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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Special someone

Historical and experimental evidence of sexual selection for war heroism

Hannes Rusch, Joost Leunissen & Mark van Vugt
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report three studies which test a sexual selection hypothesis for male war heroism. Based on evolutionary theories of mate choice we hypothesize that men signal their fitness through displaying heroism in combat. First, we report the results of an archival study on US-American soldiers who fought in World War II. We compare proxies for reproductive success between a control sample of 449 regular veterans and 123 surviving Medal of Honor recipients of WWII. Results suggest that the heroes sired more offspring than the regular veterans. Supporting a causal link between war heroism and mating success, we then report the results of two experimental studies (N's = 92 and 340). We find evidence that female participants specifically regard men more sexually attractive if they are war heroes. This effect is absent for male participants judging female war heroes, suggesting that bravery in war is a gender specific signal. Finally, we discuss possible implications of our results.

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Is Love (Color) Blind? The Economy of Race among Gay and Straight Daters

Jennifer Lundquist & Ken-Hou Lin
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
A drawback to research on interracial couplings is that it almost exclusively studies heterosexual relationships. However, compelling new evidence from analyses using the Census shows that interracial relationships are significantly more common among the gay population. It is unclear how much of this reflects weaker racial preference or more limited dating markets. This paper examines the interactions of white gay and straight online daters who have access to a large market of potential partners by modeling dyadic messaging behaviors. Results show that racial preferences are highly gendered, and do not line up neatly by gay or straight identity. White lesbians and straight men show the weakest same-race preference, followed by gay men, while straight women show the strongest same-race preference. Put differently, minority men are discriminated to a greater degree than minority women in both same-sex and different-sex dating markets. These results suggest that white gay men's higher rates of interracial cohabitation are driven more by constrained dating markets, while lesbians' appear to be driven by more open racial preferences.

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Exploring Perceptions of Slut-Shaming on Facebook: Evidence for a Reverse Sexual Double Standard

Leanna Papp et al.
Gender Issues, March 2015, Pages 57-76

Abstract:
Although there is a widespread belief that women are judged more harshly for sexual activity than men, research on the existence of the sexual double standard has been mixed. We investigated the sexual double standard and "slut-shaming" by asking participants to provide perceptions of both a target of "slut-shaming" and a "shamer." Male and female participants viewed a blinded Facebook conversation in which the male or female target, or "slut," was shamed by either a male or female "shamer." We found evidence for a reverse sexual double standard; male "sluts" were judged more harshly. Furthermore, the "shamer" was negatively evaluated, especially when shaming a woman. Our participants also indicated a belief in a societal sexual double standard. They perceived the "shamer" to be more judgmental and less congratulatory when the "slut" was female. Furthermore, qualitative data indicated that female "sluts" were believed to be labeled as such for lower levels of sexual behavior (e.g., sexy clothing or dancing), than was the case for male "sluts" (e.g., sex with multiple partners). Our data indicate that individual beliefs are changing more quickly than social perceptions.

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Racially and Ethnically Diverse Schools and Adolescent Romantic Relationships

Kate Strully
American Journal of Sociology, November 2014, Pages 750-797

Abstract:
Focusing on romantic relationships, which are often seen as a barometer of social distance, this analysis investigates how adolescents from different racial-ethnic and gender groups respond when they attend diverse schools with many opportunities for inter-racial-ethnic dating. Which groups respond by forming inter-racial-ethnic relationships, and which groups appear to "work around" opportunities for inter-racial-ethnic dating by forming more same-race-ethnicity relationships outside of school boundaries? Most prior studies have analyzed only relationships within schools and, therefore, cannot capture a potentially important way that adolescents express preferences for same-race-ethnicity relationships or work around constraints from other groups' preferences. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I find that, when adolescents are in schools with many opportunities for inter-racial-ethnic dating, black females and white males are most likely to form same-race-ethnicity relationships outside of the school; whereas Hispanic males and females are most likely to date across racial-ethnic boundaries within the school.

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Increased Facial Attractiveness Following Moderate, but not High, Alcohol Consumption

Jana Van Den Abbeele et al.
Alcohol and Alcoholism, forthcoming

Aims: Alcohol consumption is known to be associated with risky sexual behaviours, but this relationship may be complex and bidirectional. We explored whether alcohol consumption leads to the consumer being rated as more attractive than sober individuals.

Methods: Heterosexual social alcohol consumers completed an attractiveness-rating task, in which they were presented with pairs of photographs depicting the same individual, photographed while sober and after having consumed alcohol (either 0.4 or 0.8 g/kg), and required to decide which image was more attractive.

Results: Photographs of individuals who had consumed a low dose of alcohol (equivalent to 250 ml of wine at 14% alcohol by volume for a 70 kg individual) were rated as more attractive than photographs of sober individuals. This was not observed for photographs of individuals who had consumed a high dose of alcohol.

Conclusion: In addition to perceiving others as more attractive, a mildly intoxicated alcohol consumer may also be perceived as more attractive by others. This in turn may play a role in the relationship between alcohol consumption and risky sexual behaviour.

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Female copulatory orgasm and male partner's attractiveness to his partner and other women

Yael Sela et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, June 2015, Pages 152-156

Abstract:
Women's copulatory orgasm may function to retain sperm from men with "good genes", one indicator of which is attractiveness, and one benefit of which is pathogen resistance. Women who perceive their partner to be more (vs. less) attractive are more likely to report orgasm at last copulation. Another benefit of male attractiveness to women is that he may sire offspring that will gain the heritable share of this advantage (i.e., "sexy sons"). Research has not addressed the "Sexy Sons" Hypothesis (e.g., as indicated by women's perception of other women's assessments of their partner's attractiveness) in regards to female copulatory orgasm. We secured self-reports from 439 women in a committed, heterosexual relationship and investigated the relationships between women's orgasm at last copulation and (1) women's assessments of their partner's attractiveness and (2) women's perceptions of other women's assessments of their partner's attractiveness. The results indicate that women mated to more (vs. less) attractive men are more likely to report orgasm at last copulation, and this relationship is mediated by women's perceptions of other women's assessments of their partner's attractiveness. We discuss the mediated relationship, note limitations of the research, and suggest future research directions.

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Age Moderates Contrast Effects in Women's Judgments of Facial Attractiveness

Mary Burleson, Deborah Hall & Sara Gutierres
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Physical attractiveness is an important individual characteristic in most social situations. Contrast effects occur when the perceived attractiveness of an individual is lower in the context of highly attractive others or vice versa. We used mate-selection theory to predict the effects of raters' age and age of rated faces on contrast effects in women's attractiveness judgments. Younger (18-27 years) and older (50+ years) women rated the attractiveness of an average-looking younger or older female or younger or older male target person, after having rated a series of 5 other photos that were either highly attractive or average looking. Strong contrast effects were found for younger women rating images of younger men and women, and for older women rating images of older men, such that the same target face was rated more attractive when the context images were average looking than when they were highly attractive. Weak or nonsignificant contrast effects were found among younger women rating images of older men and older women, and among older women rating images of younger men. Contrary to predictions, no contrast effects were found for older women rating images of either younger or older women. The overall pattern of findings suggests that the salience of physical attractiveness cues may vary functionally between younger and older women and emphasizes the importance of motivational influences on evaluative processes.

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The effect of red on male perceptions of female attractiveness: Moderation by baseline attractiveness of female faces

Steven Young
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has demonstrated the importance of color in a variety of social contexts, including human mating. For example, red increases heterosexual men's feelings of attraction toward women. In the current work, this basic red-attraction link is qualified by the initial attractiveness of female faces. In two experiments, red enhanced men's ratings of female attractiveness, but only for faces pre-rated as attractive; red had no influence on perceptions of initially unattractive faces. Additionally, Experiment 1 manipulated how long participants viewed attractive and unattractive faces as an exploratory test of when color and face features are integrated. The findings show that initial female attractiveness moderates the influence of red on judgments of attractiveness even when the faces are viewed for extremely short exposures. The present findings identify an important boundary condition of the red-attractiveness effect and provide an initial indication of where in the processing stream color impacts social judgments.

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Facial coloration tracks changes in women's estradiol

Benedict Jones et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, June 2015, Pages 29-34

Abstract:
Red facial coloration is an important social cue in many primate species, including humans. In such species, the vasodilatory effects of estradiol may cause red facial coloration to change systematically during females' ovarian cycle. Although increased red facial coloration during estrus has been observed in female mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), evidence linking primate facial color changes directly to changes in measured estradiol is lacking. Addressing this issue, we used a longitudinal design to demonstrate that red facial coloration tracks within-subject changes in women's estradiol, but not within-subject changes in women's progesterone or estradiol-to-progesterone ratio. Moreover, the relationship between estradiol and facial redness was observed in two independent samples of women (N = 50 and N = 65). Our results suggest that changes in facial coloration may provide cues of women's fertility and present the first evidence for a direct link between estradiol and female facial redness in a primate species.

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Where birds flock to get together: The who, what, where, and why of mate searching

Peter Jonason et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, July 2015, Pages 76-84

Abstract:
An understudied area of personality psychology is how personality traits might facilitate structuring of one's environment toward goals like mating. In four studies (N = 1325), we examined (1) self-reports of where individuals go to find long-term and short-term mates, (2) how personality traits are associated with the use of these locations, and (3) how the sexes differ in their selection of mate search locations. Men were more likely than women were to use short-term (e.g., bars) than long-term (e.g., community events) niches, but did not differ in success in those niches and agreed on the nature of those niches. Slow life history traits, conscientiousness and agreeableness, were linked to preferences for long-term niches whereas, fast life history traits, narcissism and dishonesty, were linked to preferences for short-term mating niches.

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Are badges of status adaptive in large complex primate groups?

Cyril Grueter, Karin Isler & Barnaby Dixson
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sexual dimorphism in ornamentation in primates may have been sexually selected as signals of rank and dominance to males or by augmenting attractiveness to females. While male primates display tremendous variation in secondary sexual traits, such as sexual skin, capes of hair, and beards, which are often attributed to sexual selection, their phylogenetic distribution remains to be fully understood. Here we investigate the hypothesis that sexual dimorphism in ornaments is more pronounced in larger more 'anonymous' social organizations where quick reliable assessment of male quality, social status, dominance, and aggressiveness are selective pressures. Multiple regression analyses, including phylogenetic correction, were performed on 154 species representing 45 genera of simian primates. We found a positive relationship between degree of ornamental dimorphism and group size, even after controlling for other independent variables such as habitat type (i.e. openness of terrain) and fission-fusion dynamics. Dimorphism was also significantly associated with social organization, so that males from species with multilevel social organizations had the highest ratings for ornamentation. In sum, our analysis suggests that among primates with larger group sizes and multilevel social organizations, males have more developed visually conspicuous secondary sexual traits. This may reflect selection for amplified signals of individual identity, rank, dominance, or attractiveness in large and complex social organizations wherein social and physical conflict may arise frequently and individual recognition is limited.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 20, 2015

Messy

Public opinion on energy development: The interplay of issue framing, top-of-mind associations, and political ideology

Christopher Clarke et al.
Energy Policy, June 2015, Pages 131–140

Abstract:
In this article, we examine framing effects regarding unconventional oil and gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing (or fracking): an issue involving considerable controversy over potential impacts as well as terminology used to describe it. Specifically, we explore how two commonly used terms to describe this issue – fracking or shale oil or gas development – serve as issue frames and influence public opinion. Extending existing research, we suggest that these frames elicit different top-of-mind associations that reflect positive or negative connotations and resonate with people's political ideology. These associations, in turn, help explain direct and indirect framing effects on support/opposition as well as whether these effects differ by political ideology. Results of a split-ballot, national U.S. survey (n=1000) reveal that people are more supportive of the energy extraction process when it is referred to as shale oil or gas development versus fracking, and this relationship is mediated by greater perceptions of benefit versus risk. Political ideology did not moderate these effects. Further analysis suggests that these findings are partly explained by the tendency to associate fracking more with negative thoughts and impacts and shale oil or gas development more with positive thoughts and impacts. However, these associations also did not vary by political ideology. We discuss implications for communicating risk regarding energy development.

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Evaluating Behaviorally-Motivated Policy: Experimental Evidence from the Lightbulb Market

Hunt Allcott & Dmitry Taubinsky
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Imperfect information and inattention to energy costs are important potential motivations for energy efficiency standards and subsidies. We evaluate these motivations in the lightbulb market using a theoretical model and two randomized experiments. We derive welfare effects as functions of reduced-form sufficient statistics capturing economic and psychological parameters, which we estimate using a novel within-subject information disclosure experiment. The main results suggest that moderate subsidies for energy efficient lightbulbs may increase welfare, but informational and attentional biases alone do not justify a ban on incandescent lightbulbs. Our results and techniques generate broader methodological insights into welfare analysis with misoptimizing consumers.

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Acute Air Pollution Exposure and Risk of Suicide Completion

Amanda Bakian et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 1 March 2015, Pages 295-303

Abstract:
Research into environmental factors associated with suicide has historically focused on meteorological variables. Recently, a heightened risk of suicide related to short-term exposure to airborne particulate matter was reported. Here, we examined the associations between short-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide and completed suicide in Salt Lake County, Utah (n = 1,546) from 2000 to 2010. We used a time-stratified case-crossover design to estimate adjusted odds ratios for the relationship between suicide and exposure to air pollutants on the day of the suicide and during the days preceding the suicide. We observed maximum heightened odds of suicide associated with interquartile-range increases in nitrogen dioxide during cumulative lag 3 (average of the 3 days preceding suicide; odds ratio (OR) = 1.20, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.39) and fine particulate matter (diameter ≤2.5 μm) on lag day 2 (day 2 before suicide; OR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.10). Following stratification by season, an increased suicide risk was associated with exposure to nitrogen dioxide during the spring/fall transition period (OR = 1.35, 95% CI: 1.09, 1.66) and fine particulate matter in the spring (OR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.61) during cumulative lag 3. Findings of positive associations between air pollution and suicide appear to be consistent across study locations with vastly different meteorological, geographical, and cultural characteristics.

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Drilling Like There’s No Tomorrow: Bankruptcy, Insurance, and Environmental Risk

Judson Boomhower
University of California Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
When liability is limited by bankruptcy, theory says that firms will take excessive environmental and public health risks. In the long run, this “judgment-proof problem” may increase the share of small producers, even when there are economies of scale. I use quasi-experimental variation in liability exposure to measure the effects of bankruptcy protection on industry structure and environmental outcomes in oil and gas extraction. Using firm-level data on the universe of Texas oil and gas producers, I examine the introduction of an insurance mandate that reduced firms’ ability to avoid liability through bankruptcy. The policy was introduced via a quasi-randomized rollout, which allows me to cleanly identify its effects on industry structure. The insurance requirement pushed about 6% of producers out of the market immediately. The exiting firms were primarily small and were more likely to have poor environmental records. Among firms that remained in business, the bond requirement reduced oil production among the smallest 80% of firms by about 4% on average, which is consistent with increased internalization of environmental costs. Production by the largest 20% of firms, which account for the majority of total production, was unaffected. Finally, environmental outcomes, including those related to groundwater contamination, also improved sharply. These results suggest that incomplete internalization of environmental and safety costs due to bankruptcy protection is an important determinant of industry structure and safety effort in hazardous industries, with significant welfare consequences.

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Public Transit Bus Procurement: The Role of Energy Prices, Regulation and Federal Subsidies

Shanjun Li, Matthew Kahn & Jerry Nickelsburg
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The U.S. public transit system represents a multi-billion dollar industry that provides essential transit services to millions of urban residents. We study the market for new transit buses that features a set of non-profit transit agencies purchasing buses primarily from a few domestic bus makers. In contrast with private passenger vehicles, the fuel economy of public buses has not improved during the last thirty years and is irresponsive to fuel price changes. To understand these findings, we build a model of bus fleet management decisions of public transit agencies that yields testable hypotheses. Our empirical analysis of bus fleet turnover and capital investment highlights the role of energy prices, environmental regulations, and the “Buy America” mandate associated with receiving federal funding to purchase public transit buses.

