Funded Research Projects

CPR's raison d'être is to help faculty accomplish their research goals with as much internal support and as little external interference as is consistent with its position in our student-centered research institution. Because good research in applied public policy needs time and money, one of CPR's main goals is to raise enough external funding to meet faculty needs for time away from the classroom, computing and copying, mail, and other dissemination vehicles. External research support also contributes significantly to the size and quality of the graduate programs in economics, public administration and international affairs, and sociology by providing monetary support of graduate students.

Currently funded research projects:

Alfonso Flores-Lagunes
 Alfonso Flores-Lagunes (ECON)

  • “Genes, Education, and Gene-Education Interactions in Obesity and Mental Health,” Alfonso Flores-Lagunes (Co-PI) with Vikesh Amin, PI(Central Michigan University), Carlos A. Flores, Co-PI(California Polytechnic State University--San Luis Obispo), and Jere Behrman, Co-PI and H-P Kohler, Co-PI (University of Pennsylvania). Funded by NIH. This 3-year project will apply econometric methods, instrumental variables and within-sibling comparisons, that use quasi-experimental variation in educational attainment to increase their understanding of causal relations of education, genes, and GxE interactions on obesity and depression. The specific aims are to estimate main effects of education, genetic risk, and GxE interactions on obesity and depression using (i) the Easter School Leaving Rule as a natural experiment in the UK and data from the UK Biobank, (ii) local factors in the individual’s county of residence near secondary school completion age (college availability, education expenditures, unemployment rate) as instruments for education in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth) datasets, and (iii) the sibling fixed-effects approach in the Add Health dataset. Overall, the project will provide a comprehensive array of results and new insights as they compare results from different methods, datasets, across different educational levels, and by gender.

  • Work Transitions in a Dynamic Labor Market,” Collaborative effort with the iSchool and Principal Investigator, Martha A. Garcia-Murillo. Funded by Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. This project will analyze the manner in which high and low skilled workers transition from one employment status to another and how they decide among alternative jobs. The researchers will explore the personal, infrastructure and policy challenges, the opportunities they face when making these decisions, as well as the employment alternatives that contribute to the transition process.

  • “Preparing for a Post-Work Future?” Collaborative effort with the iSchool and Principal Investigator, Martha A. Garcia-Murillo. Funded by Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. The goal of this project is to rethink the meaning of work and the manner in which companies, society, and government will need to change to accommodate a world where the substitution from machines puts increasing pressure on wages.

Colleen Heflin
Colleen Heflin (PAIA)

  • “Creating Evidence-Based Strategies to Address Administrative Churn in SNAP,” with Len Lopoo as Co-Principal Investigator and the Maxwell X Lab. Funded by the USDA. This project is part of a larger project being conducted through a partnership between the Maxwell X Lab at Syracuse University and Hennepin County’s (MN) Human Services and Public Health Department. Together, the team will work to help redesign the SNAP recertification process in MN and is that uses randomized control trials (RCTs) and cost benefit analysis to create an evidence-base for how to reduce administrative churn in the SNAP caseload cost-effectively in Hennepin County, MN. Heflin and her team will use econometric analysis to explore the applicability and effectiveness of traditional and more behavioral-based nudges to reduce churn. In addition, to assess the broad applicability of their findings, they will use ERS administrative data to examine whether the factors identified as influencing churn are similar in other states.

  • "Snap Uptake and School Readiness in Virginia," with Michah Rothbart. Funded by USDA Department of Agriculture. This project will utilize advanced econometric techniques to evaluate the relationship between participation in SNAP and school readiness. In support of this project, the researchers will also examine the various factors that may affect whether or not eligible households choose to participate in SNAP. The results will help the USDA understand both the effectiveness and efficiency of the SNAP program. 

  • "Does Child Support Increase Self-sufficiency?: Results from Virginia," with Leonard Lopoo (Syracuse University, Center for Policy Research). Funded by the University of Wisconsin. This project will use linked administrative data from the State of Virginia to examine the relationship between generosity of child support benefits and length of time on SNAP and TANF using variation in the benefit amount by geographic area and family size generated by the TANF family cap. Additionally, it will estimate the self-sufficiency benefits of the child support payment to the custodial parent against the costs to self-sufficiency for the non-custodial parent in terms of SNAP length of participation and total benefit outlays.

  • "Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability and Material Hardship: The Role for Public Policy after the Great Recession." Funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. This project applies sophisticated econometric techniques to data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation and longitudinal data from the Panel Study on Income Dynamics to understand how and why households enter and exit material hardship, the extent to which federal program participation acts as a buffer, and how material hardship, not poverty, affects children and adults over the long-term.

William Horrace
William Horrace

  • "Police Officer Learning, Mentoring, and Racial Bias in Traffic Stops." Funded by the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice to continue his research on police racial profiling. The goals of this project aim to better understand the effects of officer experience and exposure to citizens of differing race on their perceived proclivities for racial bias in traffic stops, while controlling for officer, citizen, and neighborhood demographics. The study will develop and estimate an econometric peer-effect model of police "on the job training" that explicitly captures how racially biased behaviors may be transmitted from senior officers to rookie officers, while accounting for the selectivity bias induced by the chiefs choices of mentor/mentee pairings. The data will be used to estimate officer-level measures of racial bias proclivity as an outcome variable in regression models to uncover the effects of experience, mentoring, and exposure on officer racial biases.

