May 2019: New NIA-Funded Project Seeks to Understand the Connection Between Education and Cognitive Impairment

MPC Director and Sociology Professor Rob Warren has received a $12.8 million grant from NIA to study the impacts of education on cognitive functioning later in life (R01 AG058719- 01A1). The project brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Columbia University to re-interview and collect genetic data from the 25,000 surviving members of the High School & Beyond Cohort—a nationally representative random sample of Americans interviewed repeatedly since they were in high school in 1980. Through analysis of the survey and genetic data, the team aims to understand the connection between education and cognitive function over the life course and to determine how racial, ethnic, and other social inequalities in education may lead to inequalities in rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive impairment.

To learn more about this study, read the University’s press release and Inquiry blog postHear from Dr. Warren about this research in the Star Tribune and on the 05/14/19 episode of KFAI's "Conversations with Al McFarlane."

May 2019: CLA Faculty Excellence Awards

Three MPC members were recently honored with CLA Faculty Excellence Awards.

Scholars of the College — Honors faculty whose work exemplifies the best in liberal arts scholarship and creativity.
Kathryn Grace
Rob Warren


Career Readiness Teaching Award — Recognizes outstanding contributions to undergraduate career readiness.
Carolyn Liebler

April 2019: Extreme Weather Disasters, Economic Losses via Migration, and Widening Spatial Inequality in the U.S.

MPC Member and Assistant Professor of Sociology Jack DeWaard has been awarded an NSF grant (SES - 1850871) for a new project entitled "Extreme Weather Disasters, Economic Losses via Migration, and Widening Spatial Inequality in the U.S." DeWaard and Co-PIs Katherine Curtis (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Elizabeth Fussel (Brown University) aim to conduct the first study of what they call economic losses via migrationfrom affected areas after extreme weather disasters in the U.S. Learn more about this exciting new project. [link to full story, this paragraph plus one below on the website]

In 2017, the U.S. set a new record of $313 billion in economic losses from sixteen billion dollar extreme weather disasters. Economic losses from extreme weather disasters are spatially concentrated in states like Florida and are remarkably stable over time. While there are many reasons that people stay in disaster-prone areas, others choose to migrate or are forced to leave, some temporarily and others permanently. As economic actors, migrants take with them myriad economic activities that constitute economic losses that have not been studied in previous research. This project will be the first to document the size of economic losses via migration from affected areas in the U.S. after extreme weather events. Because migration necessarily connects places to one another, the project will also document whether and to what extent such economic losses via migration contribute to changing spatial inequality in the U.S. as a whole. Project results will provide input into policies concerning how to mitigate the economic costs of extreme weather disasters in the U.S., thus contributing to disaster recovery and economic prosperity.

March 2019: Dr. Elizabeth Boyle Publishes New Study in the Journal of Marriage and Family

Elizabeth Boyle (MPC faculty member and professor of sociology) and Joseph Svec (Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University) recently published a paper in the Journal of Marriage and Family entitled Intergenerational Transmission of Female Genital Cutting: Community and Marriage Dynamics in which they examine characteristics of households and communities implicated in the intergenerational transmission of gender inequality and particularly female genital cutting. This study provides new insights into how women, families, and communities can disrupt the intergenerational transmission of behaviors associated with institutionalized gender inequality.

February 2019: Dr. Elizabeth Wrigley-Field Publishes New Research in Demography

MPC Member Elizabeth Wrigley-Field published new research on infectious diseases and racial inequality, along with co-authors James Feigenbaum and Chris Muller. In the first half of the twentieth century, the rate of death from infectious disease in the United States fell precipitously. Although this decline is well-known and well-documented, there is surprisingly little evidence about whether it took place uniformly across the regions of the U.S. We use data on infectious disease deaths from all reporting U.S. cities to describe regional patterns in the decline of urban infectious mortality from 1900 to 1948. We report three main results: First, urban infectious mortality was higher in the South in every year from 1900 to 1948. Second, the timing of the infectious mortality decline was different in southern cities than in cities in the other regions. Third, comparatively high infectious mortality in southern cities was driven overwhelmingly by extremely high infectious mortality among African Americans. From 1906 to 1920, African Americans in cities experienced a rate of death from infectious disease greater than what urban whites experienced during the 1918 flu pandemic.

For more information, read the full article in NBER, catch a version of it in VOX EU, and follow a Twitter thread about their project.

January 2019: Negotiating Careers After Baby is Born

MPC Training Director Elect Ann Meier and MPC Director Rob Warren, in collaboration with Kelly Musick at Cornell University and Sheela Kennedy at Michigan, have received an NICHD grant to study “Trends in Couples’ Work Patterns after Childbirth.” Using four decades of data available through IPUMS CPS, they will link couples longitudinally across the full 16 months of their Current Population Survey participation to assess changes in husbands’ and wives’ work and earnings following a first birth. Their analysis will address long-term trends in how couples’ work and earnings change following the birth of their first child and the implications of these couple-level processes for changes in aggregate inequality over time. Their research will address critical gaps in the literature regarding how couples sort into marriage and how they negotiate roles within marriage.