Fall 2014 Awards

Cohort Highlight: Institute for the Social Sciences supports diverse faculty research (December 4, 2014)

Complementarities of Irrigation and Extension Services in Nepal
Christopher B. Barrett, AEM

Cooperative Membership and Preference Alteration: A Field Experiment on Trust, Time and Risk amongst Coffee Farmers in Colombia
Arnab K. Basu, AEM
Miguel Gómez, AEM

Investigating Constant Social Media Use Among College Students
Natalya Bazarova, Communications

Capital Obsolescence and Agricultural Productivity
Julieta Caunedo, Economics
Funded with generous support by the President’s Council of Cornell Women

What is the Subjective Cost of Carbon? Exploring the Economic Evaluation of Environmental Information From a Cognitive, Decision-Based Approach
Ricardo A. Daziano, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jonathon Schuldt, Communications
Rolf Noyer, Linguistics

Precarity and Migrant Labor: Consular Protection as a Case of Transnational Labor Advocacy
Shannon Gleeson, ILR

Mechanisms of Morality: Why the U.S. Public Supports Humanitarian Interventions
Sarah Kreps, Government
Sarah Maxey, Government

Contributions of Undergraduate Team Experiences to Professional Preparedness
Poppy L. McLeod, Communications
Alicia Orta-Ramírez, Food Science

Can Public Institutions Resolve Information Asymmetries? Historical Evidence From the French Wine Market
Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, AEM
Pierre Mérel, University of California, Davis

Balancing Risks: Making Smart Grids Efficient, Reliable, and Secure
Rebecca Slayton, Science and Technology Studies

How a Community Teaches Justice: Public Pedagogies and Youth–Adult Civic Learning in Everyday Social Movement
Sofia Villenas, Anthropology

Marriage and Re-partnering in the Second Half of Life
Elaine Wethington, Human Development, Sociology

Paternal Incarceration and Teachers’ Expectations of Students
Christopher Wildeman, PAM
Elizabeth G. Walsh, University of Texas at Austin

Complementarities of Irrigation and Extension Services in Nepal
Christopher B. Barrett, AEM

Governments in developing countries and international agencies supporting them often employ two strategies to try to improve agricultural production. First, they invest in major public works projects such as irrigation schemes. Second, they organize extension services to try to improve the agricultural methods and technologies used by individual farmers, including those who benefit from irrigation projects. This project aims to study the relative importance of these two strategies in improving agricultural livelihoods and especially the prospective complementarity of these two strategies. The team hypothesizes that changes in the water resource environment brought on by irrigation improvements (or, similarly, changing water availability due to climate change) may prompt farmers to become more responsive to trying new agricultural methods, making extension and irrigation improvements more effective when they are combined with each other. They propose to study the effectiveness of these two strategies in the context of Nepal, where the World Bank and the Government of Nepal are supporting modernization of a large-scale irrigation works program alongside agricultural extension. This research will answer policy relevant questions about how to maximize public investments in agriculture, as well as behavioral questions about how farmers make decisions about adapting to changing environments. This proposal to ISS is being submitted in combination with a larger grant to through the World Bank. The team expects that the ISS funding will make their proposal more competitive in the final round of the World Bank’s proposal while allowing us to focus the World Bank funds into on-the-ground expenses.

Update: In 2015, two major earthquakes and political unrest disrupted domestic travel and the flow of materials in Nepal, causing the irrigation works to be delayed by several months into the middle of 2016.  The project was able to continue its agricultural extension programs, allowing the research team to travel to Nepal to set up a timeline for farmer training events that would allow the researchers to identify the effect of combining these programs with the slightly delayed irrigation investments.  Data collection occurred in April-July, 2016 and is now being analyzed. We are preparing to collect endline data in December 2017.  The project is now listed on the AEA registry. A PhD student traveled with collaborators from the World Bank to monitor these activities and conduct additional background research.  The seed grant placed the research project in a strategic fundraising advantage – we received a $150,000 grant from the World Bank and a $10,000 grant from the Center for Behavioral and Agri-Environmental Research (CBEAR) at the University of Delaware. This project has also lead to two Cornell investigators, Paul Christian and Teevrat Garg, collaborating with the World Bank on two related projects on irrigation in Mozambique. Depleted Soil Locks Farmers in Trap of Ultra-Poverty (2015).

