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Friday, August 21, 2015

Up against the wall

Examining recidivism among foreign-born jail inmates: Does immigration status make a difference over the long term?

Jennifer Wong, Laura Hickman & Marika Suttorp-Booth
Global Crime, forthcoming

Abstract:
The topic of ‘illegal’ immigration is currently the focus of intense ideological and policy debate in the United States. A common assertion is that those without legal immigration status are disproportionately involved in criminal offending relative to other foreign-born populations. The current study examines the long-term recidivism patterns of a group of male removable aliens compared to those foreign-born with legal authorisation to be present in the Unites States. The sample includes 1297 foreign-born males released from the Los Angeles County Jail during a 1-month period in 2002, and the follow-up period extends through 2011. Using three measures of rearrest and a rigorous counterfactual modelling approach, we find no statistically significant differences between the two groups in likelihood, frequency, or timing of first rearrest over 9 years. The findings do not lend support to arguments that removable aliens pose a disproportionate risk of repeat involvement in local criminal justice systems.

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The labor market effects of reducing the number of illegal immigrants

Andri Chassamboulli & Giovanni Peri
Review of Economic Dynamics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A controversial issue in the US is how to reduce the number of illegal immigrants and what effect this would have on the US economy. To answer this question we set up a two-country model with search in labor markets and featuring legal and illegal immigrants among the low skilled. We calibrate it to the US and Mexican economies during the 2000-2010 period. As immigrants – especially illegal ones – have a worse outside option than natives, their wages are lower. Hence, their presence reduces the labor cost of employers who, as a consequence, create more jobs per unemployed when there are more immigrants. Because of such effects our model shows increasing deportation rates and tightening border control weakens low-skilled labor markets, increasing unemployment of native low-skilled workers. Legalization, instead, decreases the unemployment rate of low-skilled natives and increases income per native.

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Epidemiological Paradox or Immigrant Vulnerability? Obesity Among Young Children of Immigrants

Elizabeth Baker, Michael Rendall & Margaret Weden
Demography, August 2015, Pages 1295-1320

Abstract:
According to the “immigrant epidemiological paradox,” immigrants and their children enjoy health advantages over their U.S.-born peers — advantages that diminish with greater acculturation. We investigated child obesity as a potentially significant deviation from this paradox for second-generation immigrant children. We evaluated two alternate measures of mother’s acculturation: age at arrival in the United States and English language proficiency. To obtain sufficient numbers of second-generation immigrant children, we pooled samples across two related, nationally representative surveys. Each included measured (not parent-reported) height and weight of kindergartners. We also estimated models that alternately included and excluded mother’s pre-pregnancy weight status as a predictor. Our findings are opposite to those predicted by the immigrant epidemiological paradox: children of U.S.-born mothers were less likely to be obese than otherwise similar children of foreign-born mothers; and the children of the least-acculturated immigrant mothers, as measured by low English language proficiency, were the most likely to be obese. Foreign-born mothers had lower (healthier) pre-pregnancy weight than U.S.-born mothers, and this was protective against their second-generation children’s obesity. This protection, however, was not sufficiently strong to outweigh factors associated or correlated with the mothers’ linguistic isolation and marginal status as immigrants.

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What Happens to the Careers of European Workers When Immigrants “Take Their Jobs”?

Cristina Cattaneo, Carlo Fiorio & Giovanni Peri
Journal of Human Resources, Summer 2015, Pages 655-693

Abstract:
Following a representative longitudinal sample of native European residents over the period 1995–2001, we identify the effect of the inflows of immigrants on natives’ career, employment, and wages. We control for individual, country-year, occupation group-year, and occupation group-country heterogeneity and shocks, and construct an imputed inflow of the foreign-born population that is exogenous to local demand shocks. We find that native European workers are more likely to move to occupations associated with higher skills and status when a larger number of immigrants enters their labor market. We find no evidence of an increase in their probability of becoming unemployed.

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Do Immigrants Improve the Health of Natives?

Osea Giuntella & Fabrizio Mazzonna
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the effects of immigration on health. Specifically, we merge information on individual characteristics from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-2009) with detailed local labour market characteristics, and we then exploit the longitudinal component of the data to determine how immigration affects the health of both immigrants and natives over time. We find that immigrants to Germany are healthier than natives upon their arrival (the healthy immigrant effect) but that immigrants’ health deteriorates over time. We show that the convergence in health is heterogeneous across immigrants and occurs more rapidly among those working in more physically demanding jobs. Because immigrants are significantly more likely to work in strenuous occupations, we investigate whether changes in the spatial concentration of immigrants affect the health of the native population. Our results suggest that immigration reduces the likelihood that residents will report negative health outcomes. We show that these effects are concentrated in blue-collar occupations and are stronger among low-educated natives. Improvements in natives’ average working conditions and workloads help explain the positive effects of immigration on the health of the native population.

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Does the Chinese Diaspora Speed Up Growth in Host Countries?

Jan Priebe & Robert Rudolf
World Development, December 2015, Pages 249–262

Abstract:
We compiled a new, enhanced data set on the population share of overseas Chinese covering 147 countries over the period 1970–2010. Linking the migration and economic growth literature, this article attempts to estimate the impact of the Chinese diaspora on economic growth in host countries. Regression results from both “Barro-type” and dynamic panel data models suggest that a country’s initial relative endowment with overseas Chinese is positively related to subsequent growth. Results are robust to a number of sensitivity tests. The effect is transmitted via increased trade openness, enhanced investment, and general TFP effects.

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No Man Left Behind: Effects of Emigration Prospects on Educational and Labour Outcomes of Non-migrants

Slesh Shrestha
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The development impacts of emigration are largely determined by the education of those who stay behind. Departure of workers leads to a direct loss of human capital, but opportunities for emigration also raise expected returns to education. I examine these effects by considering the introduction of education as a selection criterion to recruit Nepalese men in the British Army. This change raised educational investments by 1.15 years and increased the average education of men living in Nepal even after allowing for emigration. Despite not being selected in the British Army or emigrating elsewhere, these non-migrants benefited directly from additional schooling.

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Remittances and the Wage Impact of Immigration

William Olney
Journal of Human Resources, Summer 2015, Pages 694-727

Abstract:
This paper examines how the outflow of remittances affect the wages of native workers. The model shows that the wage impact of immigration depends on the competing effects of an increase in labor market competition and an increase in the consumer base. Immigrant remittances provide a unique way of isolating this latter effect because they reduce the consumer base but not the workforce. The predictions of the model are tested using an unusually rich German data set that has detailed information on remittances and wages. As expected, the results indicate that a 1 percent increase in remittances depress the wages of native workers by 0.06 percent. Furthermore, remittances predominantly affect workers in nontraded industries that are more reliant on domestic consumption.

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Disparate Cultural Values and Modes of Conflict Resolution in Peer Relations: The Experience of Latino First-Generation College Students

Rocio Burgos-Cienfuegos et al.
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, August 2015, Pages 365-397

Abstract:
We explored whether Latino first-generation college students would experience cross-cultural value conflicts as a result of the mismatch between more collectivistic values learned at home and more individualistic practices of their peers in a multiethnic college setting. Culturally structured conflict resolution styles were also explored. Participants completed a survey and thereafter engaged in a structured group discussion. Group discussions indicated that 57% of students experienced cross-cultural peer-peer value conflicts in which they had a more collectivistic approach to peer relations, while their roommates had a more individualistic approach. More positive peer relationships resulted from confrontational styles of conflict resolution (a facet of individualistic culture) than from implicit forms of communication (a facet of collectivistic culture). Peer-peer interactions are important because, upon transitioning to college, Latino students are exposed to diverse cultures that can impact their social life in higher education and therefore their college adjustment.

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U.S. Border Enforcement and Mexican Immigrant Location Choice

Sarah Bohn & Todd Pugatch
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide the first evidence on the causal effect of border enforcement on the full spatial distribution of Mexican immigrants to the United States. We address the endogeneity of border enforcement with an instrumental variables strategy based on administrative delays in budgetary allocations for border security. We find that 1,000 additional Border Patrol officers assigned to prevent unauthorized migrants from entering a U.S. state decreases that state’s share of Mexican immigrants by 21.9 %. Our estimates imply that if border enforcement had not changed from 1994 to 2011, the shares of Mexican immigrants locating in California and Texas would each be 8 percentage points greater, with all other states’ shares lower or unchanged.

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Race, Immigration, and Exogamy among the Native-born: Variation across Communities

Mary Campbell & Molly Martin
Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Did rising immigration levels change racial and ethnic exogamy patterns for young adults in the United States? Adding local demographics to Qian and Lichter’s national results, the authors examine the relationship between the sizes of the local immigrant populations in urban and rural areas and U.S.-born individuals’ exogamy patterns in heterosexual unions, controlling for the areas’ racial compositions. Using 2000 census race, ethnicity, and nativity data and log-linear models, the authors test hypotheses about the relationship between high levels of immigration from Asia and Latin America and endogamy rates for U.S.-born Latino/as and Asians. They find that U.S.-born Latino/as and Asians are not consistently more endogamous in high-immigrant areas once population composition differences across local areas are controlled. Surprisingly, U.S.-born Blacks and Native Americans are significantly less endogamous in areas with more immigrants.

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Skin Tone, Race/Ethnicity, and Wealth Inequality among New Immigrants

Matthew Painter, Malcolm Holmes & Jenna Bateman
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Immigrants’ racial/ethnic status has profound implications for their lives in the United States, including its influence on their ability to improve their financial well-being. We examine a particular type of financial well-being — wealth or net worth — and consider how both skin tone and race/ethnicity contribute to wealth inequality. To assess these dual influences, we use the New Immigrant Survey and the recently developed preference for whiteness hypothesis to argue that darker-skinned immigrants will have lower levels of wealth and will be less likely to own certain assets. Results generally support the hypothesis with the strongest evidence apparent in the full sample and among Asian immigrants. Overall, the results illuminate how immigrants with a racial/ethnic minority status and a darker complexion encounter multiple forms of disadvantage relative to white and/or lighter-skinned immigrants.

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Immigrant Networks and the Take-Up of Disability Programs: Evidence from the United States

Delia Furtado & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the role of ethnic networks in disability program take-up among working-age immigrants in the United States. Controlling for country of origin and area of residence fixed effects, immigrants residing amid a large number of co-ethnics are more likely to receive disability payments when their ethnic groups have higher take-up rates. Differences in satisfying the work history or income and asset requirements of the disability programs explain part of this relationship, but social norms also play an important role. Information sharing appears influential for Supplemental Security Income take-up but not for Social Security Disability Income.

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Happy Moves? Assessing the Link between Life Satisfaction and Emigration Intentions

Artjoms Ivlevs
Kyklos, August 2015, Pages 335–356

Abstract:
It has been shown that higher levels of subjective well-being lead to greater work productivity, better physical health and enhanced social skills. Because of these positive externalities, policymakers across the world should be interested in attracting and retaining happy and life-satisfied migrants. This paper studies the link between life satisfaction and one's intentions to move abroad. Using survey data from 35 European and Central Asian countries, I find a U-shaped association between life satisfaction and emigration intentions: it is the most and the least life-satisfied people who are the most likely to express intentions to emigrate. This result is found in countries with different levels of economic development and institutional quality. The instrumental variable results suggest that higher levels of life satisfaction have a positive effect on the probability of reporting intentions to migrate. The findings of this paper raise concerns about possible ‘happiness drain’ in migrant-sending countries.

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A panel data quantile regression analysis of the immigrant earnings distribution in the United Kingdom and United States

Sherrilyn Billger & Carlos Lamarche
Empirical Economics, September 2015, Pages 705-750

Abstract:
This paper uses longitudinal data from the PSID and the BHPS to examine native-immigrant earnings differentials throughout the conditional wage distribution, while controlling for individual heterogeneity. We employ quantile regression techniques to estimate conditional quantile functions for longitudinal data. We show that country of origin, country of residence, and gender are all important determinants of earnings differentials. A large wage penalty occurs in the USA among female immigrants from non-English speaking countries, and the penalty is most negative among the lowest (conditional) wages. On the other hand, women in Britain experience hardly any immigrant-native wage differential. We find evidence suggesting that immigrant men in the USA earn lower wages, while British workers emigrating from English-speaking countries earn higher wages. The various differentials we report in this paper reveal the value of employing panel data quantile regression in estimating and better understanding immigrant wage effects.

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Immigrants’ Attitudes towards Welfare Redistribution. An Exploration of Role of Government Preferences among Immigrants and Natives across 18 European Welfare States

Tim Reeskens & Wim van Oorschot
European Sociological Review, August 2015, Pages 433-445

Abstract:
An oft-heard concern about the sustainability of the welfare state is that generous social welfare provisions serve as an important pull factor in immigrants’ consideration of their preferred country of destination. With their accumulated social risks, immigrants are averagely more likely to claim welfare benefits, suggesting that generous provisions reinforce migration flows, and that migrants benefit more from welfare than they contribute to it. Yet, little is known about what immigrants actually think about government support to ensure a reasonable standard of living. To study immigrants’ ideas about the welfare state, we analyse the 2008 ‘Welfare Attitudes’ module of the European Social Survey. Our analysis shows that, although immigrants have somewhat stronger pro-welfare opinions than non-immigrants, these are largely explained by their more disadvantaged position in society and their more depressed opinions of the social malaise taking place in their receptive society. Furthermore, much to our surprise, we find that immigrants’ views on welfare closely follow those of the non-migrant population of the country they are living in, suggesting strong social integration at the opinion level.

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Immigration enforcement and mixed-status families: The effects of risk of deportation on Medicaid use

Edward Vargas
Children and Youth Services Review, October 2015, Pages 83–89

Abstract:
As Congress priorities the immigration debate on increased border security, the fate of an estimated 11 million undocumented citizens remains uncertain. Stuck in between partisan politics and practical solutions are mixed-status families in which some members of the family are U.S. citizens while other members are in the country without proper authorization. This paper, examines the relationship between risk of deportation and Medicaid use drawing from a nationally sample of mothers from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey. These data are then merged with data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to create a contextual risk of deportation measure. Findings suggest that an increase in risk of deportation is associated with a decrease in Medicaid use. The implications of this work have tremendous impacts for health service providers and policy makers interested in preventing and reducing health disparities in complex family structures.