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An eco-label effect in the built environment: Performance and comfort effects of labeling a light source environmentally friendly

Patrik Sörqvist et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2015, Pages 123–127

Abstract:
People tend to idealize eco-labeled products, but can eco-labeling have consequences for performance? To address this question, 48 university students were asked to undertake a color discrimination task adjacent to a desktop lamp that was either labeled “environmentally friendly” or “conventional” (although they were identical). The light of the lamp labeled “environmentally friendly” was rated as more comfortable. Notably, task performance was also better when the lamp was labeled “environmentally friendly”. Individual differences in environmental concern, but not pro-environmental consumer behavior and social desirability indexes, were related to the magnitude of the eco-label effect on performance. Whilst some previous studies have shown similar placebo-like effects of eco-labels on subjective ratings, this is the first study to show an eco-label effect for artifacts in the built environment on performance, and the first study to relate this effect to environmental concern. Psychological mechanisms that may underpin the eco-label effects are discussed.

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While Visitors Conserve, Residents Splurge: Patterns and Changes in Energy Consumption, 1997-2007

Iman Nasseri, Djeto Assané & Denise Eby Konan
Energy Economics, May 2015, Pages 282–292

Abstract:
This study analyzes changes in energy consumption in Hawai‘i between 1997 and 2007 using input-output analysis. Residents increase their energy use by 33% in electricity and 18% in fuel, largely due to direct consumption. In contrast, visitors contract energy demand by 9% and 4% in electricity and fuel, respectively. The findings are robust at per-capita levels. Key drivers are the significant drops in energy intensity of primarily three industries: air transportation, hotels, and restaurants. Further analysis decomposes the change to evaluate the underlying factors.

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Environmental regulation and competitiveness: Empirical evidence on the Porter Hypothesis from European manufacturing sectors

Yana Rubashkina, Marzio Galeotti & Elena Verdolini
Energy Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the “weak” and “strong” versions of Porter Hypothesis (PH) focusing on the manufacturing sectors of 17 European countries between 1997 and 2009. The hypothesis that well-crafted and well-enforced regulation would benefit both the environment and the firm was originally proposed by Porter (1991) and Porter and van der Linde (1995). To date, the literature has analyzed the impact of environmental regulation on innovation and on productivity mostly in separate analyses and focusing on the USA. The few existing contributions on Europe study the effect of environmental regulation either on green innovation or on performance indicators such as exports. We instead look at overall innovation and productivity impacts. First, focusing on overall innovative activity allows us to account for potential opportunity costs of induced innovations. Second, productivity impacts are arguably the most relevant indicators for the “strong” PH. As a proxy of environmental policy stringency we use pollution abatement and control expenditures (PACE), one of the few sectoral level indicators available. We remedy upon its main drawback, namely potential endogeneity, by adopting an instrumental variable estimation approach. We find evidence of a positive impact of environmental regulation on the output of innovation activity, as proxied by patents, thus providing support in favor of the “weak” PH. This result is in line with most of the literature. On the other front, we find no evidence in favor of the “strong” PH, as productivity appears to be unaffected by the degree of pollution control and abatement efforts.

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Association of Improved Air Quality with Lung Development in Children

James Gauderman et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 5 March 2015, Pages 905-913

Background: Air-pollution levels have been trending downward progressively over the past several decades in southern California, as a result of the implementation of air quality–control policies. We assessed whether long-term reductions in pollution were associated with improvements in respiratory health among children.

Methods: As part of the Children’s Health Study, we measured lung function annually in 2120 children from three separate cohorts corresponding to three separate calendar periods: 1994–1998, 1997–2001, and 2007–2011. Mean ages of the children within each cohort were 11 years at the beginning of the period and 15 years at the end. Linear-regression models were used to examine the relationship between declining pollution levels over time and lung-function development from 11 to 15 years of age, measured as the increases in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) during that period (referred to as 4-year growth in FEV1 and FVC).

Results: Over the 13 years spanned by the three cohorts, improvements in 4-year growth of both FEV1 and FVC were associated with declining levels of nitrogen dioxide (P<0.001 for FEV1 and FVC) and of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 μm (P= 0.008 for FEV1 and P<0.001 for FVC) and less than 10 μm (P<0.001 for FEV1 and FVC). These associations persisted after adjustment for several potential confounders. Significant improvements in lung-function development were observed in both boys and girls and in children with asthma and children without asthma. The proportions of children with clinically low FEV1 (defined as <80% of the predicted value) at 15 years of age declined significantly, from 7.9% to 6.3% to 3.6% across the three periods, as the air quality improved (P=0.001).

Conclusions: We found that long-term improvements in air quality were associated with statistically and clinically significant positive effects on lung-function growth in children.

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Do environmental right-to-know laws affect markets? Capitalization of information in the toxic release inventory

Ralph Mastromonaco
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates how information contained in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program, one of the largest environmental right-to-know programs, affects prices in the housing market. I use a strengthening of the reporting requirements for the chemical lead in 2001 as exogenous variation to test for housing price changes near existing firms who must now report. Using a difference-in-differences specification, I find that listing an existing firm in the Toxic Release Inventory lowers housing prices up to 11% within approximately 1 mile. The results suggest that housing market participants do capitalize into prices at least some information conveyed by the TRI program.

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Power to Choose? An Analysis of Consumer Inertia in the Residential Electricity Market

Ali Hortaçsu, Seyed Ali Madanizadeh & Steven Puller
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Many jurisdictions around the world have deregulated utilities and opened retail markets to competition. However, inertial decisionmaking can diminish consumer benefits of retail competition. Using household-level data from the Texas residential electricity market, we document evidence of consumer inertia. We estimate an econometric model of retail choice to measure two sources of inertia: (1) search frictions/inattention, and (2) a brand advantage that consumers afford the incumbent. We find that households rarely search for alternative retailers, and when they do search, households attach a brand advantage to the incumbent. Counterfactual experiments show that low-cost information interventions can notably increase consumer surplus.

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Empirical Tests of the Pollution Haven Hypothesis When Environmental Regulation is Endogenous

Daniel Millimet & Jayjit Roy
Journal of Applied Econometrics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The pollution haven hypothesis (PHH) posits that production within polluting industries will shift to locations with lax environmental regulation. While straightforward, the existing empirical literature is inconclusive owing to two shortcomings. First, unobserved heterogeneity and measurement error are typically ignored due to the lack of a credible, traditional instrumental variable for regulation. Second, geographic spillovers have not been adequately incorporated into tests of the PHH. We overcome these issues utilizing two novel identification strategies within a model incorporating spillovers. Using US state-level data, own environmental regulation negatively impacts inbound foreign direct investment. Moreover, endogeneity is both statistically and economically relevant.

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Coercive vs. Cooperative Enforcement: Effect of Enforcement Approach on Environmental Management

Dietrich Earnhart & Robert Glicksman
International Review of Law and Economics, June 2015, Pages 135–146

Abstract:
A spirited debate explores the comparative merits of two different approaches to the enforcement of regulatory law: the coercive approach, which emphasizes the deterrence of noncompliance through inflexibly imposed sanctions, and the cooperative approach, which emphasizes the inducement of compliance through flexibility and assistance. Both scholarly and policymaking communities are interested in this topic of enforcement approach within the realms of finance, tax compliance, occupational safety, food and drug safety, consumer product safety, and environmental protection. To inform this debate, our study explores enforcement of environmental protection laws where the debate has been especially spirited yet lacking in much empirical evidence. Specifically our study empirically analyzes the effects of these two approaches on environmental management practices linked to compliance with wastewater discharge limits imposed on chemical manufacturing facilities. For this analysis, we view the enforcement approach as representing a relationship between a regulator and a regulated entity that is measured in multiple dimensions so that we are able to explore the extent of cooperation or coercion. The empirical results reveal that a more cooperative relationship induces better environmental management.

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Revealing Climate Change Opinions Through Investment Behavior: Evidence from Fukushima

Zhen Lei & Anastasia Shcherbakova
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, March 2015, Pages 92–108

Abstract:
In this study we present a novel research approach to obtaining behavior-based evidence of regional climate change attitudes, using the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant incident as a natural experiment. Our approach allows us to produce the first non-survey-based empirical evidence of a trans-Atlantic divide in public opinion on the environment and climate change that investors assign to fossil-based and renewable energy. This value is based on the perceived potential of these fuel types to substitute for nuclear generation in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis. We carry out an event study to examine differences in abnormal returns of global coal and renewable energy companies on European and American stock exchanges. We find that investors trading on U.S. markets exhibit a significantly more favorable perception of coal stock profitability, while investors trading on European exchanges display a more favorable perception about profitability of renewable energy stocks.

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The effect of urbanisation on the climatology of thunderstorm initiation

Alex Haberlie, Walker Ashley & Thomas Pingel
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study assesses the impact of urban land use on the climatological distribution of thunderstorm initiation occurrences in the humid subtropical region of the southeast United States, which includes the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area. Initially, an automated technique is developed to extract the locations of isolated convective initiation (ICI) events from 17 years (1997–2013) of composite reflectivity radar data for the study area. Nearly 26 000 ICI points were detected during 85 warm-season months, providing the foundation for first long-term, systematic assessment of the influence of urban land use on thunderstorm development. Results reveal that ICI events occur more often over the urban area compared to its surrounding rural counterparts, confirming that anthropogenic-induced changes in land cover in moist tropical environments lead to more initiation events, resulting thunderstorms and affiliated hazards over the developed area. The ICI risk for Atlanta is greatest during the late afternoon and early evening in July and August in synoptically benign conditions. Greater ICI counts downwind of Atlanta suggest that prevailing wind direction also influences the location of these events. Moreover, ICI occurrences over the city were significantly higher on weekdays compared to weekend days — a result that was not apparent in a rural control region located west of the city. This suggests that the weekly commuting cycle and associated aerosol levels of Atlanta may amplify ICI rates. The investigation provides a methodological framework for future studies that examine the effect of land use, land cover, and terrain discontinuities on the spatio-temporal character of ICI events.

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Central American biomass burning smoke can increase tornado severity in the U.S.

P.E. Saide et al.
Geophysical Research Letters, 16 February 2015, Pages 956–965

Abstract:
Tornadoes in the Southeast and Central U.S. are episodically accompanied by smoke from biomass burning in Central America. Analysis of the 27 April 2011 historical tornado outbreak shows that adding smoke to an environment already conducive to severe thunderstorm development can increase the likelihood of significant tornado occurrence. Numerical experiments indicate that the presence of smoke during this event leads to optical thickening of shallow clouds while soot within the smoke enhances the capping inversion through radiation absorption. The smoke effects are consistent with measurements of clouds and radiation before and during the outbreak. These effects result in lower cloud bases and stronger low-level wind shear in the warm sector of the extratropical cyclone generating the outbreak; two indicators of higher probability of tornadogenesis and tornado intensity and longevity. These mechanisms may contribute to tornado modulation by aerosols, highlighting the need to consider aerosol feedbacks in numerical severe weather forecasting.

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Stock market and deterrence effect: A mid-run analysis of major environmental and non-environmental accidents

Cécile Carpentier & Jean-Marc Suret
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, May 2015, Pages 1–18

Abstract:
We analyze the stock market reaction to 161 major environmental and non-environmental accidents, reported on the front page of the New York Times for half a century. To determine if the market induces a real deterrence effect, we extend the event windows up to one year. On average, the market reacts negatively and enduringly to the announcement of an accident. However, this average effect is largely driven by the airline industry and by government interventions. The estimated average abnormal return following environmental accidents does not differ from zero after one year. This does not exclude, in severe events affecting large firms, huge losses in equity value, but the significant negative cumulative abnormal returns estimated immediately after an environmental accident in previous studies do not persist. Our results suggest that in a market driven by institutional investors, the deterrence effect is likely to be weak.

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Top carnivores increase their kill rates on prey as a response to human-induced fear

Justine Smith, Yiwei Wang & Christopher Wilmers
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 March 2015

Abstract:
The fear induced by predators on their prey is well known to cause behavioural adjustments by prey that can ripple through food webs. Little is known, however, about the analogous impacts of humans as perceived top predators on the foraging behaviour of carnivores. Here, we investigate the influence of human-induced fear on puma foraging behaviour using location and prey consumption data from 30 tagged individuals living along a gradient of human development. We observed strong behavioural responses by female pumas to human development, whereby their fidelity to kill sites and overall consumption time of prey declined with increasing housing density by 36 and 42%, respectively. Females responded to this decline in prey consumption time by increasing the number of deer they killed in high housing density areas by 36% over what they killed in areas with little residential development. The loss of food from declines in prey consumption time paired with increases in energetic costs associated with killing more prey may have consequences for puma populations, particularly with regard to reproductive success. In addition, greater carcass availability is likely to alter community dynamics by augmenting food resources for scavengers. In light of the extensive and growing impact of habitat modification, our study emphasizes that knowledge of the indirect effects of human activity on animal behaviour is a necessary component in understanding anthropogenic impacts on community dynamics and food web function.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Grace

Anticipating Divine Protection? Reminders of God Can Increase Nonmoral Risk Taking

Daniella Kupor, Kristin Laurin & Jonathan Levav
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Religiosity and participation in religious activities have been linked with decreased risky behavior. In the current research, we hypothesized that exposure to the concept of God can actually increase people’s willingness to engage in certain types of risks. Across seven studies, reminders of God increased risk taking in nonmoral domains. This effect was mediated by the perceived danger of a risky option and emerged more strongly among individuals who perceive God as a reliable source of safety and protection than among those who do not. Moreover, in an eighth study, when participants were first reminded of God and then took a risk that produced negative consequences (i.e., when divine protection failed to materialize), participants reported feeling more negatively toward God than did participants in the same situation who were not first reminded of God. This research contributes to an understanding of the divergent effects that distinct components of religion can exert on behavior.

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Religion priming and an oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism interact to affect self-control in a social context

Joni Sasaki, Taraneh Mojaverian & Heejung Kim
Development and Psychopathology, February 2015, Pages 97-109

Abstract:
Using a genetic moderation approach, this study examines how an experimental prime of religion impacts self-control in a social context, and whether this effect differs depending on the genotype of an oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism (rs53576). People with different genotypes of OXTR seem to have different genetic orientations toward sociality, which may have consequences for the way they respond to religious cues in the environment. In order to determine whether the influence of religion priming on self-control is socially motivated, we examine whether this effect is stronger for people who have OXTR genotypes that should be linked to greater rather than less social sensitivity (i.e., GG vs. AA/AG genotypes). The results showed that experimentally priming religion increased self-control behaviors for people with GG genotypes more so than people with AA/AG genotypes. Furthermore, this Gene × Religion interaction emerged in a social context, when people were interacting face to face with another person. This research integrates genetic moderation and social psychological approaches to address a novel question about religion's influence on self-control behavior, which has implications for coping with distress and psychopathology. These findings also highlight the importance of the social context for understanding genetic moderation of psychological effects.

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Latino Religious Affiliation and Ethnic Identity

Jonathan Calvillo & Stanley Bailey
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2015, Pages 57–78

Abstract:
Despite the pervasiveness of Catholicism among Latinos, studies reveal an increasing shift toward Protestantism. Examining the relationship between religion and ethnicity, we explore homeland language use as a core ethnic marker using a survey from the Pew Hispanic Center. Results reveal that Catholic Latinos are significantly more likely to use Spanish at home, even after controlling for other key variables. In response, we posit that Latino Catholicism and Protestantism entail significantly different religiosities in both home and host countries that impact Latino ethnic identification and its markers such as language use. Catholicism displays a higher level of inculturation in the sending country and greater overt institutional acceptance of ethnic culture in host countries. Protestantism in Latin America breaks with localized religiosity and traditions, and U.S. Protestant congregations may de-emphasize ethnic culture in their theologies and worship. Hence, Latino Catholicism acts as a bridge to homelands and reinforces ethnic salience, thereby supporting continued Spanish use at home. In contrast, Protestants embrace a reorienting religiosity that often presides over ethnic identification, decreasing the salience of homeland cultural markers.

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Broad supernatural punishment but not moralizing high gods precede the evolution of political complexity in Austronesia

Joseph Watts et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 April 2015

Abstract:
Supernatural belief presents an explanatory challenge to evolutionary theorists — it is both costly and prevalent. One influential functional explanation claims that the imagined threat of supernatural punishment can suppress selfishness and enhance cooperation. Specifically, morally concerned supreme deities or ‘moralizing high gods' have been argued to reduce free-riding in large social groups, enabling believers to build the kind of complex societies that define modern humanity. Previous cross-cultural studies claiming to support the MHG hypothesis rely on correlational analyses only and do not correct for the statistical non-independence of sampled cultures. Here we use a Bayesian phylogenetic approach with a sample of 96 Austronesian cultures to test the MHG hypothesis as well as an alternative supernatural punishment hypothesis that allows punishment by a broad range of moralizing agents. We find evidence that broad supernatural punishment drives political complexity, whereas MHGs follow political complexity. We suggest that the concept of MHGs diffused as part of a suite of traits arising from cultural exchange between complex societies. Our results show the power of phylogenetic methods to address long-standing debates about the origins and functions of religion in human society.

