Monthly Archive for July, 2009

New Book Acquisitions

Survey Methodology, 2nd Edition
By: Robert Groves, et al. 2009.

This new edition of Survey Methodology continues to provide a state-of-the-science presentation of essential survey methodology topics and techniques. The volume’s six world-renowned authors have updated this Second Edition to present newly emerging approaches to survey research and provide more comprehensive coverage of the major considerations in designing and conducting a sample survey.

Key topics in survey methodology are clearly explained in the book’s chapters, with coverage including sampling frame evaluation, sample design, development of questionnaires, evaluation of questions, alternative modes of data collection, interviewing, nonresponse, post-collection processing of survey data, and practices for maintaining scientific integrity. Acknowledging the growing advances in research and technology, the Second Edition features:

* Updated explanations of sampling frame issues for mobile telephone and web surveys
*New scientific insight on the relationship between nonresponse rates and nonresponse errors
*Restructured discussion of ethical issues in survey research, emphasizing the growing research results on privacy, informed consent, and confidentiality issues
*The latest research findings on effective questionnaire development techniques
* The addition of 50% more exercises at the end of each chapter, illustrating basic principles of survey design
*An expanded FAQ chapter that addresses the concerns that accompany newly established methods

Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method
By: Don A. Dillman, Jolene D. Smyth, and Leah Melani Christian. 2008.

A complete, start-to-finish guide for every researcher to successfully plan and conduct Internet, mail, and telephone surveys, Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method, Third Edition presents a succinct review of survey research methods, equipping you to increase the validity and reliability, as well as response rates, of your surveys. Now thoroughly updated and revised with information about all aspects of survey research grounded — in the most current research — the new edition provides practical how-to guidelines on optimally using the Internet, mail, and phone channels to your advantage.

The Psychology of Survey Response
By: Roger Tourangeau, Lance J. Rips and Kenneth Rasinski. 2000.

Drawing on classic and modern research from cognitive psychology, social psychology, and survey methodology, this book examines the psychological roots of survey data, how survey responses are formulated, and how seemingly unimportant features of the survey can affect the answers obtained. Topics include the comprehension of survey questions, the recall of relevant facts and beliefs, estimation and inferential processes people use to answer survey questions, the sources of the apparent instability of public opinion, the difficulties in getting responses into the required format, and distortions introduced into surveys by deliberate misreporting.

Generalized Latent Variable Modeling: Multilevel, Longitudinal, and Structural Equation Models
By: Anders Skrondal and Sophia Rabe-Hesketh. 2004.

This book unifies and extends latent variable models, including multilevel or generalized linear mixed models, longitudinal or panel models, item response or factor models, latent class or finite mixture models, and structural equation models. Following a gentle introduction to latent variable modeling, a wide range of estimation and prediction methods from biostatistics, psychometrics, econometrics, and statistics are explained and contrasted in a simple way. Exciting and realistic applications demonstrate how researchers can use latent variable modeling to solve concrete problems in areas as diverse as medicine, economics, and psychology. Many nonstandard response types are considered including ordinal, nominal, count, and survival data. Joint modeling of mixed responses such as survival and longitudinal data is also illustrated. Numerous displays, figures, and graphs make the text vivid and easy to read.

Cultural Anthropology, 13th Edition
By: Conrad Philip Kottak. 2009.

A recent National Academy of Sciences inductee, Conrad Phillip Kottak offers an up-to-date holistic introduction to cultural anthropology. Kottak emphasizes why anthropology should matter to students and how students can use anthropology to better understand themselves. “Bringing It All Together” essays found on the online learning center demonstrate the integrated and comparative nature of anthropology. New “Through the Eyes of Others” essays offer the perspectives of foreign students and recent graduates who present their own cultures of origin in contrast with contemporary American culture. Thought-provoking questions now begin each chapter to highlight key themes and spark discussions and critical thinking.

Population Ageing and the Well-Being of Older Persons in Thailand: Past Trends, Current Situation and Future Challenges
By: John Knodel and Napaporn Chayovan. 2008.

This report focuses on the rapid demographic change that has taken place in Thailand during the last three to four decades leading to the country becoming the most “aged” in South-East Asia next only to Singapore. This is explained by the significant declines in fertility (from 6.4 to 1.8) and improvements in longevity (from 52 to 71 years) during the second half of the 20th century. These trends can be attributed to effective government and civil society programmes to improve the health of the population and promote voluntary family planning. This led to population ageing that poses new challenges to families, communities as well as to nations as a whole.