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Testing the Parent–Adolescent Acculturation Discrepancy Hypothesis: A Five-Wave Longitudinal Study

Seth Schwartz et al.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This 2½-year, 5-wave longitudinal study tests the hypothesis that acculturation discrepancies between Hispanic immigrant parents and adolescents would lead to compromised family functioning, which would then lead to problematic adolescent outcomes. Recent-immigrant Hispanic parent–adolescent dyads (N = 302) completed measures of acculturation and family functioning. Adolescents completed measures of positive youth development, depressive symptoms, problem behavior, and substance use. Results indicated that Time 1 discrepancies in Hispanic culture retention, and linear trajectories in some of these discrepancies, negatively predicted adolescent positive youth development, and positively predicted adolescent depressive symptoms and binge drinking, indirectly through adolescent-reported family functioning. The vast majority of effects were mediated rather than direct, supporting the acculturation discrepancy hypothesis. Implications for further research and intervention are discussed.

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Educated Preferences or Selection Effects? A Longitudinal Analysis of the Impact of Educational Attainment on Attitudes Towards Immigrants

Bram Lancee & Oriane Sarrasin
European Sociological Review, August 2015, Pages 490-501

Abstract:
While previous studies unequivocally show that education and attitudes towards immigrants correlate, the underlying mechanisms remain debated. The liberalization effect claims that education fosters egalitarian values and analytic skills, which translate into positive attitudes. Additionally, the higher educated are less likely to face economic competition from immigrants. However, research on socialization shows that political attitudes develop early in life. Thus, there may be self-selection into education. While there is reason to expect both education and selection effects, previous work has relied exclusively on cross-sectional analyses, thus confounding the two mechanisms. Drawing on the Swiss Household Panel, we find that virtually all variation in education disappears when only within-individual variance is modelled. While we find strong differences in attitudes towards immigrants between individuals, we observe little change in attitudes as individuals pass through education. Furthermore, our findings show that when entering the labour market, higher educated individuals also become more likely to oppose immigrants. This suggests that differences between educational groups are mostly due to selection effects, and not to the alleged liberalizing effect of education. We conclude that future research on attitudes towards immigrants would greatly benefit from addressing selection into education.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Something for the pain

Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?

David Powell, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Mireille Jacobson
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Many medical marijuana patients report using marijuana to alleviate chronic pain from musculoskeletal problems and other sources. If marijuana is used as a substitute for powerful and addictive pain relievers in medical marijuana states, a potential overlooked positive impact of medical marijuana laws may be a reduction in harms associated with opioid pain relievers, a far more addictive and potentially deadly substance. To assess this issue, we study the impact of medical marijuana laws on problematic opioid use. We use two measures of problematic use: treatment admissions for opioid pain reliever addiction from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) and state-level opioid overdose deaths in the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). Using both standard differences-in-differences models as well as synthetic control models, we find that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not. We find no impact of medical marijuana laws more broadly; the mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries. We evaluate potential mechanisms. Our findings suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers.

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Heroin-related overdose: The unexplored influences of markets, marketing and source-types in the United States

Sarah Mars et al.
Social Science & Medicine, September 2015, Pages 44–53

Abstract:
Heroin overdose, more accurately termed ‘heroin-related overdose’ due to the frequent involvement of other drugs, is the leading cause of mortality among regular heroin users. Heroin injectors are at greater risk of hospital admission for heroin-related overdose (HOD) in the eastern United States where Colombian-sourced powder heroin is sold than in the western US where black ‘tar’ heroin predominates. This paper examines under-researched influences on HOD, both fatal and non-fatal, using data from a qualitative study of injecting drug users of black tar heroin in San Francisco and powder heroin in Philadelphia. Data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews carried out in 2012 that were conducted against a background of longer-term participant-observation, ethnographic studies of drug users and dealers in Philadelphia (2007–12) and of users in San Francisco (1994–2007, 2012). Our findings suggest three types of previously unconsidered influences on overdose risk, that arise both from structural socio-economic factors and from the physical properties of the heroin source-types: 1) retail market structure including information flow between users; 2) marketing techniques such as branding, free samples and pricing and 3) differences in the physical characteristics of the two major heroin source forms and how they affect injecting techniques and vascular health. Although chosen for their contrasting source-forms, we found that the two cities have contrasting dominant models of drug retailing: San Francisco respondents tended to buy through private dealers and Philadelphia respondents frequented an open-air street market where heroin is branded and free samples are distributed, although each city included both types of drug sales. These market structures and marketing techniques shape the availability of information regarding heroin potency and its dissemination among users who tend to seek out the strongest heroin available on a given day. The physical characteristics of these two source-types, the way they are prepared for injecting and their effects on vein health also differ markedly. The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the unexplored factors that may lead to heroin-related overdose in the United States and to generate hypotheses for further study.

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Trends Among U.S. High School Seniors in Recent Marijuana Use and Associations With Other Substances: 1976–2013

Stephanie Lanza et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, August 2015, Pages 198–204

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe historical trends in rates of recent substance use and associations between marijuana and other substances, among U.S. high school seniors by race and gender.

Methods: Data from Monitoring the Future (1976–2013; N = 599,109) were used to estimate historical trends in alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking (HED), cigarette use, and marijuana use. We used time-varying effect models to flexibly estimate changes in associations of substance use behaviors.

Results: Past-month marijuana use rates peaked in the 1970s, declined through 1990, then rose again to reach levels of use of more than 20% for both black and white participants. Recent years show increasing disparities across groups such that males, and in particular black youth, are on a trajectory toward higher use. This rise in marijuana use is particularly concerning among black youth, with rates far exceeding those for cigarette use and HED. The association of marijuana use with both cigarette use and HED is particularly high in recent years among black adolescents.

Conclusions: Substance use recently declined among high school seniors, except for marijuana use, particularly among black youth. The increasing association between marijuana and other substances among black adolescents suggests future amplification in critical health disparities.

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Eye color: A potential indicator of alcohol dependence risk in European Americans

Arvis Sulovari et al.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, July 2015, Pages 347–353

Abstract:
In archival samples of European-ancestry subjects, light-eyed individuals have been found to consume more alcohol than dark-eyed individuals. No published population-based studies have directly tested the association between alcohol dependence (AD) and eye color. We hypothesized that light-eyed individuals have a higher prevalence of AD than dark-eyed individuals. A mixture model was used to select a homogeneous sample of 1,263 European-Americans and control for population stratification. After quality control, we conducted an association study using logistic regression, adjusting for confounders (age, sex, and genetic ancestry). We found evidence of association between AD and blue eye color (P = 0.0005 and odds ratio = 1.83 (1.31–2.57)), supporting light eye color as a risk factor relative to brown eye color. Network-based analyses revealed a statistically significant (P = 0.02) number of genetic interactions between eye color genes and AD-associated genes. We found evidence of linkage disequilibrium between an AD-associated GABA receptor gene cluster, GABRB3/GABRG3, and eye color genes, OCA2/HERC2, as well as between AD-associated GRM5 and pigmentation-associated TYR. Our population-phenotype, network, and linkage disequilibrium analyses support association between blue eye color and AD. Although we controlled for stratification we cannot exclude underlying occult stratification as a contributor to this observation. Although replication is needed, our findings suggest that eye pigmentation information may be useful in research on AD. Further characterization of this association may unravel new AD etiological factors.

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The role of decision-making in cannabis-related problems among young adults

Raul Gonzalez et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, September 2015, Pages 214–221

Background: Deficits in decision-making and episodic memory are often reported among heavy cannabis users, yet little is known on how they influence negative consequences from cannabis use. Individual differences in decision-making may explain, in part, why some individuals experience significant problems from their cannabis use whereas others do not. We hypothesized that poor decision-making would moderate relationships between amount of cannabis use and problems from cannabis use whereas episodic memory performance would not.

Method: Young adult cannabis users (n = 52) with cannabis as their drug of choice and with minimal comorbidities completed semi-structured interviews, self-report questionnaires, and measures of neurocognitive functioning, with decision-making accessed via the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), episodic memory via the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test – Revised (HVLT) and problems from cannabis use with the Marijuana Problems Scale.

Results: Strong relationships were observed between amount of cannabis use (lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day) and problems reported from use, but only among participants with low (impaired) decision-making (R2 = .39 to .51; p < .01). No significant relationships were observed among those with better (low average to high average) decision-making performance (p > .05). In contrast, episodic memory performance was not a significant moderator of the relationship between amount of cannabis use and cannabis problems (p > .05).

Conclusions: Cannabis users with poor decision-making may be at greater risk for experiencing significant negative consequences from their cannabis use. Our results lend further support to emerging evidence of decision-making as a risk factor for addiction and extend these findings to cannabis users.

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Marketing a Panic: Media Coverage of Novel Psychoactive Drugs (NPDs) and its Relationship with Legal Changes

Bryan Lee Miller et al.
American Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2015, Pages 523-541

Abstract:
Recent social and legal responses to novel psychoactive drugs (NPDs) have been attributed to media panics rather than these substance’s actual harms. NPDs, including botanical substances new to Western markets such as Salvia divinorum, newly synthesized analogues such as synthetic cannabinoids and “bath salts,” and new ways of administering drugs, such as combining prescription cough syrup with soda (“purple drank”) have been the target of various forms of legislation at the state and/or federal level. We systematically examine print media coverage of NPDs in the U. S. between 2005 and 2013 to determine whether media attention was temporally associated with legislative change. Results indicate that each drug had a brief window during which it was the focus of sensationalistic reporting. In addition, federal legislation banning synthetic cannabinoids and “bath salts” appear to be closely linked to media reporting as spikes in coverage both preceded and followed the bans.

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Effects of wages on smoking decisions of current and past smokers

Juan Du & Paul Leigh
Annals of Epidemiology, August 2015, Pages 575–582.e1

Purpose: We used longitudinal data and instrumental variables (IVs) in a prospective design to test for the causal effects of wages on smoking prevalence among current and past smokers.

Methods: Nationally representative U.S. data were drawn from the 1999–2009 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Our overall sample was restricted to full time employed persons, aged 21–65 years. We excluded part time workers and youths because smoking and wage correlations would be complicated by labor supply decisions. We excluded adult never smokers because people rarely begin smoking after the age of 20 years. IVs were created with state-level minimum wages and unionization rates. We analyzed subsamples of men, women, the less educated, the more educated, quitters, and backsliders. Validity and strength of instruments within the IV analysis were conducted with the Sargan-Hansen J statistic and F tests.

Results: We found some evidence that low wages lead to more smoking in the overall sample and substantial evidence for men, persons with high school educations or less (<13 years of schooling), and quitters. Results indicated that 10% increases in wages lead to 5.5 and 4.6 percentage point decreases in smoking for men and the less educated; they also increased the average chance of quitting among base-year smokers from 17.0% to 20.4%. Statistical tests suggested that IVs were strong and valid in most samples. Subjects' other family income, including spouses' wages, was entered as a control variable.

Conclusions: Increases in an individual's wages, independent of other income, decreased the prevalence of smoking among current and past smokers.

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Identifying Demand Responses to Illegal Drug Supply Interdictions

Scott Cunningham & Keith Finlay
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Successful supply-side interdictions into illegal drug markets are predicated on the responsiveness of drug prices to enforcement and the price elasticity of demand for addictive drugs. We present causal estimates that targeted interventions aimed at methamphetamine input markets (‘precursor control’) can temporarily increase retail street prices, but methamphetamine consumption is weakly responsive to higher drug prices. After the supply interventions, purity-adjusted prices increased then quickly returned to pre-treatment levels within 6–12 months, demonstrating the short-term effects of precursor control. The price elasticity of methamphetamine demand is −0.13 to −0.21 for self-admitted drug treatment admissions and between −0.24 and −0.28 for hospital inpatient admissions. We find some evidence of a positive cross-price effect for cocaine, but we do not find robust evidence that increases in methamphetamine prices increased heroin, alcohol, or marijuana drug use. This study can inform policy discussions regarding other synthesized drugs, including illicit use of pharmaceuticals.

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Type of army service and decision to engage in risky behavior among young people in Israel

Sharon Garyn-Tal & Shosh Shahrabani
Judgment and Decision Making, July 2015, Pages 342–354

Abstract:
Previous studies have examined the impact of military service on the decision to engage in risky behavior. Yet most of these studies focused on voluntary recruits, did not distinguish between legal and illegal risky activities and did not compare combat and non-combat soldiers during and after service according to gender. The current study is unique because of the nature of Israeli compulsory army service. It examines the relationship between type of army service and five legal and illegal risky behaviors for three groups: non-combat, combat without fighting experience, and combat with fighting experience. We also examine differences in the propensity for risky behavior between men, most of whom are assigned to combat units due to the army’s needs, and women, who serve in combat units on a voluntary basis only. A questionnaire survey was randomly distributed at train stations and central bus stations in Israel among 413 soldiers and ex-soldiers between the ages of 18-30. The predictor variables include type of service or battle experience, the Evaluation of Risks scale and sociodemographic characteristics. In general, we found that high percentages of young people engage in risky behavior, especially illegal behavior. The results indicate that fighting experience is significantly and positively correlated with the consumption of illegal substances for currently serving men soldiers (but not for women) and this effect is mitigated after discharge from the army. Importantly, the use of illegal substances is not a result of the individual’s preferences for engaging in various risky behaviors. Thus, our results suggest that the effect of the increased propensity toward risky behavior following the experience of fighting overrides the combat unit’s discipline for men when it comes to the consumption of illegal substances. In addition, our findings indicate that serving in a combat unit as opposed to a non-combat unit affects the tendency of women ex-combat soldiers to travel to risky destinations, though this is probably related to their original higher risk attitude, since women must volunteer for combat units.

