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Category: UW Experts in the News

What’s The True Impact Of Enhanced Federal Unemployment Aid? A Labor Economist Weighs In


While the debate over enhanced federal unemployment aid in Wisconsin has been settled for now, the broader, national discussion on the issue continues.

At least 26 states have cut their ties with the program. Business owners and interest groups argue that ending the additional aid is the best way to address difficulties in hiring new workers.

For more on the debate, WORT producer Jonah Chester spoke with Laura Dresser, a labor economist at UW-Madison.

Dairy market reports show optimism, but uncertainty, for higher prices, slowing production

Wisconsin State Farmer

Industry experts Mark Stephenson and Bob Cropp say they see optimism in price and supply for the coming months, according to the latest episode of the Dairy Markets and Policy podcast.

Cropp, professor emeritus of UW-Madison’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, said cold storage reports bring both bad and good news to dairy farmers: American cheese stocks are slowly decreasing at 2% this month, but butter stocks have gone up 14% in the same timeframe. Stephenson, director of the Center for Dairy Profitability, said cheese stocks will continue to see rising price support.

Tanzania’s Dilemma: It’s Not So Easy To Go From Vaccine Denier To Vaccine Embracer

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: The authority of the minister and her deputies in advocating vaccination doesn’t guarantee a new national attitude, says Aikande Kwayu, honorary research fellow specializing in political governance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who is based in Tanzania.

“Their actions and statements during the last administration influenced a lot of conspiracies, lies and also denial about the pandemic,” says Kwayu.

A wolf hunt blew past its kill quota in February. Another hunt is coming this fall.

The Washington Post

Quoted: Lead author Adrian Treves, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, argues that without a more precise number the hunt quota should be set as low as is possible.

“A quota of one would comply with the statute [mandating a hunt] and acknowledge that we have no clue how successfully the wolves reproduced this year,” Treves said. “Because the hunt happened during the mating season, we would need good data on how many packs produced pups, and that is data we do not have.”

Forget Critical Race Theory in the Classroom. Kids Are Learning About Race on TikTok.


Quoted: “If you look at the language of some of these bills, they’re really pretty broad,” says Diana Hess, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s school of education. “There’s a lot of things that are in the language that would make it really hard to teach civic education.”

CDC: Mask Up In Some Situations Even If Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “The virus multiplies exponentially so 10 today could be 100 tomorrow,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, director of infection control at UW Hospital and Clinics and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Safdar urged people to take precautions like mask wearing and getting vaccinated.

“All around us, we are surrounded by high transmission, and it’s just a matter of time before we are right in there with the rest of the country,” she said.

‘There is a real cost’: As Covid shows, barring bedside visitors from ICU deprives patients of the best care


Quoted: Doctors and researchers who share Ciappa’s hope are worried about how much progress the movement lost during the last year and a half. “It took time to get those family-centered policies into the fabric of hospitals,” said Traci Snedden, a career critical care nurse and assistant professor of nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Will Covid give clinicians permission to pull back again, or will it propel us forward like, ‘I can’t believe we went without family at the bedside’?”

Decision on former Wauwatosa cop Joseph Mensah’s 2016 shooting to come Wednesday. Here’s what we know about the proceeding.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: The law Motley is seeking to use — Wisconsin Statute 968.02 — is similar to a John Doe proceeding, but is technically not the same thing, according to Keith Findley, a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Findley said the law is essentially used as a check on the court system. Findley also said Statute 968.02 means a judge has more discretion when it comes to filing charges. Under the statute, a judge “may” file charges if they find probable cause.

Sports psychologist encourages fans to support Biles’ decision


With several professional athletes taking a break to place their mental health as a priority, UW Health’s Distinguished Sports Pscyhologist Dr. Shilagh Mirgain encourages fans and family to remain supportive. “She’s human. She’s really showing that the weight of that pressure can really undermine people’s performance. And she really did what was best for her, prioritizing her mental health by pulling out of this competition,” explained Dr. Mirgain.

What’s blood flow restriction training and why are Olympic athletes using it?


Quoted: “It’s almost like a personal tourniquet system. So you have a cuff that’s applied to your arm or leg that significantly reduces blood flow,” Marc Sherry, a physical therapist and manager of the UW Health Sports Rehabilitation Department in Madison, Wisconsin, told TODAY. “The basic premise is that it’s inflated to a pressure that prevents the blood from coming out of your arm but doesn’t prevent the blood from going into your arm.”

‘An abomination’: the story of the massacre that killed 216 wolves

The Guardian

Quoted: Adrian Treves, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has studied wolf-hound conflicts, found that neighboring Michigan, which has stricter hounding regulations, has seen far fewer dogs injured or killed by wolves. Lighter regulation in Wisconsin means more dogs in the woods, Treves said, which leads to more conflict. “Houndsmen prefer to hunt in a place that lets them do what they want to do.”

