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July 31, 2008

Funding Opportunities

Research funding programs can be found at the monthly updated funding news page of the journal Science.

Funders listed for the August issue include:
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
American Council of Learned Societies
Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health
Department of Justice
National Science Foundation
Pew Charitable Trusts
Social Science Research Council

Posted by yanfu at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

Disability and Health in the United States, 2001-2005

Disability and Health in the United States, 2001-2005
Source: National Center for Health Statistics (CDC)

Disability and Health in the United States, 2001–2005 examines health-related differences between disabled and nondisabled noninstitutionalized adults aged 18 years and over using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The basic actions difficulty measure of disability used in this report identifies noninstitutionalized adults with respondent-reported difficulties in movement or sensory, emotional, or cognitive functioning that is associated with some health problem. The complex activity limitation measure of disability identifies noninstitutionalized adults with respondent-reported limitations in self-care tasks (activities of daily living (ADL) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADL)) work limitations, or limitations or restrictions in the ability to participate fully in social activities.

Posted by yanfu at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

International HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria: Key Changes to U.S. Programs and Funding

International HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria: Key Changes to U.S. Programs and Funding
Kellie Moss
Source: Congressional Research Service (Open CRS Network)


The United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-25) authorizes $15 billion for U.S. global efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria from FY2004 through FY2008. It also authorizes the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) to oversee U.S. government efforts to combat HIV/AIDS internationally. These efforts to combat HIV/AIDS implement the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program proposed by President Bush in January 2003. President Bush has requested $30 billion for the reauthorization of PEPFAR from FY2009 through FY2013, estimating it would support HIV/AIDS treatments for 2.5 million people, the prevention of more than 12 million new HIV infections, and care for more than 12 million HIV-affected people, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children. Congress is considering reauthorization of U.S. international HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs through FY2013 for $50 billion. H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, and S. 2731, a similar bill with the same title, would increase funding for U.S. efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to Combat AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund), and U.S. global efforts to combat tuberculosis and malaria. H.R. 5501 and S. 2731 propose a number of changes to U.S. international HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs. The bills would: add Vietnam to the list of Focus Countries; remove the 33% spending requirement on abstinence prevention efforts; establish a Global Malaria Coordinator within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); set targets for coverage of pregnant women and the care of HIV-infected children; and support the sustainability of health care systems in affected countries. There are some differences between the two bills. H.R. 5501 inserts family planning program language, maintains prevention and care spending directives, and adds 14 countries in the Caribbean and three countries in sub-Saharan Africa to the list of Focus Countries. S. 2731 proposes the use of compacts or framework agreements between the United States and each country receiving HIV/AIDS funds under the reauthorization. It eliminates Immigration and Nationality Act language that bars foreign nationals with HIV/AIDS from entering the United States. This report will discuss changes in coordination and funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs proposed in H.R. 5501 and S. 2731. Some questions remain about whether programs to combat tuberculosis and malaria should be further defined and if additional reporting requirements, distinct leadership authorities, funding and program guidelines, project timetables, and coordination requirements with HIV/AIDS programs are needed. This report will be updated as events warrant.

Full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

Early Academic Competence Linked to Later Depression

Low Academic Competence in First Grade as a Risk Factor for Depressive Cognitions and Symptoms in Middle School
Keith C. Herman, Wendy M. Reinke, Sharon F. Lambert, Nicholas S. Ialongo
Source: Source: Journal of Counseling Psychology

The present study investigated the role of low academic competence in the emergence of depressive cognitions and symptoms. Structural equation modeling was conducted on a longitudinal sample of African American boys (n = 253) and girls (n = 221). Results supported the hypothesized path models from academic competence in 1st grade to depressive symptoms in 7th grade, controlling for a host of correlated constructs (conduct problems, inattention, social problems). Perceived control in 6th grade mediated the effect of academic competence on depressive symptoms. Although the models fit the data well for both boys and girls, the path coefficients were notably larger for girls; in particular, multiple group analysis revealed a statistically stronger effect of low academic competence on perceptions of control for girls. The study and findings fit well with counseling psychologists’ commitment to prevention activities and to culture-specific research. Implications for designing interventions and prevention strategies for children with early academic problems are discussed.

American Psychological Association Press Release
Full text of article (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2007

Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2007
Source: National Center for Health Statistics (CDC)

Data shown here are provisional and include only events occurring within the United States (50 states and the District of Columbia). Provisional birth, death, and infant death data in this report are based on a combination of counts of events provided by each reporting area and registered vital events processed into National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data files. Some of these may not have occurred in the specified month of this report. Monthly provisional birth, death, and infant death data may be updated during the course of a data year. Updates based on registered events will be included in the month the event occurred. However, updates based on counts received from the states may include the event in the month it was processed rather than the month in which it occurred. This may result in a low figure for a given month followed by a high figure for the month(s) in which the delayed records were processed. Once the provisional data year has ended, updates cease. Thus, provisional birth, death, and infant death data may not accurately track either the preliminary or the final number of events registered.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

New Working Papers from the NBER

The Plight of Mixed Race Adolescents
Roland G. Fryer, Jr, Lisa Kahn, Steven D. Levitt, Jörg L. Spenkuch
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Postsecondary Remediation Using a Regression Discontinuity Approach: Addressing Endogenous Sorting and Noncompliance
Juan Carlos Calcagno, Bridget Terry Long
Abstract; PDF

Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey
Janet Currie, Matthew J. Neidell, Johannes Schmieder
Abstract; PDF

Measuring the Importance of Labor Market Networks
Judith K. Hellerstein, Melissa McInerney, David Neumark
Abstract; PDF

Labor Supply: Are the Income and Substitution Effects Both Large or Both Small?
Miles S. Kimball, Matthew D. Shapiro
Abstract; PDF

Posted by ljridley at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

Call for Papers

IUSSP Scientific Panel on Historical Demography
Call for papers

International Seminar on
Demographic Responses to Sudden Economic and Environmental Change

Kashiwa, Chiba, JAPAN
21-23 May 2009

This seminar will examine the effects of sudden or unexpected economic and environmental change on the demographic behavior of individuals and families. Such changes may be social, political, or economic in origin, stemming for example from financial crises, food price fluctuations, harvest failure, regime change, or war. Alternatively they may be associated with natural disasters, stemming from tsunami, flooding, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Responses differ because while some changes were very rare and almost impossible to prepare for, others were common enough to plan for. We invite papers that examine how community, household, family and individual characteristics conditioned the effects of sudden external changes and led to demographic responses that varied not only across regions or communities, but within them as well.

Posted by yanfu at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2008

Sample Size and Precision in NIH Peer Review

Public Library of Science (PLoS Article: "Sample Size and Precision in NIH Peer Review," by David Kaplan1, Nicola Lacetera, and Celia Kaplan

The Working Group on Peer Review of the Advisory Committee to the Director of NIH has recommended that at least 4 reviewers should be used to assess each grant application. A sample size analysis of the number of reviewers needed to evaluate grant applications reveals that a substantially larger number of evaluators are required to provide the level of precision that is currently mandated. NIH should adjust their peer review system to account for the number of reviewers needed to provide adequate precision in their evaluations.

Posted by yanfu at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2008

Funding News

Neural and Behavioral Profiles of Cognitive Aging (R01)

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institutes of Health, invites applications for research examining the neural and behavioral signatures of age-related changes in cognition, with particular emphasis on the determination of characteristics that distinguish healthy age-related cognitive change from pathological cognitive change.