Dissecting the social: on the principles of analytical sociology
By: Peter Hedström. 2005.

Over the past few decades serious reservations have been expressed about the explanatory power of sociological theory and research. In this important book leading sociologist Peter Hedström outlines the foundations of an analytically oriented sociology that seeks to address this criticism. Building on his earlier influential contributions to contemporary debates, Professor Hedström argues for a systematic development of sociological theory so that it has the explanatory power and precision to inform sociological research and understanding. He discusses various mechanisms of action and interaction and shows how strong links can be forged between the micro and the macro, and between theory and empirical research. Combining new approaches to theory and methodology and using extensive examples to illustrate how they might be applied, this clear, concise and original book will appeal to a broad range of social scientists.

Applied regression analysis and generalized linear models
By: John Fox. 2008.

Combining a modern, data-analytic perspective with a focus on applications in the social sciences, the Second Edition of Applied Regression Analysis and Generalized Linear Models provides in-depth coverage of regression analysis, generalized linear models, and closely related methods. Although the text is largely accessible to readers with a modest background in statistics and mathematics, author John Fox also presents more advanced material throughout the book.

Key Updates to the Second Edition:
• Provides greatly enhanced coverage of generalized linear models, with an emphasis on models for categorical and count data
• Offers new chapters on missing data in regression models and on methods of model selection
• Includes expanded treatment of robust regression, time-series regression, nonlinear regression, and nonparametric regression
• Incorporates new examples using larger data sets
• Includes an extensive Web site at http://www.sagepub.com/fox that presents appendixes, data sets used in the book and for data-analytic exercises, and the data-analytic exercises themselves

New Discussion Papers from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Caught in the Trap? The Disincentive Effect of Social Assistance
Olivier Bargain, Karina Doorley
Abstract; PDF
The End of Destitution
Ian Gazeley, Andrew T. Newell
Abstract; PDF
Gender and Competition
Alison L. Booth
Abstract; PDF
Neighborhood Dynamics and the Housing Price Effects of Spatially Targeted Economic Development Policy
Douglas J. Krupka, Douglas S. Noonan
Abstract; PDF
The Effect of Joint Custody on Marriage and Divorce
Martin Halla
Abstract; PDF
Symbolic Values, Value Formation and Interpersonal Relations
Giacomo Corneo
Abstract; PDF

New Working Papers from the NBER

Educational Choices, Subjective Expectations, and Credit Constraints
By: Orazio Attanasio, Katja Kaufmann
Abstract; PDF

Changing the Price of Marriage: Evidence from Blood Test Requirements
By: Kasey S. Buckles, Melanie E. Guldi, Joseph Price
Abstract; PDF

Does Health Insurance Make You Fat?
By: Jay Bhattacharya, Kate Bundorf, Noemi Pace, Neeraj Sood
Abstract; PDF

Anti-Lemons: School Reputation and Educational Quality
By: W. Bentley MacLeod, Miguel Urquiola
Abstract; PDF

Public Policy, Health Insurance and the Transition to Adulthood
By: Phillip B. Levine, Robin McKnight, Samantha Heep
Abstract; PDF

Cumulative Effects of Job Characteristics on Health
By: Jason M. Fletcher, Jody L. Sindelar, Shintaro Yamaguchi
Abstract; PDF

Job Loss: Eat, drink and try to be merry?
By: Partha Deb, William T. Gallo, Padmaja Ayyagari, Jason M. Fletcher, Jody L. Sindelar
Abstract; PDF

Tobacco Use, Taxation and Self Control in Adolescence
By: Jason M. Fletcher, Partha Deb, Jody L. Sindelar
Abstract; PDF

Disease and Development Revisited
By: David E. Bloom, David Canning, Günther Fink
Abstract; PDF

Identifying Heterogeneity in Economic Choice Models
By: Jeremy T. Fox, Amit Gandhi
Abstract; PDF

Using Genetic Lotteries within Families to Examine the Causal Impact of Poor Health on Academic Achievement
By: Jason M. Fletcher, Steven F. Lehrer
Abstract; PDF

