IBS Newsletter

December 1996


Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado


Program Activities

Environment and Behavior Program

Gilbert White took part in a meeting of the Board on Natural Disasters of the National Research Council, in Washington, DC, November 14-15. A tentative schedule of new research programs was reviewed by the board, and a few will be pursued further.

Natural Hazards Center News

On November 4, Dennis Mileti and Mary Fran Myers met with the Natural Hazards Center's National Advisory Committee at the headquarters of the American Red Cross in Falls Church, Virginia. The committee, comprised of representatives of federal agencies concerned with hazards, local and state governments, private sector and nonprofit organizations, and academia, meets three times per year to provide guidance for Hazards Center activities. Among other items, the committee discussed the need for interdisciplinary educational programs that focus on hazards at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the nation's universities and colleges. Hazards Center staff will work with the committee to explore options for filling this need here at the University of Colorado and at other institutions around the country.

Mary Fran Myers was invited by the U.S. Geological Survey to participate in one of seven national workshops designed to solicit input for the development of a five-year strategic plan for its earthquake hazards program. Held November 8 in Denver, this particular workshop focused on seismic networks and sought to identify needs, opportunities, and priorities for future program emphasis.

John Wiener (Visiting Research Associate in the Environment and Behavior Program) recently researched and completed a draft "Colorado Multi-Hazard Strategic Mitigation Plan" under a contract negotiated and supervised by Mary Fran Myers with the State Office of Emergency Management. That office will consider submitting the plan to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for adoption. The plan applies current social science understanding to the promotion of hazard mitigation within the various levels of Colorado government, and synthesizes existing plans under an umbrella strategy. The plan will not be available until a final document is approved.

Problem Behavior Program

Delbert Elliott made a presentation to the MacArthur Foundation Network Chairs at the MacArthur Foundation offices on November 15 in Chicago. Elliott was also invited to present a lecture on youth violence for Grand Rounds at the Medical School, University of Illinois, on November 20. He then presented a paper and served as a discussant on several panels at the American Society of Criminology, in Chicago, November 22.

Recent Publications from the
Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence

For more information contact the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science: (303) 492-8465; cspv@colorado.edu; http://www.colorado.edu/cspv.

Short, Jim. 1996. Gangs and Adolescent Violence. CSPV No. 004. Boulder: University of Colorado, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. This paper examines group processes in gangs, a factor critical in determining gang behavior, including violence. The author reviews four processes that lead to violence, and seeks to explain youth gang violence.

Weinrott, Mark. 1996. Juvenile Sexual Aggression: A Critical Review. CSPV No. 005. Boulder: University of Colorado, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. Weinrott summarizes what is known about juvenile sexual offenders, what is not known, and what is being done to further study the issue.

Williams, Kirk, Delbert Elliott, and Kristi Jackson. 1996. Program Evaluation Overview. CSPV No. 009. A general framework for understanding the basic components of evaluation research. Not intended as a guidebook for conducting evaluation, the publication is meant to assist program managers as they begin to shape an evaluation plan. It also suggests a variety of resources to help manage the more technical elements of program evaluation.

Population Program

Demian De Souza Pepeu, a first year undergraduate student in the population geography course taught by Andrei Rogers, has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) assistantship to work with Rogers on the fertility patterns of the immigrant population in the United States.

Political and Economic Change Program

James Scarritt presented a paper at the meeting of the African Studies Association, November 23-26, in San Francisco. In his paper, "The Role of Political Parties in African Democratization," Scarritt presented a research design for comparing the strength and competitiveness of African political parties and party systems in different countries over time since independence. The data generated by the implementation of this design will eventually be used to test the hypothesis that the more competitive the party system in a country over time and the more effectively and democratically organized the party or parties in it, the more complete the recent democratization has been and the greater the potential for democratic consolidation, other things being equal.

Political and Economic Change in Print

Staeheli, Lynn A. 1996. "Publicity, Privacy, and Women's Political Action." Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 14, pp. 601-619. Despite years of feminist organizing, women occupy an ambiguous position in U.S. politics. Most traditional political analyses have focused on activities in electoral and governmental arenas; the actions of individuals that are not directed to formal institutions have been held to be beyond politics. In this paper, Staeheli problematizes the relationship between women's standing in the public sphere and their activism. Women's activism is shaped by strategic, and sometimes opportunistic, choices to locate their activism either in public or in private spaces. These choices point to the importance of reconceptualizing publicity and privacy in ways that separate the content of actions from the spaces in which action is taken. When the content of action is separated from the spaces of action, women's activism can be evaluated in terms of efficacy in either public or private spaces, rather than in terms of women's presumed lack of access to the public sphere.

Profile

Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies in Population Processes

The Population Program supports graduate students pursuing studies in population processes within the interdepartmental Graduate Certificate Program in Demography. This interdisciplinary certificate program focuses on population policy analysis and emphasizes research training through direct faculty-student interaction on research projects. The Population Program currently has students from geography, sociology, and economics. This month's Profile features the work of three students--Joan O'Connell, Debra Pearson Ritzwoller, and Jane Venohr--who are completing their Ph.D.s in economics and earning their Graduate Certificates in Demography.

These students not only are completing their dissertations, but have also found employment in positions that can directly benefit from their demographic research, training, and experience. After graduating, Joan O'Connell will begin working at Informed Access Systems, a firm in Broomfield that provides services to insurance firms, HMOs, and state Medicaid programs. Deb Pearson Ritzwoller is working at Kaiser Permanente as a research analyst. Jane Venohr is employed by Policy Studies Inc., a government consulting firm, as a research associate. One of her major responsibilities is to assist states in developing and updating child support guidelines.

