Monthly Archive for January, 2011

CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report — United States, 2011

CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report — United States, 2011
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Supplement

From Foreword:

Since 1946, CDC has monitored and responded to challenges in the nation’s health, with particular focus on reducing gaps between the least and most vulnerable U.S. residents in illness, injury, risk behaviors, use of preventive health services, exposure to environmental hazards, and premature death. We continue that commitment to socioeconomic justice and shared responsibility with the release of CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities in the United States — 2011, the first in a periodic series of reports examining disparities in selected social and health indicators.

Health disparities are differences in health outcomes between groups that reflect social inequalities. Since the 1980s, our nation has made substantial progress in improving residents’ health and reducing health disparities, but ongoing racial/ethnic, economic, and other social disparities in health are both unacceptable and correctable.

Individual chapters
Full document (PDF)

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

A Conversation with David Campbell
Speaker: David Campbell, University of Notre Dame Professor and Coauthor, “American Grace: How Religion Unites and Divides Us”
Respondent: John Green, Senior Research Adviser, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Moderator: Alan Cooperman, Associate Director of Research, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Source: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

From the Pew Research Center’s website:

The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life held a press luncheon on Dec. 16, 2010 with political science professors David Campbell and John Green on the topic of how religion both divides and unites Americans. Campbell is the co-author, with Harvard professor Robert Putnam, of “American Grace,” a book which examines the changing role of religion in America since the 1960s.

In the edited excerpt, ellipses have been omitted to facilitate reading. The full transcript is available at pewforum.org.

Out of Sync? Demographic and other social science research on health conditions in developing countries

Out of Sync? Demographic and other social science research on health conditions in developing countries
By: Jere Behrman, Julia Behrman, and Nykia M. Perez
Source: Demographic Research

Abstract:

In this paper, we present a framework for considering whether the marginal social benefits of demographic and social science research on various health conditions in developing countries are likely to be relatively high. Based on this framework, we argue that the relative current and future predicted prevalence of burdens of different health/disease conditions, as measured by disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), provide a fairly accurate reflection of some important factors related to the relative marginal social benefits of demographic and social science research on different health conditions. World Health Organization (WHO) DALYs projections for 2005-30 are compared with (a) demographic and other social science studies on health in developing countries during 1990-2005, and (b) presentations made at the Population Association of America annual meetings during the same time period. These comparisons suggest that recent demographic and social science research on health in developing countries has focused too much on HIV/AIDS, and too little on non-communicable diseases.

Full text (PDF)

Where the Brains Are Going

Where the Brains Are Going
By Richard Florida
Source: The Atlantic

Cities and regions across America and the world have made significant efforts to attract and retain young college graduates over the past decade or so. This has been driven by growing awareness that the ability to attract human capital, as well the ability to attract companies, plays a key role in economic competitiveness. And since young adults are the most mobile members of the population — people n their mid-20s are three to five times more likely to move than middle aged folks — the ability to attract them early in life can pay big, lasting dividends.

A new study by Brookings demographer William Frey examines trends in the migration decisions of young adults and college grads (as separate groups) over the years 2007-2009. His findings are especially interesting and relevant, since they cover the period since the onset of the economic crisis and reset.

Atlantic article
Full text of William Frey’s Brookings report, Migration Declines Further: Stalling Brain Gains and Ambitions

Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report, 2010

Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report, 2010
Source: UNICEF

From press release:

Achieving an AIDS-free generation is possible if the international community steps up efforts to provide universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and social protection, according to “Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report 2010,” which was released today in New York. Attaining this goal, however, depends on reaching the most marginalized members of society.

While children in general have benefited enormously from the substantial progress made in the AIDS responses, there are millions of women and children who have fallen through the cracks due to inequities rooted in gender, economic status, geographical location, education level and social status. Lifting these barriers is crucial to universal access to knowledge, care, protection, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) for all women and children.

Full report (PDF)

WIC Participation Patterns: An Investigation of Delayed Entry & Early Exit

WIC Participation Patterns: An Investigation of Delayed Entry & Early Exit
Laura Tiehen and Alison Jacknowitz
Source: USDA, Economic Research Service

Abstract:

Despite the health benefits of participation, many eligible households do not participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). While roughly half of infants born in the United States receive WIC benefits, USDA statistics indicate that eligible pregnant women and children 1-5 years of age are far less likely to participate in WIC than eligible infants and postpartum women. This implies that a number of pregnant women delay enrollment until after having a child, and that many households leave the program when a participating child turns 1 year old. Research on the factors that influence the dynamics of WIC participation can inform outreach and targeting efforts, so that vulnerable populations receive adequate exposure to the benefits of WIC participation.

Report summary (PDF)
Full report (PDF)

Where is the Learning? Measuring Schooling Efforts in Developing Countries

Where is the Learning? Measuring Schooling Efforts in Developing Countries
Jacques van der Gaag and Anda Adams
Source: Brookings

Introduction:

Achieving universal education is a twofold challenge: to get children and youth into school and then to teach them something meaningful while they are there. While important progress has been made on the first challenge, there is a crisis unfolding in relation to learning. Around the world, there have been major gains in primary school enrollment partly due to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and the abolition of school fees by many national governments. However in many countries, students are spending years in school without learning core competencies, such as reading and writing. To address this learning crisis, the global community and national governments need to place a much greater focus on the ultimate objective of education—to acquire knowledge and develop skills.

