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

Jacob HackerFrom Jacob Hacker

It’s been a long winter here in the Northeast, but ISPS has remained a hotbed of research. Big data is driving Zack Cooper’s new work on the vast disparities in the prices paid by private insurers for medical procedures across the country. In another big-data project, Eitan Hersh has new studies on the drawbacks of using party activists in door-to-door canvassing and on the primacy of race in the geography of income-based voting. Meanwhile, our fellows continue to produce high-quality research and commentary: Jenna Healey looks at the social science experiment at the heart of the debate over parental notification laws; Tony Cheng explains the value of community outreach workers in tackling urban problems; Matthew Regele examines the relationship between small business and innovation; and Dan Biggers shows that convenience voting should not be a partisan issue. Stay tuned for more: We will be announcing our new Graduate Policy Fellows soon.


April 1 @12:00 CSAP
Gregory Huber (Yale)

April 2 @12:00
Quantitative Methods
Joshua Warren (Yale)

April 8 @12:00 CSAP
Dan Galvin (Northwestern)

April 13 @4:00 EP&E
William Easterly, author

April 15 @12:00 CSAP
Steve Teles (Johns Hopkins)

April 22 @12:00 CSAP
Eric Snowberg (Cal Tech)

April 23 @1:15 ISPS Health
Kate Ho (Columbia)


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The Big Data on Healthcare Costs


While Medicare pricing data has been widely available and analyzed, it is only recently that data on the healthcare spending of privately insured Americans (roughly 50% of population) has been accessible. Assistant professor of health economics, Zack Cooper, has obtained a 12-terabyte data set that includes the cost paid to healthcare providers and hospitals that are covered by the private employment insurance. Cooper, along with colleagues at LSE and Carnegie Mellon, will be looking at this data set to determine just how much the price of medical procedures vary, both geographically in the US and also within dense population centers; the reason why it may vary so much; and the possible policy implications of the findings of the enormous price variations. An in-depth Q&A done by Yale News further explores Cooper's data set and research. In addition, Cooper recently presented a talk for Yale's Day of Data sponsored by CSSSI and ISPS, and also was part of a panel discussion on healthcare and the cost crisis at SOM event last week.

Lux et Data Blogging Corner


Jenna Healey provides the history of a rancorous partisan debate over a social science experiment on teenage pregnancies in "The Long and Polarizing History of the Parental Notification Debate."
Limor Peer and co-author Ann Green explain what is data review and why it is quickly becoming the norm in many disciplines in "Research Data Review is Gaining Ground," originally posted in Political Science Replication blog.
Tony Cheng writes on the limits of modern policing and the virtues of community outreach workers in "Why Prosecuting, Firing, or Re-Training Cops Doesn't Work and What We Can Do about It."
Daniel Biggers and co-author Michael Hamner publish a new study with some surprising results on convenience voting laws in "Despite Heavy Rhetoric, Partisan Considerations Had Little Influence on States’ Decisions to Make Voting Easier," originally published in LSEUSApp.
Matthew Regele challenges us to rethink small business and innovation in "Meet the Solvers."

Eitan Hersh's New Research on American Voters


New research by Eitan Hersh looks at campaign strategy, the geography of income-based partisan fealty, and the use of large public dataset to microtarget voters, particularly undecided voters. Published in the American Political Science Review, and co-written with Ryan Enos,"Party Activists as Campaign Advertisers: The Ground Campaign as a Principal-Agent Problem," analyzes a survey of 2012 Obama campaign workers. The study finds that campaign workers who do door-to-door canvassing are faithful party activists and basically ill-suited at persuading swing voters. They consider this as a principal-agent problem. Published in American Journal of Political Science, and co-written with Clayton Nall, "The Primacy of Race in the Geography of Income-Based Voting: New Evidence from Public Voting Records," uses 73 million geocoded registration records and 185,000 geocoded precinct returns to examine income-based voting across local areas, and finds that the relationship between income and partisanship is basically inseparable from racial context. And in a recent interview in MIT Technology Review, Hersh discusses his upcoming book, "Hacking the Electorate: How Campaigns Perceive Voters," (Cambridge, May 2015) that delves into the databases of public voting records and shows how campaigns use this data to mobilize voters. 

Publications, Media, and Mentions


Michael Sierra-Arevalo and Andy Papachristos have written a chapter, "Applying Group Audits to Problem-Oriented Policing" in the just published book, Disrupting Criminal Networks: Network Analysis in Crime Prevention (Lynne Reinner, Ltd Publishers).
Adam Dynes and Gregory Huber publish "Partisanship and the Allocation of Federal Spending: Do Same-Party Legislators or Voters Benefit from Shared Party Affiliation with the President and House Majority?" in American Political Science Review.
Vivekinan Ashok, Ilyana Kuziemko and Ebonya Washington's new paper looks at the waning support for economic redistribution among the elderly and black populations, published in The Brookings Papers of Economic Activity (BPEA).
Jacob Hacker in a New York Times article, "How Poor are the Poor?" points out that the U.S. lags behind other developed countries when poverty is measured using the OECD standard.

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