ISS Funds Faculty Research in Seven Colleges

By Lori Sonken, ISS’ Staff Writer
March 21, 2013

Faculty research as varied as an ethnographic examination of teamwork used in hospital operating rooms to a study of the impacts that walkable neighborhoods have on human health behaviors is receiving support this spring from Cornell’s Institute for the Social Sciences.

“We’ve found that a relatively small investment by Cornell can pay off many times over in raising the research productivity and national profile of our faculty, and in demonstrating the feasibility of a project  to external granting agencies,” said Kim Weeden, the Robert S. Harrison Director of the ISS.

Miguel Gomez (Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management) is examining whether Colombian farmers using the Relationship Coffee Model linking coffee growers to markets fair better than those who do not.

Sharon Proctzer, also with the Dyson School, is comparing manufacturing data between Indonesia and U.S. firms from 1993-2008 to analyze the impact of institutional features, including political connections and infrastructure, on firm productivity.

“Surprising little data exists regarding the preferences and actions taken by firms during the worst recession to hit Europe since the Great Depression,” said Alexander Kuo (government). He’s testing competing theories about firm preferences and strategies from 2007-early 2013 in Spain.

Building on the funding provided by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the ISS is supporting Neema Kudva (city and regional planning) and a team of Cornell and other researchers working with the Keystone Foundation to understand how implementation of the Forests Rights Act in India’s Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve is impacting human health, nutrition and the local economy.

Closer to home, the ISS is providing support for Maxim Troshkin’s (economics) project aimed at furthering our understanding of efficient social insurance. Michael Jones-Correa (government) is surveying the US-born children of documented and undocumented Latino immigrants to better understand the factors influencing the children’s socialization and participation in the American political system.

“I plan to spend three weeks at a West Coast medical school examining teamwork in the operating room, including the social relations among the nurses, surgeons and anesthesiologists, as well as ideas of ethics that are built into operating practices,” said Rachel Prentice (science and technology studies).

Using data from the Women’s Health Initiative, Rebecca Seguin (nutritional sciences) is exploring how neighborhood characteristics, specifically walkability, impacts health behaviors and outcomes over time. Aside from the ISS, her project is receiving funding from the President’s Council of Cornell Women.

Two ISS-funded projects are exploring school choice policies. Michael Lovenheim (policy analysis and management) is examining whether parents in areas with expanding school choice are more likely to seek information on schools than parents in areas with less school choice. Kendra Bischoff (sociology) and Laura Tach (policy analysis and management) are studying whether school choice policies affect the link between racial and socioeconomic composition of schools and neighborhoods, and whether these polices result in schools that are more or less integrated than the neighborhoods where they are located.

Three workshops are receiving support from the ISS.  Louis Hyman (ILR) is planning a boot camp on economic methods this July on the Ithaca campus to train economic historians in quantitative methods. Annelise Riles (law and anthropology) is organizing a conference to be held this fall to address possible reparations and redress for the thousands of women and girls drafted to provide sexual services for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

A risk communication workshop, organized by Katherine McComas and Sahara Byrne, both in communication, will incorporate social science research into marine system management and explore whether communication linking climate change and ocean health impacts can motivate the public to change their behavior.