JUST IN TIME Health support at your fingertips
9/14/2015 1:22:17 PM
IN THIS ISSUE Photo by Dave Howell
State of the I
COVER STORY Just in time: Health support at your fingertips
Research & Publications
Grounded, with a Global Focus: David Lam leads ISR into a new era
Converse honored at April event. Philip Converse’s sons Peter, le , and Tim, center, join ISR’s Michael Traugo at the unveiling of plaques honoring their late father
Supporting the Next Generation
and the late Warren Miller a er the annual Miller Converse lecture sponsored by the ISR Center for Poli cal Studies. The day a er
Honors & Awards
the lecture, a memorial service was held for Converse, who died in December 2014. For more information on Converse, see:
IllustraƟons on the cover and throughout the magazine by Thinkstock Photos. Cover design by N.E. Barr
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SAMPLER REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor; Julia Donovan Darlow, Ann Arbor; Laurence B. Deitch, Bloomfield Hills; Shauna Ryder Diggs, Grosse Pointe; Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms; Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor; Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park; Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor; Mark S. Schlissel, ex oﬃcio. NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY STATEMENT: The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/ aﬃrmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and aﬃrmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Oﬃce for Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388, email@example.com. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.
The ISR Sampler is produced once a year by the ISR Oﬃce of Communications. David Lam, ISR Director Patrick Shields, ISR Director of External Relations Diane Swanbrow, ISR Director of Communications NE Barr, ISR Project Manager Susan Rosegrant, ISR Contributing Editor FOR INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT Patrick Shields at 734.764.8369 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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STATE OF THE I F
ollowing in the footsteps of James Jackson and the other dis nguished researchers who have served as ISR directors is a great honor. I hope that my background in economics will serve me as well as it did the first economist to lead the Ins tute. Tom Juster mounted an eﬀec ve ba le to safeguard social science funding at the federal level, and I intend to do the same, making a strong case that social science is a good investment for our na on. As President of the Popula on Associa on of America, I made public aﬀairs a major focus, and one of my priori es as ISR Director will be to increase our outreach to Capitol Hill and funding agencies. In this issue of The ISR Sampler, you’ll read about a new book by my esteemed colleague Jim House, Beyond Obamacare: Life, Death and Social Policy. The book emphasizes a key point that the policy community needs to understand: Medical interven ons and access to healthcare are simply not enough to improve the health of the U.S. popula on. That’s because many of the most intractable problems we face have to do with behavior, not medical care. The same is true of our na on’s economic health. What we’re learning from the ISR Health and Re rement Study (HRS) about whether people are saving enough for re rement, for example, has important implica ons for Social Security and Medicare. Without data from HRS and other studies, we have no hope of modifying these programs in a realis c, sustainable way. So the economic payoﬀ of social science research is enormous. It’s also important to recognize that the research we conduct here at ISR has an impact far beyond our own na on. Interna onal research partnerships are vital to the Ins tute, and to many other countries. For many years I co-directed the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS), a longterm, sustained collabora on with the
David Lam in the ISR Founders Room.
University of Cape Town, South Africa, based on ISR’s famous Detroit Area Study. CAPS helped pave the way for the Na onal Income Dynamics Study, funded by the South African government and modeled on ISR’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics. It has become a vital source of informa on as that country tries to redress inequality. Other long-term ISR studies, including the HRS and the world-famous Surveys of Consumers, have broadened ISR’s impact by inspiring numerous sister studies around the world. New and innova ve interna onal partnerships of all kinds are underway, a testament to the global vision and commitment of ISR researchers. Other important partnerships span genera ons, with ISR emeri banding together to mentor and support ISR’s junior faculty. The impact of this kind of cross-genera onal collabora on is evident in many ways. Another new book highlighted in this issue, Genera ons and
Photo credit: Philip Dattilo
Collec ve Memories, by Howard Schuman and Amy Corning, is both an example of and in inquiry into what diﬀerent genera ons can learn from each other. The Next Genera on is more important than ever to ISR, as we pass the midpoint of our ambi ous fund-raising campaign. We’ve raised more than half of our $65 million goal, and among our most generous donors are an earlier genera on of ISR staﬀ members: Albert and Charlo e Anderson, Duane Thomas and Judith Lobato, Raburn Howland and Katherine Kurtz, and Marion Wirick, who worked for Angus Campbell and Charlie Cannell. My sincere thanks to these and other members of the ISR family who are working with us in reimagining social science in the public interest. I very much look forward to working with you to advance the reputa on of the world’s leading social science research ins tute! David Lam ISR Director
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JUST IN TIME HEALTH SUPPORT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS By Susan Rosegrant
woman sits in her oﬃce chair staring fixedly at the computer screen before her. Five months earlier she had a heart a ack, but her recovery has been going well; in the rehab program, she exercised regularly and made real progress. Now she’s graduated from the program and is back at work. It’s easy to fall into old habits. The woman shi s but stays seated. In fact, she’s been working on the document now for two hours without budging. And then her phone pings with a message:
The method—just-in- me adap ve interven ons, or JITAI— borrows part of its name from the as-needed inventory system developed by Japanese car makers in the late 1970s. Except now what’s being provided just in me is a medical or behavioral interven on. “Now we can deliver a treatment in your life at any me you might need it,” explains Susan Murphy, a research professor at the University of Michigan Ins tute for Social Research (ISR). “At 2 a.m. in a stairwell, we can try to help you.”
