Faculty can apply for seed funds to support innovative research and collaborative conferences.
The CCSS will accept grant applications in Fall 2020. The deadline for the next round of funding is Tuesday, September 8, 2020
All tenured and tenure-track Cornell faculty in the social sciences are eligible for research awards of up to $12,000, and $5,000 for conferences. Applicants must be affiliated with the CCSS in order to be considered. Funding priority is given to high quality social scientific scholarship with the potential to result in ambitious projects such as external funding applications and book proposals.
We are particularly interested in jump-starting research by junior faculty. We support research by faculty teams spanning social science disciplines or units, interdisciplinary projects led or co-led by social scientists, and other multidisciplinary projects that could include the life sciences, but are led by social scientists. The goal is to fund research projects likely to lead to external funding or a CCSS collaborative project proposal.
We provide funding for interdisciplinary conferences, held at Cornell, open to all Cornell faculty members, and publicized. Awards for conferences rarely exceed $5,000. We do not support conferences organized by non-Cornell affiliated entities.
Each research project application with a budget above 5k is reviewed by two Cornell social science faculty members (not in the applicant’s department). Projects with budgets below 5K and conferences will be internally reviewed. Awardees are expected to review grant applications in subsequent rounds. Previous recipients of small grants from the CCSS or ISS are required to wait two years before they are eligible for another CCSS award.
Funding for the CCSS Small Grant Program comes from the CCSS and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Cornell University.
*Please note that we are not currently accepting applications. A link to a new application will be posted in Fall 2020.
Please follow the steps below to submit an application:
Fill out an online application. A link will be available here when the application window opens.
Upload one single PDF to your online application by deadline. Document should include (in this order):
Cover page including:
Name, professorial title (Assistant, Associate, Full Professor), departmental and college affiliation
Co-PIs (if you have a Co-PI, you must specify a lead PI)
Total dollar amount requested
Proposal type: Research, conference, or both
Resubmission: Is this proposal a resubmission to the CCSS/ISS? If yes, please discuss your revisions in the proposal narrative.
Proposal narrative that is double-spaced and no more than seven pages in length (see guidelines below)
Budget justification (see guidelines below)
CV for the PI, as well as CVs for up to two additional investigators (maximum three pages each)
Each CV should list the researcher’s education, major appointments, and most significant publications, presentations, grants, and honors.
Proposal narrative guidelines:
Again, should not exceed seven pages; should be double-spaced
A one-paragraph abstract written in the third-person for posting on the CCSS website, if the project is funded
A comprehensive description of proposed activities and their significance, including details about the research design (if applicable)
Plans for future research
Plans for pursuing additional funding, if any
Plans for developing a CCSS collaborative project proposal, if any
Budget justification guidelines:
Total funding amount requested
List of the individual expenses and a brief explanation of each expense (for details, see budget info)
The budget justification does not count against the seven-page-long narrative length limit
A brief bibliography (under one page)
Brief sample survey, or portion of a survey instrument may be included as an appendix and will not count against the narrative page length
The maximum CCSS grant award is $12,000. Faculty who have received a previous small grant research award from the CCSS or ISS are eligible for another research award two years after their most recent award. Research grant awardees can submit a conference grant proposal within the two-year wait period and conference grant awardees can submit a research proposal within the two-year wait period, as these are tracked separately. Likewise, there is a two-year wait period to submit a conference proposal after receiving a small grant conference award.
CCSS approval is required for the principal investigator to reallocate more than 25 percent of the funds at any point after the award is issued. Funds not used within two years are returned to the CCSS for reallocation to other small grant awardees. In the event the principal investigator leaves Cornell, remaining funds are to be returned to the CCSS.
The CCSS and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Cornell University provide the funding for the CCSS’ small grant program.
Small grants support direct research expenses. Examples include the costs of collecting data, participant incentives, traveling to and from research or training sites, meetings with collaborators or potential funders, undergraduate or graduate research assistance supporting the faculty project, and specialized hardware or software necessary to conduct the research.
Examples of expenses ineligible for a small grant award are publication fees or other costs associated with disseminating research (e.g., conference travel), faculty and/or Cornell staff salaries, travel costs for caregivers, or general-use hardware or software. We also do not fund training, such as on an econometric technique. We are unable to support undergraduate or graduate student research projects with faculty small grant funds.
Each research project application with a budget above 5k is reviewed by two Cornell social science faculty members (not in the applicant’s department). Projects with budgets below 5K and conferences will be internally reviewed. Awardees are expected to review grant applications in subsequent rounds. Previous recipients of small grants from the CCSS or ISS are required to wait two years before they are eligible for another CCSS award.
