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How Should Health Data Be Used? Privacy, Secondary Use, and Big Data Sales

October 15, 2014 Comments off

How Should Health Data Be Used? Privacy, Secondary Use, and Big Data Sales
Source: Yale Institute for Social and Policy Studies

Electronic health records, data sharing, big data, data mining, and secondary use are enabling exciting opportunities for improving health and health care while also exacerbating privacy concerns. Two court cases about selling prescription data raise questions of what constitutes “privacy” and “public interest;” they present opportunity for ethical analysis of data privacy, commodifying data for sale and ownership, combining public and private data, data for research, and transparency and consent. These interwoven issues involve discussion of big data benefits and harms, and touch on common dualities of the individual v. the aggregate or the public interest, research (or, more broadly, innovation) v. privacy, individual v. institutional power, identification v. identity and authentication, and virtual v. real individuals and contextualized information. Transparency and accountability are needed for assessing appropriate, judicious, and ethical data use and users, as some are more compatible with societal norms and values than others.

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Cashier or Consultant? Entry Lab or Market Conditions, Field of Study, and Career Success

June 24, 2014 Comments off

Cashier or Consultant? Entry Lab or Market Conditions, Field of Study, and Career Success (PDF)
Source: Yale University

We analyze lab or market outcomes of U.S. college graduates from the classes of 1976 to 2011, as a function of the economic conditions they graduated into. We categorize college majors by average economic outcomes and skill level of the major, predominantly the average earnings premium, and measure a range of lab or market outcomes over the first 13 years after college graduation. We have three main findings. First, poor labor market conditions disrupt early careers. For the average major, a large recession at time of graduation reduces earnings and wages by roughly 11% and 3% (respectively) in the first year, and reduces the probability of full-time employment by 0.095. Effects on earnings and full-time employment fade out over the first 7 years of a career, while the wage effects persist. There is a small positive effect on the probability of obtaining an advanced degree. Second, for the period as a whole, these effects are differential across college majors. High-earning majors are somewhat sheltered when graduating into a recession relative to the average major, experiencing significantly smaller disadvantages in most lab or market outcomes measured. As a result, the initial earnings and wage gaps across college majors widen by 33% and 8%, respectively, for those graduating into a large recession. Most of these effects fade out over the first 7 years, but impacts on wages and a measure of occupational match quality persist. Higher paying majors are also slightly less likely to obtain an advanced degree when graduating into a recession. Our third set of results focuses on a recent period that includes the Great Recession. Early impacts on earnings are double what we would have expected given past patterns and the size of the recession, in part because of a large increase in the cyclical sensitivity of demand for college graduates. The effects are also dispersed much more evenly across college majors than those of prior recessions.

Street Stops and Police Legitimacy: Teachable Moments in Young Urban Men’s Legal Socialization

February 28, 2014 Comments off

Street Stops and Police Legitimacy: Teachable Moments in Young Urban Men’s Legal Socialization
Source: Yale Law School (via SSRN)

An examination of the influence of street stops on the legal socialization of young men showed an association between the number of police stops and a diminished sense of police legitimacy. This association however is not only a consequence of the number of street or car stops they experience or of the degree of police intrusion that occurs during those stops. Rather, the estimated impact of involuntary contact with the police is mediated by evaluations of the fairness of police actions and judgments about whether the police are acting lawfully. Whether the police are viewed as exercising their authority fairly and lawfully directly shapes respondent’s decision acceptance and the impact of stops on respondent’s general judgments about police legitimacy. Fairness and lawfulness judgments, in turn, are influenced by the number of stops or the degree of police intrusion during those stops. Similarly, judgments of justice and lawfulness mediate the estimated influence of judgments of the general character of police behavior in the community on general perceptions of police legitimacy. These results suggest that the widespread use of street stops undermines legitimacy. Lowered legitimacy has an influence on both law abidingness and the willingness to cooperate with legal authorities. However, the findings also show that it is not only police streets or police conduct during such stops that matters per se, but more importantly public perceptions of police injustice/illegality during those stops. The results suggest that police legitimacy is shaped by how fairly/legally the police are viewed as exercising their authority.

Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies

November 13, 2013 Comments off

Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies
Source: Yale Law School (via Social Science Research Network)

This report provides an overview of state and federal policies related to long-term isolation of inmates, a practice common in the United States and one that has drawn attention in recent years from many sectors. All jurisdictions in the United States provide for some form of separation of inmates from the general population. Prison administrators see the ability to separate inmates as central to protecting the safety of both inmates and staff. Yet many correctional systems are reviewing their use of segregated confinement; as controversy surrounds this form of control, its duration, and its effects.