She isn’t sure whether to sigh or smile. But she closes the file and heads to the hallway thinking, “Two hundred steps, here I come.”
An average smartphone already collects a surprising range of informa on about its user: accelerometers detect mo on and walking, GPS systems pinpoint exactly where users are at all mes, calendars indicate busyness, and even the number of incoming and outgoing calls can be indica ve of a good or bad mental state. Pair that with a wristband and special apps, and all kinds of new interven ons become possible.
This par cular scenario is imaginary. But it’s a realis c example of a new approach that may fundamentally change how people are supported in coping with a range of medical and behavioral problems, from not exercising to smoking to drug abuse to mental illness.
“This is one!” Murphy says, gesturing to the watch-like wristband on her arm. “Because we are collec ng informa on using sensors, we can try to provide interven ons even before you’re aware that you need an interven on.”
Is now a good time for a stroll through the office? Maybe say hello to your colleague at the far end that you rarely see anymore?
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Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M), known for its interdisciplinary prowess, have thrown themselves into this emerging area of research. JITAI projects being tested or planned at U-M include the following:
Designing Heart Steps Crea ng just-in- me adap ve interven ons like these requires a broad cross-disciplinary team. Take Heart Steps, the interven on to encourage cardiac pa ents to walk more. The team, led by a specialist in human-computer interac ons, includes a computer scien st, a behavioral scien st, a cardiologist, and Susan Murphy, who is also the H.E. Robbins Dis nguished University Professor of Sta s cs and a professor of psychiatry at U-M.
Cardiac pa ents who are transi oning out of the intensive support and supervision of rehab receive messages on their smartphones encouraging them to walk more. Success is measured by the number of steps they take.
Looking at some of the -------------------Pa ents with issues this team faced hypertension who The team also made sure the messages— in launching an eﬀec ve don’t take medica ons pulled from 180 diﬀerent categories or buckets— JITAI gives a sense of both as prescribed receive were context appropriate and thus diﬀerent for the challenges and the targeted messages on each participant. If someone were at home, for promise of the approach. their smartphones to This summer the example, they wouldn’t get a suggestion to take improve adherence. the stairs at work. Or if they were driving or already researchers conducted a Special pill bo le caps 42-day pilot study with that record when they’re walking, they wouldn’t get a message at all. par cipants from the Ann twisted oﬀ let researchers -------------------Arbor area interested in know whether pa ents walking more. Two more are complying. ambi ous studies with actual cardiac pa ents will follow. A smoking cessa on study, part of a large,
eleven university grant, will arm smokers with a wearable wristband, similar to a Fitbit, that senses heightened stress levels that could lead to smoking. The wristband directs smokers to smartphone links with mindfulness exercises and other methods to regulate anxiety.
A special phone app that analyzes the voices of people with mania or depression as they receive and make calls will learn to spot mood changes so that it can recommend interven ons—on the part of the client or a caregiver—before the condi on becomes an emergency.
Pa ents with alcohol or drug dependencies will carry phones that use GPS to recognize when they’re approaching an area that might present tempta on—such as a neighborhood bar. Phone messages and support will help users avoid backsliding.
Wearable devices will monitor the fluid in the lungs of conges ve heart pa ents so that a smartphone or other device can signal clinicians if the fluid becomes excessive. The goal is to treat the condi on before it gets out of hand.
