IBS Newsletter

January-February 2000

Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado


Gilbert F. White was selected by The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to receive the Academy's most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. White was chosen for his enduring fundamental contributions to the study of environmental issues and for his positive impact on the welfare of society. Established in 1914, the Public Welfare Medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Previous recipients include Arnold Beckman, C. Everett Koop, and Carl Sagan.

Program Activities

Environment and Behavior Program

Gilbert White and Mary Fran Myers have been appointed by the City of Boulder to the Fourmile Canyon Creek Masterplan Process "Independent Review Panel." The first meeting of the panel was January 18, 2000. The group will review and comment on the methodologies and alternative flood mitigation strategies proposed by the city's contractor which is conducting a study on Fourmile Canyon Creek.

Robert Davis participated in the first meeting of the committee formed by the National Research Council to look into the scientific basis for managing the ecosystems in the Missouri River Systems in Omaha December 13-15. The committee will also consider the policy and institutional adjustments necessary to initiate adaptive management of the mainstream Missouri system. The study and report are expected to be finished in two years, coincidentally in time for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebration.

In Print

White, Gilbert F., 2000. "The Natural Hazards Scene-25-and 10-year Perspectives - an Invited Comment," Natural Hazards Observer, 24(3)1-2. An assessment of continuing needs for direction and application of research in the form of six questions: are there still important gaps; is this sufficient; are all responsible agencies being reached; should further government measures be specific; can Congress be expected to act; and can citizen groups take the initiative?

White, Gilbert F., 2000. "Water Science and Technology - Some Lessons from the 20th Century," Environment, 42(1)30-38. Selected lessons from the intertwining themes of water and environmental policy. After reviewing changes during the 1900s, and citing examples from floodplains and domestic water use and disposal, the lessons relate to: 1) incorporating all relevant social aims; 2) agreement on evaluation criteria; 3) practical examples of watershed planning; and 4) rigorous appraisal of results of water management.

Natural Hazards Center

Dennis S. Mileti presented a speech at the conference "Durability and Disaster Mitigation in Wood Frame Housing" hosted by the Partnership in Advance Technology in Housing in cooperation with the Forest Products Society in Madison, Wisconsin on November 1. The speech was titled "A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States" and summarized the major research and policy recommendations of the second assessment. This speech was one in a long series presented by Mileti to disseminate the assessment's results.

Mileti presented the keynote address titled "Assessment of Natural Hazards Mitigation," to the National Science Council, National Science and Technology Program for Hazards Mitigation at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, on January 11, 2000. The speech reported on the approach, findings, and major policy recommendations of the second national assessment of natural hazards, and was part of the Hazards Center's ongoing effort to disseminate the assessment's findings to the hazards community around the world.

Mary Fran Myers was an invited speaker at the Governor's Conference on Flood and Drought on December 2, 1999, in downtown Denver. Her remarks focused on nonstructural approaches to dealing with these two extreme environmental events and identified directions resource managers should be heading in order to reduce society's vulnerability to damage from flood and drought in the future.

Population Processes Program in Print

Rogers, Andrei and Kao-Lee Liaw. December 1999. "The Neutral Migration Process, Redistributional Potential, and Shryock's Preference Indices," Japanese Journal of Population Studies, 25(12), pp. 3-14. The theoretical concept of the neutral migration process is examined in this paper and is used to: (1) assess the relative importance of the departure and destination choice processes in determining the redistributional effect of interregional migration, and (2) reveal the basic properties of Shryock's preference indices, offering a better alternative in the process. These objectives are demonstrated with data on U.S.-born (and foreign-born) migration between the four regions of the United States. Our reason for using a small number of regions instead of the 50 states or hundreds of economic areas is to simplify the visualization of the entire procedure and its empirical results.

Rogers, Andrei, Jani Little, James Raymer, 1999. "Disaggregating the Historical Demographic Sources of Regional Foreign-born and Native-born Population Growth in the United States: A New Method with Applications." International Journal of Population Geography, 5, pp. 449-475.

This paper offers a general method for analyzing the demographic processes that contribute to population growth and redistribution in a multiregional system. The method incorporates a historical perspective that can be used to trace dynamic population processes as they evolve over time. It uses an open multi regional projection model framework for identifying the contributions to regional growth made by each of the principal demographic components of change: fertility, mortality, immigration, emigration, in-migration and out-migration.