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Separation of church and space: Religious influences on public support for U.S. space exploration policy

Joshua Ambrosius
Space Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite growing interest in the relationship between religion and outer space, the influence of religion on space policy attitudes remains a mostly unexplored topic. This study fills this research gap by treating space exploration as a policy issue for examination by religion and politics theory. It uses data from the General Social Survey and three Pew surveys to construct several logistic regression models. Space policy support, the dependent variable, is operationalized in seven ways as the antecedents of policy views (i.e., space knowledge and interest), actual policy/funding views, and policy expectations. Religion, the key independent variable, is operationalized as belonging (tradition), behavior (church attendance), beliefs, and salience. In addition, one survey permits the identification of the nature of science messages espoused by clergy. The findings reveal that Evangelical Protestants in the U.S. are the least supportive of space policy. However, evidence shows that pro-science messages from the pulpit can change Evangelicals' perceptions of space exploration. The article concludes with calls for increased, concerted outreach to Evangelicals and other religious publics by the space community. These efforts are essential if the American republic will pursue greater space exploration in the near future. Ultimately, religions must ensure their survival by embracing space.

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Religiously Traditional, Unusually Supportive? Examining Who Gives, Helps, and Advises in Americans’ Close Networks

Markus Schafer
Social Currents, March 2015, Pages 81-104

Abstract:
A large literature is currently contesting the impact of religion on prosocial behavior. As a window into this discussion, I examine the close social networks of American adults and consider whether religious traditionalists are more likely than other network members to supply several basic forms of social support. Analysis of the Portraits of American Life Survey reveals three main findings. First, a majority of Americans — religious or not — count at least one perceived religious traditionalist among their close network ties. Second, American adults are more likely to receive advice, practical help, and money from ties identified as religious traditionalists than from other types of ties, a pattern that held among both kin and nonkin network ties. Finally, although perceived traditionalist network members appear especially inclined to assist highly religious people, they nevertheless offer social support to Americans across a broad spectrum of religiosity. Beyond its relevance for debates on religion and community life, this study also proposes a novel strategy to assess prosocial behavior. Asking people to recount the deeds of their network members can reduce certain self-reporting biases common to survey research and helps locate prosocial activity in concrete and meaningful social relationships.

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Outreach and Exclusion: Jewish Denominational Marketing in the Early 20th Century

Rachel Ellis
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2015, Pages 38–56

Abstract:
How do religious denominations select potential adherents? Previous literature indicates that market niches direct this decision, yet few studies examine how religious groups determine their niche. Analyzing annual reports and periodicals of Reform and Conservative Jewish organizations from 1910 to 1955, I find that the two denominations responded differently to the mass influx of Jewish immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Compared to the Conservative organization, which openly welcomed new immigrants, the Reform organization actively chose not to recruit them. Reform statements make it clear that this decision was a result of how working-class, Eastern European immigrants threatened their American-centered organizational identity. This finding suggests that religious institutions carefully consider their organizational identity based on nativity, ethnicity, and social class when determining whom to include in their market niche.

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The rule of law and constitutionalism in Muslim countries

Jerg Gutmann & Stefan Voigt
Public Choice, March 2015, Pages 351-380

Abstract:
Recently, several Muslim countries have ratified new constitutions. In this paper, we ask two questions: first, whether Muslim influence has a discernible impact on the content of such constitutions and, second, whether it has an impact on constitutional reality. More precisely, we are interested in the consequences of Islam for institutions securing the rule of law, while taking competing socioeconomic, geographic, and historical explanations explicitly into account. To this end, we construct a new Islamic State Index to measure the influence that Islam has on a society and its political and legal system. We find that Muslim influence is in conflict with the independence of the judiciary and nondiscriminatory legal institutions with respect to gender. Yet, parliamentary power as well as the protection of property rights and religious minorities are not significantly more constrained in Islamic states after we control for alternative explanations. Competing explanations such as the size of oil rents fare rather poorly in explaining differences in important aspects of the rule of law.

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The holy day effect

Mohamad Al-Ississ
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use Muslim holy days to investigate the underlying mechanism behind the holiday effect. Muslim holy days are exceptionally conducive to isolating the holy day effect. The study documents a positive change in stock returns during Ramadan. The significance and magnitude of the effect is consistent with the heterogeneity of worship intensity during Ramadan. Five possible causal channels are explored. We find support for a change in the composition of traded stocks according to their riskiness on holy days. Additionally, the mood channel is supported through documenting a negative effect on Ashoura linked to the proportion of Shia in a country.

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Death awareness and body–self dualism: A why and how of afterlife belief

Nathan Heflick et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Belief in life after death offers potential comfort in the face of inevitable death. However, afterlife belief likely requires not only an awareness of death but also body–self dualism — the perception that the self (e.g., the mind) is distinct from the physical, undeniably mortal, body. In turn, we hypothesized that mortality salience (MS) should heighten afterlife belief only when dualism is facilitated. Study 1 found that MS increased belief for people high, relative to low, in trait mind–body dualism. In Study 2, MS only increased belief when people first wrote about their thoughts and personality, which a pilot study confirmed facilitated dualistic belief, relative to thinking about the physical self. Study 3 used the brain–computer interface technology to induce a dualistic experience: MS increased belief when participants accurately “typed” without the use of their external body (i.e., no hands). Together, these findings support the position that mortality awareness and body–self dualism constitute a “why” and “how” of afterlife belief.

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State Regulation of Religion and the Quality of Governance

Rollin Tusalem
Politics & Policy, February 2015, Pages 94–141

Abstract:
The effect of state regulation of religion on governance has been explored theoretically by scholars, but it has not been tested empirically across nation states. The theory posits that secular states are more likely to benefit from better governance because of the absence of clerical involvement in politics, paving the way for the expansion of civil society and the passage of progressive political, economic, and social reforms. Using a unique dataset of more than 100 nation states, I find that countries with higher levels of state intervention on religion are more likely to suffer from inferior governance as reflected by higher levels of corruption and political instability and lower levels of rule of law entrenchment, bureaucratic effectiveness, and regulatory quality. Furthermore, states wherein there is no distinct separation between church and state are more likely to have lower levels of political openness and accountability.

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United by Faith? Race/Ethnicity, Congregational Diversity, and Explanations of Racial Inequality

Ryon Cobb, Samuel Perry & Kevin Dougherty
Sociology of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the extent to which the racial composition of a congregation moderates explanations for Black/White inequality among White, Black, and Hispanic congregants. Using nationally representative data from General Social Surveys and National Congregations Studies, we find that religiously affiliated Blacks and Hispanics tend to hold different racial attitudes than religiously affiliated Whites, but these differences largely disappear inside multiracial congregations. Importantly, we find that attending a multiracial congregation is unassociated with Whites' explanations for racial inequality, and Blacks who attend multiracial congregations are actually less likely to affirm structural explanations for Black/White inequality than Blacks in nonmultiracial congregations or Whites in multiracial congregations. We find little evidence that multiracial congregations promote progressive racial views among attendees of any race or ethnicity. Rather, our findings suggest that multiracial congregations (1) leave dominant White racial frames unchallenged, potentially influencing minority attendees to embrace such frames and/or (2) attract racial minorities who are more likely to embrace those frames in the first place.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Chain of command

The Inscrutable Intentions of Great Powers

Sebastian Rosato
International Security, Winter 2014/2015, Pages 48-88

Abstract:
Can great powers reach confident conclusions about the intentions of their peers? Many scholars argue that they can. One set of arguments holds that states can deduce others’ current intentions from certain domestic characteristics such as their foreign policy goals, ideology, or regime type. Another focuses on behavior and maintains that states can infer current intentions by examining their counterparts’ arms policies, membership in international institutions, or past actions in the security realm. A final set of arguments explains why intentions are unlikely to change and thus why current designs are good predictors of future plans. On careful review, these optimistic claims are unpersuasive. Great powers cannot confidently assess the current intentions of others based on the latter’s domestic characteristics or behavior, and they are even less sure when it comes to estimating their peers’ future intentions. These findings have important implications for theory and policy. Theoretically, they strengthen structural realism against competing approaches. As for the real world, they suggest that the United States and China are on a collision course if the latter continues to rise and becomes a peer competitor.

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Race, Paternalism, and Foreign Aid: Evidence from U.S. Public Opinion

Andy Baker
American Political Science Review, February 2015, Pages 93-109

Abstract:
Virtually all previous studies of domestic economic redistribution find white Americans to be less enthusiastic about welfare for black recipients than for white recipients. When it comes to foreign aid and international redistribution across racial lines, I argue that prejudice manifests not in an uncharitable, resentful way but in a paternalistic way because intergroup contact is minimal and because of how the media portray black foreigners. Using two survey experiments, I show that white Americans are more favorable toward aid when cued to think of foreign poor of African descent than when cued to think of those of East European descent. This relationship is due not to the greater perceived need of black foreigners but to an underlying racial paternalism that sees them as lacking in human agency. The findings confirm accusations of aid skeptics and hold implications for understanding the roots of paternalistic practices in the foreign aid regime.

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The ‘‘Star Wars’’ Murders: Revisiting a Cold Case from the Cold War

Marian Leighton
International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Spring 2015, Pages 290–318

"During the 1980s more than two dozen computer scientists, engineers, software designers, and highly-skilled technicians representing the cream of Great Britain's crop of missile defense experts died in mysterious and often gruesome ways. Coincidence might account for the timing and circumstances of these deaths, except for one caveat: Virtually all of the victims participated in the European counterpart to U.S. President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)...But these serial deaths have garnered almost no public attention throughout the years...The passage of nearly 30 years has yielded no resolution to one of the most intriguing unsolved cases of the Cold War or even an official British acknowledgement of possible serial homicides. Irrefutable evidence is still lacking...Intelligence gleaned from the Stasi files, declassified Soviet documents, and confessions of former terrorists lend credence to the hypothesis that the 'Star Wars' victims may have been pawns in a Soviet proxy war using terrorists and Stasi operatives to subvert SDI."

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Perceptions of a Changing World Induce Hope and Promote Peace in Intractable Conflicts

Smadar Cohen-Chen, Richard Crisp & Eran Halperin
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2015, Pages 498-512

Abstract:
The importance of hope in promoting conciliatory attitudes has been asserted in the field of conflict resolution. However, little is known about conditions inducing hope, especially in intractable conflicts, where reference to the outgroup may backfire. In the current research, five studies yielded convergent support for the hypothesis that hope for peace stems from a general perception of the world as changing. In Study 1, coders observed associations between belief in a changing world, hope regarding peace, and support for concessions. Study 2 revealed the hypothesized relations using self-reported measures. Studies 3 and 4 established causality by instilling a perception of the world as changing (vs. unchanging) using narrative and drawing manipulations. Study 5 compared the changing world message with a control condition during conflict escalation. Across studies, although the specific context was not referred to, the belief in a changing world increased support for concessions through hope for peace.

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The Impact of China on Cybersecurity: Fiction and Friction

Jon Lindsay
International Security, Winter 2014/2015, Pages 7-47

Abstract:
Exaggerated fears about the paralysis of digital infrastructure and the loss of competitive advantage contribute to a spiral of mistrust in U.S.-China relations. In every category of putative Chinese cyber threat, there are also considerable Chinese vulnerabilities and Western advantages. China has inadvertently degraded the economic efficiency of its networks and exposed them to foreign infiltration by prioritizing political information control over technical cyber defense. Although China also actively infiltrates foreign targets, its ability to absorb stolen data is questionable, especially at the most competitive end of the value chain, where the United States dominates. Similarly, China’s military cyber capacity cannot live up to its aggressive doctrinal aspirations, even as its efforts to guide national information technology development create vulnerabilities that more experienced U.S. cyber operators can attack. Outmatched by the West, China is resorting to a strategy of international institutional reform, but it benefits too much from multistakeholder governance to pose a credible alternative. A cyber version of the stability-instability paradox constrains the intensity of cyber interaction in the U.S.-China relationship — and in international relations more broadly — even as lesser irritants continue to proliferate.

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WMD, WMD, WMD: Securitisation through ritualised incantation of ambiguous phrases

Ido Oren & Ty Solomon
Review of International Studies, April 2015, Pages 313-336

Abstract:
We seek to reinvigorate and clarify the Copenhagen School's insight that 'security' is not 'a sign that refers to something more real; the utterance ['security'] itself is the act'. We conceptualise the utterances of securitising actors as consisting not in arguments so much as in repetitive spouting of ambiguous phrases (WMD, rogue states, ethnic cleansing). We further propose that audience acceptance consists not in persuasion so much as in joining the securitising actors in a ritualised chanting of the securitising phrase. Rather than being performed to, the audience participates in the performance in the manner in which a crowd at a rock concert sings along with the artists. We illustrate our argument with a discussion of how the ritualised chanting of the phrase ‘weapons of mass destruction’ during the run-up to the Iraq War ultimately produced the grave Iraqi threat that it purportedly described.

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Anti-Americanism and Anti-Interventionism in Arabic Twitter Discourses

Amaney Jamal et al.
Perspectives on Politics, March 2015, Pages 55-73

Abstract:
Systematic investigation of attitudes expressed in Arabic on Twitter towards the United States and Iran during 2012–13 shows how the analysis of social media can illuminate the politics of contemporary political discourses and generates an informative analysis of anti-Americanism in the Middle East. We not only analyze overall attitudes, but using a novel events-based analytical strategy, we examine reactions to specific events, including the removal of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, the Innocence of Muslims video, and reactions to possible U.S. intervention in Syria. We also examine the Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013, in which the United States suffered damage from human beings, and Hurricane Sandy, in which it suffered damage from nature. Our findings reinforce evidence from polling that anti-Americanism is pervasive and intense, but they also suggest that this animus is directed less toward American society than toward the impingement of the United States on other countries. Arabic Twitter discourses about Iran are at least as negative as discourses about the United States, and less ambivalent. Anti-Americanism may be a specific manifestation of a more general phenomenon: resentment toward powerful countries perceived as interfering in national and regional affairs.

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Offshoring the Army: Migrant Workers and the U.S. Military

Darryl Li
UCLA Law Review, January 2015, Pages 124-174

Abstract:
Long-running debates over military privatization overlook one important fact: The U.S. military’s post-2001 contractor workforce is composed largely of migrants imported from impoverished countries. This Article argues that these Third Country National (TCN) workers — so called because they are neither American nor local — are bereft of the effective protections of American law, local regimes, or their home governments; moreover, their vulnerability is a feature, not a flaw, in how the U.S. projects global power today. TCN workers are an offshore captive labor force whose use allows the government to keep politically sensitive troop numbers and casualty figures artificially low while reducing dependence on local populations with suspect loyalties. Legislation to combat human trafficking has done little to remedy exploitation and abuse of TCN workers because of jurisdictional hurdles and the lack of robust labor rights protections. Substantive reform efforts should address the deeper issue at stake, namely that the government uses TCN workers to carry out a core state function — namely, the use of force — without a clear relationship of responsibility to them. Unlike with soldiers, the labor of TCN workers is not valorized as sacrifice and unlike mercenaries selling their services to the highest bidder, they are frequently indebted to the point of indenture.

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The Rhetoric of Appeasement: Hitler's Legitimation and British Foreign Policy, 1938–39

Stacie Goddard
Security Studies, Winter 2015, Pages 95-130

Abstract:
Few grand strategies have been more scrutinized than Britain's decision to appease Nazi Germany. From 1933 to 1938, Britain eschewed confrontation and attempted to settle German demands. However in the five months following the negotiations at Munich, the British abandoned appeasement and embraced a policy of confronting the German state. The roots of both appeasement and confrontation can be found in Germany's legitimation strategies. Until the Munich crisis, Adolf Hitler justified Germany's aims with appeals to collective security, equality, and self-determination — norms central to the European system established by the Treaty of Versailles. After Munich, in contrast, German politicians abandoned these legitimation strategies, arguing instead that expansion was justified as a matter of German might, and not international rights. As Britain came to see German demands as illegitimate, so too did they decide this revisionist state was insatiable, impervious to negotiation, and responsive only to the language of force.

