Monthly Archives: January 2015

How Low Can It Go?

Field researchers like to talk about the joys of “getting your hands dirty” by immersing yourself in the ongoing social life of a community.  But I’ll bet many researchers would balk at climbing down into sewers to collect their data! … Continue reading

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Rigorous Evidence Should Inform Spending

Ron Haskins began the new year on a positive note.  The co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, Haskins reports that “a growing body of evidence shows that a few model social programs” work, and … Continue reading

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Who We Are and Who We Are Becoming

As a long-term resident of the Boston area and a college professor, it’s heartening to learn that Bostonians spend more on college than residents of others cities.  As I write yet another blog entry based on a newspaper article, it’s … Continue reading

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Health Care Myths and Randomized Trials

Once people have health insurance, they are going to be less likely to go to the emergency room for acute health problems and will instead see doctors in their offices and use more preventive care services. Right? Well, it seems … Continue reading

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The Person Particle?

We all value our individuality, so it might be disconcerting to know that in new research about crowd behavior, some physicists have improved understanding of human behavior by thinking of people as particles.  Using cameras and analyses of big data sets … Continue reading

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More Money, More Marriage

Back in the 1970s, when I married, it seemed that everyone was getting divorced.  Articles by social scientists and others were full of prognostications about the end of marriage as an institution. But a recent New York Times article by Johns … Continue reading

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The Census in Afghanistan

Conducting a census is a challenge for any government, but imagine how those challenges are multiplied as the current government in Afghanistan makes a new effort to conduct a national census. It’s not just the continued threat of violence in … Continue reading

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