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February 21, 2024 Newsletter

The new  Penn Population Studies Newsletter highlights researches in the news, awards received by researchers, new working papers, and some exciting events coming up. 

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Dorothy Roberts is quoted on coerced home searches, Mother Jones

Mother Jones quotes Dorothy Roberts on coerced home searches. Roberts says "Coerced home searches, invasion of families’ privacy, and threatening parents with child removal are integral aspects of a system designed to disrupt the most marginalized communities in America." 

Citations:

"Parents Are Suing New York City Over Coercive, Traumatizing Home Searches." Mother Jones, J Lurie, February 21, 2024.

 

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Eugenio Paglino, Irma Elo, and Samuel Preston's new study is featured, Penn Today

Penn Today highlights a new study by Eugenio Paglino, Irma Elo, and Samuel Preston on the relation between natural and Covid-19 deaths. 

Citations:

"Researchers Find Many ‘Natural’ and COVID-19 Deaths Likely Related." Penn Today, N Magubane, February 14, 2024. 

E Paglino, I T Elo, S H Preston, et al. "Excess Natural-Cause Mortality in US Counties and Its Association with Reported COVID-19 Deaths," PNAS. 

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February 14, 2024 Newsletter

Take a look at the Penn Population Studies Newsletter for upcoming events, recent publications by PSC and PARC research associates, and researchers featuring in news articles. 

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Courtney Boen is featured as Taussia Boadi's thesis advisor, Penn Today

Penn Today features Courtney Boen as the thesis advisor of Taussia Boadi. Their research looks at the relationship between adverse childhood experiences, birth outcomes, and resilience in Black women.

Citations:

"Who, What, Why: Taussia Boadi on Trauma and Black Maternal Health." Penn Today, K d Groot, February 12, 2024. 

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Atheendar Venkataramani's new study on Black Adults is featured, Penn Today

Penn Today features Atheendar Venkataramani for finding that black adults across the U.S. suffer from sleep problems following exposure to news about unarmed black individuals killed by police during police encounters.

Citations:

"Killings of Unarmed Black People and Racial Disparities in Sleep Health." Penn Today, E Horvath, February 8, 2024. 

A S Venkataramani, e al. "Officer-Involved Killings of Unarmed Black People and Racial Disparities in Sleep Health," JAMA Internal Medicine. 

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Helene Purcell co-authors a paper on Conscientiousness Matters

Postdoctoral fellow Helene Purcell co-authored a paper along with Justine Herve and Sneha Mani

Abstract: Personality traits play an important role in shaping labor market outcomes, but the associated behaviors that lead to these differences are understudied. In this paper, we examine the returns to the Big Five personality traits as well as the mechanisms through which personality affects employment and earnings. We find conscientiousness to be a significant predictor of both employment and earnings. We further show that the association between conscientiousness and earnings operates primarily through one specific behavior, namely, higher work intensity. Additionally, we are able to rule out selection into specific job types as potential channels for the positive relationship between conscientiousness and earnings.

Herve, Justine, Helene Purcell, and Subha Mani. 2023. “Conscientiousness Matters: How Does Personality Affect Labor Market Outcomes?University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC)

 

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Jeremy Greenwood co-authors a paper on the Role of Friends in the Opioid Epidemic

Research Associate Jeremy Greenwood co-authors a paper along with Effrosyni AdamopoulouNezih Guner, and Karen Kopecky

Abstract: The role of friends in the US opioid epidemic is examined. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health), adults aged 25-34 and their high school best friends are focused on. An instrumental variable technique is employed to estimate peer effects in opioid misuse. Severe injuries in the previous year are used as an instrument for opioid misuse in order to estimate the causal impact of someone misusing opioids on the probability that their best friends also misuse. The estimated peer effects are significant: Having a best friend with a reported serious injury in the previous year increases the probability of own opioid misuse by around 7 percentage points in a population where 17 percent ever misuses opioids. The effect is driven by individuals without a college degree and those who live in the same county as their best friends.

Adamopoulou, Effrosyni, Jeremy Greenwood, Nezih Guner, and Karen Kopecky. 2024. “The Role of Friends in the Opioid Epidemic.” University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC).

