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RSF Review

RSF Author Jennifer Lee Interviewed by U.S. Embassy in New Zealand

July 14, 2015

RSF author and former Visiting Scholar Jennifer Lee (University of California, Irvine) recently visited New Zealand to deliver a keynote address at the Population Association of New Zealand conference. During her time in Wellington, she participated in an interview at the U.S. Embassy and discussed diversity and population trends in America.

The Complex History of Public Education in the U.S.

July 10, 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.

During her time in residence at the Foundation, Elizabeth Shermer (Loyola) has worked on a book that examines the origins of the contemporary crisis in public higher education. She argues that contrary to popular belief, state universities have always been subject to market forces. Shermer finds that there was never enough government funding to create a geographically-uniform system of mass higher education, and that as a result, public universities have long been influenced by private sector interests.

In a new interview with the Foundation, Shermer discussed the complex history of the rise of public education in the U.S. and recommended policies for expanding access to higher education for low-income students.

Q. Your current research challenges the popular myth of a "golden era" of public higher education by demonstrating how, from the very beginning, state schools experienced a number of funding problems and relied on different public-private partnerships to grow. Can you briefly flesh out the history of one state school to illustrate how public higher education's growth always required ties to a variety of different businesses and institutions?

New Research Collaboration with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

July 8, 2015

The Russell Sage Foundation has partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on an initiative that explores the social, economic and political effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Research funded through this collaboration will address important questions about the consequences of health care reform in the U.S.—from financial security and family economic well-being, to labor supply and demand, participation in other public programs, family and children’s outcomes, differential effects by race/ethnicity/nativity or disability status, and politics and views of government.

RSF president Sheldon Danziger remarked: “I am very pleased that the Russell Sage Foundation is collaborating with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on this important new research venture. Our partnership with the RWJ Foundation will allow us to greatly expand our support for research in this area, extending the program into 2017.”

Since 1972, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to identify the most pressing health issues facing America, with the understanding that health and health care are essential to the wellbeing and stability of U.S. society and the vitality of American families and communities. The partnership between RWJ and the Russell Sage Foundation promises to shed new light on the impact of one of the most significant regulatory overhauls of the U.S. health care system in decades.

New Awards Approved in Russell Sage Foundation’s Core Programs

July 8, 2015

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

Awards approved in the Behavioral Economics program:

Mental Accounting and Fungibility of Money: Evidence from a Retail Panel
Jesse Shapiro (Harvard University) and Justine Hastings (Brown University)

Jesse Shapiro and Justine Hastings will complete a project that provide new tests of "mental accounting," or how households represent money in their financial decision-making. They will draw from unique panel data on seven years of customer purchases from a large grocery retailer in order to glean new insights into mental accounting through a real-world scenario.

Behavioral Biases and the Design of Student Loan Repayment Schemes
Lesley J. Turner, Kathleen Abraham, Emel Filiz-Ozbay, and Erkut Ozbay (University of Maryland)

Lesley J. Turner and colleagues will investigate the factors that affect students’ loan repayments, including the relationship between students’ expected earnings and their preference for income-based repayment plans, and whether students’ repayment behavior is affected by whether they voluntarily choose income-based plan or are instead assigned to one.

Spring 2015 Presidential Authority Awards

July 6, 2015

The Russell Sage Foundation has recently approved the following Presidential Authority awards in the Future of Work program, the Social Inequality program, and one non-program project.

Awards approved in the Future of Work program:

The Future of the American Worker
Steven Greenhouse, Journalist

Former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse will write a book investigating the future of the American worker. He will examine broad issues affecting the labor market, including the rise and decline of traditional labor unions and the growth of alternative, non-union worker advocacy groups.

Long-Run Adaptation to Workplace Technological Change
Miguel Morin (University of Cambridge) and Rowena Gray (University of California, Merced)

Economists Miguel Morin and Rowena Gray will analyze the changing structure of American jobs between 1900 and 1940 in response to the spread of electrification. They will produce a comprehensive data series that will shed light on how workers are affected by new technologies.

Visiting Scholar Sean Reardon on “Neighborhood Gap” and Educational Achievement Disparities

June 29, 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.

A recent article in the New York Times highlighted a new study by Visiting Scholar Sean Reardon (Stanford) on the persistence of a “racial neighborhood income gap” in many metropolitan areas in the U.S. As Reardon and his colleagues found, while middle-class whites and Asian Americans in tend to live in neighborhoods where the median income matches or exceeds their own, black middle-class families tend to live in distinctly lower-income places. Because children who grow up in more affluent neighborhoods have been shown to fare better as adults than their counterparts in lower income neighborhoods, this study holds sobering implications for black children in the U.S., even those who belong to middle-class families.

Among the disadvantages associated with residing in a lower income area is lack of access to high quality public education. During his time in residence at the Foundation, Reardon has researched educational achievement gaps in the U.S., looking in particular at racial and socioeconomic inequalities. In a new interview with the Foundation, he discussed the widening of the economic achievement gap and the troubling persistence of racial disparities by neighborhood.

Q. Your current research examines the factors behind racial and economic achievement gaps in US public education. While the racial achievement gap appears to be on the decline, the economic achievement gap has increased over the last few decades. What accounts for this divergence?

