Archive for the ‘academia’ Category

Parents’ Pasts and Families’ Futures: Using Family Assessments to Inform Perspectives on Reasonable Efforts and Reunification

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Parents’ Pasts and Families’ Futures: Using Family Assessments to Inform Perspectives on Reasonable Efforts and Reunification (PDF)

Source: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

In this study, assessments conducted as part of the Illinois integrated assessment program allow us to look at a subset of parents for whom reunification might seem unlikely given their own personal histories and extensive exposure to trauma. Using a sample of narrative assessment reports drawn from the IAs, we explore the nature and prevalence of traumatic experiences among biological parents whose children were placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The relationship between parents’ childhood experiences and their current functioning is explored, as are data on reunification outcomes.

The findings that a subset of parents involved with the child welfare system have extensive childhood trauma experiences and present with multiple problems or service needs have implications for caseworker engagement as well as interventions. We examine what caseworkers and clinicians see as the initial prognosis for these families as well as the reunification and reentry outcomes after the children entered foster care. We hope to encourage dialogue about what policies and practices might need to be developed and implemented in order to improve long-term child and family well-being outcomes for this particular group of families. The study raises fundamental questions about our obligation to and approach to protecting children and to promoting their well-being.

SAT Report: Only 43 Percent of 2012 College-Bound Seniors Are College Ready

September 25, 2012 Comments off

SAT Report: Only 43 Percent of 2012 College-Bound Seniors Are College Ready

Source: College Board

More than ever, the population of students taking the SAT reflects the diverse makeup of America’s classrooms.

Among SAT takers in the class of 2012:

  • 45 percent were minority students (up from 44 percent in the class of 2011 and 38 percent in the class of 2008) making this the most diverse class of SAT takers ever
  • Among public school SAT takers in the class of 2012, 46 percent were minority students, up from 39 percent five years ago
  • 28 percent reported that English was not exclusively their first language (up from 27 percent in the class of 2011 and 24 percent in the class of 2008).
  • Among public school SAT takers in the class of 2012, 25 percent reported that English was not exclusively their first language, up from 23 percent five years ago.
  • 36 percent of all students reported their parents’ highest level of education as a high school diploma or less.

E Pluribus…Separation: Deepening Double Segregation for More Students

September 20, 2012 Comments off

E Pluribus…Separation: Deepening Double Segregation for More Students

Source: The Civil Rights Project (UCLA)

This report shows that segregation has increased seriously across the country for Latino students, who are attending more intensely segregated and impoverished schools than they have for generations. The segregation increases have been the most dramatic in the West. The typical Latino student in the region attends a school where less than a quarter of their classmates are white; nearly two-thirds are other Latinos; and two-thirds are poor. California, New York and Texas, all states that have been profoundly altered by immigration trends over the last half-century, are among the most segregated states for Latino students along multiple dimensions.

In spite of declining residential segregation for black families and large-scale movement to the suburbs in most parts of the country, school segregation remains very high for black students. It is also double segregation by both race and poverty. Nationwide, the typical black student is now in a school where almost two out of every three classmates (64%) are low-income, nearly double the level in schools of the typical white or Asian student (37% and 39%, respectively). New York, Illinois, and Michigan consistently top the list of the most segregated states for black students. Among the states with significant black enrollments, blacks are least likely to attend intensely segregated schools in Washington, Nebraska, and Kansas.

School resegregation for black students is increasing most dramatically in the South, where, after a period of intense resistance, strong action was taken to integrate black and white students. Black students across the country experienced gains in school desegregation from the l960s to the late l980s, a time in which racial achievement gaps also narrowed sharply. These trends began to reverse after a 1991 Supreme Court decision made it easier for school districts and courts to dismantle desegregation plans. Most major plans have been eliminated for years now, despite increasingly powerful evidence on the importance of desegregated schools.

The Obama Administration, like the Bush Administration, has taken no significant action to increase school integration or to help stabilize diverse schools as racial change occurs in urban and suburban housing markets and schools. Small positive steps in civil rights enforcement have been undermined by the Obama Administration’s strong pressure on states to expand charter schools – the most segregated sector of schools for black students. Though segregation is powerfully related to many dimensions of unequal education, neither candidate has discussed it in the current presidential race.