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When states appease: British appeasement in the 1930s

Peter Trubowitz & Peter Harris
Review of International Studies, April 2015, Pages 289-311

Abstract:
When do states appease their foes? In this article, we argue that governments are most likely to favour appeasing a foreign threat when their top leaders are severely cross–pressured: when the demands for increased security conflict sharply with their domestic political priorities. We develop the deductive argument through a detailed analysis of British appeasement in the 1930s. We show that Neville Chamberlain grappled with a classic dilemma of statecraft: how to reduce the risk of German expansionism while facing acute partisan and electoral incentives to invest resources at home. For Chamberlain, appeasement was a means to reconcile the demands for increased security with what he and his co-partisans were trying to achieve domestically. We conclude by discussing implications of the analysis for theorising about appeasement and about how leaders make grand strategy more generally.

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Winter-safe Deterrence: The Risk of Nuclear Winter and Its Challenge to Deterrence

Seth Baum
Contemporary Security Policy, Spring 2015, Pages 123-148

Abstract:
A new line of nuclear winter research shows that even small, regional nuclear wars could have catastrophic global consequences. However, major disarmament to avoid nuclear winter goes against the reasons nuclear weapon states have for keeping their weapons in the first place, in particular deterrence. To reconcile these conflicting aims, this paper develops the concept of winter-safe deterrence, defined as military force capable of meeting the deterrence goals of today's nuclear weapon states without risking catastrophic nuclear winter. This paper analyses nuclear winter risk, finding a winter-safe limit of about 50 nuclear weapons total worldwide. This paper then evaluates a variety of candidate weapons for winter-safe deterrence. Non-contagious biological weapons (such as anthrax or ricin), neutron bombs detonated at altitude, and nuclear electromagnetic weapons show the most promise. Each weapon has downsides, and the paper's analysis is only tentative, but winter-safe deterrence does appear both feasible and desirable given the urgency of nuclear winter risk.

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Is There an Oil Weapon?: Security Implications of Changes in the Structure of the International Oil Market

Llewelyn Hughes & Austin Long
International Security, Winter 2014/2015, Pages 152-189

Abstract:
What is the relationship between oil and coercion? For decades states have worried that their dependence on oil gives producers a potential lever of coercion. The size, integration, and sophistication of the current oil market, however, are thought to have greatly attenuated, if not eliminated, the coercive potential of oil. The best way to analyze the current global oil market is by viewing it as a series of distinct market segments, from upstream production to midstream transport to downstream refining, with the potential for coercion varying across them. Oil-producing states do not have the greatest coercive potential in the international oil market. Instead, the United States remains the dominant presence, though its dominance has shifted from production — where it resided prior to World War II — to the maritime environment. These findings are significant for scholars’ and policymakers’ understanding of the relationship between oil and coercion. More generally, they suggest that studies of the potential for states to coerce others using economic instruments should take into account differences in the structure of markets for different goods.

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Democracy and Multilateralism: The Case of Vote Buying in the UN General Assembly

David Carter & Randall Stone
International Organization, Winter 2015, Pages 1-33

Abstract:
Democracies are more supportive of US positions on important votes in the UN General Assembly than of nondemocracies. Is this because democracies share common perspectives, or does this pattern reflect coercion? Since 1985, US law has stipulated that the US State Department identify important votes and that aid disbursements reflect voting decisions. To unravel these alternative explanations, we introduce a strategic statistical model that allows us to estimate voting preferences, vulnerability to influence, and credibility of linkage, which are theoretical quantities of interest that are not directly observable. The results reject the hypothesis of shared democratic values: poor democracies have voting preferences that are more oppositional to US positions than autocracies, and they are more willing than autocracies to take symbolic stands that may cost them foreign aid. Democracies support US positions, however, because US aid linkages are more credible when directed toward democratic countries. Splitting the sample into Cold War and post–Cold War segments, we find that the end of the Cold War changed the way US linkage strategies treated allies and left- and right-leaning governments, but the effects of democracy remained constant.

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Has Successful Terror Gone to Ground?

Arnold Barnett
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article considers all 87 attacks worldwide against air and rail transport systems that killed at least two passengers over the 30-year period of 1982–2011. The data offer strong and statistically significant evidence that successful acts of terror have “gone to ground” in recent years: attacks against aviation were concentrated early in the three decades studied whereas those against rail were concentrated later. Recent data are used to make estimates of absolute and comparative risk for frequent flyers and subway/rail commuters. Point estimates in the “status quo” case imply that mortality risk from successful acts of terror was very low on both modes of transportation and that, whereas risk per trip is higher for air travelers than subway/rail commuters, the rail commuters experience greater risk per year than the frequent flyers.

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If It Leads, It Bleeds (and If It Bleeds, It Leads): Media Coverage and Fatalities in Militarized Interstate Disputes

Ross Miller & Karen Albert
Political Communication, Winter 2015, Pages 61-82

Abstract:
We analyze New York Times coverage of international events and offer what is perhaps the first test for the reciprocal effects of media coverage and fatalities in militarized interstate disputes. Our results suggest that once disputes go public, the probability of fatalities rises dramatically. Simply stated, if it leads, it bleeds. We also find qualified support for the well-known “if it bleeds, it leads” hypothesis, and relatively robust evidence of the effects of distance and news bureaus on media coverage of international crises.

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Pakistani Political Communication and Public Opinion on US Drone Attacks

Christine Fair, Karl Kaltenthaler & William Miller
Journal of Strategic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom holds that Pakistanis are overwhelmingly opposed to American drone strikes in their country’s tribal areas and that this opposition is driven by mass media coverage of the loss of life and property the strikes purportedly cause. Using an approach based in the literature in political communication and public opinion, we argue this conventional wisdom is largely inaccurate. Instead, we contend that awareness of drone strikes will be limited because Pakistan is a poor country with low educational attainment, high rates of illiteracy and persistent infrastructure problems that limit access to mass media. Moreover, because of these same country characteristics, Pakistanis’ beliefs about drone strikes will be shaped primarily by informal, face-to-face political communication, rather than through more formal media sources. We test this argument using data that we collected by fielding a 7,656 respondent, nationally-representative survey carried out in Pakistan in 2013. The results of the statistical analysis support our arguments.

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“Tossing a Match into Dry Hay”: Nuclear Weapons and the Crisis in U.S.-Canadian Relations, 1962–1963

Michael Stevenson
Journal of Cold War Studies, Fall 2014, Pages 5-34

Abstract:
Newly declassified archival sources allow a reassessment of U.S.-Canadian diplomacy during the final months of John Diefenbaker's government concerning Canada's prospective acquisition of nuclear weapons in the wake of the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Scholars have traditionally argued that Canadian proposals for U.S. nuclear warheads to be supplied to Canada after the outbreak of an international emergency were unworkable. Diefenbaker has been deemed primarily responsible for his government's collapse after personally fumbling the bilateral nuclear weapons talks. Drawing on previously unavailable primary documents, this article shows that the U.S. decision to reject Ottawa's proposals was rooted in political, not military, imperatives. The article also demonstrates that U.S. officials waged a concerted campaign to undermine the Canadian government, most notably through the State Department's unprecedented public rebuke of Diefenbaker's nuclear weapons policy in late-January 1963.

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Who but a Woman? The Transnational Diffusion of Anti-Communism among Conservative Women in Brazil, Chile and the United States during the Cold War

Margaret Power
Journal of Latin American Studies, February 2015, Pages 93-119

Abstract:
This article examines transnational connections among anti-communist women in Brazil, Chile and the United States from the 1960s to the 1980s. It explores the political beliefs and networks upon which these women drew and built in order to promote their role in the overthrow of João Goulart and Salvador Allende and to encourage other women across the Americas to join them in the fight against communism. This paper shows that these women reversed the flow of ideas, served as models for each other and for anti-communist women, and built gendered transnational networks of female anti-communist activists.

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Self-Containment: Achieving Peace in Anarchic Settings

Antonis Adam & Petros Sekeris
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
In anarchic settings, potential rivals can be dragged into arms races degenerating in open wars out of mutual suspicion. We propose a novel commitment device for contestants to avoid both arming and fighting. We assume that the military decides the armament levels of a country, while the civilian decides whether to attack a rival country. When these decision-making bodies perfectly communicate, the decision makers are unable to credibly communicate to their foe their willingness not to arm and not to attack, thus implying that war ensues. With imperfect information, however, peace may ensue as countries credibly signal to their rival a more peaceful stance since contestants are more reluctant to enter in an armed confrontation with a potentially understaffed army. Using data on the 1975 to 2001 period, we provide supportive evidence that in countries where the head of the state or the defense minister are military officers, and are therefore better informed of their armies’ fighting preparedness, the likelihood of observing an international conflict is higher.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Good call

Seeing the Other Side: Perspective Taking and the Moderation of Extremity

Hannah Tuller et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 18–23

Abstract:
Recognizing the reasonableness of others’ positions is important for conflict reduction, but is notoriously hard. We tested a perspective-taking approach to decreasing attitude entrenchment. Participants were held accountable in a task in which they wrote about a controversial issue from the perspective of a partner with an opposing viewpoint. This approach was effective at changing views on controversial issues -- in Study 1 on weight discrimination, an issue participants were unlikely to have thought much about, and in Study 2 on abortion, where beliefs tend to be more deeply held. Studies 3 and 4 showed this change only took place under conditions where participants met the individual with an opposing view in person, and where that individual would see the perspective-taking effort. These results suggest that it is possible to reduce attitude entrenchment by encouraging people to think about the opposing perspective of another as long as there is real contact and accountability.

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Equality bias impairs collective decision-making across cultures

Ali Mahmoodi et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
We tend to think that everyone deserves an equal say in a debate. This seemingly innocuous assumption can be damaging when we make decisions together as part of a group. To make optimal decisions, group members should weight their differing opinions according to how competent they are relative to one another; whenever they differ in competence, an equal weighting is suboptimal. Here, we asked how people deal with individual differences in competence in the context of a collective perceptual decision-making task. We developed a metric for estimating how participants weight their partner’s opinion relative to their own and compared this weighting to an optimal benchmark. Replicated across three countries (Denmark, Iran, and China), we show that participants assigned nearly equal weights to each other’s opinions regardless of true differences in their competence — even when informed by explicit feedback about their competence gap or under monetary incentives to maximize collective accuracy. This equality bias, whereby people behave as if they are as good or as bad as their partner, is particularly costly for a group when a competence gap separates its members.

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Wisdom in the Military Context

Hannes Zacher et al.
Military Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
On the basis of the Berlin wisdom paradigm, we define wisdom in the military context as expert knowledge and judgment concerning in extremis military operations. We measured wisdom in the military context by asking participants to give advice to an inexperienced officer facing an in extremis operation; subsequently, we coded their responses. Data were provided by 74 senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs) in the U.S. defense forces. In support of convergent validity, wisdom in the military context was positively related to general objective wisdom and general self-assessed wisdom. Relationships of wisdom in the military context and general objective wisdom with Big Five personality characteristics were nonsignificant, whereas general self-assessed wisdom was positively related to extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience, and it was negatively related to neuroticism. The findings provide initial support for the validity of the new wisdom in the military context measure. We discuss several implications for future research and practice regarding wisdom in the military context.

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The mnemonic muse: Nostalgia fosters creativity through openness to experience

Wijnand van Tilburg, Constantine Sedikides & Tim Wildschut
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 1–7

Abstract:
We proposed and tested the hypothesis that nostalgia fosters creativity. In Experiments 1 and 2, we examined whether nostalgia increases creativity. Nostalgia, relative to control, sparked creative prose in a writing task. We proceeded to test the mediating role of openness to experience. As hypothesized, openness to experience emerged as a plausible mediator of nostalgia's positive influence on creativity in Experiment 3. Finally, in Experiment 4, nostalgia, mediated by openness, boosted creativity above and beyond positive affect. The findings showcase the relevance of nostalgic reverie for the present and future, and establish nostalgia as a force of creative endeavors.

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The Sunk-Cost Fallacy in the National Football League: Salary Cap Value and Playing Time

Quinn Keefer
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The National Football League (NFL) draft is used to examine the presence of the sunk-cost fallacy in teams’ playing time decisions. In the NFL, salary cap value represents a significant sunk cost to teams. We use the structure of the NFL draft to conduct a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. Optimal bandwidth local linear results suggest a 10% increase in salary cap value yields an additional 2.7 games started, for players selected near the cutoff between the first two rounds. Despite being no more productive, the first round selections receive a compensation premium, which leads to them starting significantly more games.

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Using EEG to predict consumers' future choices

Ariel Telpaz, Ryan Webb & Dino Levy
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is now established that neural imaging technology can predict preferences over consumer products. However the applicability of this method to consumer marketing research remains in question, partly because of the expense required. In this article, we demonstrate that neural measurements made with a relatively low-cost and widely available measurement method — Electroencephalogram (EEG) — can predict future choices over consumer products. In our experiment, subjects viewed individual consumer products in isolation, without making any actual choices, while we measured their neural activity with EEG. After these measurements were taken, subjects then made choices between pairs of the same products. We find that neural activity measured from a mid-frontal electrode displays an increase in the N200 component and a weaker theta band power that correlates with a more preferred good. Using state-of-the-art techniques for relating neural measurements to choice prediction, we demonstrate that these measures predict subsequent choices. Moreover, the accuracy of prediction depends on both the ordinal and cardinal distance of the EEG data: the larger the difference in EEG activity between two goods, the better the predictive accuracy.

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The Effect of Providing Peer Information on Retirement Savings Decisions

John Beshears et al.
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a field experiment in a 401(k) plan, we measure the effect of disseminating information about peer behavior on savings. Low-saving employees received simplified plan enrollment or contribution increase forms. A randomized subset of forms stated the fraction of age-matched coworkers participating in the plan or age-matched participants contributing at least 6% of pay to the plan. We document an oppositional reaction: the presence of peer information decreased the savings of nonparticipants who were ineligible for 401(k) automatic enrollment, and higher observed peer savings rates also decreased savings. Discouragement from upward social comparisons seems to drive this reaction.

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Imperfect Recall: The Impact of Composite Spending Information Disclosure on Credit Card Spending

Amit Poddar, Cameron Ellis & Timucin Ozcan
Journal of Consumer Policy, March 2015, Pages 93-104

Abstract:
In the past 30 years, consumer credit card debt has expanded tremendously. We know that consumers willingly pay more for the same product when using credit cards versus cash, contrary to the classical rational agent model. Research suggests that it happens due to three imperfections in the classical model: imperfect self-knowledge, imperfect willpower, and imperfect recall. Traditional solutions to credit abuse address the first two imperfections; we examine the third. We propose reminding consumers, on every receipt, how much they have spent cumulatively. We test the effect of this proposal on spending via a controlled experiment. We find that printing this additional information on credit card receipts leads to a significant 9.6% reduction in overall spending compared to the status quo. We discuss the public policy implications of this finding as well as implementation issues.

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The brain in your pocket: Evidence that Smartphones are used to supplant thinking

Nathaniel Barr et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, July 2015, Pages 473–480

Abstract:
With the advent of Smartphone technology, access to the internet and its associated knowledge base is at one’s fingertips. What consequences does this have for human cognition? We frame Smartphone use as an instantiation of the extended mind — the notion that our cognition goes beyond our brains — and in so doing, characterize a modern form of cognitive miserliness. Specifically, that people typically forego effortful analytic thinking in lieu of fast and easy intuition suggests that individuals may allow their Smartphones to do their thinking for them. Our account predicts that individuals who are relatively less willing and/or able to engage effortful reasoning processes may compensate by relying on the internet through their Smartphones. Across three studies, we find that those who think more intuitively and less analytically when given reasoning problems were more likely to rely on their Smartphones (i.e., extended mind) for information in their everyday lives. There was no such association with the amount of time using the Smartphone for social media and entertainment purposes, nor did boredom proneness qualify any of our results. These findings demonstrate that people may offload thinking to technology, which in turn demands that psychological science understand the meshing of mind and media to adequately characterize human experience and cognition in the modern era.