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Diffusion of Intervention Effects: The Impact of a Family-Based Substance Use Prevention Program on Friends of Participants

Kelly Rulison et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: We tested whether effects of the Strengthening Families Program for Youth 10–14 (SFP10-14) diffused from intervention participants to their friends. We also tested which program effects on participants accounted for diffusion.

Methods: Data are from 5,449 students (51% female; mean initial age = 12.3 years) in the PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience community intervention trial (2001–2006) who did not participate in SFP10-14 (i.e., nonparticipants). At each of five waves, students identified up to seven friends and self-reported past month drunkenness and cigarette use, substance use attitudes, parenting practices, and unsupervised time spent with friends. We computed two measures of indirect exposure to SFP10-14: total number of SFP-attending friends at each wave and cumulative proportion of SFP-attending friends averaged across the current and all previous post-intervention waves.

Results: Three years post-intervention, the odds of getting drunk (odds ratio = 1.4) and using cigarettes (odds ratio = 2.7) were higher among nonparticipants with zero SFP-attending friends compared with nonparticipants with three or more SFP-attending friends. Multilevel analyses also provided evidence of diffusion: nonparticipants with a higher cumulative proportion of SFP-attending friends at a given wave were less likely than their peers to use drugs at that wave. Effects from SFP10-14 primarily diffused through friendship networks by reducing the amount of unstructured socializing (unsupervised time that nonparticipants spent with friends), changing friends' substance use attitudes, and then changing nonparticipants' own substance use attitudes.

Conclusions: Program developers should consider and test how interventions may facilitate diffusion to extend program reach and promote program sustainability.

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The Long-Term Consequences of Vietnam-Era Conscription and Genotype on Smoking Behavior and Health

Lauren Schmitz & Dalton Conley
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Research is needed to understand the extent to which environmental factors mediate links between genetic risk and the development of smoking behaviors. The Vietnam-era draft lottery offers a unique opportunity to investigate whether genetic susceptibility to smoking is influenced by risky environments in young adulthood. Access to free or reduced-price cigarettes coupled with the stress of military life meant conscripts were exposed to a large, exogenous shock to smoking behavior at a young age. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we interact a genetic risk score for smoking initiation with instrumented veteran status in an instrumental variables (IV) framework to test for genetic moderation (i.e. heterogeneous treatment effects) of veteran status on smoking behavior and smoking-related morbidities. We find evidence that veterans with a high genetic predisposition for smoking were more likely to become regular smokers, smoke heavily, and are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer or hypertension at older ages. Smoking behavior was significantly attenuated for high-risk veterans who attended college after the war, indicating post-service schooling gains from veterans’ use of the GI Bill may have reduced tobacco consumption in adulthood.

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Prescription Drug Misuse and Sexual Behavior Among Young Adults

Brooke Wells et al.
Journal of Sex Research, Summer 2015, Pages 659-668

Abstract:
Though research indicates a complex link between substance use and sexual risk behavior, there is limited research on the association between sexual risk behavior and prescription drug misuse. In light of alarming increases in prescription drug misuse and the role of demographic characteristics in sexual risk behavior and outcomes, the current study examined demographic differences (gender, sexual identity, age, relationship status, parental class background, and race/ethnicity) in sexual risk behavior, sexual behavior under the influence of prescription drugs, and sexual risk behavior under the influence of prescription drugs in a sample of 402 young adults (ages 18 to 29) who misused prescription drugs. Nearly half of the sexually active young adult prescription drug misusers in this sample reported recent sex under the influence of prescription drugs; more than three-quarters reported recent sex without a condom; and more than one-third reported recent sex without a condom after using prescription drugs. Zero-inflated Poisson regression models indicated that White race, younger age, higher parental class, and being a heterosexual man were all associated with sexual risk behavior, sex under the influence of prescription drugs, and sexual risk under the influence of prescription drugs. Findings have implications for the targeting of prevention and intervention efforts.

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Effects of a 2009 Illinois Alcohol Tax Increase on Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes

Alexander Wagenaar, Melvin Livingston & Stephanie Staras
American Journal of Public Health, September 2015, Pages 1880-1885

Objectives: We examined the effects of a 2009 increase in alcohol taxes in Illinois on alcohol-related fatal motor vehicle crashes.

Methods: We used an interrupted time-series design, with intrastate and cross-state comparisons and measurement derived from driver alcohol test results, for 104 months before and 28 months after enactment. Our analyses used autoregressive moving average and generalized linear mixed Poisson models. We examined both population-wide effects and stratifications by alcohol level, age, gender, and race.

Results: Fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes declined 9.9 per month after the tax increase, a 26% reduction. The effect was similar for alcohol-impaired drivers with positive alcohol levels lower than 0.15 grams per deciliter (−22%) and drivers with very high alcohol levels of 0.15 or more (−25%). Drivers younger than 30 years showed larger declines (−37%) than those aged 30 years and older (−23%), but gender and race stratifications did not significantly differ.

Conclusions: Increases in alcohol excise taxes, such as the 2009 Illinois act, could save thousands of lives yearly across the United States as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce alcohol-impaired driving.

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A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Behavioral Economic Intervention for Alcohol and Marijuana Use

Ali Yurasek, Ashley Dennhardt & James Murphy
Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, forthcoming

Abstract:
A recent study demonstrated that a single 50-min supplemental session that targeted the behavioral economic mechanisms of substance-free reinforcement and delayed reward discounting (Substance-Free Activity Session: SFAS) enhanced the efficacy of a standard alcohol brief motivational intervention (BMI) for college drinkers. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a randomized controlled trial intended to replicate and extend the aforementioned study by focusing on both drug and alcohol misuse and reducing session length in order to enhance dissemination potential. Participants were 97 college students (58.8% women; 59.8% White/Caucasian, and 30.9% African American; M age = 20.01, SD = 2.23) who reported at least 1 heavy drinking episode in the past month (M = 4.01 episodes). Most participants (62%) reported recent marijuana use (M = 12.22 days of past-month use). After completing a baseline assessment and an individual 30-min alcohol-focused BMI, participants were randomized to either the 30-min SFAS session or an education control session. A series of mixed model intent-to-treat analyses revealed that both groups reported drinking reductions and that participants in the BMI + SFAS group reported fewer days using marijuana at the 6-month follow-up. These results do not support the incremental efficacy of the briefer SFAS for reducing drinking but suggest that it may improve marijuana outcomes. Future research is needed to identify the ideal length and timing of the SFAS supplement to BMIs.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Advancing

Did the Millennium Development Goals Change Trends in Child Mortality?

Declan French
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been little assessment of the role the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have had in progressing international development. There has been a 41% reduction in the under-five mortality rate worldwide from 1990 to 2011 and an acceleration in the rate of reduction since 2000. This paper explores why this has occurred, and results for all developing countries indicate that it is not due to more healthcare or public health interventions but is driven by a coincidental burst of economic growth. Although the MDGs are considered to have played an important part in securing progress against poverty, hunger and disease, there is very little evidence to back this viewpoint up. A thorough analysis of the successes and failures of the MDGs is therefore necessary before embarking on a new round of global goals.

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The Economic Legacy of Warfare: Evidence from Urban Europe

Mark Dincecco & Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato
University of Michigan Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
We show new evidence that the economic legacy of historical warfare persists to the present. Warfare was a key feature of European history. We argue that cities were safe harbors from war threats. War-related urbanization, in turn, had positive consequences for long-run development. We geocode the locations of more than 600 conflicts fought in Europe between 1300 and 1799. To measure urban economic activity, we gather satellite image data on light intensity at night for more than 500 cities between 2000 and 2010. We find a positive, significant, and robust relationship between historical conflict exposure and urban economic activity today. We find that human capital formation and local political representation are two channels through which the consequences of historical warfare are transmitted through time. Our results highlight the military origins of Europe's prosperous urban belt.

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The longevity of famous people from Hammurabi to Einstein

David de la Croix & Omar Licandro
Journal of Economic Growth, September 2015, Pages 263-303

Abstract:
We build a new sample of 300,000 famous people born between Hammurabi’s epoch and Einstein’s cohort, including their vital dates, occupations, and locations from the Index Bio-bibliographicus Notorum Hominum. We discuss and control for selection and composition biases. We show using this long-running consistent database that there was no trend in mortality during most of human history, confirming the existence of a Malthusian epoch; we date the beginning of the steady improvements in longevity to the cohort born in 1640–1649, clearly preceding the Industrial Revolution, lending credence to the hypothesis that human capital may have played a significant role in the take-off to modern growth; we find that this timing of improvements in longevity concerns most countries in Europe and most skilled occupations.

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The Contribution of Female Health to Economic Development

David Bloom, Michael Kuhn & Klaus Prettner
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
We analyze the economic consequences for less developed countries of investing in female health. In so doing we introduce a novel micro-founded dynamic general equilibrium framework in which parents trade off the number of children against investments in their education and in which we allow for health-related gender differences in productivity. We show that better female health speeds up the demographic transition and thereby the take-off toward sustained economic growth. By contrast, male health improvements delay the transition and the take-off because ceteris paribus they raise fertility. According to our results, investing in female health is therefore an important lever for development policies. However, and without having to assume anti-female bias, we also show that households prefer male health improvements over female health improvements because they imply a larger static utility gain. This highlights the existence of a dynamic trade-off between the short-run interests of households and long-run development goals. Our numerical analysis shows that even small changes in female health can have a strong impact on the transition process to a higher income level in the long run. Our results are robust with regard to a number of extensions, most notably endogenous investment in health care.

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The Output Cost of Gender Discrimination: A Model-Based Macroeconomics Estimate

Tiago Cavalcanti & Jose Tavares
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use a growth model in which saving, fertility and labour market participation are endogenous, to quantify the cost that barriers to female labour force participation impose in terms of an economy's output. The model is calibrated to mimic the U.S. economy's behavior in the long-run. We find that a 50 percent increase in the gender wage gap leads to a 35 percent decrease in income per capita in steady-state. Using independent estimates of the female to male earnings ratio for a wide cross-section of countries, we construct an economy with parameters similar to those calibrated for the U.S. economy, except for the degree of gender barriers. Higher discrimination decreases steady-state output per capita for two distinct reasons: a direct effect due to the decrease in female labour market participation, and an indirect effect working through an increase in fertility. For several countries, a large fraction of the difference between the country's output and U.S. output can be ascribed to differences in gender discrimination. In addition, we find that close to half of the overall decrease in output per capita is due to the effect of gender discrimination in fertility.

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Capital Markets in China and Britain, 18th and 19th Century: Evidence from Grain Prices

Wolfgang Keller, Carol Shiue & Xin Wang
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Capital markets allow surplus income to be invested into productivity-enhancing projects. Despite their prominence in general accounts of growth little is known on their role in the emergence of modern economic growth. In this paper we ask whether capital market performance might explain why Britain surged ahead of China in the 18th century. We employ an asset-pricing model together with information on regional grain prices to derive interest rates, and then compare capital market development in large parts of Britain and China. We first calibrate the method and show that it can replicate key features of the United States’ early 19th century capital market, where more systematic data from bank interest rates is available. Using this approach we estimate interest rates for Britain that are at least 20% lower than those for China, for the years 1770 - 1860. Moreover, the regional integration of British capital markets, measured in terms of bilateral interest rate correlations, was far greater than it was in China. The Yangzi Delta correlations come close to the British average at distances below 200 kilometers, but at larger distances interest rate correlations in Britain are twice those of the Delta, and three or more times as high as elsewhere in China. We also find that Britain’s advantage over China in terms of market integration existed already in the late 18th century. Backcasting on the 19th century trends suggests capital market divergence started by the year 1690. Overall, our results provide support for the hypothesis that divergence in capital market development occurred before income divergence, and may therefore be an important factor in explaining the Great Divergence.

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The internet as a general-purpose technology: Firm-level evidence from around the world

George Clarke, Christine Zhenwei Qiang & Lixin Colin Xu
Economics Letters, October 2015, Pages 24–27

Abstract:
This paper uses firm-level data to assess whether telecom services are general-purpose technologies. We find that only internet services are so: firm growth and productivity are substantially higher when internet access is greater and when firms use the internet more intensively; and it benefits firms of both high- and low-tech industries, firms of all sizes, and firms with and without exporting. Small firms benefit more from internet than large firms do. In contrast, fixed-line and cellular services are not robustly related to firm performance.

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What Is the Aggregate Economic Rate of Return to Foreign Aid?

Channing Arndt, Sam Jones & Finn Tarp
World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, academic studies have been converging towards the view that foreign aid promotes aggregate economic growth. We employ a simulation approach to: (i) validate the coherence of empirical aid-growth studies published since 2008; and (ii) calculate plausible ranges for the rate of return to aid. Our results highlight the long run nature of aid-financed investments and the importance of channels other than accumulation of physical capital. We find the return to aid lies in ranges commonly accepted for public investments and there is little to justify the view that aid has had a significant pernicious effect on productivity.

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Government ideology in donor and recipient countries: Does ideological proximity matter for the effectiveness of aid?

Axel Dreher, Anna Minasyan & Peter Nunnenkamp
European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political misalignment and greater ideological distance between donor and recipient governments may render foreign aid less effective by adding to transaction costs and eroding trust. We test this hypothesis empirically by considering the political ideology of both governments along the left-right spectrum in augmented models on the economic growth effects of aid. Following the estimation approach of Clemens et al. (2012), we find that aid tends to be less effective when political ideology differs between the donor and the recipient.

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The Robustness of the Win-Win Effect

Feng Bai, Eric Luis Uhlmann & Jennifer Berdahl
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We demonstrate that positive relationships between measures of national gender equality and Olympic medal wins are robust across a variety of appropriate statistical approaches to analyzing cross-national data. First demonstrated by Berdahl, Uhlmann, and Bai (2015), who controlled for GDP, population, latitude, and income inequality, we show that relationships between gender equality and medal wins remain positive when controlling for GDP per capita, consistently log-transforming positively skewed variables, and fully analyzing all four gender gap subindexes. The Win-Win effect is most robust for gender equality in education and earnings. Controlling for arbitrarily-defined world regions (“Anglo-Saxon countries” vs. “Africa”) is inappropriate, as such groupings are based on folk stereotypes, not objective scientific criteria, and risks masking meaningful differences between countries. There is, however, often more than one right way to analyze a dataset; we discuss how this can be addressed by crowdsourcing the analysis of complex datasets prior to publication.