Research on Causal Factors and Interventions that Promote and Support the Careers of Women in Biomedical and Behavioral Science and Engineering (R01)

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to support research on: 1)causal factors explaining the current patterns observed in the careers of women in biomedical and behavioral science and engineering and variation across different subgroups and 2) the efficacy of programs designed to support the careers of women in these disciplines. Causal factors include individual characteristics, family and economic circumstances, disciplinary culture or practices, and features of the broader social and cultural context.

Posted by yanfu at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

Adult Obesity Trends

Latest CDC Data Show More Americans Report Being Obese
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

The proportion of U.S. adults who self report they are obese increased nearly 2 percent between 2005 and 2007, according to a report in today?s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). An estimated 25.6 percent of U.S. adults reported being obese in 2007 compared to 23.9 percent in 2005, an increase of 1.7 percent. The report also finds that none of the 50 states or the District of Columbia has achieved the Healthy People 2010 goal to reduce obesity prevalence to 15 percent or less.

In three states – Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee – the prevalence of self-reported obesity among adults age 18 or older was above 30 percent. Colorado had the lowest obesity prevalence at 18.7 percent. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. BMI is calculated using height and weight. For example, a 5-foot, 9-inch adult who weighs 203 pounds would have a BMI of 30, thus putting this person into the obese category.

State-Specific Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults — United States, 2007 (Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report)
For more information on obesity trends, including an animated map, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/maps

Posted by ljridley at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

Changes to the Food Stamp Program

Implementing New Changes to the Food Stamp Program: A Provision Analysis of the 2008 Farm Bill
Stacy Dean, Colleen Pawling, and Dottie Rosenbaum
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The 2008 Farm Bill makes numerous improvements to the Food Stamp Program that will help low-income Americans put food on the table in the face of rising food and fuel prices.[1] Over the 2009-2017 period, the Farm Bill will add $7.8 billion in new resources for the program, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The major food stamp provisions will:

* End years of erosion in the purchasing power of food stamps by raising and indexing for inflation the program’s standard deduction and minimum benefit. These changes will help about 11 million low-income people, including families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. With these changes, food stamp rules will fully account for annual inflation for the first time since the program’s creation over 40 years ago, and food stamp households will stop losing food purchasing power each year.

* Support working-poor families by eliminating the cap on the dependent care deduction, reducing the chances that families will have to forgo food to pay for decent and safe child care.

* Promote saving by improving the program’s resource limits and excluding tax-preferred retirement accounts and education accounts from those limits.

* Simplify food stamp administration for participants and states by building on successful initiatives from the last (2002) Farm Bill.

* Rename and update the program, which will be called the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program? (SNAP); food stamp coupons will be eliminated.

* Strengthen program operations, integrity, and oversight and modernize benefit delivery, for example by creating a state option for telephonic applications and by improving oversight of state modernization efforts.

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Grant

The participating NIH Institutes and Centers invite qualified researchers to submit research grant applications aimed at improving and developing methodology and measurement in the behavioral and social sciences through innovations in research design, data collection techniques, measurement, and data analysis techniques. Research that addresses methodology and measurement issues in diverse populations, issues in studying sensitive behaviors, issues of ethics in research, issues related to confidential data and the protection of research subjects, and issues in developing interdisciplinary, multimethod, and multilevel approaches to behavioral and social science research is particularly encouraged, as are approaches that integrate behavioral and social science research with biological, physical, or computational science research or engineering.

Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (R01) Grant

Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (R21) Grant

Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (R03) Grant

Posted by yanfu at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

America's Children in Brief

America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2008
Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics

This year's America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being report continues the tradition of cooperation and commitment by agencies across the Federal Government to advance our understanding of children today and indicate what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow. The Forum is already busy planning its next full report, scheduled for 2009.

Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. The Forum alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. This year, the Forum is publishing America's Children in Brief; it will publish the more detailed report in 2009. The Forum updates all indicators and background data on its website (http://childstats.gov) every year.

The Forum fosters coordination and integration among 22 Federal agencies that produce or use statistical data on children and families. The America's Children series provides an accessible compendium of indicators drawn from the most reliable official statistics across topics; it is designed to complement other more specialized, technical, or comprehensive reports produced by various Forum agencies.

The indicators and background measures presented in America's Children in Brief all have been used in previous reports by the Forum. Indicators are chosen because they are easy to understand; are based on substantial research connecting them to child well-being; vary across important areas of children's lives; are measured regularly so that they can be updated and show trends over time; and represent large segments of the population, rather than one particular group. The indicators are organized into seven sections, each focusing on a domain relevant to children's lives: Family and Social Environment, Economic Circumstances, Health Care, Physical Environment and Safety, Behavior, Education, and Health.

Posted by ljridley at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

New Working Papers from the NBER

The Lengthening of Childhood
David Deming, Susan Dynarski
Abstract; PDF

Family Leave after Childbirth and the Health of New Mothers
Pinka Chatterji, Sara Markowitz
Abstract; PDF

Estimating Derivatives in Nonseparable Models with Limited Dependent Variables
Joseph G. Altonji, Hidehiko Ichimura, Taisuke Otsu
Abstract; PDF

Has Public Health Insurance for Older Children Reduced Disparities in Access to Care and Health Outcomes?
Janet Currie, Sandra Decker, Wanchuan Lin
Abstract; PDF

The Evolutionary Theory of Time Preferences and Intergenerational Transfers
C.Y. Cyrus Chu, Hung-Ken Chien, Ronald D. Lee
Abstract; PDF

The Consequences of High School Exit Examinations for Struggling Low-Income Urban Students: Evidence from Massachusetts
John P. Papay, Richard J. Murnane, John B. Willett
Abstract; PDF

Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics
Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri
Abstract; PDF

Posted by ljridley at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2008

Speech Patterns and Racial Wage Inequality

Speech Patterns and Racial Wage Inequality
Jeffrey Grogger
Source: Harris School of Public Policy Working Papers, University of Chicago

Speech patterns differ substantially between whites and African Americans. I collect and analyze data on speech patterns to understand the role they may play in explaining racial wage differences. Among blacks, speech patterns are highly correlated with measures of skill such as schooling and ASVAB scores. They are also highly correlated with the wages of young workers. Black speakers whose voices were distinctly identified as black by anonymous listeners earn about 10 percent less than whites with similar observable skills. Indistinctly identified blacks earn about 2 percent less than comparable whites. I discuss a number of models that may be consistent with these results and describe the data that one would need to distinguish among them.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

Genetics of Political Participation

Why Do People Vote? Genetic Variation in Political Participation
James H. Fowler, Christopher T. Dawes, Laura A. Baker
Source: American Political Science Review

The decision to vote has puzzled scholars for decades. Theoretical models predict little or no variation in participation in large population elections and empirical models have typically accounted for only a relatively small portion of individual-level variance in turnout behavior.However, these models have not considered the hypothesis that part of the variation in voting behavior can be attributed to genetic effects. Matching public voter turnout records in Los Angeles to a twin registry, we study the heritability of political behavior in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. The results show that a significant proportion of the variation in voting turnout can be accounted for by genes.We also replicate these results with data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and show that they extend to a broad class of acts of political participation. These are the first findings to suggest that humans exhibit genetic variation in their tendency to participate in political activities.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

World Economic and Social Survey 2008

Overcoming Economic Insecurity
Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

According to the 2008 World Economic and Social Survey, economic insecurity arises from the exposure of individuals, communities and countries to adverse events, and from their inability to cope with and recover from the downside losses. The risk and threats vary from community to community; in advanced countries, they have been associated with a significant rise in inequality, a hollowing out of middle-class lifestyles and reduced welfare protection. Elsewhere, economic shocks and premature deindustrialization have raised fears of an insufficiency of the formal sector jobs needed to accommodate an expanding urban population. In still other places, food insecurity has given rise to political discontent and increased levels of personal insecurity.