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Scarcity Frames Value

Anuj Shah, Eldar Shafir & Sendhil Mullainathan
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economic models of decision making assume that people have a stable way of thinking about value. In contrast, psychology has shown that people’s preferences are often malleable and influenced by normatively irrelevant contextual features. Whereas economics derives its predictions from the assumption that people navigate a world of scarce resources, recent psychological work has shown that people often do not attend to scarcity. In this article, we show that when scarcity does influence cognition, it renders people less susceptible to classic context effects. Under conditions of scarcity, people focus on pressing needs and recognize the trade-offs that must be made against those needs. Those trade-offs frame perception more consistently than irrelevant contextual cues, which exert less influence. The results suggest that scarcity can align certain behaviors more closely with traditional economic predictions.

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Field Experiments on the Anchoring of Economic Valuations

Jonathan Alevy, Craig Landry & John List
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
A pillar of behavioral research is that preferences are constructed during the process of choice. A prominent finding is that uninformative numerical “anchors” influence judgment and valuation. It remains unclear whether such processes influence market equilibria. We conduct two experiments that extend the study of anchoring to field settings. The first experiment produces evidence that some consumers' valuations can be anchored in novel situations; there is no evidence that experienced agents are influenced by anchors. The second experiment finds that anchors have only transient effects on market outcomes that converge to equilibrium predictions after a few market periods.

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The excess choice effect: The role of outcome valence and counterfactual thinking

Rebecca Hafner, Mathew White & Simon Handley
British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contrary to economic theory, psychological research has demonstrated increased choice can undermine satisfaction. When and why this ‘excess choice effect’ (ECE) occurs remains unclear. Building on theories of counterfactual thinking we argue the ECE is more likely to occur when people experience counterfactual thought or emotion and that a key trigger is a negative versus positive task outcome. Participants either selected a drink (Experiment 1) or chocolate (Experiment 2) from a limited (6) versus extensive (24) selection (Experiment 1) or were given no choice versus extensive (24) choice (Experiment 2). In both experiments, however, the choice was illusory: Half the participants tasted a ‘good’ flavour, half a ‘bad’ flavour. As predicted, extensive choice was only detrimental to satisfaction when participants tasted the ‘bad’ drink or chocolate, and this was mediated by the experience of counterfactual thought (Experiment 1) or emotion (Experiment 2). When outcomes were positive, participants were similarly satisfied with limited versus extensive and no choice versus extensive choice. Implications for our theoretical understanding of the ECE and for the construction of choice architectures aimed at promoting individual satisfaction and well-being are discussed.

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Physiological Correlates of Choice-Induced Dissonance: An Exploration of HPA-Axis Responses

Sasha Kimel, Nestor Lopez-Duran & Shinobu Kitayama
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
Choice can produce a negatively arousing cognitive conflict (called dissonance), which is thought to motivate the chooser to spread their preferences for the relevant options (called Spreading of Alternatives, or SA). The current work aimed to determine the relationship between HPA-axis activity and both choice-induced dissonance and its reduction (i.e. SA) among individuals with varying cultural backgrounds. European–Americans and Asians made a choice between two equally attractive CDs either in the presence of a cue indicative of social eyes (i.e. public-choice condition) or in the absence thereof (i.e. private-choice condition). As predicted, European–Americans and Asians showed a reliable SA primarily in the private and public choice conditions, respectively. Importantly, a sharp decline of salivary cortisol was observed over the span of 30 min, and, moreover, this decline was reliably predicted by the magnitude of SA regardless of either culture or the choice being private vs. public. These results suggest that although choice-induced dissonance is too weak to elicit an HPA-axis stress response, SA is associated with variability in the decline of salivary cortisol during the laboratory task.

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Two Languages, Two Minds: Flexible Cognitive Processing Driven by Language of Operation

Panos Athanasopoulos et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People make sense of objects and events around them by classifying them into identifiable categories. The extent to which language affects this process has been the focus of a long-standing debate: Do different languages cause their speakers to behave differently? Here, we show that fluent German-English bilinguals categorize motion events according to the grammatical constraints of the language in which they operate. First, as predicted from cross-linguistic differences in motion encoding, bilingual participants functioning in a German testing context prefer to match events on the basis of motion completion to a greater extent than do bilingual participants in an English context. Second, when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in English, their categorization behavior is congruent with that predicted for German; when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in German, their categorization becomes congruent with that predicted for English. These findings show that language effects on cognition are context-bound and transient, revealing unprecedented levels of malleability in human cognition.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 16, 2015

Backwater

Premature Deindustrialization

Dani Rodrik
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
I document a significant deindustrialization trend in recent decades, that goes considerably beyond the advanced, post-industrial economies. The hump-shaped relationship between industrialization (measured by employment or output shares) and incomes has shifted downwards and moved closer to the origin. This means countries are running out of industrialization opportunities sooner and at much lower levels of income compared to the experience of early industrializers. Asian countries and manufactures exporters have been largely insulated from those trends, while Latin American countries have been especially hard hit. Advanced economies have lost considerable employment (especially of the low-skill type), but they have done surprisingly well in terms of manufacturing output shares at constant prices. While these trends are not very recent, the evidence suggests both globalization and labor-saving technological progress in manufacturing have been behind these developments. Premature deindustrialization has potentially significant economic and political ramifications, including lower economic growth and democratic failure.

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Economic Growth and Judicial Independence, a Dozen Years On: Cross-Country Evidence Using an Updated Set of Indicators

Stefan Voigt, Jerg Gutmann & Lars Feld
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over 10 years ago, Feld and Voigt (2003) introduced an indicator for objectively measuring the actual independence of the judiciary and demonstrated its utility in a large cross-section of countries. The indicator has been widely used, but also criticized. Many new indicators for judicial independence have been developed since. Yet, all of them are based on subjective evaluations by experts or confined to measuring the legally prescribed level of independence. This paper presents more recent data on de jure and de facto judicial independence (JI) and strongly confirms previous results that de jure JI is not systematically related to economic growth, whereas de facto JI is highly significantly and robustly correlated with growth. In addition, we show that the effect of de facto JI depends on the institutional environment, but not on a country’s initial per capita income.

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Institutions Do Not Rule: Reassessing the Driving Forces of Economic Development

Jinfeng Luo & Yi Wen
Federal Reserve Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We use cross-country data and instrumental variables widely used in the literature to show that (i) institutions (such as property rights and the rule of law) do not explain industrialization and (ii) agrarian countries and industrial countries have entirely different determinants for income levels. In particular, geography, rather than institutions, explains the income differences among agrarian countries, while institutions appear to matter only for income variations in industrial economies. Moreover, we find it is the stage of economic development (or the absence/presence of industrialization) that explains a country’s quality of institutions rather than vice versa. The finding that institutions do not explain industrialization but are instead explained by industrialization lends support to the well-received view among prominent economic historians — that institutional changes in 17th and 18th century England did not cause the Industrial Revolution.

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Two Italies? Genes, intelligence and the Italian North–South economic divide

Vittorio Daniele
Intelligence, March–April 2015, Pages 44–56

Abstract:
The thesis that socio-economic disparities between Southern and Northern Italian regions are explained by genetic differences in the average IQ is examined (Lynn, 2010a, 2012). Historical data on income, infant mortality and life expectancy, offer scant support to a possible nexus between IQ differences and socio-economic development. The ancient history of Southern Italy is also inconsistent with a supposed Phoenician and Arab adverse genetic impact on the average IQ of Southern populations. The paper proposes that regional IQ differences reflect North–South disparities in education and socio-economic development levels. The significant increases in mean scholastic achievement tests, registered in the Italian South in the period 2003–2012, support this conclusion.

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Manufacturing Growth and the Lives of Bangladeshi Women

Rachel Heath & Mushfiq Mobarak
Journal of Development Economics, July 2015, Pages 1–15

Abstract:
We study the effects of explosive growth in the Bangladeshi ready-made garments industry on the lives on Bangladeshi women. We compare the marriage, childbearing, school enrollment and employment decisions of women who gain greater access to garment sector jobs to women living further away from factories, to years before the factories arrive close to some villages, and to the marriage and enrollment decisions of their male siblings. Girls exposed to the garment sector delay marriage and childbirth. This stems from (a) young girls becoming more likely to be enrolled in school after garment jobs (which reward literacy and numeracy) arrive, and (b) older girls becoming more likely to be employed outside the home in garment-proximate villages. The demand for education generated through manufacturing growth appears to have a much larger effect on female educational attainment compared to a large-scale government conditional cash transfer program to encourage female schooling.

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The Distribution of Legal Traditions around the World: A Contribution to the Legal-Origins Theory

Daniel Oto-Peralías & Diego Romero-Ávila
Journal of Law and Economics, August 2014, Pages 561-628

Abstract:
The distribution of the common law was conditioned by a colonial strategy sensitive to the colonies’ level of endowments, exhibiting a more effective implantation of the legal system in initially sparsely populated territories with a temperate climate. This translates into a negative relationship of precolonial population density and settler mortality with legal outcomes for common-law countries. By contrast, the implantation of the French civil law was not systematically influenced by initial conditions, which is reflected in the lack of such a relationship for this legal family. The common law does not generally lead to legal outcomes superior to those provided by the French civil law when precolonial population density and/or settler mortality are high. The form of colonial rule in British colonies is found to mediate between precolonial endowments and postcolonial legal outcomes.

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Latin American Inequality: Colonial Origins, Commodity Booms, or a Missed 20th Century Leveling?

Jeffrey Williamson
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Most analysts of the modern Latin American economy have held the pessimistic belief in historical persistence -- they believe that Latin America has always had very high levels of inequality, and that it’s the Iberian colonists’ fault. Thus, modern analysts see today a more unequal Latin America compared with Asia and most rich post-industrial nations and assume that this must always have been true. Indeed, some have argued that high inequality appeared very early in the post-conquest Americas, and that this fact supported rent-seeking and anti-growth institutions which help explain the disappointing growth performance we observe there even today. The recent leveling of inequality in the region since the 1990s seems to have done little to erode that pessimism. It is important, therefore, to stress that this alleged persistence is based on an historical literature which has made little or no effort to be comparative, and it matters. Compared with the rest of the world, inequality was not high in the century following 1492, and it was not even high in the post-independence decades just prior Latin America’s belle époque and start with industrialization. It only became high during the commodity boom 1870-1913, by the end of which it had joined the rich country unequal club that included the US and the UK. Latin America only became relatively high between 1913 and the 1970s when it missed the Great Egalitarian Leveling which took place almost everywhere else. That Latin American inequality has its roots in its colonial past is a myth.

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Oil, Governance and the (Mis)Allocation of Talent in Developing Countries

Christian Ebeke, Luc Désiré Omgba & Rachid Laajaj
Journal of Development Economics, May 2015, Pages 126–141

Abstract:
This paper sheds light on the relationship between oil rent and the allocation of talent, toward rent-seeking versus more productive activities, conditional on the quality of institutions. Using a sample of 69 developing countries, we demonstrate that oil resources orient university students toward specializations that provide better future access to rents when institutions are weak. The results are robust to various specifications, datasets on governance quality and estimation methods. Oil affects the demand for each profession through a technological effect, indicating complementarity between oil and engineering, manufacturing and construction; however, it also increases the ‘size of the cake’. Therefore, when institutions are weak, oil increases the incentive to opt for professions with better access to rents (law, business, and the social sciences), rather than careers in engineering, creating a deviation from the optimal allocation between the two types of specialization.

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Why we fell: Declinist writing and theories of imperial failure in the longue durée

Richard Lachmann & Fiona Rose-Greenland
Poetics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Great powers in transition produce intellectuals who explain that transition as decline. Our goal in this article is to compare how writers in ancient Rome and the contemporary United States understood the trajectories of their societies, and to account for why some of those authors saw decline as inevitable while others proposed policies to reverse the problems they diagnosed. In so doing, we trace the development of a key idea about society through the longue durée. We do not seek to determine whether each author's analysis is ‘correct.’ Rather, we want to explain how authors in each era constructed their arguments and to whom they directed their writings, and understand how modes of analysis and exposition have changed over the millennia. We find that ancient authors generally saw decline as inevitable and stemming primarily from moral causes. Modern authors can be divided into two groups. One sees decline stemming from a mix of moral and structural causes, and as potentially reversible. The other analyzes decline in structural terms and presents it as irreversible. Our findings have implications for sociological work on how ideas are constructed through time, and how social scientists grappling with macro-level change build on enduring ontologies.

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Does Democracy Increase Growth More in New Countries?

Kevin Sylwester
Economics & Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Countries face governing challenges at their inception, albeit not of the same degree or type. Challenges such as creating governing structures and forming one nation from disparate groups can create uncertainty and so lower economic growth. Does democracy exacerbate or lessen such problems? This paper considers an empirical specification where the effect of democracy upon economic growth is allowed to vary over time. I find that democracy is more greatly associated with economic growth in newer countries. This suggests that democracy helps to mitigate governing challenges that can lower economic growth.

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Finance-Led Growth in the OECD Since the 19th Century: How Does Financial Development Transmit to Growth?

Jakob Madsen & James Ang
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is well established in the literature that financial development (FD) is conducive to growth, and yet the channels through which FD affects growth are not well understood. Using a unique new panel data set for 21 OECD countries over the past 140 years, this paper examines the extent to which FD transmits to growth through ideas production, savings, investment, and schooling. Unionization and agricultural share are used as instruments for FD. The empirical results show that FD influences growth through all channels. Specifically, ideas production is found to be the most important channel through which FD impacts on growth.

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The physiological foundations of the wealth of nations

Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik
Journal of Economic Growth, March 2015, Pages 37-73

Abstract:
In the present paper we advance a theory of pre-industrial growth where body size and population size are endogenously determined. Despite the fact that parents invest in both child quantity and productivity enhancing child quality, a take-off does not occur due to a key “physiological check”: if human body size rises, subsistence requirements will increase. This mechanism turns out to be instrumental in explaining why income stagnates near an endogenously determined subsistence boundary. Key predictions of the model are examined using data for ethnic groups as well as for sub-national regions.

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Intelligence and shadow economy: A cross-country empirical assessment

Raufhon Salahodjaev
Intelligence, March–April 2015, Pages 129–133

Abstract:
This paper empirically assesses the influence of intelligence on a shadow economy, using data from 158 countries, over the period 1999–2007. The results provide strong evidence for the claim that intelligence is negatively associated with an underground economy. This paper establishes that, on average, a one standard deviation increase in IQ is associated with an 8.5 percentage point reduction in a shadow economy relative to GDP. The negative effect of intelligence remains intact when controlled for conventional antecedents of a shadow economy.

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Western Europe, state formation, and genetic pacification

Peter Frost & Henry Harpending
Evolutionary Psychology, March 2015, Pages 230-243

Abstract:
Through its monopoly on violence, the State tends to pacify social relations. Such pacification proceeded slowly in Western Europe between the 5th and 11th centuries, being hindered by the rudimentary nature of law enforcement, the belief in a man’s right to settle personal disputes as he saw fit, and the Church’s opposition to the death penalty. These hindrances began to dissolve in the 11th century with a consensus by Church and State that the wicked should be punished so that the good may live in peace. Courts imposed the death penalty more and more often and, by the late Middle Ages, were condemning to death between 0.5 and 1.0% of all men of each generation, with perhaps just as many offenders dying at the scene of the crime or in prison while awaiting trial. Meanwhile, the homicide rate plummeted from the 14th century to the 20th. The pool of violent men dried up until most murders occurred under conditions of jealousy, intoxication, or extreme stress. The decline in personal violence is usually attributed to harsher punishment and the longer-term effects of cultural conditioning. It may also be, however, that this new cultural environment selected against propensities for violence.

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The Rents From Trade and Coercive Institutions: Removing the Sugar Coating

Christian Dippel, Avner Greif & Daniel Trefler
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
The 19th century collapse of world sugar prices should have depressed wages in the British West Indies sugar colonies. It did not. We explain this by showing how lower prices weakened the power of the white planter elite and thus led to an easing of the coercive institutions that depressed wages e.g., institutions that kept land out of the hands of peasants. Using unique data for 14 British West Indies sugar colonies from 1838 to 1913, we examine the impact of the collapse of sugar prices on wages and incarceration rates. We find that in colonies that were poorly suited for sugar cane cultivation (an exogenous colony characteristic), the planter elite declined in power and the institutions they created and supported became less coercive. As a result, wages rose by 20% and incarceration rates per capita were cut in half. In contrast, in colonies that were highly suited for sugar cane there was little change in the power of the planter elite --- as a result, institutions did not change, the market-based mechanisms of standard trade theory were salient, and wages fell by 24%. In short, movements in the terms of trade induced changes in coercive institutions, changes that are central for understanding how the terms of trade affects wages.