Each par cipant in the pilot received a smartphone with a special app on it and a wristband like Murphy’s. At five set points during the day—the mes when research shows people are most likely to exercise—par cipants either did or did not get a message on their phones encouraging them to walk, stretch, or otherwise get moving. The wrist band then measured the outcome—the number of steps par cipants took in the hour a er ge ng a message. Old style behavioral interven ons are typically burdensome and quickly discarded. Take a food log for die ng: Tracking every bite may be revelatory at first, but soon becomes drudgery. The drop rate for such aids is “incredibly high,” according to Predrag Klasnja, an assistant professor of informa on and of health behavior, and the principal inves gator of Heart Steps. “They say three-quarters of them get abandoned before the tenth use, and a quarter a er the first one.” By contrast, the Heart Steps team wanted to make its interven on as non-invasive as possible. Par cipants in the pilot study typically only received Continued on page 6
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Continued from page 5
two messages a day. That’s because although there were five possible mes for messages to arrive, the program basically flipped a coin each me to determine whether or not to send a message. That way, researchers could compare the eﬀec veness of message vs. no message in diﬀerent situa ons. This also had the eﬀect of crea ng a de facto control group at each me during the study. The team also made sure the messages— pulled from 180 diﬀerent categories or buckets— were context appropriate and thus diﬀerent for each par cipant. If someone were at home, for example, they wouldn’t get a sugges on to take the stairs at work. Or if they were driving or already walking, they wouldn’t get a message at all. “The idea is to have messages that are highly ac onable in the current situa on, so it gives people ideas of what they can do right now,” says Klasnja. Crea ng the right kind of messages was also cri cal: If par cipants felt bossed, they might just turn the app oﬀ. So most of the recommenda ons were couched as friendly sugges ons to, for example, pick up some trash at a nearby park, take the stairs, return a stapler, stroll with a child, or just stand up and stretch. You know what’s awesome? asks one message. The sunset! How about looking up tonight’s sunset me & heading out for a walk to check it out? With the pilot study complete, the team is analyzing the results and 6
crea ng preliminary decision rules to make the two future studies more eﬀec ve—what researchers are calling “the warm start.” For example, they may learn that when people’s calendars are really busy, an encouraging message to walk is a waste of me. S ll, Klasnja says, “Twenty percent of the me we’ll flip a coin and send a message regardless. And that allows us to figure out, are there some people for whom the current decision rules are not working very well.” All of this discovery will be brought to bear on the final year-long study. This is the one researchers are most excited about, because the algorithm will actually learn and adapt on the fly, personalizing support based on how people respond. For example, if it sees that one person walks when the weather is bad and another doesn’t, it will tailor the messages they receive to account for that. “By the end of that last study,” Murphy says, “we’ll be able to look at you and me and we’ll see that our decision rules will be very diﬀerent. That’s the personaliza on. That’s the learning from you.”
Challenges and promise Of course, people aren’t easy to learn from. In the past, reinforcement learning systems like this one were used to create programs to play chess or Jeopardy, or to control robots. By contrast, people are “noisy,” says Sa nder Baveja, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science who designed the machine learning part of the pill bo le cap medica on adherence study at U-M. “Who knows why they some days take their medicine and some days don’t,” he says. “People are busy, they have family over, they’re traveling, it’s a holiday, there’s stress at work. There are all these factors that we have no way of sensing that make it variable.”
He adds: “We can’t measure things perfectly. We’re not dealing with buildings or automobiles or things we can instrument to our heart’s desire.” People being people, their interest in and adherence to the program also is not guaranteed. For example, while messages may work great at first, they can lose potency, par cularly if there are a lot of them. “That’s the whole game here,” Murphy says. “You don’t want to be pinging someone all the me, giving sugges ons, because then they’re not going to pay a en on anymore. So you really want to provide that support just in me. And only enough.” Inbal Nahum-Shani, an ISR research assistant professor and behavioral scien st working on the mul university smoking cessa on study, says there will even be people who can’t abide ge ng very many messages at all. Like her. “I’ve tried so many apps in the last couple of years that my tolerance for interrup ng messages is gone!” she says, with a wry smile. S ll, she believes wholeheartedly in the promise of the approach. “There’s a lot of poten al for us to actually help and not interrupt people. They have this phone all the me. They don’t have access to a care provider or a therapist all the me.” Finally, there’s privacy. Heart Steps gathered GPS data on its par cipants every hour in order to be able to send loca on-appropriate messages. (The data, stripped of iden fying characteris cs, is stored on a secure server.) Gathering that kind of informa on may not be a problem when the goal is encouraging people to walk, but tracking the movements of alcoholics or drug addicts will likely prove far more sensi ve. “My own sense is that people are willing to share more if two condi ons are met: They trust the system
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“By the end of that last study, we’ll be able to look at you and me and we’ll see that our decision rules will be very diﬀerent. That’s the personaliza on. That’s the learning from you.” Researchers involved in the Heart Steps project (L-R): Statistics and Global Health major Kelly Hall, Susan Murphy, Ambuj Tewari, Predrag Klasnja, and Master of Health Informatics student Andy Lee. Photo credit: Philip Dattilo
and they get value out of it,” says Ambuj Tewari, an assistant professor of sta s cs and electrical engineering and computer science who is designing the algorithm that allows Heart Steps to learn from par cipant responses. The trick, he says, will be to hit the right tradeoﬀ between privacy and eﬃcacy. Overcoming the obstacles will be worth it. Researchers think JITAI will change the nature of health interven ons and give pa ents a degree of control without devaluing human caregivers. According to Tewari, it’s the dis nc on between AI—ar ficial intelligence—and IA—Intelligence Amplifica on. “As a society, do we want machines that will just go and replace more and more humans, or do we want machines that will augment our capaci es to do whatever we like?” he asks. “In this case, machines and algorithms will augment the capacity of mental health professionals and behavioral scien sts to help more people.”
