Research Briefs

Delve deeper into the most recent research published by Watson faculty.


Emily Oster recently co-authored "Disparities in Learning Mode Access Among K–12 Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic, by Race/Ethnicity, Geography, and Grade Level," a report focused on access to full-time in-person learning for non-Hispanic White students, non-Hispanic Black students, Hispanic students, and students of other race/ethnicities from January–April 2021.
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Populism and Hindu Nationalism in India

Ashutosh Varshney recently co-authored, "Populism and Hindu Nationalism in India" which presents findings from the first-ever survey, conducted in 12 states, of populist attitudes in India.
Reid Pauly was recently invited to join the inaugural Schmidt Futures International Strategy Fellowship Class of 2020, which aims to elevate and connect rising leaders in global affairs and to equip them to tackle the most pressing challenges of the next few decades.
Jeff Colgan recently published, "Climate and Energy in the Transatlantic Relationship" - a piece examining the relationship between climate change and changes in the transatlantic political landscape.
Reid Pauly is mentioned in "2020 Year-End Reflections: Helping People Now and Helping People More in a Global Pandemic" as being among the 27 fellows from diverse fields that made up Schmidt Futures ISF-North America 2020 cohort - a team working on various humanitarian efforts surrounding COVID-19, climate change, racial injustice, rising economic inequality, and threats to democracy.
Rob Blair and co-authors recently wrote, "Can Americans Depolarize? Assessing the Effects of Reciprocal Group Reflection on Partisan Polarization," a piece analyzing an experimental evaluation of a unique depolarization initiative that draws on principles of couples therapy to mitigate hostility between Democrats and Republicans.
Jeff Colgan and co-authors Thomas N. Hale (University of Oxford) and Scott M. Moore (University of Pennsylvania) recently published "Biden's Climate Report Card: 4 A's, 2 B's, 3 Incompletes," in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Andrew Schrank recently wrote "Design Principles for American Industrial Policy," a piece focused on the Biden administration's efforts to mobilize American manufacturing.
Jeff D. Colgan and co-authors Thomas N. Hale (University of Oxford) and Scott M. Moore (University of Pennsylvania) recently published "Biden @ 100 DAYS: A Climate Foreign-Policy Scorecard," which examines the current administration's actions and commitment to reorienting U.S. foreign policy to meet the climate challenge.
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Foreign Aid and State Legitimacy

Rob Blair and Philip Roessler recently published, "Foreign Aid and State Legitimacy" which examines evidence on foreign aid from surveys, survey experiments, and behavioral games.
Drawing on Rio de Janeiro City Councillor Marielle Franco's published masters thesis in public administration, Professor Geri Augusto recently wrote the article "For Marielle: Mulhere(s) da Maré—Danger, Seeds and Tides" for Transition magazine that shines a light on Marielle's thinking about favela life on its own terms, gender equality, anti-racism, policing, and social justice.
Chase Foster and Jeff Frieden, Professor of Government at Harvard University recently published, "Economic Determinants of Public Support for European Integration, 1995–2018" which examines how the state of the economy has shaped public attitudes toward the EU over the last quarter century.
Jayanti Owens recently published "Parental intervention in school, academic pressure, and childhood diagnoses of ADHD," in Social Science & Medicine. The article delves into the dramatic increase in childhood diagnoses of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the U.S. in recent decades.
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Can the 25th Amendment Save Democracy?

Rose McDermott is the author of "Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making", and regularly comments on presidential health and power. Most recently her work has appeared in Vox, the Atlantic, and the Economic Times. Following the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, we asked her to provide additional analysis of the history and potential application of the 25th Amendment.
In January 2021, Eric Patashnik and Wendy J. Schiller provided commentary on the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol. Their insights draws from points made in their recently published edited volume, "Dynamics of American Democracy," (University of Kansas Press).
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Energy and International Conflict

Jeff D. Colgan and Jan B. Stockbruegger co-wrote a chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Energy Politics entitled, "Energy and International Conflict" which reviews the ways in which energy has contributed to modern international wars and conflicts.
Jayanti Owens recently wrote, "Social Class, Diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Child Well-Being." In it, Owens explores the positive and negative effects and implications of ADHD diagnoses in children. Her research is based on disentangling the effects of a positive diagnosis from that of children's underlying behaviors, social contexts, and medication treatment.
In December 2020, Nadje Al-Ali co-wrote, "Beyond Feminism? Jineolojé and the Kurdish Women's Freedom Movement." In it, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies Nadje Al-Ali and co-author Dr. Isabel Käser explore the concept of Jineolojé, a new science and paradigm developed by Kurdish women to challenge Western androcentric knowledge production and address gender-based inequalities within Kurdish society.
Robert Blair is the author of, "Peacekeeping, Policing, and the Rule of Law after Civil War." In it, Blair proposes a new theory to explain how the international community can help establish the rule of law in the world's weakest and most war-torn states, focusing on the crucial but often underappreciated role of the United Nations.
In November 2020, Rose McDermott co-wrote, "Ethics in Field Experimentation: A Call to Establish New Standards to Protect the Public From Unwanted Manipulation and Real Harms." In it, Professor McDermott and co-author Peter K. Hatemi (Pennsylvania State University) delve into the importance of creating new ethical research guidelines for field experiments.
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Anticipation and Consumption