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Why Democracies Outgrow Autocracies in the Long Run: Civil Liberties, Information Flows and Technological Change

Carl Henrik Knutsen
Kyklos, August 2015, Pages 357–384

Abstract:
This paper argues that democracy enhances technological change, the most important determinant of long-term economic growth. It first presents an argument on how and why dictators restrict civil liberties and diffusion of information to survive in office, even if this reduces their personal consumption. The argument predicts that autocracies have slower technological change than democracies, which in turn impairs GDP per capita growth rates. These and other implications from the argument are tested empirically, and so are implications from alternative explanations on the association between democracy and technological change. Drawing on an extensive global dataset, with some time series going back to the early 19th century, the paper reports robust evidence that democracy increases not only technology-induced growth but also net economic growth rates. Notably, the results hold when accounting for the endogeneity of democracy, country-fixed effects, and sample-selection bias.

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The Non-Democratic Origins of Income Taxation

Isabela Mares & Didac Queralt
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the adoption of income taxes in Western economies since the 19th century. We identify two empirical regularities that challenge predictions of existing models of taxation and redistribution: While countries with low levels of electoral enfranchisement and high levels of landholding inequality adopt the income tax first, countries with more extensive electoral rules lag behind in adopting these new forms of taxation. We propose an explanation of income tax adoption that accounts for these empirical regularities. We discuss the most important economic consideration of politicians linked to owners of different factors, namely, the shift of the tax burden between sectors, and examine how preexisting electoral rules affect these political calculations. The article provides both a cross-national test of this argument and a microhistorical test that examines the economic and political determinants of support for the adoption of the income tax in 1842 in Britain.

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Your development or mine? Effects of donor-recipient cultural differences on the aid-growth nexus

Anna Minasyan
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Development aid from the West may lead to adverse growth effects in the global South due to the neglected cultural differences between development aid (paradigm) providers and recipients. I test this hypothesis empirically by augmenting an aid-growth model with proxy variables for cultural differences between donors and recipients. First, I use donor-recipient genetic distance, i.e., blood types, to capture the traditional way of cultural transmission. Second, I use western education of recipient country leaders to capture resource-based transmission of culture. Results of the OLS panel estimation in first differences show that a one unit increase in donor-recipient genetic distance reduces the main effect of aid on growth by 0.2 percentage points when aid is increased by one percentage point. In turn, a one percentage point increase in aid yields on average a 0.3 percentage point increase in growth after a decade for countries with western educated leaders.

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The Poor Get Poorer: Tracking Relative Poverty in India Using a Durables-Based Mixture Model

Sudeshna Maitra
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
I propose the use of a durables-based mixture model to identify the consumption class structure of a population. The mixture model decomposes the marginal distribution of durables ownership across all households, into three conditional distributions (one each for lower, middle and upper classes), along with their weights in the population distribution, endogenously determining class membership. This approach provides a potentially deeper understanding of the dynamics of classes, in particular the lower class, than can be obtained using poverty lines or PCA alone. It avoids many well-known problems with expenditure data, ameliorates the impact of changing survey designs, and enables an analysis of the behaviour and membership of classes over time. I use the mixture approach to show that the urban lower class in India became smaller but poorer during the 1990s.

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Is Diversity Detrimental? Ethnic Fractionalization, Public Goods Provision, and the Historical Legacies of Stateness

Andreas Wimmer
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing research has shown that highly diverse countries tend to provide less public goods. This article argues, by contrast, that the relationship is spurious: both contemporary ethnic heterogeneity and low public goods provision represent legacies of a weakly developed state capacity inherited from the past. Classical theories of state formation are then tested to show that favorable topography and climate, high population densities, as well as a history of warfare are conducive to state formation. Using an instrumental variable approach, I show that previous ethnic diversity is not consistently an impediment to the formation of indigenous states and thus to contemporary public goods provision. Empirically, this article uses three different measurements of public goods provision and data on pre-colonial levels of state formation in Asia and Africa to test these various hypotheses.

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Wedding trousseaus and cloth consumption in Catalonia around 1300

Lluís To Figueras
Economic History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Between 1230 and 1315 a large amount of Flemish and northern French cloth reached the market of Vic, a medium-sized Catalan town to the north of Barcelona. Descriptions of cloth from a sample of over 1,000 wedding trousseaus reveal that common people were quite familiar with a wide selection of fabrics from manufacturing centres such as Bruges, Saint-Omer, Arras, and Châlons, and by the end of the thirteenth century Saint-Denis, Paris, Ypres, and Narbonne. Northern cloth had travelled over 1,000 kilometres before it reached the market stalls of Vic, reflecting the efficiency of commercial networks in bringing commodities across Europe at a reasonable transportation cost. Marriage contracts from this period specify the identity of the most frequent purchasers of these fabrics, and the identity of the women that would wear them, tailored as capes or tunics. Northern cloth was purchased by all social groups, not just the wealthy elite: even peasant households used such fabrics for their daughters' dresses. All in all, wedding trousseaus provide exceptional evidence of how commercialized both the urban and rural populations had become by the end of the thirteenth century in a society eager to buy imported commodities.

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The Wages of Women in England, 1260–1850

Jane Humphries & Jacob Weisdorf
Journal of Economic History, June 2015, Pages 405-447

Abstract:
This paper presents two wage-series for unskilled English women workers 1260–1850, one based on daily wages and one on the daily remuneration implied in annual contracts. The series are compared with each other and with evidence for men, informing several debates. Our findings suggest first that women servants did not share the post-Black Death “golden age” and so offer little support for a “girl-powered” economic breakthrough; and second that during the industrial revolution, women who were unable to work long hours lost ground relative to men and to women who could work full-time and fell increasingly adrift from any “High Wage Economy.”

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Economic Dynamics in the Malthusian Era: Evidence from the 1609 Spanish Expulsion of the Moriscos

Eric Chaney & Richard Hornbeck
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate economic dynamics in the Malthusian era using the 1609 expulsion of Moriscos from Spain. Sharp population declines in former-Morisco districts were accompanied by decreased output and increased per capita output. While these short-run results are consistent with standard Malthusian predictions, Malthusian convergence was delayed through 1786 in former-Morisco districts. Archival sources and historical accounts suggest extractive institutions and cultural differences may have contributed to delayed convergence in population and output per capita. This historic episode provides an unusually rich setting to examine Malthusian dynamics, highlighting the potential for sustained differences in per capita output in the Malthusian era.

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Bribery and investment: Firm-level evidence from Africa and Latin America

Addis Gedefaw Birhanu, Alfonso Gambardella & Giovanni Valentini
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a unique database that measures firm-level bribery in Africa and Latin America, we corroborate extant results in the literature that paying bribes deters firm investments in fixed assets. Our contribution is to explore four mechanisms. By adopting a reverse causality approach (Gelman and Imbens, 2013), we find evidence consistent with one of them: short-term oriented firms prefer to bribe rather than invest in fixed assets, while the opposite is true for firms with a long-term orientation. We rule out that bribe payments drain financial resources for investment, that firms that invest do not bribe because fixed assets make them less flexible and more vulnerable to future bribes, and that less efficient firms bribe rather than invest.

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The Government Response to Informed Citizens: New Evidence on Media Access and the Distribution of Public Health Benefits in Africa

Philip Keefer & Stuti Khemani
World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use a “natural experiment” in media markets in Benin to examine the impact of community radio on government responsiveness to citizens. Contrary to prior research on the impact of mass media, in this experiment government agents do not provide greater benefits to citizens whose exposure to community radio increased their demand for those benefits. Households with greater access to community radio were more likely to pay for government-provided bed nets to combat malaria than to receive them for free. Mass media changed the private behavior of citizens — they invested more of their own resources in the public health good of bed nets — but not citizens’ ability to extract greater benefits from government. While the welfare consequences of these results are ambiguous, the pattern of radio's effects that we uncover has implications for policy strategies to use mass media for development objectives.

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Misunderestimating Corruption

Aart Kraay & Peter Murrell
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Corruption estimates rely largely on self-reports of affected individuals and officials. Yet, survey respondents are often reticent to tell the truth about sensitive subjects, leading to downward biases in survey-based corruption estimates. This paper develops a method to estimate the prevalence of reticent behavior and reticence-adjusted rates of corruption using survey responses to sensitive questions. A statistical model captures how respondents answer a combination of conventional and random-response questions, allowing identification of the effect of reticence. GMM and maximum-likelihood estimates are obtained for ten countries. Adjusting for reticence dramatically alters the perceptions of the extent of corruption.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Expecting someone

Experimentally Induced Stress Decreases Ideal Female Reproductive Timing

Abby Chipman & Edward Morrison
Psychoneuroendocrinology, December 2015, Pages 89–95

Abstract:
Previous correlational research shows that childhood adversity is associated with earlier age of reproduction in humans and other species. Such studies, however, cannot show that stressful conditions cause earlier reproduction. Using the cold-pressor task, we built on previous work to test the idea that acute stress influences human reproductive and marital ideals, and that individual stress responses depend on adaptive life history strategies shaped by exposure to adversity during childhood. Acute stress shifted ideal ages of first birth and marriage to earlier ages. We also tested a competing hypothesis, whether stress had a more general impact on time preference, but found no evidence that it did. Furthermore, there was an interaction between childhood adversity and acute stress. Individuals who reported more exposure to childhood adversity responded to acute stress by reporting even earlier reproductive ideals. These findings offer experimental evidence that physiological stress can alter reproductive decision making in humans.

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The Association between High-Deductible Health Plan Transition and Contraception and Birth Rates

Amy Graves et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate the association between employer-mandated enrollment into high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and contraception and birth rates among reproductive-age women.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Using data from 2002 to 2008, we examined 1,559 women continuously enrolled in a Massachusetts health plan for 1 year before and after an employer-mandated switch from an HMO to a HDHP, compared with 2,793 matched women contemporaneously enrolled in an HMO.

Principal Findings: Monthly contraception rates were 19.0–24.0 percent at baseline. Level and trend changes did not differ between groups (p = .92 and p = .36, respectively). Annual birth rates declined from 57.1/1,000 to 32.7/1,000 among HDHP members and from 61.9/1,000 to 56.2/1,000 among HMO controls, a 40 percent relative reduction in odds of childbirth (odds ratio = 0.60; p = .02).

Conclusions: Women who switched to HDHPs experienced a lower birth rate, which might reflect strategies to avoid childbirth-related out-of-pocket costs under HDHPs.

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Contraception Use, Abortions, and Births: The Effect of Insurance Mandates

Karen Mulligan
Demography, August 2015, Pages 1195-1217

Abstract:
Beginning August, 2012, the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) required new private health insurance plans to cover contraceptive methods and counseling without requiring an insured’s copay. The ACA represents the first instance of federally mandated contraception insurance coverage, but 30 U.S. states had already mandated contraceptive insurance coverage through state-level legislation prior to the ACA. This study examines whether mandated insurance coverage of contraception affects contraception use, abortions, and births. I find that mandates increase the likelihood of contraception use by 2.1 percentage points, decrease the abortion rate by 3 %, and have an insignificant impact on the birth rate. The results imply a lower-bound estimate that the ACA will result in approximately 25,000 fewer abortions.

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Regulation, Imperfect Competition, and the U.S. Abortion Market

Andrew Beauchamp
International Economic Review, August 2015, Pages 963–996

Abstract:
The U.S. abortion market has grown increasingly concentrated recently, while many states tightened abortion laws. Using data on abortion providers, I estimate an equilibrium model of demand, price competition, entry and exit, to capture the effect of regulation on industry dynamics. Estimates show regulations played an important role in determining the abortion market structure and evolution. Counterfactual simulations reveal increases in demand-aimed regulation were the most important observed factor in explaining recent abortion declines. Simulating Utah's regulatory regime nationally shows tightening abortion restrictions can increase abortions in equilibrium, mainly through tilting the competitive landscape toward low-price providers.

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The Effect of Statutory Rape Laws on Teen Birth Rates

Michael Frakes & Matthew Harding
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Policymakers have often been explicit in expanding statutory rape laws to reduce teenage pregnancies and live births by teenage mothers, often with the goal of reducing associated welfare outlays. In this paper, we explore whether expansions in such laws are indeed associated with reductions in teen birth rates. In order to codify statutory-rape-law expansions, we use a national micro-level sample of sexual encounters to simulate the degree to which such encounters generally implicate the relevant laws. By codifying statutory rape laws in terms of their potential reach into sexual encounters, as opposed to using crude binary treatment variables, this simulation approach facilitates the use of multi-state difference-in-difference designs in the face of highly heterogeneous legal structures. Our results suggest that live birth rates for teenage mothers fall by roughly 4.5% (or 0.1 percentage points) upon a 1 standard-deviation increase in the share of sexual activity among a given age group that triggers a felony for the elder party to the encounter. This response, however, is highly heterogeneous across ages and weakens notably in the case of the older teen years. Furthermore, we do not find strong results suggesting a further decline in birth rates upon increases in punishment severities.

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Career and Family Choices Among Elite Liberal Arts Graduates

Heather Antecol
Demography, August 2015, Pages 1089-1120

Abstract:
This study describes how the career and family choices of female graduates of the Claremont Colleges within 15 years of undergraduate graduation (unless otherwise specified) have changed across the graduation years of 1960 to 1994. Specifically, I show that female graduates of the Claremont Colleges have clearly shifted away from having their family first (i.e., having at least one biological child) and a job second (i.e., having a job after 15 years of receiving their undergraduate degree but having very weak labor force attachment prior to that) toward simultaneously having both a career (i.e., very strong labor force attachment) and a family for those that graduated after 1979. Finally, I find that the primary mechanisms that allowed for the observed shift toward “career and family” for those that graduated post-1979 appear to be increased access to paid parental leave and childcare.