Fall 2020: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 with awards announced on Thursday, November 5, 2020
Is my research considered social science?
By social science research, we mean research that is eligible for funding from social science directorates of the major federal funding agencies. At the National Science Foundation, for example, this includes the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, the Directorate for Social and Behavioral Sciences, and their subsidiary organizations (e.g., Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Social and Economic Sciences, Law and Social Sciences, Human Resource Development, etc.).
The CCSS funds social scientific research eligible for funding by other federal agencies. For example, the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, and other agencies all support social science research. In general, the CCSS follows the federal government’s lead and any social science research project eligible for funding from a federal agency is also eligible for CCSS support.
This does not mean that your faculty appointment needs to be in a department that carries the name of one of the disciplines NSF identifies as a social science: Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linguistics, Government/Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology. Indeed, the CCSS strongly encourages participation by social scientists housed in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary departments across Cornell.
Finally, we support social scientists engaging in collaborative research with non-social scientists, as long as the social scientist has a lead role in the project and the project has a large social science component likely to lead to publications in peer-reviewed social science journals or other outlets. For example, CCSS would consider funding a social scientist who is co-leading, along with a geneticist, a study of the relationship between gene activation and social environments. It would not support a geneticist who is the sole investigator on a study of the relationship between gene activation and social environments.
What constitutes a strong budget justification?
A detailed budget justification gives the review committee a clear idea of what the funds will support and includes sources for cost estimates. For example, list the model of equipment or software to be purchased and its cost from a particular vendor, like Buy.com. How much does a ticket cost on Expedia or from AAA for car rental or air travel at the same time you estimate you will be in the field? How many hours and at what rate per hour do you plan to hire a research assistant, based on what precedent?
At the time of submission of the proposal, does the proposed experiment already have to have IRB approval?
Do all the research project’s team members have to be at Cornell?
Can the research project include co-PIs, post-docs, or graduate assistants who are not members of the faculty?
The lead PI must be a Cornell tenure-track or tenured faculty member. However, the entire research team does not have to be on Cornell’s faculty. The team can include non-tenure track research associates, post-docs, and graduate students participating as collaborators and/or hired research assistants. However, CCSS grants cannot be used for tuition, stipends, or student fees on graduate assistantship lines. Small grants cannot be used for graduate student research projects.
If awarded a CCSS small grant, when could I expect to receive the funding?
The PI is asked to complete an award transfer form. Once the award transfer form and any additional paperwork are submitted to the CCSS, small grant awards are typically transferred by the end of the month. CCSS small grant awards must be transferred by the end of the fiscal year when the award is made.
Is there a time period restricting when the funds must be spent?
Grant awards have a term date of roughly two years. At that time, the PI is asked to file a 45-word impact statement and a brief report to the CCSS director regarding research progress, outcomes, and disposition of the awarded funds. If the PI does not request an extension, funds that are not used within two years are returned to the CCSS for reallocation to subsequent grant awardees.
What do I do if the research or conference budget needs to be reallocated after I receive my award?
PIs need CCSS approval to reallocate more than 25 percent of the funds at any point after funding. Please contact Anneliese Truame to request an extension and include the award year, account number, account balance, and reason for requested extension.
How does the CCSS evaluate proposals?
Two peer scholars, outside the applicant’s department, evaluate each proposal based on the following criteria: quality of social science scholarship (including theory and methodology), the importance of the core ideas and whether they are innovative, whether the work is likely to inspire future research, and whether the budget is appropriate. We also consider whether the research design is methodologically sound, the likelihood of the research resulting in publication in peer-reviewed journals, and whether the project is likely to obtain external funding at some point. We fund conferences of interest to social scientists across the university, when the budget appears justified, and primarily supports Cornell social science faculty members as opposed to faculty from other institutions.
If I have been funded by the CCSS before, how long should I wait before reapplying?
Faculty who have previously received a CCSS small grant as a lead PI or received CCSS Faculty Fellow funding can reapply for funding after a two-year wait. In other words, if CCSS funding was received in Fall 2017, the faculty member may reapply in Fall 2019. The exception to this is that prior research grant awardees are able to submit a conference grant proposal and vice versa, within the two-year wait period. Research grant awardees must wait the full two years before submitting another research grant proposal and conference grant awardees must wait the two years before submitting another conference grant proposal.
Can CCSS Small Grants be used to fund graduate student research?
Not at this time.
