Research Projects by Region

U.S. 2010: America after the First Decade of the New Century

This project brings together 14 research teams at different universities and several disciplines to analyze changes in U.S. society over the last several decades and particularly post-2000, using trend data from Census 2010, the American Community Survey, and Current Population Survey. Particular emphasis is placed on the relationship between urban change and inequality.

AOC: Disaster, Resilience and the Built Environment on the Gulf Coast

Logan looks broadly at the impacts of hurricanes on the Gulf Coast from 1950-2005, questioning whether their effects on population and employment are long-term or short-lived and asking which population groups are more vulnerable to damage and displacement. A significant barrier to such analysis is the lack of detailed information on the actual wind damage from historical hurricanes. Logan and Zengwang Xu examine the potential for hurricane wind models to be used as a basis for filling this important data need.

Brown v. Board of Education at 50: Desegregation Orders and Public School Integration

Logan in studying trends in school segregation since 1970 shows that the substantial desegregation in the 1970s did not continue after 1980. He is also evaluating the relationship between racial and class segregation and the disproportionate exposure of minority students to subpar schools.

C8 and Reproductive and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes

This collaborative project will analyze the relationship between C8 (perflourooctonoic acid) and reproductive health outcomes, including miscarriage, preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, birth defects, and neurodevelopmental deficits among residents of West Virginia and Ohio who had elevated exposure resulting from environmental contamination from a chemical plant.

Children's Health Disparities in the U.S. and U.K.: The Role of the Family

This study uses longitudinal data from the U.S. and the U.K. to examine social disparities in children’s health in the two countries, with a focus on early and middle childhood.  Of particular interest are how health patterns among children with migration backgrounds change over time; how any changes are related to changing family environments; and whether there are meaningful cross-national differences in these relationships.  In related work, Jackson examines U.S.

Consequences of Segregation and Health Outcomes in the American South

Chay is engaged in research that empirically investigates the consequences of segregation (and desegregation) in the American South for health outcomes and human capital formation. He finds that the 1946 Hospital Act that led to new hospitals for whites improved health among whites only. The introduction of the Civil Rights Act, which helped provide access to hospitals for blacks, led to substantial relative reductions in black infant mortality.

Global Health Framework at Brown University

This education grant will increase training and research opportunities in global health for Brown University students and faculty.

Hurricane Katrina and the Built Environment: Spatial and Social Impacts

The complex relationship between demographic processes, spatial segregation, and inequality is evident in work by Logan on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. Logan finds that primarily black neighborhoods within the city limits were more likely to be damaged and less likely to be rebuilt than were otherwise similar neighborhoods.

Identity and Mobility: Historical Fractionalization, Parochial Institutions, and Occupational Choice in the American Midwest", 

Munshi examines the long-term effects of fractionalization arising from parochial institutions in the American Midwest. Individuals born in counties with greater ethnic fractionalization in 1860 are today more likely to participate in institutions such as churches and parochial schools and less likely to select into mobile skilled occupations.

Implementing School Choice in Charlotte, NC

Schooling choice can lead to persistent disparities if individuals in different groups have different levels of access to good schools or make different types of decisions about which schools to attend. This project investigates impacts on student outcomes, competitiveness and racial segregation as a result of the implementation of a new public-school choice system that was first approved in December 2001 by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. In this study, Hastings looks at the consequences of winning one’s first choice school in a choice lottery.

Incorporating Immigrants and Minorities into Late-19th-Century

This project studies racial and ethnic differentiation in U.S. cities in 1880, with a particular emphasis on the relationships between people and places. Using geocoded data from the 1880 Census, Logan was able to measure, for example, the ethnic composition of one’s neighbors at the level of the household and to group proximate households with similar “neighborhoods” into an overall neighborhood.

Long-Term Effects of the Mother's Pension Program on Adult Outcomes

Aizer is looking at the long-run effects of the Mother’s Pension program, which was established as early as 1911 in some states, and is the first government-sponsored welfare program in the U.S. It was designed to improve the conditions of young children that had become dependent through the loss or disability of the breadwinner. Because of the program’s historical nature, she can investigate the long-term effects of cash transfers to low-income families on a variety of outcomes, including educational attainment and earnings.