This could be especially cri cal in parts of the country and the world where caregivers are in short supply. Tewari, who is from India, says there is an “order of magnitude gap” between the doctors available and the number needed. Yet with the help of smartphones, which are becoming common at all levels of Indian society, that could change. “Right now maybe this mental health professional can only see 10 pa ents, but augmented with mobile devices and smart algorithms they can deal with 100 pa ents,” Tewari says. “Suddenly you’ve really increased their reach.” And even small interven ons can be profound. As one Heart Steps message asks: Wouldn’t the sun feel nice on your face? Taking a walk now would brighten the rest of your day.
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FACULTY RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions on the Great Plains Great Plains agricultural greenhouse gas emissions could be completely eliminated, according to researchers at Colorado State University, the University of Colorado, and the U-M, who used agricultural census data and ecosystem models to estimate the magnitude of annual greenhouse gas emissions from all agricultural sources from 1870 to 2000. “This is an important research milestone about the ways that population change shapes the environment,” said Myron Gutmann, director of the Institute of Behavioral Science at CU-Boulder, and Principal Investigator of the project. CSU’s William Parton was lead author of the article, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Contributors included ISR researcher Emily Merchant. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provided funding, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.
Measuring the impact of university research
Strokes steal eight years’ worth of brain function Having a stroke ages a person’s brain function by almost eight years, a new study suggests. Data on 4,900 black and white seniors over the age of 65 came from the ISR Health and Retirement Study, funded by the National Institute on Aging. In both black and white patients, having had a stroke meant that their score on a test of memory and thinking speed had dropped as much as it would have if they had aged 7.9 years overnight. Study authors include Kenneth Langa, who holds a joint appointment at the U-M Medical School and at ISR.
Government, industry and foundations spend more than $65 billion each year on research conducted at the nation’s universities. The impact of this investment – on the economy as well as on scientific progress – is being documented by the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS), a consortium based at ISR. “We are extending earlier work to explain the public value of research investments,” says U-M sociologist Jason OwenSmith, executive director of the Institute. “In the next few years we plan to expand both our member and user communities to include campuses across the country and around the world.” IRIS website: http://iris.isr.umich.edu/
More on the study: http://bit.ly/1LjxIYk
See article: http://bit.ly/1Irrwu4
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FACULTY RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS
Cultivating tools for smart thinking In his new book, Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking, social psychologist Richard Nisbett debunks many common beliefs about how the world works, and provides some guidelines for correcting our poor judgment. “Our beliefs are often badly mistaken, we’re way too confident about our ability to acquire new knowledge that accurately characterizes the world, and our behavior often fails to advance our interests and those of people we care about,” writes Nisbett, an ISR research professor. He hopes that his new book will help people compensate for these failings, perceive the world more accurately, and behave more sensibly. “The most influential thinker, in my life, has been the psychologist Richard Nisbett,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote in The New York Times Book Review. “He basically gave me my view of the world.” See book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1KxtWru
Moving beyond Obamacare to address America’s health crisis America is fixated on health care and insurance as the sole objects of health policy when the major determinants of health are not medical care but the conditions of life and work. “Even as we continue to spend more for health care and insurance than any other nation, our levels of population health have only worsened relative to all comparably economically developed nations, and are now worsening even absolutely for some portions of the American population and on some health indicators for the entire population,” writes ISR sociologist James House, author of Beyond Obamacare: Life, Death and Social Policy, published by Russell Sage Foundation. His conclusion: Improve education and income for all Americans, not just an elite few. Publisher information: http://bit.ly/1LmBtix