A federal eviction moratorium ends July 31. Here’s what you need to know about rental assistance and more.

Green Bay Press Gazette

Quoted: Landlords have a lot more options available to them than eviction, Madison-based rental housing lawyer and University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor Mitch said. Mitch said property owners can negotiate rather than file evictions that will go permanently on the tenant’s record.

“I know that eviction isn’t the only tool in your toolbox when renters don’t pay, and I wish that property owners would realize that they have other tools such as working out agreements on early move-outs, working on payment plans or working together to get government assistance,” Mitch said.

Intense heat raises the risk of violence in American prisons

The Economist

Noted: Another, and probably underestimated, factor may be the weather. Mississippi summers usually see average temperatures rise above 80℉ (26.7℃), a threshold at which the likelihood of violence in prisons increases.

That is the finding of a working paper by Anita Mukherjee of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Nicholas Sanders of Cornell University. The authors matched county-level weather variations across Mississippi with violent incidents reported in the state’s 36 prisons and jails between 2004 and 2010. Using these data, they built a statistical model that controlled for the time of year that the violence took place, the type of institution and other factors. They calculated that on days with average temperatures of 80℉ or higher the chances of violence increased by 20%. The hot weather leads to an average of 44 additional incidents of severe violence—those that result in serious injury or death—each year,

Kathleen Gallagher: What’s standing in the way of growing Wisconsin’s wine industry?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “You used to have to use McKinsey or another specialized consultant, but with the Internet and data science you can do this at a fraction of the cost and make it very easy for the farmers themselves,” said Tom Erickson, Founding Director of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences.

Milwaukee considers updating building codes in the wake of Surfside collapse. Should other Wisconsin cities and the state do the same?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Annual inspections might offer peace of mind, but building professionals said the expenses would be astronomical. Besides, it’s when the building is being constructed that inspectors have the most critical safety checklist to ensure its longevity, said Steven Cramer, vice provost for instructional continuity & academic affairs and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We have a great set of building codes in Wisconsin, but the greatest scrutiny occurs at the time of construction or remodel when building permits are required and inspections occur,” Cramer wrote by email.

Carbon-capture pipelines offer climate aid; activists wary

Associated Press

Quoted: “These early plants are relatively easy and that’s a good place to start,” said Greg Nemet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in the development of climate-friendly energy technology. “As that gets shown and proven, you get some transportation networks, then it gets easier to do the harder stuff later.”

Small Farms Vanish Every Day in America’s Dairyland: “There Ain’t No Future In Dairy”

Mother Jones

Quoted: Mark Stephenson, the director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the industry definitely has a lot of challenges but is nowhere near extinction.

“We’ve produced record amounts of milk in the last year or two. It’s being consumed. Most of it domestically, but increasingly with exports,” said Stephenson.

Wisconsin Lawmaker Proposes Lifetime Restraining Orders To Protect Sexual Assault Survivors

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Ryan Poe-Gavlinski is clinical director of the Victims of Crimes Act Restraining Order Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She said creating a lifetime protective order would put survivors of assault “in the driver’s seat.”

“If someone has committed sexual assault and that’s been determined, either at the (civil) restraining order level or through a criminal court, there’s no reason that that perpetrator needs to have contact with that victim going forward,” Poe-Gavlinksi said.

How Olympians Are Fighting to Put Athletes’ Mental Health First


“Five years ago, mental health among elite athletes was not a very often-discussed topic,” says Dr. Claudia Reardon, professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin. If there was any focus on athletes’ mental health, it centered around performance and ways to optimize results on the field. “Most of the emphasis when it came to mental health was around sports psychology and performance, and offering resources to help you perform at your highest level,” says Ross. “Occasionally in the health history [questionnaire] there might be some questions about mental health but they were sort of hidden, and weren’t prominent.”

Bill O’Reilly accuser’s appearance on ‘The View’ stopped by order


That’s a potential conflict of interest, raising the question of whether Falzone’s experience with Fox would affect her independence, said Kathleen Bartzen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She said it would be wrong to suggest Falzone can’t write about these issues, but it’s questionable for her to write about them when it concerns Fox.

Opinion: Legislation would make obesity medications more widely available and help reduce inequities in care

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Dr. Luke Funk is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Srividya Kidambi is an associate professor and chief in the Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin/Froedtert Hospital. Dr. Christopher Weber is an obesity medicine specialist practicing in Milwaukee.

