View in Browser/Mobile June 2014

IPR enews

Panelists (from left) Bridget Terry Long, Sarah Turner, and James Rosenbaum take questions from the audience at an IPR policy research briefing on ways to boost college access and success held in Washington, D.C. on May 6.

Improving College Access and Success

Only about half of low-income high school seniors go to college the fall after they graduate, compared with nearly 85 percent of high-income seniors. When they do, more than half enroll in two-year colleges, even though better outcomes are more often associated with four-year degrees. Many do not apply to four-year colleges, as recent research shows, often stumped by seemingly negligible barriers, such as a lack of information. At an IPR May 6 policy research briefing, IPR Director David Figlio moderated a panel on practical solutions featuring IPR education researcher James Rosenbaum, and economists Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia and Harvard’s Bridget Terry LongMORE

Faculty Awards & Honors 
Jamie Druckman
IPR Assistant Director and political scientist James Druckman received the 2014 Walder Award for Research Excellence, given by Northwestern University Provost Daniel Linzer.

MORE faculty awards & honors.

Faculty in the Media
Washington Post
The new War on Poverty: Tackling two generations at once
IPR developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale's ongoing research on two-generation education initiatives was featured in a story on new ideas to fight poverty.

Ending gender bias in research
Oncofertility specialist and IPR associate Teresa Woodruff appeared on WTTW's Chicago Tonight to discuss her work to change the National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy so that it now requires including females in all preclinical NIH-funded research studies.

Wall Street Journal
Cloudy, with a chance of unemployment
The WSJ discusses a new working paper by IPR economist Charles F. Manski, in which he makes a case for changing the way economic indicators, for example, the unemployment rate, are presented. He argues that using ranges and including error measures would be clearer.

Washington Post
Can stress really make us sick?
IPR health psychologist Greg Miller discusses the links between stress and immune systems, saying evidence of a link is " 'as strong as it can be,' given the limitations of human laboratory studies."

The Daily Show
Benjamin Page & Martin Gilens
Daily Show host Jon Stewart interviews IPR associate and political scientist Benjamin Page and Princeton University's Martin Gilens about their recent work that suggests the wealthiest, most powerful U.S. elites shape national policymaking disproportionately.

New York Times
The great white hope
A Thomas Edsall opinion piece, asking whether the GOP should focus on outreach to African-Americans and Hispanics or focus on white turnout, features IPR psychologist Jennifer Richeson's work on attitudes toward growing populations of minorities in the United States and their influence on whites' political views.

Washington Post
Great Society at 50
An article examining the legacy of President Johnson's Great Society in Prince George's County, Md., quoted sociologist and IPR associate Mary Pattillo on the importance of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

Find these and other clips HERE.
News & Research
Faculty Spotlight: Celeste Watkins-Hayes
From the pages of social science journals to some of the Internet’s most widely respected news sources, IPR sociologist and African American studies researcher Celeste Watkins-Hayes works to further the conversation about social and economic inequality, pairing her award-winning academic research on urban poverty, social policy, HIV/AIDS, formal organizations, and issues of race, class, and gender, with a commitment to contributing to the public dialogue. MORE

The C-Suite or the Sandbox: Has Anything Changed for Women as Leaders?
Recently several high-profile women leaders from GM’s Mary Barra to the IMF’s Christine Lagarde and Jill Abramson, formerly of The New York Times, have been in the news, leading to a wave of discussion about women in the executive suite. At a spring colloquium, IPR social psychologist Alice Eagly presented an ongoing project that reveals good news, bad news, and mixed results for what researchers are finding, what people are thinking, and what pundits are saying about women and leadership.

Promoting Interdisciplinary Connections and Exchange
More than 100 faculty and graduate students gathered at Northwestern on May 9 for a political and social behavior workshop that featured talks by some of the nation’s leading social scientists. Organized by IPR political scientist and associate director James Druckman, the eighth annual workshop featured talks by Tali Mendelberg of Princeton University on how to increase the political influence of women and IPR economist Charles F. Manski on probabilistic polling. MORE

Faculty Changes: Goings and Comings
IPR bids farewell to two faculty and welomes three new fellows. IPR associate Sarah Mangelsdorf will become provost of the University of WisconsinMadison and IPR associate Daniel Diermeier will become the new dean of the Harris School at the University of Chicago. In the fall, IPR will welcome three new fellows, social psychologist Mesmin Destin, economist Cynthia Kinnan, both at Northwestern, and health and law scholar Michael Frakes, who just arrived from Cornell University. MORE

New IPR Working Papers

Find all IPR working papers HERE.

“Communicating Uncertainty in Official Economic Statistics” (WP-14-08)

Charles F. Manski

Does the way federal agencies present statistical measures of economic health, such as the unemployment rate, seem to indicate that estimates are more precise than they actually are? In this working paper, Manski argues for presenting such figures as ranges rather than single estimates. Currently, federal statistical agencies in the United States and abroad commonly report official economic statistics as point estimates, without accompanying measures of error. Users of the statistics might incorrectly view them as error free—or guess an incorrect error magnitude. To avoid such misunderstandings, Manski urges agencies to communicate statistical uncertainty to the public when releasing official statistics. Sampling error can be measured using established statistical principles. The challenge is how to satisfactorily measure various nonsampling errors. Manski finds it useful to distinguish between transitory statistical uncertainty, permanent statistical uncertainty, and conceptual uncertainty. Examples illustrate how each of these three “uncertainties” arise, respectively: The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis periodically revises GDP estimates, the U.S. Census Bureau generates household income statistics from surveys with nonresponse, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics seasonally adjusts employment statistics.

“What Do U.S. Billionaires Want from Government?”

Benjamin Page and Jason Seawright

Billionaire campaign donors on both sides of the aisle make headline news, from George Soros to Charles and David Koch. But what do they really want? While there is substantial evidence that the very wealthy in the United States have unusual political power, it is much less clear which issues drive billionaires' political participation or whether they have distinctive policy preferences relative to the general public. Seawright and Page describe their research in progress, characterizing the public political face of the wealthiest Americans by discovering and coding their policy-relevant statements in the news media. Initial findings suggest that billionaires are especially vocal on issues that distinctively affect them, such as the estate tax. The findings, however, also suggest that some engage in "stealth politics" by spending significant money to advance political objectives without ever publicly making a case for those objectives.

Upcoming Events

7/7 – 7/17/14 - Summer Training Institute on Cluster-Randomized Trials, sponsored by the National Center for Education Research in the Institute of Education Sciences and organized by Larry Hedges (IPR/Statistics/Education & Social Policy/Psychology) and Spyros Konstantopoulous (Michigan State)

7/21 – 7/23/14 - Research Design Workshop for Faculty From Minority-Serving Institutions, sponsored by the National Center for Education Research in the Institute of Education Sciences and organized by Larry Hedges (IPR/Statistics/Education & Social Policy/Psychology) and Spyros Konstantopoulous (Michigan State)

Applications for both of these workshops are now closed.

Find the complete calendar HERE.

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