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:


Robert (Bob) BifulcoRobert Bifulco (PAIA) received funding from the Say Yes Foundation, to work on the project "Third-Party Evaluation of Say Yes in Buffalo." The goal of the initiative is to inspire, prepare, and help low-income and minority students in the city of Buffalo to graduate high school and to attend and succeed in post-secondary education. Bifulco and his co-authors describe plans for evaluating the impacts of Say Yes in Buffalo.


Tom DennisonThe Lerner Center for Health Promotion at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, under the direction of Thomas Dennison (PAIA), received a $250,000 grant to help fund the Near West Side Healthy Neighborhood Initiative. The Near Westside Initiative is a not-for-profit organization operated out of the Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development at Syracuse University.    

William (Bill) HorraceWilliam Horrace (ECON) has been named a “W.E.B. DuBois Scholar," by the National Institutes of Justice. He has also been awarded a grant by the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice to continue his research on police racial profiling. His project is entitled "Police Officer Learning, Mentoring, and Racial Bias in Traffic Stops."



Sarah Hamersma Sarah Hamersma (PAIA) and her colleague, Matt Kim (University of St. Thomas) received funding from the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research for her project “Does Early Food Insecurity Impede the Educational Access Needed to Become Food Secure?” This 18 month project will investigate the extent to which lower educational attainment is a mechanism for the intergenerational transmission of food insecurity.  A major path out of childhood disadvantage is the acquisition of human capital in young adulthood that allows for self-sufficiency in adulthood.  To the extent that such human capital investments are particularly difficult to access for young adults emerging from food-insecure homes, Hamersma and Kim are concerned that lower educational attainment may be one mechanism by which food insecurity is transmitted from one generation to the next.

Colleen HeflinColleen Heflin (PAIA) has been awarded funding for her project “Understanding SNAP and Food Security Among Low-Income Households," from the University of Kentucky/United States Department of Agriculture. This project will assess the relationship between SNAP participation and the probability of premature mortality using nationally-representative data from the 1997-2011 National Health Interview Survey linked to National Death Index (NDI) data on all deaths occurring from 1997 to 2011. They will control for a large set of demographic, health, and contextual factors known to be related to mortality. Specifically, they will ask the following: What is the relationship between SNAP participation and mortality among low-income adults and children?  Does this relationship vary by the state food and health environment and has this relationship changed over time?

Colleen is Principal Investigator for the project "SNAP and Child Health: Evidence from Missouri Administrative Data," funded by the Economic Research Service from the United States Department of Agriculture. Peter Mueser and Irma Arteaga (University of Missouri) are Co-Investigators. This project conducts cross-program analysis that links the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) administrative records to determine the extent to which the timing of SNAP benefits are associated with the timing of emergency room claims for childhood asthma and injuries. Additional analysis will also examine whether there is a dose-response relationship associated with the size of SNAP benefits.

Colleen is also Co-Principal Investigator with James P. Ziliak for their funded project "Understanding SNAP and Food Security Among Low-Income Household" from the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research/United States Department of Agriculture. This project uses unique data from the National Health Interview Survey combined with other available data to conduct high-priority research on SNAP and household food security. The research focuses on socioeconomic analysis of household food behaviors and SNAP, including the issues of benefit adequacy, food security, and health outcomes.

Colleen also has funding for her project "Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability and Material Hardship: The Role for Public Policy after the Great Recession" from 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.

Amy LutzAmy Lutz (SOC) has a funded project “Access to Selective Colleges in the Pre- and Post-Grutter Eras Among Racial, Ethnic, and Immigrant Groups” by the National Science Foundation. The project examines the application to, enrollment in, and graduation from four-year selective institutive and public, and four-year non-selective institutions in the pre- and post-Grutter time periods. Using multivariate statistical methods, they analyze data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 and the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, and use these surveys collected by the National Center for Education Statistics that reflect high school graduates' enrollments in college in 1994 and 2006, prior to and after the 2003 Supreme Court case.


Katherine MichelmoreKatherine Michelmore (PAIA) received support for her project with Susan Dynarski (University of Michigan), “The Gap within the Gap: Using Longitudinal Data to Understand Income Differences in Educational Outcomes,” from the Russell Sage Foundation. They will document patterns of children’s economic disadvantage from kindergarten through secondary school, examine how the duration of timing of disadvantage relates to education outcomes, and determine whether findings hold true in other states. 

