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MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

INNOVATION

SHASS research stories by the MIT News team 
 


                                                                                                                neurons firing 


The research and feature stories archived on this page are written by the MIT News staff, principally by Peter Dizikes.

In addition, news and research stories by SHASS Communications are located on
MIT-SHASS News and on the MIT-SHASS Channel of MIT News.  

To see entries on new faculty books, music and theater works, visit the MIT-SHASS Bookshelf

 

 


 

JANUARY 2017

 

Better wisdom from crowds
MIT scholars produce new method of harvesting correct answers from groups.


Jiwon Park: Reaching out to the world
MIT senior leads diverse projects to help women and students in developing countries.

 


 

DECEMBER 2016

 

Evaluating voter experience
Wait times at polls in 2016 election improved in several key states, new survey results show.
 

Experts gather at MIT to urge more innovation in health care delivery

Two-day conference explores opportunities for research, innovation, and evidence-informed policymaking to address a range of national health care challenges.
 

MIT announces MITx MicroMasters program in development economics, with path to full master’s degree

Institute to offer its first “blended-only” master’s program, in data, economics, and development policy.
 


 

NOVEMBER 2016

 

Steppe by steppe
Mongolian anthropologist Manduhai Buyandelger studies a society in transition.


At forum, MIT community tackles tough ethical questions of climate change
Why is it so hard for human beings to address climate change? What can motivate effective action?


“Uniting through Voice and Song” event celebrates values that connect the MIT community
“At this time of change, it is important that we lift up and celebrate our commitment at MIT to our ongoing values of discovery, freedom of expression and thought, and respect for all people.”
 

Decoding the medical cost mystery
Providers and patients drive health care spending in roughly equal amounts, study shows.

 


 

OCTOBER 2016

 

MIT economist Bengt Holmström wins Nobel Prize
Holmström shares award with Oliver Hart for work on contract theory.


Study: With Medicaid, ER visits remain high for two years
Acquiring health insurance does not lead to drop in emergency room usage.


Making a splash in health care economics
Heidi Williams builds all-new data sets to answer questions about innovation and biomedical research.


Changing the face of conservatism in the U.S.
New book by professor Heather Hendershot explores impact of William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line.”


Provider, improve thyself
Study shows unlicensed health care practitioners in India improve with modest training.

 


 

SEPTEMBER 2016

 

Sound system
In new book, Norvin Richards explores how our voices shape the rules of grammar.


Surrounded by questions
PhD student Nils Wernerfelt deploys the tools of economics to address his many questions about the world.

 


 

AUGUST 2016

 

The safety trap
Lack of secure investments is hindering growth globally, research finds.

 


 

JULY 2016

 

Seeking big answers
PhD student Rebecca Millsop uses philosophy to take on contentious questions about how we define art.


Your child, the literary talent
Literature professor Marah Gubar studies the creative powers of kids.

 


 

JUNE 2016

 

Groovy science, man!
Q&A: David Kaiser on our debt to science’s countercultural turn.


An economist delves into charter schools
PhD student Elizabeth Setren brings data to bear on questions about local education policy.


Why do women leave engineering?
Study: Group dynamics of teamwork and internships deter many women in the profession.


Democracy now
Political scientist Evan Lieberman studies ethnic identity and African politics.

 


 

MAY 2016

 

Why children confuse simple words
Study: Kids have “and/or” problem despite sophisticated reasoning.


3 Questions: Jeffrey Ravel on bringing data to cultural history
MIT conference stems from data-rich historical project on French theater.


Counting calories
Migrants pay more for their home region’s cuisine, even when on the edge of malnutrition.

 


 

APRIL 2016

 

3 Questions: David Autor on global trade and political polarization
Study finds relationship between U.S. job losses due to trade, and political polarization in Congress.
 

MIT political scientist awarded prestigious Carnegie fellowship
Taylor Fravel will examine Asia’s maritime conflicts in further depth.
 

New study shows rich, poor have huge mortality gap in U.S.
In unprecedented detail, lifespan gap shown to be large and growing rapidly.
 

Identity theft?
Automation helps us in many ways, but does it steal our sense of self?
 

3 Questions: Alan Brody on “Small Infinities”
As part of MIT 2016 celebration, play about Isaac Newton debuts in U.S.
 

How network effects hurt economies
Study reveals how woes in one industry can harm others, too.

 


 

MARCH 2016

 

3 Questions: Ben Ross Schneider on Brazil’s crisis moment
As political scandal swirls, are there still signs of economic and democratic progress?
 

3Q: A world-premiere concert where the audience helps play
MIT’s Eran Egozy on “12,” a chamber music debut with smartphone-driven percussion.


Stealth technology
Clapperton Mavhunga’s work uncovers an Africa where technology is abundant and sophisticated.