These local concerns have been compounded by new global threats. Unregulated financial markets and international capital flows are currently threatening economic livelihoods across the world economy. Climate change imposes the threat of greater local environmental damage and increasingly destructive natural disasters.

The attention brought to the presence of these heightened economic risks and compounded threats has often been met with the response that the forces behind them are autonomous and irresistible, and beyond our collective political control. The Survey offers a different perspective. What is needed is a strong "social contract" to help secure the spaces within which individuals, households and communities could pursue their day-to-day activities with a reasonable degree of predictability and stability, and with due regard for the aims and interests of others. This will require a more integrated and pragmatic approach to economic and social policy, one tailored to local threats and challenges, as well as more space for implementing counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies and greater international support for broader social protection schemes. It will also require a better link between approaches to local disaster management and development strategies, aimed particularly at the establishment of more diversified production structures for sustaining livelihoods in vulnerable countries. Dealing with economic insecurity in post-conflict situations requires radically different approaches to the provisioning of official development assistance and to the conduct of macroeconomic and social policies.

Full report (PDF)
; Download individual chapters

Posted by ljridley at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

2008 Statistics on Child Welfare

2008 State Fact Sheets from the Child Welfare League of America

The State Fact Sheets provide descriptive information on the condition of vulnerable children in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, using indicators of child protection, health, child care, education, and income support.

Each State is available in PDF or HTML.

Posted by ljridley at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2008

The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

The trial subscription to The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics is effective till Aug 23.


If you would like to see the University Library subscribe to this work on a permanent basis, send comments to sseteam@ctools.umich.

Posted by yanfu at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

New Working Papers from the NBER

Wages, Unemployment and Inequality with Heterogeneous Firms and Workers
Elhanan Helpman, Oleg Itskhoki, Stephen Redding
Abstract; PDF

State and Federal Approaches to Health Reform: What Works for the Working Poor?
Ellen Meara, Meredith Rosenthal, Anna Sinaiko, Katherine Baicker
Abstract; PDF

The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Investigation of the Settler Mortality Data
David Y. Albouy
Abstract; PDF

Exclusionary Policies in Urban Development, How under-servicing of migrant households affects the growth and composition of Brazilian cities
Leo Feler, J. Vernon Henderson
Abstract; PDF

The Knowledge Trap: Human Capital and Development Reconsidered
Benjamin F. Jones
Abstract; PDF

From the New Wave to the New Hollywood: The Life Cycles of Important Movie Directors from Godard and Truffaut to Spielberg and Eastwood
David Galenson, Joshua Kotin
Abstract; PDF

Posted by ljridley at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

Paul Ehrlich on Diane Rehm

Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies and Biology at Stanford University and author of "The Population Bomb," among other books, essays, and papers was a guest on the Diane Rehm Show on Thursday, July 25, 2008, promoting his book, The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment.

Paul Ehrlich warned of a looming ecological crisis in his 1968 best-selling book, "The Population Bomb." Forty years later, he’s back with a new look at how the impact human evolution has had on the environment may threaten the survival of the species.

Listen to the show here: Real Audio or Windows Media.

About The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment:

Product Description (from Amazon.com):

In humanity’s more than 100,000 year history, we have evolved from vulnerable creatures clawing sustenance from Earth to a sophisticated global society manipulating every inch of it. In short, we have become the dominant animal. Why, then, are we creating a world that threatens our own species? What can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, increased famine, and epidemic disease?

Renowned Stanford scientists Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich believe that intelligently addressing those questions depends on a clear understanding of how we evolved and how and why we’re changing the planet in ways that darken our descendants’ future. The Dominant Animal arms readers with that knowledge, tracing the interplay between environmental change and genetic and cultural evolution since the dawn of humanity. In lucid and engaging prose, they describe how Homo sapiens adapted to their surroundings, eventually developing the vibrant cultures, vast scientific knowledge, and technological wizardry we know today.

But the Ehrlichs also explore the flip side of this triumphant story of innovation and conquest. As we clear forests to raise crops and build cities, lace the continents with highways, and create chemicals never before seen in nature, we may be undermining our own supremacy. The threats of environmental damage are clear from the daily headlines, but the outcome is far from destined. Humanity can again adapt—if we learn from our evolutionary past.

Those lessons are crystallized in The Dominant Animal. Tackling the fundamental challenge of the human predicament, Paul and Anne Ehrlich offer a vivid and unique exploration of our origins, our evolution, and our future.

Posted by ljridley at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

Inequalities in Young People's Health

HBSC international report from the 2005/2006 survey
Candace Currie, Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Emmanuelle Godeau, Chris Roberts, Rebecca Smith, Dorothy Currie, Will Picket, Matthias Richter, Antony Morgan and Vivian Barnekow
Source: World Health Organization

This international report is the fourth from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, a WHO collaborative cross-national study, and the most comprehensive. It presents the key findings on patterns of health among young people aged 11, 13 and 15 years in 41 countries and regions across the WHO European Region and North America in 2005/2006. Its theme is health inequalities: quantifying the gender, age, geographic and socioeconomic dimensions of health differentials. Its aim is to highlight where these inequalities exist, to inform and influence policy and practice and to help improve health for all young people.

The report clearly shows that, while the health and well-being of many young people give cause for celebration, sizeable minorities are experiencing real and worrying problems related to overweight and obesity, self-esteem, life satisfaction, substance misuse and bullying. The report provides reliable data that health systems in Member States can use to support and encourage sectors such as education, social inclusion and housing, to achieve their primary goals and, in so doing, benefit young people’s health. Policy-makers and professionals in the participating countries should listen closely to the voices of their young people and ensure that these drive their efforts to put in place the circumstances – social, economic, health and educational – within which young people can thrive and prosper.

Full document (PDF)
; Chapters

Posted by ljridley at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

Changing Western Values

Changing Values among Western Publics from 1970 to 2006
Ronald F. Inglehart
Source: World Values Survey

In 1971 it was hypothesised that intergenerational value changes were taking place. More than a generation has passed since then, and today it seems clear that the predicted changes have occurred. A large body of evidence, analysed using three different approaches -- (1) cohort analysis; (2) comparisons of rich and poor countries; (3) examination of actual trends observed over the past 35 years -- all points to the conclusion that major cultural changes are occurring, and that they reflect a process of intergenerational change linked with rising levels of existential security.

Download Document (PDF); Download Survey Data Files

Posted by ljridley at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

Wealth Without Health

What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption
Amy Finkelstein, Erzo F.P. Luttmer and Matthew J. Notowidigdo
Source: Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Working Paper

We estimate how the marginal utility of consumption varies with health. To do so, we develop a simple model in which the impact of health on the marginal utility of consumption can be estimated from data on permanent income, health, and utility proxies. We estimate the model using the Health and Retirement Study’s panel data on the elderly and near-elderly, and proxy for utility with measures of subjective well-being. We find robust evidence that the marginal utility of consumption declines as health deteriorates. Our central estimate is that a one-standard¬deviation increase in the number of chronic diseases is associated with an 11 percent decline in the marginal utility of consumption relative to this marginal utility when the individual has no chronic diseases. The 95 percent confidence interval allows us to reject declines in marginal utility of less than 2 percent or more than 17 percent. Point estimates from a wide range of alternative specifications tend to lie within this confidence interval. We present some simple, illustrative calibration results that suggest that state dependence of the magnitude we estimate can have a substantial effect on important economic problems such as the optimal level of health insurance benefits and the optimal level of life-cycle savings.

