IBS Newsletter 

May 1997 




Institute of Behavioral Science 
University of Colorado 


Program Activities

Population Processes Program 

Emmanuel Skoufias presented a research paper, January 8, on "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from Indonesia" at the Demographic Institute of the University of Indonesia, in Jakarta, Indonesia. On February 24, Skoufias presented a research paper on "The Wage Sensitivity of Labor Demand in Indonesian Manufacturing Establishments" at the Department of Manpower (Ministry of Labor), in Jakarta, Indonesia. On April 1, Skoufias presented his research in progress on "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from Romania" at the Russian Demography Workshop held at the Institute of Behavioral Science.

Richard Rogers chaired a session, "Social and Cultural Patterns that Affect Survival," at this year's meeting of the Population Association of America in Washington, DC, March 27-29. He also presented a talk entitled "Health, Behavioral, and Social Forces of Adult Mortality" to the Population Dynamics faculty of Johns Hopkins University, March 31. In his presentation, Rogers acknowledged the importance of health and behavioral characteristics in influencing mortality, but he underscored the fundamental nature of social forces that place individuals at risk of death. Individuals who suffer greater risk of death include those who are divorced, poor, unemployed, and less educated, as well as those who live in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, segregation, and female-headed households. In addition to the presentation, Rogers had meetings throughout the day with faculty in sociology, public health, and medicine to discuss issues relating to health and survival.

Charles M. Becker attended and gave an invited paper on April 11-12 at the Yale University (Economic Growth Center) Conference on Ukrainian Agriculture. He presented a paper on micro-theoretic models of enterprise managerial incentives and behavior. The main conclusions of the paper are that (a) the current low output situation is probably a Nash equilibrium, (b) few managers have incentives to maximize profits while many find it rational to run losses, and (c) privatization is in the interest of neither workers nor managers in most firms.

Population Processes in Print

Skoufias, Emmanuel. 1996. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Micro Evidence from Rural India." Journal of Development Economics, 51, pp. 217-237. This paper tests the hypothesis of intertemporal substitution in labor supply using time allocation data on adult male and female members of agricultural households in India. The robustness of the results with respect to functional form specification and credit constraints is examined. The female intertemporal elasticity of substitution is found to be significant but low, similar to estimates from the US. Elasticity estimates for males are negative or zero.

Environment and Behavior Program 

April 1-5, Anthony Bebbington attended the Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers, Fort Worth, Texas. Bebbington participated in two sessions on Human Rights in Latin America and Agrarian Ecologies and Institutions. In the first session he presented a paper entitled: "Social Capital and Entitlements: Rights and Sustainable Development in the Andes."

On April 17-19, Bebbington attended the Latin American Studies Association Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico in which he co-organized and chaired a session on "Forty Years of Community Development in the Andes" and presented a paper called "Building Social Capital in the Andes." On April 7 at the University of Pennsylvania's South Asian Studies Department, Bebbington gave a guest seminar entitled "New States, New NGOs: Crisis and Transition among Rural Development NGOs in the Andes."

John D. Wiener, Visiting Research Associate, presented three lectures on his work on human dimensions of global environmental change. At the Economics Institute, March 26, the guest lecture was "Is Global Change Global?" This talk focused on the extent to which local and case-specific research is necessary for understanding and application of global change ideas, from both environmental and socio-economic research. At an Environmental and Behavior colloquium, March 31, the presentation "Looking Askance: Human Dimensions of Global Change" was primarily concerned with explaining Wiener's concepts of supplementary versus complementary studies of human dimensions of global change, which were both argued to be necessary for effective and applicable research. These studies were contrasted with current global change studies, which are successors to previous efforts whose difficulties and obstacles show the need for the approach recommended.

At the Association of American Geographers' meeting in Fort Worth, on April 2, "Epistemological Antecedents of Human Dimensions of Global Change Studies" was presented, with the focus on the similarities in premises and presumptions about the nature of explanation which underlie the important antecedents in global modeling studies. These have included energy modeling studies, the Human Relations Area Files, and the Forrester world dynamics models, including "Limits to Growth," "Global 2000," and others. The predecessors were compared with current leading efforts in integrated assessment of greenhouse gas emissions-relevant systems, and the Land Use Cover and Change project of the International Council of International Social Science Council. The over-all argument is that experience shows the need for a more balanced approach involving conventional social scientific efforts, firmly rooted in disciplinary traditions, as well as more global modeling efforts, which have been somewhat disappointing in the past. The relevance of sustainability issues was also addressed.

