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RSF Review

Announcing the Twelfth Summer Institute in Behavioral Economics

January 13, 2016

The Russell Sage Foundation’s Behavioral Economics Roundtable will sponsor the twelfth Summer Institute in Behavioral Economics, to be held in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire from June 27 to July 9, 2016. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce graduate students and beginning faculty in economics and related disciplines to the findings and methods of behavioral economics—the application of psychological theory and research to economics. The program will include topics on psychological foundations such as decision-making under risk and uncertainty, intertemporal choice, biases in judgment, mental accounting, and social preferences, as well as the implications of these foundations for savings behavior, labor markets, development economics, finance, public policy, and other economic topics.

Faculty who have completed their Ph.D. program since April 2015 or Ph.D. students who will have completed at least one year of their graduate program by July 2016 are eligible to apply. Complete applications, including letters of recommendation, must be received by Friday, March 11, 2016.

New Recession Briefs Investigate Great Recession’s Effects on Parents’ Health, Assets of Families with Children, and More

January 5, 2016

In 2014 the Russell Sage Foundation completed a major initiative to assess the effects of the Great Recession on the economic, political, and social life of the country. Officially over in 2009, the Great Recession is now generally acknowledged to be the most devastating global economic crisis since the Great Depression. Prolonged economic stagnation is likely to transform American institutions and severely erode the life chances of many Americans. To understand these effects across a broad swath of social and economic life, the Foundation identified 15 areas of inquiry—such as retirement, education, income and wealth—and funded proposals for innovative projects from a distinguished team of scholars.

Four new Recession Briefs summarizing research from the Great Recession initiative now are available for download. These reports include investigations of the impact of the recession on the health of families with children, research on changes to the criminal justice system as a result of the recession, and an analysis of the recession’s impact on car and home ownership, particularly for minority families.

Call for Papers: Early-Career Behavioral Economists

December 21, 2015

The newly founded Behavior and Inequality Research Institute has announced that the second Early-Career Behavioral Economics Conference will take place in Bonn, Germany on June 24-25, 2016. The first Early-Career Behavioral Economics Conference was held in July 2015 and was sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation.

The goal of the conference is to allow researchers at the early stages of their career to present their work and receive feedback from peers and junior faculty members, who will serve as discussants. It will also help develop a strong community of junior behavioral economists. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and assistant professors who received their Ph.D. after Spring 2011 are all eligible to apply.

Click here to visit the Early-Career Behavioral Economist Conference home page for more information on the conference and on how to submit papers.

New RSF Journal Issue: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act at Fifty and Beyond

December 17, 2015

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, a key component of President Johnson's War on Poverty, was designed to aid low-income students and to combat racial segregation in schools. The newest iteration of ESEA, now titled the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was just reauthorized on December 10, 2015, with bipartisan support. The ESEA has long served as the federal government's main source of leverage on states and school districts to enact its preferred reforms, including controversial measures such as standardized testing.

In a new open-access issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, an esteemed group of education scholars examine the historical evolution of the ESEA, its successes and pitfalls, and what they portend for the future of education policies. Edited by David A. Gamson (Pennsylvania State University), Kathryn A. McDermott (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), and Douglas S. Reed (Georgetown University), the nine articles include an investigation of how the ESEA helped accelerate desegregation in the South in the 1960s; a study of the ESEA's effects on high school graduation rates for low-income students; and several explorations of how renewals of the ESEA—including the No Child Left Behind Act—have reshaped public education, sometimes to the detriment of English-language learners and disadvantaged students. This issue serves as an excellent foundation for developing a better understanding of the new ESSA of 2015.

Fall 2015 Awards Approved in Russell Sage Foundation’s Core Programs

December 14, 2015

Several new research projects in three of the Russell Sage Foundation’s core programs were funded at the Foundation’s November meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Future of Work:

Fast Food Franchises and Low-Wage Work
Rosemary Batt and Wilma B. Liebman (Cornell University)

Batt, Liebman, and a group of multi-disciplinary collaborators will extend a previous study on fast food franchises to investigate how the franchising business model affects job quality, pay, and labor law compliance, and how franchises are currently shaping low-wage work.

Visiting Scholar Prudence Carter Appointed Dean of the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley

December 10, 2015

RSF Visiting Scholar Prudence Carter has been appointed Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Her new position will begin on June 30, 2016.