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Statewide Medicaid Enhanced Prenatal Care Programs and Infant Mortality

Cristian Meghea et al.
Pediatrics, August 2015, Pages 334-342

Objective: To evaluate whether participation in a statewide enhanced prenatal and postnatal care program, the Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP), reduced infant mortality risk.

Methods: Data included birth and death records, Medicaid claims, and program participation. The study population consisted of Medicaid-insured singleton infants born between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2012, in Michigan (n = 248 059). The MIHP participants were propensity score–matched with nonparticipants based on demographics, previous pregnancies, socioeconomic status, and chronic disease. Infant mortality, neonatal mortality, and postneonatal mortality analyses were presented by race.

Results: Infants with any MIHP participation had reduced odds of death in the first year of life compared with matched nonparticipants (odds ratio [OR] 0.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.63–0.84). Infant death odds were reduced both among black infants (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.58–0.87) and infants of other races (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.61–0.91). Neonatal death (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.57–0.86) and postneonatal death odds (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.63–0.96) were also reduced. Enrollment and screening in MIHP by the end of the second pregnancy trimester and at least 3 additional prenatal MIHP contacts reduced infant mortality odds further (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.58–0.85; neonatal: OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.51–0.89; postneonatal: OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.56–0.98).

Conclusions: A state Medicaid-sponsored population-based home-visitation program can be a successful approach to reduce mortality risk in a diverse, disadvantaged population. A likely mechanism is the reduction in the risk of adverse birth outcomes, consistent with previous findings on the effects of the program.

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Women Saw Large Decrease In Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Contraceptives After ACA Mandate Removed Cost Sharing

Nora Becker & Daniel Polsky
Health Affairs, July 2015, Pages 1204-1211

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act mandates that private health insurance plans cover prescription contraceptives with no consumer cost sharing. The positive financial impact of this new provision on consumers who purchase contraceptives could be substantial, but it has not yet been estimated. Using a large administrative claims data set from a national insurer, we estimated out-of-pocket spending before and after the mandate. We found that mean and median per prescription out-of-pocket expenses have decreased for almost all reversible contraceptive methods on the market. The average percentages of out-of-pocket spending for oral contraceptive pill prescriptions and intrauterine device insertions by women using those methods both dropped by 20 percentage points after implementation of the ACA mandate. We estimated average out-of-pocket savings per contraceptive user to be $248 for the intrauterine device and $255 annually for the oral contraceptive pill. Our results suggest that the mandate has led to large reductions in total out-of-pocket spending on contraceptives and that these price changes are likely to be salient for women with private health insurance.

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Mandating Prescription Contraception Coverage: Effects on Contraception Consumption and Preventive Health Services

Kerri Raissian & Leonard Lopoo
Population Research and Policy Review, August 2015, Pages 481-510

Abstract:
While recent national discussions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made the introduction of mandated contraceptive coverage within health insurance policies seem like a novel idea, it is not new at all. Since the late 1990s, 29 states have mandated that insurance providers include prescription contraceptive supplies and, in some instances, associated contraceptive services in their coverage. We use state-level policy variation to generate both difference-in-differences and triple difference estimates to determine if women in states with state-level contraception supply or contraception supply and services insurance mandates experienced changes in their utilization of contraception and preventive health care services. We find a positive relationship between these policies and prescription contraception use for those with low educational attainment, but the results are not robust to a variety of specifications. Our results also show an increase in the consumption of preventive health services for women with low educational attainment as a result of these health insurance mandates. We conclude by discussing the implications for the ACA.

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The association between previous single first trimester abortion and pregnancy outcome in nulliparous women

Liran Hiersch et al.
Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: To determine the association between single previous abortion and pregnancy outcome in nulliparous women.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study of all nulliparous women who delivered in a university-affiliated tertiary hospital (2009–2014). Pregnancy outcome of women with single previous first trimester abortion (study group) was compared to those of primigravida (control group).

Results: Of the 44 371 deliveries during the study period, 14 498 (32.6%) were of nulliparous women, of them 1501 (10.3%) had single previous abortion (<13 weeks). Except for a higher rate of diabetes mellitus in the study group (6.1 versus 4.4%, p = 0.003), no differences were found between the groups regarding pregnancy complications. In multivariate analysis, previous single abortion was independently associated with induction of labor (OR = 1.31, 95%C.I 1.04–1.63, p = 0.01), cesarean section (OR = 1.38, 95%C.I 1.18–1.60, p < 0.001) and retained placenta (OR = 1.29, 95%C.I 1.03–1.61, p = 0.02). Among nulliparous women with previous single abortion no difference in pregnancy outcome was observed between those with previous induced termination of pregnancy and spontaneous abortion, except for increased risk for retained placenta in those with previous spontaneous abortion.

Conclusion: Single early previous abortion in nulliparous women was associated with higher rate of induction of labor, cesarean section and retained placenta compared to primigravida women.

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Decision Rightness and Emotional Responses to Abortion in the United States: A Longitudinal Study

Corinne Rocca et al.
PLoS ONE, July 2015

Background: Arguments that abortion causes women emotional harm are used to regulate abortion, particularly later procedures, in the United States. However, existing research is inconclusive. We examined women’s emotions and reports of whether the abortion decision was the right one for them over the three years after having an induced abortion.

Methods: We recruited a cohort of women seeking abortions between 2008-2010 at 30 facilities across the United States, selected based on having the latest gestational age limit within 150 miles. Two groups of women (n=667) were followed prospectively for three years: women having first-trimester procedures and women terminating pregnancies within two weeks under facilities’ gestational age limits at the same facilities. Participants completed semiannual phone surveys to assess whether they felt that having the abortion was the right decision for them; negative emotions (regret, anger, guilt, sadness) about the abortion; and positive emotions (relief, happiness). Multivariable mixed-effects models were used to examine changes in each outcome over time, to compare the two groups, and to identify associated factors.

Results: The predicted probability of reporting that abortion was the right decision was over 99% at all time points over three years. Women with more planned pregnancies and who had more difficulty deciding to terminate the pregnancy had lower odds of reporting the abortion was the right decision (aOR=0.71 [0.60, 0.85] and 0.46 [0.36, 0.64], respectively). Both negative and positive emotions declined over time, with no differences between women having procedures near gestational age limits versus first-trimester abortions. Higher perceived community abortion stigma and lower social support were associated with more negative emotions (b=0.45 [0.31, 0.58] and b=-0.61 [-0.93, -0.29], respectively).

Conclusions: Women experienced decreasing emotional intensity over time, and the overwhelming majority of women felt that termination was the right decision for them over three years. Emotional support may be beneficial for women having abortions who report intended pregnancies or difficulty deciding.

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Gender Composition of Children and the Third Birth in the United States

Felicia Tian & Philip Morgan
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Pollard and Morgan (2002) argued that the parental mixed-gender preference (i.e., parents' preference to have at least one son and one daughter) will weaken in the United States as aspects of gender become increasingly deinstitutionalized. They presented evidence that mixed-gender preference weakened in the 1986–1995 period compared to earlier and coined this change as emerging gender indifference. On the other hand, credible claims and evidence suggest that after 1985, the “gender revolution” has stalled. Such arguments suggest that weakened mixed-gender preference will persist. In this study, the authors replicated and extended Pollard and Morgan using 4 waves of data from the National Survey of Family Growth that allow examination of the 1966–2009 period. The results show that the effect of same-gender children on intending/having another child declined in the 1986–1995 period; however, no evidence that this effect has continued to weaken was found. Thus, these data show evidence consistent with a “stalled revolution.”

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‘Friendly allies in raising a child’: A survey of men and women seeking elective co-parenting arrangements via an online connection website

V. Jadva et al.
Human Reproduction, August 2015, Pages 1896-1906

Study question: What are the characteristics, motivations and expectations of men and women who search for a co-parent online?

Study design, size and duration: An online survey was completed by 102 participants (61 men, 41 women) who were members of Pride Angel, an online connection website that facilitates contact between people looking for someone with whom to have a child. The survey was live for 7 weeks.

Main results and the role of chance: Approximately one-third of men and one half of women seeking co-parenting arrangements were heterosexual. The majority (69, 68%) of participants were single, although significantly more gay and bisexual men (15, 36%) and lesbian and bisexual women (11, 55%) had a partner compared with heterosexual men (4, 20%) and heterosexual women (2, 12%), respectively. Overall, the most important motivation for seeking co-parenting arrangements was in order for both biological parents to be involved in the child's upbringing. Co-parents were looking for someone with a good medical history. Most female co-parents expected the child to live with them, whereas male co-parents either wished the child to reside with the mother or to live equally in both households. A higher proportion of gay and bisexual men than heterosexual men wanted daily contact with the child.

Wider implications of the findings: This study provides important insights into the new phenomenon of elective co-parenting. With the increasing use of assisted reproductive technologies and the diversification of family forms, a growing number of people are seeking co-parenting arrangements to have children. While up until now, elective co-parenting has been principally associated with the gay and lesbian community, this study shows that, with the rise of co-parenting websites, increasing numbers of heterosexual men and women are seeking these types of parenting arrangements. This study generates the first findings on the expectations and motivations of those who seek co-parents online and examines whether these differ according to gender and sexual orientation. Future studies are needed to assess the impact of this new form of parenting on all involved, particularly the children.

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Directional dominance on stature and cognition in diverse human populations

Peter Joshi et al.
Nature, 23 July 2015, Pages 459–462

Abstract:
Homozygosity has long been associated with rare, often devastating, Mendelian disorders, and Darwin was one of the first to recognize that inbreeding reduces evolutionary fitness. However, the effect of the more distant parental relatedness that is common in modern human populations is less well understood. Genomic data now allow us to investigate the effects of homozygosity on traits of public health importance by observing contiguous homozygous segments (runs of homozygosity), which are inferred to be homozygous along their complete length. Given the low levels of genome-wide homozygosity prevalent in most human populations, information is required on very large numbers of people to provide sufficient power. Here we use runs of homozygosity to study 16 health-related quantitative traits in 354,224 individuals from 102 cohorts, and find statistically significant associations between summed runs of homozygosity and four complex traits: height, forced expiratory lung volume in one second, general cognitive ability and educational attainment (P < 1 × 10−300, 2.1 × 10−6, 2.5 × 10−10 and 1.8 × 10−10, respectively). In each case, increased homozygosity was associated with decreased trait value, equivalent to the offspring of first cousins being 1.2 cm shorter and having 10 months’ less education. Similar effect sizes were found across four continental groups and populations with different degrees of genome-wide homozygosity, providing evidence that homozygosity, rather than confounding, directly contributes to phenotypic variance. Contrary to earlier reports in substantially smaller samples, no evidence was seen of an influence of genome-wide homozygosity on blood pressure and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or ten other cardio-metabolic traits. Since directional dominance is predicted for traits under directional evolutionary selection, this study provides evidence that increased stature and cognitive function have been positively selected in human evolution, whereas many important risk factors for late-onset complex diseases may not have been.

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Sperm and simulacra: Emotional capitalism and sperm donation industry

Ya'arit Bokek-Cohen & Limor Dina Gonen
New Genetics and Society, Summer 2015, Pages 243-273

Abstract:
The article proposes sociological insights into the sperm banking industry, derived from a qualitative study of extended sperm donor profiles in six large American sperm banks. We content analyzed the extended profiles and baby photos of 120 randomly selected donors who appear in the catalogues. Inspired by Baudrillard's and Illouz's writings on the postmodern era, we show how sperm banks de-commodify sperm, personify donations, facilitate the romanticization of the donor–recipient bond, and add an emotional context to the economic transaction. The donors’ extended profiles constitute a simulacrum of a living male partner and fulfill recipients’ fantasies. This creates a powerful reenchantment mechanism counterbalancing the anonymity and disenchantment characterizing donor insemination technology in particular and the postmodern spirit in general.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, August 17, 2015

Overseas

Great Powers, Hierarchy, and Endogenous Regimes: Rethinking the Domestic Causes of Peace

Patrick McDonald
International Organization, Summer 2015, Pages 557-588

Abstract:
This paper blends recent research on hierarchy and democratization to examine the theoretical and empirical costs of treating regime type exogenously in the literature most identified with studying its impact on international politics. It argues that the apparent peace among democratic states that emerges in the aftermath of World War I is not caused by domestic institutional attributes normally associated with democracy. Instead, this peace is an artifact of historically specific great power settlements. These settlements shape subsequent aggregate patterns of military conflict by altering the organizational configuration of the system in three critical ways — by creating new states, by altering hierarchical orders, and by influencing regime type in states. These claims are defended with a series of tests that show first how the statistical relationship between democracy and peace has exhibited substantial variation across great power orders; second, that this statistical relationship breaks down with theoretically motivated research design changes; and third, that great powers foster peace and similar regime types within their hierarchical orders. In short, the relationship between democracy and peace is spurious. The international political order is still built and managed by great powers.

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Declining willingness to fight for one’s country: The individual-level basis of the long peace

Ronald Inglehart, Bi Puranen & Christian Welzel
Journal of Peace Research, July 2015, Pages 418-434

Abstract:
The Democratic Peace thesis suggests that the absence of war between major powers since 1945 is caused by the spread of democracy. The Capitalist Peace thesis emphasizes trade and the rise of knowledge economies as the forces driving peace. Complementing these interpretations, we present empirical evidence of a cultural change that is making peace more desirable to the publics of most societies around the world. Analyzing public opinion data covering 90% of the world’s population over three decades, we demonstrate that improving existential conditions elevate the life opportunities of growing population segments and lead them to become increasingly tolerant of diversity and place growing emphasis on self-realization. In recognition of life’s rising opportunities, people’s valuation of life changes profoundly: readiness to sacrifice one’s life gives way to an increasing insistence on living it, and living it the way one chooses. Hence, pro-choice values rise at the same time as willingness to sacrifice lives in war dwindles. Historical learning based on the specific experiences of given societies has also changed their publics’ willingness to fight in wars. This transformation of worldviews places interstate peace on an increasingly solid mass basis.

