COVID-19 Research & Impact

Faculty Research & Outreach

Max Besbris

Project: Max Besbris and colleagues published “The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Rental Market: Evidence From Craigslist” in American Behavioral Scientist.
Goal: The paper aims to examine if and how the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the market for rental housing in the 49 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

John Eason

Project: “RAPID: Estimating the Reciprocal Relationship between COVID-19 Infections of Prisoners and Staff and Infections in the Surrounding Communities
Goal: With funding from National Science Foundation, Eason and colleagues will examine the reciprocal relationship between COVID-19 infections among prisoners, correctional staff, and communities where prisons are located. Findings will help communities and congregate facilities, like prisons, develop policies to manage COVID-19.

Malia Jones

ProjectDear Pandemic, an online information resource to answer common questions about the coronavirus pandemic. Responses on the website are written by experts from a range of fields, including demography, economics, public health, and nursing.
Goal: To provide accessible, evidenced-based, and practical pandemic information for the general public. Topics range from explaining excess mortality to housekeeping advice, and are also available in Spanish.

Kristen Malecki

Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a statewide public health survey designed to help improve health in Wisconsin and throughout the world, has undertaken two new initiatives.

Project 1: Online surveys that will track health changes related to the pandemic over the coming year. The surveys address economic impacts, perceptions and information about the virus, behavior change, and mental health coping strategies. Any past SHOW participants—in 2019, there were over 6,500 adults and children involved—who consented to be contacted about future studies could participate.
Goal: Malecki and the research team hope the new data will shed light on how the pandemic impacts the social determinants of health.

Project 2: “Past Antibody COVID-19 Community Survey,” a collaborative project with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
Goal: The project aims to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies throughout the state. SHOW plans to recruit past survey participants from ten randomly selected counties and the city of Milwaukee who will receive quarterly testing over the course of the year. The Communicable Disease Division of the state lab will be preforming the antibody testing to help uncover how many people were infected with COVID-19.

Preliminary findings from SHOW’s new initiatives may be found here.

John Mullahy

Project: John Mullahy published “Discovering Treatment Effectiveness via Median Treatment Effects—Applications to COVID-19 Clinical Trials” in Health Economics.
Goal: The paper explores properties of median treatment effects (TEs) as indicators of treatment effectiveness. The paper’s main focus is on decision making based on median TEs and it proceeds by considering two paths a decisionmaker might follow. While the paper is framed by recently reported findings on treatments for COVID-19 and uses several such studies to explore empirically some properties of median-treatment-effect measures of effectiveness, its results should be broadly applicable.

Jenna Nobles and Felix Elwert

Project: “Impact of COVID-19 Exposure on U.S. Birth Outcomes
Summary: Funded by NICHD, Nobles and Elwert are using  state-level birth records with early release to estimate the effects of COVID-19 on birth outcomes at the population level, over time, and across groups defined by different sources of disadvantage.

Project: “The Intergenerational Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic,”
Summary: With support from the National Science Foundation, the research team will study the effects of COVID-19 exposure on infant health at birth—with a focus on how the pandemic exacerbates U.S. inequality in early-life resources. Because health in infancy shapes educational attainment, wages, and even longevity, this dimension of the pandemic may be among the most enduring.

Alberto Palloni

Project: A webinar hosted by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population on May 20, 2020 focused on the contributions of population studies to understanding the impacts of COVID-19 and explored different research agendas, methodologies, and study designs.
Goal: Inspired by a blog co-written by Alberto Palloni and Stephen Walter, the webinar brought in additional regional and disciplinary perspectives on how population sciences can address the epidemic and its long-term impacts.

Student Research

Annaliese Grant developed an online survey recruited through social media to look at media use before and during the pandemic. It explores how demographic characteristics shape the ways individuals use and have changed their media use during a time of great global stress. The survey was collected during May–June 2020.