Who Says They Have Ever Used A Government Social Program? The Role of Policy Visibility

September 18, 2012 Comments off

Who Says They Have Ever Used A Government Social Program? The Role of Policy Visibility (PDF)

Source: Cornell University

When asked by pollsters if they had ―ever used a government social program,‖ the majority of respondents said they had not, yet when later asked about usage of 21 specific policies, nearly all reported that they had used at least one or more. What explains such widespread denials of government‘s role in people‘s lives? And, what are the political implications of such attitudes? This paper explores the significance of policy visibility— the extent to people have utilized policies designed in a way that makes government‘s role fairly obvious, versus those that obscure it by channeling benefits through the tax code or private organizations. In addition, it examines whether perceptions of government‘s role in one‘s social provision is influenced by such factors as political knowledge, ideology, or views about welfare. Finally, it assesses how individuals‘ perceptions of government‘s role in their lives affect their attitudes toward social policy reform.

Hat tip: Journalist’s Resource

Mobility Regimes and Parental Wealth: The United States, Germany, and Sweden in Comparison

September 6, 2012 Comments off

Mobility Regimes and Parental Wealth: The United States, Germany, and Sweden in Comparison

Source: University of Michigan Populations Studies Center

We study the role of parental wealth for children’s educational and occupational outcomes across three types of welfare states and outline a theoretical model that assumes parental wealth to impact offspring’s attainment through two mechanisms, wealth’s purchasing function and its insurance function. We argue that welfare states can limit the purchasing function of wealth, for instance by providing free education and generous social benefits, yet none of the welfare states examined here provides a functional equivalent to the insurance against adverse outcomes afforded by parental wealth. Our empirical evidence of substantial associations between parental wealth and children’s educational success and social mobility in three nations that are marked by large institutional differences is in line with this interpretation and helps us re-examine and extend existing typologies of mobility regimes.

The Cost of Friendship

August 22, 2012 Comments off

The Cost of Friendship
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

This paper explores two broad questions on collaboration between individuals. First, we investigate what personal characteristics affect people’s desire to work together. Second, given the influence of these personal characteristics, we analyze whether this attraction enhances or detracts from performance. Addressing these problems in the venture capital syndication setting, we show that venture capitalists exhibit strong detrimental homophily in their co-investment decisions. We find that individual venture capitalists choose to collaborate with other venture capitalists for both ability-based characteristics (e.g., whether both individuals in a dyad obtained a degree from a top university) and affinity-based characteristics (e.g., whether individuals in a pair share the same ethnic background, attended the same school, or worked for the same employer previously). Moreover, frequent collaborators in syndication are those venture capitalists who display a high level of mutual affinity. We find that while collaborating for ability-based characteristics enhances investment performance, collaborating for affinity-based characteristics dramatically reduces the probability of investment success. A variety of tests show that the cost of affinity is not driven by selection into inferior deals; the effect is most likely attributable to poor decision making by high-affinity syndicates post investment. Taken together, our results suggest that non-ability-based “birds-of-a-feather-flock-together” effects in collaboration can be costly.

The Need for (Long) Chains in Kidney Exchange

August 12, 2012 Comments off

The Need for (Long) Chains in Kidney Exchange
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

It is illegal in the U.S. and in most of the world to buy or sell organs for transplantation. Kidney exchange arises because a healthy person has two kidneys and can donate one to a person in need of a transplant. But a donor and his or her intended recipient may be incompatible. An incompatible patient-donor pair can exchange with another pair, or with more than one other pair, in a cycle of exchanges among patient-donor pairs that allows each patient to receive a kidney from a compatible donor. In addition, sometimes exchange can be initiated by an altruistic donor who does not designate a particular intended patient, and in that case a chain of exchanges need not form a closed cycle. This paper seeks to understand why such longer chains have become increasingly important in practical kidney exchange. The answer has to do with the growing percentage of patients for whom finding a compatible donor is difficult. These “highly sensitized” patients are those for whom finding a transplantable kidney is difficult, even from a donor with the same blood type, because of tissue-type incompatibilities. This paper shows that highly sensitized patients are the ones to benefit from longer cycles and chains, and that this does not harm low-sensitized patients. Key concepts include:

  • As long as there is such a high percentage of highly sensitized patients, long chains will help by increasing the number of these patients who can receive transplants, and each altruistic donor can have a big effect.

Sustainability: New Perspectives and Opportunities

August 10, 2012 Comments off

Sustainability: New Perspectives and Opportunities

Source: Knowledge@Wharton

After five decades of sustainability debates and policymaking, the world still lacks a comprehensive strategy that recognizes the complexity of the issues. This report, produced by the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, analyzes the main aspects of sustainability — from the environmental challenges facing cultures around the globe to the quest for a sustainable supply of water and food. Green business practices are seen through the lens of the tradeoffs involved and consumers’ attitudes towards the environment. The report also looks at what kinds of governance structures are needed to encourage sustainability worldwide and to improve collaboration among government officials, companies and nonprofit organizations.

