Chicago Harris Shines at APPAM Conference

Chicago Harris had a strong presence at the Association of Public Policy and Management’s Annual Fall Research Conference, held November 6–8 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. APPAM, as the national organization is known, is “dedicated to improving public policy and management by fostering excellence in research, analysis, and education.” Its Fall Research Conference is widely recognized as a premier conference for public policy research in the United States. 

Recently appointed Assistant Professor Anjali Adukia received the Best Dissertation Award for “The Role of Basic Needs in Educational Decisions: Essays in Education and Development Economics,” which focuses on how “provision of basic needs such as sanitation, clothing, and transportation can increase school participation in developing countries.” 

Honorable mention for the Best Dissertation Award went to recent Harris graduate and University of Pennsylvania Assistant Professor Sara Heller, for “Experimental Evidence on Improving the Human Capital of Disadvantaged Youth.” Her work “uses administrative data to document the success of several low-cost approaches to increasing school engagement and decreasing violence for an adolescent population often thought to be resistant to behavioral change.” 

In addition, six current Harris PhD students presented their research at specialized panel sessions. The students had the opportunity to interact with interested audiences, connect with other researchers working in similar areas and get feedback from knowledgeable discussants from the field.  Their names and paper titles are presented below:

Dan Alexander, “Strategic Entry and a Polarized Legislature”

Jonathan Davis, “Testing Heterogeneity in the Effects of Summer Jobs”

Sebastian Gallegos, “The Vanishing Benefits of Delayed Primary School Enrollment”

Benjamin Galick, “Truck Drivers and Traffic Fatalities: Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life Using Panel Data”

Rebecca Myerson, “Catching up Left-behind Migrant Children in China? Policy Analysis with Endogenous Migration Decisions”

Congyi Zhou, “International Trade and Political Assignment in China”

As part of the conference, Harris held a reception organized by Assistant Professor Amy Claessens. Current PhD students mingled with alumni who are now assistant professors at prestigious institutions, including Chloe Gibbs (University of Virginia), Sara Heller (University of Pennsylvania), Dan Kreisman (Georgia State University), Javaeria Qureshi (University of Illinois at Chicago), Maria Fernanda Rosales-Rueda (UC Irvine), Matthew Steinberg (University of Pennsylvania) and Laura Wherry (UCLA) as well as other faculty and researchers from across the country. 

“For current PhD students, the APPAM conference and Harris reception are exciting opportunities to connect with other researchers in our specific fields within public policy,” says Rebecca Myerson. “What I learned from the presentations and from speaking with other researchers will not only influence how I proceed with the paper I presented, but also shape my research agenda as a whole.”

One of the things that impressed Sebastian Gallegos the most was the recognition his group received as UChicago students. “Our university prestige is a clear asset,” he says. “Moreover, my sense is that this made it easier to establish contact and interact with prominent professors, who work in my areas of expertise.” Gallegos also highlighted the value of getting together with Harris alumni. “As they have recently walked a similar path, their insights and advice on my research were very useful.”

“It was wonderful to see Harris represented by so many current and former PhD students,” says Claessens. “The APPAM conference is a great opportunity to showcase the high caliber of applied policy research done at our school.”

Sebastian Gallegos and Rebecca Myerson