Spring 2016 Small Grant Awards

ISS Supports 15 Research Projects, and Three Conferences

Projects

The Impact of Restaurant Menu Labeling on Food Choice
John Cawley, Policy Analysis and Management
Alex Susskind, Food & Beverage Management

Housing Redevelopment and the Evolution of Suburban Immigrant Communities
Suzanne Lanyi Charles, City and Regional Planning

Exile and Enclosure
Raymond Craib, History

Dissociating the Effects of Attention and Expectation on Visual Conscious Perception
Shimon Edelman, Psychology
Roy Moyal, Graduate student in Psychology

Crafting Modern Islam: Mustafa Kemal’s Turkey in Southeast Asia (1920s-1940s)
Chiara Formichi, Asian Studies

Latin American Alternatives to the Security Prison: An Ethnographic Study of Prisoner Self-Governance and Survival
Chris Garces, Anthropology
Sacha Darke, Visiting Scholar, Latin Studies Program

Altruism Pays: How Marketing Exclusively to Free Patients at Aravind Eye Hospitals Supports the Enterprise
Sachin Gupta, Marketing, JGSM

The Fifth Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference – Minimizing the Collateral Damage: Interventions to Diminish the Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children
Anna Haskins, Sociology
Christopher Wildeman, Policy Analysis and Management

The Impact of Accountable Care Organizations on Physician Referral Patterns
Samuel Kleiner, Policy Analysis and Management

The Power of Skin in East Africa
Stacey Langwick, Anthropology

Gist in Criminal Adjudication: Testing the Effects of Mental Representation on Juror Deliberations and Verdicts
Valerie Reyna, Human Development
Valerie Hans, Law

The Catholic Origins of French Dignity
Camille Robcis, History

Creative Academic Writing: Exploring the Relationship between Artful Prose and Scholarly Production
Aaron Sachs, History
John Forester, City and Regional Planning
Paul Sawyer, English

Manufacturing Revolutions: The Rise and Decline of a Chinese Automobile City
Victor Seow, History

Enhancing the Community Impact of School-Based Health Centers in Rural New York
John Sipple, Development Sociology
Sharon Tennyson, Policy Analysis and Management

Do Policies Affect Father Involvement, and How Much Does Involvement Reduce Inequality in Child Outcomes?
Maureen Waller, Policy Analysis and Management
Daniel Miller, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Boston University
Lenna Nepomnyaschy, School of Social Work, Rutgers University

Understanding the Impact of Austerity on New York’s Local Governments
Mildred Warner, City and Regional Planning
Yunji Kim, Grad Student, City and Regional Planning

The Impact of Restaurant Menu Labeling on Food Choice
John Cawley, Policy Analysis and Management
Alex Susskind, Food & Beverage Management

Obesity rates in the U.S. have more than doubled since 1980. In part to address this rise, as well as to promote healthy eating more generally, Congress enacted a nationwide menu label law as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which requires that in the future all chain restaurants in the U.S. will be required to list calorie counts next to each menu item. This study tests how providing calorie count information affects restaurant patrons’ food choices. We are in the process of conducting a randomized experiment in a sit-down, full-service restaurant, with some patrons receiving menus with calorie counts, while others will receive the same menus but without calorie counts. Patrons’ choices of appetizers, drinks, entrees, and desserts are recorded. The project will test whether providing calorie information leads to fewer calories ordered, and whether such decreases are particularly common in the dessert category. Differences in the effect by gender and other characteristics will be examined. The results of this interdisciplinary collaboration will be informative about the effects of the nationwide menu label law.

 

Housing Redevelopment and the Evolution of Suburban Immigrant Communities
Suzanne Lanyi Charles, City and Regional Planning

Many new immigrants to the United States are bypassing central cities and instead moving directly to the suburbs. Policies that favor immigration by highly educated, high-income households have resulted in a cohort of immigrants with the financial means to invest significantly in their suburban neighborhoods. One very visible form of immigrant investment is the demolition and rebuilding of suburban single-family housing to create homes that better match households’ needs and preferences. Through this type of housing redevelopment, pejoratively described as “monster homes” or “McMansions,” immigrants are dramatically transforming the social, economic, and physical landscape of older post-war American suburbs. With a geographic focus on three Asian ethnic communities located within multi-ethnic, suburban municipalities in the Chicago area, the research project investigates how immigrants’ redevelopment of single-family housing affects the formation and evolution of suburban ethnic communities. The project endeavors to inform our understanding of the immigrants’ residential settlement patterns and to reconceptualize the spatial assimilation process of contemporary immigrant groups.