Rainmakers: Why Bad Weather Means Good Productivity

August 1, 2012 Comments off

Rainmakers: Why Bad Weather Means Good Productivity (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Paper

People believe that weather conditions influence their everyday work life, but to date, little is known about how weather affects individual productivity. Most people believe that bad weather conditions reduce productivity. In this research, we predict and find just the opposite. Drawing on cognitive psychology research, we propose that bad weather increases individual productivity by eliminating potential cognitive distractions resulting from good weather. When the weather is bad, individuals may focus more on their work rather than thinking about activities they could engage in outside of work. We tested our hypotheses using both field and lab data. First, we use field data on employees’ productivity from a mid-size bank in Japan, which we then match with daily weather data to investigate the effect of bad weather conditions (in terms of precipitation, visibility, and temperature) on productivity. Second, we use a laboratory experiment to examine the psychological mechanism explaining the relationship between bad weather and increased productivity. Our findings support our proposed model and suggest that worker productivity is higher on bad rather than good weather days. We discuss the implications of our findings for workers and managers.

“Little Holes to Hide In”: Civil Defense and the Public Backlash Against Home Fallout Shelters, 1957-1963

July 23, 2012 Comments off

"Little Holes to Hide In": Civil Defense and the Public Backlash Against Home Fallout Shelters, 1957-1963

Source: Georgia State University Digital Archive

Throughout the 1950s, U.S. policymakers actively encouraged Americans to participate in civil defense through a variety of policies. In 1958, amidst confusion concerning which of these policies were most efficient, President Eisenhower established the National Shelter Plan and a new civil defense agency titled The Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization. This agency urged homeowners to build private fallout shelters through print media. In response, Americans used newspapers, magazines, and science fiction novels to contest civil defense and the foreign and domestic policies that it was based upon, including nuclear strategy. Many Americans remained unconvinced of the viability of civil defense or feared its psychological impacts on society. Eventually, these criticisms were able to weaken civil defense efforts and even alter nuclear defense strategy and missile defense technology.

America’s Racially Diverse Suburbs: Opportunities and Challenges

July 20, 2012 Comments off

America’s Racially Diverse Suburbs: Opportunities and Challenges (PDF)

Source: Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (University of Minnesota)

From press release:

Racially diverse suburbs are growing faster than white suburbs, but resegregation threatens their prosperity and stability, according to a study entitled, "America’s Racially Diverse Suburbs: Opportunities and Challenges," released this week by the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Long perceived as predominantly prosperous white enclaves, suburbs are now at the cutting edge of racial, ethnic and political change in America. The study finds the number of racially diverse suburbs, municipalities ranging from 20-60 percent non-white, increased from 1,006 to 1,376 between 2000 and 2010 in the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas (a 37 percent increase). Fully 44 percent of suburban residents in these areas now live in racially diverse communities, up from 38 percent in 2000. Moreover, racially diverse suburbs are growing faster than white suburbs, and the number of diverse neighborhoods in suburbs is now more than twice the number found in central cities.

"Diverse suburbs represent some of the nation’s greatest hopes and its gravest challenges," says study co-author Myron Orfield, director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity. "The rapidly growing diversity of suburban communities suggests a degree of declining racial bias and at least the partial success of fair housing laws. But the fragile demographic stability in these newly diverse suburbs presents serious challenges for local, state and federal governments."

Evaluating Female Engagement Team Effectiveness in Afghanistan

July 19, 2012 Comments off

Evaluating Female Engagement Team Effectiveness in Afghanistan (PDF)