Gilbert F. White chaired a Quaker colloquium of national and United Nations representatives to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests on February 7-9, at Lake Mohawk, New York. The Panels subsequent discussions are reported to the UN Council on Sustainable Development that currently is meeting in New York. On February 27 in Washington, DC, he participated in an open meeting of Federal Emergency Management Agency's task force on Federal policy with respect to natural and beneficial uses of floodplains. On April 1-4 he chaired a meeting in Washington, DC of the National Research Council's joint committee of Israeli, Jordanese, Palestinian, and US scientific organizations on Sustainable Water Supplies for the Middle East. That group now is moving towards the drafting and review of a final report at very deliberate speed.

Natural Hazards Center

Dennis Mileti was appointed to the Panel on Human Dimensions of Seasonal-to-Interannual Climate Variability, commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, March 1997-July 1998. The panel will provide scientific input to the NOAA Office of Global Programs on research needs and programs focused on the human dimensions of short-term climatic variability, including issues of vulnerability, use of forecast information, the value of short-term climate prediction, and adaptation.

Mileti also participated in the Panel on "The Linkages between Sustainability and Vulnerability" sponsored by the Section of Hazards and Cultural Ecology at the Annual Meetings of the American Association of Geographers, Fort Worth, Texas, April 5, 1997. The panel discussed the emerging linkages between sustainable development and natural hazards mitigation. Mileti participated in the Panel on Methodology of the Workshop on the Social and Economic Impacts of Weather at the National Center for Atmospheric Research on April 3. The purpose of the panel was to discuss the alternative ways to convert weather variability estimates into useful societal information.

Mileti was appointed to the Expert Working Group on National and Local Capacities for Early Warning Systems which is part of the Early Warning Program for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of the working group is to synthesize the state-of-the-art of current knowledge on the application of early warning systems in national and local contexts and to develop a set of policy recommendations for improving national and local policies.

Mary Fran Myers was an invited participant in the "Workshop on the Social and Economic Effects of Weather" sponsored by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's U.S. Weather Research Program. The meeting was April 2-4 at NCAR's Mesa lab. Myers presented a paper on trends in floods, documenting the trends in terms of economic impacts, loss of life and injuries, environmental impacts, indirect impacts, and the frequency and magnitude of flood events.

Hazard Center In Print

Program Review. 1996. Board of Visitors Annual Report on the Emergency Management Institute of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Prepared for the Federal Emergency Management Institute, Washington, DC. April.

Mileti, Dennis S. 1996. "The Social Psychology of Public Response to Disaster Warnings." Disasters and Society, 4(6), pp. 104-116. Appeared in print in April 1997. This paper, published in Spanish, reviews the basic process whereby variations in public risk perception and protective behavior are influenced by the character and form of warning information.

Profile


Transitions from School to Work: Their Impact on Delinquency in the United States and Germany 

Karl F. Schumann is Professor of Criminology at the University of Bremen Law School. He also is director of a longitudinal study (1988-1999) on "Vocational Training, Entry into the Labor Market and Delinquency" funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschafts Special Research Unit 186 "Status Passages and Risks in the Life Course" at Bremen. For the next two years he will work together with David Huizinga on a cross-national study comparing the impact that different trajectories from school to work in the United States and Germany have on delinquency. 

In Germany the transition from school to work is structured by a system of apprenticeships that are provided in about 420 occupations which cover most of the blue- and white-collar jobs. Apprenticeships last between two and four years; in combination with attendance at state-led vocational schools they make up the so called "dual system." Thus, firm-based occupational training four days a week is combined with one day per week attendance in specialized classes in vocational schools. This dual system has been praised by scholars from other countries, notably the U.S., for its protective qualities. It allows a smooth transition from school, which continues to play a part, into work (including a low but rising wage) and provides vocational skills which hopefully enable the graduated apprentice to obtain a higher-level blue-collar work life.