Team Science is ready for the major leagues As the number of authors on scientific publications grows, so does the realization that most research is a team effort. ISR researcher James Jackson is one of two U-M members of a National Research Council committee that produced a recent report analyzing how to create the most effective scientific teams. The report, “Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science,” was funded by Elsevier and the National Science Foundation. For more information and to download a free copy of the full report, visit: http://bit.ly/1A7cq9h Continued on page 10
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FACULTY RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS Israel – is that our most powerful generational memories are of shared experiences in adolescence and early adulthood, like the 1963 Kennedy assassination for those born in the 1950s or the fall of the Berlin Wall for young people in 1989. But there are exceptions
Collective Memory: How it works and why it matters
Army STARRS data now available
We naturally group people into different generations, but what gives a generation meaning and coherence? In their new book, Generations and Collective Memory, ISR researchers Amy Corning and Howard Schuman draw on a range of research, some conducted at ISR, to show how generations share memories of formative experiences, and how understanding the way those memories form and change can help us understand society and history. Their key finding, built on historical research and interviews in the United States and seven other countries – China, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Germany, and
Researchers have a powerful new resource in the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS). Released in July 2015 by the ISR Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), Army STARRS is the most extensive study of mental health and risk and resilience among US military personnel ever conducted. The groundbreaking five-year $50-million research project was funded by the US Army and the National Institute of Mental Health. NIMH and the Army partnered with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research; and Harvard Medical School to carry out the study.
READ MORE ABOUT FACULTY RESEARCH
“I recommend that researchers interested in gaining access to the Army STARRS All Army Survey (AAS) and New Soldier Study (NSS) begin
By Dory Knight-Ingram
to that rule, Corning and Schuman find, Revolutions and other epochal events override the expected effects of age, affecting citizens of all ages with a similar power and lasting intensity. Publisher information: http://bit.ly/1PBj14u
their planning by accessing the Army STARRS Research Instruments page,” said Steven Heeringa, an ISR sampling expert who is a principal investigator of the study. Researchers may apply to use the data under a restricted-use data agreement via ICPSR’s Virtual Data Enclave (VDE). So far, study findings have shown that the rise in suicide deaths from 2004 to 2009 occurred not only in currently and previously deployed soldiers, but also among soldiers never deployed, and that nearly half of soldiers who reported suicide attempts indicated their first attempt was prior to enlistment. NIH Director Thomas Insel recently blogged that although the first phase of Army STARRS ended on June 30, “its mission will continue through Department of Defense funding as the STARRS Longitudinal Study (STARRS-LS), which could turn this project into something like the Framingham Heart Study, except in this case with a focus on mental health outcomes.” Army STARRS website: http://www.armystarrs.org/
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GROUNDED, WITH A GLOBAL FOCUS
David Lam leads ISR into a new era When David Lam was invited to address the high-profile Jackson Hole Symposium sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, he thought a lot about how to illustrate a paradoxical popula on change to the world’s top central bankers. To preserve the rus c feel of the event, PowerPoint presenta ons are not allowed. “In 2100, there will be about 4 billion more people in the world,” Lam said, “but the number of children will be about the same as the number today.” It’s not because people are living longer, Lam explained. It’s due to what demographers call popula on momentum – in most areas of the world, birth rates have declined, but current birth cohorts are s ll much larger than the old cohorts that are
40 years has been dominated by the growth of young, mainly unskilled workers,” says Lam, who was appointed Director of the U-M Ins tute for Social Research in 2015. “That’s basically over. The number of young workers in China and even India has stopped growing, and these workers are now fairly well educated. Increases in the labor force over the next 40 years will come from older, skilled workers. So global compe on will be very diﬀerent than it has been.”