Code of the humans
New book by Noam Chomsky and Robert Berwick explores how people acquired unique language skills.

 


 

FEBRUARY 2016

 

It's all in our heads
Political science PhD student Marika Landau-Wells is using psychology and neuroscience to better understand political behavior.


MIT senior takes on double major in brain and cognitive sciences plus theater arts
Abra Shen pursues medicine and theater, and someday hopes to combine the two.
 

Into Africa

Entrepreneurs returning home to Africa find great promise, and many challenges.

 




JANUARY 2016
 

A cleaner ballot box

In Brazil, auditing voter rolls has shrunk the electorate — to the dismay of incumbents.
 

Reality check in the factory

MIT professor’s new book shows how labor laws actually get enforced, globally.
 

Life in the aftermath

MIT historian’s book explores life for Armenians in modern Turkey.
 

Past and present

MIT’s Tanalís Padilla brings alive the history of political struggles in Mexico.

 




DECEMBER 2015
 

Stimulus plan?
Interest is growing in brain stimulation devices — and regulating them may prove tricky.


3 Questions: David Singer on China and the renminbi
MIT political scientist looks beyond the headlines about China’s new currency status.


Mapping the history of U.S. state politics
Unique new study shows political orientation of all 50 U.S. states over time.


Senior Alyssa Napier dedicates herself to improving MIT
Chemistry major works to address social justice issues.

 


 

NOVEMBER 2015
 

Illuminating urban planning
Jennifer Light studies how Cold War military analysis and New Deal resource analysis shaped cities.


Grow your own way
Study: Trade may not help a warming planet fight its farming failures.


3 Questions: Sherry Turkle on “Reclaiming Conversation”
MIT professor talks about our need for face-to-face dialogue, in families, classrooms, and workplaces.


Good thinking
MIT philosopher Kieran Setiya analyzes the sources of moral action.


MIT named No. 1 university worldwide for social sciences
Times Higher Education ranks MIT’s social sciences the best in the world.


3Q: Thomas Levenson on the hunt for Vulcan, the missing planet
New book details the scientific search for a planet — before Albert Einstein halted the quest.

 


 

OCTOBER 2015
 

MIT named among three top universities in the world for humanities and arts fields

Times Literary Supplement ranks MIT one of the best in the world.
 

Facing the global refugee crisis
At MIT event, scholars and relief workers warn current problems could be “the tip of the iceberg.”


Making banking effective for the poor
In India, PhD student Natalia Rigol aims to tap into community knowledge to vet loan and grant applicants.


From screen to stage
MIT’s Jay Scheib and Keeril Makan turn the famous film “Persona” into a new opera.


Robots and us
Should cars be fully driverless? No, says an MIT engineer and historian.

 




SEPTEMBER 2015

 

Heidi Williams wins MacArthur “genius grant”
Economist who studies medical research and intellectual property wins $625,000 prize.


QS ranks MIT the world's top university for 2015-16
Ranked No. 1 for the fourth straight year, the Institute also places first in 11 of 36 disciplines.


State of growth
Study: Local and national governments spur growth better in tandem.

 


 

AUGUST 2015

 

Policing sex trafficking in the digital age
Mitali Thakor works with tech companies and police to understand what sex trafficking looks like today.


Timing devices
Anna Mikusheva refines the tools of time-series econometrics to develop better forecasting.

 


 

JULY 2015

 

Study: Firms “underinvest” in long-term cancer research
Tweaks to the R&D pipeline could create new drugs and greater social benefit.


The U.S.-Iran nuclear deal: MIT’s experts size it up
Faculty and specialists weigh in on potential pact and global implications.


Understanding economic behavior through hygiene
PhD student Reshmaan Hussam’s study of Bangladeshis’ economic behavior leads to research on hand-washing.


3 Questions: Michel DeGraff on Haiti’s new policy for teaching in Kreyòl
MIT scholar, and advocate of native-language instruction, backs linguistic change.


3 Questions: Jennifer Light on new media and democracy
MIT historian of technology discusses new work examining “digital citizenship.”


MRIs for a more peaceful world
Neuroscientists and political scientists join together to advance peace and reconciliation.

 


 

JUNE 2015

 

Medical anthropology
Erica Caple James investigates how behavior, culture, and structural inequalities impact health.


Grant to MIT's Poverty Action Lab increases focus on working with governments
Support from Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives seeks to improve policymaking in the fight against poverty.


Chisholm, Rivest, and Thompson appointed as new Institute Professors
Biologist, computer scientist, and musician awarded MIT’s highest faculty honor.

 


 

May 2015

 

Melissa Nobles named dean of SHASS
Political scientist and department head to lead School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.


When citizens disobey
New study suggests people use “constructive noncompliance” to enact change.