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Presidential Risk Orientation and Force Employment Decisions: The Case of Unmanned Weaponry

Julia Macdonald & Jacquelyn Schneider
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we explore how presidential risk orientations affect force employment decisions through an analysis of the use of unmanned weaponry during the Bush and Obama administrations. We hypothesize that the conception of risk plays an integral part in this choice of weaponry. In order to examine our hypothesis, we utilize the verbs-in-context system of operational code analysis to quantify the risk propensities of President Bush and President Obama during the Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2013. At the aggregate level, we find that the two presidents exhibit unique interpretations of risk with respect to manned versus unmanned weaponry. We further disaggregate our data to examine whether these preferences are fixed or fluctuate with situational changes. We find that President Bush’s risk calculations are influenced by a number of situational variables, highlighting the importance of changing decision contexts in explaining risk behaviors. President Obama’s risk calculations, on the other hand, remain constant over time lending credence to the importance of overall risk propensity in determining risk-taking behaviors. Our findings indicate that risk is an important variable in explaining the means of force employed during conflict, and that the source of this behavior can vary by leader.

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Military Officer Quality in the All-Volunteer Force

Matthew Cancian & Michael Klein
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
We show a statistically significant and quantitatively meaningful decline in the quality of commissioned officers from 1980 to 2014 as measured by the scores of Marine officers on the General Classification Test (GCT), using data obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request. This test has been shown to be a good predictor of success in the military. This result differs from the widely-studied increase in the quality of enlisted personnel since 1973 when conscription ended and the All-Volunteer Force (AVF) began. We consider a range of possible causes for this decline. We focus on the fact that, during this period, Marine officers had to have a four-year college degree and there has been an expansion of the pool of young Americans in college. We find that other factors, such as the increasing diversity of the pool of incoming officers, have not contributed in any meaningful way to the decline in average annual GCT scores.

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War and Revenge: Explaining Conflict Initiation by Democracies

Rachel Stein
American Political Science Review, August 2015, Pages 556-573

Abstract:
While we know much about what differentiates the conflict behavior of democracies from autocracies, we know relatively little about why some democracies are more belligerent than others. In contrast to existing studies, I argue that it is public opinion and not institutions that drives these differences. All democratic leaders have an incentive to take public opinion into account, but public opinion is not the same everywhere. Individuals’ attitudes towards war are shaped by core beliefs about revenge, which vary across countries. Leaders with more vengeful populations will be more likely to initiate conflicts because they generate popular support for war more effectively. Using retention of capital punishment as a proxy for broad endorsement of revenge, I find that democracies that have retained the death penalty for longer periods of time are significantly more likely to initiate conflicts. This research has important implications for existing theories of democracy and war.

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Hazards or Hassles: The Effect of Sanctions on Leader Survival

Amanda Licht
Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent empirical work scrutinizes the ability of economic sanctions to destabilize targeted leaders. Limitations in data and modeling choices, however, may have inflated estimates of sanctions’ efficacy. I propose a unified theoretical model, incorporating the possibility that leaders targeted with threats and imposed sanctions differ in baseline risks from those who are not. I combine this hazards approach with an empirical strategy to account for differences in ex ante risks and improved data on leader failure. This approach uncovers a considerably more modest effect. Sanctions rarely destabilize their targets.

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When War Comes Home: The Effect of Combat Service on Domestic Violence

Resul Cesur & Joseph Sabia
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study is the first to estimate the effect of war service in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) on domestic violence. We exploit a natural experiment in overseas deployment assignment among active duty servicemen by relying on theoretical and empirical evidence that, conditional on military rank and occupation, deployment assignments are orthogonal to the propensity for violence. Our results show that assignment to combat substantially increases the probability of intimate partner violence and child abuse. Descriptive evidence suggests that the effects may be explained, in part, by the stress- and substance use-related consequences of war.

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Keeping the Bombs in the Basement: U.S. Nonproliferation Policy toward Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan

Or Rabinowitz & Nicholas Miller
International Security, Summer 2015, Pages 47-86

Abstract:
How has the United States behaved historically toward friendly states with nuclear weapons ambitions? Recent scholarship has demonstrated the great lengths to which the United States went to prevent Taiwan, South Korea, and West Germany from acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet seemingly on the other side of the ledger are cases such as Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan, where the United States failed to prevent proliferation, and where many have argued that the United States made exceptions to its nonproliferation objectives given conflicting geopolitical goals. A reexamination of the history of U.S. nonproliferation policy toward Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan, based on declassified documents and interviews, finds that these cases are not as exceptional as is commonly understood. In each case, the United States sought to prevent these states from acquiring nuclear weapons, despite geopolitical constraints. Moreover, once U.S. policymakers realized that prior efforts had failed, they continued to pursue nonproliferation objectives, brokering deals to prevent nuclear tests, public declaration of capabilities, weaponization, or transfer of nuclear materials to other states.

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The malpractice of “rationality” in international relations

Uriel Abulof
Rationality and Society, August 2015, Pages 358-384

Abstract:
This article investigates the misuse of “rationality” in academic and political discourses, focusing on the Iranian nuclear project. The concept of rationality is ubiquitous; scholars, pundits, and practitioners turn to it, sometimes unwittingly, to describe, explain, and predict. When concerning concrete security and foreign policies, however, this praxis borders on malpractice: rationality-based descriptions are largely either false or unfalsifiable; many observers fail to explicate the meaning of “rationality” they employ; and the concept is frequently used politically to distinguish between “us and them.” Empirically, I show that rationality has played an opaque and excessive role in the Western accounts of Iranian nuclear policy. Both “optimists” and “pessimists” have frequently, but faultily, turned to rationality/irrationality to explain Iran’s moderate/belligerent nuclear policy and its susceptibility/resistance to nuclear deterrence. The malpractice of “rationality” in discussing such matters has become a bad habit, which is best uprooted.

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Aggressive or Peaceful Rise? An Empirical Assessment of China’s Militarized Conflict, 1979–2010

Jun Xiang, Christopher Primiano & Wei-hao Huang
Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, August 2015, Pages 301–325

Abstract:
The recent years have witnessed a heated debate on China’s rise. Using various theoretical arguments, existing research has generated quite divergent conclusions on whether China rises peacefully. Liberals argue that China has significantly benefited from the existing international economic system and therefore China is rising peacefully. On the other hand, realists such as John Mearsheimer argue that because China is likely to challenge the status quo, a rising China poses a threat to international security. Surprisingly, despite the ample scholarship on this topic and the existing divergent conclusions, a large-N empirical evaluation of China’s rise is missing in the existing research. This study fills this important gap by providing a large-N empirical investigation of militarized interstate disputes between China and other states from 1979 to 2010. We find that although China’s GDP, military spending, and CINC score have increased remarkably since the start of its economic reform, no empirical evidence points to more conflicts between China and other states. Furthermore, trade exerts only a weak effect on China’s conflict, a surprising yet interesting finding that revises the conventional wisdom in the literature.

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When are nuclear weapons worth having?

Antti-Ville Suni
Defence and Peace Economics, September/October 2015, Pages 555-565

Abstract:
This paper introduces a cost–benefit analysis for future nuclear weapon possession using natural numbers in a simple discrete time model. In essence, I focus on the expected values (probability multiplied by magnitude of detonations) of deliberate and accidental nuclear wars among unitary states. I take the United Kingdom’s current Trident renewal program as my case study. I seek to establish the expected value of a nuclear attack on the UK in the absence of nuclear weapons necessary to make the possession of nuclear weapons worthwhile. I find the net-value of nuclear weapons to be negative even under generous parametric values in their favor. I also discuss how our cognitive biases may affect the interpretation of the results. The analysis and discussion are limited to the UK, but the implications are likely to apply to other small nuclear weapon states, as well.

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Recognition Matters! UN State Status and Attitudes toward Territorial Compromise

Nadav Shelef & Yael Zeira
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does international recognition of statehood affect support for territorial compromise among groups engaged in struggles for self-determination? We show that, contrary to skepticism about the impact of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), international recognition of statehood by the UNGA shapes mass attitudes toward territorial compromise. The impact of international recognition, however, is two-pronged. International recognition simultaneously increases support for partition as a strategy of conflict resolution and decreases support for compromise on the territorial terms of partition. We also suggest a logic to explain these impacts of international recognition based on the intuition that international recognition should improve the bargaining position of the newly recognized group. We demonstrate that international recognition has an impact on mass attitudes of groups in conflict using a combination of a panel survey and survey experiment assessing the impact of the 2012 UNGA recognition of Palestine. This study is the first to show that international recognition can shape mass attitudes toward conflict.

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You’ve Got to Know When to Fold ‘Em: International and Domestic Consequences of Capitulation, 1919–1999

Ross Miller
International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article explores the effect of acquiescing to compellent threats on the probability that a leader loses office and on the probability that he/she is targeted in a subsequent international crisis. Using a leader specific punishment (LSP) model that corrects for the endogeneity between domestic and international politics, an analysis of over 9000 observations during the period 1919-1999 suggests that backing down generally increases both the risk of becoming a target and the probability of losing office. Leaders who back down to coercive threats without a fight are almost twice as likely to become targets in subsequent crises and much more likely to lose office than those who do not. Democratic leaders are more at risk than their autocratic counterparts for loss of office and becoming targets if they acquiesce to coercive threats.

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The Intergenerational Transmission of War

Filipe Campante & David Yanagizawa-Drott
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
We study whether war service by one generation affects service by the next generation in later wars, in the context of the major US theaters of the 20th century. To identify a causal effect, we exploit the fact that general suitability for service implies that how close to age 21 an individual’s father happened to be at a time of war is a key determinant of the father’s likelihood of participation. We find that a father’s war service experience has a positive and significant effect on his son’s likelihood of service. We estimate an intergenerational transmission parameter of approximately 0.1, across all wars, and that each individual war had a substantial impact on service in those that followed. We find evidence consistent with cultural transmission of war service from fathers to sons, and with the presence of substitutability between this direct transmission and oblique transmission (from society at large). In contrast, father’s war service increases sons’ educational achievement and actually reduces the likelihood of military service outside of wartime, suggesting that the results cannot be explained by material incentives or broader occupational choice. Taken together, our results indicate that a history of wars helps countries overcome the collective action problem of getting citizens to volunteer for war service.

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The Opportunity Cost of Conflict: Statistically Comparing Israel and Synthetic Israel

Yusaku Horiuchi & Asher Mayerson
Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
What would Israel’s economy have looked like without the 2000 Palestinian Intifada? This article examines this counterfactual question by statistically comparing the economic growth trajectories of Israel and a “synthetic” Israel, which is constructed by applying a method proposed by Abadie and Gardeazabal (2003) and Abadie, Diamond and Hainmueller (2010, 2014). The results of the analysis suggest that Israel’s per capita gross domestic product during the Second Intifada was reduced by an average of about $2,003 per year (in 2005 US dollars). This amounts to about 8.6 percent of the 2000 baseline level. In the case of the Second Intifada, the opportunity cost of conflict was indeed substantial and significant.

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Ethnicity, Islam, and Pakistani Public Opinion toward the Pakistani Taliban

Karl Kaltenthaler & William Miller
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article argues that an Islamist militant group with a relatively homogenous ethnic make-up is more likely to be supported by those of the same ethnicity even if the group makes no reference to and even downplays the importance of ethnicity. Using survey data from an original survey carried out in Pakistan in 2013, with 7,656 respondents, this hypothesis is tested in a multiple regression analysis of support for the Pakistani Taliban. The results demonstrate that co-ethnicity between the respondent and the Islamist militant group is the most important predictor of support for the militant group.

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The 9/11 conservative shift

Simone Schüller
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study analyzes the causal impact of the 9/11 terror attacks on individual political orientation and political support intensity using the German Socio-Economic Panel 1999–2003. Exploiting survey interview timing in 2001 for identification and controlling for unobserved individual heterogeneity, I find 9/11 to have increased overall political mobilization. While there is no indication of a considerable switch in support between political blocks, the attacks significantly weakened support intensity among left-wing voters and increased the strength of political support among right-wing voters, indicating a shift in conservative direction.

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Barriers to Entry: Who Builds Fortified Boundaries and Why?

Ron Hassner & Jason Wittenberg
International Security, Summer 2015, Pages 157-190

Abstract:
Fortified boundaries are asymmetrical, physical barriers placed along borders. These boundaries are more formidable in structure than conventional boundary lines, but less robust than militarized boundaries. Their goal is to impose costs on infiltrators and in so doing deter or impede infiltration. A novel dataset of all such boundaries worldwide shows that states are constructing these barriers at an accelerating rate. More than half of barrier builders are Muslim-majority states, and so are the vast majority of targets. A multivariate analysis demonstrates that, contrary to conventional wisdom, states that construct such barriers do not tend to suffer disproportionately from terrorism, nor are they apt to be involved in a significant number of territorial disputes. Instead, differences in state wealth and migration rates are the best predictors of barrier construction. Qualitative case studies suggest that the most effective fortified boundaries are found where the initiating state controls the territory beyond a boundary that blocks the only access route into the state.

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Popular vs. elite democratic structures and international peace

Devin Joshi, J.S. Maloy & Timothy Peterson
Journal of Peace Research, July 2015, Pages 463-477

Abstract:
Structural theories of international peace among democratic regimes have relied on two distinct explanatory logics: democratic institutions may cause a state’s foreign policy to tend toward peace by exposing policymaking elites to pressure from ordinary citizens (the popular logic) or to pressure from other governmental agencies (the elite logic). These logics are often conflated in scholarly studies of war and peace, but we attempt to isolate the popular logic for empirical testing by developing a novel measure of institutionalized popular influence, the Institutional Democracy Index (IDI). Whereas previous usage of the Polity index to operationalize democratic structures has succeeded in testing the elite logic more than the popular logic, we use the IDI to analyze long-established democracies’ involvement in international conflict between 1961 and 2001. What we find are significant differences within the family of democratic regimes that point to a monadic structural explanation of peace: more popular democracies are less warlike with respect to all other regimes, not just other democracies. By capturing variance among democratic regimes in their structures of inclusion (especially formal rules pertaining to voter access, electoral formulae, and cameral structures), the IDI enables us to observe crucial differences between the conflict propensities of more popular and more elite types of democracy.

