IBS Newsletter

July-August 1998


Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado


Program Activities

Problem Behavior Program

Richard Jessor participated in a conference on "Stages and Pathways of Drug Involvement: Examining the Gateway Hypothesis" in Los Angeles on June 27-30. The conference was sponsored by the Brain Information Service at UCLA, and Jessor assisted in its organization and will assist in the editing of the conference volume.

Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence

Jennifer K. Grotpeter attended the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development on July 1-4 in Berne, Switzerland. She presented the paper "Relationally and Physically Aggressive Children's Family Relationships" (with Nicki R. Crick). She co-chaired the poster symposium with Jessica Cooperman of Concordia University in Montreal. This study was designed to assess relational aggression and physical aggression in two family subsystems that have shown to be highly predictive of physical aggression in boys. An extreme-group sample of 120 children and their female and male caregivers completed instruments assessing characteristics of their family relationships. Results for the families of physically aggressive children were consistent with past research (e.g., aggression and low warmth in the parent-child relationship and conflict in the interparental relationship). Results for the families of relationally aggressive children indicated some findings consistent with theory on physical aggression (e.g., female caregiver use of relational aggression toward the child, difficulty in conflict resolution), but also a number of qualitatively different findings, such as self-blame for interparental conflict and greater caregiver desire for exclusivity with the child. These results provide initial support for the hypothesis that the two forms of aggression may have similar yet qualitatively different etiologies.

Tonya Aultman-Bettridge, Jane Grady, Sharon Mihalic, and Tiffany Shaw all received scholarships to attend Connecting Colorado's 3rd Annual Summit, "Prevention: The Wave of the Future" in Breckenridge, Colorado on June 15-16. The summit addressed violence prevention topics such as the Assets Model, collaboration and coalition building, and the future of prevention funding in Colorado.

On May 21, Delbert Elliott was a featured speaker at a forum to launch a community-wide planning process called Boulder County YouthNET. The goal of the forum was to create a county-wide collaborative strategy linking local efforts effectively to programs and services for youth, families, and communities. The forum was held at the East Boulder Recreation Center. Elliott was the Plenary Speaker at the Safe and Drug-free Schools Conference for Principle #4 (The Department of Education's Principles of Effectiveness) on June 9 in Washington, DC. On June 17 and 18 he participated in the Taking Stock of Risk Factors for Externalizing Behavior Problems Meeting sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, DC.

Population Processes Program

Robert Hummer, professor at the University of Texas, has been awarded a Big XII Faculty Fellowship to work at the Population Program next summer. Dr. Hummer has already established himself as one of the preeminent aspiring young demographers in the country. While in residence at CU-Boulder, he will present some of his current research, interact with faculty and students, and continue his collaborative work with Richard Rogers.

Population Processes in Print

Richard G. Rogers, Felicia B. LeClere, and Kimberley Peters. 1998. "Neighborhood Social Context and Racial Differences in Women's Heart Disease Mortality," Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 39(June), pp. 91-107. Compared to white women, black women experience similar rates of heart disease morbidity, but higher rates of heart disease mortality. This puzzling relationship may be due to several factors (e.g., the high heart disease mortality rate may be due to individual health, socioeconomic risk factors, or social structural factors) working at varied levels to affect each race. The authors conducted a multi-level analysis to address these issues, using data from a newly released data file that links the National Health Interview Survey with death certificate information from the National Death Index, and with additional community level data from the 1990 Census STF-3A files. The findings are that women who live in communities with high concentrations of female-headed families are more likely to die of heart disease, net of other characteristics. For younger women, the effect appears to be routed primarily through poverty whereas for older women the effect of female-headship rates remains, net of other census tract characteristics. This study, then, highlights the importance of examining the effect of neighborhoods and their social content on mortality.

Political and Economic Change Program

Keith E. Maskus attended the conference "Empirical Research in International Trade and Investment" sponsored by the Copenhagen Business School in Fredensborg, Denmark on June 19-22. Maskus presented the paper "Testing the Knowledge Capital Model of Foreign Direct Investment," (co-authored with David Carr and James R. Markusen). On June 2 he delivered a lecture entitled "Intellectual Property Rights in Economic Development" at the Economic Development Institute of The World Bank in Washington, DC.