3 Questions: Kenneth Oye on regulating drugs
New potential for “homemade” opiates raises oversight issues.


A “graduation” from poverty
Study: Anti-poverty intervention provides sustained boost to incomes and wealth.


Rumors have it
Study: Trying to correct political myths may only entrench them further.


Culture clash
MIT scholar’s new book explores fierce debates over immigration.


National Academy of Sciences elects four MIT professors
Bowring, Mrowka, Poterba, and Seager named for “distinguished” research.

 


 

APRIL 2015

 

3 Questions: Marcia Bartusiak on black holes and the history of science
MIT professor’s new book explores the winding path of scientific discovery.


Eight faculty members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Among 197 elected this year to the prestigious honorary society, including Sally Haslanger, the Ford Professor of Philosophy, Kathleen Thelen, the Ford Professor of political science, and Iván Werning, the Robert M. Solow Professor of Economics.


Passage from India
New book by Sana Aiyar, an assistant professor of history at MIT, details how Kenya’s Indian immigrants established a foothold in a foreign land.


Deans announce new Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
MIT-wide effort aims to bring the power of data to the people.

 


 

MARCH 2015

 

 

The rapid rise of human language
New paper authored by Shigeru Miyagawa, Professor of Linguistics and the Kochi Prefecture-John Manjiro Professor in Japanese Language and Culture at MIT, suggests people quickly started speaking in a now-familiar form.


Studying conflict from the ground up

Newly tenured Fotini Christia studies political conflict — making findings that policymakers can use.
 

SHASS economist Heidi Williams and four other MIT researchers win Sloan Research Fellowships

Faculty specializing in mathematics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and economics among 126 selected.
 


 

FEBRUARY 2015

 

Explaining what voters try to hide

New paper shows how “conjoint analysis” can tackle hard political issues.
 

3 Questions: Amy Finkelstein on testing health care systems

MIT economist explains why randomized trials can improve medical care.
 

When logic meets rhetoric

Edward Schiappa has studied reason and rhetoric from ancient Greece to “Will & Grace.” 

 


 

JANUARY 2015

 

Does time pass?

Philosopher Brad Skow’s new book says it does — but not in the way you may think.


Is the medical match fair?

Study finds the demand for positions strongly influences medical residents’ salaries.

 


 

DECEMBER 2014

 

The “metrics” system

Economist’s new book teaches how to conduct cause-and-effect studies on complex social questions.

 


 

NOVEMBER 2014

 

By any media necessary
By studying immigrants, book provides a new view on social media and political movements.
 

Two MIT seniors and an alumnus named Rhodes Scholars

Elliot Akama-Garren ’15, Anisha Gururaj ’15, and Noam Angrist ’13 are among 32 winners nationwide.
 

3 Questions: Elena Ruehr on her three premieres this month

Composer debuts three new works, including an opera to be performed at MIT on Nov. 21.
 

Fitzgerald to step down as dean of SHASS

After nine years, dean will return to her position as a professor of the history of technology.
 

A MOOC sees its greatest impact in the classroom at MIT

Flipping a classroom enhances student and faculty experience.
 

Dresselhaus and Solow win Presidential Medal of Freedom

Two Institute Professors are among 19 new recipients of the nation’s highest civilian honor.
 

Unboxing the Chomsky Archive

A new website offers a glimpse at a lifetime of work, and the chance to support it.
 

Study aims to shorten Election Day lines

New MIT-led research effort applies the science of lines to the polling place.

 


 

OCTOBER 2014

 

Study: Workplace diversity can help the bottom line
MIT economist Sara Ellison scrutinizes firm data suggesting diverse offices function more effectively.


Can the U.S. and Russia make more progress on nuclear security?

State Department official lauds enforcement of New START Treaty, but cites need for more work.
 

Former NSA inspector general joins MIT Center for International Studies

 

Why sign rights treaties?

Study: Autocratic leaders who sign human-rights treaties seek political gain, not material benefits.
 

Creating user-friendlier environments

Federico Casalegno designs technology environments that keep human experience at the center of user experience.
 

3 Questions: Jonathan Gruber on the cost of smoking

Leading health care economist weighs in on a proposed cost-benefit analysis of smoking.
 

Alumnus Jean Tirole wins Nobel Prize in economic sciences

Former faculty member lauded for framework for regulating dominant firms in imperfect markets.
 