Update: A review of the literature continues and data collection began in the summer of 2016. Researchers conducted interviews with senior planning staff within all three municipalities, and the process of updating the dataset to include observations from 2000 through 2016 is complete. The project is moving forward at a slightly delayed pace from the original schedule due to delay in field data collection. On-site data collection will re-commence during the summer of 2017.

Exile and Enclosure
Raymond Craib, History

What, if any, is the relationship between enclosure and exile? This international conference intends to address this broad question. ‘Enclosure’ refers to two reinforcing processes associated with passages to modernity: the rise of the territorially-bounded nation-state and the development of global capitalism. The process of enclosure has been historically more closely linked to the latter of these two passages. Less common has been the linkage of enclosure to the simultaneous rise of the nation-state. Yet the nation-state formation itself was an act of material, political, and symbolic enclosure. And what of exile? A range of terms (displacement, colonization, proletarianization, alienation and expulsion) have been deployed to address what happened to peoples who experienced political and material expropriation. ‘Exile’ is valuable as a means to draw such terms (and the experiences they seek to describe) together under a unifying premise: that displacement, colonization, proletarianization, expulsion, alienation, imprisonment and placelessness all bear more than a passing family resemblance to each other. They are, collectively, enclosure’s underbelly. The second fundamental aspect of this conference is to interrogate that assertion.

Dissociating the Effects of Attention and Expectation on Visual Conscious Perception
Shimon Edelman, Psychology
Roy Moyal, Graduate student in Psychology

Human behavior, including its all-important social components, is driven by an interplay of many processes, both automatic and deliberative, whose dynamics and relationship to conscious experience are still poorly understood. In perception, some of these processes manifest as attention, while others contribute to the expectation of impending stimuli or events. While it is uncontroversial that people draw upon past experience to anticipate sensory input and optimize their behavioral outcomes (by deploying expectation and attention), the neural mechanisms involved in bringing predictions and behavioral priorities to bear on perception are debatable. Empirical work and theoretical analyses to date have mostly focused on the effects of attention on perception, often conflating them with those of expectation; thus, the interactions between these two processes remain underexplored. It has recently been suggested that electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha oscillations (8-12 Hz), thought to reflect a periodic inhibition of cortical activity, are critical to the implementation of top-down modulatory processes. Changes in the phase and power of occipital alpha oscillations have been linked to attention and used to predict whether or not a briefly presented stimulus will be consciously perceived. To expand on these exciting results, a three-stage research plan is proposed. The first project, for which ISS funding is requested, will use EEG to investigate the role of alpha oscillations in mediating the effects of attention and expectation on visual detection thresholds. The second project, for which NSF funding will be sought, will use functional neuroimaging to dissociate the two processes in terms of their effects on visual and thalamic blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) responses. Results will be used to inform a thalamo-cortical computational model of the early visual system, aimed at examining the interactions among attention, expectation, and visual awareness.

Crafting Modern Islam: Mustafa Kemal’s Turkey in Southeast Asia (1920s-1940s)
Chiara Formichi, Asian Studies

This project investigates the crafting of “modern Islam” in its socio-political realities as articulated by Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia in the first half of the 20th century. Grounded in the historical method, this research carries important implications for the study of political and social systems, as it challenges established scholarship on concepts of modernity in non-Western contexts, and the relationship between religion (Islam) and politics in the attainment of such modernity. Whereas scholarly research on the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate has focused on the sense of loss for the caliphal institution and on the desire to re-establish a form of spiritual-cum-political Islamic leadership, this project investigates Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s attempt at shaping a modern Muslim nation-state, and the impact of this endeavour on two Muslim countries in Southeast Asia.

Update: During Summer 2016 Dr. Formichi visited libraries in Oxford and London in the U.K. as well as in Washington DC to sort through primary sources on the relations between Turkey and Southeast Asia and more generally on the international impact of Turkey’s reforms. The Library of Congress proved to be an invaluable archive, as Mark Bristol for example, kept detailed accounts of his impressions and meetings during his diplomatic tenure in Istanbul. Further, the LoC’s newspaper collection offered the opportunity to explore Turkish newspapers in French, as well as some Malay newspapers not available at Cornell. Similarly, the British Library holds diplomatic reports concerning Kemal’s reforms, which helped to shed light on their international impact, especially on Persia and Afghanistan.

