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Journal Club Meeting

When Feb 13, 2015
from 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM
Where 2101C Morrill Hall
Contact Name
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We have decided on the MPRC Journal Club article that we will be reviewing on Friday, February 13. We have chosen a piece from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which is a highly ranked, interdisciplinary science journal. The article is titled "Evidence on the impact of sustained exposure to air pollution on life expectancy from China’s Huai River policy" by Yuyu Chen et al. Co-author Hongbin Li was one of Sai's mentors during his Master's degree, and is an economist. The quasi-experimental design used in the study is intriguing and this paper cuts across many disciplinary lines.

Dr. Ethan Kaplan of the Department of Economics will be joining us to discuss publishing as an economist and also with understanding the analytical techniques in this paper. We are very happy to have him join us!

Download a copy of Yuyu Chen, et al.

Sai also wanted to pass on some supplementary--and completely OPTIONAL--materials pertaining to the Chen et al. 2013 article. As you can imagine, this article received quite a bit of publicity.
1)      Another PNAS article discussing whether Chen and coauthors’ findings are epidemiologically/biologically plausible:
2)      Blog posts by Andrew Gelman (Prof of Statistics & Political Science at Columbia Univ):, and
3)      Media coverage by
MIT News:
Scientific American:
New York Times:

Please let either of us know ( or ) if you will be joining us as we kick off the Spring semester. We look forward to seeing you in several weeks and continuing our great discussions !

Bring your lunch; snacks will be provided.


The 4th meeting of the MPRC Journal Club was incredibly successful. We had participants from sociology, anthropology, economics, and public health, which offered us a range of disciplinary perspectives on the highly interdisciplinary article by Chen et al. (2013) which was published in the general science journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Our discussion was led by Dr. Ethan Kaplan of the Department of Economics, and he led us through the regression discontinuity design employed in this study, how it deals with (and also does not deal with) selection bias, and how we could employ this quasi-experimental method in our own research. None of us had ever used this method, so the in-depth discussion surrounding it and its utility in the article was very useful. We are grateful for Dr. Kaplan's guidance. We all have a better understanding of how economists publish, how their research is reviewed, and how to come just a little bit closer to determining causal relationships in population research.

Please note that, at the present time, Morrill Hall is not accessible for handicapped individuals.

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