In "Anticipation and Consumption," Neil Thakral analyzes how the timing of information affects consumption decisions using data from the 2008 stimulus payments in the U.S. and data from randomized experiments in Kenya and Malawi.
In December 2020, Eric M. Patashnik and Wendy J. Schiller published "Dynamics of American Democracy: Partisan Polarization, Political Competition and Government Performance." This edited volume brings together leading scholars and practitioners to examine the challenges plaguing contemporary American politics, including ideological polarization, partisan sorting, and legislative stalemate.
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Science, Politics, and the Pandemic

In November 2020, J. Nicholas Ziegler wrote "Science, Politics, and the Pandemic," a piece that compares the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom's approach to containing COVID-19, specifically focusing on the striking variations in their use of scientific expertise to understand the new pathogen.
In October 2020, David Kertzer co-wrote, "The Vatican's Role in the Finaly Children's Kidnapping Case," a piece expanding on the abduction of Robert and Gérald Finaly, two French Jewish orphans of the Holocaust, who were taken when their parents were deported to their death at Auschwitz in 1944.
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COVID-19 School Response Dashboard

In September 2020, Emily Oster created a national COVID-19 dashboard for K-12 schools. The tracking system allows schools to independently collect data on confirmed or suspected cases among faculty and students, as well as data on hybrid versus in-person learning plans.
In September 2020, Prerna Singh was selected as a Rapid-Response Grant Recipient for her research on Covid-19. The grant will allow recipents to support projects examining the experiences of society's vulnerable populations, including migrant farmworkers, refugee communities, and sex workers.
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The Past, Present, and Future of Behavioral IR

In September 2020, Rose McDermott co-wrote "The Past, Present, and Future of Behavioral IR," a piece curated to survey cutting-edge research in psychology, neuroscience, and genetics and explore novel applications to the study of International Relations.
In September 2020, Eric Patashnik wrote "Comparitively Ineffective? PCORI and the Uphill Battle to Make Evidence Count in US Medicine," a piece analyzing the trials and tribulations of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The Institute was created to promote research on the comparative effectiveness of treatment options and has struggled to have an impact on the decisions of physicians and payers.
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Air Travel Fiction and Film: Cloud People

In August 2020, Erica Durante wrote "Air Travel Fiction and Film: Cloud People," a piece exploring how present lifestyle patterns and infrastructure have evolved and how this is illustrated in our air travel practices.
In August 2020, Wendy Schiller collaborated with a team of Brown undergraduate research assistants and Professor Kaitlin Sidorsky at Coastal Carolina University to produce, "Domestic Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of San Diego, California," a brief research essay on domestic violence and COVID-19.
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Solidarność, with Michael Kennedy

In August 2020, a video featuring Michael Kennedy was released to commemorate the 40 year anniversary of the Polish movement, Solidarność. Kennedy reflects on what Solidarity was 40 years ago, and where we might see it today.
In July 2020, Nadje Al-Ali wrote "Covid-19 and feminism in the Global South: Challenges, initiatives and dilemmas," a piece addressing the gendered implications of Covid-19 in the Global South by paying attention to the intersectional pre-existing inequalities that have given rise to specific risks and vulnerabilities.
In July 2020, the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies along with Project HOPE released "COVID-19 Training for Health Care Workers: Preparedness and Response," a project report on the development and implementation of a COVID-19 training program for health workers, public health professionals, health care leadership, and key frontline personnel to rapidly scale-up response efforts in high-risk countries.
In June 2020, Jayanti Owens co-wrote, "Unpacking the Drivers of Racial Disparities in School Suspension and Expulsion," a piece that explores the racial gap in school suspensions and expulsions among 5 to 9-year-old children. Owens' research provides evidence that differential treatment could play a large role in the early criminalization of black students.
In June 2020 Jeff Colgan co-wrote, "Asset Revaluation and the Existential Politics of Climate Change," a piece focused on a dynamic theory of climate politics based on the present and future revaluation of assets that accelerate climate change, such as fossil fuel plants.
In June 2020, Prerna Singh wrote, "How Solidarity is Controlling Contagion in Kerala," a piece highlighting how governmental efforts in Kerala, India have successfully helped reduce citizen vulnerability to COVID-19.
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COVID-19 and Group Relations

In June 2020, Prerna Singh contributed to the Center for the Advanced Study of India's special COVID-19 series "COVID-19 and Group Relations," a study analyzing whether membership in particular groups increases or decreases one's risk to exposure and infection.
In June 2020, Deborah Gordon co-wrote, "Carbon intensity of global crude oil refining and mitigation potential," a study focused on assessing the lifecycle climate impacts of the oil and gas sector and reducing emissions in line with international climate targets.
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The Pandemic and the Production of Solidarity

In May 2020 Maragret Weir published "The Pandemic and the Production of Solidarity," a piece focused on three areas of contrast between the United States and the United Kingdom: economic stimulus strategies, pre-existing healthcare institutions, and public leadership on racial and ethnic differences.
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Policy Analysis and Political Sustainability

In May 2020, Eric Patashnik co-wrote "Policy Analysis and Political Sustainability" with R. Kent Weaver. This piece focuses on a "checklist" of potential sources, risk factors, and warning signs for potential challenges to political sustainability and applies this analysis to the case of the Affordable Care Act.