Visiting Scholars Discuss the Changing Nature of Racial Identity in the U.S.

June 26, 2015

Several RSF Visiting Scholars recently appeared in the news to discuss the evolution of racial identity in the U.S. In a June op-ed for the New York Times, Visiting Scholar Richard Alba (CUNY Graduate Center) discussed a new report from the Pew Research Center that highlighted the rapid increase of the number of Americans who identify as multiracial. As racial and ethnic diversity has continued to grow due to increased immigration and interracial unions, many have assumed that the U.S. is becoming a “post-racial” society. Yet, Alba cautioned, “We will seem like a majority-white society for much longer than is believed.”

As he explained, while the number of multiracial Americans has indeed grown over the last several decades, race continues to socially constrain many groups. Citing The Diversity Paradox by Jennifer Lee and Frank Bean, Alba noted that while mixed-race individuals of white-Latino or white-Asian backgrounds generally enjoyed freedom in choosing their identities, this was not the case for multiracial individuals with a black parent. As Alba noted, “They experienced racial barriers, showing that visible African ancestry is still the great exception when it comes to the mainstream.”

Visiting Scholar Aliya Saperstein (Stanford) echoed some of these sentiments in an interview with the Washington Post on the new Pew study, for which she was consulted. Though the multiracial population in the U.S. is projected to triple by 2060, Saperstein stated of the latest Pew report, “I don’t think that I would describe the report as saying that we’ve reached a tipping point in seeing ourselves as a nation of multiracial people.”

Hirokazu Yoshikawa Joins RSF Board of Trustees

June 22, 2015

The Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Hirokazu Yoshikawa to its board of trustees. Yoshikawa is currently the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and a University Professor at NYU. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation during the academic year of 2008-2009, and is the author of the RSF book Immigrants Raising Citizens (2011) and co-editor of the RSF book Making It Work: Low-Wage Employment, Family Life, and Child Development (2006).

As a community and developmental psychologist, Yoshikawa studies the effects of public policies and programs related to immigration, early childhood, and poverty reduction on children’s development. He has also conducted research on culture, sexuality and youth and young adult development in the contexts of HIV risk and prevention and gay/straight alliances.

Yoshikawa obtained his PhD in Psychology from NYU in 1998. He has previously served as the Academic Dean and the Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is currently a member of Leadership Council and Co-Chair of the early childhood development and education workgroup of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He also serves on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Integration of Immigrants into American Society, the National Academy of Sciences Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally, and the boards of the Foundation for Child Development, the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report, and the Open Society Foundations Early Childhood Development Program. He is also a member of the National Board for Education Sciences and the National Academy of Education.

RSF Author Jennifer Lee Named Chair-Elect of ASA Section on International Migration

June 17, 2015

RSF author and former Visiting Scholar Jennifer Lee (UC Irvine) has been selected as chair-elect of the American Sociological Association Section on International Migration. One of 52 special interest groups within the association, the International Migration section aims to stimulate, promote, and reward the development of original theory and research on international migration. During her term, Lee aims to make scholarly research in the field of international migration more accessible to the public audience by connecting it to pressing policy debates.

Lee was a Visiting Scholar at the Foundation during the academic year of 2011-2012. She is co-author with Frank Bean of the RSF book The Diversity Paradox (2010), and co-author with Min Zhou of the newly released RSF book The Asian American Achievement Paradox (2015). In The Asian American Achievement Paradox, Lee and Zhou offer a compelling account of the academic achievement of the children of Asian immigrants—which pundits have long attributed to unique cultural values. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the adult children of Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees and survey data, Lee and Zhou bridge sociology and social psychology to correct this myth and explain how immigration laws, institutions, and culture interact to foster high achievement among certain Asian American groups.

Lee's one-year term as chair of the ASA Section on International Migration begins in August 2015.

Mass Deportations and the Future of Latino Partisanship

June 15, 2015

With support from the Russell Sage Foundation, political scientists Alex Street and Chris Zepeda-Millán, in collaboration with Michael Jones-Correa, conducted an online survey of more than 1,200 second generation Latinos to test whether socialization experiences are shaped by the responses of parents, children, and other political actors to the unique situation of U.S. citizens with undocumented parents. Among other consequences, they explore the effects of knowledge of deportations among second generation Latinos, especially on the evaluations of Democratic and Republican parties.

They discuss their findings in a new article for Social Science Quarterly. The abstract states:

The U.S. government continues to deport large numbers of undocumented Latino immigrants. In this new article, authors Alex Street, Chris Zepeda-Millan, and Michael Jones-Correa address the likely effects of these policies on Latino partisanship. Usiung a survey experiment to test the effects of information about mass deportations on partisan evaluations among young second-generation Latinos, the authors find that young U.S.-born Latinos view the Democratic Party as less welcoming when informed that deportations have been higher under President Obama than under his predecessor. Because most young U.S.-born Latinos are either weak partisans or political independents, there is wide scope for information effects among these potential voters. The authors find that mass deportation policies have the potential to reshape the partisanship and politics of Latinos for years to come.