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2024 Grant Recipients

For Applications received in 2023

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Martina Beretta

The "Great Gatsby Curve" in Europe: Is There a (Inverse) Relationship between Inequality and Social Mobility?

Since the 1970s, rising inequality has constrained economic growth. The Great Gatsby Curve highlights the social dimension of this problem, linking inequality to mobility (i.e., shifts in individuals’ socioeconomic positions across generations). My project assesses this link’s strength and explores the potential mechanisms underpinning it in a novel way.

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Alexander Borsa

Financializing Fertility: Private Equity and the Management of Reproduction

My dissertation project examines the increasing ownership and consolidation of US fertility practices by private equity (PE) firms. By combining a novel dataset of all PE-owned practices with qualitative interviews, my work contributes to ongoing policy debates and scholarly inquiry on the financialization of health and reproduction.

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Caitlin Cassady

Medical Aid in Dying: Physician Beliefs, Practices, and Respect for Autonomy

Medical aid in dying (MAiD) policy is evolving and expanding. Removal of residency requirements in some states ostensibly makes MAiD available to all Americans. This project examines extant knowledge gaps such as imbalances between intended safeguards and access, ethical dilemmas with disabled persons, and complexities in forming MAiD best practices.

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Jakob Dirksen

Investigating Multidimensional Well-Being Indices as Evidence-Base to Advance Equitable, Cross-Sectoral Policies

I study and develop new policy-oriented metrics of well-being and inequalities across the many domains of life (e.g. income and wealth, health, education, employment, social relations, etc.). I am to contribute to a better evidence-base to inform policies that equitably advance social welfare and reduce disadvantage.

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Catria Gadwah-Meaden

Disabled Veterans' Access to and Use of Safety Net Programs: An Examination in the Context of SNAP

This quantitative study has two aims. First, it explores disabled veterans' risk of experiencing material hardship and their broader program participation behaviors. It then turns to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and employs quasi-experimental methods to examine how changes to benefit eligibility differentially impact veteran populations.

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Priya Gandhi

Exploring the Impact of Horizontal Hospital Consolidation in Rural Communities on Equitable Health Care Outcomes

Little information exists on how horizontal hospital consolidation (HHC), or mergers and acquisitions, impact rural communities’ access to health care. This dissertation explores such impacts by leveraging mixed methods and community engagement, enabling rural communities to design responsive policies to help inform more equitable future HHC events.


Kim Gannon

The Criminal-Legal, Health, and Racial Implications of Drug-Induced Homicide (DIH) Laws

Despite recognition of the inefficacy and racial inequity of policies in the “War on Drugs” era, drug-induced homicide (DIH) laws are increasing in popularity among states. I will examine how these laws affect criminal-legal and 911 utilization disparities, and whether racial stereotypes of “drug dealers” impact DIH laws’ public support.

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Katherine Ianni

The Value of Nonmedical Benefits Delivered Through Private Health Insurers in the Medicare Advantage Program

Evaluating the value of nonmedical health insurance benefits is critical for understanding how to address healthcare access barriers. My project fills a research gap by assessing the impact of nonmedical supplemental benefit provision in the Medicare Advantage program using quasi-experimental methods. By leveraging an exogenous policy shock, I evaluate the effect of non-emergency medical transportation provision on care utilization and other measures of access.

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Garima Jain

“Salt in the Wound” or Disaster Resilience: Aquaculture Land Transitions in Coastal India

Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food production sector viewed as a big opportunity for addressing food insecurity. I aim to explain the historical geographical patterns of aquaculture land transitions, the factors driving these transitions at a household level, and the consequences of these transitions on people, environment, and places.

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John Körtner

Biased Beliefs, Algorithms, and Street-Level Decision-Making

In my project, I aim to better understand the role of bureaucrats’ beliefs within social policy. I examine how caseworkers treat unemployment benefit claimants based on beliefs of employability. In addition, I study how caseworkers update their beliefs and change their behavior in response to information from predictive algorithms.

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Bethany Kotlar

When the Village is Threatened: the Effects of Maternal Incarceration During Pregnancy and Early Childhood on Family Wellbeing

Approximately 4% of women enter incarceration pregnant. Prenatal exposure to incarceration may harm children through suboptimal carceral conditions and early disrupted attachment. No studies have prospectively assessed the wellbeing of these children. The purpose of this project is to fill this research gap to inform policies that support child development.

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Jonathan Lamb

"Inclusive and Sustainable Cities: Policy and Well-Being under Incremental, Evolutionary, and Transformational Change"

Trustee's Award

In three papers, this project explores dynamics between economic, environmental, and social aspects of urban well-being and their implications for planning at different scales: how households value different types of urban amenities, the holistic effects of greenspace subsidies and a land value tax as “bottom-up” strategies, and a proposal for computational backcasting to support long-range planning.


Alexander Mikulas

Trends in Housing Market Racial Integration and the Foreclosure Crisis: A Space-Time Analysis

This project examines changing patterns of US racial residential integration for the years before and after the US foreclosure crisis. Little is known about what role concentrated foreclosure played in marking certain neighborhoods for subsequent racial change. This project estimates and analyzes novel data to answer this difficult question.

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Spencer Mueller

Wobbler Prosecution: How Charging Decisions Impact Criminal Justice Outcomes

We develop a causal framework to assess the effect of filing charges on defendants' subsequent justice system involvement. For the marginal defendant, a less severe filing decision leads to a significant reduction in recidivism likelihood. The estimated effects are greatest for defendants without a prior criminal record.

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Shelby O'Neill

Bury Me with My People: Migration from a Mexican Village

This project tells the story of migration from a village in rural central Mexico—how the village has been shaped by departure, and how departure has been shaped by US immigration policy. It follows migrants, some with temporary work authorization, some undocumented, as they divide their lives between two countries.

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Helena Pedroti

Optimal Low Income Housing Policy

Irving Louis Horowitz Award

I seek to answer how building social housing in middle- and high-income municipalities affects residential sorting, housing prices, and market-rate construction and the implications for policy design. Housing policymakers seem to prefer to provide incentives to communities rather than mandating construction but allowing choice could undermine attempts to decrease segregation.

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Katherine Richard

Penalties in the Safety Net: Effects of Work Requirement Enforcement on Earnings and Benefits

U.S. cash assistance penalizes participants who violate work requirements by removing benefit income for periods of time. I use administrative data covering all Michigan cash assistance participants to study how earnings and benefits evolve surrounding a violation of work requirements and quantify effects of increasing penalty duration on economic security.

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Katharine Sadowski

The Evolution of the Early Childcare Market: Historic Trends and the Effect of Minimum Wage Changes on Access to Quality Care

I examine how the early childcare workforce and local childcare access has evolved over the past thirty years and contribute the first causal estimates of how minimum wage increases impact access to quality childcare. My goal is to inform current state and national policy debates around increasing childcare worker compensation.

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Hilton Simmet

From Justice to Just Science: The Politics of Inequality Research in the US, France, and India

Hilton's research comparatively examines the relationship between political theory and public policy, with a particular focus on how different social science research paradigms seek to address inequality and reflect underlying ideas of political order--of social justice and the welfare state--in France, India and the US.

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Genevieve Smith

Assessing Alternative Lending Tools Using Machine Learning on Financial Inclusion & Gender Equity

AI tools using machine learning (ML) to assess creditworthiness are proliferating in low- and middle-income countries, promising financial inclusion and economic growth. My research explores if and how ML-based credit assessment impacts financial inclusion and gender equity through a mixed methods approach utilizing interviews, computational social science, and survey data.

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