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Why some countries are immune from the resource curse: The role of economic norms

Erdem Aytaç, Michael Mousseau & Ömer Faruk Örsün
Democratization, forthcoming

Abstract:
The political resource curse – the detrimental effect of natural resource dependence on democracy – is a well-established correlate of authoritarianism. A long-standing puzzle, however, is why some countries seem to be immune from it. We address this issue systematically by distinguishing two kinds of economies: contract-intensive, where individuals normally obtain their incomes in the marketplace; and clientelist, where individuals normally obtain their incomes in groups that compete over state rents. We theorize that the institutionalized patronage opportunities in clientelist economies are an important precondition for the resource curse, and that nations with contract-intensive economies are immune from it. Analysis of 150 countries from 1973 to 2000 yields robust support for this view. By introducing clientelist economy as a prerequisite for the resource curse, this study offers an important advance in understanding how nations democratize.

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Untouchability, Homicides and Water Access

Catherine Bros & Mathieu Couttenier
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper contributes to a burgeoning literature on the role of social norms in preventing some groups from accessing public goods. We examine the case of untouchability rules in India that forbid sharing water with low castes. We show that homicide rates of low castes individuals at the district level are positively and significantly correlated with public access to water, while no such relationship can be found as far as higher caste homicide rates are concerned. This relationship, which is robust to many econometric specifications, is seen as a testimony of the upholding of untouchability practices, despite having been outlawed for more than 60 years by the Constitution of India. This paper provides the first quantitative assessment of the link between access to public goods, untouchability norms and violence at the sub-continent scale. Finally, this study underlines the need for policy makers to partly shift their attention from the quantitative allocation of public goods to the effective access to these goods.

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The Natural Selection of Infectious Disease Resistance and Its Effect on Contemporary Health

Justin Cook
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper empirically tests the association between genetically determined resistance to infectious disease and cross-country health differences. A country-level measure of genetic diversity for the system of genes associated with the recognition and disposal of foreign pathogens is constructed. Genetic diversity within this system has been shown to reduce the virulence and prevalence of infectious diseases and is hypothesized to have been naturally selected from historical exposure to infectious pathogens. Base estimation shows a statistically strong, robust, and positive relationship between this constructed measure and country-level health outcomes in times prior to, but not after, the international epidemiological transition.

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The Role of Constitutions on Poverty: A Cross-National Investigation

Alanson Minkler & Nishith Prakash
University of Connecticut Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
In this paper we use novel historical data on economics and social rights from the constitutions of 201 countries and an instrument variable strategy to answer two important questions. First, do economic and social rights provisions in constitutions reduce poverty? Second, does the strength of constitutional language of the economic and social rights matter? Constitutional provisions can be framed either more weakly as directive principles or more strongly as enforceable law. We find three important results. First, we do not find an association between constitutional rights generally framed and poverty. Second, we do not find an association between economic and social rights framed as directive principles and poverty. Third, we do find a strong negative association between economic and social rights framed as enforceable law and poverty. When we use legal origins as our IV, we find evidence that this result is causal. Our results survive a variety of robustness checks. The policy implication is that constitutional provisions framed as enforceable law provide effective meta-rules with incentives for policymakers to initiate, fund, monitor and enforce poverty reduction policies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let's work on it

Preparatory Power Posing Affects Nonverbal Presence and Job Interview Performance

Amy Cuddy et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors tested whether engaging in expansive (vs. contractive) “power poses” before a stressful job interview — preparatory power posing — would enhance performance during the interview. Participants adopted high-power (i.e., expansive, open) poses or low-power (i.e., contractive, closed) poses, and then prepared and delivered a speech to 2 evaluators as part of a mock job interview. All interview speeches were videotaped and coded for overall performance and hireability and for 2 potential mediators: verbal content (e.g., structure, content) and nonverbal presence (e.g., captivating, enthusiastic). As predicted, those who prepared for the job interview with high- (vs. low-) power poses performed better and were more likely to be chosen for hire; this relation was mediated by nonverbal presence, but not by verbal content. Although previous research has focused on how a nonverbal behavior that is enacted during interactions and observed by perceivers affects how those perceivers evaluate and respond to the actor, this experiment focused on how a nonverbal behavior that is enacted before the interaction and unobserved by perceivers affects the actor’s performance, which, in turn, affects how perceivers evaluate and respond to the actor. This experiment reveals a theoretically novel and practically informative result that demonstrates the causal relation between preparatory nonverbal behavior and subsequent performance and outcomes.

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Safety and Solidarity After the Boston Marathon Bombing: A Comparison of Three Diverse Boston Neighborhoods

Philip Brenner et al.
Sociological Forum, March 2015, Pages 40–61

Abstract:
This article investigates the effect of the Boston Marathon Bombing on city residents — how the tragic incident changed, or did not change, how Bostonians live in and feel about their community and neighborhoods. Unlike prior research that began weeks or months after a terrorist attack and used retrospective reports, this study spans the focal event. An address-based sample of residents from three neighborhoods, distinct in racial and economic makeup was surveyed by mail using a three-contact protocol. About two-thirds of respondents answered a survey of neighborhood sentiments, and health and well-being in the days before the bombing (N = 581) and slightly over a third answered the survey after the bombing (N = 313). Assessments of safety, city and neighborhood satisfaction and solidarity, mental health, and other key measures vary greatly between the three neighborhoods, which are diverse in racial and economic composition, but also vary in proximity to the bomb site. Net of neighborhood differences, the bombing had a strong negative effect on neighborhood cohesion and reduced use of public transit. Strong interactions are also found between timing of survey completion (pre and post bombing) and neighborhood for assessments of neighborhood solidarity.

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Sensitivity to Perceived Facial Trustworthiness Is Increased by Activating Self-Protection Motives

Steven Young, Michael Slepian & Donald Sacco
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Self-protection motives have been documented to influence a range of intergroup processes, including biased categorization of racially ambiguous targets as out-group members and a heightened ability to discriminate in-group from out-group members. In this work, the influence of self-protective states is extended to interpersonal processes. Specifically, in two experiments we demonstrate that activating self-protection motives (relative to a control experience) leads to more accurate detection of facial cues associated with trustworthiness. In Experiment 1, participants with salient self-protection concerns were better able to distinguish between faces pre-rated as appearing high and low in trustworthiness. In Experiment 2, we used dynamic cues associated with trustworthiness and found that participants with active self-protection goals more accurately distinguished genuine from false smiles. These results are among the first to document the influence of self-protection motives on interpersonal judgments, thereby expanding the scope and focus of fundamental motives research.

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Focus on the success of others leads to selfish behavior

Pieter van den Berg, Lucas Molleman & Franz Weissing
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 March 2015, Pages 2912-2917

Abstract:
It has often been argued that the spectacular cognitive capacities of humans are the result of selection for the ability to gather, process, and use information about other people. Recent studies show that humans strongly and consistently differ in what type of social information they are interested in. Although some individuals mainly attend to what the majority is doing (frequency-based learning), others focus on the success that their peers achieve with their behavior (success-based learning). Here, we show that such differences in social learning have important consequences for the outcome of social interactions. We report on a decision-making experiment in which individuals were first classified as frequency- and success-based learners and subsequently grouped according to their learning strategy. When confronted with a social dilemma situation, groups of frequency-based learners cooperated considerably more than groups of success-based learners. A detailed analysis of the decision-making process reveals that these differences in cooperation are a direct result of the differences in information use. Our results show that individual differences in social learning strategies are crucial for understanding social behavior.

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Procedural frames in negotiations: How offering my resources versus requesting yours impacts perception, behavior, and outcomes

Roman Trötschel et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 417-435

Abstract:
Although abundant negotiation research has examined outcome frames, little is known about the procedural framing of negotiation proposals (i.e., offering my vs. requesting your resources). In a series of 8 experiments, we tested the prediction that negotiators would show a stronger concession aversion and attain better individual outcomes when their own resource, rather than the counterpart’s, is the accentuated reference resource in a transaction. First, senders of proposals revealed a stronger concession aversion when they offered their own rather than requested the counterpart’s resources — both in buyer-seller (Experiment 1a) and in classic transaction negotiations (Experiment 2a). Expectedly, this effect reversed for recipients: When receiving requests rather than offers, recipients experienced a stronger concession aversion in buyer-seller (Experiment 1b) and transaction negotiations (Experiment 2b). Experiments 3−5 investigated procedural frames in the interactive process of negotiations — with elementary schoolchildren (Experiment 3), in a buyer-seller context (Experiments 4a and 4b), and in a computer-mediated transaction negotiation void of buyer and seller roles (Experiment 5). In summary, 8 experiments showed that negotiators are more concession averse and claim more individual value when negotiation proposals are framed to highlight their own rather than the counterpart’s resources.

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Effect of Income on Trust: Evidence from the 2009 Crisis in Russia

Maxim Ananyev & Sergei Guriev
University of California Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
This paper draws on a natural experiment to identify the relationship between income and trust. We use a unique panel dataset on Russia where GDP experienced an 8 percent drop in 2009. The effect of the crisis had been very uneven among Russian regions because of their differences in industrial structure inherited from the Soviet times. We find that the regions that specialize in producing capital goods, as well as those depending on oil and gas, had a more substantial income decline during the crisis. The variation in the industrial structure allows creating an instrument for the change in income. After instrumenting average regional income, we find that the effect of income on generalized social trust (the share of respondents saying that most people can be trusted) is statistically and economically significant. Controlling for conventional determinants of trust, we show that 10 percent decrease in income is associated with 5 percentage point decrease in trust. Given that the average level of trust in Russia is 25%, this magnitude is substantial. We also find that post-crisis economic recovery did not restore pre-crisis trust level. Trust recovered only in those regions where the 2009 decline in trust was small. In the regions with the large decline in trust during the crisis, trust in 2014 was still 10 percentage points below its pre-crisis level.

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The Lure Technique: Replication and Refinement in a Field Setting

Marie Marchand, Robert-Vincent Joule & Nicolas Guéguen
Psychological Reports, February 2015, Pages 275-279

Abstract:
Many techniques designed to gain compliance to a request are presented in the social psychological literature. However, the lure technique has received little attention from scientists. This technique, also called bait-and-switch, is used to influence people's choices and involves three stages: (1) individuals are led to make a rewarding decision to carry out a given behavior; (2) they are informed of the impossibility of carrying out this behavior; (3) a new but less rewarding decision is proposed. Only one formal study has been published on this technique, which failed to control two key methodological factors: the status of the participants and the solicitor, and the delay between the initial decision and the target request. These two factors were controlled in this study. Outside a French campus, 40 female students in the 18–22 age range were solicited by a student to participate in a pleasant experiment for which they would be remunerated. One minute after accepting, they were informed that the number of participants was reached, and they were no longer needed. The solicitor then proposed a different task that was less interesting and not remunerated. Greater compliance with the final request was found in the lure condition (70%) than in the control condition (35%) in which the final request was addressed immediately. The results confirm the effectiveness of the lure technique to increase compliance and show that its effectiveness is not dependent on the solicitor's status.

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Self-Control Depletion Does Not Diminish Attitudes About Being Prosocial But Does Diminish Prosocial Behaviors

Jeffrey Osgood & Mark Muraven
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, January/February 2015, Pages 68-80

Abstract:
In three studies, ego-depleted participants reported the same level of affective/cognitive concern for others as control participants, but behaved less prosocially. In Study 1, participants had to sustain cooperation to increase the joint payout to themselves and another player. In Study 2, participants had to restrict their use of a shared resource. In Study 3, ego-depletion failed to produce effects on several measures of concern for others despite large effects found with other manipulations. Results suggest ego-depletion influences behavior by reducing one's ability or motivation to overcome egotistic desires when helping others comes at a cost to the self.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tough

Aggressive-Antisocial Boys Develop Into Physically Strong Young Men

Joshua Isen, Matthew McGue & William Iacono
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Young men with superior upper-body strength typically show a greater proclivity for physical aggression than their weaker male counterparts. The traditional interpretation of this phenomenon is that young men calibrate their attitudes and behaviors to their physical formidability. Physical strength is thus viewed as a causal antecedent of aggressive behavior. The present study is the first to examine this phenomenon within a developmental framework. We capitalized on the fact that physical strength is a male secondary sex characteristic. In two longitudinal cohorts of children, we estimated adolescent change in upper-body strength using the slope parameter from a latent growth model. We found that males’ antisocial tendencies temporally precede their physical formidability. Boys, but not girls, with greater antisocial tendencies in childhood attained larger increases in physical strength between the ages of 11 and 17. These results support sexual selection theory, indicating an adaptive congruence between male-typical behavioral dispositions and subsequent physical masculinization during puberty.

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Not by Strength Alone

David Pietraszewski & Alex Shaw
Human Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Asymmetric War of Attrition (AWA) model of animal conflict in evolutionary biology (Maynard Smith and Parker in Nature, 246, 15–18, 1976) suggests that an organism’s decision to withdraw from a conflict is the result of adaptations designed to integrate the expected value of winning, discounted by the expected costs that would be incurred by continuing to compete, via sensitivity to proximate cues of how quickly each side can impose costs on the other (Resource Holding Potential), and how much each side will gain by winning. The current studies examine whether human conflict expectations follow the formalized logic of this model. Children aged 6–8 years were presented with third-party conflict vignettes and were then asked to predict the likely winner. Cues of ownership, hunger, size, strength, and alliance strength were systematically varied across conditions. Results demonstrate that children’s expectations followed the logic of the AWA model, even in complex situations featuring multiple, competing cues, such that the actual relative costs and benefits that would accrue during such a conflict were reflected in children’s expectations. Control conditions show that these modifications to conflict expectations could not have resulted from more general experimental artifacts or demand characteristics. To test the selectivity of these effects to conflict, expectations of search effort were also assessed. As predicted, they yielded a different pattern of results. These studies represent one of the first experimental tests of the AWA model in humans and suggest that future research on the psychology of ownership, conflict, and value may be aided by formalized models from evolutionary biology.

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Violent Video Games and Physical Aggression: Evidence for a Selection Effect Among Adolescents

Johannes Breuer et al.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Longitudinal studies investigating the relationship of aggression and violent video games are still scarce. Most of the previous studies focused on children or younger adolescents and relied on convenience samples. This paper presents data from a 1-year longitudinal study of N = 276 video game players aged 14 to 21 drawn from a representative sample of German gamers. We tested both whether the use of violent games predicts physical aggression (i.e., the socialization hypothesis) and whether physical aggression predicts the subsequent use of violent games (i.e., the selection hypothesis). The results support the selection hypotheses for the group of adolescents aged 14 to 17. For the group of young adults (18–21), we found no evidence for both the socialization and the selection hypothesis. Our findings suggest that the use of violent video games is not a substantial predictor of physical aggression, at least in the later phases of adolescence and early adulthood. The differences we found between the age groups show that age plays an important role in the relationship of aggression and violent video games and that research in this area can benefit from a more individualistic perspective that takes into account both intraindividual developmental change and interindividual differences between players.

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Aggressive priming online: Facebook adverts can prime aggressive cognitions

Tom Buchanan
Computers in Human Behavior, July 2015, Pages 323–330

Abstract:
Through the process of priming, incidental stimuli in our environments can influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. This may be true of incidental stimuli in online environments, such as adverts on websites. Two experiments (N = 325, N = 331) showed that the mere presence of advertisements with violent content on a simulated Facebook page induced higher levels of aggression-related cognition in comparison to non-violent adverts (d = 0.56, d = 0.71). In a subsequent word recognition task, participants primed with the violent stimuli ‘remembered’ more actually-unseen violence-related words than did the control participants. That is, they reported recognising violent words they had not actually seen. However, priming with violent adverts had no effect on mood or person perception. A third correlational study (N = 131) examined whether variance in the extent of priming could be attributed to individual differences in aggressiveness. Participants’ aggressiveness was unrelated to their scores on the aggressive cognition measure. These studies established that website adverts with violent content could prime aggressive cognitions. Individuals differed in the extent to which they experienced the priming effect, and this was not attributable to their levels of trait aggressiveness. No effects of priming were found on either mood state or person perception.