Caught in the social safety net

Andrea Campbell gives a firsthand perspective on the effects of means-tested social insurance programs
 


 

SEPTEMBER 2014

 

3 Questions: Calestous Juma on African development
MIT event spotlights new approaches to economic growth on the continent. Interview by Peter Dizikes


Keeping score
Newly tenured professor of Music Michael Cuthbert dives into old music to recreate the art of centuries past Story by Peter Dizike
 

Q&A: John Durant and David Kaiser on spurring public interest in science
Report on novel forms of science engagement raises new questions about outreach. Story by Peter Dizikes 
 

Making the case for Keynes
Peter Temin’s new book explains how John Maynard Keynes’ ideas relate to today’s global economy. Story by Peter Dizikes 
 



AUGUST 2014

 

Inspired readings
Meet MIT professor Arthur Bahr, who makes medieval literature come alive. Story by Peter Dizikes


The history man
Nuclear security expert Francis Gavin brings a historical approach to the study of international politics. Story by Peter Dizikes

 



JULY 2014

 

Economist Nancy Rose to take DOJ position
Expert in regulation and market competition will take leave to spearhead DOJ’s economic analysis. Story by Peter Dizikes


Study: Contrary to image, city politicians do adapt to voters
Urban politicians in the U.S. are responsive to voters’ views, regardless of the form of government. Story by Peter Dizikes 
 

Pulitzer Prize-winner to head Knight Science Journalism at MIT

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum will join MIT in 2015 as the director of Knight Science Journalism at MIT. Story by SHASS Communications and MIT News


3 Questions: Kenneth Oye on the regulation of genetic engineering
Political scientist discusses regulatory gaps in assessing the impact of “gene drives.” Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Time to rethink foreign policy?
In a new book, political scientist Barry Posen makes the case for a more limited U.S. military strategy. Story by Peter Dizikes

 


 

JUNE 2014

 

From contemporary syntax to human language’s deep origins
New paper amplifies hypothesis that human language builds on birdsong and speech forms of other primates. Story by Peter Dizikes

 


 

MAY 2014

 

The varieties of nuclear strategy
In a new book, MIT political scientist examines the multiple political uses of nuclear weapons. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

3 Questions: Johannes Haushofer on the psychology of poverty
Does a mental “feedback loop” prevent the poorest from exploring ways to change their lives? Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Q&A: David Autor on inequality among the “99 percent”
In new Science piece, MIT economist aims to move the inequality discussion beyond the “1 percent.” Story by Peter Dizikes
 

A new kind of media theory
MIT professor Fox Harrell works to enrich the subjective and ethical dimensions of the digital media experience. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Film, form, and feeling
MIT professor’s new book studies formal properties of movies and the structure of our emotions. Story by Peter Dizikes


The anthropology of humanitarianism
Anthropologist Erica James examines the effectiveness of aid to those on the margins of society. Story by Peter Dizikes

 


 

APRIL 2014

 

How a health care plan quickly lowered infant mortality
Study: Improved hospital access lowered infant death rate among Thailand’s poor within a year. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

What’s the future of wealth — and inequality?
At MIT, “rock star” economist Thomas Piketty presents, defends work on inequality. Story by Peter Dizikes


3 Questions: Michael Greenstone on the experimental method in environmental economics
MIT economist makes the case for new quasi-experiments as a way of studying environmental issues. Story by Peter Dizikes

 


 

MARCH 2014

 

A scholar who thinks globally and acts locally
Political scientist David Singer produces innovative research on international financial policy. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

3 Questions: John Tirman, executive director of MIT’s Center for International Studies, on the warming U.S.-Iran relationship
New book examines misunderstandings as two nations try to work out a permanent deal on nuclear weapons. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

What’s next for Ukraine?
At MIT, experts discuss the long-term implications of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in Crimea. Story by Peter Dizikes

 


 
FEBRUARY 2014
 

Inside the minds of voters
Teppei Yamamoto, Assistant Professor of Political Science, proposes a new polling method to reveal how voters make choices at the ballot box. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

After the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, then what?
In a talk, Vipin Narang, Assistant Professor of Political Science, examines the implications of the military drawdown for regional rivals India and Pakistan. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Intellectual property
MIT Associate Professor of Literature Sandy Alexandre explores the complex relationship between black literature and history. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Cold case: A linguistic mystery yields clues in Russian
David Pesetsky's, the Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics and head of MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, new book explains how the quirks of Russian numerals can tell us something deep about the universal properties of grammar. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 


 
JANUARY 2014
 

Gruber outlines key upcoming moments in Affordable Care Act rollout
MIT expert weighs in on health plan’s status as legislation becomes reality. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Study: Having Medicaid increases emergency room visits
Unique study on Oregon’s citizens sheds light on critical care in the U.S. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 


 
DECEMBER 2013
 

The surprising story of Mongolian shamanism
MIT anthropologist finds that after Soviet domination, a rebirth of shamanism helped Mongolia rewrite its own history. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

How should we use our intelligence?
MIT event exposes fault lines among high-ranking former government officials on NSA’s data-gathering programs. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Water, water everywhere: But is there enough to drink?
At MIT, experts address the challenges of supplying clean, safe water to a growing world population. Story by David Chandler  
 