For more information on the small grants program, please see the Overview section. Please direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Moral Psychology of Public Life: An Interdisciplinary Conference
In recent years, interdisciplinary inquiry into the effects of human psychology on morality has exploded, engaging researchers from across the humanities and sciences in the rapidly coalescing discipline of moral psychology. At the same time, increasing technological and social complexity has heightened contemporary ethical challenges, and scientifically informed solutions to these challenges are sought by the public and policy-makers alike. The interdisciplinary conference The Moral Psychology of Public Life features leading experts in moral psychology who employ agenda-setting research to investigate topics in moral psychology—including group conflict, moral judgment and decision-making, outrage, and empathy—with connections to contemporary social issues. Cornell faculty in allied fields will present their work and commentary. The conference, on April 17–19, 2020, will further offer an understanding of morality as it unfolds in the transforming of the public domain, and will spark dialogue across the university and wider Cornell community.
Democratic Representation: Acts, Aesthetics, Institutions
On May 15–16, 2020, Cornell will host its first annual conference of the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought. CSPT is the oldest scholarly organization dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the history of political thought. Originally founded in Toronto in 1967 by J.G.A. Pocock, Melvin Richter, and Neal Wood, CSPT is now composed of an extensive international network of affiliated groups and scholarly organizations. The organization aims to hold one major conference each year on a topic of broad theoretical and political significance, drawing together scholars from political science, political and social theory, intellectual history, philosophy and related fields. This year’s conference is titled “Democratic Representation: Acts, Aesthetics, Institutions.” The political crisis of our time—sometimes described as the international “populist explosion”—is often attributed to a systemic crisis of political representation. There are multiple symptoms of this crisis: the breakdown of traditional party systems, the polarization and paralysis of parliaments and legislatures, the degeneration of established systems of electoral accountability, the proliferation of extremist micropublics fueled by new social media, and the rise of charismatic authoritarian leaders claiming to speak on behalf of the “real people.” Political theorists have responded with a renewed interest in the normative and institutional underpinnings of political representation in constitutional democracies. Moving beyond preoccupations with what Hanna Pitkin described as the “mandate-independence controversy,” recent scholarship is considering not only how political representation can best reflect already constituted preferences, interests, constituencies, or identities, but also how different forms of political representation give shape to, mobilize, or enact those interests, preferences, and identities. This year’s CSPT conference at Cornell expands and elaborates on these questions by exploring the theoretical, historical, and empirical dilemmas internal to the very idea of democratic representation, which poses distinctive difficulties arising from the fraught nature of its constituent subject—the people—as well as from the concept and practice of representation itself. A group of distinguished scholars will explore the diverse challenges of democratic representation along three interdependent dimensions—acts, aesthetics, and institutions—that together articulate a complex and dynamic ecology of democratic representation, where no single agent, activity, or embodiment can claim final democratic authority, and where contest among and between them animates the agon of democratic politics.
Whose America? U.S Immigration Policy Since 1986
Immigration scholars from across the disciplines will come together in April 2020 for a one-day conference to examine the impact of post-1980 immigration laws and policies on U.S. society and transnational immigrant communities. The demographic changes brought about by the 1965 Hart-Celler Act, the political realignments of the post-Cold War period, and global neoliberal economic policies have elicited a corresponding impulse to reinforce borders, reassess humanitarian commitments, and privilege particular forms of labor. Today’s policies and practices—the dramatic shift toward border militarization, family separation, and deterrence practices such as expedited removal, for example—have been decades in the making and have their ideological and discursive origins in the 1980s and 1990s. The conference presentations (and the anthology that will follow) will address such issues as the deterrence and detention of undocumented workers and asylum seekers; the technologies of border enforcement; the privileging of high-skilled labor; diversity lotteries; racial, gender-based and ideological exclusion; migration as a tool of foreign policy; citizenship; Temporary Protected Status (TPS); and the sanctuary movement.
Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 30) - Support for Organizing a Conference
Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 30 will take place at Cornell University from April 24–26, 2020. This annual international, interdisciplinary conference brings together researchers who study every aspect of meaning in natural language. SALT includes presentations on a wide range of phenomena from a variety of languages and from a variety of theoretical perspectives. These presentations focus on data from experiments, fieldwork on understudied languages, individual judgements or surveys of language communities. These data concern the form, meaning, and context of everyday language use, and are analyzed in terms of interacting linguistic and social competencies. Since being founded at Cornell in 1991, SALT has become the premier conference on the semantics of natural languages. Bringing SALT back to Cornell for the special occasion of its 30th installment will reaffirm Cornell’s position as a leader in this rapidly evolving interdisciplinary field, and enhance the already vibrant community of scholars working on this topic here.