Cooperative Membership and Preference Alteration: A Field Experiment on Trust, Time and Risk amongst Coffee Farmers in Colombia
Arnab K. Basu, AEM
Miguel Gómez, AEM

This is a pilot field experiment to study whether membership in a cooperative impacts individual preferences as captured by their propensity to trust, discount rate and attitude towards risk. Additional questions of interest include: i) whether these preferences differ for members and nonmembers across individual and group settings (controlling for individual and household characteristics), and ii) whether the magnitude of the three observed preferences depend on the size, composition and objective of the cooperative in question. The field experiment will be carried out in Colombia’s department of Cauca amongst 250 coffee farmers. Independent of cooperative membership, the location of this experiment also allows for a unique study of the extent to which exposure to violence in early life can affect an adult’s propensity to trust, time preference and attitude towards risk.

Update: For our project, Cooperative Membership and Preference Alteration: A Field Experiment on Trust, Time and Risk amongst Coffee Farmers in Colombia, Professors Miguel Gomez and Arnab Basu ran experiments on reciprocity, time and risk preferences amongst coffee farmers in Popayan, Department of Cauca in Colombia to check whether membership in coffee cooperatives have any impact on an individual’s propensity to reciprocate, ability to take risks (through participation in lotteries) and patience levels (evidenced by savings behavior).  A total of 196 coffee farmers both non-members and members of cooperatives participated in the experiments. Preliminary results show that membership in cooperatives have a statistically significant positive impact on the propensity to reciprocate, and this effect is stronger as the length of the membership increases. Further, female farmers (both members and non-members of cooperatives) tend to reciprocate more as does relatively more educated members of the coffee cooperatives. These results were presented at the annual Northeast Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA) Meeting in Newport, RI in July 2015, and we expect the final results of the experiments to be available by end-summer 2016.

Investigating Constant Social Media Use Among College Students
Natalya Bazarova, Communications

Considering the ever-increasing role of technology in the lives of college students, understanding media dependency is key to finding balance in a technologically-wired world. The proposed research will examine the role of motivations, learned behaviors, and habit in driving constant use of Facebook and other social network sites by college students. Using the experience sampling method over a 7-day period, we will examine discrepancies between gratifications sought and gratifications obtained, behavioral conditioning patterns, and the strength of habit in generating repeated media exposures. The findings will advance understanding of psychological drivers of social media dependency and open a way for designing tools and interventions that promote responsible media use among college students.

Update: To investigate constant use of Facebook among college students, we built a custom software to capture in-situ data about gratifications sought from Facebook use and gratifications obtained after Facebook use. In addition to capturing data about gratifications at the beginning and at the end of Facebook sessions, the software developed for the study captured data about the length, number, and intervals between sessions. We ran a week-long experience sampling study to investigate the gap between gratifications sought from Facebook use and gratifications obtained as one mechanism underlying frequent returns to Facebook. The findings indicate a quadratic relationship between gratification discrepancy and time lag between Facebook sessions suggesting that feeling both under-gratified and over-gratified drive frequent returns to Facebook. Facebook session duration was positively associated with gratification satisfaction. The strength of habit and gratification satisfaction predicted the number of Facebook sessions per day.

The results of this study will be reported at the International Communication Association Annual Convention 2016: Rokito, S., & Bazarova, N. N. (2016). Over-gratified, under-gratified, or just right? Applying the gratification discrepancy approach to investigate recurrent Facebook use. To be presented at International Communication Association Annual Convention’2016,  Fukuoka, Japan.

Capital Obsolescence and Agricultural Productivity
Julieta Caunedo, Economics

Differences in agricultural productivity across countries are large: in developed countries labor productivity is about 45 times larger than that in developing countries (Caselli, 2005). Preliminary estimations indicate that more developed countries present a lower ratio of second- to first-hand prices of agricultural equipment. In other words, used equipment is relatively more expensive in less developed countries. We argue that the extent of such difference in the ratio of second- to first-hand prices is linked to the frequency at which a country adopts new technologies and intend to study the role of the frequency of technology adoption in determining a country’s agricultural productivity. The frequency of technology adoption determines a country’s 1) composition of capital stock by vintage and 2) obsolescence of installed capital. Frequent adoption of new technologies shifts the composition of capital stocks towards newer and more productive vintages and induces faster obsolescence of installed capital. Although the vintage distribution of capital across economies can be substantially different, the average return on capital need not. To disentangle the effect of disparate depreciation profiles on computed capital services across countries, we need detailed data on used and new equipment. Our application to the ISS grant aims at funding the compilation of a unique cross-country database on second-hand quotes for agricultural equipment based on online catalogues. A database of such kind is key for the computation of accurate depreciation profiles via hedonic pricing techniques. The measures generated can improve dramatically the assessment of capital services and agricultural productivity across regions and countries. In our analysis, the link between depreciation profiles, capital services, and agricultural productivity is defined through a real options model featuring endogenous technology adoption and capital accumulation. Countries are assumed to differ in the cost of technology adoption and the quality of the initial technology operated. Cross-countries differences are identified from data on second-hand prices of agricultural capital equipment and relative price of agricultural capital equipment to agricultural value added. The endogenous speed of technology adoption influences the pattern of investment in capital stocks and the return to such investment. Proper measures of depreciation profiles are also a key piece of information in policy making. In particular, they help understanding the impact of governmental policies with differential treatment of used and new equipment, such as tax incentives.

