Research Quick Take

Here at the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (COSSPP), our faculty have been quite busy! Here are some of the projects that our faculty have recently published.

“Recognizing International Status: A Relational Approach” by Dr. Marina Duque

In her recent article, Dr. Duque looks at how different countries achieve status. She argues that status depends on social recognition: it concerns identification processes in which an actor gains admission into a club once they follow the rules of membership. Therefore, systematic social processes, which cannot be reduced to state attributes, influence status. In particular, status is self-reinforcing. Moreover, social closure influences status—which implies that (1) a state’s existing relations influence its ability to achieve status and (2) states recognize similar states rather than states with the most impressive portfolio of certain attributes. To investigate the determinants of international status, Dr. Duque uses inferential network analysis. She finds that self-reinforcing dynamics and social closure, rather than state attributes directly, drive status recognition.

“Public school accountability, workplace culture, and teacher morale” by Dr. John Reynolds

In his recent article, Dr. Reynolds studies the effects of low teacher morale. Educational scholars claim that teacher morale has suffered from accountability pressures and constrained professionalism, but exactly what is most diminished by these pressures remains unclear. Drawing on recent theoretical work on public school organizational culture, we hypothesize that accountability pressures hurt teacher morale and increase the risk of turnover by undermining the professional culture of the school and by diminishing teacher cooperation and trust. Surveying a nationally representative sample of teachers in 2011-12 and 2012-13, Dr. Reynolds finds support for this hypothesis.

Planning Chair Appointed Associate Dean | College of Social Sciences &  Public Policy

“A Marvelous Machine: Creative
Approaches to Securing Funding and
Building Public Support for Streetcar
Projects in Four U.S. Cities” by Dr. Jeff Brown

In his recent article, Dr. Brown examines the rise in streetcars, and strategies used to satisfy the critics of streetcars in four cities: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Tucson. He finds that streetcar projects in these cities were pursued in part because each city had faced at least one failed rail transit vote in recent years (usually involving light rail). Supporters of streetcar plans anticipated vocal citizen opposition based on those past failures; however, in most cases this did not materialize to the expected degree. This suggests that narrowly focused and lower-cost streetcar projects can avoid the contentious opposition of pricey regional light-rail proposals
by offering a different product and/or seeking fewer local dollars.

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