Source:  Wellesley College Digital Scholarship and Archive
One hallmark of the United States’ population-centric strategy in Afghanistan has been the development of specialized teams tasked with engaging local populations. One such team is the Female Engagement Team (FET), which the military first developed in 2009 to overcome cultural barriers to access Afghan females, a previously untouchable segment of the Afghan population. The job of the all-female teams is to engage local women, and at times men and children, in support of battle owners’ counterinsurgency objectives. The FET mission statement has undergone many modifications, but can currently be summarized as follows: influence the population through persistent and consistent interaction to create stability and security.
For its relatively small size, the program has received an enormous amount of attention and praise. While the teams are frequently heralded as a success both in military circles and in the media, I contend that assertions that the FET program has been a success are problematic. The FET program has been promoted and defended as a critical element of population-centric counterinsurgency that separates the insurgency from the population on which it depends for support, but there has been no meaningful assessment from which one can make conclusions about the contribution of the teams as a COIN tool.
Specifically, I argue that current assessment models for the FET program are insufficient in two respects. First, while the military has collected a significant amount of data on their independent variable—the activities FETs have done to engage the Afghan population—they have failed to gather in any systematic fashion data that connect the actions of the teams to the mechanisms of population-centric COIN through which they are believed to operate. In particular, the military has not convincingly shown that the outreach conducted by the teams influences women and their communities to stop enabling the insurgency and instead support coalition forces and the Government of Afghanistan (GIRoA). Second, the military has failed to establish a causal link between FETs and successful outcomes, most notably, a decrease in insurgency violence. In the absence of sound assessment on which to draw, proponents of the program have relied heavily upon untested assumptions, sometimes problematic, about the impact of FET engagements among the population, as well as the relevance of those engagements for meeting the goal of weakening the insurgency, to conclude that the program has been a success.

Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change

July 19, 2012 Comments off

Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change

Source: Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

As the nation suffers through a summer of record-shattering heat, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change—uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers.

“Most Generation Xers are surprisingly disengaged, dismissive or doubtful about whether global climate change is happening and they don’t spend much time worrying about it,” said Jon D. Miller, author of “The Generation X Report.” (Read and download the full report.)

The new report, the fourth in a continuing series, compares Gen X attitudes about climate change in 2009 and 2011, and describes the levels of concern Gen Xers have about different aspects of climate change, as well as their sources of information on the subject.

“We found a small but statistically significant decline between 2009 and 2011 in the level of attention and concern Generation X adults expressed about climate change,” Miller said. “In 2009, about 22 percent said they followed the issue of climate change very or moderately closely. In 2011, only 16 percent said they did so.”

Looking Up and Looking Out: Career Mobility Effects of Demographic Similarity among Professionals

July 11, 2012 Comments off

Looking Up and Looking Out: Career Mobility Effects of Demographic Similarity among Professionals
Source: Harvard Business School Working Paper

While women and racial minorities have increasingly crossed the threshold into professional service organizations, the path to the top remains elusive. Why do inequalities persist? McGinn and Milkman study processes of cohesion, competition, and comparison by looking at career mobility in a single up-or-out professional service organization. Findings show that higher proportions of same-sex and same-race superiors enhanced the career mobility of junior professionals. On the flip side, however, higher proportions of same-sex or same-race peers increased the likelihood of women’s and men’s exit and generally decreased their chances of promotion. This research highlights how important it is to look at both cooperative and competitive effects of demographic similarity when trying to address the problem of persistent underrepresentation of women and minorities at the highest levels in organizations. Key concepts include:

  • Social comparisons lead to measurable effects on individuals’ careers, in turn shaping the demographic composition at the top of professional service organizations.
  • Organizations should attend to the ways in which policies and practices invoke competition and comparison within demographic categories.
  • Clustering same-race or same-sex junior employees to provide an increased sense of community may have the opposite effect of that desired, unless accompanied by senior professionals’ active sponsorship of juniors across demographic lines.
  • Attempts to design employment practices that are blind to the demographics of candidates are likely to succeed only if all candidates perceive and receive equal mentoring, sponsorship, and peer support regardless of their race and gender.
  • Among peers, the potentially positive role for social cohesion could be compromised by minimal interaction in day-to-day work, while limited opportunities for choice assignments and promotion lend a distinctly competitive edge to the work environment. Junior professionals perceive that they are easily replaced by peers.

Your country and your age might influence how you access news

July 10, 2012 Comments off

Your country and your age might influence how you access news
Source: University of Oxford (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism)

A report shows that Germans still prefer a newspaper, while online news has overtaken print and TV news as the most frequently used medium in the UK and US for those using computers, mobile phones and tablets for news.

One in five people in the UK now shares news stories every week through social networks or e-mail. However, the report also suggests out of the five countries studied, consumers in the UK were the most resistant to the idea of paying for online news.

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report, published today by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, is based on the findings of YouGov surveys in UK, US, France, Germany and Denmark. The report finds that more than a quarter (28%) of those surveyed in the US and UK access news via their mobile each week. Six out of ten tablet owners in the UK said they regularly accessed online news.

In the UK, mobile phone users are more concerned about the cost of accessing news (32%) than those who accessed news on a computer. Some 58% of tablet users, who are generally from a higher-income bracket, use the device to access news every week and are more likely to pay for news content; newspaper brands with paid apps did significantly better on a tablet than on the open internet.