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Nuclear Brinkmanship, Limited War, and Military Power

Robert Powell
International Organization, Summer 2015, Pages 589-626

Abstract:
An open question in nuclear deterrence theory is whether and how the balance of military power affects the dynamics of escalation. The balance of military strength plays virtually no role in standard accounts of brinkmanship. But this is largely by assumption and seems incompatible with an apparent trade-off between power and risk that decision makers have faced in some actual crises. This paper incorporates this trade-off in a modified model of nuclear brinkmanship. A main result is that the more likely the balance of resolve is to favor a defender, the less military power a challenger brings to bear. The model also formalizes the stability-instability paradox, showing that a less stable strategic balance, that is, a sharper trade-off between power and risk, makes conflict at high levels of violence less likely but conflict at lower levels more likely. The analysis also helps explain the incentives different states have to adopt different nuclear doctrines and force postures.

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Using Combat Losses of Medical Personnel to Estimate the Impact of Trauma Care in Battle: Evidence from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan

Chris Rohlfs et al.
Defence and Peace Economics, September/October 2015, Pages 465-490

Abstract:
This study investigates the effect that US medical personnel deaths in combat have on other unit deaths and ‘military success,’ which we measure using commendation medals as a proxy. We use a difference-in-differences identification strategy, measuring the changes over time in these outcomes following the combat loss of a medic or doctor and comparing it to the changes following the combat loss of a soldier who is not a medic or doctor. We find that overall unit deaths decrease in the five or ten days following the deaths of medical personnel in Vietnam, Korea, and the Pacific theater in World War II (WWII). In contrast, the WWII European and North African results indicate that overall unit deaths rise following medical personnel deaths. We find no relationship between medical personnel deaths and other unit deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. For Korea and the Pacific theater of WWII, our estimates suggest unit commendation medals decrease following the deaths of medical personnel. This pattern of evidence is consistent with a model in which units often halted aggressive tactical maneuvers and reduced pursuit of their military objectives until deceased medical personnel were replaced. The results for the other conflicts are mixed and show little connection between medical personnel deaths and commendation medals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sane

Limited Time Perspective Increases the Value of Calm

Da Jiang et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous findings indirectly suggest that the more people perceive their time in life as limited, the more they value calm. No study, however, has directly tested this hypothesis. To this end, using a combination of survey, experience sampling, and experimental methods, we examined the relationship between future time perspective and the affective states that people ideally want to feel (i.e., their “ideal affect”). In Study 1, the more people reported a limited time perspective, the more they wanted to feel calm and experience other low-arousal positive states. In Study 2, participants were randomly assigned to a limited time or an expanded time condition. Participants in the limited time condition reported valuing calm and other low arousal positive states more than those in the expanded time condition. We discuss the implications of these findings for broadening our understanding of the factors that shape how people ideally want to feel, and their consequences for decision making.

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Course of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 40 Years After the Vietnam War: Findings From the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study

Charles Marmar et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: To determine the prevalence, course, and comorbidities of war-zone posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) across a 25-year interval.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The NVVLS survey consisted of a self-report health questionnaire (n = 1409), a computer-assisted telephone survey health interview (n = 1279), and a telephone clinical interview (n = 400) in a representative national sample of veterans who served in the Vietnam theater of operations (theater veterans) from July 3, 2012, through May 17, 2013. Of 2348 NVVRS participants, 1920 were alive at the outset of the NVVLS, and 81 died during recruitment; 1450 of the remaining 1839 (78.8%) participated in at least 1 NVVLS study phase. Data analysis was performed from May 18, 2013, through January 9, 2015, with further analyses continued through April 13, 2015.

Results: Among male theater veterans, we estimated a prevalence (95% CI) of 4.5% (1.7%-7.3%) based on CAPS-5 criteria for a current PTSD diagnosis; 10.8% (6.5%-15.1%) based on CAPS-5 full plus subthreshold PTSD; and 11.2% (8.3%-14.2%) based on PCL-5+ criteria for current war-zone PTSD. Among female veterans, estimates were 6.1% (1.8%-10.3%), 8.7% (3.8%-13.6%), and 6.6% (3.5%-9.6%), respectively. The PCL-5+ prevalence (95% CI) of current non–war-zone PTSD was 4.6% (2.6%-6.6%) in male and 5.1% (2.3%-8.0%) in female theater veterans. Comorbid major depression occurred in 36.7% (95% CI, 6.2%-67.2%) of veterans with current war-zone PTSD. With regard to the course of PTSD, 16.0% of theater veterans reported an increase and 7.6% reported a decrease of greater than 20 points in Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related PTSD symptoms. The prevalence (95% CI) of current PCL-5+–derived PTSD in study respondents was 1.2% (0.0%-3.0%) for male and 3.9% (0.0%-8.1%) for female Vietnam veterans.

Conclusions and Relevance: Approximately 271 000 Vietnam theater veterans have current full PTSD plus subthreshold war-zone PTSD, one-third of whom have current major depressive disorder, 40 or more years after the war. These findings underscore the need for mental health services for many decades for veterans with PTSD symptoms.

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Effect of Attention Training on Attention Bias Variability and PTSD Symptoms: Randomized Controlled Trials in Israeli and U.S. Combat Veterans

Amy Badura-Brack et al.
American Journal of Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: Attention allocation to threat is perturbed in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with some studies indicating excess attention to threat and others indicating fluctuations between threat vigilance and threat avoidance. The authors tested the efficacy of two alternative computerized protocols, attention bias modification and attention control training, for rectifying threat attendance patterns and reducing PTSD symptoms.

Method: Two randomized controlled trials compared the efficacy of attention bias modification and attention control training for PTSD: one in Israel Defense Forces veterans and one in U.S. military veterans. Both utilized variants of the dot-probe task, with attention bias modification designed to shift attention away from threat and attention control training balancing attention allocation between threat and neutral stimuli. PTSD symptoms, attention bias, and attention bias variability were measured before and after treatment.

Results: Both studies indicated significant symptom improvement after treatment, favoring attention control training. Additionally, both studies found that attention control training, but not attention bias modification, significantly reduced attention bias variability. Finally, a combined analysis of the two samples suggested that reductions in attention bias variability partially mediated improvement in PTSD symptoms.

Conclusions: Attention control training may address aberrant fluctuations in attention allocation in PTSD, thereby reducing PTSD symptoms. Further study of treatment efficacy and its underlying neurocognitive mechanisms is warranted.

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Blunted Neural Response to Rewards as a Vulnerability Factor for Depression: Results From a Family Study

Anna Weinberg et al.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Depressive disorders are associated with significant economic and public health burdens as well as increased morbidity. Yet, perhaps due to the heterogeneous nature of the disease, prevention and intervention efforts are only moderately efficacious. A better understanding of core mechanisms of depressive disorders might aid in the development of more targeted intervention, and perhaps help identify individuals at risk. One mechanism that may be particularly important to depressive phenotypes is reward insensitivity. Examination of neurobiological correlates of reward-processing, which should relate more directly to the neuropathology of depression, may be helpful in identifying liability for the disorder. To that end, we used a family study design to examine whether a neural response to rewards is a familial risk factor for depression in a sample of probands with a wide range of internalizing psychopathology, as well as their biological siblings. Event-related potentials were recorded during a simple forced-choice gambling paradigm, in which participants could either win or lose small amounts of money. Lower levels of positive affect in probands predicted a reduced neural response to rewards in siblings, even over and above the sibling’s own level of positive and negative affect. Additionally, the neural response to rewards was familial (i.e., correlated among siblings). Combined, these analyses suggest that a blunted neural response to rewards may be useful in identifying individuals vulnerable to depressive illnesses.

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Getting Over It: Long-Lasting Effects of Emotion Regulation on Amygdala Response

Bryan Denny et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Little is known about whether emotion regulation can have lasting effects on the ability of a stimulus to continue eliciting affective responses in the future. We addressed this issue in this study. Participants cognitively reappraised negative images once or four times, and then 1 week later, they passively viewed old and new images, so that we could identify lasting effects of prior reappraisal. As in prior work, active reappraisal increased prefrontal responses but decreased amygdala responses and self-reported emotion. At 1 week, amygdala responses remained attenuated for images that had been repeatedly reappraised compared with images that had been reappraised once, new control images, and control images that had been seen as many times as reappraised images but had never been reappraised. Prefrontal activation was not selectively elevated for repeatedly reappraised images and was not related to long-term attenuation of amygdala responses. These results suggest that reappraisal can exert long-lasting “dose-dependent” effects on amygdala response that may cause lasting changes in the neural representation of an unpleasant event’s emotional value.

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Intervening to enhance cortisol regulation among children at risk for neglect: Results of a randomized clinical trial

Kristin Bernard et al.
Development and Psychopathology, August 2015, Pages 829-841

Abstract:
The hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis is particularly sensitive to conditions of maltreatment. In particular, neglected children have shown a flatter slope with lower wake-up values relative to nonneglected children. An intervention, the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC), was developed to enhance biological and behavioral regulation in young children at risk for neglect. The effectiveness of the intervention was assessed in a randomized clinical trial for children with involvement with Child Protective Services. Following the intervention, children receiving the ABC intervention (n = 49) showed more typical cortisol production, with higher wake-up cortisol values and a steeper diurnal slope, than children receiving the control intervention (n = 51). These results suggest that the ABC intervention is effective in enhancing biological regulation.

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Synchronizing theta oscillations with direct-current stimulation strengthens adaptive control in the human brain

Robert Reinhart et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 28 July 2015, Pages 9448–9453

Abstract:
Executive control and flexible adjustment of behavior following errors are essential to adaptive functioning. Loss of adaptive control may be a biomarker of a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly in the schizophrenia spectrum. Here, we provide support for the view that oscillatory activity in the frontal cortex underlies adaptive adjustments in cognitive processing following errors. Compared with healthy subjects, patients with schizophrenia exhibited low frequency oscillations with abnormal temporal structure and an absence of synchrony over medial-frontal and lateral-prefrontal cortex following errors. To demonstrate that these abnormal oscillations were the origin of the impaired adaptive control in patients with schizophrenia, we applied noninvasive dc electrical stimulation over the medial-frontal cortex. This noninvasive stimulation descrambled the phase of the low-frequency neural oscillations that synchronize activity across cortical regions. Following stimulation, the behavioral index of adaptive control was improved such that patients were indistinguishable from healthy control subjects. These results provide unique causal evidence for theories of executive control and cortical dysconnectivity in schizophrenia.

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The awareness of death reduces subjective vitality and self-regulatory energy for individuals with low interdependent self-construal

Jacob Juhl & Clay Routledge
Motivation and Emotion, August 2015, Pages 531-540

Abstract:
Existentialists have proposed that defining the self in terms of social groups — interdependent self-construal — helps maintain adaptive psychological functioning in the face of death awareness. Supporting this idea, research has demonstrated that when the awareness of death is experimentally heightened, individuals display greater investment in their social groups. No research, however, has directly tested the fundamental assertion that the awareness of death aversely effects psychological functioning for those without an interdependent self-construal. To provide an initial test of this claim, we examined the extent to which the awareness of death compromises the subjective sense of energy and aliveness (i.e., vitality) and self-regulatory energy at varying levels of interdependent self-construal. Specifically, in two experiments, we measured interdependent self-construal, experimentally heightened the awareness of death, and subsequently measured subjective vitality (Study 1) and self-regulation (Study 2). Results demonstrated that heightened death awareness reduced subjective vitality and self-regulation, but only for individuals with low, not high, levels of interdependent self-construal.

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Media-Induced Recovery: The Effects of Positive Versus Negative Media Stimuli on Recovery Experience, Cognitive Performance, and Energetic Arousal

Diana Rieger, Leonard Reinecke & Gary Bente
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has demonstrated that the use of hedonically positive interactive media content contributes to the satisfaction of recovery needs and is associated with recovery outcomes such as higher levels of cognitive performance and increased energetic arousal. The recovery effects of noninteractive media stimuli as well as of media content with negative affective valence, however, are less clear. The present investigation addressed this limitation of prior research on media-induced recovery. In an experiment (N = 99), participants were first exposed to a task to impose work strain and then assigned to one of the 3 experimental conditions: (a) a movie clip with positive affective valence, (b) a movie clip with negative affective valence, or (c) the control condition with no media exposure. The results demonstrate that both media conditions resulted in higher levels of recovery experience and cognitive performance than the nonmedia control condition. Furthermore, exposure to the video clip with negative valence resulted in higher levels of involvement and energetic arousal than exposure to the positive media stimulus. The findings extend prior research by providing a direct test of the recovery potential of noninteractive media and by revealing the differential patterns of recovery effects resulting from exposure to positive and negative media content.