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Social stress and the oxytocin receptor gene interact to predict antisocial behavior in an at-risk cohort

Erica Smearman et al.
Development and Psychopathology, February 2015, Pages 309-318

Abstract:
Polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor gene are commonly associated with prosocial behaviors in the extant literature, yet their role in antisocial behaviors has rarely been explored, particularly during the transition from adolescence to early adulthood. We examined a prospective cohort (N = 404), collecting youth, mother, and clinician reports of conduct-disordered and antisocial behavior at ages 15 and 20. The oxytocin receptor gene rs53576 polymorphism was hypothesized to interact with social stress to predict antisocial outcomes. Structural equation modeling results revealed a significant main effect at age 15 (p = .025); those with the G allele exhibited higher levels of conduct problems. Structural equation modeling revealed a significant Gene × Environment interaction at age 20 (p = .029); those with the G allele who experienced high social stress exhibited higher levels of antisocial behavior. Heterozygous (AG) grouping models were compared, and parameter estimations supported G dominant groupings. These novel findings suggest that rs53576 polymorphisms may influence social salience and contribute to risk for antisocial outcomes, particularly under conditions of high social stress.

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Developmental Differences in Early Adolescent Aggression: A Gene × Environment × Intervention Analysis

Gabriel Schlomer et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, March 2015, Pages 581-597

Abstract:
Aggression-related problems such as assault and homicide among adolescents and young adults exact considerable social and economic costs. Although progress has been made, additional research is needed to help combat this persistent problem. Several lines of research indicate that parental hostility is an especially potent predictor of adolescent aggression, although most longitudinal research has focused on clarifying the direction of effects. In this study, we used longitudinal data from the PROSPER project (N = 580; 54.8 % female), a primarily rural Caucasian preventative intervention sample, to examine developmental change in early- to mid-adolescent aggressive behavior problems (age 11–16 years). In addition, we examined maternal hostility as a predictor of developmental change in aggression and the PROSPER preventative intervention, designed to reduce substance use and aggression, as a potential influence on this association. Lastly, several studies indicate that variation in the DRD4 7-repeat gene moderates both parenting and intervention influences on externalizing behavior. Accordingly, we examined the potential moderating role of DRD4. As hypothesized, there was a significant maternal hostility by intervention interaction indicating that the intervention reduced the negative impact of maternal hostility on adolescent change in aggressive behavior problems. DRD4 7-repeat status (7+ vs. 7−) further conditioned this association whereby control group 7+ adolescents with hostile mothers showed increasing aggressive behavior problems. In contrast, aggression decreased for 7+ adolescents with similarly hostile mothers in the intervention. Implications for prevention are discussed as well as current perspectives in candidate gene-by-environment interaction research.

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Effects of Classroom Composition on the Development of Antisocial Behavior in Lower Secondary School

Christoph Michael Müller et al.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Early adolescence is a critical period during which classroom composition may affect behavioral development. This study investigated whether classmates’ levels of aggression and delinquency influenced individual antisocial behavior during the first year of secondary school. At this point, students had just transitioned to a new classroom peer environment. A short-term longitudinal design with four measurement points distributed across the school year was applied. Data were collected from the anonymous self-reports of 825 seventh graders. Longitudinal negative binomial multilevel analyses revealed that classmates’ antisocial behavior influenced pupils’ behavioral development (other peer influences were controlled). Furthermore, classroom behavioral heterogeneity moderated the peer effect regarding delinquency but not aggression.

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Too good to care: The effect of skill on hostility and aggression following violent video game play

Nicholas Matthews
Computers in Human Behavior, July 2015, Pages 219–225

Abstract:
An experiment tested if higher skilled players would experience diminished aggression related outcomes compared to lower skilled players due to flow state optimization. Specifically, the study observed if higher flow states made narrative-defined game goals more salient, thus reducing focus on the more peripheral violent content. After controlling for the amount, type, and context of violence, higher skilled players experienced lower levels of hostility and aggression related cognitions and greater levels of flow than lower skilled players. Additionally, skill altered players’ perceptions as well, as higher skilled players experienced higher construal levels and perceived less violence than lower skilled players.

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Troubling Anal Sex: Gender, Power, and Sexual Compliance in Heterosexual Experiences of Anal Intercourse

Breanne Fahs, Eric Swank & Lindsay Clevenger
Gender Issues, March 2015, Pages 19-38

Abstract:
Existing literatures on anal sex mostly focus on links between anal sex and public health, particularly sexual risk-taking. Drawing upon feminist theoretical frameworks, this study linked anal sex activities of heterosexual men and women to broader issues of sexist power imbalances. This study analyzed survey data from 205 undergraduates to assess the relationship between frequency of vaginal and anal intercourse and ten correlates, including identity, sexual aggression, and attitudinal and behavioral practices. Being single and support for women’s abstinence was negatively correlated with vaginal but not anal sex, while anal sex was connected to support of hegemonic masculinity and lifetime experiences with sexual coercion, particularly for women. Implications for gender and power dynamics of heterosexual anal sex were explored.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jonesing

Inequality, Leverage, and Crises

Michael Kumhof, Romain Ranciere & Pablo Winant
American Economic Review, March 2015, Pages 1217-1245

Abstract:
The paper studies how high household leverage and crises can be caused by changes in the income distribution. Empirically, the periods 1920-1929 and 1983–2008 both exhibited a large increase in the income share of high-income households, a large increase in debt leverage of low- and middle-income households, and an eventual financial and real crisis. The paper presents a theoretical model where higher leverage and crises are the endogenous result of a growing income share of high-income households. The model matches the profiles of the income distribution, the debt-to-income ratio and crisis risk for the three decades preceding the Great Recession.

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Perceptions of U.S. Social Mobility Are Divided (and Distorted) Along Ideological Lines

John Chambers, Lawton Swan & Martin Heesacker
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ability to move upward in social class or economic position (i.e., social mobility) is a defining feature of the American Dream, yet recent public-opinion polls indicate that many Americans are losing confidence in the essential fairness of the system and their opportunities for financial advancement. In two studies, we examined Americans’ perceptions of both current levels of mobility in the United States and temporal trends in mobility, and we compared these perceptions with objective indicators to determine perceptual accuracy. Overall, participants underestimated current mobility and erroneously concluded that mobility has declined over the past four decades. These misperceptions were more pronounced among politically liberal participants than among politically moderate or conservative ones. These perception differences were accounted for by liberals’ relative dissatisfaction with the current social system, social hierarchies, and economic inequality. These findings have important implications for theories of political ideology.

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Americans overestimate social class mobility

Michael Kraus & Jacinth Tan
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 101–111

Abstract:
In this research we examine estimates of American social class mobility — the ability to move up or down in education and income status. Across studies, overestimates of class mobility were large and particularly likely among younger participants and those higher in subjective social class — both measured (Studies 1–3) and manipulated (Study 4). Class mobility overestimates were independent of general estimation errors (Study 3) and persisted after accounting for knowledge of class mobility assessed in terms of educational attainment and self-ratings. Experiments revealed that mobility overestimates were shaped by exposure to information about the genetic determinants of social class — a faux science article suggesting genetic constraints to economic advancement increased accuracy in class mobility estimates (Study 2) — and motivated by needs to protect the self — heightening the self-relevance of class mobility increased overestimates (Study 3). Discussion focused on both the costs and benefits of overestimates of class mobility for individuals and society.

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Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral Resources and Preferences for Redistribution

Mathieu Couttenier & Marc Sangnier
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper provides empirical evidence that mineral resources abundance is associated to preferences for redistribution in the United States. We show that individuals living in states with large mineral resources endowment are more opposed to redistribution than others. We take advantage of both the spatial and the temporal distributions of mineral resources discoveries since 1800 to uncover two mechanisms through which mineral resources can foster ones’ opposition to redistribution: either by transmission of values formed in the past, or by the exposure to mineral discoveries during individuals’ life-time. We show that both mechanisms matter to explain respondents’ preferences.

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Lay Theories About Social Class Buffer Lower-Class Individuals Against Poor Self-Rated Health and Negative Affect

Jacinth Tan & Michael Kraus
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, March 2015, Pages 446-461

Abstract:
The economic conditions of one’s life can profoundly and systematically influence health outcomes over the life course. Our present research demonstrates that rejecting the notion that social class categories are biologically determined — a nonessentialist belief — buffers lower-class individuals from poor self-rated health and negative affect, whereas conceiving of social class categories as rooted in biology — an essentialist belief — does not. In Study 1, lower-class individuals self-reported poorer health than upper-class individuals when they endorsed essentialist beliefs but showed no such difference when they rejected such beliefs. Exposure to essentialist theories of social class also led lower-class individuals to report greater feelings of negative self-conscious emotions (Studies 2 and 3), and perceive poorer health (Study 3) than upper-class individuals, whereas exposure to nonessentialist theories did not lead to such differences. Discussion considers how lay theories of social class potentially shape long-term trajectories of health and affect of lower-class individuals.

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The undervalued self: Social class and self-evaluation

Michael Kraus & Jun Park
Frontiers in Psychology, December 2014

Abstract:
Social class ranks people on the social ladder of society, and in this research we examine how perceptions of economic standing shape the way that individuals evaluate the self. Given that reminders of one’s own subordinate status in society are an indicator of how society values the self in comparison to others, we predicted that chronic lower perceptions of economic standing vis-à-vis others would explain associations between objective social class and negative self-evaluation, whereas situation-specific reminders of low economic standing would elicit negative self-evaluations, particularly in those from lower-class backgrounds. In Study 1, perceptions of social class rank accounted for the positive relationship between objective material resource measures of social class and self-esteem. In Study 2, lower-class individuals who received a low (versus equal) share of economic resources in an economic game scenario reported more negative self-conscious emotions — a correlate of negative self-evaluation — relative to upper-class individuals. Discussion focused on the implications of this research for understanding class-based cultural models of the self, and for how social class shapes self-evaluations chronically.

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Unionization and the partisan effect on income inequality

Eric Graig Castater
Business and Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does partisanship matter for income inequality? The empirical evidence is notably mixed. I argue that these inconsistent findings are partly the result of scholars not (properly) modeling the relationship between unionization and the partisan composition of government. If we accept that union members favor greater government intervention to reduce economic inequalities than non-union members, politicians desire to hold elected office and be popular but also to implement particular public policies, and left party politicians share union members’ policy preferences to a greater extent than center and right party politicians, then partisan differences should be greatest at moderate levels of unionization, a condition that allows all politicians to pursue their policy preferences while maintaining electoral viability. The empirical analysis examines 16 wealthy democracies between 1970 and 2010. The results of error-correction models confirm the theoretical expectation and hold regardless of whether there is a majoritarian or proportional representation electoral system.

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International Human Rights and Domestic Income Inequality: A Difficult Case of Compliance in World Society

Wade Cole
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much research finds that human rights treaties fail to improve domestic practices unless governments are held accountable in some fashion. The implication is that noncompliance can be attributed to insincere commitments and willful disobedience. I challenge this claim for a core but overlooked treaty: the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Few analysts have studied the ICESCR because its terms are difficult to implement and suitable measures for judging compliance are hard to find. I analyze its association with income inequality, using data for more than 100 countries (1981 to 2005) and methods that account for the possibility of reverse causality. ICESCR membership reduces inequality in both developed and developing countries, although the relationship is stronger for developed countries — precisely those with the greatest capacity to implement their obligations. Other key determinants of income inequality and treaty compliance — left partisanship, union density, workers’ rights, and democracy — do not systematically condition the effects of ICESCR membership. The ICESCR is therefore quite effective in reducing inequality, an outcome likely explained by renewed global attention to socioeconomic rights during the neoliberal era.

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Long-Term Intergenerational Persistence of Human Capital: An Empirical Analysis of Four Generations

Mikael Lindahl et al.
Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2015, Pages 1-33

Abstract:
Most previous studies of intergenerational transmission of human capital are restricted to two generations: how parents influence their children. In this study, we use a Swedish data set that links individual measures of lifetime earnings for three generations and data on educational attainment for four generations. We find that estimates obtained from data on two generations severely underestimate long-run intergenerational persistence in both labor earnings and educational attainments. Long-run social mobility is hence much lower than previously thought. We attribute this additional persistence to “dynastic human capital” — the influence on human capital of more distant family members than parents.

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Labor Market Institutions and Technology: The Causes of Rising Wage Inequality in U.S. Industries, 1968-2012

Tali Kristal & Yinon Cohen
Columbia University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Most inequality scholars view skill-biased technological change – the computerization of workplaces that favors high-skilled workers – as the main cause of rising wage inequality in America, while institutional factors are generally relegated to a secondary role. The evidence presented in this paper, however, does not support this widely held view. Using direct measures for computers and pay-setting institutions at the industry level, this paper provides the first rigorous analysis of the independent effect of technological and institutional factors on rising wage inequality. Analyzing data on 43 U.S. industries between 1968 and 2012, we find that declining unions and the fall in the real value of the minimum wage explain about half of rising inequality, while computerization explains one fifth. This suggests that much of rising inequality in the U.S. is driven by worker disempowerment rather than by market forces – a finding that can resolve the puzzle on the diverging inequality trends in U.S. and Europe.

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National patterns of income and wealth inequality

Nora Skopek, Sandra Buchholz & Hans-Peter Blossfeld
International Journal of Comparative Sociology, December 2014, Pages 463-488

Abstract:
The aim of this article is to show that wealth must be treated as a distinct dimension of social stratification alongside income. In a first step, we explain why social stratification researchers have largely overlooked wealth in the past and present a detailed definition of wealth by differentiating it from income. In the empirical part of the article, we analyze the distribution of wealth across 18 countries, and we describe and compare national patterns of wealth inequality to those of income inequality making use of different data sources. Our results show – first – that there is strong variation in the distribution of wealth between these 18 countries, and – second – that levels of wealth inequality significantly differ from levels of income inequality in about half of the countries analyzed. Surprisingly high levels of wealth inequality we find in Sweden and Denmark, two countries widely considered being highly egalitarian societies. Conversely, the Southern European countries – where income inequality is relatively high – exhibit comparatively low levels of wealth inequality.

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Reference Points and Redistributive Preferences: Experimental Evidence

Jimmy Charité, Raymond Fisman & Ilyana Kuziemko
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
If individuals evaluate outcomes relative to the status quo, then a social planner may limit redistribution from rich to poor even in the absence of moral hazard. We present two experiments suggesting that individuals, placed in the position of a social planner, do in fact respect the reference points of others. First, subjects are given the opportunity to redistribute unequal, unearned initial endowments between two anonymous recipients. They redistribute significantly less when the recipients know the initial endowments (and thus may have formed corresponding reference points) than when the recipients do not know (when we observe near-complete redistribution). Subjects who are themselves risk-seeking over losses drive the effect, suggesting they project their own loss-aversion onto the recipients. In a separate experiment, respondents are asked to choose a tax rate for someone who (due to luck) became rich either five or one year(s) ago. Subjects faced with the five-year scenario choose a lower tax rate, indicating respect for the more deeply embedded (five-year) reference point. Our results thus suggest that respect for reference points of the wealthy may help explain why voters demand less redistribution than standard models predict.

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The inequality-growth plateau

Daniel Henderson, Junhui Qian & Le Wang
Economics Letters, March 2015, Pages 17–20

Abstract:
We examine the (potentially nonlinear) relationship between inequality and growth using a method which does not require an a priori assumption on the underlying functional form. This approach reveals a plateau completely missed by commonly used (nonlinear) parametric approaches – the economy first expands rapidly with a large decline in inequality, plateaus when inequality remains relatively stable, and then decreases rapidly with a large increase in inequality. This novel finding helps reconcile the conflicting results in the literature (using different parametric assumptions and datasets) and has important policy implications.

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Partisan Differences in the Distributional Effects of Economic Growth: Stock Market Performance, Unemployment, and Political Control of the Presidency

Bryan Dettrey & Harvey Palmer
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the differences in the distributional effects of economic growth. While all incumbents are incentivized to create economic growth in order to win reelection, they use a diverse variety of policies to achieve this growth. These policy choices are often congruent with the demands of the core constituent groups of the respective parties. This suggests that economic growth is not equally shared by all, but that some groups are more or less benefited from the sets of policies chosen by the incumbent parties to stimulate growth. We test this proposition by investigating the effects of economic growth on stock market performance and unemployment. Our results show that economic growth under Republican presidents has a stronger effect on stimulating stock market performance, while economic growth under Democratic presidents has a stronger effect on reducing unemployment. Overall, these results highlight the partisan differences in macroeconomic policy and illustrate one of the causal mechanisms behind the substantial and rising economic inequality in the USA.