Of those surveyed, four out of ten tablet users said accessing news on the device is a better experience than on a personal computer. Overall, in the UK only four per cent of those surveyed said they had paid for online news, while Denmark had the highest percentage (12%) of consumers, of the countries studied, who have paid for online news.

+ Full Report

See: Online News ‘Takes Off in US and UK While Most Germans Prefer a Newspaper’ (Science Daily)

Academic Women: Individual Considerations and Structural Forces in Navigating Academic Organizations

July 9, 2012 Comments off

Academic Women: Individual Considerations and Structural Forces in Navigating Academic Organizations (PDF)

Source: Oregon State University (Jennifer M. Almquist)

This dissertation is situated as the third work in a series on academic women. In 1964, Jessie Bernard published Academic Women, which provided a comprehensive assessment of the status of women in academia. Two decades later, in 1987, Angela Simeone offered insight into attempts to achieve equity for women in higher education in her book Academic Women: Workings Towards Equality. Now, at the next twentyfive year interval, this dissertation continues the scholarly engagement with questions about academic women. Drawing primarily on in-depth interviews with academic women (n = 35), this dissertation is more than a status update. The research presented here furthers the discussion by recognizing the limitations to the use of “academic women” as an all-encompassing category, and it offers a more nuanced approach to understanding their experiences in academia. Drawing on both the individual strategies of women and the organizational structure of the university this dissertation offers a new framework for assessing the various ways in which academic women navigate academic organizations. Additionally, lessons and practices are featured as recommendations and resources for both academic women and academic organizations.

Health Insurance Enrollment and Bankruptcy Decisions

July 9, 2012 Comments off

Health Insurance Enrollment and Bankruptcy Decisions (PDF)

Source: University of Wisconsin (Xiaodong Fan and Berk Yavuzoglu)

Unlike many other developed countries in the world, the United States does not have an universal health care system. It has been debated for years, dated back at least to Clinton presidency. However, Americans have the option of using bankruptcy as an implicit health insurance. This paper aims to study the joint decision of bankruptcy and health insurance enrollment in a dynamic model framework using micro-level data.

Set in Stone: Building America’s New Generation of Arts Facilities 1994-2008

June 29, 2012 Comments off

Set in Stone: Building America’s New Generation of Arts Facilities 1994-2008

Source: Cultural Policy Center (University of Chicago)

From press release:

Civic leaders, arts organizations, donors and government officials can better plan new or expanded arts facilities by first focusing on the arts organizations’ missions and assessing demand for the projects, according to a new study from the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago.

The study, “Set in Stone,” looks at a major building boom of museums, performing arts centers and theaters in the United States from 1994 to 2008. It is the first scientifically prepared study of its kind and was requested both by cultural leaders and major foundations that had, in many cases, provided support for these building projects.

The work was based on interviews with people in more than 500 organizations and drew data from more than 700 building projects, including both new facilities and major renovations. The costs of the projects ranged from $4 million to $335 million. It relied on rare, behind-the-scenes access to the discussions surrounding the buildings.

See: Report shows overspending on cultural institutions in boom years (EurekAlert!)

When Performance Trumps Gender Bias: Joint versus Separate Evaluation

June 22, 2012 Comments off

When Performance Trumps Gender Bias: Joint versus Separate Evaluation (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

We examine a new intervention to overcome gender biases in hiring, promotion, and job assignments: an “evaluation nudge,” in which people are evaluated jointly rather than separately regarding their future performance. Evaluators are more likely to focus on individual performance in joint than in separate evaluation and on group stereotypes in separate than in joint evaluation, making joint evaluation the money-maximizing evaluation procedure. Our findings are compatible with a behavioral model of information processing and with the System 1/System 2 distinction in behavioral decision research where people have two distinct modes of thinking that are activated under certain conditions.

Demand Spillovers, Combative Advertising, and Celebrity Endorsements

June 22, 2012 Comments off

Demand Spillovers, Combative Advertising, and Celebrity Endorsements (PDF)
Source: Northwestern University and NBER (Garthwaite)

This paper studies the economic effects of endorsements. In the publishing sector, endorsements are found to be a business stealing form of advertising that raises title level sales without increasing the market size. The endorsements decrease aggregate adult fiction sales; likely as a result of the endorsed books being more difficult than those that otherwise would have been purchased. Economically meaningful sales increases are also found for non-endorsed titles by endorsed authors. These spillover demand estimates demonstrate a broad range of benefits from advertising for firms operating in a multiproduct brand setting.


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