Latin American Alternatives to the Security Prison: An Ethnographic Study of Prisoner Self-Governance and Survival
Chris Garces, Anthropology
Sacha Darke, Visiting Scholar, Latin Studies Program

Underfunded and overcrowded Latin American prisons, where the inmates informally manage or control their spaces of enclosure, often make headlines due to breakdowns in order. But they are also hotbeds for new kinds of shared governance between prisoner collectives, prison wardens, and state justice administrations. This pilot ethnographic research project will focus on successful Latin American alternatives to the “security prison” in Brazil, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic.

Altruism Pays: How Marketing Exclusively to Free Patients at Aravind Eye Hospitals Supports the Enterprise
Sachin Gupta, Marketing, JGSM

This research seeks to understand the demand-side interdependence between the social enterprise and social mission sides of Aravind Eye Care System, a highly successful nonprofit organization in the health-care arena in India. Aravind’s marketing efforts are devoted exclusively to patients who receive its eye care services for free, yet the system enjoys substantial demand from other patients who pay market prices for its services. We hypothesize that Aravind’s outreach camps that are targeted to indigent patients generate spillover effects on paying patients. Moreover, by serving poor patients it receives reputational benefits that affect paying patients’ brand perceptions of Aravind. We plan to measure these effects by applying econometric models to historical patient data from Aravind’s newest hospital in Pondicherry from its inception in 2003 to 2015.

The Fifth Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference – Minimizing the Collateral Damage: Interventions to Diminish the Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children
Anna Haskins, Sociology
Christopher Wildeman, Policy Analysis and Management

The fifth biennial conference in honor of the legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner, Minimizing the Collateral Damage: Interventions to Diminish the Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children, will convene a panel of leading interdisciplinary researchers discussing interventions that best minimize the consequences of parental incarceration for children, families, and communities. The overarching goal is to strengthen the connections between research, policy, and practice in the area of collateral consequences of mass incarceration for children.

Update: An edited volume with papers from the conference is to be published by the American Psychological Association Press in 2017.

The Impact of Accountable Care Organizations on Physician Referral Patterns
Samuel Kleiner, Policy Analysis and Management

Substantial efforts have been underway in recent years to adopt payment models that tie provider reimbursement to the quality or value of care provided. Notably, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has established Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) — these are collections of physicians, hospitals and other health providers whose payment rates are tied to the quality and cost of the care that they deliver. While recent research has indicated that the program has achieved cost savings and improved quality, a potential concern is that collaborative agreements across ACO providers could enable the exercise of market power among participants. This project will build on previous literature by analyzing how ACO participation drives physician referral patterns, as well as examine the implications for non-ACO affiliated providers.

Update: The data were approved for use in October 2016 and arrived in November 2017.  The data were merged with the necessary geographic identifiers which enable the identification of some ACO participants. Preliminary analysis of the data has shown that the size and scope of ACOs that are identified in the data that were received are similar to ACOs that have been identified in studies that use alternative sources of ACO data.

The Power of Skin in East Africa
Stacey Langwick, Anthropology

The power of skin is at the center of heated public debates in East Africa today. Efforts to stop the current wave of attacks on people with albinism are struggles over what skin is at the beginning of this millennium. Langwick’s research investigates how political and therapeutic projects concerning albinism in Africa are elaborating and solidifying some notions of skin and understandings of its vitality, while they refuse, deny, or ignore others. She hypothesizes that attending to the reactivity, volume, texture, sensation, color and temperature of skin in East Africa has become deeply contested and explicitly ethical work. Her ethnographic work reveals how the vitality of skin has come to matter differently in healing, medicine, witchcraft, advocacy and love and how it has come to embody both political and therapeutic potential. Two primary questions drive this fieldwork: What conditions the powers and potentials – the capacities and vulnerabilities – of skin in East Africa at the turn of the millennium? How do these powers structure acts of violence and care, harming and healing? Conflicts over the power of skin in Africa demand a careful rethinking of the politics of postcolonial bodies. In her research, Langwick accounts for the forms of knowledge and practice that shape the capacities and vulnerabilities of skin in East Africa, and that come to constitute the space of both pleas for humanity and articulations of the humane.