Social Science Symposium on Climate Change
As David Fahrenthold noted in the Washington Post, climate change looks as if it was designed to be ignored: a vast, slow-moving problem, with no single villain, affecting communities and ecosystems across generations and around the globe. But as each new round of international negotiations reveals, climate change is also profoundly social: how people understand, engage with, and experience the issue is powerfully influenced by how others respond to the problem. Despite this growing recognition, and an urgent need for practical insights to bridging old and new social divides on the issue, social behavioral science research on climate change remains remarkably siloed within many social science disciplines (e.g., sociology, political science, psychology) relative to the natural sciences. The goal is to facilitate a social science symposium on climate change to bring together a group of distinguished scholars and practitioners to discuss emerging research on climate change, with a particular focus on bridging perspectives across the social and behavioral sciences. This two-day meeting (to be held in Claremont, California, in April 2020) will feature invited talks from leading researchers, and a follow-up workshop discussion on the state of the science and its application. Talks will showcase research that can advance scholarship on climate change as both an individual and collective decision-making problem, and its applications, and will result in an edited volume, to be published as part of the highly-cited Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology book series, under contract with Routledge. This volume is intended as an accessible and influential source for considering how insights from the social and behavioral sciences can inform climate change communication, advocacy, and public policy. In addition to the book, the symposium will provide critical time and space for leading researchers to plan grant proposals, such as NSF’s Research Coordination Networks (RCN) grants, that elevate emerging, interdisciplinary research.
Multigenerational Neighborhood Effects
Inequality in life chances is often rooted in the opportunity structure of previous generations. This project examines whether two successive generations of childhood exposure to neighborhood disadvantage is associated with respondents’ future adult well-being outcomes and the childhood health outcomes of their children. In addition, this project examines two potential sources of variation for neighborhood effects: (1) the timing of exposure to disadvantaged neighborhoods in childhood and (2) race and ethnicity. Studying the timing of exposure has the potential to uncover particular stages of childhood development when neighborhood-level policies and interventions may be most effective. Studying variation in neighborhood effects by race and ethnicity can also direct policy and intervention resources to particularly vulnerable population sub-groups.
What is the Advantage of Medicare Advantage? Supply and Demand Factors in Medicare Beneficiaries’ Enrollment in Private Insurance
Historically, the U.S. government’s Medicare program directly paid health-care providers for delivering medical services to elderly and disabled beneficiaries. But over the past decade, more and more Medicare beneficiaries have chosen to instead enroll in private health insurance via the Medicare Advantage program. As of 2018, 32% of the U.S. government’s $731 billion in Medicare spending is routed to Medicare Advantage insurers. Colleen Carey (Cornell, Department of Policy Analysis and Management) and Marika Cabral (University of Texas) combine a state-of-the-art statistical technique with large geographic variation in the Medicare Advantage enrollment rate to determine what market features predict high Medicare Advantage enrollment. Since Medicare Advantage plans differ from traditional Medicare in limiting beneficiaries to a network of physicians, the authors develop a novel measure of Medicare Advantage network breadth to determine how plan networks affect enrollment. The research will help improve the design and regulation of the Medicare Advantage program.
Returns to Mechanization through Rental Equipment Markets
In this project, we study misallocation in equipment rental markets and its impact on agricultural productivity. Mechanization is one of the main inputs in modern agriculture, and the lack of it, an important contributor to the low productivity observed in poor countries. Mechanization is particularly difficult for smallholder farmers, because mechanized practices require scale and equipment purchases that are large, relative to a farmer’s wealth. The development of rental markets for equipment is a key mechanism to grant access to mechanization to smallholder farmers. Yet, not much is known about their workings and their impact for farmers’ livelihoods and agricultural productivity. This project fills the gap by gathering the first systematic detailed transaction information, leveraging a government intervention in India. With this information we aim to answer: What is the extent of misallocation in equipment usage across farms? What type of market arrangements can improve upon the current ones? In developing countries, most rental contracts are relational, lack enforcement mechanisms, and tend to disadvantage smallholder farmers with long delays in service provision. The government of Karnataka has set up a first-come-first-serve (FCFS) rental provider to improve accessibility to this market. We combine administrative data from that intervention with our own survey data from 7000 farming households. We show that delays in service provision are costly, particularly so for smallholder providers. We structurally simulate a market arrangement where equipment owners rent their own equipment and compare outcomes with the FCFS allocation calibrated to fit the data. The solution to the optimal service queueing problem and the computation of productivity losses require evaluation of our structural model in 45 hubs over 90k transactions.