Update:  Primary findings indicate that quality disparities explain 24 percent of the differences in agricultural productivity growth across countries and that disparities in capital embodied technology account for one-third of the reduction in productivity levels. These findings were presented at three venues in 2015: Midwest Marco, University of Rochester; RIDGE Workshop on Growth and Development in Macroeconomics, Uruguay; and Workshop on Macroeconomics Policy and Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C.  Future plans include submissions to upcoming conferences and paper publication.

What is the Subjective Cost of Carbon? Exploring the Economic Evaluation of Environmental Information From a Cognitive, Decision-Based Approach
Ricardo A. Daziano, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jonathon Schuldt, Communications
Rolf Noyer, Linguistics

Creating a path for the sociotechnical transition to low-carbon and energy-efficient communities requires multidimensional efforts. On the technical side, engineers and scientists have been working to develop
cleaner alternatives to transform the nation’s energy supply and to promote the use of renewables. On the policy side, federal and state governments have encouraged green-tech industry through special subsidies, while at the same time imposing stricter energy-efficiency standards on manufacturers. However, since the energy industry is a consumer-driven business, an energy revolution will happen not unless the demand for energy changes. Encouraging the adoption of energy efficiency thus requires creating incentives for social acceptance. The question of how to promote both energy and environmental remains a central one, especially since it is unclear how individuals value and process, from a perspective of cognition, environmental benefits. The goal of this project is thus to advance understanding of the cognitive process that guides environmental preferences. In particular, the problem of communicating the environmental benefits of energy-efficient technologies will be addressed, with a focus on detecting the most effective ways of conveying information about travel-related emissions. Drawing upon concepts from environmental and resource economics, civil and environmental engineering, behavioral science and economics, cognitive science and linguistics, a discrete choice experiment will be designed with different treatments of environmental information content, framing, and context. Data collected using a web panel sample will be used for making inference on the willingness to pay for carbon abatement.

Update: Using a unique survey especially designed for this project, 1,346 observations were collected. Individuals’ environmental attitudes and behaviors have been found to influence how likely they are to report a willingness to make changes to reduce their environmental impacts. As such, this research contained numerous questions related to those influences. From a potential of 19 questions on attitudes towards the environment, 18 were used in a principal component analysis with Oblimin rotation and Kaiser normalization. Three components were identified which accounted for 50.4% of the variation. These three components were used in a two-step cluster analysis and a solution with the following five attitude types was chosen: 1 No big environmental problems (10%); humans will figure it out; 2. Do not want to pay (20%); 3. Most open to paying; Not so convinced there are environmental problems; human ingenuity will help (26%); 4. There are environmental problems; human ingenuity will not be enough, open to paying (19%); 5. Earth is fine, human behavior isn’t a problem (25%). Econometric analysis performed as a research task of the subsequent NSF grant demonstrate that the using grams per mile –the current method– results in the lowest willingness to pay for CO2 emission reductions, while using social goals result in the highest.

Subsequent grant: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1462289&HistoricalAwards=false.

Precarity and Migrant Labor: Consular Protection as a Case of Transnational Labor Advocacy
Shannon Gleeson, ILR

This proposal requests support for a project examining the genesis and evolution of consular efforts to enforce the workplace rights of immigrant workers in the United States. We draw on a survey of 52 Mexican consulates in the United States, in-depth interviews with the initial cohort of 15 consular participants in the Semana de Derechos Laborales/Labor Rights Week, and 60 civil society groups. Our findings confirm a shift from “limited” to “active” engagement over the last decade on the part of the Mexican government (Délano 2011), placing special emphasis on the role played by non-governmental actors in producing this shift. We argue that consular representatives, while endowed with unique resources and legitimacy, are constrained in their approach to defend the rights of immigrant workers. The configuration and extent of consular collaborations also depend on the maturity of local networks and on synergistic collaborations with local NGOs and labor unions to increase the efficacy and impact of their efforts in the communities they serve. We request funds to help support the transcription of the 30 additional interviews planned for this phase of the project with a sample of labor unions, immigrant rights organizations, worker centers, and legal aid groups. We also aim to leverage this case study to broaden the current frame of research on transnational labor advocacy as it relates to binational labor standards enforcement. To this end, we also seek support for a convening of scholars to discuss the field of translational labor advocacy, and the role of migrant-led civil society groups in the diaspora.