Yilin Hou

Yilin Hou (PAIA)

  • Improving Local Property Tax Administration in New York State,” Principal Investigator with Co-Principal Investigators John Yinger, Michael Wasylenko, and Minch Lewis. Funded by Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. This project aims to address problems such as long overdue reassessments of property values, fragmentation of tax assessing units, rampant (excessive) exemptions of properties from the tax base, and meddling (weakening) of local tax base by the State General Assembly. The project will accomplish these goals by improving property tax administration in the State of New York. Researchers will develop theoretical models and conduct elaborate empirical analyses to generate evidence in the era of the new tax reform.

  • “Montgomery County Municipal Restructuring Fund Projects,” Principal Investigator, with Co-Principal Investigators Michael Wasylenko and Minch Lewis. Funded by a Services Agreement with Montgomery County NY. In this project, Maxwell researchers developed a comprehensive report on the consolidation of two local governments in Montgomery County. The report included consolidated budgets and projections for savings over a 5-year period.  Additional phases of the project involve financial analysis and evidence to support court consolidation, records management, and the reorganization of security services under the County Sheriff.

Katherine Michelmore
Katherine Michelmore

  • "HAIL Scholars: Increasing Economic Diversity at a Flagship University" with Susan Dynarski (University of Michigan). Funded by Smith Richardson Foundation. This project addresses the concern that low-income, high-achieving students enroll and graduate from highly-selective institutions at far lower rates than high-income students by evaluating a randomized controlled trial we designed to increase the college enrollment and completion rates of low-income students at the University of Michigan. The intervention, known as the HAIL scholarship, targeted low-income, high-achieving students in Michigan, as well as their parents and their principals.

  • “Trajectories of Student Disadvantage: Unpacking Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility Across Childhood,” Peter Rich. Funded by CPC-CAPS Upstate Population Seed Grant Program. This study will use both administrative and survey data to 1) illustrate the dynamics of disadvantage a child experiences throughout primary and secondary school, 2) understand the common household factors associated with transitions on and off of disadvantage, and 3) analyze how patterns of disadvantage are associated with education outcomes. Importantly, this project develops a toolkit for educational researchers to describe student socioeconomic background even with limited administrative data. Results from the analysis will inform researchers and policymakers on common patterns of childhood disadvantage, the factors associated with transitions in and out of disadvantage, and how these patterns are associated with educational outcomes.

Shannon Monnat
Shannon Monnat  (SOC)

  • “Local Initiatives, State Preemption, and Public Health,” Co-Principal Investigator with Doug Wolf (Co-PI) and Jennifer Karas Montez (Co-PI). Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The project seeks to answer the following questions: (1.) What factors best indicate opioid risk in rural places? (2.) What responses are rural communities and their police making to the opioid epidemic, especially for police intelligence and information gathering? (3.) What intelligence-centered approach do rural police departments find most useful and how do they respond when primed to initiate one with a small investment of resources? (4.) What benefit is yielded with new initiatives in opioid response and drug intelligence for rural police? Where should taxpayers invest resources for maximal outcomes?

  • Building Drug Intelligence Networks to Combat the Opioid Crisis in Rural Communities: A Collaborative Intelligence-led Policing Strategy,” Co-Investigator with Andrew Hochstetler (PI), David Peters, Jeff Bouffard, Kyle Burgason, and Glenn Sterner. Funded by the National Institute of Justice. The project seeks to answer the following questions: (1) What factors best indicate opioid risk in rural places? (2) What responses are rural communities and their police making to the opioid epidemic, especially for police intelligence and information gathering? (3.) What intelligence-centered approach do rural police departments find most useful and how do they respond when primed to initiate one with a small investment of resources? (4) What benefit is yielded with new initiatives in opioid response and drug intelligence for rural police? Where should taxpayers invest resources for maximal outcomes? 

  • Population Health Mini-Conference and Seminar Series,” Principal Investigator with Co-Principal Investigators Dessa Bergen-Cico, Travisi R. Hobart, Janet Wilmoth, Rebecca Bostwick, and Mary Collins. Funded by Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. The primary goal of this project is to stimulate research collaborations and proposals for external funding, and facilitate peer-to-peer and mentor-mentee relationships and developing a mechanism for disseminating population health research findings to students, policymakers, and the public. Research efforts will be led by the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion with collaboration from Co-PIs in the Aging Studies Institute, Falk College, and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

  • "Understanding Opioid Risks in Rural and Micropolitan Communities: Economic Restructuring and Social Responses," Co-Principal Investigator with Principal Investigator David Peters, and Co-Principal Investigators, Andrew Hochestetler, Eric Rozier and Mark Berg. Funded by the USDA NIFA/Iowa State University. The goal of this integrated research-extension project is to identify and disseminate effective place-based strategies that reduce opioid risks and hazards in rural and micropolitan communities experiencing social disorganization due to economic restructuring. 

