View in Browser/Mobile May 2015

IPR enews

At left, Monica Prasad at a 2012 IPR policy research briefing in Washington, D.C.; At right, Jennifer Richeson at the investiture of her MacArthur Chair in 2013


IPR Faculty Receive Guggenheim Fellowships

IPR sociologist Monica Prasad and IPR social psychologist Jennifer Richeson are among the newly named 2015 Guggenheim Fellows, representing 175 U.S. and Canadian scholars and artists selected from more than 3,100 applicants. They are two of the 13 social scientists to receive the award this year. Richeson was also recently elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. "Jenn and Monica both personify the IPR ideal of seeking connections across disparate ideas and engaging in pathbreaking social science research," said IPR Director David Figlio. "I am thrilled that they are both part of Team IPR." MORE

IPR Distinguished Lecturer

IPR welcomed Nobel laureate and University of Chicago economist James Heckman on April 27. You can view a video of him discussing human development across the life course here.

Faculty Awards & Honors

Morton Schapiro, Northwestern president, professor, and IPR economist, received the 2015 President's Award from NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. It honors a university president who has improved the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and programs.

Northwestern Law School Dean and IPR associate Daniel Rodriguez delivered the Jefferson Memorial Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley on April 1, on "Federalism, Localism, and the Shape of Constitutional Conflict." Previous lecturers include Abner J. Mikva, a former judge and congressman, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Northwestern's Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities named sociologist and IPR associate Steven Epstein a 2015–16 humanities fellow. IPR sociologist Anthony Chen is a current Kaplan fellow.

The Society for Research in Child Development has appointed an interdisciplinary team of IPR faculty to edit its Social Policy Report. They are communications scholar Ellen Wartella, psychologists Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Lauren Wakschlag, Sandra Waxman, and Terri Sabol, economist David Figlio, and pediatrician Craig Garfield.

Find other faculty awards HERE

Faculty in the Media
The New York Times
Smart social programs
In an op-ed in The New York Times, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, points to recent research by IPR faculty as evidence that government efforts to support low-income families work. He references a study co-authored by IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach on the long-term benefits of early exposure to food stamps, as well as research co-authored by economist and IPR associate Joseph Ferrie on a temporary income-assistance program.

The Pacific Standard
With age comes not only wisdom, but trust
The Pacific Standard highlights developmental psychologist and IPR associate Claudia Haase's research on trust increasing as people get older. Haase and her colleagues examined trust in nearly 200,000 individuals from 83 countries between 1981 and 2007. Older people had higher levels of trust in everyone from their neighbors to people of other religions and from other countries.

The Atlantic
Unequal until the end
How does inequality affect aging in America? In an article about the
impact of social circumstances on aging, The Atlantic highlights work by IPR sociologist Jeremy Freese that examines the empirical relationship between socioeconomic inequality, health, and aging. As Freese and his co-author explain, "The lower status people are, the sooner they die, and the worse health they have while alive."

U.S. News & World Report
When men get the baby blues
Postpartum depression can affect women as well as men. U.S. News & World Report quotes pediatrician and IPR associate Craig Garfield in an article about depression in fathers and how it manifests, as well as roadblocks to these fathers' seeking help—such as feelings of selfishness and experiencing different symptoms than women with postpartum depression.

Find these and other clips HERE
News & Research

Faculty Spotlight: Rebecca Seligman
How do social and cultural experiences become embedded in physical and mental health? This is one of the central questions driving IPR anthropologist Rebecca Seligman’s research. Her research agenda encompasses examinations of spirit possession in Brazil to investigations of mental health among Mexican-American teenagers, but all of it is united by an interest in mind-body interactions and sociocultural influences.


Is Bipartisanship Dead?
Research on Congress’ rising polarization has only looked at half the picture, IPR political scientist Laurel Harbridge argues in her new book, Is Bipartisanship Dead? Policy Agreement and Agenda-Setting in the House of Representatives (Cambridge University Press, 2015). While research on polarization in Congress has examined trends in roll-call voting (when a representative votes “yea” or “nay” as his or her name is called), it ignores cosponsorship coalitions—when representatives cosponsor each others’ bills, including those introduced by members of the opposing party. The focus on roll-call voting conflates the potential for bipartisanship on legislation with whether or not leaders pursue legislation with bipartisan agreement. MORE

Chase-Lansdale, Others, Discuss Two-Gen Interventions
at Panel
On April 7, the Aspen Institute released its anthology, Two Generations. One Future, which groups essays from 20 researchers, policymakers, and others on the challenges and opportunities inherent to implementing two-generation policies and programs. IPR developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, also an inaugural Aspen Ascend Fellow, served as a contributor and one of the three editors of the anthology. MORE