Community Needs Assessment on Facilitators and Inhibitors of Food Security in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico
Fifteen million U.S. children live in “food-insecure” households, which means children within these households have limited access to nutritious foods due to cost, proximity and/or other types of resources. Families in predominantly minority and low-income neighborhoods are at increased risk for food insecurity. In Puerto Rico (P.R.), a Latin American country within a U.S. territory and of predominantly Latino residents, food insecurity affected 1.5 million people in 2017. That same year, childhood food insecurity rates in P.R. were nearly triple the average for the rest of the U.S. (56%). In the aftermath of hurricane Irma and Maria in the second half of that same year, Puerto Rican families are still facing contextual challenges across many levels (i.e., cultural, environmental, social, political) that exacerbates the food insecurity issues among many residents in the island. Since tackling food insecurity requires an examination of the contextual factors that ultimately shape such an issue, community-centered approaches to build capacity offer a promising model to address both social determinants of health inequalities and familial health outcomes in at-risk community settings. The purpose of this study is to conduct a community needs assessment to identify facilitators and inhibitors to building capacity towards sustainable food security efforts in an underserved community setting in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. This study is part of a larger community-based participatory research (CBPR) project, which will employ a community engaged collaborative process to develop a culturally-sensitive, family-centered intervention for Puerto Rican parents and their children (aged 0–8) to improve food accessibility, affordability, availability, and intake.
Sub-Saharan African Migration Project (S-SMAP) (African Futures Project)
This is a multi-sited interview project focused on Ghanaian and Kenyan youth enrolled in secondary and tertiary educational programs. The project seeks to determine what, if any, benefits are accrued by migrants through long-term migration by generating the most suitable comparison group for migrants: similarly situated peers who have not migrated. Baseline interviews with respondents with similar social and economic backgrounds will be conducted before long-term international migration has occurred. From this baseline sample, there will be two rounds of follow-up interviews (five and ten years removed from the baseline interviews). By the second and third interview waves, it is anticipated that a sizeable portion of respondents will have migrated. These six data points will help clarify what (if any) characteristics separate those who eventually migrate from those who remain and whether migrant social and economic outcomes after migration differ drastically from peers with similar backgrounds who remain in the sending society. This project uses mixed methods for this undertaking, which includes a screening survey, in-depth semi-structured interviews, and an assessment of institutional information and support for those who desire to migrate.
The Take-Off of the Korean Wave: Antecedents and Consequences of the Globalization of Korean Pop Culture
This study proposes an in-depth examination of the globalization of Korea pop culture (the “Korean wave”) to better understand the antecedents of successful cultural products and their subsequent consequences to the domestic market. Korean cultural products including pop music (K-pop) and TV dramas (K-drama) have diffused to numerous foreign markets since the late 1990s. The Korean wave is exemplary in that Korea was not considered to be a cultural powerhouse but Korean cultural products gained popularity beyond Asian markets but also in culturally dissimilar markets and mainstream markets such as the U.S. In the context of the Korean wave, this study specifically investigates 1) how institutions including government-driven policies can positively impact the development of domestic cultural industries, 2) what types of cultural products can succeed in different foreign markets, and 3), how the success of cultural products can have a broader impact on domestic industries and the economy. By investigating the success story of the Korean cultural wave, this study contributes to theories of cultural diffusion and globalization of cultural products as well as highlighting implications to policy-makers and managers in cultural industries.
Reimagining Recess: Examining the Impacts of Schoolyard “Loose Parts Recess” Programs on the Outdoor Play Behaviors of School-Age Children
This pilot study aims to examine the impacts of a loose parts recess program intervention at public elementary schools on the outdoor play, learning, and social activities of school-age children. The pilot study would utilize an observational approach known as behavior mapping to analyze children’s outdoor play activities at two schools, one in Toronto, Canada and one in Ithaca, New York, both before and after the implementation of a loose parts recess program. Loose parts programs install a diverse range of manipulable and non-prescriptive materials (e.g., tires, cardboard boxes and tubes, sand, building materials, pine cones, crates, etc.) in the school yard to increase the quality and diversity of self-directed outdoor play opportunities during recess. This pre–post behavior mapping study will isolate and examine the impact of loose parts provision on children’s play behaviors outdoors at school, particularly those that foster child development, learning and well-being, as well as discern spatial patterns in children’s social and environmental interactions with and without the availability of loose parts.
