The ISS selected 13 Cornell faculty members from five colleges — Architecture; Art and Planning; Agriculture and Life Sciences; Arts and Sciences; Human Ecology, and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations — to participate in the Faculty Fellows Program during 2015-16. Their research foci are described below. For more on their accomplishments to date, please see publications, subsequent funding, and press coverage.
Economics (Fall 2015)
456 Uris Hall
|An economist, Levon Barseghyan’s research focuses on two areas: how insurance markets make decisions in an era of uncertainty and the intersection between public finance and public economy.
As a fellow, he worked on “Preference Types and Welfare in Insurance Markets,” to be presented at an invited session at the 2017 AEA-ASSA Annual meeting in Chicago. This paper builds a procedure to partially identify and estimate the share of households that conform to various models of decision making under uncertainty – such as probability weighting, reference dependent loss aversion, and standard expected utility – and uses the estimated decision types and preferences to measure welfare implications of salient interventions in insurance markets. A complete list of papers written during his ISS fellowship is on the Fellows’ Publications page.
History (Fall 2015 & Spring 2016)
323 McGraw Hall
|Ernesto Bassi’s research interests center around two questions: How do people develop geographic and cultural identifications? How do geographic regions come into being?
During his ISS fellowship, he finished his book An Aqueous Territory: Sailor Geographies and New Granada’s Transimperial Greater Caribbean World. The book (Duke University Press, 2017) explores the role of sailors in the creation of a geographic space of social interactions in what Bassi calls the transimperial Greater Caribbean. He explores the multiple ways in which the less mobile inhabitants of Colombia’s Caribbean coast experienced the region sailors created.
Ernesto also conducted research for two new projects. The first one, Plantation Dreams, examines the efforts of late eighteenth-century planters and merchants in Caribbean Colombia to develop agro-industrial enterprises that would insert their provinces into the expanding Atlantic capitalist system. The other one, Life Abroad, seeks to reconstructs the Spanish-speaking communities that, as a result of commercial links, geopolitical instability, and national formation, emerged in non-Spanish-speaking cities in the Caribbean and North America during the first three decades of the 19th century. Ernesto visited archives in Seville (Spain), London (UK), Port of Spain (Trinidad), New York, and Boston.
Communication (Spring 2016)
318 Kennedy Hall
|Natalie Bazarova and her research group delve into how online communication and exchange affects relationships and overall well-being. They also are looking into the discrepancies between parents and children in how they experience and report social media activities.
Her research group developed and conducted 10 research studies related to social media and well-being. These studies cover a range of different topics, including self-disclosure and privacy, goals and motivations for sharing personal information on the Internet, psychological distress and social support in social media, the use of different media in romantic relationships, cyberbullying and online aggression, and the impact of social media on family relationships and communication. Some of the new findings from these studies are listed in publications.
International and Comparative Labor (Spring 2016)
372 Ives Faculty Wing
|Eli Friedman’s primary areas of interest are China, development, education, globalization, social movements, theory, urbanization, and work and labor. He looks at state responses to worker unrest in China and the development of labor relations institutions.
As a fellow, he completed an article accepted for publication on teachers’ work in China’s migrant schools — the first empirical investigation in this area. He co-authored with a Ph.D. student two manuscripts on labor issues in China’s sanitation and taxi sectors. He is revising and resubmitting one paper and the other is under review. He submitted for publication another co-authored manuscript providing a comparative analysis of labor politics in China and India’s auto sector. Additionally, he presented the first manuscript on his new research on urbanization in China at the InterAsian Connections conference in Seoul and this article will be included in a special issue on urban development in East Asia.
He is a member of the ISS’ Project on China’s Cities where he’s focusing on access to education for rural to urban migrants, among other research topics.
Anthropology (Spring 2016)
210 McGraw Hall
|Kurt Jordan’s research centers on the archaeology of Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) peoples, emphasizing the settlement patterns, housing, and political economy of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century Senecas. During his fellowship, he made substantial progress analyzing and writing up archaeological data from the 2007-2015 Cornell archaeological excavation project at the circa 1688-1715 Seneca Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) White Springs site, near Geneva, New York. Along with colleagues Charlotte Pearson and Jay Stephens (both from the University of Arizona), Jordan assembled red slate materials used by the Senecas to make beads, pendants, and ornaments at the site. The improved understanding of the White Springs artifacts and spatial data will contribute to a planned multi-vocal, multi-author work interpreting the social and historical dynamics at the site.|
Government (Fall 2015 & Spring 2016)
214 White Hall
|Adam Levine’s research findings challenge common claims about the foundation of political motivation, in particular showing how self-interest considerations can simultaneously foster and hinder engagement with political issues. As an ISS fellow, he published one article, one book chapter, and started seven other new papers (that are in various stages of the publication process). He also conducted seven new experiments (three in the field and four in survey settings, including one with Michael Manville, another ISS fellow).
