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.

Sarah Hamersma
Sarah Hamersma (PAIA)

  • “Does Early Food Insecurity Impede the Educational Access Needed to Become Food Secure?” with Matt Kim (University of St. Thomas). Funded by the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. 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 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.

  • "SNAP and Child Health: Evidence from Missouri Administrative Data." Colleen is Principal Investigator and Peter Mueser and Irma Arteaga (University of Missouri) are Co-Investigators. Funded by the Economic Research Service from the United States Department of Agriculture. 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.

  • "Understanding SNAP and Food Security Among Low-Income Household." Colleen is Co-Principal Investigator with James P. Ziliak. Funded by 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.

  • "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 exemptions of properties from the tax base, and meddling of local tax base by the State General Assembly 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.

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.

  • "The Persistence of Poverty: Using Longitudinal Data to Understand Income Differences in Educational Outcomes," with Susan Dynarski (University of Michigan). Funded by the University of Michigan. This project will use data on the population of students attending Michigan public schools to assess patterns in subsidized-meal eligibility from kindergarten through high school, documenting how the duration of eligibility affects measurement of the income-based gap in high school completion and college enrollment; specifically examining how both the duration and timing of disadvantage throughout school affects educational outcomes.

  • "Assessing the Effectiveness of Tax Credits in Early Childhood: Links Between the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Poverty, and Material Hardship," with colleague Natasha Pilkauskas (University of Michigan). Funded by the University of Wisconsin, Institute for Research on Poverty.  This project 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. 

Shannon Monnat
Shannon Monnat  (SOC)

  • 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.

  • "Despair, Death and Democracy: Understanding Associations between Place-Level Economic Conditions, Populations Health and US Election Outcomes," Principle Investigator. Funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. This project will take a two-part political economy approach to identify associations between place-level economic factors, sickness and death, and voting outcomes. The study will assess the relationship between absolute and relative economic conditions, life expectancy, and the top causes of mortality in the U.S.

  • "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.

 Michah Rothbart
Michah Rothbart (PAIA)

  • "Does Universal Free School Meals Reduce Obesity?" with Amy Schwartz (PAIA/ECON). Funded by the Tufts/UConn RIDGE program. 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) 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.

  • Communication Avenues for Vietnamese Fishing Communities in Mississippi and Alabama with Coastal Resource Agencies,” Principal Investigator. Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Saltonstall-Kennedy. 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.

  • "An Integrated Milk Quality Extension and Education Program to Reduce Mastitis and Antimicrobial Use," co-project with Ron Erskine (Michigan State). Funded by 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.

  • 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

  • “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.

  • "Can (E)mail Improve the Effectiveness of BMI Reporting?” with Meryl Weinstein (NYU).  Funded by the J-PAL (Abdul Latif Jamell Poverty Action Lab). 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.

  • “Impact of the Food Environment on Child Body Mass Index,” with Co-Principal Investigator, Brian Elbel (NYU). Funded by the National Institute on Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD).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.

Saba Siddiki

Saba Siddiki (PAIA)

  • “Coordinating and Advancing Analytical Approaches for Policy Design,” Principal Investigator. Funded by Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. The proposed seminar will have the broad objective of advancing understanding regarding the link between policy design and behavior and will focus on development of theoretically informed analytical tools for reliable machine coding of large quantities of public policies. Outputs from the seminar will support scientists across disciplines interested in better understanding how different elements of policy design influence policy interpretation and response, as well as policymakers who are charged with creating effective public policies, and will help stimulate a dialogue among colleagues affiliated with the grant and the broader Syracuse University community.

Michael Wasylenko
Michael Wasylenko (ECON)

  • "Regional Economic Growth Across New York State.” Funded by Citizens Budget Commission. This project will document the variability in regional economic growth in regions; evaluate the outcomes of State and regional strategies and policies and compare them to best practices; and present options and/or recommendations for improving economic growth through changes to current policies and/or through alternate approaches in the State’s regions.

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.