James R. Scarritt attended the International Political Science Association, Research Committee on Politics and Ethnicity on July 17-19 in Santiago de Compostella, Spain. He presented the paper "Why Territorial Autonomy Is Not a Viable Option for Managing Ethnic Conflict in Africa," (with Shaheen Mozaffar). The paper discusses severe obstacles to the use of territorial autonomy to mitigate ethnic conflicts in African plural societies that are created by multiple levels of politically relevant ethnic identities, the presence of large numbers of small ethnic groups in most African countries, the absence of a history of successful autonomous ethnic rule, the mixing of ethnic groups in centers of economic activity, and changes in ethnic identities caused by colonial policies, nationalist movements, and the shifting policies of successive post-colonial regimes.

Environment and Behavior Program

Gilbert White participated at Rutgers University on June 15-17 in a triennial General Assembly of the Scientific Committee on Problems of Environment of the International Council of Scientific Unions at which there was discussion of the draft of a report on emerging global environmental problems. That document will call attention to scientific issues that are just beginning to command investigation. One June 25 he chaired a committee of the Land and Water Fund that is overseeing the final construction activities at the Environmental Center building at Broadway and Baseline of a project to demonstrate effective ways of reducing non-point water pollution. This is one unit in a program sponsored by the National Forum on Non-point Water Pollution. During recent weeks he has participated in a series of meetings of concerned citizens and public officials appraising the flood hazard and environmental aspects of University of Colorado plans for development of the 305-acre area on South Boulder Creek known as the Flatirons Property. A factual report is expected soon from the City staff.

In May Anthony Bebbington taught a weeklong module on Policies for Sustainable Development in the Andes as part of an MA in Environmental Management and Development at the Andean School for Postgraduate Studies at the Centro Bartolome de las Casas in Cusco, Peru.

John Wiener attended a conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property on June 14-19 in Vancouver, Canada. He presented a paper entitled "Property, Agency, Time, Culture, Spirit." The argument is that a careful application of the microeconomic theory on the sources of the positive discount rate shows that they were not always relevant and, using the anthropological record, were likely not present for most pre-contact Native American societies. Being free of the positive discount rate is much less feasible within current economies, but the theoretical and empirical case for the argument that most of human history shows a significantly different relationship with the environment offers some relief from conventional approaches to long-term resource management. An informal version and most of the proceedings are available on the Association's web-site for the "Crossing Boundaries" 7th Conference.

Environment and Behavior Program in Print

Anthony Bebbington, T. Perreault, and T. Carroll. "Indigenous Irrigation Organization and the Formation of Social Capital in Northern Highland Ecuador," Yearbook of the Conference of Latin American Geographers, Vol. 24, pp. 1-16. Recent debates on the role of social capital in development are of relevance to nature-society analysis within geography, because they highlight the ways in which forms of social organization can increase the effectiveness and efficiency with which natural resources are used. Through a case study of irrigation management organizations in the Northern Andes of Ecuador, this paper addresses the ways in which this form of social capital has been created through political economic processes and development intervention, and the impacts on natural resources and rural livelihoods. The paper also suggests possible indicators for assessing social capital formation.

Anthony Bebbington and O. Sotomayor. "Agricultural Extension in Chile." Pages 106-124 in J. Beynon (ed.) Financing the Future: options for agricultural research and extension in sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford:Oxford Policy Management. This chapter discusses the political economic factors that have influenced changes in agricultural development strategies in Chile and, in particular, the forms taken by privatization of agricultural services under both dictatorship and the return to democracy.