Download PDF

Posted by ljridley at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2008

Number of Jobs, Labor Market Activity and Earnings

Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results From a Longitudinal Survey
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics New Release

The average person born in the later years of the baby boom held 10.8 jobs from age 18 to age 42, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Nearly two-thirds of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 27.

These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey of 9,964 men and women who were ages 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and ages 41 to 50 when interviewed most recently in 2006-07. These respondents were born in the years 1957 to 1964, the later years of the “baby boom? that occurred in the United States from 1946 to 1964. The survey spans more than a quar- ter century and provides information on work and nonwork experiences, training, schooling, income and assets, health conditions, and other characteristics. The information provided by respondents, who were interviewed annually from 1979 to 1994 and biennially since 1994, can be considered representative of all men and women born in the late 1950s and early 1960s and living in the United States when the survey began in 1979.

Full News Release (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Preteen Crime

Arresting Children: Examining Recent Trends in Preteen Crime
Jeffrey A. Butts, Howard N. Snyder
Source: Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago

Are juvenile offenders getting younger? The American public often hears policymakers and justice practitioners assert that young people are committing crimes at younger and younger ages. Is this true? This analysis explores this question by examining data collected by law enforcement agencies across the country. It tracks juvenile crime patterns from 1980 through 2006 and finds that the age profile of juvenile offenders has not changed substantially in 25 years. Crime rates among children under age 13 have generally followed the same crime patterns exhibited among older youth. In a few offense categories, however, increases in preteen crime have outpaced increases among older juveniles, particularly sexual offenses, assaults, and weapons possession (not necessarily firearms). The fact that school authorities and family members often report these offenses suggests a possible hypothesis to explain increases in some preteen crimes: The juvenile justice system today may be dealing with child behavior problems that were once the responsibility of social welfare agencies, schools, and families.

Full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Falls, Depression and Antidepressants in Later Life

Falls, Depression and Antidepressants in Later Life: A Large Primary Care Appraisal
Ngaire Kerse1, Leon Flicker, Jon J. Pfaff, Brian Draper, Nicola T. Lautenschlager, Moira Sim, John Snowdon, Osvaldo P. Almeida
Source: PLoS ONE

Risk factors associated with sustaining a single and sustaining multiple falls differ suggesting potential separate mechanisms for single and multiple falls. Use of antidepressants (most notably SSRIs) and depressive symptoms are independently associated with increased risk of falls in later life. The prevalence of falls with depression means that fall prevention strategies should be a routine part of the management of depression in older people.

Full text (HTML); PDF

Posted by ljridley at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

Ecological Predictors for Childhood Obesity

Ecological Predictors and Developmental Outcomes of Persistent Childhood Overweight
Sara Gable, Jo Britt-Rankin, and Jennifer L. Krull
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Child obesity poses short- and long-term health risks and may have negative social and economic consequences in adulthood. This study uses data on 8,000 children followed from kindergarten through third grade as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class to examine predictors of persistent childhood overweight and associated academic and socioemotional outcomes. Results show that socioeconomic status, gender, race, and behavioral and environmental factors influence risk of persistent overweight. The odds of children being overweight increased 3 percent for each additional hour of television that they watched per week and 9 percent for each family meal per week that they did not experience. Overweight children progressed less than their nonoverweight peers did in reading and math achievement, with overweight appearing to precede academic difficulties, and were rated lower on academic and socioemotional factors by their teachers and themselves. Academic and social costs should be considered in assessing costs of childhood overweight and potential benefits of overweight prevention.

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

New Working Papers from the NBER

Education and the Age Profile of Literacy into Adulthood
Elizabeth Cascio, Damon Clark, Nora Gordon
Abstract; PDF

Welfare Payments and Crime
C. Fritz Foley
Abstract; PDF

Trends in Men's Earnings Volatility: What Does the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Show?
Donggyun Shin, Gary Solon
Abstract; PDF

How Social Processes Distort Measurement: The Impact of Survey Nonresponse on Estimates of Volunteer Work
Katharine G. Abraham, Sara E. Helms, Stanley Presser
Abstract; PDF

Minimum Drinking Age Laws and Infant Health Outcomes
Tara Watson, Angela Fertig
Abstract; PDF

Will the Stork Return to Europe and Japan? Understanding Fertility Within Developed Nations
Bruce Sacerdote, James Feyrer
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Income on the Weight of Elderly Americans
John Cawley, John R. Moran, Kosali I. Simon
Abstract; PDF

Protecting Minorities in Binary Elections: A Test of Storable Votes Using Field Data
Alessandra Casella, Shuky Ehrenberg, Andrew Gelman, Jie Shen
Abstract; PDF

Marijuana Use and High School Dropout: The Influence of Unobservables
Daniel F. McCaffrey, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Bing Han, Phyllis Ellickson
Abstract; PDF

Nature or Nurture? Learning and the Geography of Female Labor Force Participation
Alessandra Fogli, Laura Veldkamp
Abstract; PDF

The Cost of Uncertain Life Span
Ryan D. Edwards
Abstract; PDF

What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption
Amy Finkelstein, Erzo F.P. Luttmer, Matthew J. Notowidigdo
Abstract; PDF

Use of Propensity Scores in Non-Linear Response Models: The Case for Health Care Expenditures
Anirban Basu, Daniel Polsky, Willard G. Manning
Abstract; PDF

Estimation of Random Coefficient Demand Models: Challenges, Difficulties and Warnings
Christopher R. Knittel, Konstantinos Metaxoglou
Abstract; PDF

Posted by ljridley at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

New Discussion Papers from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Estimating the Causal Effect of Gun Prevalence on Homicide Rates: A Local Average Treatment Effect Approach
Tomislav Kovandzic, Mark Schaffer, Gary Kleck
Abstract; PDF

Social Protection and Migration in China: What Can Protect Migrants from Economic Uncertainty?
Lina Song, Simon Appleton
Abstract; PDF

Citizenship in the United States: The Roles of Immigrant Characteristics and Country of Origin
Barry R. Chiswick, Paul W. Miller
Abstract; PDF

New Estimates of the Effects of Minimum Wages in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector
John T. Addison, McKinley L. Blackburn, Chad D. Cotti
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Social Capital on Crime: Evidence from the Netherlands
I. Semih Akçomak, Bas ter Weel
Abstract; PDF

Happiness Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data
Paul Frijters, David W. Johnston, Michael A. Shields
Abstract; PDF

The Effect of Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage on Children’s Long-Term Outcomes
Christian Dustmann, Uta Schönberg
Abstract; PDF

Posted by ljridley at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2008

Accelerated Human Population Growth at Protected Area Edges

Contrary to expectations, human populations living near protected areas in 45 countries in Africa and Latin America are increasing nearly twice as fast as other rural ones.

According to an article in Science, "higher population growth on PA edges is evident across ecoregions, countries, and continents and is correlated positively with international donor investment in national conservation programs and an index of park-related funding. These findings provide insight on the value of PAs for local people, but also highlight a looming threat to PA effectiveness and biodiversity conservation."

Posted by yanfu at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

Survey Finds Citations Growing Narrower as Journals Move Online

New research shows that as more scholarly and research journals are available online, researchers cite fewer, newer papers. Findings appear in the July 18 issue of Science magazine.

Related article in the same issue.

Posted by yanfu at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

NCHS Data Users Conference 2008

Registration is open for the NCHS Data Users Conference to be held August 11-13, 2008 in Washington, DC. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required:


Posted by lisan at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

Penn State's 16th Annual Symposium on Family Issues

"Development of Hispanic Children in Immigrant Families" Challenges and Prospects" is the topic of Penn State's Symposium on Family Issues. The conference will be held October 23-24, 2008.