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli visits MIT in support of assistive technology and global poverty reduction
Daylong visit highlights work by MIT researchers and others at CSAIL and J-PAL. Story by Chuck Leddy  
 

Polarized labor market leaving more employees in service jobs
Study: U.S. job market is putting more workers in positions with limited upside and leverage. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

New medical operations
At MIT’s ‘Innovations in Health Care’ conference, industry experts discuss how to maintain quality while reining in costs. Story by Peter Dizikes   
 


 
NOVEMBER 2013
 

3 Questions: Benjamin Olken on the economic impact of climate change
MIT economist has co-authored a new survey on the burgeoning research about the effects of the changing climate. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Five from MIT named AAAS fellows
The professors were recognized by their peers for their efforts to advance science or its applications. Story by the MIT News Office  
 

An economist with a goal
MIT senior Jonathan Tebes sees economics as a way to alleviate poverty in the US, Tanzania, and beyond. Story by Jessica Fujimori, MIT News correspondent  
 

A new path for growth
In a new book, MIT political scientist Ben Ross Schneider sets out an agenda for growth with greater equality in Latin America. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Dower granted major 'lifetime achievement' award in history
MIT professor recognized as ‘pre-eminent scholar’ in East Asian history. Story by MIT News Office  
 

Lincoln Palmer Bloomfield, professor emeritus of political science, dies at 93
Longtime member of the MIT faculty was noted for his work on containing conflict and averting nuclear escalation. Story by MIT News Office

 


 

OCTOBER 2013

 

Doctor, doctor: Why the job market for married couples in medicine works well
New study in the growing ‘market design’ field of economics explains how a job-market algorithm helps land couples in the same locations. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Building culture in digital media
Fox Harrell’s new book presents a ‘manifesto’ detailing how computing can create powerful new forms of expression and culture. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

The 'Great Rent Wars' of New York
Historian Robert Fogelson’s new book uncovers the origins of rent control in a World War I-era fight between tenants and landlords for control of New York real estate. Story by Peter Dizikes   
 

Adrift in a sea of change
In a new book, MIT historian Rosalind Williams examines the deep tension authors Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, and William Morris felt about technology. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Alumnus Robert J. Shiller wins Nobel Prize in economic sciences
Economist is honored for his work on the long-term fluctuations of asset prices. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

An experiment puts auditing under scrutiny
Unique study reduces pollution in India while calling conventional auditing markets into question. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Advantage, Arnaud
Economist Arnaud Costinot studies international trade — and has helped revive interest in economics’ venerable Theory of Comparative Advantage. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

In search of transparency
Former military analyst and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg speaks on the need for open public discussion of vital issues. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

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SEPTEMBER 2013
 

Broadcasting rights
MIT professor Heather Hendershot studies the conservative movement’s strategic use of television through the decades. Story by Peter Dizikes

 

Achieving an innovation nation
MIT report emphasizes need to turn U.S. innovation strengths into growth. Story by Peter Dizikes

  

Race and class
MIT historian Craig Wilder documents the manifold links between universities and the slave economy in colonial America. Story by Peter Dizikes

  

3 Questions: Suzanne Berger on converting innovation into growth
As MIT’s PIE Commission releases its findings on the innovation economy, a focus on finding ways to help new ideas reach the market.  Story by Peter Dizikes

 

The unknowns surrounding Syria
At MIT, foreign-policy experts discuss the complications of another potential military intervention in the Middle East. Story by Peter Dizikes

 

3 Questions: Christopher Capozzola on the history of chemical-weapons bans
MIT historian discusses the longstanding ‘taboo’ against chemical weapons, and international attempts to eliminate them. Story by Peter Dizikes

  

Mappers, modelers and an anthropologist
HASTS doctoral student Tom Schilling is conducting an anthropological study of geology, forestry and First Nations-led mapping and modeling in rural British Columbia. Story by Jessica Fujimori

  

In The World: Mapping the logistics of megacities
New open-source online maps generated by MIT students provide details of urban supply chains. Story by David L. Chandler

  

Big game hunter
MIT sociologist T.L. Taylor studies the subcultures of online gaming and the nascent world of online e-sports. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

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AUGUST 2013
 

Rethinking investment risk
Does financial innovation inherently lead to greater risk in markets? An MIT economist takes a new look at the problem and says it does. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Empowering women in Afghanistan
By placing some women in local leadership positions, an innovative development aid program integrates women into civic life, and may have economic benefits. Story by Peter Dizikes

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JULY 2013

How anti-poverty programs go viral
Study: Getting the well-connected to spread the word helps more people learn about microfinance programs in rural India. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Linguistic puzzler
Graduate student Rafael Nonato travels to the fringes of the Amazon rainforest to explore the Brazilian native language of the Kĩsêdjê. Story by Jessica Fujimori, MIT News correspondent