Maternal Smoking Behavior and Peer Effects

Aizer, along with Laura Stroud in Community Health, is examining the role of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on maternal smoking in changing smoking behavior during pregnancy and how these changes spread across educational groups. Their results suggest that not only were the educated more responsive to the initial announcement but, consistent with a peer-effects model, smoking reductions among the educated were more dramatic in areas of high educational segregation.

Mexican Laborers in the US and Mexican Labor Market

Labor-market migration can transform individuals as they develop new skills that may or may not be marketable at home. Lindstrom examines this issue in the context of temporary Mexican immigrants to the U.S. Consistent with the literature on investment migration there is evidence that migrants return with financial capital that can be translated into self-employment; however, it appears that the Mexican labor market does not reward U.S. labor-market experience.

Race, Incarceration and American Values

High rates of incarceration are in part a consequence of persistent inequality and may have long-term impacts on economic and social well-being for individuals and communities. Loury recently focused on the rise in rates of incarceration, particularly among African Americans. In his recent book, Race, Incarceration and American Values: The Tanner Lectures, he argues that the disproportionately black and brown prison populations are the victims of civil-rights opponents who successfully moved the country's race dialogue to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime.

Racial Interactions and Urban Decentralization

In U.S. cities, there are important relationships between segregation and public service delivery. Baum-Snow examines the role of urban school desegregation in determining processes of ethnic groupings. He shows that desegregation, in addition to leading to substantial outmigration from urban districts by whites, tended to reduce outmigration among blacks while also reducing private school enrollment among blacks in the South.  Because of these countervailing forces, school desegregation was not an important driver of urban population decentralization in the United States.

Study of ARIS Usage and Lessons from the ARIS-LOCAL Pilot Phase

Tyler uses objective data in the form of automatically generated web logs to examine how much and in what ways teachers in the New York City school system use ARIS, an online tool designed to deliver student information and test data to teachers in order to inform and improve instructional practice. The study will also examine the extent to which usage is associated with student achievement and school performance.

The Consequences of the Great Migration for Blacks in the U.S.

Kaivan Munshi and Chay are examining how the consequences of the Great Migration for blacks moving to northern cities depended in part on the presence of an effective civic culture and network support in their respective sending areas. They note that there was substantial variation across sending areas in the density of the black population and that a certain threshold of density was necessary to develop an effective social network prior to migration.

The Effect of Evaluation on Teacher Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-career Teachers

Tyler uses rich, longitudinal data from the Cincinnati Public School system to examine the extent to which going through Cincinnati’s rigorous teacher evaluation program increases teacher effectiveness as measured by the ability to increase student test score gains.

The Effects of Childhood Health on Social Inequality

Interested in the early origins of inequality and the role of child health in the production of social inequality, Jackson uses longitudinal data from the U.S. and the United Kingdom to study child health as a source of compounding disadvantage in skill development during the school years. A recent paper examines health as a source of cumulative disadvantage in skill development, focusing in particular on whether the timing and persistence of poor health have a lasting impact.

The Epidemiology of Hospitalized Postpartum Depression

In this project, Savitz will analyze data from the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS), which covers all hospitalizations in New York State. By linking delivery and depression hospital-discharge records, he can estimate the prevalence and incidence of severe postpartum depression on more than 1.1 million births. Savitz and his collaborators will address demographic, social, and medical predictors of postpartum depression, and evaluate the relationship with infant health measures and pregnancy complications.

The National Children’s Study (Providence County, RI and Bristol County, MA)

PSTC researchers Short and Logan join Principal Investigator Buka to provide the Providence County, RI and Bristol County, MA components of the National Children’s Survey. The study will examine the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 children across the U.S., following them from before birth until age 21. The goal of the study is to improve the health and well-being of children.

Urban Transportation and Economic Activity

Baum-Snow evaluates the role that transportation infrastructure plays in the spatial organization of population and economic activity. He investigates how the expansion of urban highway networks has led to decentralization of people and firms, and changed the spatial distribution of commutes in U.S. metropolitan areas. He has also evaluated the extent to which urban rail transit expansions have led to changes in commuting patterns and undertaken welfare analysis of such projects.