SBS Newsletter – June 2011
In this issue
Two-Week Study Abroad Course Explores Argentina
Economist Kurtulus Receives Huber Fellowship
SBS Appoints New Director of Advising
Holub to Stay on as Chancellor for One More Year
WEF Launches The Future of Government Report
Influencing the Advocacy Agenda for Transnational Groups
Economists Share $360,000 NSF Grant for Environmental Justice Research
Betting on Green Jobs
U.S. Senate Confirms Marrett as NSF Deputy Director
Alejandro Publishes Book on Nietzsche
Tops for Community Service
Study Abroad in Cuba Program Opens to Five College Students
Tornado Rips Kellogg Hometown of Springfield
From time to time the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences sponsors lectures, panels and programs that may be of special interest to alumni. Most of these take place on campus, generally in the late afternoon or early evening, and are free. If you are interested in receiving notification of these events, let us know and we'll put you on a listserv.
In an article in FINalternatives about sovereign wealth funds and pensions investing more and directly in hedge funds, Chris Greer '88 (economics), global head of capital introductions at Citi, says, “Size is not the only factor in attracting institutional capital, and other aspects of maturity and stability are equally important in reaching an institutional threshold to make investors attracted to these managers." Note: registration required to read full article.
Angela Lussier '03 (communication), associate director of alumni career programs for the Alumni Association, offered career tips for new graduates just entering the job market and professionals looking to make a change on WWLP Channel 22 Springfield.
Hoopster Anthony Gurley ’11 (sociology) was one of five players who worked out with Celtics on June 11! Read more...
New York Jet safety James Ihedigbo '07 (sociology) is spending the offseason much like the rest of his teammates, training without coaches' supervision as they wait for the lockout to be lifted. Ihedigbo is also waiting for the second coming of “Beast Mode,” the term he uses to describe the mentality of the Jets' top-notch secondary in 2010, and believes the team can win many Super Bowls under Coach Rex Ryan. Read more...
Jared Stenquist '07 (communication), founder of CampusLIVE in 2003, recently closed a $3.1-million round of venture funding from Highland Capital Partners and Charles River Ventures. Read a profile in his hometown newspaper, the Holliston (MA) Patch.
People in the 18-49 age group appear to prefer fake news, or liberal leaning satire, like Jon Stewart's Daily Show, over the real stuff. Recently, Stewart got more viewers than FOX News, with the exception of Bill O'Reilly. David Pakman '06 (communication/economics), host of The David Pakman Show (a multiplatform politics and news talk show airing on radio, television, and the internet), appeared on The Alyona Show (June 7) to discuss these ratings.
Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Association, on their Events Listing. And check out MaroonCentral, the Alumni Association's online community. This is a FREE social networking service that encourages communication and professional networking among alumni and students through class notes, profiles, a searchable directory, and more.
Faculty and Department News
The Social Science Research Council has awarded a competitive Dissertation Prospectus Development Fellowship to Ph.D. student Alper Yagci (political science). Yagci will participate in SSRC research workshops and spend the summer in Mexico City and Istanbul, developing his Spanish and doing preliminary research. Yagci, concentrating on comparative politics and critical political economy, is interested in studies of state, market, and class in the context of late capitalist development. He is examining several topics: the design and working of social policy instruments; contestations over the use of urban space; the governance of genetically modified crops, in developing countries, focusing on Latin America and Turkey. The SSRC workshops are designed to help prepare early-stage graduate students to undertake critical summer research that will inform the design of their dissertation, and the fellowships provide stipends to cover much of the summer research costs.
Amel Ahmed (political science) has received a $15,000 Faculty Research Grant/Healy Endowment Grant for her research project "The Devil is in the Democratic Details: The Politics of Institutional Choice in the Egyptian Transition." Ahmed's project will "analyze the determinants of institutional choice in the context of democratization...[and advance the] understanding of [the] field through a careful analysis of the 'micro-dynamics' of democratic development." Read more...
Leah Wing and Prof. Emeritus Ethan Katsh (legal studies) were invited participants at the United Nations Online Dispute Resolution Working Group May 23-27, 2011 in New York City. Their paper, "Creating a cross-border online dispute resolution data exchange system" explored the complexity of designing and implementing an electronic, international conflict resolution system. Read more...
Visiting scholar Michael Hannahan (political science), director of the Civic Initiative at the Donahue Institute, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach American Politics at the University of San Andres in Buenos Aires from August through December 2011. He will also work with the Argentine Fulbright Commission and UMass to design and implement a course on American Studies.
SBS in the News
Forbes, 6/27/11. A study by Michelle J. Budig (sociology) and graduate student Melissa J. Hodges is cited. Having children, they found, reduces women’s earnings, even among workers with comparable qualifications, experience, work hours and jobs. While all women suffer negative earnings consequences from having children, the lowest-paid women lose the most from motherhood.