Small farms vanish every day in America’s dairyland: ‘There ain’t no future in dairy’

The Guardian

Mark Stephenson, the director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the industry definitely has a lot of challenges but is nowhere near extinction.“We’ve produced record amounts of milk in the last year or two. It’s being consumed. Most of it domestically, but increasingly with exports,” said Stephenson.

Alliant Energy touts progress toward climate goals, pledges to plant 1 million trees

Wisconsin State Journal

But the results depend on details, such as the type of trees, where they’re planted and how they’re managed, said David Mladenoff, a professor of conservation, forest and wildlife ecology at UW-Madison, who cautions that such efforts are often public relations “gimmicks” that divert attention from more meaningful efforts to combat climate change. “If you add something, you are taking away something else,” Mladenoff said. “Nearly all open, noncultivated (areas) have habitat, water quality or other values.”

How the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

Wisconsin Examiner

Quoted: “This is just a stunning change in the American social policy context,” says Tim Smeeding, a professor of public affairs and economics with the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an advocate for the policy.

Some form of universal child allowance benefit is found in 17 affluent countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

“They allow parents who don’t have enough money to do things for their kids,” he adds. “It says kids are important.”

Families Embrace Their A, B, CTCs As Child Tax Credit Expands To Monthly Payouts

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “It’s transformative,” said Tim Smeeding, a professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s a recognition that kids are expensive, and that we as a society have an obligation and an interest in having them grow up well, and do well.”

Smeeding noted that it’s particularly remarkable for including families who aren’t typically reached by the Earned Income Tax Credit, like the children of immigrant parents and “grandfamilies” — families where kids live with grandparents at least half of the year, and for whom grandparents provide at least half of the support. Unlike the Earned Income Tax Credit, which families receive as a credit when they file taxes each year, families can be eligible for the child tax credit even if they don’t make enough to file taxes.

Why Did Evers Veto An Update to Withholding Tables After a Tax Cut?

PBS Wisconsin

Quoted: “This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. I have no idea why he did that,” said John Witte, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus who specializes in tax and budget policy.

Witte said there is speculation that Evers vetoed the change in the withholding tables because the governor hopes Democrats will take control of the Legislature in the 2022 election and repeal the tax cuts. By not changing the withholding tables, most taxpayers wouldn’t notice a difference, that thinking goes.

“If he changed the tables the tax cuts would be permanent,” said Witte.

Wisconsin Labor Market Faces Challenges New And Old Coming Out Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Menzie Chinn, an economics professor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in an email that while there is much demand for workers, supply remains constrained.

“Rising wages are not a ‘bad’, since that’s how the market adjusts to market conditions,” said Chinn. “There’s not a ‘shortage’ as the business community keeps on complaining about.”

Steve Deller, an applied economics professor at UW-Madison, said increased wages and benefits are one way companies are trying to be creative in the current labor market.

“Five years ago or so, people would think that a $15-an-hour job is a good paying job,” said Deller. “People are coming to the realization that’s not a good paying job. It’s got to be more than that. And businesses are coming around and saying, ‘If I want quality workers, I’ve got to up my pay.'”

‘Why Do You Keep Harassing Me?’: An Outagamie County Judge Controls Defendants After Sentencing

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “It is a little bit gray whether or not courts have the authority to do that,” said Cecelia Klingele, a law professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Wisconsin law alludes to the inherent authority of the court over its sentence, but it has not been fleshed out fully in case law, sort of, what are the outer bounds of that power,” she said.

LIFT Dane’s Legal Tune-up Tool can help you remove eligible criminal and eviction records

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “We used public data that is so often used against people to help correct situations or improve situations that might be barriers to employment, housing, education, childcare and health,” explained Marsha Mansfield, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Economic Justice Institute and director of LIFT Dane.

Milwaukee Cuban-Americans watch with unease as Cubans take to the streets in protest

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “We haven’t seen these kinds of protests in Cuba, in part because the system is not one that grants the legitimacy of that kind of civic protest,” said Patrick Iber, an associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The Cuban government often sees and accuses people who are involved in these protests as being interests of foreign powers, and that is the kind of accusation that the current president has used against the protestors.”

Shutdowns, sales and uncertainty: Can Wisconsin’s paper industry adapt to remain viable post-COVID?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Steven Deller, a University of Wisconsin-Madison economist and part of a group that studied the impact of Verso’s closure in Wisconsin Rapids, said he thinks the paper industry in Wisconsin is declining for reasons similar to what happened in Maine, where he worked at a university before coming to Wisconsin.

The problem in both states, he said, is that many of the plants are old and companies are finding it doesn’t make sense to invest in aging facilities. Instead, they are building new, often in the south to reduce transportation costs by being closer to timber producers in warmer places where trees grow faster.