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Jere Behrman co-authors a paper on Female Headship and Poverty in the Arab Region

Research Associate Jere Behrman co-authors a paper with Shireen AlAzzawiHai-Anh DangVladimir Hlasny, and Kseniya Abanokova

Abstract: Various challenges are thought to render female-headed households (FHHs) vulnerable to poverty in the Arab region. Yet, previous studies have mixed results and the absence of household panel survey data hinders analysis of poverty dynamics. We address these challenges by proposing a novel typology of FHHs and analyze synthetic panels that we constructed from 20 rounds of repeated cross-sectional surveys spanning the past two decades from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Mauritania, Palestine, and Tunisia. We find that the definition of FHHs matters for measuring poverty levels and dynamics. Most types of FHHs are less poor than non-FHHs on average, but FHHs with a major share of female adults are generally poorer. FHHs are more likely to escape poverty than households on average, but FHHs without children are most likely to do so. While more children are generally associated with more poverty for FHHs, there is heterogeneity across countries in addition to heterogeneity across FHH measures. Our findings provide useful inputs for social protection and employment programs aiming at reducing gender inequalities and poverty in the Arab region.

AlAzzawi, Shireen, Hai-Anh Dang, Vladimir Hlasny, Kseniya Abanokova, and Jere Behrman. 2023. “Female Headship and Poverty in the Arab Region: Analysis of Trends and Dynamics Based on A New Typology.” University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC).

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Jere Behrman co-authors a paper on Minimum Wages and Intergenerational Health

Research Associate Jere Behrman co-authors a paper along with Muhammad Farhan Majid and Hanna Wang

Abstract: Most minimum wage (MW) research focuses on wage and employment impacts in high-income countries. Little is known about broader impacts, including on parental and child health in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) where most people affected by MWs live. This study studies MW effects on employment, earnings, parental health and child health in Indonesia, the third most-populous LMIC. Results include: MWs improve men’s earnings, parental hemoglobin, and child height-for age and reduce pregnancy complications. This study highlights nuanced but positive roles MWs may play in improving parental and child health, despite not directly affecting women’s earnings and labor supplies.

Majid, Farhan, Jere R. Behrman, and Hanna Wang. 2023. “Minimum Wages and Intergenerational Health.” University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC).

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Min Kim authors a paper on financial literacy

Min Kim writes a paper on Financial Literacy, Portfolio Choice, and Wealth Inequality.

Abstract: I develop a general equilibrium model in which households allocate their wealth to safe and risky assets (“bonds” and “stocks”) and accumulate financial literacy to raise their risk-adjusted stock returns. Calibrated to match financial literacy and stock market participation rate of U.S. households, the model demonstrates that a policy subsidizing financial literacy acquisition increases short-run stock investments. In equilibrium, however, the resulting aggregate capital growth lowers the average equity premium, thereby moderating the subsidy’s impact. The policy mitigates wealth inequality by inducing heterogeneous portfolio adjustments across the wealth distribution. With the subsidy, the middle wealth quartiles acquire more financial literacy and shift their portfolios toward stocks. The top quartile attains its maximum literacy level prior to the subsidy and shifts toward bonds to compensate for lower stock returns. The ratio of total wealth held by the top quartile versus the rest of the population decreases.

Kim, Min. 2023. “Financial Literacy, Portfolio Choice, and Wealth Inequality: A General Equilibrium Approach.University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC).

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Linda Aiken talks about the late Claire Fagin, Medpage Today

Medpage Today features Linda Aiken talking about the late Claire Fagin. She says she was a "nurse visionary with the savvy to make things happen". 

Citations:

"Nurse Community Mourns 'Trailblazer' Claire Fagin, PhD, RN." Medpage Today, S Firth, February 6, 2024. 

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Petra Todd Co-Authors a paper on understanding gender disparities in STEM majors and occupations

Research Associate Petra Todd co-authors a paper along with Shasha Wang.