New York Times (Economix blog), 6/27/11). Nancy Folbre (economics) writes about how low birth weight is a strong economic indicator of how a child will do in society. She also argues that exposure to environmental pollution is a key contributor to the health of newborns and has a strong impact on birth weight. New York Times (Economix blog), 6/20/11. Folbre writes about the value of early childhood education and why businesses should consider it a good investment. She notes that while such programs have political support across the ideological spectrum, budget cuts are likely to reduce state and federal funding for them. New York Times (Economix blog), 6/13/11. Folbre writes about ways to cut the child poverty rate in the U.S. Great Britain, she says, has accomplished this goal with some pretty standard economic policy tools. Marketwatch.com, 6/9/11. Folbre comments in a story about Connecticut’s new paid-sick-leave law that affects hourly service workers and likely will be signed soon by the governor. The law, she says, may impose some new costs on employers and consumers, but it improves workers' health and quality of life. New York Times (Economix blog), 6/6/11. Folbre writes about how Vermont is bucking the national trend and creating a Canadian-style, single-payer health insurance system for its citizens. She notes that Gerald Friedman (economics) estimates Massachusetts could see savings of 17% in its health care costs under a similar system.
Newsday, 6/25/11 [subscription required]. An OpEd about New York's legalization of same-sex marriage cites research by M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, and her book When Gay People Get Married. Badgett found that European countries that legalized same-sex marriage during the past 15 years saw lower divorce rates and higher levels of heterosexual marriage than those that didn’t.
Aljazeera.net, 6/22/11. Jillian Schwedler (political science) writes about Arab monarchies no longer enjoying greater legitimacy and stability than neighboring countries that have at least some form of democratic government. Some monarchies, she says, allow some degree of political participation by ordinary people, and so far have avoided the wrenching changes that have come to Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. Other more conservative regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, are resisting change using money and police power to retain their grip.
Oregonlive.com, 6/22/11, Bikeportland.org [Ore.], Post-Gazette [Pittsburgh], 6/20/11. A new study by Heidi Garrett-Peltier (Political Economy Research Institute) finds that infrastructure projects with major bicycling and walking components are more labor-intensive than “road-only” building projects. Bicycling and walking oriented work, she says, generates about 46% more jobs overall.
Southcoasttoday.com, 6/20/11. A report released by the Labor Center says blue collar workers hired through temporary agencies often aren’t paid fairly and have difficulty filing for worker’s compensation.
Politifact.com, 6/17/11. A story about N.J. Gov. Chris Christie's assertion that tax increases between 2004 and 2008 caused state residents to take $70 billion in wealth out of the state cites research by Jeffrey Thompson (Political Economy Research Institute). Higher taxes, he found, don’t cause people to move out of state, but can keep them from moving into a new state.
Chicago Reader, 6/16/11. Andrew Papachristos (sociology) says gun control efforts in Chicago should focus on keeping firearms away from the people who are using them in crimes and to commit murders, not ordinary citizens who own guns. He says it’s the felons who have guns that are the real problem.
Real News Network, 6/16/11. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, says controlling health care costs is at the heart of the nation’s long-term debt problem.
The New Republic, 6/15/11. A study co-authored by Arindrajit Dube (economics) finds that the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban in 2004 coincides with an increase in gun-related crimes and homicides in Mexico, particularly in areas bordering Arizona and Texas. A similar increase didn’t happen near the California border, perhaps because California has tough state gun laws, the authors say.
Madison.com [Wis.], 6/15/11. Dan Clawson (sociology), who has written on labor and social movements, says organized labor today is facing a situation similar to what African-Americans faced 50 years ago. Laws are now arrayed against labor and a majority of the public doesn’t see its interests aligned with those of unionized workers.
DWM magazine, 6/14/11. An analysis by the Political Economy Research Institute found that 114,000 new jobs would be created through the Better Buildings Initiative, a White House plan to make existing commercial and multifamily homes more energy efficient.
NPR, 6/8/11. Charli Carpenter (political science) and Lina Shaikhouni ’12 address widespread misconceptions about high-tech drone use by the U.S. military and CIA. Drones, they say, are not “killer robots” because they have human pilots, just not on board. They dispute the notion that using drones makes killing easier, and note that using the aircraft isn’t illegal under international law.
Springfield Republican, 6/8/11. UMass student Michael R. Clark '12 (political science), 21, has been elected to the School Committee in Longmeadow, MA.
Reuters, 6/1/11. Sheldon Goldman (political science) says partisan politics in the U.S. Senate are delaying the appointment of federal judges, even if the nominees are considered non-controversial.
Missoulian [Missoula, Mont.], 6/1/11. A guest column concerning the federal Clean Air Act refers to a Political Economy Research Institute study that says transitioning to clean energy could bring $460 million in investments and 6,000 new jobs to Montana.
Suite101.com, 5/30/11. A report on the occupations most likely to gain from unionization cites a study by Jeannette Wicks-Lim (Political Economy Research Institute).
A Word from SBS
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