  • "Identifying and Informing Strategies for Disrupting Drug Distribution Networks: An Application to Opiate Flows in Pennsylvania," Co-Principal Investigator with Principal Investigator, Glenn Sterner and Co-Principal Investigator, Ashton Verdery. Funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)/Penn State University. This study will provide recommendations to law enforcement agencies on how to maximize the efficiency for disruption of the supply of opiates into communities and develop a model for use in other jurisdictions from results of the study. The results will be provided to the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania state governmental agencies, U.S. governmental agencies, law enforcement agencies across the United States, the academic community, law practitioners, and local community organizations.


David Popp (PAIA)

  • “Can Green Government Spending Aid Employment Transitions in a Low Carbon Economy?,” Principal Investigator. Funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network (EEPRN). This project will estimate the effect on employment of “green” stimulus spending in response to the Great Recession in the U.S., paying particular attention to whether the effectiveness of such spending varies depending on the pre-recession composition of skills in the local workforce. The results will inform policymakers on the potential for government spending to help smooth the transition to a green economy for workers in sectors of the economy negatively impacted by environmental regulation.

Rebecca (Becky) Schewe
Rebecca Schewe

  • “Mixed Methods Grant Obtaining Operational Development (MMGOOD),” with Principal Investigator Jason Wiles. Funded by Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. This research project will be among the first in biology education research to focus on qualitative studies of URM populations. Researchers will leverage the findings from this project to apply for more grant funding that supports minority students (like our current SUSTAIN grant) and enhance URM student performance in science courses and retention in STEM majors.

  • Linking Human Behavior and Hydrological Processes Towards Improved Understanding Of Spatio-Temporal CEC Prevalence Across Agroecosystems," co-project with colleagues Christa Kelleher (Earth Sciences) and Teng Zeng (Civil and Environmental Engineering).  Funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the USDA. The objective of this project is to link human behavior, hydrological processes, and the occurrence of chemicals of emerging concern (CECs) in New York waterways downstream of agricultural systems.

Amy Ellen Schwartz
Amy Ellen Schwartz

  • "School Choice Policy Research Center: A National Research Partnership to Improve School Choice for Disadvantaged Students." Funded by Institute of Education Sciences (IES)/Tulane University. Amy Ellen Schwartz is part of a team at the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH) housed at Tulane University. Researchers will focus on how school choice is working for minority, low-income, English-language learner and special education students, as well as other disadvantaged students. REACH will track student outcomes and other metrics in essentially every school and every state to assess how different approaches to school choice, such as voucher programs and charter schools, can better serve disadvantaged students.

  • Between Home and School: The School Bus and Student Outcomes.” Funded by the Institute of Education SciencesThe purpose of this project is to explore how an often overlooked school context, the school bus, is related to differences in student characteristics and academic outcomes, and examine the extent to which this relationship might differ for poor and minority students. Schwartz will make use of a new data source –longitudinal pupil transportation records and longitudinal student records to provide descriptive evidence on who rides the bus, how bus services differ across students and schools, and the potential link between bus services and student outcomes.

  • “The Impact of the Built Environment on Child BMI,” with Brian Elbel. Funded by New York University. These researchers will work with IESP at New York University to analyze existing administrative and survey data from New York City public schools to address the gap in knowledge regarding the impact of the home and school built environment.

Saba Siddiki

Saba Siddiki (PAIA)

  • A Research Coordination Network Dedicated to Coordinating and Advancing Analytical Approaches for Policy Design,” Principal Investigator with Edella Schlager, Charlie Schweik, Seth Frey, Doug Rice, Chris Weible, Tanya Heikkila, and Brenda Bushouse. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The funded research coordination network (RCN) will foster collaboration and intellectual exchange toward (i) the development of generalizable and reliable approaches for studying the design of public policy; (ii) the identification of theoretically motivated criteria for contextualizing policy design assessments; and (iii) the generation of guidance on how to apply computational and other methods for assessing policy design and studying simulated and actual behavioral responses to policy design. The RCN will focus particularly on theoretically and methodologically developing an increasingly popular approach for studying the language of public policy, called the Institutional Grammar.

Pete Wilcoxen
Pete Wilcoxen

  • “Northeast Residential Energy Use Pilot Study,” Principal Investigator with Co-Principal Investigators Steve Chapin, Keli Perrin, and Jason Dedrick. Funded by Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. This proposal would carry out a pilot study of residential electricity consumption by households in the Northeast and use high resolution metering that enables near real time monitoring of electricity use at the level of individual circuits.
  • "Distributed Energy Markets,"  with his team composed of faculty from the iSchool, the School of Engineering/Computer Science, and the Law School at Syracuse University. Funded by the National Science Foundation. The team will conduct research into various "two-way distributed" energy market designs to assess potential security and privacy risks inherent in each, and the trade-offs between reducing risk and optimizing market performance.