Gist in Criminal Adjudication: Testing the Effects of Mental Representation on Juror Deliberations and Verdicts
Valerie Reyna, Human Development
Valerie Hans, Law

This project is investigating how mental representations of evidence and associated processing influence how jurors reach a determination of guilt or innocence in criminal adjudication. This will be done by testing a theoretical model of jury decision-making, based on fuzzy-trace theory (FTT) (Helm, Reyna, Meschow, & Weldon, 2015). This model accepts the traditional dual process distinction between reflective processes that promote rationality and emotional or impulsive processes that subvert rationality, but also predicts a separable effect of the type of mental representation relied upon (gist or verbatim) and associated processing. To test this premise, subjects will be presented with one of three variations of a case. These will vary in terms of the way evidence is presented – measures from psycholinguistics will be used to present evidence in a way that encourages either high medium or low reliance on gist. After seeing the evidence, all subjects will be asked to give a summary of the case and a verdict. Juror case summaries will be analyzed to probe the mental representations jurors relied upon. These mental representations will be compared across the three ways evidence was presented to investigate how presentation of evidence impacts mental representations, and how this influences verdict decisions. In addition, mock jurors will be allowed to deliberate. Deliberation dynamics, final verdicts, and mental representations will be analyzed using network analyses to examine how juror interactions and decisions during deliberation are influenced by reliance on gist or verbatim representations. This research will combine methods and ideas from psychology, human development, psycholinguistics, and law to provide new insight into juror decision-making, and evidence-based decision-making more broadly.

Update: Simple questionnaire predicts unprotected six, binge drinking (October 2016).

The Catholic Origins of French Dignity
Camille Robcis, History

This project traces the genealogy of “human dignity” in modern French law. My goal is to explain how and why dignity has come to be associated with national belonging and public order, as evidenced for example by the 2010 law banning “face coverings” in public spaces or by the recent pleas to revive “national indignity” after the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. I want to show that that the definition of dignity that has been circulating in French law since the 1990s is primarily a corporatist one. Rather than promoting abstract individual freedom, human rights, and democratic inclusion, this understanding of dignity (theoretically much closer to that of political Catholicism and personalism than to the Kantian or liberal understanding of dignity that we see in American law) insists on the obligations that the individual has towards the community, towards the social, and, in its most recent formulations, towards France.

Spring 2017 Update: Professor Robcis traveled to France to study how and why Catholic activists have turned to the notion of “human dignity” in recent years.  Her findings were published in an article “The Biopolitics of Dignity” in The South Atlantic Quarterly.  She also presented her research in various venues (Rutgers, Berkeley, NYU, the Society for French Historical Studies).  She hopes to continue working on this project in the coming years in the form of a longer book project that traces the Catholic origins of various notions in French constitutional law.

Other publications and media coverage:

“Pourquoi la théorie du genre fait-elle peur” par Cécile Daumas, Libération, 14 Dec. 2016, http://www.liberation.fr/debats/2016/12/14/pourquoi-la-theorie-du-genre-fait-elle-peur_1535293

“Les structures familiales de la République,” Radio interview with Sylvain Bourmeau, “La Suite dans les idées,” France Culture,  https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/la-suite-dans-les-idees/les-structures-familiales-de-la-republique

“Universalist Politics and Its Crises,” Vikerkaar 3/2016 (Estonian version); Eurozine (English version), conversation with Aro Velmet: http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2016-05-24-robcis-en.html

“Is Secularism Still Christian?” (forum on Samuel Moyn’s Christian Human Rights), The Immanent Frame, June 26, 2015: http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2015/06/26/is-secularism-still-christian/

 

Creative Academic Writing: Exploring the Relationship between Artful Prose and Scholarly Production
Aaron Sachs, History
John Forester, City and Regional Planning
Paul Sawyer, English

Does “creative academic writing” make you think of phrases like “jumbo shrimp” and “military intelligence”? Perhaps “airplane food” or “bipartisan cooperation”? Well, this conference will wallow in oxymoronic potential. Participants (faculty and graduate students) will have the opportunity to consider the assumptions, conventions, and alternative possibilities of academic prose across the humanities and social sciences. Through both presentations of relevant research and technique-oriented workshops, we will think about writing as an art and a craft and even a source of pleasure rather than just a means of presenting data. If academic culture can move toward more thoughtful, creative ways of producing scholarship, by taking style and form more seriously from the beginning, then academic publications might well reach a broader and more receptive audience. And the scholars might even enjoy themselves along the way.

Manufacturing Revolutions: The Rise and Decline of a Chinese Automobile City
Victor Seow, History

This project sets out to explore the reordering of social and economic life under state-led industrial development in China from the 1960s to the 2000s. It proposes to do this through a study of Shiyan, an automobile city in the country’s hinterland that was once a contender for the title of “China’s Detroit.” Built up in the midst of the Maoist industrialization initiative that was the Third Front (1964-1980), Shiyan was home to the Second Automobile Works (now Dongfeng Motor Corporation) and the center of China’s commercial vehicle production. It has since declined following the migration of the company’s headquarters and manufacturing to more accessible areas. This project will trace the rise and decline of this auto-industrial base, and the impact that its fluctuating fortunes had on those who lived and worked within it. In so doing, it advances three lines of research: the industrial transformation of designated urban spaces from the socialist period (1949-1978) into and through the reform era (1978-present); the mobilization and organization of labor and expertise to meet state-directed economic goals; and the social costs behind the growth of China’s formidable automobile sector.