The Capacity to be Aggressive: Structured Management and Tax Behavior of Firms
This project aims to consider the effect of firms’ organizational capacity—proxied by structured management practices—on tax planning behavior of multinational firms (MNEs). Management practices improve productivity and hence should increase taxable corporate income of firms. However, better managed firms may also be better at tax avoidance. We explore the relationship between reported profits and structured management practices in MNEs headquartered in high-tax home countries operating in a low-tax host countries. We consider whether the patterns of reported profits across jurisdictions are consistent with more “organizationally capable” firms shifting profits out of high-tax country affiliates into low-tax country affiliates. This project aims to add a novel explanation for why some firms are more likely to engage in aggressive tax planning, with implications to the cost-benefit analysis of government-funded management upgrading projects.
The Effects of Avatar Appearance and Customization on Embodied Applications
A number of clinical and educational applications hinge on creating a sense of embodiment and social presence in an avatar, or digital representation, of a patient or user. Research suggests that a more realistic appearance can enhance this sense of embodiment. However, increasing the level of realistic detail also means that the avatar will inevitably diverge from the actual appearance of any individual user. In social science experimentation, avatars are frequently customized only to the extent that they align to broad social categories, such as gender and race/ethnicity, but this imperfect customization may damage the illusion of embodiment for some participants. This proposal tests two current approaches to customizing avatars: first, what choices users would prefer to see in avatar customization, and second, what the effects of having well- or ill-matched avatars have on a number of measures relevant to social science. This research may highlight ways in which future development can improve avatar resemblance in a diverse population. It can also provide guidelines for researchers currently working in this area.
The Yiddish Immigrant Left from Popular Front to Cold War
The Jewish Studies Program, together with colleagues from Syracuse University, will be holding a 1.5 day interdisciplinary conference on the Jewish Left from May 17-18th, 2020 at the A.D. White House.The conference is attracting faculty from across the United States and beyond, bringing together historians, literary theorists, geographers, anthropologists, and political scientists to discuss how a radicalized Soviet-oriented immigrant Left organized in response to the pressures of rapid migration and difficult labor and housing conditions. The conference offers participants the opportunity to explore newly digitized archives of the Jewish section of a multi-ethnic immigrant fraternal order shut down during the McCarthy period. New York State donated the confiscated organizational files of the International Workers Order (IWO) and its Jewish section to the ILR School’s Kheel Center.Additional sponsors include the Central New York Humanities Corridor as lead sponsor, Cornell’s Martin P. Catherwood Library, and the Society for the Humanities.
Political Science and the New Politics of Authoritarianism
This proposal seeks funding in partial support of two research workshops on political science and the new politics of authoritarianism. Bringing together a small group of established and emerging experts in authoritarian politics in countries around the world, the workshop will tackle central issues in the study of authoritarianism. Our intended goal is to produce a major collective statement on the state of the field in research in authoritarianism that outlines new directions for research and identifies challenges methodological, practical, and ethical in studying authoritarianism today.
Mortgage and Corporate Debt in the U.S. Great Depression
This grant would facilitate the gathering of new micro-level data on U.S. cities and individual firms in the late-1920s to assess the extent to which corporate and mortgage debt issuance helped precipitate the banking crises of the Great Depression. The project will transcribe data from new sources on corporate debt, corporate financials, employment, and industrial production for a random sample of about ~500 firms from 1925-1931, in addition to mortgage and construction data covering 94 U.S. cities. Among industrial firms that took on potentially excessive levels of debt in the late-1920s, the project will investigate whether these firms see decreased industrial production, capital expenditure, employment growth, and corporate bankruptcy in the early 1930s as a result of their high debt issuance. Using the new data set on mortgage lending and new construction in 94 U.S. cities, we plan to exploit geographical variation to understand the connection between build-ups in mortgage lending and subsequent local economic conditions.
A Role-Model Intervention to Motivate Young Girls in Science
Women's pervasive underrepresentation in science is rooted in childhood. As early as the elementary school years, girls acquire gender stereotypes about scientists and show decreased science engagement. The question of how to engage girls in science is of urgent practical importance, yet little research exists on ways to promote girls' participation in science before adolescence. The proposed project responds to this call by devising and testing a novel intervention with 5- to 7-year-old children. We hypothesize that assuming a female scientists identity (beyond merely being exposed to the scientist) will increase girls' self-scientist association (Studies 1 and 2), which, in turn, will foster their motivation (Study 1) and persistence (Study 2) in science. As one of the first studies devising interventions for young children, this research sheds light on the developmental causes of the gender disparity in STEM and beyond, and contributes to continuous efforts aimed at reducing gender inequality from their roots.