Lam, a fit 63-year-old with white hair and a moustache, wire-----------------------rimmed glasses, and a well-worn Lam took a circuitous route to face, remains op mis c about the becoming one of the world’s leading increase in the world’s popula on. His 2011 Presiden al Address scholars in economic demography. But he doesn’t regret the detours he to the Popula on Associa on of America, “How the World Survived took along the way. the Popula on Bomb: Lessons -----------------------from 50 Years of Excep onal Demographic History,” made dying and this causes the popula on to the case that human ingenuity is up to grow even though the number of children the task of mee ng popula on-based does not increase. Lam wound up using demands. “The world is producing three stacks of Lego Duplos to show the shi s. mes as much food today as in 1960,” “It worked pre y well,” he said. “I kept he told the PAA, “and the popula on is running into people at the conference two mes what it was in 1960, so there’s who’d say, ‘Oh, you’re the Lego guy.’” 41 percent higher food produc on per capita.” The next 4 billion people will be The 2014 Jackson Hole talk grew out of added over 90 years, he notes, while the Lam’s work with Murray Leibbrandt, a last 4 billion was added in 60 years. “So South African economist he’s collaborated it’s s ll a challenge that we’re facing, with for nearly two decades now. Lately but a less daun ng one than we’ve had they’ve been working on the impact the previously.” coming demographic changes will have on the global labor force, and have presented Lam took a circuitous route to becoming some of their findings at conferences one of the world’s leading scholars in sponsored by the United Na ons and the economic demography. But he doesn’t Na onal Academy of Sciences. “The last
Photo credit: Philip Dattilo
regret the detours he took along the way. He grew up in Durango, Colorado, notable both for its rugged beauty and for the invisible line that divided the town—Anglos on one side, Mexicans on the other. Lam rebelled against that line and, as a teenager, threw his energy into studying Spanish and traveling to Mexico. At Colorado College he cobbled together a major in La n American studies built around Spanish, poli cal science, and anthropology. Lam shared his fascina on with “le y” La n American poli cs and travel with Tina, his girlfriend since high school and a fellow La n American studies major. In 1972, at the age of 20, the couple married, quit school, and drove to Mexico. “We had this wild idea that we were going to drive this van all the way to Tierra del Fuego at the p of South America,” Lam says. A car accident, a robbery, and running out of money all helped scu le that goal. S ll, the Lams spent a year in Mexico, and came back with their idealism and love of travel mostly intact. They had a son, Gabe, when they were 23, finished Continued on page 12 FALL 2015
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their degrees at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, and moved to Aus n, where Lam began a master’s in La n American Studies at the University of Texas. Lam went on to get a master’s degree in demography and a Ph.D. in economics from Berkeley. In 1983 he became an assistant professor in economics at the University of Michigan and an assistant research scien st at the university’s Popula on Studies Center. (Tina, who had earned a master’s in journalism from Berkeley, became a reporter at The Ann Arbor News and later The Detroit Free Press.) It wasn’t long before Lam stumbled on an opportunity to combine micro-economics with his old love—La n America. As part of a Na onal Academy of Sciences panel on the economic impact of popula on growth, Lam was commissioned to write a paper about popula on growth and inequality. David Lam, 1992
A senior member of the panel suggested he focus on Brazil, whose Na onal Sta s cal Agency had been collec ng extensive data from about 100,000 households since 1976. The data was a goldmine, Lam says, and in 1989, he returned to Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar, focusing a en on on the role of educa on in perpetua ng, rather than mi ga ng, the country’s pronounced economic inequality. “Brazil by some measures is twice as unequal as the US, and that can almost en rely be explained by the diﬀerence in educa on,” Lam says. The promise of Lam’s research in Brazil and his growing reputa on as a scholar and collaborator did not go unno ced. In 1994, as an associate professor, he was recruited to become director of the Popula on Studies Center. Among the accomplishments of his nine-year term was the center’s move from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to ISR. Observers say the reposi oning led to more grants and greater collabora on with researchers from other disciplines, strengthening the center both financially and intellectually. The year Lam became PSC director, apartheid ended in South 12
-----------------------“By working with him, you get better. He has influenced a whole range of us to do better work.” -----------------------Africa and delega ons of academics from South Africa began visi ng Michigan and other US universi es. “While selfconfident, very bright, and well trained,” Lam says, “they had the sense that they’d been out of the loop for decades, and they really wanted to be engaged with other universi es.” Lam found his interest piqued and shortly a er traveled to the University of Cape Town, where he says he “fell in love” with both the place and the research possibili es. Frequent visits over the next few years—Lam to South Africa and University of Cape Town peers to Ann Arbor—only strengthened the es between the two ins tu ons. In 2002, Lam helped his Cape Town colleagues, researchers who had worked on issues of poverty and inequality for their whole careers, launch the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS). The ambi ous longitudinal study of 4,800 young people between the ages of 14 and 22, as well as their families and households, was the first-ever look at the educa on, employment, health, sexual behavior, fer lity, and living arrangements of this popula on. Lam is hopeful that the Cape Area Panel Study will help push South African policy makers to address diﬃcult topics like inequality and grade repe on. “I feel it’s the most policy relevant stuﬀ that I’ve done,” says Lam, who was made an honorary professor of economics at the University of Cape Town in 2013. In the mean me, he points with pleasure at the ability of his South African colleagues to conduct surveys and analyze the data. Based on the CAPS work, the South African government commissioned the university to conduct a na onal longitudinal survey, the Na onal Income Dynamics Study, modeled on ISR’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics, looking at some of the same issues. Leibbrandt says Lam’s commitment to rigorous research was key to their accomplishments. “By working with him, you get be er. He has influenced a whole range of us to do be er work.” Full profile of David Lam, from which this piece is excerpted: http://home.isr.umich.edu/research/researcher-profiles/david-lam/
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SUPPORTING THE NEXT GENERATION
By Susan Rosegrant
LOGGING AND CONSERVATION Two sides of the same coin
James Erbaugh, winner of the Robert and Judy Marans & Kan and Lillian Chen Fellowship in Sustainability & Survey Methodology, is investigating how national programs to regulate forest production and conservation in Indonesia are playing out at the local level.
