ISS Faculty Fellows' Program
The ISS has selected 12 social science faculty, nominated by their Deans, to participate in the 2012-2013 ISS Faculty Fellows' Program. For media highlights on this cohorts' research, please see Fellows' Research Highlights. The primary purpose of this program is to nurture the careers of Cornell University’s most promising assistant and associate faculty members in the social sciences; it is also designed to promote an environment of intellectual exchange and an appreciation for interdisciplinary scholarship. For one semester (either Fall 2012 or Spring 2013), ISS Fellows are given time away from teaching and most departmental responsibilities in order to focus on their research. Fellows are provided with an office at the ISS and are awarded a research grant of $10,000. The ISS Faculty Fellows Program occurs every few years--the next one is scheduled for 2015-2016 and the search will occur during Fall 2014. For more information, see Faculty Fellows' Program Guidelines.
2012-2013 Faculty Fellows
Back Row (left to right): Tamar Kushnir, Kim Weeden, and Saida Hodzic. Middle Row (left to right): Lee Humphreys, Karel Mertens, and Dan Cosley. Front Row (left to right): Tom Pepinksy, Benjamin Cornwell, Brian Rubineau, and Raymond Craib. Not Pictured: Daniel Benjamin and Antonio Bento
Photo by University Photo
Daniel Benjamin, Economics (Spring 2013)
Understanding and Developing Survey-Based Measures of Well-Being
480 Uris Hall, 255-2355, email@example.com
Economics is ultimately about formulating policies that make people better off. Traditionally, economists have inferred whether a person is better off under some policy indirectly, by gathering evidence on whether a person would have chosen the consequences of that policy over alternatives. Recently, borrowing a tool from psychology, economists are increasingly relying instead on direct survey measures of subjective well-being (SWB), questions such as “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?” My research project focuses on understanding how these survey measures of SWB relate to choice-based measures and on developing survey-based measures that line up as closely as possible with choice-based measures.
Antonio Bento, Applied Economics and Management (Fall 2012)
On the Costs of Climate Mitigation: A Federal Clean Energy Standard with State-Level Distributional Constraints
373 Ives Hall East, 254-6778
218 Warren Hall, 255-0626, firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of this project is to examine the optimal design of a Federal Clean Energy Standard – recently proposed by President Obama at the State of the Union - when state level distributional constraints needed for the policy to be approved are taken into consideration. Specifically, we will quantify the efficiency gains from reforming uncoordinated state-level renewable portfolio standards and replacing them by a federal level CES; In its simpler form, one way to design a politically feasible CES is by distorting the composition of the optimal portfolio of renewables that makes up the total amount of renewable energy mandated. For example, to compensate for states endowed with less efficient sources of renewable energy, a larger portion of this renewable source will be mandated by the ‘politically feasible” CES relative to the unconstraint CES. Several other options for compensation, including tradeable markets for renewable credits, will also be examined.
Benjamin Cornwell, Sociology (Spring 2013)
Social Networks Dynamics and Health in Later Life
354 Uris Hall, 255-1697, email@example.com
With the U.S. population aging rapidly, there is growing interest in the relationship between social network connectedness and later-life experiences such as retirement and health decline. This project will explore how individuals’ social networks change in later life, with an eye toward understanding the consequences of shifts in internal network structure and composition. New longitudinal data on changes in older adults’ networks from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project provide an unprecedented opportunity to explore how these processes unfold in a nationally representative sample. The ultimate goal is to determine whether health decline can be usefully characterized as a function of gradual changes in the internal structure and composition of individuals’ social networks.
Dan Cosley, Information Science (Spring 2013)
Identifying, Modeling, and Visualizing Disclosure of Personal Information in Social Media
301 College Ave, firstname.lastname@example.org
335 Ives Hall East
People often disclose personal information social media like Facebook. At ISS my plan is to:
* better understand the value and risks of online disclosure through interviews and diary studies
* build models that detect disclosure in social media using computer science techniques; and
* design interfaces that leverage those studies to help people reflect on disclosure, in order to improve self-understanding and provide social support.
My goal is to make both scientific and applied contributions, part of my broader program of studying and helping people learn from their online interactions with systems and with other people. I collaborate with many people, most closely with Natalie Bazarova (Communication), Tejas Peesapati (Oracle, computer science MS), Victoria Schwanda (Information Science, PhD), and Xuan Zhao (Communication, PhD).
Raymond Craib, History (Fall 2012)
The Death of the Firecracker Poet: The Politics of Subversion in Early Twentieth Century Santiago, Chile
336 Ives Hall East, email@example.com
436 McGraw Hall, 255-6745
The Death of the Firecracker Poet. This book—a social and cultural history of Santiago, of university students, and of anarchism—looks closely at a four-month period in Santiago, Chile, in 1920 during which the police rounded up numbers of university students, workers, and intellectuals for purported acts of subversion, membership in anarchist organizations, and/or sedition. During my time at the ISS I will be completing the final chapters of the book and generating a series of maps that visually demonstrate the relationship between space and politics. Where students from provincial backgrounds, or workers recently arrived from the northern mines, or anarchist artisans lived mattered: it shaped their politics, their participation in insurgent movements, and their experiences of very pivotal moments in their political and social formation. I will be plotting locations and itineraries on a map of 1920 Santiago in order to generate a series of images that visually demonstrate this link between the social and the spatial.
