The 2021 recipients of the Herb Kohl Public Service Research Competition are La Follette School faculty members Yang Wang, Barbara Wolfe, Manuel P. Teodoro, and Mark Copelovitch. The Kohl Competition supports nonpartisan research that informs critical public policy and governance debates and advances evidence-based decision-making.
The awards are intended to amplify the exposure and influence of La Follette School faculty research and to demonstrate the research’s impact through targeted outreach.
Launched in 2016, the research competition is funded by the Kohl Initiative—a $10 million gift from former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, a 1956 alumnus of UW–Madison and a member of the La Follette School’s Board of Visitors.
“These influential projects focus on advancing the public good, giving La Follette School researchers the opportunity to share their work with policymakers, practitioners, and anyone devoted to solving the pressing problems facing our society,” said La Follette School Board of Visitors member Curt Culver, who served on the selection committee. “They also provide funding for hands-on experience for students, who will work alongside these award-winning researchers as project assistants. The Kohl Competition is truly a win for all constituents.”
The funded projects are:
Earned income Tax Credit (EITC) and Intimate Partner Violence
Associate Professor Yang Wang and Professor Barbara Wolfe will collaborate on a study researching the effects of the EITC on intimate partner violence, an effect that could be large for low-income populations struggling to deal with the many stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers’ findings will be valuable for state and federal policymakers as they work to direct limited resources toward preventing intimate partner violence.
Water System Excellence Project
Associate Professor Manuel P. Teodoro plans to study how public reporting on water quality, system integrity, financial performance, affordability, and equity can change incentives for the officials who manage and regulate water.
Democracy, Prosperity, Hegemony: Global Finance and the Future of American Economic and Foreign Policy
Professor Mark Copelovitch is launching a multi-year project that explores the effects of international financial and monetary factors in shaping the most pressing research questions and policy debates about the future of American democracy, macroeconomic policy, and great-power relations in world politics.