Information and registration information below:


Posted by lisan at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

American Time Use Survey (ATUS) in jeopardy

The President's proposed FY 2009 budget eliminates funding for the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Eliminating the ATUS would result in the loss of informative data on the full range of non-market activities Americans conduct. BLS needs $6.0 million in the FY 2009 budget to fully fund the ATUS and its other key surveys.

See PAA testimony in support of BLS operations:


Posted by lisan at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2008

Spatially referenced HIV data

The HIVmapper is an interactive GIS mapping tool which allows users to quickly create maps based on MEASURE DHS data found in the HIV/AIDS Survey Indicators Database.


Related to this is an HIV Spatial Data Repository:


Both of these links can be found from the main DHS website:


Posted by lisan at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

Social Neuroscience of Aging grant from NIA

Social Neuroscience of Aging

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) invites R01 applications for research examining the neurobiological and genetic foundations and correlates of social behaviors and social relationships of relevance to aging, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms and pathways linking social behaviors and social relationships to the physical health, functionality, and psychological well-being of middle-aged and older adults.

Posted by yanfu at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

Fellowships Opportunities

Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program
Radcliffe Institute fellowships are designed to support scholars, scientists, artists, and writers of exceptional promise and demonstrated accomplishments who wish to pursue work in academic and professional fields and in the creative arts.

Newton International Fellowships
The Newton International Fellowship scheme will select the very best early stage post-doctoral researchers from all over the world, and offer support for two years at UK research institutions.

Posted by yanfu at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

American Time Use Survey: 2007 Results

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor reports that in 2007:

* Twenty percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home on days that they worked, and 87 percent did some or all of their work at their workplace.
* On an average day (which includes all 7 days of the week), 83 percent of women and 66 percent of men spent some time doing household activities, such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management.
* Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time, accounting for about half of leisure time, on average, for both men and women.

Full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

Social Science Research Council Fellowships

Current Funding Opportunities at SSRC

Abe Fellowship
Application Deadline: September 1, 2008
The Abe Fellowship supports professional research in the social sciences and related disciplines on contemporary policy-relevant issues, especially those which promote a new level of intellectual cooperation between Japan and America. Applicants must be citizens of the U.S. or Japan (or be able to demonstrate serious affiliations with research communities in the U.S. or Japan) and hold the terminal degree in their field by the start of their fellowship term.

Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship - Faculty Opportunities
Application Deadline: October 3, 2008
The DPDF Program, which supports early-stage graduate students in formulating successful doctoral dissertation proposals, invites applications from faculty teams for research fields. Proposed research fields should be subdisciplinary and interdisciplinary domains with common intellectual questions and styles of research. Applications have to be submitted by two tenured faculty from different US universities and, as relevant, different disciplines. Awardees serve as research directors for a group of 12 students that meet in two workshops in late spring and early fall 2009. The stipend is $10,000; the five research fields will be announced early November 2008.

Posted by yanfu at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships 2008

ACLS Competitions and Deadlines 2008

ACLS offers fellowships and grants in more than a dozen programs for research in the humanities and related social sciences at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels.

Posted by yanfu at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Asian Studies Grants and Fellowships

Association for Asian Studies announced the following grants.

AAS China and Inner Asia Council (CIAC) Small Grants
AAS Council of Conferences (COC) Outreach Grants
AAS Northeast Asia Council (NEAC) Japan Studies Grants
AAS Northeast Asia Council (NEAC) Distinguished Lecture Series on Japan
AAS Northeast Asia Council (NEAC) Korean Studies Grants
Korea Foundation Fellowship for Graduate Studies, Korean Studies Scholarship Program

Posted by yanfu at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

Kids' Share 2008

Kids' Share 2008: How Children Fare in the Federal Budget
Authors: Adam Carasso, C. Eugene Steuerle, Gillian Reynolds, Tracy Vericker, Jennifer Ehrle Macomber
Source: The Urban Institute

Kids' Share 2008, a second annual report, looks comprehensively at trends in federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Key findings suggest that historically children have not been a budget priority. In 2007, this trend continued, as children's spending did not keep pace with GDP growth. Absent a policy change, children's spending will continue to be squeezed in the next decade.

Excerpt; Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

Trends Among High School Seniors

Trends Among High School Seniors, 1972-2004
Authors: Steven J. Ingels, Ben W. Dalton, and Laura LoGerfo
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Using questionnaire and transcript data collected in 1972, 1980, 1982, 1992, and 2004, this report presents information on five cohorts of high school seniors. The analysis addresses overall trends, as well as trends within various subgroups defined by sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES). Key findings of the report include the following: The proportion of Black seniors who were in the highest SES quartile doubled from 1972 to 1992 (from 5 percent to 10 percent), and increased overall from 5 percent in 1972 to 14 percent in 2004. The percentage of seniors enrolling in calculus during their senior year grew from 6 percent to 13 percent between 1982 and 2004. The percentage of seniors taking no mathematics courses during their senior year declined from 57 percent to 34 percent over this time period. Seniors increased their senior-year enrollment in advanced science courses (chemistry II, physics II, and advanced biology) from 12 percent in 1982 to 25 percent in 2004. In each class of seniors, most of those who planned further schooling intended to attend four-year postsecondary schools, with the proportion of students planning to attend four-year schools rising from 34 percent in 1972 to 61 percent in 2004. In all years, higher percentages of Asian high school seniors, and lower percentages of Hispanic seniors (except in 1992), compared to other racial/ethnic groups, planned attendance at four-year institutions No difference was observed between 1972 and 2004 between the percentage of seniors expecting a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education. Instead, growth between these two time points was greatest in expectations for a graduate or professional degree: 13 percent of seniors expected to attain this level of education as their highest in 1972, compared to 38 percent of seniors in 2004. In 1972, males expected to earn a graduate degree as their highest educational level in greater proportions than did females (16 percent versus 9 percent); however, in 2004, females expected to earn a graduate degree more often than males (45 percent versus 32 percent). Seniors increasingly expected to work in professional occupations (growing from 45 percent of seniors in 1972 to 63 percent of seniors in 2004 expecting to work in a professional field).

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

Pew Forum on Religion in the U.S.

U.S.Religious Landscape Survey. Religious Beliefs and Practices: Diverse and Politically Relevant
Source: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life today released its second report on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which finds that while many Americans are highly religious, most are not dogmatic in their approach to faith. This new analysis examines the diversity of Americans’ religious beliefs and practices as well as their social and political attitudes. It follows the first report of the Landscape Survey, which was published in February 2008 and detailed the size, internal changes and demographic characteristics of major religions in the United States.

Summary; Full Report (PDF)

Report #1 on Religious Affiliation may be found here.

Posted by ljridley at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

States Take Action to Alleviate Child and Family Poverty

A National Governors Association Issue Brief Examines State Approaches to Reduce Poverty
Source: NGA Center for Best Practices

As families across the nation face financial hardships and economic insecurity, states continue to lead the way in developing solutions to help families ensure their economic well-being. These efforts are highlighted in a new Issue Brief from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) titled State Strategies to Reduce Child and Family Poverty.

The brief examines the long-term social and economic costs of poverty for children and families, communities and states. In addition, State Strategies to Reduce Child and Family Poverty explores several policy and program options helping to reduce the negative consequences of poverty for children and increase opportunities for families to achieve economic success.

Press Release
; Full Document (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

Census Won't Count Gay Marriages

Census Won't Count Gay Marriages
Christopher Lee | Washington Post

Although gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts and California, census officials say that same-sex partners in both states who list themselves as spouses will be recorded as "unmarried partners" -- just as they were in the 2000 census.

Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner cited the Defense of Marriage Act, approved by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing as a marriage the union of anyone but a man and a woman.

Posted by lisan at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2008

Opportunity to comment on demographic measures

The PhenX project is an initiative to integrate genetic and epidemiological research. One of the working groups in this project is a Demographics Working group.

You can comment on the measurement of such demographic concepts as relationship, race/ethnicity, origins, marital status, income/poverty/status, education, labor force, health insurance/health care. You can also suggest other concepts for inclusion.

Link to Demographic Concepts Survey

The comment period ends August 1, 2008.

If you would like to find out more about the project or how to be involved in it, contact Dr. Carol M. Hamilton at chamilton@phenx.org.

The Demographic Working group contact is Michael Phillips from RTI (mjp@rti.org).

Posted by lisan at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

Substance Use and Mental Health Issues

New Report Pinpoints Substance Use and Mental Health Problems in Individual Localities Throughout the Nation
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Survey reveals wide variations and unexpected patterns of substance use and mental illness across more than 340 localities across the United States

Mental health and substance abuse problems affect every local community throughout America – but in unique, and sometimes surprising ways, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report offers highly detailed analyses of the substance abuse and mental health problems occurring within these smaller geographical areas.

For example, one of the smaller geographical (or substate) areas in the survey --Utah’s Salt Lake and Weber-Morgan Counties – have among the nation’s highest levels of persons aged 12 or older using painkillers for non-medical reasons. In these two counties, levels were as high as 7.92 percent. In contrast, areas of the District of Columbia had some of the nation’s lowest levels of this type of substance abuse, as low as 2.48 percent in parts of the city.

Yet the exact same communities in Utah had the among the nation’s lowest levels of underage binge alcohol use in the past month (as low as 8.72 percent of those age 12 to 20). The District of Columbia had equally low levels in some parts of the city, but other parts had some of the nation’s highest levels (as high as 39.01 percent among this age group).

“The findings reveal that the nation’s substance abuse and the mental health problems are fundamentally local in character and might be addressed directly most effectively at that level,? said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. “This report provides local public health authorities sharper insight into the nature and scope of the substance abuse and mental health problems affecting their communities.?

The report, Substate Estimates from the 2004-2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, measures and analyzes 23 substance abuse and mental health-related behavior levels in 345 substate regions representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In most states, the substate regions are defined in terms of counties or groups of counties. In a few states, these areas are defined in terms of census tracts. The results were based on the combined data from the 2004 to 2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and involved responses from 203,870 people age 12 or older throughout the United States.


* PDF format (recommended for printing)
* HTML format (contains additional tables not found in printed or PDF versions)

Posted by ljridley at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

Health Systems in China and India

A Comparison of the Health Systems in China and India
Sai Ma, Neeraj Sood
RAND Occasional Paper

The world's two most populous countries, China and India, are undergoing dramatic demographic, societal, and economic transformations. However, the health status of residents of China and India still lags behind relative to other populations, and the health gains in each country have been uneven across subpopulations. Although they have achieved substantial advances in life expectancy and disease prevention since the middle of the 20th century, the Chinese and Indian health systems provide little protection against financial risk, and patient satisfaction is a lower priority than it should be. This paper compares the health systems of China and India to determine what approaches to improving health in these two countries do and do not work. In particular, the authors compare the health systems in China and India along three dimensions: policy levers, intermediate outcomes, and ultimate ends. The authors conclude that both countries must (1) restructure health care financing to reduce the burden of out-of-pocket medical care costs on individual patients; (2) increase access to care, especially in rural areas; (3) reduce dependence on fee-for-service contracts that promote overutilization of medical care; (4) build capacity for addressing and monitoring emerging diseases; and (5) match hospital capabilities with local needs.

Full Document (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

New Discussion Papers from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Lessons from the Ottoman Harem (On Ethnicity, Religion and War)
Murat Iyigun
Abstract; PDF

Allocation of Labour in Urban West Africa: Implication for Development Policies
Ralitza Dimova, Christophe Jalil Nordman, François Roubaud
Abstract; PDF

Migration, the Quality of the Labour Force and Economic Inequality
Martin Kahanec, Klaus F. Zimmermann
Abstract; PDF

Occupational Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap in Private- and Public-Sector Employment: A Distributional Analysis
Juan Baron, Deborah Cobb-Clark
Abstract; PDF

The "Negative" Assimilation of Immigrants: A Special Case
Barry R. Chiswick, Paul W. Miller
Abstract; PDF

Instrumental Variables in Models with Multiple Outcomes: The General Unordered Case
James J. Heckman, Sergio Urzua, Edward Vytlacil
Abstract; PDF

Family Migration: A Vehicle of Child Morbidity in the Informal Settlements of Nairobi City, Kenya?
Adama Konseiga
Abstract; PDF

The Economics of Language: An Introduction and Overview
Barry R. Chiswick
Abstract; PDF

Do Unemployment Benefits Increase Unemployment? New Evidence on an Old Question
Peter Fredriksson, Martin Söderström
Abstract; PDF

Examining the Gender Wealth Gap in Germany
Eva Sierminska, Joachim R. Frick, Markus M. Grabka
Abstract; PDF

Does Fertility Respond to Financial Incentives?
Guy Laroque, Bernard Salanié
Abstract; PDF

Human Capital, Economic Growth, and Regional Inequality in China
Belton M. Fleisher, Haizheng Li, Min Qiang Zhao
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Relative Cohort Size on U.S. Fertility, 1913-2001
Yongil Jeon, Michael P. Shields
Abstract; PDF

Estimating the Causal Effect of Gun Prevalence on Homicide Rates: A Local Average Treatment Effect Approach
Tomislav Kovandzic, Mark Schaffer, Gary Kleck
Abstract; PDF

Posted by ljridley at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

Education Disparities

Under-privileged children also disadvantaged in the classroom
Edited by Yanhong Zhang, T. Neville Postlethwaite, Aletta Grisay
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

A new UIS study highlights the strong effect of social inequality on primary education systems in many countries and the challenge to provide all children with equal learning opportunities.

Entitled A View Inside Primary Schools, the report presents the results of a unique survey undertaken in 11 countries* in Latin America, Asia and North Africa. As part of the World Education Indicators (WEI) programme, the countries were involved in developing and conducting the survey to examine the factors shaping the quality and equality of primary education.

* Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Uruguay participated in the survey.

Executive Summary; Full Report

Posted by ljridley at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

Transition from Foster Care

Youth Transitioning From Foster Care: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress
Adrienne L. Fernandes
Source: Congressional Research Service (via OpenCRS)

Nearly half of states have laws that explicitly permit the state child welfare system to continue providing foster care for children beyond the age of majority (usually no later than 19). However, the number of states that actually facilitate youth remaining in care beyond their 18th or 19th birthdays is significantly smaller. Over 20,000 young people have been emancipated from foster care annually from FY2002 through FY2006. While most young people have access to emotional and financial support systems throughout their early adult years, older youth in care and those who age out of care often face obstacles to developing independent living skills and building supports that ease the transition to adulthood. Older foster youth who return to their parents or guardians may continue to experience poor family dynamics or a lack of emotional and financial supports, and studies have shown that recently emancipated foster youth fare poorly relative to their counterparts in the general population on several outcome measures.