Update: This research ultimately included a survey of 52 consular offices, and interviews with 25 consular staff, 20 labor standards enforcement agencies, and 160 civil society organizations. With co-PI Xóchitl Bada, two publications have resulted: 1) in Labor Studies Journal 2015, 40:1, and 2) an invited book chapter (under review) with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in December 2016, Bada and Gleeson also hosted a book workshop funded by the Cornell/ILR Pierce Memorial Fund, entitled Enforcing Rights Across Borders. (Agenda available here).  This edited volume is currently under review as of April 2017.   Findings from this research  has also informed two current pending publications, with co-author Els de Graauw: “Organized Labor and Immigrant Rights: Forging a Common Agenda in Different Contexts” (journal article in preparation) and “Successes and Challenges at the Nexus of Organizing for Labor Rights and Immigrant Rights” (book chapter in preparation).  More information about the project is available here.

The following publications are in progress:

Bada, Xóchitl and Shannon Gleeson (Eds.).  Enforcing Rights Across Borders. (edited volume in progress)

Bada, Xóchitl and Shannon Gleeson. “The North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC):  The Scope and Limitations of Bilateral Agreements Ability to Protect Low Wage Migrant Workers” (book chapter in preparation for Enforcing Rights Across Borders)

Gleeson, Shannon, Els de Graauw, and Xóchitl Bada. “Organized Labor and Immigrant Rights: Forging a Common Agenda in Different Contexts” (journal article in preparation for special issue:  “¿Sí, se puede? The 2006 Immigration Protests, 10 Years Later” for the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, edited by Irene Bloemraad and Kim Voss)

Gleeson, Shannon, Xóchitl Bada and Els de Graauw. “Successes and Challenges at the Nexus of Organizing for Labor Rights and Immigrant Rights” (invited chapter for No One Size Fits All: Worker Organization, Policy and Movement for a New Economic Age, 2018 Labor Employment Relations Association volume)

 

Mechanisms of Morality: Why the U.S. Public Supports Humanitarian Interventions
Sarah Kreps, Government
Sarah Maxey, Government

As ongoing U.S. airstrikes and aid drops in northern Iraq and the 2011 operation in Libya illustrate humanitarian interventions have become a common feature of United States (U.S.) foreign policy over the past 25 years. Observational public opinion research indicates that humanitarian interventions receive high levels of support from the U.S. public, but why is the public more likely to approve of humanitarian interventions? How much does the humanitarian aspect of these interventions matter relative to other characteristics such as multilateralism and strategic interests? This study seeks to answer these questions with a survey experiment that tests the mechanisms through which humanitarian interventions receive greater support. The project considers three categories of mechanisms: 1) moral obligation as a result of humanitarian norms, 2) instrumental signals, and 3) strategic interests. Understanding mechanisms are particularly important for humanitarian interventions because each category has divergent implications for the strength of humanitarian norms and the conditions under which the public will support military action. Mediation analysis of preliminary findings suggests the public is most strongly persuaded by the moral concerns raised in humanitarian cases. The research demonstrates the internalization of humanitarian norms, clarifies the scope of existing scholarship, and highlights changes in the relationship between the public and war that are critical for the future of democratic political accountability.

Update: Based on the nationally representative survey experiment funded by the grant, the author wrote up the paper, presented at the International Studies Association and European Political Science Association meetings in 2014, and submitted for publication.  The article, co-authored with Gustavo Flores-Macias, was published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and featured in the Washington Post on April 14, 2016.

