Research Briefs

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


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.
In May 2020, Brown's new COVID-19 Research Seed Fund, consisting of 15 teams of faculty researchers, began working to develop solutions that could impact the world's response to the pandemic. Emily Oster will work with the team determining how widespread the exposure to the virus has been in Rhode Island.
In May 2020, John Friedman and a nonprofit research team called Opportunity Insights launched the OI Economic Tracker, a new real-time economic tracker to help policymakers, nonprofit organizations and philanthropists understand the dimensions of the COVID-induced economic downturn and identify targeted, effective recovery efforts.
Catherine Lutz is the co-director of Brown University's Costs of War Project and Anne Lutz Fernandez is an English teacher. They are the co-authors of "Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives."
In March 2020, Patrick Heller collaborated with Georgetown University and the Urban Spatial Observatory, led in part by former Watson postdoc Rajesh Veeraraghavan to create India's first COVID-19 map.
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The Politics of the Opioid Epidemic

In April 2020, Susan Moffitt co-edited "The Politics of the Opioid Epidemic" with Eric Patashnik, as well as co-authoring an article in the volume with Paul Testa and Marie Schenk. The piece focuses on American policy and practice in response to the epidemic and explores the question, "Where do we go from here?"
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Beyond bailouts

In March 2020, Mark Blyth co-wrote "Beyond bailouts" with Eric Lonergan. This piece focuses on providing rapid analysis and expertise to the UK government in hopes of protecting livelihoods and ensuring long-term economic recovery in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
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USCIRF: Citizenship Laws and Religious Freedom

In March 2020, Ashutosh Varshney testified in front of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom during the hearing for citizenship laws and religious freedom. He highlighted the recent Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India and the ways in which some individuals feel it targets Muslim immigrants.
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Race and the problem of the public in postwar America

In February 2020, Margaret Weir delivered her inaugural lecture as John G. Winant Professor of American Politics at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford entitled "The Problem of the Public in Postwar America." The lecture examined the interplay between racial inclusion and public life in postwar America.
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Watson Professors Receive Ford Foundation Grant

In February 2020, Patrick Heller and Ashutosh Varshney received a grant of $200,00 from the Ford Foundation for their ongoing project on Citizenship and Urban Governance in India. The grant will allow them to do research in several Indian cities.
In February 2020, Richard Boucher testified in front of Congress during the hearing for "The Afghanistan Papers: Costs and Benefits of America's Longest War." Boucher offered words of advice towards stabilization in Afghanistan and surrounding areas of the Middle East. His experience stems from his time at the Department of State, where he was actively involved in Afghanistan policy from 2000 to 2009.
In a paper released in February 2020 entitled "Income Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility Across Colleges in the United States," John Friedman and colleagues used anonymized data from the federal government to publish statistics for each college in the U.S. on the distribution of students' earnings in their thirties and their parent's incomes.
In 2020, Margaret Weir co-wrote, "Governing the New Geography of Poverty in Metropolitan America" with Elizabeth Mattiuzzi (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) - a piece that was first published in March 2019 and focuses on the new geography of poverty through examining the relationship between low-income residents and the governmental patchwork that defines metropolitan America.
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Spring 2020 Fellowships and Appointments

Proudly announcing new fellowships and appointments awarded to faculty members at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.