Natural Hazards Center

The Natural Hazards Center hosted the 23rd Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop from July 12-15, at the Regal Harvest House Hotel in Boulder. Over 320 people representing academia, all levels of government, and private and non-profit organizations participated. The keynote speech was presented by Peter Dykstra, Chief Environmental Reporter for CNN News. Plenary sessions focused on how El Niño forecasts were used for emergency management, disaster resilient communities, and future directions for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. Thirty-four different concurrent sessions addressed a variety of issues, including hazard loss estimation, sustainable development and its relation to hazard mitigation, and information technologies for emergency and hazard management. Ten percent of the participants were from outside the USA. Countries represented included Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Dennis Mileti consulted with the Ministry of Civil Defense, Wellington, New Zealand the week of July 15th to comment on New Zealand's draft national legislation to link natural hazards mitigation with sustainable development and natural resource management. He also visited with the Ministry of Geological and Nuclear Sciences to establish a role of social science research with that ministry to enhance the societal utility and applications of their physical science research products. Also in July, Mileti was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Multihazard Mitigation Council. The Council is housed with the National Institute of Building Sciences and is currently funded by the Federal Emergency Management Institute. Its purpose is to reduce the total losses associated with natural and other hazards by fostering and promoting consistent and improved multihazard risk mitigation strategies, guidelines, practices, and related efforts in the United States.

Sara Michaels, a former Graduate Research Assistant, has received a Gilbert F. White Postdoctoral Fellowship from Resources for the Future (RfF). While at RfF she plans to study the public's decisions to participate in policy making concerning watersheds in Massachusetts.


Bits and Bytes from SSDAC

The Social Science Data Analysis Center (SSDAC) now has a recordable CD-ROM that can be used to archive and distribute large databases or files. For example, census files or statistical systems files developed from them can be made available to IBS researchers this way. Each CD can hold up to approximately 600 MB. Contact the SSDAC for more information.

See http://www.colorado.edu/IBS/DAC/news.html for computing and networking news and notes that should be of interest to IBS users. Selected items appear in the printed IBS Newsletter. If you have computing problems, questions, or comments send e-mail to SSDAC@Colorado.EDU.


In Focus

The Effects of Privatization of Public Services: The Case of Urban Water

Chuck Howe is an economist specializing in natural resource and environmental policy issues. He is a Professor of Economics and a Faculty Research Associate on the Professional Staff of the Environment and Behavior Program. Much of his research deals with the role of water resources in the development process and the human welfare implications of different management systems. During his 1997-98 sabbatical leave in the United Kingdom and France, he studied the effects of the privatization of public service industries, especially urban water services.

One of the major themes in the Environment and Behavior Program of IBS is the relationship between the globalization of financial and product markets and the sustainability of traditional means of livelihood and a healthy physical environment. Recently, the globalization of capital flows has developed a symbiotic relationship with the philosophical and political inclination to privatize not just state-owned industries but the basic public service sectors.

The World Bank and The International Monetary Fund have been pushing client countries toward privatization. In Latin America these organizations have been pushing the "Chilean Model" of radical and rapid privatization. In the Chilean case, the sudden privatization of water resources resulted in a high degree of monopolization of water supply by the national hydroelectric generating companies to the detriment of the agricultural sector and cities that must pay exorbitant prices for added water supplies.

The program of privatization of public services in the United Kingdom provides us with the most extensive record of privatization and its consequences. This program was pushed dogmatically by the Thatcher government, starting with British Telecom in 1983, British Gas in 1986, British Airways in 1987, the water and waste-water treatment sector in 1989, electri c production and distribution in 1990-91, and the railroads in 1994. The results have been quite mixed, from outstanding success in the gas, electricity, and telecom sector to chaos in the railroads, and great public dissatisfaction in the water sector.

The motivation for water sector privatization (besides the market philosophy held by the Tory government) was an estimated backlog of maintenance and repair estimated to be 24 billion pounds that the government didn't want to bear and the obvious need to raise water charges for which the government preferred not to take the blame. Prior to privatization in 1989, the water sector consisted of ten major river authorities that provided water supplies, waste water treatment, and ambient water quality management in the major river basins, supplemented by 25 historical water supply companies serving local areas. Ownership shares for these entities were created and "floated" at quite advantageous prices to be sure that buyers would be found. The offerings were heavily oversubscribed and the successful buyers were mostly the three large French water companies: Compagnie General des Eaux, Compagnie Lyonnaise des Eaux, and Societe d'Amenagement Urbain et Rural. Some of the companies remained under British control.