Abstract: In the US, women for decades have gone to college at higher rates than men, but they are less likely to choose applied-STEM college majors or occupations. Using the NLSY79 and 97 datasets, this paper assesses the importance of adolescent skills and high school course-taking in explaining gender disparities in four-year college completion, college major, and occupational choice. It considers five cognitive skill areas (math, verbal, science, administrative, and mechanical) and one non-cognitive measure and examines how gender skill gaps evolve over a twenty-year time span. Logistic, CART and nonparametric random forest models are estimated to identify the skill sets, course-taking and family background characteristics that best predict educational and occupational choices. Results show that women are on average on par with men in mathematics skills and exceed men in verbal and noncognitive skills, but they lag behind in mechanical and, to a lesser extent, science skills. Estimates show that a combination of mathematics and mechanical skills along with intensive high school exposure to science and math courses are key predictors of choosing applied-STEM majors and careers. This paper also develops and implements a nonparametric decomposition approach to quantify how eliminating adolescent gender skill disparities would affect women’s and men’s entry into STEM fields.

Todd, Petra E. and Shasha Wang. 2023. “Understanding Gender Disparities in STEM Major and Occupation Choices: A Random Forest Approach.” University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC).

 

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Atheendar Venkataramani's new study is highlighted, Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine features Atheendar Venkataramani's research that found statistically significant decreases in sleep duration among Black adults, after exposure to deaths of unarmed Black individuals during police encounters.

Citations:

"Black Adults Across the U.S. Suffer From Sleep Problems Following Exposure to News About Unarmed Black Individuals Killed by Police During Police Encounters." Penn Medicine, February 5, 2024. 

A S Venkataramani, et al. "Officer-Involved Killings of Unarmed Black People and Racial Disparities in Sleep Health," JAMA Internal Medicine. 

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Dorothy Roberts addresses the question: Are Civil Rights Enough? Penn Today

Penn Today highlights research associate Dorothy Roberts addressing the question on civil rights being enough, during the 23rd annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture in Social Justice. 

Citations:

"‘Are Civil Rights Enough?’" Penn Today, K Garcia, January 31, 2024. 

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Duncan Watts' study on Common sense is featured, Knowledge at Wharton

Knowledge at Wharton features Duncan Watts for his study on quantifying individual and collective common sense. 

Citations:

"What Is Common Sense?" Knowledge at Wharton, N Magubane, January 30, 2024. 

D J Watts, et al. "A Framework For Quantifying Individual and Collective Common Sense," PNAS. 

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January 23, 2024 Newsletter

Check out the first Penn Population Studies Newsletter of 2024. This newsletter showcases researchers featured in the news, upcoming events such as PARC aging chats and the aging retreat, updates on the PSC Colloquium Series, and information on the Quartet Pilot Research Project Competition.

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Duncan Watts address a critical gap in how knowledge is understood, Penn Today

Penn Today features research associate Duncan Watts for his study on individual and collective common sense. 

Citations:

"The Commonalities of Common Sense." Penn Today, N Magubane, January 23, 2024. 

D J Watts, et al. "A Framework for Quantifying Individual and Collective Common Sense," PNAS. 

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Hans-Peter Kohler and Iliana V. Kohler are featured for their research in Malawi, Penn Today

Penn Today highlights PARC and PSC research associates Hans-Peter Kohler and Iliana V. Kohler for the two-and-a-half decades of research in Malawi. As the country’s life expectancy has risen, the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health has shifted its current and future research to aging.

Citations:

"Two-And-A-Half Decades of Research in Malawi." Penn Today, E Moser, January 22, 2024. 

 

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Paula Fomby is quoted on contraception, Parents

Parents quotes research associate Paula Fomby on contraceptive methods. 

Citations:

"American Families Will Shrink in the Near Future, New Study Says." Parents, B A Mayer, January 19, 2024. 

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Olivia Mitchell is quoted on financial literacy, MarketWatch

MarketWatch quotes Olivia Mitchell, stating that individuals experiencing loneliness or depression are significantly more susceptible to falling victim to fraud.

Citations:

"A Rude Awakening: Lack of Financial Literacy Hurts The Young. What About Older People?" MarketWatch, M Stettner, January 18, 2024. 

 

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Courtney Boen is featured for her study on Racial Health Disparities, Penn LDI

Penn LDI features Courtney Boen's research, which illuminates the health consequences of a Racialized Society and explores potential strategies for mitigation. 