Problem Behavior Program

Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence

Delbert Elliott traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, on December 7, where he was the keynote speaker at "The Governor's Conference on Effective Practice." The conference was organized by the Arizona Prevention Resource Center of Arizona State University.

Elliott, Colorado Attorney General Ken Salizar, the Colorado Trust, and the Safe Communities-Safe Schools Partners hosted a press conference on December 14 to announce CSPV's new Safe Communities-Safe Schools Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to provide technical assistance to schools and communities in Colorado around the issue of safe school planning. The conference was held at the State Capitol Building in Denver. After the conference, Elliott and CSPV received an influx of media responses. Elliott attended a January 5 TV taping in Ft. Collins for the Poudre School District. The half-hour program focused on current topics. Elliott spoke on school safety.

On January 7, Elliott was a speaker at the ADCO for Kids (Adams County for Kids) meeting for the Westminster School District. Dr. Elliott spoke on school safety issues.

Elliott was a speaker at the Governor's Review Commission Hearing on the Columbine Tragedy on January 12. The Hearing was held at the Capitol Building. Elliott spoke about prevention and safety issues.

On January 25 & 26, Elliott traveled to Portland, Oregon, to be a keynote speaker at the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice "Riding the Waves of Community Justice" conference. His topic was "Violence Reduction--What Works." He also led a workshop on "Blueprints for Successful Violence Reduction Programs."

Landa Heys gave a presentation at the Atonement Lutheran Church in Boulder on January 24. The presentation focused on the information and resources available from CSPV and on youth violence issues.

Sharon Mihalic presented at the Youth for Justice Staff Development Seminar. The presentation was on "Effective Prevention Strategies." The conference was held on December 6 and 7, in Washington, D.C.

Political and Economic Change Program

"New Directions in Spatial Analysis for the Social Sciences"

A conference, organized by John O'Loughlin of IBS and Mike Ward (Political Science, University of Washington, formerly IBS) and sponsored by IBS, Council on Research and Creative Work, Political Science Department, and the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Sciences (NSF initiative), will bring together for the first time many leading practitioners of spatial analysis applied to political subjects and will build significantly on the existing reputation of the University of Colorado at Boulder as a center for training and research in these comparatively-new fields.

Parallel developments in the quantitative analysis of political phenomena in Geography and Political Science suggest the goals of the conference, a stock-taking of the field and the development of an agenda that will suggest future research directions. The research results will certainly bring to the attention of the political science and related disciplines in the behavioral sciences the issues, specific problems of aggregate geographic data, and the specialized methods of analysis and display that have been developed by geographers. Papers to be presented at the conference will be submitted as a special issue of Political Analysis, the leading methodological journal in the field of political science. A volume of conference proceedings will also be submitted to the methodology series at the University of Michigan Press.

Among the IBS participants in the conference are Dick Jessor, Keith Maskus, Debra Javeline, John O'Loughlin, Jim Huff, Jani Little, Ed Greenberg, and students, Paul Talbot, David Reilly, and Takashi Yamazaki. Former IBS students Michael Shin (Miami), Colin Flint (Penn State), Kristian Gleditsch (Glasgow) and Mohan Penubarti (UCLA), as well as former faculty member, Mike Ward, will also present papers at the conference. Other CU faculty participating are Babs Buttenfield (Geography), Steve Chan (Political Science), John McIver (Political Science), Jeff Kopstein (Political Science), and Claudio Cioffi (Political Science).

The conference sessions will be held in the 3rd floor seminar room of Benson Earth Sciences Building on Saturday 11th March and Sunday 12th March. For further details on the conference, see the following web page: http://www.colorado.edu/IBS/PEC/spatialconf.html.

All members of the CU community are welcome to attend, but please indicate your interest to John O'Loughlin (492-1619) or johno@colorado.edu.


The ITS server at the Data Analysis Center, Adder, has been upgraded and is now a SUN SPARCstation 20. In addition to better performance for those who use it for e-mail, it will provide enhanced windowing access to statistical software machines including sobek and samiam, which have also been upgraded, and dino.

For users of statistical software on PCs, a new release of SPSS, version 10, is now available. As usual with a major new release there are many enhancements, but two that will appeal to some IBS users are the ability to run a syntax file with a simple right click (rather than using production mode) and the ability to choose ASCII/text output (as with releases prior to 7). Full details are at the following Web address: http://www.spss.com/spss10/specs.htm.