The water sector is the closest approximation to the ideal "natural monopoly" of economic texts. The required infrastructure is costly and specialized. Duplication by potential competitors would be prohibitive. Thus one cannot count on competition of the usual sort to maintain reasonable prices and levels of service. The British solution has been to establish (for each of the privatized public service sectors) a very strong regulatory office--OFWAT in the case of water. OFWAT exercises its control through "price cap" regulation, "yardstick competition," and public pressure through citizen advisory groups.

The major result has been a strong (and outspoken) public discontent with the private companies. Water charges have increased from 100% to 200%. The salaries of company directors have been very high in comparison with similar industries, while the prices of the company stocks (large numbers held by company officials) have increased tremendously in anticipation of continued high profits. (The average stock price for the 25 water supply companies has increased by a factor of ten!) The number of service shutoffs has increased dramatically--a social issue of great concern.

Evaluation of the companies' performances has been confounded by the occurrence of two severe droughts since privatization. The companies clearly have invested heavily in repairs and capacity expansion. A major issue has been reduction of water losses through leaks. Residential users typically are not metered because of the age of the systems and the earlier plenitude of raw water, so that isolating leaks has been difficult. Because of the severe control by OFWAT, the operations of the industry are more transparent and, to some extent, more accountable. Eventually, after the great backlogs of investment have been filled, there will be more effective control of water charges. What will be the ultimate equilibrium of the industry? Consolidation of companies is already underway.

What have we learned? Clearly, although privatization doesn't work magic in the public service area, it has been quite successful in those industries where the technology is more "flexible" in the sense of permitting multicompany use of facilities. In the water sector, a loosely regulated public service has been replaced by a heavily regulated private service. The natural monopoly problem has not been overcome. "Price cap regulation" and "yardstick competition" have proved more feeble instruments than anticipated. The new equilibrium of the industry will probably be superior to the situation prior to privatization, but the costs of the transition to equilibrium are quite significant and should not be ignored in weighing the privatization decision.


Research Proposals Funded

Environment and Behavior Program

D.S. Mileti
A clearinghouse on natural hazards research and applications
NSF, 12/01/97 - 11/30/98, supp, $33,355

M.F. Myers and D.S. Mileti
Develop a framework for establishing disaster recovery assistance teams
PERI, 07/01/98 - 06/30/98, new, $110,440

Population Processes Program

J. Menken
Healthy aging in rural populations
NIH, 08/01/97 - 07/31/98, $47,990

Problem Behavior Program

D.S. Elliott and S. Mihalic
Blueprints for violence prevention: Training and technical assistance
DOJ, 04/01/98 - 03/31/99, new, $1,405,639

D.H. Huizinga
Developmental processes in violence and problem behavior
NIDA, 06/01/98 - 05/31/99, cont, $522,182

Political and Economic Change Program

W.J. Stone
From movement to third party? The reform party in 1996
Willam and Mary, 05/01/98 - 09/30/98, $3,000


Research Proposals Submitted

Problem Behavior Program

D.H. Huizinga
Understanding delinquency: a longitudinal multi-disciplinary study of developmental patterns
DOJ, 10/01/98 - 09/30/99, renew, $229,999

K. Williams and D.S. Elliott
Violence against women prevention research curriculum
UC Riverside, 09/01/98 - 08/31/99, new, $250,000

D.H. Huizinga
Transitions over the lifespan: from child to young adult
NIH, 06/01/99 - 05/31/04, renew, B$3,327,664

Political and Economic Change Program

J.V. O'Loughlin and L.A. Staeheli
Immigrant well-being and community context in U.S. cities
NIH, 04/01/99 - 03/31/02, new, $1,317,317

J.V. O'Loughlin, J.A. Menken, L.A. Staeheli, E.S. Greenberg, and R. Jessor
IGERT Pre-proposal - promoting effectivecommunities in a rapidly changing world
NSF, 01/01/99 - 12/31/03, new, $2,697,643


Upcoming Colloquia

There is an online listing of upcoming and recent colloquia.


Institute of Behavioral Science

Richard Jessor, Institute Director


1998 IBS Newsletter

Sugandha Brooks, Newsletter Editor


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

(303) 492-8147

IBS@Colorado.EDU