Research Assistants and Faculty

CHEPS-ECON Social Insurance Research Fellowship Program
Summer 2024

The Summer 2024 CHEPS-ECON Social Insurance Research Fellowship program will offer a $4,000-$5,000 per-student research stipend to selected undergraduate and master's student fellows for participation in an intensive summer (to early fall) applied economics research program.  

Fellowships are funded by the Social Security Administration (via the University of Wisconsin-Madison) and will support student participation (1) in a Data Analytics Workshop covering coding/statistical software packages and large, nationally representative datasets that can be used to study the socioeconomic well-being and health of individuals served by the Social Security Administration, including persons with disabilities and retired individuals, (2) on a multigenerational research team tasked with carrying out an academic project related to social insurance policy, and (3) in writing a policy brief (targeted to policymakers and the public) based on the above-academic research project.  

The fellowship is designed to provide a predoc research experience for students who are interested in social insurance research and pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics, Public Policy, Law & Economics, or Sociology.

Deadline: Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Apply for the fellowship.

STATA/R Bootcamp Agenda

Organizer: Kyu Matsuzawa, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Oregon
Location: Heck Room (AL 625, inside 6th Floor Dean’s Suite)

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.


Intro to Bootcamp

  • Goals, focuses
  • Final project overview 

Common datasets

  • Sources
  • Codebooks & Questionnaires

Intro to Stata

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.

Create and recode variables

Use codebooks to create new variables

  • Create variables (gen, egen)
  • keep, inrange/inlist, and (&), or (|)

Check summary statistics

  • sum, fre, tab, duplicates report
  • codebook
  • Miscoding of missing values

Coding of the key policy variable

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.

Transform datasets

collapse and sample weights

Combine data sets: append and merge 

reshape data sets 

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.

Regression analysis and visualization

reg, probit/dprobit, poisson

Factor variables and time-series operators: xi: reg i.var1*var2

Saving regression results: outreg

Basic graphs

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.

Introduction to R


Getting Data

Dplyr/data.table (if time allows)

Time: 12 p.m.

Replication Assignment Due

Social Insurance Research Workshop Agenda

Organized and Led By: Dr. Yang Liang, Assistant Professor of Economics & Assistant Director of CHEPS
Location: Economics Department Conference Room (NH 324)

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.


Intro to Social Insurance (principles and objectives)

  • Theory of consumption smoothing
  • Why insurance is valued

Challenges in Insurance Markets

  • Expected Utility Model
  • Adverse Selection
  • Moral Hazard
  • Optimal Social Insurance
  • Government Intervention in Insurance Market

Brief Introduction to Public Programs

  • Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Medicare, Medicaid

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.

Social Security

What is Social Security and How does it work?

  • Program details (financing, eligibility, benefits calculation)

Social Security and Retirement

  • Theory and Evidence
  • Implementation and Reforms

Discussion: Raise Taxes, Extend Base of Taxable Wages, Raise Retirement Age….

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.

Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation

Institutional Features of UI, DI, and WC

Comparison of UI, DI and WC

Duration Spell of Social Insurance Benefits 

Moral Hazard of Social Insurance Programs

  • UI (e.g., Meyer, 1989)
  • DI (e.g., Parsons 1984, 1991; Gruber and Kubik, 1997)
  • WC (e.g., Krueger 1991)
  • Monday Effect

Costs and Benefits of Social Insurance to Firms

Implications for Program Reform

  • Benefits generosity; Targeting; Experience Rating

Quasi-Experimental Analysis

  • Diff-in-Diffs
  • Regression Discontinuity

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.

Health Insurance

An Overview of Health Insurance in the US

  • Private Insurance
  • Risk Pooling
  • Tax Subsidy
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Uninsured

Health Insurance and Mobility (e.g., Madrian 1994)

Job Lock

Estimate the elasticity of demand for medical care

Medicaid for low-income mothers and children


How does Medicaid affect health (evidence)

Medicaid Expansions and program evaluation (evidence)

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 – 5 p.m.

Income Distribution and Welfare Programs

Income Distribution in the US, an overview    

Relative Income Inequality

Poverty Rates

  • Poverty line and Measurement

Welfare Policy in the US

  • Cash Welfare Programs
  • In-kind programs: Food Stamps, Medicaid, Public Housing, Other Nutritional Programs

Moral Hazard Costs of Welfare Policy (for a Means-Tested Transfer System) 

Time:  2:30 – 3:15 p.m.

Introduction to Social Insurance Research Project


Time: 2 p.m.

Social Insurance Research Project Meetings

Updates on ongoing research, including pitch, literature reviews, data overview, coding, econometric advice, results, interpretation of findings, assessment of ongoing multigenerational mentoring            

Discussion of translational policy briefs