Using VR to Explore Young Children’s Transfer of Learning
The proposed studies test the feasibility of using Virtual Reality (VR) to advance learning in young children. The first experimental study examines two- and three-year-old children's interpretation of experiences in the nascent medium of virtual reality whereas the second experimental study tests two- and three-year-old children's ability to generalize learning from a VR environment to the real-world and compares this ability to learning from another digital experience (i.e., video). These studies are innovative in leveraging the immersive, realistic experiences of VR to test young children's ability to generalize learning in VR to naturalistic (i.e., real-world) settings and comparing this to learning from video, a common digital experience. The results will provide essential pilot data for a federal proposal on the transfer of learning in very young children, highlight VR's potential as a powerful research tool, and examine children's ability to generalize learning across increasingly relevant digital contexts.
The Developmental Origins of Sensitive Parenting
What are the origins of individual differences in parenting ability? Why are some parents effective in scaffolding the social and cognitive development of their children, while others are not? Research from several vocal learning species indicates that early social experience influences later communicative competence, but such findings have not been incorporated into studies of parenting. The zebra finch, a socially gregarious songbird, has several close parallels with humans and is an ideal model system for studying transgenerational social influences on the development of communication. In a multigenerational study, the early social experience of young females will be manipulated to assess the role of social stimulation in the development of maternal motivation and sensitivity to offspring vocal cues. These females will then rear a new generation of offspring. Maternal behavior and offspring song learning will be assessed. Results will provide mechanistic insight into the developmental origins of sensitive parenting. The avian model will inform our studies of human parenting, with emphasis on translating the findings to our intervention program for at-risk families.
Neural Instantiation of Physical and Social Nutrients
Public health is threatened by a rise in two ostensibly preventable phenomena: environment-induced metabolic disorders and social isolation. Metabolic and social functioning are connected via a surprising microscale biomarker: blood glucose. Using fMRI, the present study investigates the social regulation of blood glucose and neural response to carbohydrate consumption within an ecological framework. Methods: Twenty-five adult dyads in healthy relationships will be recruited. One partner will have their fasted blood glucose assayed and then complete a visuo-spatial N-back task under four conditions. For each condition, participants will receive either a placebo solution or an 18% concentration of maltodextrin, a tasteless carbohydrate. They will also either be alone or holding the hand of their partner. Hypothesis: Social support and maltodextrin will coincide with decreased activation in putative regulatory (ACC, dlPFC) and social-cognitive (pre-central gyrus, precuneus) regions, but increased activation in homeostatic-related regions (hypothalamus). Higher resting-state blood glucose with diminish the effects of social support.
Content & Impact of Diversity Statements in Course Syllabi
First impressions and early signals of inclusion can be influential in shaping expectations about the experience in college courses. They can influence students' decision to enroll in courses and their interpretations and responses to difficulty therein. To communicate their commitment to inclusion and promoting diversity, especially to members of historically underrepresented groups, some instructors have added a diversity statement to their syllabus. This project examines the prevalence of this practice, the content of diversity statements, and the effects of different kinds of statements on students. We analyze data from the Open Syllabus Project (6 million course syllabi) and test the impact of statements in randomized controlled trials to inform educational policy making.
Taking a Computational Approach to Implicit Social Cognition
Although explicit (self-reported) attitudes toward marginalized social groups have become considerably more egalitarian in the United States over the past decades, inequality persists in consequential domains, including education, healthcare, and housing. A large body of social cognition research suggests that implicit (subtle, automatic, and often unintentional) anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQ attitudes significantly contribute to the maintenance of such inequality. In spite of significant past efforts, durable shifts in implicit social attitudes from negative to neutral have remained elusive. Here we propose that taking a computational approach relying on reinforcement learning will contribute to a deeper theoretical understanding of the information processing mechanisms underlying implicit social cognition and thereby help guide interventions aimed at producing enduring change in implicit social attitudes.
A Platform-wide Analysis of Firm Responses to Platform-owner
In recent years, policymakers and antitrust authorities have become increasingly concerned about platform-owner conduct in cases where the platform owner has chosen to compete in its own marketplace, in particular, because of the potential for anticompetitive, self-preferencing behavior. This project aims to conduct a comprehensive, platform-wide analysis of the competitive and welfare impacts of platform-owner entry in the context of Apple's App Store mobile platform. Using data on the full population of apps on the App Store over a five year period, this project will investigate how Apple's entry into particular submarkets affected third-party firm's product quality, innovation, pricing, and entry and exit decisions. The results of this project will inform ongoing public policy debates regarding the role of platform markets in the economy.
