Thursday, October 13, 2016

An APPAM/MDRC Institutional Member Forum: The Future of Applying Behavioral Science to Social Policy

MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science (CABS) and APPAM are hosting a forum on December 13, 2016 which will explore the future of behavioral science research, practice, and policy. This event brings together distinguished experts from MDRC, academia, and the government to share their work and provide insight on next steps for research, practice, and policy.


Session Summary: "Health and Geography"

November 9, 2012 03:10 PM

Chaired by Thomas DeLeire, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Health and Geography covered how low-income Latino and African-American youth can be strongly affected by elements present in their neighborhoods, and how point-in-time uninsured rates varied by state.

“Estimating the Effects of Neighborhood on the Physical Health Outcomes of Latino and African-American Children” was researched and written by George Galster and Jessica Lucero of Wayne State University, with Georgios Kypriotakis and Anna Santiago of Case Western Reserve University.

The data presented showed low-income Latino and African-American youth strongly affected by elements present in their neighborhoods of residence. Potential neighborhood risk factors  included elements of social disorder, pollution, general and specific forms of instability, as well as low education and occupational prestige. Main findings supported the conclusion that the neighborhood of residence affects the likelihood of developing a health problem, and/or that said neighborhood affects the diagnosis of a health problem. Policy implications included the need to concentrate on anti-violence/disorder policy through the lens of children’s health policy.

“Geographic Variation in Insurance Dynamics” focused on the point-in-time uninsured rates that vary by state, further exploring how these spells can fluctuate in duration by concentrating on how uninsured spells dynamics differ across states. This study is particularly relevant, considering how understanding geographic variation in dynamics is critical for states when implementing the Affordable Care Act. Researcher John Graves of Vanderbilt University concluded there is evidence of geographic variation in insurance dynamics across states. Variations included, for example, the occurrence of a high incidence of uninsured spells - with a low duration rate overall - were found generally within states that had less generous public programs. This, in turn, indicated a greater potential for churn.

The discussant, Lauren Nicholas of the University of Michigan, questioned the use of reweighting in the second study - and for research in general - asking whether reweighting “gets us closer to the truth,” and whether there are any cost implications of the predicted rate as opposed to that rate which is actually (or could be) observed.

-contributed by Claire Phelan, Rutgers University


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