Inequality and Specialization: The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs in the United States
By: David H. Autor, David Dorn
Abstract; PDF

The Potato’s Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from an Historical Experiment
By: Nathan Nunn, Nancy Qian
Abstract; PDF

Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food

Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food—Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress
By: Michele Ver Ploeg, Vince Breneman, Tracey Farrigan, Karen Hamrick, David Hopkins, Phil Kaufman, Biing-Hwan Lin, Mark Nord, Travis Smith, Ryan Williams, Kelly Kinnison, Carol Olander, Anita Singh, and Elizabeth Tuckermanty
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

This report fills a request for a study of food deserts—areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food—from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The report summarizes findings of a national-level assessment of the extent and characteristics of food deserts, analysis of the consequences of food deserts, lessons learned from related Federal programs, and a discussion of policy options for alleviating the effects of food deserts. Overall, findings show that a small percentage of consumers are constrained in their ability to access affordable nutritious food because they live far from a supermarket or large grocery store and do not have easy access to transportation.

Table of contents
Full report (PDF)

Musings on privacy issues in health research involving disaggregate geographic data about individuals

Musings on privacy issues in health research involving disaggregate geographic data about individuals (Editorial)
By: Maged N Kamel Boulos, Andrew J Curtis, and Philip AbdelMalik
Source: International Journal of Health Geographics

This paper offers a state-of-the-art overview of the intertwined privacy, confidentiality, and security issues that are commonly encountered in health research involving disaggregate geographic data about individuals. Key definitions are provided, along with some examples of actual and potential security and confidentiality breaches and related incidents that captured mainstream media and public interest in recent months and years. The paper then goes on to present a brief survey of the research literature on location privacy/confidentiality concerns and on privacy-preserving solutions in conventional health research and beyond, touching on the emerging privacy issues associated with online consumer geoinformatics and location-based services. The ‘missing ring’ (in many treatments of the topic) of data security is also discussed. Personal information and privacy legislations in two countries, Canada and the UK, are covered, as well as some examples of recent research projects and events about the subject. Select highlights from a June 2009 URISA (Urban and Regional Information Systems Association) workshop entitled ‘Protecting Privacy and Confidentiality of Geographic Data in Health Research’ are then presented. The paper concludes by briefly charting the complexity of the domain and the many challenges associated with it, and proposing a novel, ‘one stop shop’ case-based reasoning framework to streamline the provision of clear and individualised guidance for the design and approval of new research projects (involving geographical identifiers about individuals), including crisp recommendations on which specific privacy-preserving solutions and approaches would be suitable in each case.

Full text (PDF)

Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Current Issues and Future Challenges

Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Current Issues and Future Challenges
By: Peter Folger
Source: Congressional Research Service (via OpenCRS)

Geospatial information is data referenced to a place—a set of geographic coordinates—which can often be gathered, manipulated, and displayed in real time. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system capable of capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information. In recent years consumer demand has skyrocketed for geospatial information and for tools like GIS to manipulate and display geospatial information.

Challenges to coordinating how geospatial data are acquired and used—collecting duplicative data sets, for example—at the local, state, and federal levels, in collaboration with the private sector, are not yet resolved.

The federal government has recognized the need to organize and coordinate the collection and management of geospatial data since at least 1990, when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revised Circular A-16 to establish the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and to promote the coordinated use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data nationwide. OMB Circular A-16 also called for development of a national digital spatial information resource to enable the sharing and transfer of spatial data between users and producers, linked by criteria and standards. Executive Order 12906, issued in 1994, strengthened and enhanced Circular A-16, and specified that FGDC shall coordinate development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).

Full text (PDF)

Unprecedented Global Aging Examined in New Census Bureau Report

Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Current Issues and Future Challenges
By: Peter Folger
Source: Congressional Research Service (via OpenCRS)

Geospatial information is data referenced to a place—a set of geographic coordinates—which can often be gathered, manipulated, and displayed in real time. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system capable of capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information. In recent years consumer demand has skyrocketed for geospatial information and for tools like GIS to manipulate and display geospatial information.

Challenges to coordinating how geospatial data are acquired and used—collecting duplicative data sets, for example—at the local, state, and federal levels, in collaboration with the private sector, are not yet resolved.

