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IPPSR is MSU’s new hub for public policy information and research. Search our summaries of scientific research with implications for public policy by inputting keywords in the search box or selecting options from the menus below.


Policy Research

Increasing incidence of metastatic prostate cancer in the United States

A.B. Weiner, R.S. Matulewicz, S.E. Eggener, E.M Schaeffer

June 2016

The authors of this study examine data from the National Cancer Data Base between 2004 and 2013 to determine if cases of advanced or metastatic prostate cancer increased or decreased. Gathering data on men from 1089 health care facilities in the United States, the authors modeled the information to see if current screening practices were too relaxed. What they found was that the cases of metastatic prostate cancer increased in the United States. These cases increased in men in the age range that could benefit the most from advanced screenings and treatment.

Cost and benefit estimates of partially automated vehicle collision avoidance technologies

Corey D. Harper, Chris T. Henderickson, Constantine Samaras

June 2016

With the introduction of autonomous features in vehicles that can detect and prevent crashes, monitor blind spots, and detect lane drifting, some advocate that these technologies can reduce the amount of crashes that occur each year. The authors of this paper evaluate the benefits of equipping all light duty vehicles with these technologies. Using data from insurance companies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and various research articles, the authors estimate that these technologies can prevent nearly 1.3 million accidents each year and $18 billion dollars in savings. The paper suggests that advancements in these technologies can have even greater overall benefits if all vehicles are equipped with these technologies.

Eat (and Drink) Better Tonight: Food Stamp Benefit Timing and Drunk Driving Fatalities

Chad Cotti, John M. Gordanier, Orgul D. Ozturk

February 2017

The authors set out to investigate whether or not there is a correlation between alcohol related accidents and the timing of food stamp distribution. Using state food stamp distribution dates, enrollment numbers, and weekday alcohol related accidents the authors hypothesized that the distribution of food stamps does have an effect on accidents. Weekends were excluded due to the reasons that alcohol related accidents are more likely to increase regardless of demographic lines. The authors attribute this decline to the “same-day effect.” This is that recipients of food stamps are more likely to stay at home and eat on distribution days

How Can Bill and Melinda Gates Increase Other People’s Donations to Fund Public Goods?

Dean Karlan, John A. List

March 2012

The authors use two large scale, natural field experiments to test the efficacy of matching donors on soliciting donations to NGO’s and then to test the efficacy of naming said matching donors, in this case Bill and Melinda Gates. They find that having a matching donor significantly increased donations, and that naming the matching donor increased them even further. They conclude that Bill and Melinda Gates acted as a “quality signal” to other donors, signaling that their money would be put to effective use.

How Does Peer Pressure Affect Educational Investments? An Experiment Testing the Relative Effectiveness of Encouraging Voter Participation by Inducing Feelings of Pride or Shame

Alan S. Gerber, Donald P. Green, Christopher W. Larimer

March 2010

Prior research has shown that people are more likely to vote after receiving a mailer showing whether they voted in previous elections. The authors sought to determine whether shame for being out of compliance with voting norms, or pride for complying, was a more powerful motivator. Using a randomized control trial, they found that those who were reminded of a previous abstention were more likely to vote than those who were reminded that they had voted in the previous election. The researchers concluded that shame was a more powerful motivator for participation than pride.

Partisan Differences in the Relationship Between Newspaper Coverage and Concern Over Global Warming

Xiaoquan Zhao, Justin Rolfe-Redding, John E. Kotcher

February 2016

This article uses data compiled from the 2006 General Social Survey and newspaper coverage of climate change during the same time period to analyze how news coverage influences public opinion. The authors found a pattern between how newspapers report climate change studies and how they form a political narrative to further a certain agenda. Certain newspapers have been found to pursue directional goals rather than accuracy goals to cater to a certain audience. The effects of this can be seen in the correlation between how climate change is covered and the increasing polarization between Democrats and Republicans.

Equity and Length of Lifespan are Not the Same

Benjamin Seligman, Gabi Greenberg, Shripad Tuljapurkar

June 2016

This research article presents data on lifespan and how it differs from life equity. As lifespan and life expectancy increases the question of whether or not we are living good healthy lives arises. As chances of cancer and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) rise later in life this study focuses on the equity of life during these times. This study also suggests that implementing policy can have an affect on life equity as well as lifespan. The study conducted involves populations from G7 countries. The authors of this study also suggest that promoting healthy lifestyles among younger ages is essential to achieving higher health equity. When healthier lifestyles are advocated at a young age the chances of developing CVDs diminishes and life equity increases.

Returns on Investment in California County Departments of Public Health

Timothy T. Brown

February 2017

This study focuses on the returns on investment made into California county health departments. The author gathered data from peer reviewed journal articles between 2001 and 2009. These articles focused on developing methods to measure return on investments in public health. From this the author found that there was a high return on investment for every dollar put into county health departments. Research and data suggests that investments into these departments are a prudent decision.

Economic Conditions and Children’s Mental Health

Ezra Golberstein, Gilbert Gonzales, Ellen Meara

February 2017

Studies involving economic conditions and its effect on children’s health usually ignore mental health. Leaving mental health out of these studies can inaccurately portray the health conditions of children in lower economic classes. The authors use unemployment rates and housing prices from 2001 to 2013 to measure the use of special education services among children in the most volatile of economic situations. They find that as economic conditions deteriorate the metal health of children follows suit. These children do not use special education services for learning disabilities but for emotional problems.

The Rustbelt and the Revitalization of Detroit: A Commentary and Criticism of Michigan Brownfield Legislation

Emily Green

November 2016

Michigan, like many states, has been using Brownfield credits since the late 1970s. This study examines the idea that Brownfields were intended to benefit the environment, via extensive rebuilding and cleaning up of waste. In modern practice, however, brownfields in Detroit have served as mechanisms to increase the tax base and economic growth of an area. These mechanisms have consequences, which the author describes as having inadequate terminology for what a Brownfield is, and the amount variation in what brownfields, on paper, are said to be. Additionally, in comparison to other states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, the author argues that the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act needs to be decentralized to afford more control at the local level to identify and assess the local community’s needs and potential brownfield sites. Brownfield redevelopment is essential to rebuilding the tax base in former rustbelt urban areas, but they must be implemented and assessed by local governments in partnership with the community.