Recognizing the difficulties faced by older youth in care and youth emancipating from foster care, Congress created a new Independent Living initiative (P.L. 99-272) in 1986 to assist certain older foster youth as they enter adulthood. The legislation authorized mandatory funding to states under a new Section 477 of the Social Security Act. In 1999, the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act (P.L. 106169) replaced the Independent Living Program with the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) and doubled the total annual funds available to states from $70 million to $140 million. The law also expanded the population of youth eligible to receive independent living services — with no lower age limit — and gave states greater flexibility in designing independent living programs. Independent living services can refer to assistance in obtaining a high school diploma, training in daily living skills, and training in financial management, among other services. Amendments to the CFCIP in FY2002 (P.L. 107-133) authorized discretionary funding for states to provide education and training vouchers to eligible youth.

Along with the CFCIP, federal child welfare law and other federal programs are intended to help older current youth in care and foster care alumni make the transition to adulthood. The federal foster care program has protections in place to ensure that older youth in care have a written case plan that addresses the programs and services that will assist in this transition, among other supports. Further, federal law authorizes funding for states to provide workforce assistance and housing to older foster youth. Despite these efforts and the resilience displayed by current and former foster youth, policymakers and child welfare practitioners have suggested that at a minimum, young people need better support to build stronger connections with caring adults before leaving foster care and should have the option to remain in care upon reaching their 18th or 19th birthdays. Several bills have been introduced in the 110th Congress that propose greater assistance to older youth in foster care and those who have aged out, including legislation to provide federal foster care assistance for youth age 18 and older. This report will be updated as warranted.

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

Early Detection of Chronic Diseases

Early Detection of Chronic Diseases: Disparities, Uncertainties and Behavioral Implications
By: Lu Shi
Source: Pardee RAND Graduate School Dissertation

This dissertation consists of three papers about early detection of chronic diseases. The first paper analyzes smoking patterns among subjects in the chest X-ray lung cancer screening program of the Mayo Lung Project. The second addresses the fact that in the Mayo Lung Project, chest X-ray screening increased lung cancer survival for those who screened positive but delivered no significant reduction in the rate of lung cancer mortality. The third explores the association between race/ethnicity and the type of testing facility where one gets tested for HIV serostatus in Los Angeles County. Together, the papers contribute to the field of medical screening and diagnosis from three novel viewpoints: utilizing testing service as a commodity choice in different racial/ethnic groups, simulation-based interpretation of lung cancer screening trials, and the possible behavioral effects of the screening experience.


Posted by ljridley at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2008

Social Vulnerability, Frailty and Mortality in Elderly People

Social Vulnerability, Frailty and Mortality in Elderly People
Source: PLoS ONE

Social vulnerability is reproducibly related to individual frailty/fitness, but distinct from it. Greater social vulnerability is associated with mortality in older adults. Further study on the measurement and operationalization of social vulnerability, and of its relationships to other important health outcomes, is warranted.

Posted by yanfu at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

Cigarette Use Among High School Students — United States, 1991–2007

Cigarette Use Among High School Students — United States, 1991–2007
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The findings in this report show that current cigarette use among high school students declined from 1997 to 2003, but rates remained stable from 2003 to 2007. This trend is consistent with 30-day cigarette use trends reported from the Monitoring the Future survey (an ongoing national study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students), which also show declines starting in the late 1990s and stable rates more recently.

Posted by yanfu at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

Aging Everywhere from AARP International

Aging Everywhere: AARP International’s resource featuring quick facts, research, and events around the world.

The Aging Everywhere interactive world map serves as a “one-stop? international clearing house of the most relevant and timely information on aging populations worldwide. This site is updated regularly with newly published regional and country specific research, reports, and resources. We intend for it to serve as a useful tool for policymakers, researchers, students, media, and all others interested in the issues of global aging.

Posted by yanfu at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

Tenure Track Faculty Position in Population and Health. Northwestern University

Northwestern University is seeking an experienced scholar in social epidemiology, population health or related fields, who has done extensive, theory-grounded work in demography, incorporating biological outcomes and covariates.

Posted by yanfu at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

Call for Papers - 26th Annual IUSSP International Population Conference

Now Accepting Submissions

A call for papers for the IUSSP International Population Conference 2009 in Morocco. Deadline for submission is September 15, 2008.

Posted by yanfu at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2008

New Working Papers from the NBER

The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States
Jonathan Heathcote, Kjetil Storesletten, Giovanni L. Violante
Abstract; PDF

Schools, Skills, and Synapses
James J. Heckman
Abstract; PDF

Education and the Age Profile of Literacy into Adulthood
Elizabeth Cascio, Damon Clark, Nora Gordon
Abstract; PDF

Welfare Payments and Crime
C. Fritz Foley
Abstract; PDF

Trends in Men's Earnings Volatility: What Does the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Show?
Donggyun Shin, Gary Solon
Abstract; PDF

Posted by ljridley at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

Mental Health Distress Post-Katrina

Prevalence and Predictors of Mental Health Distress Post-Katrina: Findings From the Gulf Coast Child and Family Health Study
David Abramson, Tasha Stehling-Ariza, Richard Garfield, and Irwin Redlener
Source: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 2(2)


Background: Catastrophic disasters often are associated with massive structural, economic, and population devastation; less understood are the long-term mental health consequences. This study measures the prevalence and predictors of mental health distress and disability of hurricane survivors over an extended period of recovery in a postdisaster setting.

Methods: A representative sample of 1077 displaced or greatly affected households was drawn in 2006 using a stratified cluster sampling of federally subsidized emergency housing settings in Louisiana and Mississippi, and of Mississippi census tracts designated as having experienced major damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Two rounds of data collection were conducted: a baseline face-to-face interview at 6 to 12 months post-Katrina, and a telephone follow-up at 20 to 23 months after the disaster. Mental health disability was measured using the Medical Outcome Study Short Form 12, version 2 mental component summary score. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted examining socioeconomic, demographic, situational, and attitudinal factors associated with mental health distress and disability.

Results: More than half of the cohort at both baseline and follow-up reported significant mental health distress. Self-reported poor health and safety concerns were persistently associated with poorer mental health. Nearly 2 years after the disaster, the greatest predictors of poor mental health included situational characteristics such as greater numbers of children in a household and attitudinal characteristics such as fatalistic sentiments and poor self-efficacy. Informal social support networks were associated significantly with better mental health status. Housing and economic circumstances were not independently associated with poorer mental health.

Conclusions: Mental health distress and disability are pervasive issues among the US Gulf Coast adults and children who experienced long-term displacement or other serious effects as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As time progresses postdisaster, social and psychological factors may play greater roles in accelerating or impeding recovery among affected populations. Efforts to expand disaster recovery and preparedness policies to include long-term social re-engagement efforts postdisaster should be considered as a means of reducing mental health sequelae.


Posted by ljridley at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

Employment Characteristics of Families in 2007

Employment Characteristics of Families in 2007
News release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 30, 2008)

In 2007, the share of families with an unemployed member was 6.3 per-
cent, little changed from the prior year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The proportion of families with an unemployed member remained lower than the recent peak of 8.1 percent in 2003. Of the nation’s 77.9 million families, the proportion that had at least one employed member was little changed in 2007 at 82.6 percent.

These data on employment, unemployment, and family relationships are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households. Families include married-couple families, as well as families maintained by a man or woman with no spouse present.

PDF of News Release

Posted by ljridley at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

Tobacco Sales to Minors Drop During Past 11 Years

Federal State Program Continues to Report a Dramatic Nationwide Drop in Tobacco Sales to Minors During the Past 11 Years
Source: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (HHS)

Illegal sales of tobacco products to underage youth have reached an all-time low under the Synar Amendment program, a federal-state partnership program aimed at ending illegal tobacco sales to minors, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced today.

The national average of illegal tobacco sales to minors has dropped since the program’s inception from 40.1 percent in fiscal year 1997 to 10.5 percent in fiscal year 2007, the report said.