Contributions of Undergraduate Team Experiences to Professional Preparedness
Poppy L. McLeod, Communications
Alicia Orta-Ramírez, Food Science

The research addresses the question of how well undergraduate group experiences provide students with teamwork skills transferable to professional workplaces. Despite the ubiquity of class-based group projects and extracurricular team activities on college campuses today, surprisingly few data exist to show whether or not these activities improve students’ ability to work in teams when they enter their first jobs following graduation. Indeed, the best and most recent data available from surveys of employers suggest that graduates lack the desired interpersonal skills in general and teamwork skills in particular. If universities are to improve their preparation of students for team-based contexts, it is important first to understand better the contribution of current practices to students’ development of teamwork skills. This research project takes a step toward this goal by examining the relationship between Cornell students’ campus-based teamwork experiences and performance assessments of these same students from their employers in summer internships. This specific project is part of a larger research program on how students learn from campus-based team experiences and will be used to help improve practices in helping students develop effective teamwork skills.

Update:  Students majoring in Communication and Food Science completed surveys asking about their on-campus teamwork experiences. For a small subset of these students, summer internship employers assessed their skills at the end of the internship. Key findings to date are:

  • All students had experience on either academic or extra-curricular teams
  • On a per-semester basis, the highest number of teamwork experiences was in the Freshman year, and the number decreased by class year
  • By the end of the Junior year, students had an average of 9 team experiences, either academic or extracurricular.
  • Students reported more positive experiences in extra-curricular than in academic teams, and a slight trend that extra-curricular teams contributed more to teamwork skill development
  • The number of academic team experiences was the single strongest predictor of employer skill assessment
  • There were no overall differences between Food Science and Communication majors

The survey was repeated for summer 2016 internships. As of February 2017, investigators had connected the data from more 600 individual Cornell Students and approximately 20 employers regarding teamwork on campus and in the workplace.

Can Public Institutions Resolve Information Asymmetries? Historical Evidence From
the French Wine Market
Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, AEM
Pierre Mérel, University of California, Davis

This research project investigates the role of public certification schemes in resolving information asymmetries in vertically differentiated markets. When products of different qualities are sold by informed sellers to uninformed buyers— where information refers to product quality,—bad products may drive out good products from the market, resulting in an inefficient equilibrium where only low-quality products are sold (a.k.a. the Lemons Problem). Although mutually beneficial trade of high-quality products is possible, it is not realized because discriminative buyers refrain from purchasing products of uncertain quality. Certification schemes aimed at reducing information asymmetries between sellers and buyers can theoretically remediate this issue. The French wine market in the early 20th century provides a unique context for analyzing alternative mechanisms for remediating these information asymmetries. A historic empirical analysis of escalating policy interventions will provide new insights into the role of public institutions in resolving information asymmetries in emerging value chains and markets where individual producer reputations are difficult to establish.

Update: The historical data on French wine has been collected through double data entry. Following steps include validating the data and initiate the empirical analysis.

Balancing Risks: Making Smart Grids Efficient, Reliable, and Secure
Rebecca Slayton, Science and Technology Studies

If the U.S. is to mitigate the risks of anthropogenic climate change, it must transform the electrical power grid—which emits more carbon dioxide than any other sector and wastes nearly 2/3 of all energy consumed—into one that relies on renewable energy and radically reduces inefficiencies. The U.S. aims to meet this challenge by developing a “smart” electrical grid, which would use controls and information technology to integrate renewable energy and optimize efficiency, while simultaneously reducing risks to grid reliability and security. In principle, a smart grid will minimize all of these risks at once. However, in practice the expert communities that are designing and deploying smart grid confront trade‐offs between efficiency, reliability and security. This project explores how distinctive expert communities— including economists, information technologists, and industrial control engineers—working in different kinds of organizations, are negotiating these distinctive risks to the grid. It aims to transcend the problematic divide between “social” and “technical” approaches to risk research, by showing how different cultures of expertise approach risk, and how they negotiate differences.

Update: The principal investigator made several new contacts and met with several key informants in the electrical power sector, including three in Washington, D.C. and five in California. These meetings provided insights about how efforts to secure the electrical grid from cyber-attack are organized within utilities. For example, the contacts provided insights about how and when decisions to apply security patches to operational grid technology are made. This early research helped Slayton write a National Science Foundation CAREER proposal awarded in summer 2016. She was awarded $172,299 from the NSF for her five-year-long project, Enacting Cybersecurity Expertise. 

She also received two grants from the Department of Homeland Security:
1) “Regulatory Options to Reduce Systemic Risks,” Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (a DHS Center of Excellence); $287,500 for January-December 2016; and,
2) “Strengthening Local and Regional Regulatory Capacities for Cyber-resilience.” Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (a DHS Center of Excellence); $100,000 for January-June 2017.