The long history of 'Eurasian' identity
MIT historian’s new book studies cross-cultural Asian-American families since the 19th century. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Innovative study estimates extent to which air pollution in China shortens human lives
New quasi-experimental research finds major impact of coal emissions on health. Story by Peter Dizikes

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JUNE 2013


Re-thinking ethnic favoritism in politics
Study shows ethnic-based distribution of goods in African politics is not continuous, but instead intermittent and limited in scope. Story by Peter Dizikes


Diversifying your online world
In a new book, MIT’s Ethan Zuckerman asserts that we need to overcome the Internet’s sorting tendencies and create tools to make ourselves ‘digital cosmopolitans.’ Story by Peter Dizikes
 
That ’70s show
In a new book, journalist and MIT fellow Christian Caryl recounts the epoch-shaping political, religious and economic upheavals launched in the year 1979. Story by Peter Dizikes

 

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MAY 2013


The strangely familiar browsing habits of 14th-century readers
MIT professor’s book digs into the eclectic, textually linked reading choices of people in medieval London. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Striking a balance on taxes
Research by PhD student Stefanie Stantcheva touches on taxation, student loans and education incentives. Story by Shraddha Chakradhar
 

Using literature to understand violence against blacks
MIT professor Sandy Alexandre studies the literary record to shed light on the history of lynching in the United States. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

How to make factory conditions better
After years of research into global production systems, an MIT political scientist is convinced that government, not just the private sector, must help keep workers safe. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

How Medicaid affects adult health
Study: Health insurance helps lower-income Americans avoid depression, diabetes, major financial shocks. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

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APRIL 2013

 
Decoding ‘noisy’ language in daily life
Study shows how people rationally interpret linguistic input. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

MIT and Haiti sign agreement to promote Kreyòl-language STEM education
Initiative designed to help Haitians gain technical education. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

China and Japan remain miles apart on uninhabited isles
At MIT event, diplomats and scholars reinforce high stakes, lack of progress on Asian territorial dispute. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Deep in the field
Book details how economist Robert Townsend has spent two decades in rural Thailand, exploring the links between household finances and economic growth. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

3Q: Jeffrey Ravel on the French past and our future
With MIT hosting a global French history conference, a look at the international growth of — and changes in — the field. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

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MARCH 2013  
 

Helping students master data
An undergraduate econometrics class gets students to think critically about their own research. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Four professors named 2013 MacVicar Fellows
Griffith, Miller, Schulz and Teng awarded the Institute’s highest undergraduate teaching honor. Story by the MIT News Office  
 

Sizing up Japan, after the disaster
MIT political scientist examines Japanese stasis after nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

The science of politics
Jens Hainmueller looks for experiments to answer tough political questions. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Nate Silver presents forecasting work as antidote to ‘terrible’ political pundits
In MIT talk, celebrated election forecaster offers critique of media, advice to students and hints about his future projects. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

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FEBRUARY 2013


New insight into how people choose insurance plans
Study: Consumers avoid high-deductible plans if they expect to reduce their use of medical care. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Knight Fellowship has made its mark on science journalism
MIT-based program has provided research experience for hundreds of reporters. Story by David L. Chandler  
 

Robert Bishop, MIT economist and dean, dies at age 96
A member of the MIT community for seven decades, he was a scholar of microeconomic theory, an innovative teacher, and a dean who helped expand the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

How human language could have evolved from birdsong
Linguistics and biology researchers propose a new theory on the deep roots of human speech. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

What’s the cost and financial value of college?
At MIT, experts say evidence shows the payoff from college education remains high. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

3 Questions: Charles Stewart ranks the voting systems in the 50 states
A new Pew Center project, spurred by MIT research, studies how well states run their elections. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

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JANUARY 2013
 

The hidden history of Bengali Harlem
MIT professor’s new book details the overlooked waves of South Asian immigrants to the United States. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

The Natural Experimenter
MIT economist Josh Angrist’s meticulous ­methods have influenced scholars for two decades. Now he’s zeroing in on what makes some schools better than others. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

The high value of water
Study: People willing to pay more for running water report much higher levels of happiness when they have it. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Hard times in Chicago
MIT anthropologist’s new book recounts the painful aftermath when steel plants suddenly closed in the American heartland. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Why are Japanese cartoons a global hit?
MIT scholar’s new book heralds ‘creative collaboration’ with the masses as the key to anime’s worldwide popularity. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Why some immigrants get citizenship
Study: Country of origin a 'massive disadvantage' for some immigrants, regardless of qualifications. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Duflo, Lander, Lewin to lead spring-semester MITx courses
EdX takes stock of last semester’s MITx courses; data will be used to improve education online and in the classroom. Story by Jennifer Chu  

