Spring 2010 Colloquia

Monday, February 8, 2010 - 12-1pm

Social Policy in 19 Rich Democracies: Why Pensions Converge, But U.S. Health Care Remains Unique

Hal Wilensky, UC Berkeley, Department of Political Science

Prof. Wilensky would like attendees of this lunch talk to read his paper U.S. Health Care and Real Health in Comparative Perspective: Lessons from Abroad before the talk. The paper can be downloaded by clicking here.
At this session Wilensky will talk more about pensions than health care, on the assumption that you all have read the paper on health care

Among the 19 rich democracies I have studied for the past 40 years, the United States is odd-man-out in its health-care spending, organization, and results. The Obama administration might therefore find lessons from abroad helpful as it moves toward national health insurance. In the past hundred years, with the exception of the U.S., the currently rich democracies have all converged in the broad outlines of health care. They all developed central control of budgets with financing from compulsory individual and employer contributions and/or government revenues. All have permitted the insured to supplement government services with additional care, privately purchased. All, including the United States, have rationed health care. All have experienced a growth in doctor density and the ratio of specialists to primary-care personnel. All evidence a trend toward public funding. Our deviance consists of no national health insurance, a huge private sector, a very high ratio of specialists to primary-care physicians and nurses, and a uniquely expensive (non)system with a poor cost-benefit ratio. The cure: increase the public share to more than 65% from its present level of 45%. In regards to funding the transition cost and the permanent cost of guaranteed universal coverage: no rich democracy has funded national health insurance without relying on mass taxes, especially payroll and consumption taxes. Whatever we do to begin, broad-based taxes will be the outcome. Three explanations of "why no national health insurance in the U.S.?" are examined.

Monday, February 22, 2010 - 12-1pm

Charlan Nemeth

The Value of Authentic Dissent for Decision Making (and even Creativity)

Charlan Nemeth, UC Berkeley, Department of Psychology

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Our prior research on exposure to minority views --or dissent--has documented its value. People consider more evidence, think in more divergent ways, and in general make better decisions and evidence more creativity. Work on both devil's advocate and, more recently, on brainstorming techniques, underscore the importance of the authenticity of the dissent. Implications for both business (corporate cultures) and for law (jury decision making) are explored.

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 12-1pm

Clair Brown

Workers' Fear about Job Security and Trade Impact: Are they irrational or do they reflect labor market experience and conditions?

Clair Brown, UC Berkeley, Department of Economics

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02 03 04 05 06 07

For at least the past three decades, the percent of workers who fear they are "likely to lose their jobs in the next year" tracks the unemployment rate fairly closely. However U.S. workers have grown more pessimistic in recent economic recoveries about their job security, and a gap between job security fears and the unemployment rate has grown. Also workers vary widely in how they think trade impacts "jobs like mine". Many reasons for workers' fears about job security have been hypothesized, including increased trade and globalization of multinational supply chains, decline in unionization and regulation, and more rapid technological change. In this presentation, Clair will look at workers' fears and perceptions and to what extent they reflect a worker's own career paths and local labor market conditions, using the General Social Sciences data base (as well as some others). She will touch briefly on other possible factors.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - 12-1pm

Kim Voss

The Immigration Rallies of 2006: Explanatory Challenges and Future Prospects

Kim Voss, UC Berkeley, Department of Sociology

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Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 12-1PM

Tsuyoshi Tsuru

Price Discrimination and Social Network: Evidence from North American Automobile Transaction Data.

Tsuyoshi Tsuru, Hitotsubashi University

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Monday, March 29, 2010 - 12-1pm

Joan Bloom

Does Representative Governance Improve Access to Medical Care in Community Clinics?

Joan Bloom, UC Berkeley, School of Public Health

Background. Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHCs) were initially chartered during the War on Poverty in the 1960's and is one of two programs that still exists. Since the program's inception, Federal statute has uniquely required that the health centers self-govern via "representative" consumer boards. Expansion of the program occurred during the prior decade. Today, there are more than 100 FQHC's in California.