This shift in focus away from just enrollment to enrollment plus quality learning requires measuring learning outcomes. However, the global education community is not yet systematically using effective instruments for measuring primary school learning in low- and middle-income countries. This policy brief reviews the global efforts among the primary donors to support the measurement of learning outcomes. It then suggests steps needed to transition global education policy into a new paradigm of enrollment plus quality learning, which includes: scaling up the implementation of national education accounts and national assessment systems; increasing attention to monitoring early learning during child development to improve readiness for school; and expanding the systematic use of simple assessments of basic cognitive functions in the early grades to help teachers improve their practice.

Full text (PDF)

Adolescent Obesity in the United States

Adolescent Obesity in the United States: Facts for Policymakers
Susan Wile Schwarz and Jason Peterson
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Abstract:

Adolescent obesity in the United States has many important implications for both the health and well-being of the individual and society. Specific negative impacts of obesity on health include increased susceptibility to a host of diseases, chronic health disorders, psychological disorders, and premature death, which in turn add billions of dollars in health care costs each year. Excess medical costs due to overweight adolescents are estimated at more than $14 billion per year.3 Furthermore, adolescent obesity affects our nation’s ability to protect itself; more than a quarter of 17- to 24-year-olds are not fit to enroll in the military due to their weight.

Adolescence is a crucial period for establishing healthy behaviors. Many of the habits formed during this developmental stage will last well into adulthood.5 Although obesity is a complex problem not yet fully understood by researchers, by addressing the known factors that contribute to obesity in adolescence, policymakers can help ensure a healthy and productive adulthood for our nation’s youth.

Obesity and poor nutrition – combined with mental health disorders and emotional problems, violence and unintentional injury, substance use, and reproductive health problems – form part of a complex web of potential challenges to adolescents’ healthy emotional and physical development.

Fact Sheet(PDF)

Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools

Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools
Tim Sass, Jane Hannaway, Zeyu Xu, David Figlio, Li Feng
Source: Urban Institute

Abstract:

Differences in teacher quality would appear to be the most likely reason for disparities in the quality of high-poverty and lower-poverty schools. However, the linkages between teacher quality and socio-economic-based disparities in student achievement are quite complex. Using data from North Carolina and Florida, this paper examines whether teachers in high-poverty schools are as effective as teachers in schools with more advantaged students. Bottom teachers in high-poverty schools are less effective than bottom teachers in lower-poverty schools. The best teachers, by comparison, are equally effective across school poverty settings. The gap in teacher quality appears to arise from the lower payoff to teacher qualifications in high-poverty schools. In particular, the experience-productivity relationship is weaker in high-poverty schools and is not related to teacher mobility patterns. Recruiting teachers with good credentials into high-poverty schools may be insufficient to narrow the teacher quality gap. Policies that promote the long-term productivity of teachers in challenging high-poverty schools appear key.

Full report (PDF)

New Working Papers from the NBER

Does Home Owning Smooth the Variability of Future Housing Consumption?
Andrew Paciorek, Todd M. Sinai
Abstract; PDF

Estimating Turning Points Using Large Data Sets
James H. Stock, Mark W. Watson
Abstract; PDF

The Contribution of the Minimum Wage to U.S. Wage Inequality over Three Decades: A Reassessment
David H. Autor, Alan Manning, Christopher L. Smith
Abstract; PDF

Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey
Greg Kaplan, Sam Schulhofer-Wohl
Abstract; PDF

Workplace Concentration of Immigrants
Fredrik Andersson, Monica Garcia-Perez, John C. Haltiwanger, Kristin McCue, Seth Sanders
Abstract; PDF

Baby Busts and Baby Booms: The Fertility Response to Shocks in Dynastic Models
Larry E. Jones, Alice Schoonbroodt
Abstract; PDF

Aftershocks: The Impact of Clinic Violence on Abortion Services
Mireille Jacobson, Heather Royer
Abstract; PDF

Peer Quality or Input Quality?: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago
C. Kirabo Jackson
Abstract; PDF

The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality
Eric A. Hanushek
Abstract; PDF

Macroeconomics and Volatility: Data, Models, and Estimation
Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, Juan Rubio-Ramirez
Abstract; PDF

Evaluating the Effectiveness of National Labor Relations Act Remedies: Analysis and Comparison with Other Workplace Penalty Policies
Morris M. Kleiner, David Weil
Abstract; PDF

Second-Order Approximation of Dynamic Models with Time-Varying Risk
Gianluca Benigno, Pierpaolo Benigno, Salvatore Nistico
Abstract; PDF

Identification and Inference in Linear Stochastic Discount Factor Models
Craig Burnside
Abstract; PDF

Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance
Alain de Janvry, Frederico Finan, Elisabeth Sadoulet
Abstract; PDF

Individual and Aggregate Labor Supply With Coordinated Working Times
Richard Rogerson
Abstract; PDF

When Opportunity Knocks, Who Answers? New Evidence on College Achievement Awards
Joshua Angrist, Philip Oreopoulos, Tyler Williams
Abstract; PDF

The Wage Effects of Immigration and Emigration
Frederic Docquier, Caglar Ozden, Giovanni Peri
Abstract; PDF