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Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies
Vol. 3 • Issue 2 • February 2015

Jacob HackerFrom Jacob Hacker

ISPS is proud to have played a part in the formulation of Governor Dan Malloy’s new initiative for a “Second Chance Society,” which aims to reduce the toll of contact with the criminal justice system on disadvantaged communities. Malloy met with ISPS’s top criminal justice experts in December, and after his big Yale speech last month, he also met with our own Director’s Fellows (three of whom have written thoughtful responses to the Governor’s proposals). Indeed, 2015 has been a big year at ISPS: We launched the ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality (I-CSI) with a dazzling conference on the Civil Rights Act at 50; Zack Cooper, the Director of ISPS Health, was awarded three grants from the Commonwealth Fund to study hospital pricing; Vesla Weaver (the head of I-CSI and one of the key members of our criminal justice group) received support from the Russell Sage Foundation for a new project on inequality and race; and CSAP postdoc Dan Bigger’s new book, “Morality at the Ballot,“ now is out. If all that doesn’t leave you trembling with excitement, check out our blog, where Patrick O’Brien reminds us about the President and the Fed’s long history and Vesla Weaver reminds us about an early pioneer in the fight against crime in minority communities. Who could ask for more? 


March 5@12:15 ISPS Health
Ashish Jha (Harvard)

March 9@4:30 Yale Law
Economist Thomas PIketty

March 25@12:00 CSAP
Claire Lim (Cornell)

March 25@5:00 Bioethics
Howard Market (U Mich)

March 26@12:00 Quant
Michael Rosenblum
(Johns Hopkins)

March 31@4:00 EP&E
The Litowitz Lecture
Lisa Guenther (Vanderbilt)


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Malloy's 2nd Chance Society


Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced his "Second Chance Society" initiative at Yale Law School on Feb. 3. The Governor's plan puts forth a new effort to create significant changes to the State’s sentencing, parole, and pardoning process. Criminal justice reform has been attracting bipartisan attention around the country with eleven states, including South Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia, reducing drug possession penalties by limiting or repealing mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug-related offenses. The governor was introduced by New Haven Mayor, Tony Harp, and the Director of ISPS, Jacob Hacker. Professors from ISPS and Yale Law School met with Governor Malloy, his staff, and state and city law officers last month to provide the most recent social science research on criminal justice. The event was widely covered by local and national media. See what local media wrote in the New Haven Register and Hartford Courant. And read below what our ISPS Director's Fellows, who met with the governor for a Q&A, thought about the initiative.

Lux et Data Blogging Corner


Vesla Weaver writes on Robert Woodson and the history of anti-crime activism in the black community for The Marshall Project, reprinted on Lux et Data.
Patrick O'Brien provides a brief historical overview of American Presidents' involvement with the Fed in "Precedents for Obama to Address Monetary Policy."
Three ISPS Director's Fellows (Libby Dimenstein, Adrian Hale and Zack Young) respond to Governor Malloy's "Second Chance Society" initiative announcement at Yale Law School.

Zack Cooper Receives Three Grants


Why is health care so expensive? And how much do the prices vary from hospital to hospital? These are some of the questions Zack Cooper will delve into after receiving three grants to look at pricing dynamics within the US health care industry. Cooper and his team, John Van Reenen (London School of Economics) and Martin Gaynor (Carnegie Mellon), will analyze a newly developed database that includes all insurance claims for nearly one third of privately insured Americans. Two of the grants are supported by the Commonwealth Fund and one by the National Institute for Health Care Management. Zack Cooper is Assistant Professor of Economics at EPH and the Director of ISPS Health Center. Yale News article here.

Vesla Weaver Receives Grant from Russell Sage


The Russell Sage Foundation has recently awarded a grant to Vesla Weaver and Jennifer Hochschild (Harvard) for their project entitled, “They Treat Us Like a Different Race: A Multi-City Project on Class-in-Race Inequality.” The project will be using data from over three decades in the American National Election Study to look at why affluent blacks and Latinos are less supportive of redistributive policies in the late 2000s than their predecessors were in the 1980s, though class polarization has not chipped away at group solidarity or commitment to policies that explicitly help blacks and Latinos. The RSF funds will allow the researchers to undertake case studies in four cities as well as a 10-city survey of Americans. Velsa Weaver is Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, a resident faculty fellow at ISPS, and is heading up the new ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality (I-CSI).

Dan Biggers Publishes "Morality at the Ballot"


Daniel R. Biggers has recently published his first book, "Morality at the Ballot: Direct Democracy and Political Engagement in the United States" (Cambridge University Press). The book challenges previous studies that suggest an active role in policy making can spark political interest and engagement, encouraging individuals, who would otherwise abstain from voting, to turn out. Biggers reveals that the ability of direct democracy to increase turnout is significantly more limited than currently thought, and that the propositions that do affect participation are restricted to a small subset of ballot issues that include morality policy.  Dan Biggers is a postdoctoral associate at the Center for the Study of American Politics and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies. Available through Cambridge University Press.

Publications, Media, and Mentions


Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson write an op-ed in Bill Moyers & Company in response to David Leonhardt's article in Upshot on how the financial crisis halted the rise of inequality.
Daniel Biggers, with Michael J. Hanmer, publish their paper, "Who Makes Voting Convenient? Explaining the Adoption of Early and No-Excuse Absentee Voting in the American States," in State Politics & Policy Quarterly.
Nicholas Christakis' video is now available in case you missed his In the Company of Scholars lecture on Feb. 11, "Using Social Networks for Good."
Jason Lyall and Allan Dafoe publish their paper, "From Cell Phones to Conflict? Reflections on the Emerging ICT–Political Conflict Research Agenda," in Journal of Peace Research.
Related to this article, Jason Lyall, Allan Dafoe and Niels Weidmann write a blog post in Monkey Cage on whether social media is driving political conflict.
Abbe Gluck in a four-minute video explains King v. Burwell and the possible consequences of the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare.

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