To design the surveys, Erbaugh will draw on the cer ficate of survey methodology that he earned at U-M’s Ins tute for Social Research with the support of the 2014 Robert and Judy Marans & Kan and Lillian Chen Fellowship in Sustainability & Survey Methodology. “It’s been massively helpful,” he says of the fellowship. “One of the reasons I came to Michigan was to come to ISR and learn rigorous survey methodology, and I feel like I’ve go en that.”
James Erbaugh’s regard for forests is like a sturdy vine twis ng through his life. He climbed trees and scrambled through forests as a kid in central Ohio. At Miami University he focused on environmental ethics and forested areas.
Erbaugh isn’t sure what the surveys will reveal. But in the end, he isn’t just trying to save trees. Produc on, Erbaugh says, is essen al to conserva on and to addressing the cri cal problem of worldwide carbon emissions. “The coin is the forest,” he explains. “On one side we have produc on; on the other side we have conserva on. How do we understand the value of the en re coin?”
His two-year Teach for America commitment was in the struggling reserva on and former lumber town of Navajo, New Mexico. And as part of the Fulbright Program, Erbaugh taught at a voca onal farming school in central Java; he returned to Java to do research on mber growers for his master’s degree in geography and the environment at Oxford. Now, as a 3rd year Ph.D. student at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan (U-M), Erbaugh will go back to Indonesia. A er years of devasta ng deforesta on, Indonesia’s government recently pledged to substan ally reduce carbon emissions through tougher mber cer fica on regula ons and interna onally backed eﬀorts to conserve and sustainably manage tropical forests. These programs look good on paper, Erbaugh says. But he wants to see what they look like on the ground in rural areas where forests remain crucial to livelihoods. He will begin by examining how policy defini ons of forestland have changed over me. Next he will compare the village census from Indonesia with maps showing forest areas intended for produc on and conserva on, overlaid with satellite images showing deforesta on and forest cover. Finally, Erbaugh will survey some 500 residents in eight Indonesian villages to learn about livelihood strategies and to see whether local popula ons recognize the same stark defini ons of conserva on and produc on that exist at the na onal level.
Erbaugh inspects logs cleared from a farmers’ sengon crop in central Java. He is pictured with the man in charge of hammering in plastic bungs that keep the logs from splitting or cracking as they dry out and change shape. FALL 2015
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SUPPORTING THE NEXT GENERATION NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
Helping survey participants give good responses Kristen Cibelli Hibben was just out of college in 1999 when she conducted her first survey. She and a classmate from Tu s talked to “the right people at the right me” and transformed an independent research project into an 18-month study examining what local NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina thought of the Interna onal Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). “We had some wonderful people advising us,” recalls Hibben. “But I think that in a way it was our naiveté that enabled us to just go ahead and do it.” For the next several years, Hibben collected data on human rights abuses in countries like Chad and Liberia. Now a 5th-year doctoral student at U-M’s Program in Survey Methodology, she is examining ways to get be er responses from survey par cipants, whether located in areas of conflict or not. To do so, Hibben will analyze the eﬀec veness of three tac cs in an online survey. To improve respondent commitment, Hibben will include language asking par cipants to commit to providing complete and accurate informa on. The survey will provide tailored feedback by promp ng respondents who skip ques ons to do their best to answer every one. “This is based on research done decades ago by [ISR researcher] Charlie Cannell here,” she says.
-----------------------“Survey methodology is a very applied type of degree. I like to think about how this can inform the work we actually need to do out in the world.”