How a Community Teaches Justice: Public Pedagogies and Youth–Adult Civic Learning in Everyday Social Movement
Sofia Villenas, Anthropology

This ethnographic study investigates the teaching and learning that occurs outside of institutions of schooling, in particular about justice, equity and citizenship. These sites of “public pedagogies” include the festivals, workshops, teach-ins, protests, community forums, mural projects, and all-community viewings of films. Such sites compel both hopeful and tension-filled conversations about social and racial justice, and about recognition, inclusion and enfranchisement. With educative intent, these activities can be viewed as the everyday, ordinary, and collective practices of social movement. This study links pedagogical and learning potential with social change, and inquires into how these sites might serve as critical arenas for youths’ and adults’ joint civic learning and democratic participation. It builds on several years of ethnographic observation fieldwork focused on one community’s critical civic culture and the educational practices that sustain it. Small grant funding will allow for graduate research assistance to 1) analyze ethnographic observation and media data, and 2) initiate the next phase of individual and group qualitative interviews with a focus on pedagogical intent and youth/adult civic learning in social movement practices.

Update: Based on the interviews, observation data, and document and print media data collected and analyzed this year, findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in November 2015. The paper focused on public pedagogies of festival and cultural programming as critical sites for the everyday practices and imaginaries of cultural citizenship. Further, a full-length manuscript, “Pedagogies of Being With: Witnessing, Testimony and Critical Love in Everyday Social Movement,” was accepted for publication in QSE: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.  Two additional papers will be presented at the upcoming Latina/o Studies Association conference in Pasadena, California. The analysis is still ongoing, and will continue through the summer with archival research and interview data.

Marriage and Re-partnering in the Second Half of Life
Elaine Wethington, Human Development, Sociology

A great deal is known about the health, social, and family relationships of older people but relatively little is known about the quality of older couples’ marital relationships and the formation and dissolution of romantic and sexual relationships among them. A major problem in the research literature on marital and sexual relationships among older people is that people aged 50 to the end of life have often been treated as an undifferentiated group, resulting in a dearth of comparative information available about differences by age in the second half of life, differences by historical cohort, how marital quality and stability is affected by health and other life transitions, and how single older adults re-partner. In this project, we will analyze existing longitudinal quantitative and retrospective qualitative data on marital relationship quality, re-marriage, re-partnering, cohabitation, and sexuality among older adults in the US. The analyses will be informed by a national group of experts convened by the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford to examine marriage and intimacy in the second half of life. A local Cornell working group, including community members, will be formed under the aegis of the Cornell Roybal Center, which will offer developmental resources such as access to participant pools of older adults in Tompkins County and New York City as well as federal proposal writing support.

Update: The aim of this project is to examine pre-existing data on marriage and repartnering after the age of 50, an underdeveloped area of research. Wethington and her colleagues are currently examining the relationship of marital quality and the experience of pain; use of sexual enhancement drugs and products by older adults; changes in sexuality after menopause; Americans’ attitudes toward marriage among older adults and the relationship to beliefs about aging; and re-partnering and marriage among older adults in the Philippines. The work has resulted in one conference presentation at the Gerontological Society of America in 2015, and several other papers in progress. Wethington also collected original data through the Cornell National Social Survey in 2015.

Paternal Incarceration and Teachers’ Expectations of Students
Christopher Wildeman, PAM
Elizabeth G. Walsh, University of Texas at Austin

Although much research documents the negative consequences of paternal incarceration for children, research has yet to provide a strong test of the mechanisms driving these effects. The lack of a strong empirical test of mechanisms is especially pressing for assessing the stigma of paternal incarceration, as existing datasets typically used to consider the consequences of paternal incarceration for children (such as the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study) are poorly suited to testing this specific mechanism. In order to fill this pressing research gap, the goal of the proposed research is to test whether the stigma attached to paternal incarceration affects teachers’ expectations of students using a research design in which we experimentally manipulate the paternal incarceration status of fictional male and female students in order to assess how paternal incarceration affects teachers’ expectations of these fictional students according to the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC). The results will provide insight into whether the stigma attached to paternal incarceration is (or is not) a driver of the consequences of paternal imprisonment for children, with implications for policy interventions.

2016 Update:  The project got off to a slow start due to Institutional Review Board and other delays but roughly 100 teachers were surveyed, and another 100 teachers will be surveyed in the near future.  Additionally, a spin-off project involving 300 teachers is also underway.  A publication is  under review.

Media Update: New study co-authored by Christopher Wildeman shows further racial inequalities in U.S prison system.