Levine won two awards from the American Political Science Association (APSA). His book, American Insecurity, was named the 2016 Best Book for work in experiential research. His publication, Citizen Engagement (and Disengagement) in Response to Social Ills, co-written with Yanna Krupnikov received the 2016 Paul Lazarsfeld best paper award from the APSA political communication section. Adam was named an Atkinson Fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year when he plans on completing his book positing a new argument regarding the barriers and possibilities for citizen engagement around climate change.
City and Regional Planning (Fall 2015)
|Michael Manville completed and submitted six articles for review during his time at the ISS. For the most part these papers generally examined possible causes for the decline in driving between 2004 and 2013, or evaluated various policies designed to reduce excess vehicle travel. In addition, he made progress on three additional papers and helped complete a report to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. He was also invited to speak at two conferences for policymakers, one about the future of public transportation and the other about implications of the sharing economy for personal transportation.|
Human Development (Fall 2015 & Spring 2016)
G64 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, (607) 255-0844
|Jane Mendle specializes in adolescent psychology, particularly how different aspects of puberty relate to psychological well-being. As a fellow, she examined long-term trends associated with early physical development in girls. She resubmitted a grant application (subsequently funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development), prepared and submitted two manuscripts for publication, presented her research at conferences, and guest edited a special series of Clinical Psychological Science on women’s mental health.|
Economics (Spring 2016)
|Victoria Prowse worked on a project exploring how unemployment insurance, welfare and disability benefits affect the inequality of lifetime income — a key determinant of inequality in living standards. Professor Prowse finds that transfer programs and social insurance programs have important effects on the inequality of lifetime income and that these effects are often different from the roles that these programs play in shaping the inequality of short-run outcomes, such as annual income. In particular, while Professor Prowse finds that unemployment insurance is effective at reducing the inequality of annual income, unemployment insurance is not highly redistributive and thus has little impact on the inequality of lifetime income. Welfare, meanwhile, emerges as a powerful program for reducing inequality in lifetime living standards and provides insurance against persistent shocks, such as long term unemployment.|
|R. Nathan Spreng
Human Development (Fall 2015)
G62C Martha Van Rensselaer Hall (607) 255-4396
|R. Nathan Spreng’s research examines large-scale brain network dynamics and their role in cognition in younger and older adults. His work at the ISS laid the groundwork for investigations of age-related changes in the network architecture of the brain, and their impact on wise-thinking and decision-making. He has published two recent papers in this area, the first proposing an interacting neural network model of cognitive aging, and a second characterizing age-related changes in brain network dynamics. He has also published several related works, including a review of the neural and cognitive basis of spontaneous thinking, as well as investigations of counterfactual thinking, and the links between purpose in life and impulsivity.|
Policy Analysis and Management (Fall 2015 & Spring 2016)
253 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
|Laura Tach is a sociologist who studies urban poverty and family life. During her fellowship, she completed three studies of income insecurity, economic mobility, and income support programs for disadvantaged households. She found that children’s experiences of household income insecurity have increased since the 1980s due to growing volatility in employment and family structure combined with an eroding social safety net. The growing volatility of family life has long-term consequences for the intergenerational transmission of advantage and disadvantage.
Laura studied several income support policies with the potential to mitigate children’s exposure to economic hardship, including the Earned Income Tax Credit for working poor parents and ACHIEVEability, an affordable housing program in Pennsylvania that offers housing subsidies for single parents who pursue higher education.
She was awarded $350,000 for a 5-year research project on U.S. families from the William T. Grant Foundation.
|Erin York Cornwell
Sociology (Fall 2015 & Spring 2016)
364 Uris Hall
|Erin York Cornwell examines how social status and social contexts shape social action, social networks, and individual outcomes. She has expertise in designing, fielding, and analyzing social surveys, including smartphone-based ecological momentary assessments that allow the examination of social life in real-time.
During her fellowship, she completed the analysis of survey and geographic data from a smartphone-based study of older adults in New York City. Using these data, she drafted two papers examining disparities in residential and non-residential social environments, and how real-time exposure to neighborhood disorder affects fluctuations in symptoms of distress. She also completed a paper on disparities in bystander support during medical emergencies on public streets, showing that Black patients and those in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas are less likely to receive help from a bystander. This paper was published in the American Journal of Public Health (June, 2016) and the findings were featured in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Reuters, Huffington Post, Cornell Chronicle, and other media outlets.
Communication (Fall 2015)
308 Kennedy Hall
| Connie Yuan studies knowledge management through the development of social capital, and the adoption and usage of information and communication technology. She is seeking to integrate findings from organizational behavior and information systems, and to develop and test new social science theories that advance our understanding of knowledge management.
At the ISS, she completed two book chapters in International Encyclopedia of Organizational Communication and Expertise, Communication and Organizing. She also wrote two papers submitted to two major conferences in her field. Both are under review for journal publication.