-----------------------Appropriately, Hibben’s research is backed by financial support from the Charles Cannell Fund in Survey Methodology, awarded last year. “The symbolism of having funding from the Cannell Fund, given that I am carrying forward some of Charlie Cannell’s ideas…I feel very proud of that,” she says. Hibben will begin analyzing data this fall. If the techniques are as eﬀec ve as she expects, they could become low-cost ways for surveyors to improve their results—as long as the prompts aren’t overused. “If you can play up the credibility and importance of the survey for policy purposes,” she explains, “that is where commitment may help respondents diﬀeren ate it from marke ng surveys.” Meanwhile, Hibben is s ll in touch with friends and colleagues doing human rights work, and she envisions returning as a contractor a er her gradua on in 2016. “Survey methodology is a very applied type of degree,” she says. “I like to think about how this can inform the work that we actually need to do out in the world.” Hibben (center) with research group in Nepal.
Hibben will add one more twist—contextual recall cues built into the survey that encourage respondents to improve the accuracy of their memories, for example, by thinking about what happened, where it happened, and who else was there. Hibben will try out the techniques alone and in diﬀerent combina ons in a web survey given to about 1,000 parents of child pa ents at U-M Pediatric Clinics. And because she will be able to check respondents’ answers against actual records, she can clearly measure the impact of each approach. 14
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HONORS & AWARDS Chris Antoun, a PhD candidate in the U-M Program in Survey Methodology, won the 2015 Seymour Sudman Student Paper Award given by the American Associa on for Public Opinion Research. Anton’s paper was tled “Eﬀects of Mobile versus PC Web on Survey Response Quality: A Crossover Experiment in a Probability Web Panel.” Elizabeth Bruch, an aﬃliate of the ISR Popula on Studies Center and an assistant professor of sociology and complex systems, won two awards for her paper, “How Popula on Structure Shapes Neighborhood Segrega on”: the Robert Merton Prize for the best paper in analy cal sociology (Interna onal Network for Analy cal Sociologists) and the 2015 Mathema cal Sociology Outstanding Publica on Award (American Sociology Associa on). Robert Willis, a research John Garcia, former director of the Resource Center for Minority Data at the ISR Inter-university Consor um for Poli cal and Social Research, won the Dis nguished Career Award presented by the La no/a Caucus of the Midwest Poli cal Science Associa on.
professor at the ISR Survey Research Center and the ISR Population Studies Center, and a U-M professor of economics, received the
Margaret Hicken, a faculty associate at the ISR Popula on Studies Center and a research inves gator at the ISR Survey Research Center, has won a U-M Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Outstanding Research Mentor Award.
2015 Jacob Mincer Award for lifetime contributions to the field of labor economics. The award is sponsored by the Society of Labor Economists.
Arthur Lupia, a research professor at the ISR Center for Poli cal Studies and the Hal R. Varian Collegiate Professor of Poli cal Science at U-M, was among the first recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for his work on improving the understanding of the public value of social science.
In his award citation, Willis is noted as helping to “usher in the modern era of the field with work that combined rigorous modeling and
Rocio TiƟunik, a faculty associate at the ISR Center for Poli cal Studies and a U-M assistant professor of poli cal science, received the 2015 Gosnell Prize, along with Sebas an Calonico and Ma as Ca aneo. The prize honors the best work in poli cal methodology presented at any poli cal science conference during the preceding year.
econometric sophistication and that emphasized the tight links between theory and empirical analysis that characterize labor economics.”
Oscar Ybarra, a faculty associate at the ISR Research Center for Group Dynamics and a professor of psychology, was named director of Innovate Blue, a U-M entrepreneurial ini a ve. Ybarra is the founder of a start-up company that monitors cogni ve func on for individuals and organiza ons.
More information on the Jacob Mincer Award: http://www.sole-jole.org/MincerAward-Main.html
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SYMPOSIUM ON STUDENT ATHLETES ATTRACTS BROAD INTEREST Researchers from U-M and the Na onal Collegiate Athle c Associa on (NCAA) presented a wide range of informa on on the well-being of student athletes at a spring symposium at ISR moderated by Margaret Levenstein, Execu ve Director of the Michigan Research Data Center. Lydia Bell, associate director of research at the NCAA, presented an overview of data available to all members of the NCAA, the media and the public, via the website: www. ncaa.org/about/resources/research For more about the symposium, see h p://bit.ly/1E2TYWp
Tom Paskus (principal research scientist, NCAA) with Bell, center, and Levenstein. Photo credit: Michael McIntyre
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