View in Browser/Mobile November 2015

IPR enews

Australian parliamentarian and economist Andrew Leigh discusses how we might address issues of inequality as the world of work becomes increasingly automated at his October 27 IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lecture.

Peering into our Robot Future

Driverless Google cars have traveled more than 1 million miles on U.S. highways, one of three couples stands at the altar because of a dating algorithm, and computers regularly beat chess and Jeopardy champions. According to Australian parliamentarian Andrew Leigh, these are but a few examples of how technological breakthroughs currently affect our lives—with more to come. Leigh discussed the future of work, inequality, and towel-folding robots at an IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lecture on October 27 that was co-sponsored with the Buffett Institute for Global Studies. MORE

Register for Dec. 4 Panel on Women Leaders in Chicago

On December 4, IPR psychologist Alice Eagly, IPR economist Lori Beaman, and Brigham Young political scientist Christopher Karpowitz will discuss "Women Leaders: Their Potential, Their Challenges." Register here.

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Dale Russakoff on "The Prize"
The Prize bookcover

Journalist and author Dale Russakoff will deliver a lecture about her new book, The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools? on December 1. Register here.

In a Complex Media Environment, How Do People Consume News?

From newspapers to news apps, Americans today have more options than ever when it comes to how they get the news. In a recent study, media scholar and IPR associate Stephanie Edgerly examines how different audiences take advantage of the growing news environment. MORE

Faculty in the Media
The New York Times
Healthcare companies in merger frenzy
The New York Times quotes Leemore Dafny in an article about healthcare mergers, and how antitrust concerns might not stop the consolidation because these mergers could occur under the regulators' radar.
Ben Carson accidentally stumbled on a great idea for improving education
Citing a study by Kirabo Jackson, Claudia Persico, and Rucker Johnson about how funding for poor schools improves student outcomes, Vox highlights that presidential candidate Ben Carson once appeared to endorse federal funding for public schools.
Babe Ruth and earthquake hazard maps
What do earthquake hazard maps and major league baseball players like Babe Ruth have in common? It is hard to measure and define their performance, note Seth Stein, Bruce Spencer, and Edward Brooks. With this in mind, they are developing new ways to measure such maps' success.
Is a national policy on school milk boosting lunchtime waste?
Children who only want a carton of milk to accompany their lunches from home are told that to get free milk, they must take an entire free lunch from the school, even if they plan to throw it out, due to government subsidies. IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach addresses this issue.
Find these and other clips HERE.
News & Research

Faculty Spotlight: Rachel Davis Mersey
IPR mass communication scholar Rachel Davis Mersey joined the faculty at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in 2008, where she has pioneered research on how readers' identities affect their media preferences, the ways in which digital media can build communities, and determining what information audiences need. MORE


Tracking Psychiatric Disorders in Youth After Detention
The majority of youth who enter juvenile detention have psychiatric disorders, such as depression and drug/alcohol use disorders. But little was known about whether these disorders persisted when youth left detention until a recent study by behavioral scientist and IPR associate Linda Teplin and lead author Karen Abram. Using data from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, the only large-scale longitudinal study of mental health needs and outcomes in the juvenile justice system, Teplin and her colleagues examine these outcomes and their implications for policy. MORE

The Costs of Imperfect Census Data
Each decade, the U.S. Census Bureau seeks to count the number of people in each state, thereby producing a snapshot of the U.S. population used for vital electoral and funding allocations. But the census also comes at a significant cost. In a recent IPR working paper, IPR statistician Bruce Spencer and IPR graduate research assistant Zachary Seeskin examine whether it is possible to cut costs for the 2020 census, how much accuracy one can get for that money, and whether that accuracy is enough for the census's uses. In another working paper, they conduct a cost-benefit analysis for a census in South Africa. MORE

Do Gun Laws Lead to More, or Less, Crime?
Does allowing citizens to carry guns deter crime, or lead to more of it? Some argue that if honest citizens are carrying guns, they will deter criminals from acting; others argue that more guns lead to increased crime instead. To complicate this debate, studies of gun laws have reached vastly different judgments as to their effects. In a new working paper, IPR economist Charles F. Manski and the University of Virginia's John Pepper seek to explain why people who use the same data can wind up with such different conclusions. MORE

ABCD Institute Celebrates 20 Years
While a disadvantaged neighborhood might have deficits like boarded-up storefronts and unemployment, John McKnight, professor and IPR fellow emeritus, has found that these neighborhoods also have untapped assets, like the skills of local residents and local associations. Such assets could contribute to making the neighborhood a better place. He parlayed this thinking into the Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD), which has become a worldwide movement and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gathering in Blackpool, England this past June. MORE

New IPR Working Papers

Find all IPR working papers HERE.

"Can a Scaffolded Summer Reading Intervention Reduce Socioeconomic Gaps in Children's Reading Comprehension Ability and Home Book Access? Results from a Randomized Experiment"

Jonathan Guryan, James S. Kim, Lauren Capotosto, David M. Quinn, Helen Chen Kingston, Lisa Foster, and North Cooc

The researchers conducted a randomized experiment involving 824 third-grade children in 14 elementary schools (K-5) to examine the effects of a scaffolded summer reading intervention that provided books matched to children’s reading level and interests and teacher scaffolding in the form of end-of-year comprehension instruction. There were larger positive effects for children in high-poverty schools than children in moderate-high poverty schools. In addition, among a random subsample of children who were part of a home visit study, there were positive treatment effects on the quantity and the diversity of books at home and trends suggested larger effects for children from low SES families. The results highlight the variability in treatment effects across different school and family contexts.

"Education Research and Administrative Data" (WP-15-13)

David Figlio, Krzysztof Karbownik, and Kjell Salvanes

It is now possible to collect, manage, and analyze data in magnitudes and in manners that would have been inconceivable just a short time ago. As the world has developed this remarkable capacity to store and analyze data, so have the world’s governments developed large-scale, comprehensive data files on tax programs, workforce information, benefit programs, health, and education. While these data are collected for purely administrative purposes, they represent remarkable new opportunities for expanding our knowledge. This chapter describes some of the benefits and challenges associated with the use of administrative data in education research.

"No Need to Watch: How the Effects of Partisan Media can Spread via Interpersonal Discussions" (WP-15-12)

James Druckman, Matthew Levendusky, and Audrey McLain

How do partisan media sources influence public opinion? The researchers address this question by exploring not only how partisan media directly influence individuals’ attitudes, but also how interpersonal discussions shape the impact of partisan media. They present experimental results showing that, depending on the nature of the discussion group, conversations can nullify or amplify partisan media effects. Perhaps more importantly, they also find that those who are not directly exposed to partisan media are still susceptible to its effects.

Upcoming Events

11/30/15 - "The Impact of Access to Migration: Evidence from Rural China" by Cynthia Kinnan (IPR/Economics)

12/1/15 - "The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?" by Dale Russakoff

12/4/15 - IPR Policy Research Briefing: "Women Leaders: Their Potential, Their Challenges," with Lori Beaman (IPR/Economics), Alice Eagly (IPR/Psychology), and Christopher Karpowitz (Brigham Young University)

12/10/15 - "Electoral Incentives and the Allocation of Public Funds" by Maurizio Mazzocco (University of California, Los Angeles)

12/17/15 - "Exporting and Firm Performance: Evidence from a Randomized Trial" by David Atkin (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Find the complete calendar HERE.

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