Urban Planning assistant professor Paavo Monkkonen and Public Policy assistant professor Randall Akee have been named 2014-15 Hellman Fellows for demonstrating a capacity for great distinction in their research. There are eleven recipients of the award in total.
The UCLA Hellman Fellows Program established in 2011 was created to help junior faculty pursue their research passions. The grant will act as seed money for assistant professors to fund their research and other creative activities that promote and enhance their career advancement.
Monkkonen, who teaches courses at UCLA Luskin in housing markets and policy and global urban segregation, was chosen as a fellow for his project “The Half-life of Childhood: How Economic Development Shapes Young Adults’ Household Position.” The half-life of childhood refers to the age at which half of the population is no longer a child. The goal of his project is to better understand how economic development affects household structure, especially the age at which children leave their parents’ home and form a new household. Monkkonen notes that household formation has a major impact on housing markets, and this information will be important to future projections of the number of households which influences housing policy.
“I am honored to have been selected as a Hellman Scholar,”he said. “The generous research grant will enable me to hire graduate student researchers to assist me with data manipulation and analysis, which for this project is very time-consuming. The study uses individual census records from over 70 countries in multiple time periods, which translates into hundreds of millions of observations! I have been trying to get this project going for a number of years but have not had the resources, so it is very exciting that I can get this research underway.”
Akee was awarded the fellowship for his project “How Do Changes in Unearned Income Affect American Indian Infant and Children? The Case of American Indian Casino Revenue Transfers.” The purpose of his research is to determine how the advent of casino operations and other large changes in household income of American Indians affects American Indian infants and children. According to Akee, preliminary data has shown that increased incomes have led to a reduction in behavioral disorders and substance abuse for American Indian adolescents. However, there has been no determination into what degree revenue changes have affected infants and younger children. Akee’s study will look at the effects of increases in unearned income on AI maternal behavior as well as educational outcomes for infants and children.
“I’m very excited and grateful for the award. It allows me to hire an MPP student over the course of the summer at full-time in order to work on the data,” Akee said. “It allows the research to get completed at a much quicker pace than I would otherwise be able to do it. Also, it trains one of our MPP students in data analysis. I’m very eager to see the research outputs that will come as a result of this fellowship.”