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How Has Educational Expansion Shaped Social Mobility Trends in the United States?

Fabian Pfeffer & Florian Hertel
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This contribution provides a long-term assessment of intergenerational social mobility trends in the United States across the 20th and early 21st centuries and assesses the determinants of those trends. In particular, we study how educational expansion has contributed to the observed changes in mobility opportunities for men across cohorts. Drawing on recently developed decomposition methods, we empirically identify the contribution of each of the multiple channels through which changing rates of educational participation shape mobility trends. We find that a modest but gradual increase in social class mobility can nearly exclusively be ascribed to an interaction known as the compositional effect, according to which the direct influence of social class backgrounds on social class destinations is lower among the growing number of individuals attaining higher levels of education. This dominant role of the compositional effect is also due to the fact that, despite pronounced changes in the distribution of education, class inequality in education has remained stable while class returns to education have shown no consistent trend. Our analyses also provide a cautionary tale about mistaking increasing levels of social class mobility for a general trend toward more fluidity in the United States. The impact of parental education on son's educational and class attainment has grown or remained stable, respectively. Here, the compositional effect pertaining to the direct association between parental education and son's class attainment counteracts a long-term trend of increasing inequality in educational attainment tied to parents' education.

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Paradoxes of Social Policy: Welfare Transfers, Relative Poverty, and Redistribution Preferences

David Brady & Amie Bostic
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Korpi and Palme’s (1998) classic “The Paradox of Redistribution and Strategies of Equality” claims that universal social policy better reduces poverty than social policies targeted at the poor. This article revisits Korpi and Palme’s classic, and in the process, explores and informs a set of enduring questions about social policy, politics, and social equality. Specifically, we investigate the relationships between three dimensions of welfare transfers — transfer share (the average share of household income from welfare transfers), low-income targeting, and universalism — and poverty and preferences for redistribution. We analyze rich democracies like Korpi and Palme, but we also generalize to a broader sample of developed and developing countries. Consistent with Korpi and Palme, we show (1) poverty is negatively associated with transfer share and universalism; (2) redistribution preferences are negatively associated with low-income targeting; and (3) universalism is positively associated with transfer share. Contrary to Korpi and Palme, redistribution preferences are not related to transfer share or universalism; and low-income targeting is neither positively associated with poverty nor negatively associated with transfer share. Therefore, instead of the “paradox of redistribution” we propose two new paradoxes of social policy: non-complementarity and undermining. The non-complementarity paradox entails a mismatch between the dimensions that matter to poverty and the dimension that matters to redistribution preferences. The undermining paradox emphasizes that the dimension (transfer share) that most reduces poverty tends to increase with the one dimension (low-income targeting) that reduces support for redistribution.

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Is an Increasing Capital Share under Capitalism Inevitable?

Yew-Kwang Ng
European Journal of Political Economy, June 2015, Pages 82–86

Abstract:
Piketty’s influential book Capital in the Twenty-First Century and its prominent review by Milanovic in the Journal of Economic Literature both assert the inevitability of an increasing share of capital in total income, given a higher rate of return to capital than the rate of growth in income. This paper shows by a specific example, a logical argument and its intuition that the alleged inevitability is not valid. Even just for capital to grow faster than income, we need an additional requirement that saving of non-capital income is larger than consumption of capital income. Even if this is satisfied, the capital share may not increase as the rate of return may fall and non-capital incomes may increase with capital accumulation.

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Actively Closing the Gap? Social Class, Organized Activities, and Academic Achievement in High School

David Morris
Youth & Society, March 2015, Pages 267-290

Abstract:
Participation in Organized Activities (OA) is associated with positive behavioral and developmental outcomes in children. However, less is known about how particular aspects of participation affect the academic achievement of high school students from different social class positions. Using the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, this study examines the math achievement gains from organized activity participation for advantaged and disadvantaged youths. Findings indicate that the relationship between OA and achievement does indeed vary by social class. Regardless of the type of OA, less advantaged high school students see substantial academic improvements from time in OA while their more advantaged peers do not. These findings suggest that participation in organized activities is a form of resource compensation that helps to reduce the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged youths, even at the end of the K-12 schooling process.

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The Financial Premium in the US Labor Market: A Distributional Analysis

Ken-Hou Lin
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using both cross-sectional and panel data, this article revisits the evolution of the financial premium between 1970 and 2011 with a distributional approach. I report that above-market compensation was present in the finance sector in the 1970s, but concentrated mostly at the bottom of the earnings distribution. The financial premium observed since the 1980s, however, is largely driven by excessive compensation at the top, a development that increasingly contributes to the national concentration of earnings. Furthermore, the analysis suggests that the financial premium for top earners remained robust in the early 2000s, when deregulation slowed down, and in the aftermath of the recent financial meltdown. These findings are inconsistent with the account that the earnings differential is driven by unobserved skill difference and demand shocks but supportive of the institutional account of rising inequality.

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Capital Taxation Under Political Constraints

Florian Scheuer & Alexander Wolitzky
Stanford Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
This paper studies optimal dynamic tax policy under the threat of political reform. A policy will be reformed ex post if a large enough political coalition supports reform; thus, sustainable policies are those that will continue to attract enough political support in the future. We find that optimal marginal capital taxes are either progressive or U-shaped, so that savings are subsidized for the poor and/or the middle class but are taxed for the rich. U-shaped capital taxes always emerge when the salient reform threat consists of radically redistributing capital and individuals' political behavior is purely determined by economic motives.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Upright

Social Class, Power, and Selfishness: When and Why Upper and Lower Class Individuals Behave Unethically

David Dubois, Derek Rucker & Adam Galinsky
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 436-449

Abstract:
Are the rich more unethical than the poor? To answer this question, the current research introduces a key conceptual distinction between selfish and unethical behavior. Based on this distinction, the current article offers 2 novel findings that illuminate the relationship between social class and unethical behavior. First, the effects of social class on unethical behavior are not invariant; rather, the effects of social class are moderated by whether unethical behavior benefits the self or others. Replicating past work, social class positively predicted unethical behavior; however, this relationship was only observed when that behavior was self-beneficial. When unethical behavior was performed to benefit others, social class negatively predicted unethical behavior; lower class individuals were more likely than upper class individuals to engage in unethical behavior. Overall, social class predicts people’s tendency to behave selfishly, rather than predicting unethical behavior per se. Second, individuals’ sense of power drove the effects of social class on unethical behavior. Evidence for this relationship was provided in three forms. First, income, but not education level, predicted unethical behavior. Second, feelings of power mediated the effect of social class on unethical behavior, but feelings of status did not. Third, two distinct manipulations of power produced the same moderation by self-versus-other beneficiary as was found with social class. The current theoretical framework and data both synthesize and help to explain a range of findings in the social class and power literatures.

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Is the Relationship Between Pathogen Avoidance and Ideological Conservatism Explained by Sexual Strategies?

Joshua Tybur et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Multiple recent studies report that measures of pathogen avoidance (e.g., disgust sensitivity) correlate with political ideology. This relationships have been interpreted as suggesting that certain political views (specifically, those views that are categorized as socially conservative) function to mitigate the pathogen threats posed either by intergroup interactions or departures from traditional societal norms, which sometimes evolve culturally for anti-pathogen functions. We propose and test the alternative hypothesis that pathogen avoidance relates to conservatism indirectly via sexual strategies (e.g., relatively monogamous versus relatively promiscuous). Specifically, we argue that individuals who are more invested in avoiding pathogens follow a more monogamous mating strategy to mitigate against pathogens transmitted during sexual contact, and individuals following a more monogamous mating strategy adopt socially conservative political ideologies to support their reproductive interests. Results from three studies (N’s = 819, 238, and 248) using multiple measures of pathogen avoidance, sexual strategies, and ideology support this account, with sexual strategies fully mediating the relationship between measures of pathogen avoidance and conservatism in each study.

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On the Origins of Dishonesty: From Parents to Children

Daniel Houser et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Acts of dishonesty permeate life. Understanding their origins, and what mechanisms help to attenuate such acts is an underexplored area of research. This study takes an economics approach to explore the propensity of individuals to act dishonestly across different economic environments. We begin by developing a simple model that highlights the channels through which one can increase or decrease dishonest acts. We lend empirical insights into this model by using an experiment that includes both parents and their young children as subjects. We find that the highest level of dishonesty occurs in settings where the parent acts alone and the dishonest act benefits the child rather than the parent. In this spirit, there is also an interesting effect of children on parents’ behavior: in the child’s presence, parents act more honestly, but there are gender differences. Parents act more dishonestly in front of sons than daughters. This finding has the potential of shedding light on the origins of the widely documented gender differences in cheating behavior observed among adults.

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How Foreign Language Shapes Moral Judgment

Janet Geipel, Constantinos Hadjichristidis & Luca Surian
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 8–17

Abstract:
We investigated whether and how processing information in a foreign language as opposed to the native language affects moral judgments. Participants judged the moral wrongness of several private actions, such as consensual incest, that were depicted as harmless and presented in either the native or a foreign language. The use of a foreign language promoted less severe moral judgments and less confidence in them. Harmful and harmless social norm violations, such as saying a white lie to get a reduced fare, were also judged more leniently. The results do not support explanations based on facilitated deliberation, misunderstanding, or the adoption of a universalistic stance. We propose that the influence of foreign language is best explained by a reduced activation of social and moral norms when making moral judgments.

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Threats to Social Identity Can Trigger Social Deviance

Peter Belmi et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
We hypothesized that threats to people’s social (i.e., group) identity can trigger deviant attitudes and behaviors. A correlational study and five experiments showed that experiencing or recalling situations associated with the devaluation of a social identity caused participants to endorse or engage in deviant actions, including stealing, cheating, and lying. The effect was driven by the tendency to construe social identity threats not as isolated incidents but as symbolic of the continuing devaluation and disrespectful treatment of one’s group. Supplementing sociological approaches to deviance and delinquency, the results suggest the relevance and utility of a social-psychological account.

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Is Business Ethics Education Effective? An Analysis of Gender, Personal Ethical Perspectives, and Moral Judgment

Liz Wang & Lisa Calvano
Journal of Business Ethics, February 2015, Pages 591-602

Abstract:
Although ethics instruction has become an accepted part of the business school curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, some scholars have questioned its effectiveness, and research results have been mixed. However, studies yield interesting results regarding certain factors that influence the ethicality of business students and may impact the effectiveness of business ethics instruction. One of these factors is gender. Using personal and business ethics scenarios, we examine the main and interactive effects of gender and business ethics education on moral judgment. We then analyze the relationships between gender and business ethics education on personal ethical perspectives. Our results indicate that women are generally more inclined to act ethically than men, but paradoxically women who have had business ethics instruction are less likely to respond ethically to business situations. In addition, men may be more responsive to business ethics education than women. Finally, women’s personal ethical orientations may become more relativistic after taking a business ethics class.

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Into the wild? How a film can change adolescents' values

Anna Döring & Alessa Hillbrink
Journal of Adolescence, April 2015, Pages 78–82

Abstract:
In adolescence, behavior and attitudes are constantly rethought and value priorities are established. Still, there is hardly any research addressing how values are shaped throughout this sensitive period. We employed an experimental design, testing whether adolescents' values can be influenced by exposure to a film. In our study, 154 German adolescents (80 females, ages 13–15) were randomly assigned to an experimental group that watched excerpts from the film “Into the wild” or to a control group. Value change was assessed in a pre-post-test design with a one-week interval. As hypothesized, values changed in the direction of those displayed by the film's protagonist: Universalism values increased significantly and conformity values decreased significantly as compared to the control group. Our findings suggest that single exposure to a film may initiate value change, indicating that not only major live events, but also everyday experiences significantly affect adolescents' values.

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In the name of democracy: The value of democracy explains leniency towards wrongdoings as a function of group political organization

Andrea Pereira et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to the “democracy-as-value” hypothesis, democracy has become an ideological belief system providing social value to democratic individuals, groups and institutions, granting legitimacy to their actions (even if dishonest or violent), and protecting them from consecutive punishments. The present research investigates the extent to which this legitimizing process is based on the individual endorsement of democratic principles. Across four experiments, following the misdeed of a (few) group member(s), respondents who valued democratic group organization and democracy in general expressed more lenient retributive justice judgments towards democratic (as compared with nondemocratic) offender groups. These findings shed light on the ways in which democratic ideology infuses justice judgments.

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Affective and Physiological Responses to the Suffering of Others: Compassion and Vagal Activity

Jennifer Stellar et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Compassion is an affective response to another’s suffering and a catalyst of prosocial behavior. In the present studies, we explore the peripheral physiological changes associated with the experience of compassion. Guided by long-standing theoretical claims, we propose that compassion is associated with activation in the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system through the vagus nerve. Across 4 studies, participants witnessed others suffer while we recorded physiological measures, including heart rate, respiration, skin conductance, and a measure of vagal activity called respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). Participants exhibited greater RSA during the compassion induction compared with a neutral control (Study 1), another positive emotion (Study 2), and a prosocial emotion lacking appraisals of another person’s suffering (Study 3). Greater RSA during the experience of compassion compared with the neutral or control emotion was often accompanied by lower heart rate and respiration but no difference in skin conductance. In Study 4, increases in RSA during compassion positively predicted an established composite of compassion-related words, continuous self-reports of compassion, and nonverbal displays of compassion. Compassion, a core affective component of empathy and prosociality, is associated with heightened parasympathetic activity.

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Is Corporate Social Responsibility Performance Associated with Tax Avoidance?

Roman Lanis & Grant Richardson
Journal of Business Ethics, March 2015, Pages 439-457

Abstract:
This study examines whether corporate social responsibility performance is associated with corporate tax avoidance. Employing a matched sample of 434 firm-year observations (i.e., 217 tax-avoidant and 217 non-tax-avoidant firm-year observations) from the Kinder, Lydenberg, and Domini database over the period 2003–2009, our logit regression results show that the higher the level of CSR performance of a firm, the lower the likelihood of tax avoidance. Our results indicate that more socially responsible firms are likely to display less tax avoidance. Finally, the results from our additional analysis show that the CSR categories community relations and diversity represent particularly important elements of CSR performance that reduce tax avoidance.

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The Neural Bases for Devaluing Radical Political Statements Revealed by Penetrating Traumatic Brain Injury

Irene Cristofori et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given the determinant role of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) in valuation, we examined whether vmPFC lesions also modulate how people scale political beliefs. Patients with penetrating traumatic brain injury (pTBI; N=102) and healthy controls (HC; N=31) were tested on the Political Belief Task, where they rated 75 statements expressing political opinions concerned with welfare, economy, political involvement, civil rights, war and security. Each statement was rated for level of agreement and scaled along three dimensions: radicalism, individualism, and conservatism. Voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) analysis showed that diminished scores for the radicalism dimension (i.e., statements were rated as less radical than the norms) were associated with lesions in bilateral vmPFC. After dividing the pTBI patients into three groups, according to lesion location (i.e., vmPFC, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [dlPFC] and parietal cortex), we found that the vmPFC, but not the dlPFC, group had reduced radicalism scores compared to parietal and HC groups. These findings highlight the crucial role of the vmPFC in appropriately valuing political behaviors and may explain certain inappropriate social judgments observed in patients with vmPFC lesions.

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Incentives to Breach

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Empirical evidence and common sense tell us that most people are responsive to economic incentives as well as social and moral norms, and that these sets of incentives are often in tension. The tradeoffs between moral and financial preferences are particularly salient in much legal decision-making, especially in the private law context. This paper presents the methods and results of two new behavioral studies designed to elicit evidence for how people factor both monetary and non-monetary incentives in breach of contract. Participants in Study 1 played a Trust game modified to capture key features of a breach decision. Subjects were offered increasing payouts to break the deal they had made with an anonymous partner. 18.6% participants indicated willingness to break a deal for any amount of profit, and over a quarter (27.9%) were unwilling to breach even when offered $24, almost triple the initial payout, with the remaining subjects identifying a break-point somewhere in between. Study 2 used hypothetical scenarios asking subjects to take the perspectives of buyers or sellers and to indicate how much profit or savings an alternate deal would have to offer in order for the subject to breach the original contract, and found a similar curve. The paper concludes with a discussion of how these methods and preliminary findings may be deployed for more fine-grained inquiries into when individuals do and do not choose a financially attractive breach about which they have moral reservations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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