Nearly all states and the District of Columbia have achieved a major Synar program goal – having 20 percent or less of their state’s tobacco product retailers engaging in illegal sales of tobacco to minors. These levels stand in sharp contrast with the situation 11 years ago at the Synar program’s inception, when only four states met this goal.

More than half of the states were able to drive down levels of illegal retail sales of tobacco to minors to 10 percent or less in fiscal year 2007. Mississippi reported the nation’s lowest level of illegal sales of tobacco products to minors (3.2 percent), while Massachusetts reported the highest (22.7 percent).

The SAMHSA report notes that the successful implementation of the Synar Amendment program (named for the late U.S. Rep. Mike Synar of Oklahoma) relied on vigorous enforcement, supportive public policies and development of social climates discouraging youth tobacco use.

+ FY 2007 Annual Synar Reports: State Compliance (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2008

New Working Papers from the NBER

Obesity and Developmental Functioning Among Children Aged 2-4 Years
John Cawley, C. Katharina Spiess
Abstract; PDF

Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity
Tomas Philipson, Richard Posner
Abstract; PDF

Searching for Optimal Inequality/Incentives
Anders Björklund, Richard Freeman
Abstract; PDF

The Narrowing Gap in New York City Teacher Qualifications and its Implications for Student Achievement in High-Poverty Schools
Donald Boyd, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, Jonah Rockoff, James Wyckoff
Abstract; PDF

Who Leaves? Teacher Attrition and Student Achievement
Donald Boyd, Pam Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, James Wyckoff
Abstract; PDF

Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall
Sharon L. Maccini, Dean Yang
Abstract; PDF

Who Gentrifies Low-Income Neighborhoods?
Terra McKinnish, Randall Walsh, Kirk White
Abstract; PDF

Health, Human Capital, and African American Migration Before 1910
Trevon D. Logan
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Earnings Disregards on the Behavior of Low Income Families
Jordan D. Matsudaira, Rebecca M. Blank
Abstract; PDF

Bayesian Learning in Social Networks
Daron Acemoglu, Munther A. Dahleh, Ilan Lobel, Asuman Ozdaglar
Abstract; PDF

Cigarette Taxes and the Transition from Youth to Adult Smoking: Smoking Initiation, Cessation, and Participation
Philip DeCicca, Donald S. Kenkel, Alan D. Mathios
Abstract; PDF

Posted by ljridley at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

Demographic Heterogeneity

Constant global population with demographic heterogeneity
Source: Demographic Research
by: Joel Cohen

To understand better a possible future constant global population that is demographically heterogeneous, this paper analyzes several models. Classical theory of stationary populations generally fails to apply. However, if constant global population size P(global) is the sum of all country population sizes, and if constant global annual number of births B(global) is the sum of the annual number of births of all countries, and if constant global life expectancy at birth e(global) is the population-weighted mean of the life expectancy at birth of all countries, then B(global) x e(global) always exceeds P(global) unless all countries have the same life expectancy at birth.


Posted by ljridley at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Health Care and Behavioral Economics

Health Care and Behavioral Economics
Source: Congressional Budget Office
CBO Director Peter Orszag’s presentation to the National Academy of Social Insurance

I suspect, on the basis of similar logic, that workers demand less efficiency from the health system than they would if they knew the full cost that they pay via forgone wages for coverage or if they knew the actual cost of the services being provided. I similarly suspect that making the underlying costs associated with employment-based insurance more transparent may prove to be quite important in containing health care costs. As transparency increases and workers see how much their income is being reduced for employers’ contributions and what those contributions are paying for, there may be a broader change in cost-consciousness that shifts demand. For workers and dependents with employment-based insurance, deductibles and copayments account for only about a fifth of their health care spending. The remainder comes from insurance premiums, only a quarter of which are paid directly by workers.

PDF of NASI speech

Posted by ljridley at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

The Condition of Education

The Condition of Education

This website is an integrated collection of the indicators and analyses published in The Condition of Education 2000–2008. Some indicators may have been updated since they appeared in print.

Includes indicator list, user's guide, highlights from 2008, and special analyses list.

From the National Center for Education Statistics

Posted by ljridley at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

Successful Ageing in Adversity

Successful ageing in adversity: the LASER–AD longitudinal study
Source: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry
G Livingston, C Cooper, J Woods, A Milne, C Katona

Background: Most models of successful ageing do not allow for the possibility of living "successfully," despite some degree of cognitive or physical impairment. We reviewed the successful ageing and related quality of life literature to identify their potential predictors. We then tested our hypotheses that wellbeing in adversity would be predicted by mental health (anxiety and depression) and social factors rather than physical health and that it would be stable over time.

Method: We interviewed 224 people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and their family carers, recruited to be representative of those living with AD in the community. We re-interviewed 122 (73.1% of eligible) participants 18 months later. Our main outcome measure was the perception of the person with AD on their life as a whole.

Results: Mean "wellbeing in adversity" scores did not change significantly over time (t = 0.23). Social relationships, subjective mental health, health perception, activities of daily living and baseline wellbeing in adversity were the significant correlates of wellbeing in adversity on univariate analysis. Only baseline wellbeing in adversity and mental health score were significant predictors in our regression analysis. In a well fitting structural equation model, less severe dementia and better health perception predicted fewer mental health problems and social relationships, but were not direct predictors of wellbeing in adversity at 18 months.

Conclusion: Successful ageing was common among a cohort of people with dementia. The most important predictors of this were mental health and social relationships, which fully mediated the relationship we found between health perception and wellbeing 18 months later.


Posted by ljridley at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

Potential mediating factors in the IQ–mortality relationship

IQ in late adolescence/early adulthood, risk factors in middle age and later all-cause mortality in men: the Vietnam Experience Study
Source: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
G D Batty, M J Shipley, L H Mortensen, S H Boyle, J Barefoot, M Grønbæk, C R Gale and I J Deary

Objective: To examine the role of potential mediating factors in explaining the IQ–mortality relation.

Design, setting and participants: A total of 4316 male former Vietnam-era US army personnel with IQ test results at entry into the service in late adolescence/early adulthood in the 1960/1970s (mean age at entry 20.4 years) participated in a telephone survey and medical examination in middle age (mean age 38.3 years) in 1985–6. They were then followed up for mortality experience for 15 years.

Main results: In age-adjusted analyses, higher IQ scores were associated with reduced rates of total mortality (hazard ratio (HR)per SD increase in IQ 0.71; 95% CI 0.63 to 0.81). This relation did not appear to be heavily confounded by early socioeconomic position or ethnicity. The impact of adjusting for some potentially mediating risk indices measured in middle age on the IQ–mortality relation (marital status, alcohol consumption, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, blood glucose, body mass index, psychiatric and somatic illness at medical examination) was negligible (<10% attenuation in risk). Controlling for others (cigarette smoking, lung function) had a modest impact (10–17%). Education (0.79; 0.69 to 0.92), occupational prestige (0.77; 0.68 to 0.88) and income (0.86; 0.75 to 0.98) yielded the greatest attenuation in the IQ–mortality gradient (21–52%); after their collective adjustment, the IQ–mortality link was effectively eliminated (0.92; 0.79 to 1.07).

Conclusions: In this cohort, socioeconomic position in middle age might lie on the pathway linking earlier IQ with later mortality risk but might also partly act as a surrogate for cognitive ability.

Posted by ljridley at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

Decling Population in Europe

No Babies?
Source: New York Times Magazine
Published: June 29, 2008

Birthrates across the Continent are falling at drastic and, to many, alarming rates. Why are Europeans so hesitant to have children, and what does it mean for their future and for ours?

Posted by ljridley at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)