The federal government has recognized the need to organize and coordinate the collection and management of geospatial data since at least 1990, when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revised Circular A-16 to establish the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and to promote the coordinated use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data nationwide. OMB Circular A-16 also called for development of a national digital spatial information resource to enable the sharing and transfer of spatial data between users and producers, linked by criteria and standards. Executive Order 12906, issued in 1994, strengthened and enhanced Circular A-16, and specified that FGDC shall coordinate development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).

Full text (PDF)

Adolescent Women’s Contraceptive Use Is Less Consistent Than That of Adult Women, With a Much Higher Failure Rate

Adolescent Women’s Contraceptive Use Is Less Consistent Than That of Adult Women, With a Much Higher Failure Rate: New Analysis Compares Evidence from More Than 40 Countries
By: Ann K. Blanc, Amy O. Tsui, Trevor N. Croft and Jamie L. Trevit
Source: International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health (via Guttmacher Institute)

CONTEXT: The reproductive choices made by young women and men have an enormous impact on their health, schooling, employment prospects and overall transition to adulthood. As the largest cohort of young people in history enter their childbearing years, their reproductive behavior will determine the growth and size of the world’s population for decades to come.

METHODS: Demographic and Health Survey data from more than 40 countries were used to examine the proportions of 15–19-year-old women who are currently married or are unmarried but sexually active; their rates of contraceptive adoption, current use, discontinuation, method switching and contraceptive failure; trends in these indicators; and comparisons with older women.

RESULTS: In many countries, the proportion of adolescent women using contraceptives increased substantially over the last two decades; prevalence among adolescents increased faster than among older women. Greater proportions of adolescents than of older women discontinued using a contraceptive method within a year or experienced contraceptive failure.

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent contraceptive use is growing, and compared with adult use, is characterized by shorter periods of consistent use with more contraceptive failure and more stopping for other reasons. Use through the reproductive years is likely to grow, fueled further by growth in the numbers of young people. An expanded demand for contraceptive supplies, services and information can be expected to challenge the preparedness, capacity and resources of existing family planning programs and providers.

Full text (HTML)
Full text (PDF)

Remittance Flows to Developing Countries to Decline By 7.3% in 2009, Predicts World Bank

Remittance Flows to Developing Countries to Decline By 7.3% in 2009, Predicts World Bank
By: Dilip Ratha, Sanket Mohapatra, and Ani Silwal
Source: World Bank
Remittance flows to developing countries are expected to be $304 billion in 2009, down from an estimated $328 billion in 2008, said the World Bank today, releasing a new migration and remittances brief to coincide with an International Diaspora and Development Conference running from July 13-14.
The predicted decline in remittances by -7.3% this year is far smaller than that for private flows to developing countries. According to the World Bank, remittances are relatively resilient because, while new migration flows have declined, the number of migrants living overseas has been relatively unaffected by the crisis.
Full text (PDF)
Data (Excel)
More information on Migration and Remittances

Prevalence of Obesity Among Black, White, and Hispanic Adults

Differences in Prevalence of Obesity Among Black, White, and Hispanic Adults — United States, 2006–2008
By: L Pan, B Sherry, AS Hunter, GE Rutledge, WH Dietz, and LS Balluz
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
An overarching goal of Healthy People 2010 is to eliminate health disparities among racial/ethnic populations. To assess differences in prevalence of obesity among non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics, CDC analyzed data from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys conducted during 2006–2008. Overall, for the 3-year period, 25.6% of non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics were obese. Non-Hispanic blacks (35.7%) had 51% greater prevalence of obesity, and Hispanics (28.7%) had 21% greater prevalence, when compared with non-Hispanic whites (23.7%). This pattern was consistent across most U.S. states. However, state prevalences varied substantially, ranging from 23.0% (New Hampshire) to 45.1% (Maine) for non-Hispanic blacks, from 21.0% (Maryland) to 36.7% (Tennessee) for Hispanics, and from 9.0% (District of Columbia [DC]) to 30.2% (West Virginia) for non-Hispanic whites. Given the overall high prevalence of obesity and the significant differences among non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics, effective policies and environmental strategies that promote healthy eating and physical activity are needed for all populations and geographic areas, but particularly for those populations and areas disproportionally affected by obesity.
Full text (HTML)
Full text of journal issue, 58(27) (PDF)