Contact the Data Analysis Center for information about upgrading; there is no charge for users who hold a licence for an earlier version. Not all users will need the features in the new version, and note that SPSS recommends a minimum of 32 MB of ram.

In Focus

Why Russians Don't Rebel: Unpaid Wages and the Politics of Blame

Debra Javeline received her Bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1989 and her doctorate from Harvard University in 1997. From 1997-1999, she was a Social Science Research Analyst for the U.S. Information Agency where she designed, conducted, and analyzed nationwide studies of political behavior and public opinion in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus and studies of political elites in Russia and Kazakhstan. In 1999, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian Studies, and in January she joined the IBS as the Kenneth Boulding Postdoctoral Research Associate.

The wage arrears crisis is one of the biggest problems facing Russia today, involving some $10 billion worth of unpaid wages and affecting approximately seventy percent of the workforce, yet public protest in the country has thus far been limited. The relative passivity of most Russians in the face of such desperate circumstances is a puzzle for students of both collective action and Russian politics, particularly for those trying to assess the relative stability or instability of the Russian Federation.

My research shows that a key explanation for the Russian public's reaction to wage delays lies in the difficulty of attributing blame for the crisis. Wage arrears are a complex issue requiring time, energy, and a tremendous amount of information to understand. A valid case could be made for blaming the central authorities and its many component individuals and institutions, the local authorities and its many component individuals and institutions, the managers of various enterprises and organizations, international organizations and foreign governments, as well as the people themselves and a variety of other institutions and circumstances. As a result, the source of blame or accountability for wage arrears, and thus the target of any attempt to redress grievances, is confused. Individual Russians who can make sense of the origins of the crisis, or who think they can make sense of the origins of the crisis, are more likely to protest than individuals who cannot. Groups of Russians who share views on the origins of the crisis are more likely to overcome collective action problems than groups who do not.

Since most Russians cannot make sense of the origins of the wage arrears crisis, I suggest that the prospects are low for a violent nationwide response. On a more theoretical level, I suggest that the study of blame attribution has much to contribute to our understanding of collective action decisions and social movements. Variation in how individuals and groups attribute blame helps explain numerous missing links in theories of protest which focus on grievances, resources, organization, risks and rewards, political opportunities, and other factors.

The evidence for this research comes from an original nationwide survey of 2,000 adult (18+) Russians that I conducted for the U.S. Information Agency in fall of1998. A related aspect of my work is in the methods of survey research and especially in how social scientists can better adopt their techniques to the special circumstances of foreign cultures. In "Response Effects in Polite Cultures: A Test in Acquiescence in Kazakhstan" (Public Opinion Quarterly, spring 1999), I present the results of six experiments in question form conducted on a 1997 nationwide survey of 1,986 Kazakhstanis which show that ethnic Kazakhs have a greater propensity to acquiesce in their responses to survey questions than ethnic RussiansI conclude with a concrete recommendation to survey researchers in multiethnic societies to choose balanced or "forced-choice" questions with substantive response categories over the standard agree-disagree format. I am in the process of conducting or planning similar experiments on issues such as "third party effects" or the effects on survey responses when a third party, such as a husband, mother, or friend, is present during the course of the interview and the effects of including or excluding the "don't know" response option on substantive responses. I will also conduct a workshop here at the IBS this summer on survey research methodology.

Research Proposals Funded

Political and Economic Change

J.V. O'Loughlin and J.E. Bell
Can democracy be sustained? Civic engagement, social capital, and the future of democratic governance in Moscow
NSF, 2/29/00-2/28/01, renewal, $133,127

Research Proposals Submitted

Problem Behavior Program

D.S. Elliot
Violence prevention technical assistance
Colorado Trust, 8/01/99-7/03/00, supp $50,000

Population Processes

R. Silvey
Transnational identities: Southeast Asian-Americans, gender and employment in Colorado
NFS, 7/01/00-12/31/01, new, $43,131

Upcoming Colloquia

There is an online listing of upcoming and recent colloquia.

Institute of Behavioral Science

Richard Jessor, Institute Director

IBS Newsletter

Julie Klauss, Editor
Richard L. Cook, Web Site Coordinator

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

(303) 492-8147