Purpose. While the literature suggests that FQHCs break down barriers to health care access for underserved groups in underserved areas, little is understood about the mechanisms by which they do so. In particular, the effect of self-governance on the health centers themselves has received little scholarly attention. The purpose of this project is to address this gap by studying the connection between their representative governance structure and access to health care services at the State's FQHCs. Our aims are threefold: first, to summarize the patient populations and service offerings at the State's FQHCs; second, to better understand the makeup, characteristics, and role of consumer boards across the State's FQHC; and third, to develop hypotheses about the influence of consumer governance, in terms of access to care.

Methods. To address our research aims, we are employing both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Quantitative. To address our first research aim, we are summarizing data from two primary sources. the Federal Uniform Data Set (UDS) and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) Primary Care and Specialty Clinics Annual Utilization Data. The UDS collects data on service delivery locations, patient demographics, preventative, primary, and enabling services provided, staffing, clinical indicators, utilization rates, costs, and revenues. The OSHPD data contains much of the same basic information as the UDS, with a more complete description of enabling services offered, languages spoken by patients and staff, available technology, and major capital projects.

Qualitative. To address our second and third research aims, we are interviewing three people – the C.E.O., the Medical Director, and the Board Chairperson – from each of forty of the State's FQHCs. What about the third aim?

Preliminary Results. California's FQHCs vary substantially in terms of their size, number of delivery sites, and the demographics of the populations that they serve. California's FQHCs offer a diverse array of enabling services that potentially break down barriers to health care access for underserved groups. Information on the structure and responsibility of FQHC governing boards is still being gathered and analyzed.

Implications. The potential implications of this project are to help us understand the ways in which FQHCs overcome barriers to health care access for underserved groups in underserved areas. Specifically, we hope to learn how and when community voice matters in FQHC decision-making. Does the unique consumer perspective influence the range of services that individual FQHCs offer? Does consumer participation in FQHC decision-making improve community trust in the health center and its practitioners? In addition, what aspects of FQHC governance are important in terms of translating this perspective into improved access for the State's underserved groups?

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Monday, April 5, 2010 - 12-1pm

Guy Standing

Work after Globalisation: Building Occupational Citizenship

Guy Standing, University of Bath

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Monday, April 12, 2010 - 12-1pm

Ruth Collier

Latin America's New World of Work: The Informal Sector and Problem Solving in the Interest Regime

Ruth Collier, UC Berkeley, Department of Political Science, and Brian Palmer-Rubin

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This study addresses the conditions of work that influence participation in the interest regime around work and other issues. Using survey data from four Latin American capital cities—Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Caracas, Venezuela—the study focuses on the effects of the "operative traits of informality" on collective action for productionist and non-productionist claims. The operative traits are measureable manifestations of aspects of informal work that are hypothesized to affect the conditions for collective action, including size of workplace network, job instability, income volatility, and contract status. The change in economic model, with its relative decline of the formal sector and growth of informal work has altered patterns of participation in the interest regime, the types of claims made by the working classes, and the nature of political representation.

Monday, April 19, 2010 - 12-1pm

Barry Staw

Independence in Organizations: The Unauthorized Pursuit of Innovation in Work Settings

Barry Staw, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business

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The business press often celebrates independent acts of innovation. These stories frequently involve corporate heroes who have had to buck higher authorities or surmount organizational resistance in order to develop a new product or procedure. Yet, contrary to these reports of corporate heroism, the display of independent behavior may be quite hazardous to one’s career. Results from six scenario studies showed that independent actions are not often approved, even by those working in organizations noted for their support of innovation. These results challenge some preconceptions about innovation and illustrate the difficulties of pursuing independence in organizational life.

Monday, April 26, 2010 - 12-1pm CANCELED

David Levine

An Experimental Evaluation of Cal-OSHA Inspections: Preliminary Evidence

David Levine, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business

NOTE: This seminar has been canceled.


Monday, May 3, 2010 - 12-1pm

Ilan Tojerow

Wage Structure Effects of International Trade: Evidence from a Small Open Economy

Ilan Tojerow, University of Brussels

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All events are located at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA.

TO ATTEND AN EVENT, PLEASE R.S.V.P. Myra Armstrong, zulu2@berkeley.edu