Joan Marie O'Connell (Robert McNown, advisor): Micro- and Macroeconomic Issues Concerning Health Care Spending and the Elderly

In this thesis, comprised of three essays, I focus on issues concerning the population aged 65 years or older by examining both micro- and macroeconomic factors that affect health care financing and expenditures. I employ a macroeconomic approach in the first essay to examine effects of changes in age structure on national health spending in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The results indicate that age structure has a positive effect on spending in some countries, while having no effect in others. Such differences are most likely due to variations in the delivery and financing of health and social services in the OECD countries.

In the second and third essays, I apply microeconomic theory to 1987 National Medical Expenditure Data to analyze determinants of demand for supplemental insurance and medical spending by elderly Medicare beneficiaries. The results of the second study indicate that persons who have chronic conditions are more likely to purchase Medicare supplemental coverage. Determinants of medical spending, such as education and health status, differ by supplemental insurance status as well. In the third essay, I examine the influence of chronic disease and insurance coverage on outpatient prescription drug spending of elderly Medicare beneficiaries. The findings, which indicate that medical service use patterns of persons with chronic conditions differ from those without chronic conditions, have important implications concerning proposed changes in the Medicare program.

Debra Pearson Ritzwoller (James Alm, advisor): Economic Issues in Managed Care

For my dissertation I use empirical analysis and microeconomic theory to examine managed health care systems. The first part empirically explores whether previously uninsured enrollees use health care services differently than employer-based commercial enrollees in a health maintenance organization (HMO) setting. In the second part I employ microeconomic theory to analyze the effect of various methods of HMO physician compensation on health care service utilization. For the third part I make use of data from Kaiser Permanente to develop a risk-adjustment mechanism to determine if there is a difference in risk-adjusted measures of health care service use between patients whose physician is paid by salary and patients whose physician is paid by capitation with a bonus.

Jane C. Venohr (H. Elizabeth Peters, advisor): Economics of Mediation and the Allocation of the Child's Time between Divorced Parents.

In this study I explore the link between child support payments and the noncustodial parent's contact with the child. In particular, I examine whether mediation will result in a more efficient allocation of money and of the child's time between divorced parents. My results show that mediation increases the probability of reallocation by 11 to 16 percent. Ancillary findings reveal that, contrary to the common perception that the noncustodial parent must bribe the custodial parent to receive more time with the child, other factors can induce the parents to accept lower child support payments when the noncustodial parent increases contact with the child. These factors include time-varying child-rearing costs and whether or not the custodial parent believes that the child's well-being improves from contact with both parents. The research results should contribute to better shared custody and visitation adjustments in state child support guidelines.

Diversity Matters

Carolina Minority Postdoctoral Program

This program provides up to two years of unencumbered research time for recent Ph.D. recipients who aspire to academic careers. The program is particularly interested in candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups who are studying the humanities and social sciences. The purpose of the program is to develop minority scholars for possible tenure track appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The stipend is $33,500 per calendar year plus some funds for research expenses and travel. Minority students who have completed the doctoral degree within the past four years or will have it finished not later than July 1, 1997 are eligible. Preference is given to U.S. citizens and permanent residents; the program in particular seeks applicants who are African Americans or Native Americans. Contact: Carolina Minority Postdoctoral Scholars Program, Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research, CB 4000, South Building, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-4000; phone: (919) 962-1319. The application deadline is February 1, 1997.

Other Funding Opportunities

Udall Dissertation Fellowships:
Environmental Policy and Conflict Resolution

These fellowships are intended for the final year of writing the dissertation for doctoral candidates whose dissertation is in the area of environmental public policy and conflict resolution. In 1997, two fellowships of $24,000 each will be awarded. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must have completed all coursework, passed all preliminary exams, and had the dissertation research proposal or plan approved by January 15, 1997. To request an application, contact: Morris K. Udall Dissertation Fellowship Program, 2201 North Dodge Street, P.O. Box 4030, Iowa City, IA 52243; phone: (319) 337-1650; fax: (319) 337-1204. The deadline for receipt of complete application packets is January 15, 1997.

Postdoctoral Fellowships at the
Center for Advanced Study in the behavioral Sciences

The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) awards up to 50 residential postdoctoral fellowships each year to scientists and scholars from this country and abroad who show exceptional accomplishment or promise in their field. The stipend is based on the scholar's academic salary for the year preceding residence at the Center. The award entails a period of residence in the vicinity of the Center, normally beginning in September and extending from seven to 12 months. Contact: CASBS, 202 Junipero Serra Blvd., Stanford, CA 94305; phone: (415) 321-2052; fax: 415) 321-1192. Nominations may be submitted at any time.

Research Proposals Submitted

Political and Economic Change Program

Lynn A. Staeheli
Community organizations and social service provision for immigrants
Open Society Institute, 6/1/97 - 11/30/98, $78,031 new

Upcoming Colloquia

There is an online listing of upcoming and recent colloquia.


December 1996 IBS Newsletter

Illana Zhenya Gallon, Newsletter Editor
Sugandha Brooks, Assistant Editor


Institute of Behavioral Science

Richard Jessor, Director

Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0483

(303) 492-8147

IBS@Colorado.EDU