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DECEMBER 2012


The health-insurance markets of the (very near) future
Policymakers must address ‘tension’ between competition and ease of use. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

The subculture of cheese
MIT anthropologist looks inside the growing world of do-it-yourself American cheese-makers. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

3 Questions: David Kaiser on Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shift
Scholars mark 50th anniversary of 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.' Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Study: At most a third of us show a consistent approach to financial risk
Empirically rich new study finds most people alter their risk-management approach depending on the type of financial decision. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

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NOVEMBER 2012


Knowing the score
At MIT, composer Keeril Makan has found a home for his innovative works. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

How civil wars evolve
MIT political scientist’s book shows how even the bloodiest conflicts feature pragmatic alliances—not just ancient sectarian divisions. Story by Peter Dizikes
 



OCTOBER 2012
 


Explained: Margin of error
When you hear poll results reported with a certain margin of error, that’s only part of the story. Story by David Chandler  
 

How Jonathan Gruber became ‘Mr. Mandate’
An MIT economist’s path to the center of health-care policymaking in Washington. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

The state of the U.S. election system
New report from MIT and Caltech notes gains in voting-machine technologies, but warns they could be cancelled out by errors introduced through mail and Internet voting. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

3 Questions: Charles Stewart sizes up the 2012 election
MIT political scientist and voting expert weighs in on the state of the presidential campaign, the shifting demographics of America, and the tossup U.S. Senate races. Story by Peter Dizikes
  

DeGraff awarded $1 million NSF grant to continue linguistics research in Haiti
Funding will help develop classroom tools to teach science and math in Creole for the first time. Story by Peter Dizikes

  



SEPTEMBER 2012

 

3 Questions: Violence and protests in the Muslim world
MIT political scientist Fotini Christia talks about the attacks on U.S. and Western embassies in North Africa and the Middle East. Story by Peter Dizikes

 

Q&A: Junot Díaz on his new book
The MIT professor and Pulitzer-winning writer talks about the people and ideas in his newest work, This Is How You Lose Her—and explains why women form a big part of his core audience. Interview by Peter Dizikes
 

Understanding gambling addiction
For machine gamblers, it’s not whether they win or lose—it’s how much they play the game. Story by Peter Dizikes

 



AUGUST  2012

 

The economic cost of increased temperatures
Study: Warming episodes hurt poor countries and limit long-term growth. Story by Peter Dizikes


Study: Many Americans die with ‘virtually no financial assets’
Innovative research shows large divergence in retirement saving outcomes, with the single elderly faring worse than married couples. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

Five MIT researchers win presidential early career honors
Parag Pathak, Economics, among them. Story by the MIT News Office Staff 

 



JULY 2012 
  

Economist Robert Townsend wins Frisch Medal
Prestigious prize granted for research on Thailand’s villages. Story by the MIT News Office Staff 

 



JUNE 2012

  

3 Questions: Andrea Campbell interprets the Supreme Court’s health care decision
An MIT political scientist whose work was cited in one justice’s opinion weighs in on the ruling and its implications. Story by Peter Dizikes


Bits of buildings: How is computing changing the architect’s job?
In a new book, an MIT researcher looks at the influence of high-tech simulations on the profession of architecture.  Story by Peter Dizikes

 
Economists find evidence for famous hypothesis of ‘comparative advantage’
Why do nations trade goods instead of producing more themselves? An old theory, that countries specialize in the products they make well, may be on the money. Story by Peter Dizikes


The complexities of cognitive comparisons
In experiments, linguists examine how we make everyday judgments about groups of objects. Story by Peter Dizikes

  



MAY 2012

  

Taking credit
When Thailand’s government started offering microfinance loans to villagers, did anyone benefit? An MIT economist investigates. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

3 Questions: Hanna Rose Shell on the hidden history of camouflage
Historian of technology’s new book traces the surprisingly recent invention of a standard military practice. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Studying school quality, to fight inequality
New MIT center examines education and its lifelong effects. Story by Peter Dizikes

 
Game Theory, in the real world
MIT economist Parag Pathak engineers practical solutions to complicated education problems. Parag Pathak Photo: Dominick Reuter For students in New York and Boston, who have a range of options beyond. Story by Peter Dizikes 

 



APRIL 2012 

 

Economist Amy Finkelstein wins the John Bates Clark Medal
MIT economist lauded for work on health care markets. Story by Peter Dizikes  
 

13 MIT faculty elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences three from MIT SHASS
Philsopher Stephen Yabol, Economists Amy Finkelstein and David Autor elected. Story by the MIT News Office Staff 


Four from MIT win Guggenheim Fellowships Makan and Yablo from MIT SHASS
Story by the MIT News Office Staff