The Geopolitics of Ottoman Imperialism in the Horn of Africa
Relying on a newly released set of archival records on the Ottoman political, social, and diplomatic involvement in Africa, this book project analyzes Ottoman imperialism in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea Basin between 1885 and 1915 by highlighting a North-South axis of power stretching from Istanbul to Addis Ababa, in the process provide a new avenue for the comparative study of late-19th-century imperialism. Supplemented by a multi-sited research in Istanbul, London, Durham, Cambridge, Damascus, Khartoum, and Addis Ababa, as well as oral and material field research in Djibouti and Somaliland, this book will provide a rich trans-regional history of shared political interests and competing imperial goals by focusing on the often-neglected northern Somali coast--from the tip of the Horn of Africa to Bab al-Mandab--and the African Red Sea coast--from Djibouti to the Suez--at the turn of the 20th century.
Effects of Prevalence Information in Framing Health Problems
The prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes continue to rise in the United States and as a result, are frequently depicted in mass media and health campaigns. It is often assumed that highlighting (high) prevalence statistics can raise public awareness of public health problems, motivate behavioral changes and increase support for public policies to address such problems. Preliminary research casts doubt on this assumption, however, revealing that people tend to overestimate prevalence rates of public health problems in the absence of any statistics. We hypothesize that depictions of prevalence statistics may indeed be consequential, but in ways that run counter to public health objectives. This project will use a web-based experiment to compare the effects of messages about obesity and diabetes that (a) describe the health problem without prevalence information, (b) state that the prevalence is high in the absence of statistics, or (c) present prevalence statistics in multiple forms (raw frequencies versus percentages) on public perceptions, behavioral intentions, and policy support. In doing so, we will also examine the effects of prevalence statistics that combine overweight and obesity population groups, and prevalence statistics that combine diabetes and pre-diabetes population groups. Findings from this study will advance our understanding of the impact of prevalence information and statistics in health communication and inform both health advocates and media professionals of the function of prevalence information in designing messages regarding major public health issues.
Landowners, Roadside Ditch Right-of-Ways, and Pollution
Networks of roadside ditches criss-cross every landscape and are critical contributors to floods and water pollution. Cornell's 2014 survey of NYS highway staff indicated that ditches along New York's 157,000 km of roads are in poor to fair condition, and therefore contribute to downstream water pollution. However, staff also reported that a key barrier preventing improved ditch management was ownership by private landowners of the ditch Right-of-Ways (ROWs). ROWs represent a ubiquitous type of public-private interface, with strong potential for water quality management. Surprisingly, no published research has evaluated landowner attitudes about their ROW. This project will use mail-out surveys to 2000 NYS landowners to determine the knowledge, perspectives, and activities associated with their roadside ROW and ditches. The findings will provide new insights into managing public-private common spaces, and provide the basis for a new education campaign to engage landowners in better ditch management and water resource protection.
Psychological Insecurities, Disclosure, and Friend-Avoidance
People disclose much of themselves to friends, as they trust friends more than others (e.g., strangers) to understand and support them. However, when disclosing their personal insecurities, do people rely as much on friends as they normally do? This research demonstrates that, although people tend to rely more on friends than strangers to self-disclose at an absolute level, they vary this tendency based on the topic of disclosure. Results from studies show that people decrease their tendency to rely more on friends than strangers to self-disclose when disclosing personal insecurities (vs. other personal or non-personal stories). The authors theorize and demonstrate that this effect occurs because people fear being made to ruminate over their insecurities as a result of disclosure which they perceive as having a higher risk of occurrence with friends than strangers.
Millionaire Migration after the Trump Tax Bill
Progressive taxation is highly polarized in the US, as some states have millionaire taxes while others have no state income tax at all. President Trump's tax reform amplified these differences by capping the SALT deduction: reducing top tax rates in red states much more than in blue states. Many expect this new tax differential will set off a wave of millionaire tax flight, and a race to the bottom in state taxes. Using confidential data from IRS tax returns, I examine elite mobility and embeddedness in the wake of the Trump tax reform: are the rich moving from high-tax to low-tax states? Will this harm the ability of individual states to address inequality?
US Sick Pay Mandates: Coverage and Welfare Effects
The proposed research project will empirically evaluate the effectiveness of sick pay mandates as a policy instrument to reduce labor market inequalities in the United States. It will use administrative data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS) from 2009 to 2018 to first document the existing large inequalities in access to paid sick leave by socio-demographics and industries. Next, using difference-in-differences and event-study methods, it will assess the effectiveness of sick pay mandates in reducing labor market inequalities. Preliminary findings suggest that the mandates have been effective in reducing inequalities in access to paid sick leave, particularly in small businesses, non-unionized and part-time jobs. Moreover, preliminary findings do not provide evidence for unintended consequences, such as reductions in non-mandated benefits like vacation days. Also, increases in labor costs have been modest.