Enhancing the Community Impact of School-Based Health Centers in Rural New York
John Sipple, Development Sociology
Sharon Tennyson, Policy Analysis and Management

The purpose of this research project is to explore school-based and community-based interventions aimed at expanding the impact of school-based health clinics (SBHCs), an individual-level intervention in New York State (and nationwide). Driven and regulated by the NYS Department of Health, SBHCs exist in 231 NYS school buildings. Concern has arisen that while these are effective interventions for individual school-aged children, there is a frustrating lack of impact on the families and communities in which these children reside – thus greatly reducing the impact of the SBHC intervention. This project undertakes exploratory research in Partnership with the Bassett Healthcare System in school districts, communities and SBHCs in Otsego and Chenango counties to (i) better understand the impact of SBHCs in these rural communities, and to (ii) determine how best to supplement and leverage ongoing community resources to enhance the culture of health and improve the living conditions and quality of life in these communities.

The Economic Consequences of the Language of Immigration
Mallika Thomas, Economics

There are currently over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and over 30 million worldwide. Of the many policy questions that arise from the presence of these immigrants, one that has received a great deal of attention in recent years is the use of appropriate language in describing immigrants themselves. Proponents of change argue that terms such as “illegal immigrants” and “unauthorized immigrants” are racially charged and do not capture the complexity of the situation facing these immigrants, adversely affecting the way in which they are treated. This paper contributes new evidence on the economic consequences of these terms using a series of lab experiments. In particular, the study examines the extent to which these terms affect bargaining power in employee/employer relationships and the degree of altruism exhibited toward immigrants.

Do Policies Affect Father Involvement, and How Much Does Involvement Reduce Inequality in Child Outcomes?
Maureen Waller, Policy Analysis and Management
Daniel Miller, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Boston University
Lenna Nepomnyaschy, School of Social Work, Rutgers University

Theory and a growing body of research consistently point to significant impacts of father involvement on child academic and behavioral outcomes. Despite their importance, fathers are rarely the focus of policies, programs, or services that aim to improve outcomes for low-income children, and may thus be an essential and overlooked factor in reducing income-based inequality. In this proposal, we combine quantitative and qualitative analyses to examine the extent to which father involvement reduces inequality in children’s academic and behavioral outcomes and whether social and economic policies are effective levers with which to increase low-income fathers’ involvement with their children.

Update: Data on criminal justice policies were collected as part of a multi-year, longitudinal dataset being compiled on state-level social and economic policies.  These data are being linked to individual-level data and will be made publicly available to the research community.  A key project aim is to identify policies that are far-reaching and directly amenable to change, and thus have the potential to reduce inequality in child outcomes on a wide scale.

The project received a 3-year Reducing Inequality Grant from the WT Grant Foundation to further this aim. Papers being prepared for the PAA and APPAM meetings examine: 1) the extent to which father involvement reduces economic-based inequality in outcomes for children, and 2) how minimum wage policies impact disadvantaged men’s contributions to families.

Understanding the Impact of Austerity on New York’s Local Governments
Mildred Warner, City and Regional Planning
Yunji Kim, Grad Student, City and Regional Planning

Since the Great Recession, local governments have been put under increased fiscal stress. Scholars warn that austerity is degrading infrastructure and services, and ultimately constraining local governments’ ability to meet the needs of their communities. Local governments in New York State are facing fiscal stress due to economic and demographic factors as well as shifts in state policy, most notably the imposition of a tax cap on the property tax levy in 2011. This research will support focus groups and a survey of all counties, cities, villages and townships across the state to determine how austerity is affecting local revenue, expenditure, and the quality and quantity of critical local government services.

Update:  New York State local governments face increasing levels of fiscal stress. The state policy environment creates additional pressure on local governments in part due to a lack of understanding of the causes of and responses to fiscal stress at the local level. This ISS grant supported a series of focus groups with local government officials around New York State and development and implementation of a survey assessing the causes of fiscal stress and local government responses in service delivery, revenue raising,and expenditure management.  The Fiscal Policy Institute contributed $7,000 for the survey that was designed in close cooperation with the local government associations (NYS Assoc of Counties, NYS Conference of Mayors, and Assoc of Towns of NYS).  The survey will be implemented in March 2017. Follow-up research reports and conference presentations are planned.

 
 
 
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