Saida Hodzic, Anthropology (Fall 2012)
Of Rebels, Spirits, and Social Engineers: The Awkward Endings of Female Genital Cutting
338 Ives Hall East, firstname.lastname@example.org
213 McGraw Hall
This project examines the surprisingly successful efforts of Ghanaian NGOs to end female genital cutting. Conceptualizing NGO interventions as exercises of governmental power that aim to alter the conduct of Ghanaian women and men, I analyze their logics, ethics, and politics. I show that NGO governmentality is awkward, frictive, and ruptured: it does not operate as a lubricated machine, but is haphazard and contingent. Nevertheless, the NGOs’ haphazard techniques of truth, meaning, and aspiration-making have ended cutting in parts of Ghana and have produced new formations of subjectivity and sovereignty. They have also breathed life into the state, intensified and shifted transnational humanitarian engagements with Africa, and set in motion local critiques of marginalization, scarcity, and vulnerability.
Lee Humphreys, Communication (Fall 2012)
Privacy and Social Media: Dialects of Personal Information Sharing Online
340 Ives Hall East, 255-3229, email@example.com
305 Kennedy Hall, 255-2599
This project explores the dialectical tension in social media between sharing information with trusted friends and family and the potential privacy concerns that may arise from disclosing personal information in such a public forum. As with relational dialectics (Baxter & Montgomery, 1996), users of social media, specifically Twitter, develop strategies for managing potentially contradictory needs to share information and protect their information. Through qualitative in-depth interviewing this project examines how these dialectics are managed in everyday life, including a) how people perceive the audience for their messages, b) how they decide when, where, and how much to post messages, c) what kinds of information and in what contexts do they not post messages and, d) how do they think about the publicness of their messages on its various outlets (e.g. the public timeline, Twitter searches, Google searches, Library of Congress acquisition, etc).
Tamar Kushnir, Human Development (Fall 2012)
Developing a Concept of Choice
375 Ives Hall East, firstname.lastname@example.org
G62B Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, 255-8482
Our commonsense understanding of human behavior includes a concept of free choice – in many everyday situations, we do one thing, but we could have done another. This understanding is critical to our sense of autonomy and our intuitions about morality and social responsibility, but we know surprisingly little about its developmental origins. The ISS project examines how this common intuition develops in 2- 7-year-old children. Ongoing studies show that even toddlers track actions against possible alternatives, and use this ability to infer when actions happen by choice. Preschool children make explicit counterfactual claims about free and constrained actions, and school-age children can further reason about choosing to act against one’s own desires. New studies focus on the mechanisms that underlie these important developmental changes.
Karel Mertens, Economics (Fall 2012)
Escaping the Liquidity Trap
333 Ives Hall East, email@example.com
454 Uris Hall, 255-6287
A key feature of the current macroeconomic environment in the US is the liquidity trap, i.e. the fact that short term nominal interest are at the zero lower bound. The objective of the proposed research is to discriminate between theoretical models of liquidity traps on the basis of empirically testable differences between existing models. The results will be used to describe macroeconomic policies that (i) are more likely to mitigate the current downturn, (ii) can generate an escape from the liquidity trap and (iii) can help prevent liquidity trap recessions in the future.
Tom Pepinsky, Government (Fall 2012)
Politics, Economics and Religion in Indonesia
341 Ives Hall East, firstname.lastname@example.org
322 White Hall, 255-4915
My research as an ISS fellow will focus on using new data from Indonesia to study two enduring questions in comparative politics: the transformation of political Islam in contemporary Muslim democracies, and the long-term consequences of colonial migration for economic development and social structure in emerging market economies. With the resources provided by ISS, I will assemble a new dataset on social structure in colonial Java, and work on a book manuscript on public opinion, party strategy, and policymaking in modern Indonesia.
Brian Rubineau, ILR (Fall 2012)
Gendered Peer Effects in Engineering
334 Ives Hall East, 255-1492, email@example.com
394 Ives Faculty Building, 255-3048
The training and cultivation of engineers has become a national priority. Contributing to our nation’s under-production of engineers are poorly understood gendered obstacles that disproportionately reduce women’s persistence in engineering. At every step along the engineering career pipeline, women exit at rates higher than men. During undergraduate engineering education, women leave engineering majors at rates higher than their male counterparts even after accounting for human capital, individual abilities and grades. Policy recommendations aimed at increasing our nation’s production of engineering must be informed by an understanding of the social dynamics of engineering persistence decisions, and how these dynamics are gendered. Preliminary research has suggested that peers play an important role in students’ decisions about their majors and careers, but there are conflicting answers to the question of whether peer influence operates differently for men and women. This paper uses a quasi-experimental design, in the form of assigned roommates, to investigate the role of peer influence on engineering persistent among men and women. This quasi-experimental research design will allow unambiguously causal inferences about the role of peers in engineering persistence choices, and can definitively answer whether peer effects operate differently for men and women.
Kim Weeden, Sociology (Fall 2012)
Social Mobility and Immobility in an Age of Inequality
332 Ives Hall East, firstname.lastname@example.org
376 Uris Hall, 254-4904
This project examines the processes of class reproduction in an era of declining employment stability and rising income inequality. How do today’s young adults form their occupational plans, and how do such plans evolve as they obtain additional information about particular occupations and their requisite educational investments? To what extent do the stability, certainty, and content of occupational plans vary by class background? Using data from a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of young people, I’ll model young men and women’s occupational plans through the high school and post-immediate post-secondary years as a function of their familial resources and parents’ occupation(s). I’ll also examine how the stability, certainty, and content of occupational plans affect class-linked educational decisions such as college entry and major choice. Finally, I’ll compare two cohorts to see how these relationships have changed over the past 15 years.