Kathy Michelmore received funding from the University of Wisconsin, Institute for Research on Poverty, with colleague Natasha Pilkauskas (University of Michigan) for their project "Assessing the Effectiveness of Tax Credits in Early Childhood: Links Between the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Poverty, and Material Hardship." For this project, Michelmore and Pilkauskas will examine patterns of childhood exposure to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, asking questions such as “at what age do children first receive the EITC and the CTC, and how long do they receive it?” They will also examine whether these tax credits are differentially effective in lifting young vs. older children out of poverty.


Michah Rothbart

Michah Rothbart (PAIA) and Amy Schwartz (PAIA/ECON) have received funding from the Tufts/UConn RIDGE program for their project titled "Does Universal Free School Meals Reduce Obesity?" This project will investigate the effects of district-wide Universal Free Meals (UFM) policies, which provide school lunch for free to all students, regardless of income. Traditionally, public schools certify student eligibility at the individual level, offering free meals to poor students (household income up to 135% of the federal poverty line), at a reduced price to other low-income students (household income up to 185%), and at a higher price to others.

Rebecca (Becky) ScheweRebecca Schewe (SOC) has been funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Saltonstall-Kennedy, her project on “Communication Avenues for Vietnamese Fishing Communities in Mississippi and Alabama with Coastal Resource Agencies.” She will hold focus groups with Vietnamese American fishermen in Louisiana to ask about their relationship with state and federal agencies, and interview representatives from state agencies and community organizations.

Rebecca has also received funding for her co-project with Ron Erskine (Michigan State), "An Integrated Milk Quality Extension and Education Program to Reduce Mastitis and Antimicrobial Use," from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This project seeks to improve US food security by decreasing the impact of mastitis and reducing antibiotic use on dairy farms.

 Rebecca's newest grant for her co-project with colleagues Christa Kelleher (Earth Sciences) and Teng Zeng (Civil and Environmental Engineering) titled, “Linking Human Behavior And Hydrological Processes Towards Improved Understanding Of Spatio-Temporal CEC Prevalence Across Agroecosystems," is from 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 SchwartzAmy Ellen Schwartz (PAIA/ECON) received a 4-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the impact of the neighborhood built environment on child weight outcomes. Amy also received funding from J-PAL (Abdul Latif Jamell Poverty Action Lab) for her project “Can (E)mail Improve the Effectiveness of BMI Reporting?” with Meryl Weinstein (NYU). This project studies whether the way information is delivered is as important as its content. Along with the NYC Department of Education, Schwartz and Weinsten will consider the impact of a pilot intervention of two alternative delivery methods. The pilot study piggybacks on the existing BMI and fitness report card program in NYC and considers two low-cost interventions that may increase its effectiveness.

Schwartz and co-PI, Brian Elbel (NYU), have also received funding from the National Institute on Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseaes (NIDDKD) for their project “Impact of the Food Environment on Child Body Mass Index.” This project will work to combine NYC Department of Education FITNESSGRAM data, which includes BMI, school and residential locations, for all New York City public school children from 2005 onward with detailed data on the food environment surrounding each child’s home and school. Researchers will use a variety of enhanced methodological techniques to estimate the true relationship between food environment and obesity.

Amy Ellen has also received funding from the Spencer Foundation for her project with Leanna Stiefel (NYU), titled “Special Education Policy Reforms: Equal Opportunity at Last?” This project studies the impact of special education policy reform in New York City, which educates more special education students, in more schools, than any other US district. Specifically, they explore how the school experiences and outcomes of both special and general education students have changed in conjunction with NYC’s special education policy change using unusually rich and detailed data on special education classifications, settings, and time spent in setting. Key student outcomes include performance on standardized tests, attendance, duration in special education, and experiences in school (e.g., safety, bullying, acceptance).

Amy received a two-year grant from the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to study transportation issues for low-income children. This project will 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.

Pete WilcoxenPete Wilcoxen (PAIA) and his team composed of faculty from the iSchool, the School of Engineering/Computer Science, and the Law School at Syracuse University received National Science Foundation funding for their project, "Distributed Energy Markets." 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.