The debates about these practices are reflected in the terms used, with different audiences taking exceptions to each. Much of the recent public discussion calls the practice “solitary confinement” or “isolation.” In contrast, correctional facility policies use terms such as “segregation,” “restricted housing,” or “special management,” and some corrections leaders prefer the term “separation.”

All agree that the practice entails separating inmates from the general population and restricting their participation in everyday activities; such as recreation, shared meals, and religious, educational, and other programs. The degree of contact permitted — with staff, other inmates, or volunteers — varies. Some jurisdictions provide single cells and others double; in some settings, inmates find ways to communicate with each other. The length of time spent in isolation can vary from a few days to many years.

This report provides a window into these practices. This overview describes rules promulgated by prison officials to structure decisions on the placement of persons in “administrative segregation,” which is one form of separation of inmates from the general population. Working with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), the Arthur Liman Program at Yale Law School launched an effort to review the written policies related to administrative segregation promulgated by correctional systems in the United States. With ASCA’s assistance, we obtained policies from 47 jurisdictions, including 46 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

This overview provides a national portrait of policies governing administrative segregation for individuals in prisons, outlines the commonalities and variations among jurisdictions, facilitates comparisons across jurisdictions, and enables consideration of how and when administrative segregation is and should be used. Because this review is of written policies, it raises many questions for research – about whether the policies are implemented as written, achieve the goals for which they are crafted, and at what costs. Information is needed on the demographic data on the populations held in various forms of segregated custody, the reasons for placement of individuals in and the duration of such confinement, the views of inmates, of staff on site, and of central office personnel; and the long-term effects of administrative segregation on prison management and on individuals. Without such insights, one cannot assess the experiences of segregation from the perspectives of those who run, those who work in, and those who live in these institutions.

Battle for Benefits: VA Discrimination Against Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma

November 8, 2013 Comments off

Battle for Benefits: VA Discrimination Against Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma
Source: American Civil Liberties Union, Service Women’s Action Network, Yale Law School

Sexual assault and harassment are serious problems in the United States armed forces. Thousands of service members each year are estimated to have experienced some form of military sexual trauma (MST), including rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

Less well known is the second battle that many veterans who survive sexual violence must fight with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) when they return to civilian life.

“Battle for Benefits: VA Discrimination Against Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma,” a report released by Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT), with assistance by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic, reveals that the process of obtaining VA disability benefits for the enduring mental health effects of military sexual trauma (MST) is an unfair fight in which veterans are often unsuccessful. Veterans who survive in-service sexual trauma face discrimination in seeking compensation.

Fast Food Facts 2013: Measuring Progress in the Nutritional Quality and Marketing of Fast Food to Children and Teens

November 7, 2013 Comments off

Fast Food Facts 2013: Measuring Progress in the Nutritional Quality and Marketing of Fast Food to Children and Teens
Source: Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity (via Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Fast Food FACTS 2013, issued by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, examines the nutritional quality of fast food, and how restaurants market their foods and beverages to children and teens. The report examines 18 of the top restaurant chains in the United states, and updates a similar report released in 2010.

Key Findings

  • A total of $4.6 billion was spent on all advertising by fast food restaurants in 2012. This was an 8 percent increase over 2009. McDonald’s spent 2.7 times as much to advertise its products as all fruit, vegetable, bottled water, and milk advertisers combined.
  • Less than 1 percent of all kids’ meal combinations met recommended nutrition standards.
  • On average, U.S. preschoolers viewed 2.8 fast food ads on TV every day in 2012; children aged 6-11 years viewed 3.2 ads per day; and teens viewed 4.8 ads per day.
  • Fast food restaurants continued to target black and Hispanic youth, populations at high risk for obesity and related diseases.

The Loser’s Curse: Decision-Making & Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft

March 19, 2011 Comments off

The Loser’s Curse: Decision-Making & Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft (PDF)
Source: Yale

A question of increasing interest to researchers in a variety of fields is whether the biases found in judgment and decision making research remain present in contexts in which experienced participants face strong economic incentives. To investigate this question, we analyze the decision making of National Football League teams during their annual player draft. This is a domain in which monetary stakes are exceedingly high and the opportunities for learning are rich. It is also a domain in which multiple psychological factors suggest teams may overvalue the chance to pick early in the draft.. Using archival data on draft-day trades, player performance and compensation, we compare the market value of draft picks with the surplus value to teams provided by the drafted players. We find that top draft picks are overvalued in a manner that is inconsistent with rational expectations and efficient markets and consistent with psychological research.

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