Carter is currently the Jacks Family Professor of Education and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, where she teaches a range of courses on racial and ethnic relations, social and cultural inequality, the sociology of education, urban schooling, and research methods. She is also the Faculty Director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities and a former co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity in Policy in Education. Carter is the author of Keepin’ It Real: School Success beyond Black and White (2005) and Stubborn Roots: Race, Culture, and Inequality in U.S. and South African Schools (2012), and co-editor of Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give All Children an Even Chance (2013).

The Historical Roots of New York City’s Growing Tech Economy

December 4, 2015

This feature is part of an ongoing RSF blog series, Work in Progress, which highlights some of the research of our current class of Visiting Scholars.

It may be Silicon Valley that has become synonymous with technological innovation, but over the last decade, some of the most high-profile and successful tech companies—including Tumblr, Venmo, Birchbox, and Etsy—have made their home across the country, in New York City. Now the second largest in the U.S., Manhattan’s tech economy flourished unexpectedly in the wake of the Great Recession, at a time when many Silicon Valley firms were struggling. What factors account for the surprising growth of a tech industry in a city better known as a center of finance, media, and real estate?

During his time in residence, Visiting Scholar Victor Nee (Cornell University) is analyzing data from a three-year research project on the emergence of the new tech industry in lower Manhattan following the Great Recession. Among other factors, he is investigating how the high level of immigrant involvement in this industry has shaped its rapid expansion, as well as the ways in which political and economic institutions aided the growth of the Manhattan tech economy.

In a new interview with the Foundation, Nee discussed the historical precedents of New York’s tech boom and how norms of cooperation among tech workers and entrepreneurs helped jumpstart a new tech economy.

Q. Your current research explores the growth of a new tech economy in lower Manhattan, which you have identified as a bottom-up phenomenon that now makes up the second largest tech economy in the U.S. What factors gave rise to the relatively rapid emergence of these startups? Why was New York an ideal spot for tech firms to prosper, especially in the wake of the recession?

New Report from Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity

December 3, 2015

Fourteen months ago, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Brookings Institution convened a working group of experts from across the political spectrum in order to craft a comprehensive plan for addressing poverty and economic mobility in the U.S. today. Now, after over a year of work, the group has succeeded in creating a non-partisan policy report drawn from the best ideas proposed by an interdisciplinary group of researchers. The report, which addresses the domains of family, work, and education simultaneously, is based on common values supported by nearly all Americans: opportunity, responsibility, and security.

Members of the joint Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity include RSF president Sheldon Danziger, and a number of RSF authors, scholars, and grantees, including Lawrence Aber (New York University), David Ellwood (Harvard University), Judith Gueron (MDRC), Ron Haskins (Brookings Institution), Harry Holzer (Georgetown University), Lawrence Mead (New York University), Ronald Mincy (Columbia University), and Jane Waldfogel (Columbia University).

Authors of RSF Book The Long Shadow Win Grawemeyer Award in Education

December 3, 2015

Authors Karl Alexander, the late Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson have been named winners of the 2016 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education for their 2014 RSF book The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood. In their study, the authors followed nearly 800 Baltimore-area urban youths from first grade through adulthood and found that socioeconomic status trumps education when it comes to life outcomes. Their research spans nearly three decades and challenges the idea that access to public education means equal opportunity.

“Studies of this depth and breadth that include Census data, historical narratives, personal interviews, race, gender, family background, neighborhood and school conditions and social mobility over a lifetime are quite rare,” said award director Melissa Evans-Andris. The research featured in The Long Shadow has been profiled by outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, the Baltimore Sun, and Education Week.

New RSF Journal Issues on Severe Deprivation in America in the News

November 30, 2015

On November 17 the Foundation officially launched a new open-access, peer-reviewed journal, RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. The inaugural double issue, edited by sociologist Matthew Desmond (Harvard University), focuses on families experiencing "severe deprivation," or acute, compounded, and persistent economic hardship. In the two issues, poverty scholars from multiple disciplines examine how the Great Recession, plus factors such as rising housing costs, welfare reform, mass incarceration, suppressed wages, and pervasive joblessness have contributed to deepening poverty in America.

Journalist Eduardo Porter cited research from RSF in an article for the New York Times on Americans living in deep poverty—or those whose incomes are more than 50% below the poverty line. Porter notes, “What’s perhaps most surprising is how the apparatus of government assistance has turned its back on these people, not just failing to offer new strategies to help overcome the deepest deprivation but even removing critical programs that used to keep many of them afloat.” As Liana Fox and colleagues find in their RSF article, governmental transfers reduce the risk of deep poverty, but the shift over the last few decades from cash assistance to in-kind nutrition assistance and tax refunds for the poor has tended to benefit those who are employed, rather than the deep poor who are likely to experience long stretches of unemployment.