these areas, suggesting that the model of “one website (and report format) fits all” might not work well to deliver such complex information to different users.

Upcoming Events
4/8/13 - IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lecture with Cecilia Rouse (Princeton), RSVP required
4/15/13 - "How the Politicization of Science Shapes Public Opinion" by James Druckman
                (IPR/Political Science)
4/18/13 - "Ratio-of-Mediator-Probability Weighting for Causal Mediation Analysis" by Guanglei Hong
                (U. Chicago)
4/22/13 - "Non-Cognitive Ability, Test Scores, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from 9th Grade Teachers
                 in North Carolina" by Kirabo Jackson (IPR/SESP)

Find the complete calendar HERE.

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