Research Briefs

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


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Human Animal Health

Watson Institute Senior Fellow Alex Nading published a special issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly on the topic of "Human Animal Health," co-editing the issue with Hannah Brown (Durham University).
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The RTI Story: Power to the People

In her book, Indian activist Aruna Roy tells the story of how a people's movement brought about the Right to Information (RTI) Act in India in 2005.
Senior Fellow Richard Arenberg's recent book, "Congressional Procedure: A Practical Guide to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress: The House of Representatives and Senate Explained," has won the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Award and the bronze 2019 Independent Publisher Book Award for Best Non-Fiction Book in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Brown University hosted a conference on the economic and political consequences of climate change, which featured U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and top scholars and analysts. Topics covered included housing markets, stranded assets and the entrenched interests of climate deniers.
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The Political Geography and Inequality in America

In December, Professor Margaret Weir convened "The Political Geography and Inequality in America" workshop to discuss how spatial arrangements influence inequality in the country.
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$5.9 Trillion Spent and Obligated on Post-9/11 Wars

A new report by the Costs of War Project estimates that the United States has spent and obligated more than $5.9 trillion on the war on terror, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
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How Strong Is the Nuclear Taboo Today?

In a recent article, Nina Tannenwald explores the threat that the Trump administration poses to the seven decade tradition of not using nuclear weapons.
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The Opportunity Atlas

In collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau, Opportunity Insights, a research and policy institute formed by Harvard and Brown University economists including Associate Professor John Friedman, released an interactive mapping tool called "The Opportunity Atlas." The Atlas helps predict how neighborhoods influence the trajectories of the children who grow up there.
In a newly released study, Susan Moffitt, director of the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy, partners with Susanna Loeb, new director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and other researchers for Getting Down to Facts II, a project aimed at supporting improvements in California's K-12 public school system, originally released in 2007.
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Democratic Erosion

A multi-university course, Democratic Erosion, led by Assistant Professor Rob Blair, closed its first academic year with a full-day conference with faculty and students from across the nation at the Watson Institute.
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Invigorating U.S. Leadership in Global Development

Senior Fellow Brian Atwood shares a brief history of the United States foreign assistance program, that he presented at the Aspen Institute in Colorado in early August.
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The Naturalization of Work

In a collection of essays put together by Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Sarah Besky, examines the confluence of labor and environmental exploitation.
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How America's Wars Fund Inequality at Home

A new study by the Costs of War Project investigates the United States' government spending in wars since the War of 1812, addressing the relationship between war-related debt and societal inequality.
In a new study published in the American Journal of Political Science, co-author Provost Richard M. Locke uses new data on retailers and manufacturers to analyze how firm-level trade responds to information about social standards.
Based on three years of research in Rio de Janeiro, Postdoctoral Fellow Nicholas Barnes explores the replacement of state authority with the criminal violence of drug trafficking gangs in favelas (impoverished informal neighborhoods).
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The Evils of Polygyny

In her new book, Professor Rose McDermott examines one structural factor that instigates, enforces, and replicates patterns of male dominance: the practice of polygyny.
Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence-Based Medicine, co-written by Public Policy program director Eric Patashnik, describes the U.S. medical system, the most advanced in the world, and its insufficient evaluation process of treatments that often become widespread.
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Health Reform after the 2016 Election

In May 2017, Professor Eric Patashnik convened a conference on "Health Reform after the 2016 Election," bringing together scholars to examine and discuss the state of health reform. The contributions led to a special edition of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.
In a new article in American Sociological Review, Postdoctoral Fellow Ali Kadivar deconstructs the "elitist approach" to democratization by analyzing new democracies from the past half-century.
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Climate Change and the Politics of Military Bases

Driven by the U.S. Army's Project Iceworm initiative in Greenland, political scientist Jeff Colgan released a new study on the effects of climate change on military bases.
In new research, Adam C. Levine, Faculty Fellow and Director of the Humanitarian Innovation Initiative, joined colleagues to employ the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology to develop eveidence-based guidelines for the care of admitted Ebola patients.
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Do the Geneva Conventions Matter?

Nina Tannenwald, Director of the International Relations Program, co-edited the new book, Do the Geneva Conventions Matter?, offering a comparative analysis of the laws that govern warfare.
In March 2017, political economist Mark Blyth co-hosted a multidisciplinary conference on "The New Financial Geopolitics," that brought about new research on the issue of global monetary stability. These contributions were published together in a new e-book published by Foreign Affairs magazine.
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The Contemporary Congress

In her new book co-written with Burdett A. Loomis, political scientist Wendy Schiller deconstructs the U.S. Congress in an era of heightened partisanship and increased polarization.