A Tough Calculation: Why don't more women go into engineering?
Study by Anthropologist Susan Silbey reveals why female students remain wary of the engineering workplace. Story by Peter Dizikes
 



MARCH 2012

  

What lies ahead for science and science writing?
10th anniversary of MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing celebrates past, looks to future. Story by Jessica Fujimori

 

All the difference in the world
In new book, economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson assert that above all else, political institutions — not culture or natural resources — determine the wealth of nations. Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Inequality offensive
At MIT forum, economists evaluate the consequences of increasing inequality in America, and suggest solutions. Story by Peter Dizikes 


Four professors named 2012 MacVicar Faculty Fellows
Broadhead, Kaelbling, Kaiser and Rose awarded the Institute’s highest undergraduate teaching honor. News Office Staff 
 

If the people will lead
MIT panel on the future of black politics, scholars discuss the need for civic engagement at a time of economic stress.   Story by Peter Dizikes

 



FEBRUARY 2012
 
 

When (and where) work disappears
Study: Overseas manufacturing competition hits U.S. regions hard, leaving workers unemployed for years and local economies struggling.  Story by Peter Dizikes


3 Questions: Adam Berinsky on the unpredictable GOP campaign
Political scientist who studies public opinion assesses a campaign with wildly fluctuating polls.  Story by Peter Dizikes


Historian of Science Charles Weiner dies at 80
Longtime faculty member was a pre-eminent analyst of the political, social and ethical dimensions of contemporary science.  Story by the MIT News Office Staff 
 
 



JANUARY 2012

 

3 Questions: John Harbison on his sixth symphony
The Pulitzer-prize winning composer discusses his latest major work, premiering January 2012 at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Story by Peter Dizikes
 

Leading by example
Study by Esther Duflo | The presence of female politicians boosts aspirations, educational achievement of young women.  Story by Peter Dizikes

 



DECEMBER 2011 


3 Questions: Stephen Van Evera on the withdrawal from Iraq
A look at the prospects for peace as U.S. troops leave.  Story by Peter Dizikes


Bridging the divide
New study co-led by political scientist Fotini Christia shows how integrated institutions can lead diverse populations to cooperate in rebuilding countries.  Story by Peter Dizikes


Nobel laureate: Long path to economic renewal, but energy innovation could help
Robert Solow, Professor of Economics emeritus says investments in energy and infrastructure could help revive the economy.  Story by Peter Dizikes

 



NOVEMBER 2011
 
 

A Tocqueville for our Time
MIT Historian Arthur Kaledin's new book re-evaluates of Democracy in America, and emphasizes Alexis de Tocqueville’s doubts and concerns about politics in the United States. Story by Peter Dizikes


Allen Lin ’11, MEng ’11 named Marshall Scholar
Recent alum will hone interests in policy, synthetic biology through study in the United Kingdom.  Story by the MIT News Office Staff 


How we (should) decide
MIT Philosopher Caspar Hare aims to develop theories of practical rationality that may just help us make real-world decisions. "In philosophy, there’s nothing you can’t think,” Hare says. “Everything’s on the table, and the values are all about rigor and clarity, exploring how to use a thought and seeing where it goes."  Story by Emily Finn


Stephanie Lin wins Rhodes Scholarship
Lin, an MIT senior who is majoring in biology with a minor in applied international studies, has received a Rhodes Scholarship to study next year at Oxford University. She is one of 32 American recipients selected this weekend by the Rhodes Trust.  Story by the MIT News Office Staff 


Townsend wins Laffont Prize in Economics
MIT economist Robert M. Townsend, an expert in the ways financial systems and practices can contribute to the growth of developing economies, has been named winner of the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in economics for 2011.  Story by the MIT News Office Staff 


Political Scientist Taylor Fravel decodes China’s foreign policy
Fravel’s work has gained attention because of an unanticipated finding growing out of his doctoral research: In the last several decades, to a greater extent than has been generally understood, China has often struck pragmatic compromises in foreign-policy disputes with its neighbors. Fravel’s 2008 book, Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China’s Territorial Disputes, reveals this tendency and analyzes the reasons for it.  Story by Peter Dizikes


Summers: To end slump, United States must spend
In MIT remarks, former Treasury secretary calls for the ‘common sense’ cure of more government spending to spur growth. “No thoughtful person can look at the U.S. economy today and believe that the principal constraint on expansion of output and employment is anything other than the lack of demand experienced by firms,” Summers said. That is, not enough consumers in the country have sufficient spending power; government programs employing more people would change that, he asserted. “If the private sector is either unable or unwilling to borrow and spend on a sufficient scale, then there is a substantial role for government in doing that. That’s the right macroeconomics. It’s also common sense.” 
Story by Peter Dizikes