Citations:

"How Racism “Gets Under the Skin” and Prematurely Ages Black People." Penn LDI, C Tachibana & H Levins, January 17, 2024. 

"Biological Age vs. Chronological Age: The Racial Health Disparities." Youtube, LDIvideo. 

C Boen, et al. “Patterns and Life Course Determinants of Black-White Disparities in Biological Age Acceleration: A Decomposition Analysis,” Demography. 

C Boen, et al. "Death by a Thousand Cuts: Stress Exposure and Black–White Disparities in Physiological Functioning in Late Life," Oxford Journals. 

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Dolores Albarracín's new report is featured, Annenberg School for Communication

Annenberg School for Communication highlights a new report by Dolores Albarracín on identifying effective ways to halt the spread of misinformation online, including debunking and “prebunking".

Citations:

"Eight Ways To Prevent and Fight Health Misinformation, Backed by Psychological Science." Annenberg School for Communication, H Reissman, January 15, 2024. 

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Dolores Albarracín shows What Could Move the Needle on Climate, Penn LDI

Penn LDI highlights Dolores Albarracín shedding light on a new factor in understanding how people think of climate change: exposure to record-breaking heat.

Citations:

"Navigating Climate Perceptions Through Communication Strategies." Penn LDI, M Bolas, Januray 11, 2024.

D Albarracin, et al. "Record-Breaking Heat Days Disproportionately Influence Heat Perceptions," Scientific Reports. 

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Hans-Peter Kohler co-authors a paper on how to survive bad news

Research Associate Hans-Peter Kohler co-authors a paper along with Alberto Ciancio, Fabrice Kampfen, and Rebecca Thornton

Abstract: Providing personal health information allows individuals to take action to improve their health. If treatment is not available, however, being informed about having a life-threatening disease could lead to feelings of despair or fatalistic behaviors resulting in negative health outcomes. We document this possibility utilizing an experiment in Malawi that randomized incentives to learn HIV testing results in a context where anti-retroviral treatment (ART) was not yet available. Six years after the experiment, receiving an HIV+ diagnosis reduced survival rates by 23% points and this effect persists after 15 years. We show that HIV+ persons who learned they were HIV+ engaged in more risky health behaviors, have greater anxiety and a higher discount rate. We do not find any effects of receiving an HIV - diagnosis on survival.

Ciancio, Alberto, Fabrice Kämpfen, Hans-Peter Kohler, and Rebecca Thornton. 2024. “Surviving Bad News: Health Information without Treatment Options.” University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC).

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Olivia Mitchell's study on Fixed and Variable Longevity Annuities in Defined Contribution Plans is featured, Knowledge at Whartont

Knowledge at Wharton highlights Olivia Mitchell's study making a case for deferred income annuities with some equity exposure in defined contribution plans.

Citations:

"Why Retirement Gets Better With Annuities." Knowledge at Wharton, S Parameshwaran, January 9, 2024. 

O S Mitchell, et al. “Fixed and Variable Longevity Annuities in Defined Contribution Plans: Optimal Retirement Portfolios Taking Social Security into Account,” Wharton Pension Research Council. 

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Dennis Culhane is quoted Modern Homelessness, The New York Times

The New York Times features research associate Dennis Culhane for his study on modern homelessness. 

Citations:

 

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Research Blogs that Caught your attention, Penn LDI

Penn LDI highlights health policy research blogs featuring PARC and PSC associates. 

Citations:

"LDI Research Blogs That Caught Your Attention in 2023." Penn LDI, K Kamara & M Bolas, January 3, 2024. 

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News that caught your attention, Penn LDI

Penn LDI showcases attention-grabbing news articles that spotlight some of the PARC and PSC research associates. 

Citations:

"LDI News That Caught Your Attention in 2023." Penn LDI, H Levins, January 3, 2024. 

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Dennis Culhane Points to Chaotic Relocation of Migrants, Penn LDI

Responding to the release of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress that cited a “record level” of homelessness, Penn LDI highlights Dennis Culhane pointing out to the New York Times that the “record” “is partly a manufactured problem.”

Citations:

"Homelessness Across U.S. Hit Record Level in 2023." Penn LDI, H Levins, January 3, 2024. 

 

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