In the U.S., youths leave high school at the age of 18 and either go on to college or enter into a "floundering period," as S.F. Hamilton once called it. They may become part-time workers, unemployed, or change jobs frequently. American employers usually do not hire teenagers for full-time jobs. Rather, employers wait until teenagers are presumed to have matured and become reliable. Basic skills and working virtues are learned in the youth labor market; as adults they will build on that specific knowledge through on-the-job-training. In pointing to the advantages of the apprenticeship system, Hamilton wrote:
"German youth experience far lower rates of serious problem behavior (drug taking, etc.). Youthfulness is not inevitably associated with the magnitude of problem behavior. There is something about the United States that makes growing up more difficult than it needs to be." (Hamilton, S.F. 1990. Apprenticeships for Adulthood - Preparing Youth for the Future, p. 121).

Having been interested for a long time in the impact apprenticeships have on the desistance from delinquency, I started a cohort study of German youth (mean age in 1989: 16 years) who were to start vocational training or work. How the various trajectories into work (like graduating from apprenticeship, dropping out from apprenticeship, taking up unskilled work, etc.) are related to further delinquency is the major topic of the study; the window of research will be open for about ten years.

In 1993, at an international conference on longitudinal studies, I met David Huizinga, who since 1987 has been a Principal Investigator of the Denver Youth Survey (funded for more than ten years by Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention [OJJDP] and National Institute of Drug and Alcohol). We discovered many similarities between the designs of both studies (samples, variables measured) and inquired into the possibility of combining both data sets for a comparative study of the impact an apprenticeship system has on delinquency. Fortunately we acquired funding from the TRANSCOOP Program of the German-American Council Foundation in Germany and OJJDP in the U.S. to support the joint research project and pay the travel expenses for periods of joint analysis in Boulder and Bremen in 1997 and 1998. During my current stay at IBS we are developing the common measures to be used and a set of specific hypotheses to be tested. In June my research assistant, Beate Ehret, will arrive in Boulder to take up the joint work with Amanda Elliott and David Huizinga for nine months. The internet will allow me to stay in close contact with my colleagues while I am absent from Boulder to resume teaching at the University of Bremen again. Certainly I look forward to occasional return trips to Boulder for short periods of joint analysis and writing as well as to visits of both IBS researchers and researchers in Bremen throughout the next two years.


Funding Opportunities

The Russell Sage Foundation is the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences. It also publishes, under its own imprint, the books that derive from the work of its grantees and visiting scholars. The Foundation currently pursues four programs: 1) A program of research on the future of work concerned with the causes and consequences of the decline in demand for low-skill workers in advanced economies; 2) A program of research on current U.S. immigration that focuses on the adaptation of the second generation to American society; 3) A joint program with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that supports research on curricula designed to foster active literacy among disadvantaged students; and 4) A program on the social psychology of cultural contact that focuses on improving relations between racial and ethnic groups in schools, workplaces, and neighborhood settings. In addition to these programs, the Foundation also supports a special project on the analysis of the 1990 Census, a working group examining the political response to recent efforts to reform U.S. social policy, and the Behavioral Economics Roundtable, a forum for advancing the interdisciplinary analysis of economic life. The Foundation tends to provide support for analyzing data and writing up results more frequently than data acquisition. Grant applications accepted at any time. Russell Sage Foundation, 112 East 64th St., New York, NY 10021, (212)750-6000, email: info@sage.org, web page: http://epn.org/sage.html. Funding & Duration: Grants currently average about $50,000 with a range running roughly from $10,000 to $200,000.

Research Proposals Funded

Problem Behavior Program 

Delbert S. Elliott
Comprehensive evaluation plan
State of Colorado 05/15/97 - 08/14/98 $11,027 supplement

Delbert S. Elliott
"Blueprints" for violence prevention and reduction programs
Colorado Department of Health 11/1/96 - 9/30/97 $76,707 continuation

Population Program 

Richard Rogers
Collaborative research: factors affecting ethnic differences in adult mortality
NSF 01/01/97 - 12/31/99 $109,542 new

Research Proposals Submitted

Problem Behavior Program 

David H. Huizinga  and  Delbert S. Elliott
Developmental processes in violence and problem behavior
NIDA 06/01/97 - 05/31/98 $506,526 continuation

Upcoming Colloquia

There is an
online listing of  recent colloquia; colloquia are on summer hiatus and will reconvene in the fall.

May 1997 IBS Newsletter

Sugandha Brooks and Christine Weeber, Newsletter Editors 

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