Improving the Transition to a Tough Position
With fast-paced, fragmented, and varied work that requires long hours, being a school principal is a difficult job—and one that often has a steep learning curve. In an article in Educational Administration Quarterly, education professor and IPR associate James Spillane, with the University of Texas at Austin’s Linda Lee, examines what new principals face when transitioning into their positions, and offers recommendations for easing this process. MORE

The New Forgotten Half
In 1988, The William T. Grant Foundation issued its landmark report, “The Forgotten Half: Pathways to Success for America’s Youth and Young Families.” The “Forgotten Half” of the report was the 50 percent of young Americans who did not attend college. Over 25 years later, a second Grant-commissioned report, “The New Forgotten Half and Research Directions to Support Them” updates this definition, addressing the many young people who pursue, but do not complete, their higher education. IPR education researcher James Rosenbaum served as one of the authors of the new report. He also took part in a May 1 discussion on the report, addressing the challenges facing both students and the institutions that serve them, and strategies to help the new forgotten half get ahead and achieve their potential. MORE

New IPR Working Papers

Find all IPR working papers HERE.

“Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth” (WP-15-01)

Philip J. Cook, Kenneth Dodge, George Farkas, Roland G. Fryer, Jr., Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Susan Mayer, Harold Pollack, and Laurence Steinberg

The researchers report on a randomized controlled trial of a school-based intervention that provides disadvantaged youth with intensive individualized academic instruction. The study sample consists of 2,718 male ninth and tenth graders in 12 public high schools on the south and west sides of Chicago, of whom 95 percent are either black or Hispanic and more than 90 percent are free- or reduced-price lunch eligible. Participation increased math achievement test scores by 0.19 to 0.31 standard deviations (SD)—depending on how the researchers standardized—increased math grades by 0.50 SD, and reduced course failures in math by one-half, in addition to reducing failures in nonmath courses. While some questions remain, these impacts on a per-dollar basis—with a cost per participant of around $3,800, or $2,500 if delivered at larger scale—are as large as those of almost any other educational intervention whose effectiveness has been rigorously studied.

“Vaccine Approvals and Mandates Under Uncertainty: Some Simple Analytics” (WP-14-29)

Charles F. Manski

This working paper studies the decision problems faced by health planners who must choose whether to approve a new vaccine or mandate an approved one, but who do not know the indirect effect of vaccination. Manski studies vaccine approval as a choice between a zero vaccination rate (rejection of the new vaccine) and whatever vaccination rate the health-care system will yield if the vaccine is approved. He studies the decision to mandate an approved vaccine as a choice between vaccinating the entire population (the mandate) and the vaccination rate that would be generated by decentralized health-care decisions. Considering decision making with partial knowledge, he shows that it might be possible to determine optimal policies in some cases where the planner can only bound the indirect effect of vaccination. Considering settings where optimal policy is indeterminate, he poses several criteria for decision-making--expected utility, minimax, and minimaxregret--and derives the policies they yield. He suggests that performance of formal decision analysis can improve prevailing vaccine approval and mandate procedures.

“Expanding the School Breakfast Program: Impacts on Children's Consumption, Nutrition, and Health” (WP-14-28)

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and Mary Zaki

The researchers use experimental data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to measure the impact of two popular policy innovations aimed at increasing access to the school breakfast program. The first, universal free school breakfast, provides a hot breakfast before school (typically served in the school's cafeteria) to all students regardless of their income eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. The second is the Breakfast in the Classroom program that provides free school breakfast to all children to be eaten in the classroom during the first few minutes of the school day. The researchers find both policies increase the take-up rate of school breakfast, though much of this reflects shifting breakfast consumption from home to school or consumption of multiple breakfasts and relatively little of the increase is from students gaining access to breakfast. They find little evidence of overall improvements in child 24-hour nutritional intake, health, behavior or achievement, with some evidence of health and behavior improvements among specific subpopulations.

Upcoming Events

5/18/15 - "Acknowledging Gender Inequality in the Academy: A Network Analysis" by Quincy Thomas Stewart (IPR/Sociology)

5/19/15 - IPR Policy Research Briefing: "Education in the Digital Age" with Ellen Wartella, Eszter Hargittai, and David Figlio

5/19/15 - "A Distributional Framework for Matched Employer-Employee Data" by Stéphane Bonhomme (University of Chicago)

5/21/15 - "Loss in the Time of Cholera: Long-Run Impact of a Disease Epidemic on the Urban Landscape" by Erica Field (Duke)

5/27/15 - "Does Medical Malpractice Law Improve Healthcare Quality?" by Michael Frakes (IPR/Northwestern Law)

Find the complete calendar HERE.

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