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April 27, 2011: News, Research & Events from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Baker Institute Update: A new fellow in urban politics
Baker Institute names Professor Robert Stein a fellow in urban politics

Rice University professor Robert M. Stein, Ph.D., a nationally known political analyst and expert on elections, is the Baker Institute's new fellow in urban politics.

"I look forward to working with other fellows and scholars at the Baker Institute on topics of importance to Houston and urban areas throughout the U.S.," said Stein, who is also the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science at Rice University.

Stein's election research has examined the effect of election administration on voter turnout and the cost of conducting elections. This work started with several studies funded by the Baker Institute on Election Day voting centers and has expanded to studies of early voting and Election Day precinct voting. His research on election administration is supported by Pew Charitable Trusts.

A longtime Houstonian who has seen his share of hurricanes and tropical storms, Stein also studies emergency preparation and response. He has co-authored several papers on risk assessment for severe storms, the public's perceptions of risk, and evacuation behavior, and is presently developing the "Storm Risk Calculator" — an online tool that Houston residents can use to determine their degree of risk when a hurricane moves into the Gulf of Mexico. His research on hurricane preparedness is a collaboration with Devika Subramanian, Rice University professor of computer science, and Leonardo Dueñas-Osorio, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

With Baker Institute energy fellow Amy Myers Jaffe, Stein is looking into ways to increase participation in a federally subsidized weatherization program and to better understand how these programs impact energy usage. Last spring, a group of students from Rice University working under the supervision of Stein, Jaffe and Stephanie Post, then executive director of Rice's Center for Civic Engagement, completed a study of the determinants of participation in the city of Houston's home weatherization program. The Houston housing department used this study to design a marketing program in a targeted neighborhood, enrolling 65 households in the weatherization program last summer. Stein and Jaffe are continuing to monitor the long-term implications of the research for the city of Houston.

"Bob Stein is a Houston institution, the man who knows everything about this city's politics and can explain it with clarity and wit. Nobody can match his knowledge. He is a tremendous addition to our roster of research fellows," said Allen Matusow, the institute's academic affairs director.

Ambassador Djerejian named to the Academy of Arts and Sciences

Baker Institute founding director Edward P. Djerejian has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — one of the highest honors for leaders in academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts.

Djerejian is one of 212 distinguished fellows in the 2011 class, whose members include recipients of the Nobel, Pulitzer and Pritzker Prizes, as well as the Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards.

Baker Institute honorary chair and namesake James A. Baker, III, who was elected to the academy in 2008, congratulated Djerejian, saying the election "was well deserved because (Djerejian's) professional life has embodied the academy's goal of promoting service by analyzing critical issues and developing practical solutions."

Upcoming Events
  • The Future of Oil in Mexico. International scholars and prominent Mexican energy industry analysts and officials discuss the global oil market and the way forward for the oil industry in Mexico.The conference, which features speakers in Spanish and English, can be viewed via live webcast. April 29 at 10:00 am in Mexico City
  • Seeking Peace Between Israel and Palestine: The Way Forward. Samih Al-Abed, Ph.D., Diana Tamari Sabbagh Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies, and Yair Hirschfeld, Ph.D., Isaac and Mildred Brochstein Fellow in Middle East Peace and Security in Honor of Yitzhak Rabin, discuss prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. May 10 at 6:00 pm
Events are by invitation only unless otherwise noted. For a complete list, visit our events page.

Baker Institute Blog For more postings, visit the Baker Institute Blog.

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The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.
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