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National Science Foundation

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Strategies of Violence and Changes in War Termination

For many years, the field of international relations neglected the study of war termination relative to studies of the causes or onset of war. Recently, gaps in our knowledge about how, when, and why wars have begun to be filled by new scholarship. Yet virtually all of this scholarship assumes that war termination is a relatively static phenomenon. The conventional wisdom is that wars end, and that the causes and consequences of war termination are constant across time as well as space.

Two Projects on Market Design

This award funds research in two different areas of economic theory. The first project develops a new method for understanding an important problem in mechanism design: how to assign an indivisible object to one person when several different people would benefit from owning or using the object. The research generalizes an existing theorem for implementing random assignments; the new generalized theorem applies to a broad range of circumstances and various practically important constraints.

Experimentally testing the roots of poverty and violence: Changing preferences, behaviors, and outcomes

It is widely believed that poor and unemployed young men are more likely to fight, riot and rebel. In poor countries like Liberia, governments are especially fearful of the young, urban poor, who may be especially vulnerable to armed recruitment, rioting, or election violence. In addition to increased security, the most common policy recommendation is cash transfer and employment programs. This study uses a field experiment with high-risk young men in Liberia to answer four questions. First, is there a causal relationship between poverty and violence?

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Brokerage of Social and Cultural Capital By Reentry Organization

Mass incarceration is a social problem in the U.S and it creates the concern of how to reintegrate a large number of former prisoners, many of whom have served lengthy sentences, back into society and back into the workforce. Even as the trend towards mass incarceration seems to be reversing, a large population of people remains who exit jails and must attempt to reenter society. Racial minorities represent a significant portion of these returning prisoners, notably African Americans and Latinos.

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Entomology and Agricultural Improvement

Under the supervision of Prof. Pamela Smith, Ph.D student Pierre-Etienne Stockland will explore the development of etymological science with a focus on how the results of biological research on invasive insect populations have enhanced the state's capacity to respond to agricultural disasters.

Non-Standard Issues in Regression Discontinuity Designs

This project aims to develop new statistical methods for analyzing economic data. The goal is to expand the scope of the popular regression discontinuity (RD) design, which uses the presence of fixed eligibility cutoffs (e.g. Medicare eligibility at age 65) for estimating the effect of public and private policies on some outcome of interest (e.g. health care utilization, mortality) among individuals who are close to the cutoff.

Using Multilevel Regression and Poststratification to Measure and Study Dynamic Public Opinion

This research project will develop techniques for using national survey data to estimate dynamic measures of public opinion across a variety of types of subnational units such as states, congressional districts, and state legislative districts. These techniques will allow researchers to generate accurate estimates of public opinion over time by fine-grained demographic-geographic-temporal subgroups. National surveys are designed to give good estimates of national public opinion at a particular point in time.

Topics in Analysis of Big Data and Complex Models

The proposed research seeks to provide researchers with new methods to study economic issues of current interest, making effective use of big datasets that are only recently available. The projects deal with issues in data preprocessing, estimation, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis is on methods with broad applicability and that can be put to practical use.

Relative Pay Comparisons in the Workplace: Field Evidence on Effort and Labor Supply

A long tradition in economics and psychology has advanced the notion that individuals care about not only their own pay, but also their pay relative to that of their co-workers. We use a field experiment with Indian manufacturing workers to test whether relative pay comparisons affect effort and labor supply. Workers perform individual production tasks, but are organized into distinct teams - defined by the type of product they produce.

Would More Information Reduce Disagreement? Theory and Applications

Disagreement is ubiquitous in society, often resulting in social conflict. Can disagreement on an issue be reduced by obtaining more information? The PI will investigate various questions related to this theme. The project beings by showing that while more information can sometimes reduce disagreement, it can also increase disagreement. The main focus is on when more information should be expected to reduce disagreement "on average".The second part of the project uses the results on disagreement to study problems in information economics.

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