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Musical Preferences are Linked to Cognitive Styles

David Greenberg et al.
PLoS ONE, July 2015

Abstract:
Why do we like the music we do? Research has shown that musical preferences and personality are linked, yet little is known about other influences on preferences such as cognitive styles. To address this gap, we investigated how individual differences in musical preferences are explained by the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory. Study 1 examined the links between empathy and musical preferences across four samples. By reporting their preferential reactions to musical stimuli, samples 1 and 2 (Ns = 2,178 and 891) indicated their preferences for music from 26 different genres, and samples 3 and 4 (Ns = 747 and 320) indicated their preferences for music from only a single genre (rock or jazz). Results across samples showed that empathy levels are linked to preferences even within genres and account for significant proportions of variance in preferences over and above personality traits for various music-preference dimensions. Study 2 (N = 353) replicated and extended these findings by investigating how musical preferences are differentiated by E-S cognitive styles (i.e., ‘brain types’). Those who are type E (bias towards empathizing) preferred music on the Mellow dimension (R&B/soul, adult contemporary, soft rock genres) compared to type S (bias towards systemizing) who preferred music on the Intense dimension (punk, heavy metal, and hard rock). Analyses of fine-grained psychological and sonic attributes in the music revealed that type E individuals preferred music that featured low arousal (gentle, warm, and sensual attributes), negative valence (depressing and sad), and emotional depth (poetic, relaxing, and thoughtful), while type S preferred music that featured high arousal (strong, tense, and thrilling), and aspects of positive valence (animated) and cerebral depth (complexity). The application of these findings for clinicians, interventions, and those on the autism spectrum (largely type S or extreme type S) are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Personal responsibility

Self-control forecasts better psychosocial outcomes but faster epigenetic aging in low-SES youth

Gregory Miller et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
There are persistent socioeconomic disparities in many aspects of child development in America. Relative to their affluent peers, children of low socioeconomic status (SES) complete fewer years of education, have a higher prevalence of health problems, and are convicted of more criminal offenses. Based on research indicating that low self-control underlies some of these disparities, policymakers have begun incorporating character-skills training into school curricula and social services. However, emerging data suggest that for low-SES youth, self-control may act as a "double-edged sword," facilitating academic success and psychosocial adjustment, while at the same time undermining physical health. Here, we examine this hypothesis in a five-wave study of 292 African American teenagers from rural Georgia. From ages 17 to 20 y, we assessed SES and self-control annually, along with depressive symptoms, substance use, aggressive behavior, and internalizing problems. At age 22 y, we obtained DNA methylation profiles of subjects' peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These data were used to measure epigenetic aging, a methylation-derived biomarker reflecting the disparity between biological and chronological aging. Among high-SES youth, better mid-adolescent self-control presaged favorable psychological and methylation outcomes. However, among low-SES youth, self-control had divergent associations with these outcomes. Self-control forecasted lower rates of depressive symptoms, substance use, aggressive behavior, and internalizing problems but faster epigenetic aging. These patterns suggest that for low-SES youth, resilience is a "skin-deep" phenomenon, wherein outward indicators of success can mask emerging problems with health. These findings have conceptual implications for models of resilience, and practical implications for interventions aimed at ameliorating social and racial disparities.

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National multi-cohort time trends in adolescent risk preference and the relation with substance use and problem behavior from 1976 to 2011

Katherine Keyes et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Aims: Preference for risky activities is an important developmentally-graded predictor of substance use. Population-level trends in adolescent risk preference, as well as the way in which risk preference may be a conduit to risk behavior, have never been documented. The present study examines population-level trends in risk preference among U.S. high school seniors for the 36 years from1976-2011, as well as trends in the association between risk preference and substance use and other problem behaviors.

Methods: Data were drawn from yearly nationally-representative cross-sectional surveys of US high school seniors (N = 91,860). Risk preference was measured consistently with two items. Marijuana and cocaine use, binge drinking, and conduct problems were assessed. Trends were tested using JoinPoint software.

Results: The mean level of reported risk preference among US 12th graders has increased over time, especially in the 1980s. For example, the proportion of high school females who reported enjoying activities that were "a little dangerous" more than doubled, from 4.9% in 1976 to 10.8% in 1988. While risk preference reports among adolescent males leveled off in 1992, risk preference reports among females shows a continued positive overall slope through 2011. The magnitude of the association between risk preference and marijuana use has increased over time.

Conclusions: Reported preference for risky activities has increased among adolescents in the US, especially among young women. Reported risk preference is increasingly associated with a higher use of marijuana. Our findings argue for the importance of placing risk preference within a multi-level framework that attends to historical variation.

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Poverty and Economic Decision-Making: Evidence from Changes in Financial Resources at Payday

Leandro Carvalho, Stephan Meier & Stephanie Wang
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the effect of financial resources on decision-making. Low-income U.S. households are randomly assigned to receive an online survey before or after payday. The survey collects measures of cognitive function and administers risk and intertemporal choice tasks. The study design generates variation in cash, checking and savings balances, and expenditures. Before-payday participants behave as if they are more present-biased when making intertemporal choices about monetary rewards but not when making intertemporal choices about non-monetary real-effort tasks. Nor do we find before-after differences in risk-taking, the quality of decision-making, the performance in cognitive function tasks, or in heuristic judgments.

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Racial Differences in Risk-Taking Propensity on the Youth Version of the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART-Y)

Anahi Collado et al.
Journal of Early Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research indicates that White adolescents tend to engage in greater levels of risk behavior relative to Black adolescents. To better understand these differences, the current study examined real-time changes in risk-taking propensity (RTP). The study utilized the Balloon Analogue Risk Task-Youth Version (BART-Y), a well-validated real-time, laboratory assessment of RTP. The sample included 224 adolescents (41% Black; Mage = 11 +/- 0.8 years old). Generalized Equations Modeling analyses indicated that Black adolescents showed greater RTP decreases over the course of the task relative to White adolescents. Findings suggested that both groups exhibited similar RTP at the beginning of the BART-Y, and that significant differences emerged as the task progressed. The differences in RTP remained after controlling for family income, gender, age, and past-year risk behaviors. RTP may be an important target of investigation when examining racial differences in adolescent risk behavior.

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Not-So-Strong Evidence for Gender Differences in Risk Taking

Julie Nelson
Feminist Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on a growing body of experimental and other studies, two recent economics survey articles claim to find "strong evidence" that women are "fundamental[ly]" more risk-averse than men. Yet, much of the literature fails to clearly distinguish between differences that hold at the individual level (categorical differences between men and women) and patterns that appear only at the aggregate level (statistically detectable differences in men's and women's distributions, such as different means). There is a resulting problem of possible misinterpretation, as well as a dearth of appropriate attention to substantive significance. Additionally, one of the two surveys suffers from problems of statistical validity, possibly due to confirmation bias. Applying appropriate, expanded statistical techniques to the same data, this study finds substantial similarity and overlap between the distributions of men and women in risk taking, and a difference in means that is not substantively large.

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On the Origins of Risk-Taking

Sandra Black et al.
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Risk-taking behavior is highly correlated between parents and their children; however, little is known about the extent to which these relationships are genetic or determined by environmental factors. We use data on stock market participation of Swedish adoptees and relate this to the investment behavior of both their biological and adoptive parents. We find that stock market participation of parents increases that of children by about 34% and that both pre-birth and post-birth factors are important. However, once we condition on having positive financial wealth, we find that nurture has a much stronger influence on risk-taking by children, and the evidence of a relationship between stock-holding of biological parents and their adoptive children becomes very weak. We find similar results when we study the share of financial wealth that is invested in stocks. This suggests that a substantial proportion of risk-attitudes and behavior is environmentally determined.

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Procrastination and Impatience

Ernesto Reuben, Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, October 2015, Pages 63-76

Abstract:
We use a combination of lab and field evidence to study whether highly-impatient individuals are more likely to procrastinate. To measure impatience, we elicit individual discount rates by giving participants choices between smaller-sooner and larger-later rewards. To measure procrastination, we record how quickly participants complete three tasks: an online game, their application to the university, and a mandatory survey. We find that, consistent with the theory, impatient individuals procrastinate more, but only in tasks where there are costs to delay (the online game and university application). Since we pay participants by check, we are also able to determine whether the participants' cashing behavior is consistent with the timing of their payment choice. We find substantial evidence of time inconsistency. Namely, more than half of the participants who receive their check straight away instead of waiting two weeks for a reasonably larger amount, subsequently take more than two weeks to cash it.

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Suboptimal Foraging Behavior: A New Perspective on Gambling

Merideth Addicott et al.
Behavioral Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do people gamble? Conventional views hold that gambling may be motivated by irrational beliefs, risk-seeking, impulsive temperament, or dysfunction within the same reward circuitry affected by drugs of abuse. An alternate, unexplored perspective is that gambling is an extension of natural foraging behavior to a financial environment. However, when these foraging algorithms are applied to stochastic gambling outcomes, undesirable results may occur. To test this hypothesis, we recruited participants based on their frequency of gambling - yearly (or less), monthly, and weekly - and investigated how gambling frequency related to irrational beliefs, risk-taking/impulsivity, and foraging behavior. We found that increased gambling frequency corresponded to greater gambling-related beliefs, more exploratory choices on an explore/exploit foraging task, and fewer points earned on a Patchy Foraging Task. Gambling-related beliefs negatively related to performance on the Patchy Foraging Task, indicating that individuals with more gambling-related cognitions tended to leave a patch too quickly. This indicates that frequent gamblers have reduced foraging ability to maximize rewards; however, gambling frequency - and by extension, poor foraging ability - was not related to risk-taking or impulsive behavior. These results suggest that gambling reflects the application of a dysfunctional foraging process to financial outcomes.

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Red Color and Risk-Taking Behavior in Online Environments

Timo Gnambs, Markus Appel & Aileen Oeberst
PLoS ONE, July 2015

Abstract:
In many situations red is associated with hazard and danger. As a consequence, it was expected that task-irrelevant color cues in online environments would affect risk-taking behaviors. This assumption was tested in two web-based experiments. The first study (N = 383) demonstrated that in risky choice dilemmas respondents preferred the less risky option when the displayed university logo was in red (versus gray); but only when both choice alternatives were at least moderately risky. The second study (N = 144) replicated these results with a behavioral outcome: Respondents showed more cautious behavior in a web-based game when the focal stimuli were colored red (versus blue). Together, these findings demonstrate that variations in the color design of a computerized environment affect risk taking: Red color leads to more conservative choices and behaviors.

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Molecular genetic underpinnings of self-control: 5-HTTLPR and self-control in a sample of inmates

Jessica Wells et al.
Journal of Criminal Justice, September-October 2015, Pages 386-396

Purpose: Several studies now show that self-control, as proposed by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), is at least moderately heritable. Studies of molecular genetic variation related to serotonergic function suggest that the heritability of self-control may be explained, in part, by the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism.

Methods: The current research tests the association between the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and self-control as measured by the Grasmick et al. (1993) scale. Analyses were based on a sample of incarcerated males and considered the effect of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism on the full self-control scale as well as the specific dimensions of self-control.

Results: The s/s genotype interacted with abuse to predict increases in overall self-control, preference for simple tasks and physical activity. Relative to the s/l genotype, the l/l genotype, which has been linked to psychopathy, was directly associated with more self-centeredness.

Conclusions: Results show that molecular genetic variation related to serotonergic function plays a role in the heritability of self-control. Variation in the association between 5-HTTLPR genotype and the distinct dimensions of self-control, while consistent with recent literature (see Yildirim & Derksen, 2013), indicates that self-control as originally presented by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) is not a unitary construct.

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The Investment Decisions of Young Adults Under Relaxed Borrowing Constraints

Michael Insler, Pamela Schmitt & James Compton
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Students at the United States Naval Academy have the opportunity to take a Career Starter Loan (CSL). Two military-oriented banks offer these large personal loans at very low interest rates to all students. Thus the CSL provides a novel opportunity to study the behavior of a sample of borrowers that is not selected due to credit history and is often too liquidity-constrained to invest. Using survey data, this paper examines borrowers' investment and consumption decisions in relation to their cognitive ability (measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test, the SAT, and grade point average), personality traits (captured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), and other demographic characteristics. Tobit models reveal that: (1) cognitive ability is positively associated with more investment and riskier choices; (2) some MBTI personality traits are strong predictors of investment behavior; (3) individuals with prior investment experience or who view themselves as financially literate tend to invest more and with more risk; (4) these findings are largely consistent across students from all income levels.

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Do Risk Preferences Change? Evidence from Panel Data before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake

Chie Hanaoka, Hitoshi Shigeoka & Yasutora Watanabe
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
We investigate whether individuals' risk preferences change after experiencing a natural disaster- specifically, the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The novelty of our study is that we use panels of nationally representative surveys, and thus, we can track the changes in risk preferences of the same individuals. We find that people who experienced greater intensity of the Earthquake become more risk tolerant. Interestingly, all the results are driven by men. Furthermore, these men gamble and drink more. Finally, we compare the estimates from cross-sectional and panel specifications, demonstrating that the cross-sectional estimate may be biased due to unobserved heterogeneity.

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Delayed Gratification: A Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) Will Wait for a Better Reward

Adrienne Koepke, Suzanne Gray & Irene Pepperberg
Journal of Comparative Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Delay of gratification, the ability to forgo an immediate reward to gain either better quality or quantity, has been used as a metric for temporal discounting, self-control, and the ability to plan for the future in both humans (particularly children) and nonhumans. The task involved can be parsed in several ways, such that the subjects can be required to wait, not only for a better or a larger reward, but also such that the rewards can either be in view or hidden during the delay interval. We have demonstrated that a Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) trained in the use of English speech could respond to the label "wait" for up to 15 min, in a task that has many similarities to those used with young children, to receive a better quality reward, whether or not the better quality reward or the experimenter was in view.

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Haunts or Helps from the Past: Understanding the Effect of Recall on Current Self-Control

Hristina Nikolova, Cait Lamberton & Kelly Haws
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom suggests that remembering our past successes or failures can help us make better decisions in the present. But how successful is this practice in the domain of self-control? Our work examines how the content of consumers' recollections (past self-control successes versus failures) and the subjective difficulty with which this content comes to mind (easily or with difficulty) jointly shape consumers' self-control decisions. When successes are easy to recall, people display more self-control than when they have difficulty recalling successes. However, recalling failures prompts indulgence regardless of its difficulty. We suggest that these differences in behavior may exist because recalling failures has substantially different affective and cognitive consequences than does recalling successes. Consistent with this theory, we demonstrate that external cues toward high or low self-certainty moderate the effects of recall on self-control. Taken together, this work enhances our understanding of self-control, self-perceptions, and metacognition.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, August 14, 2015

Heard on the street

Crime and Conspicuous Consumption

Daniel Mejía & Pascual Restrepo
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study how property crime distorts consumption decisions. Using an incomplete information model, we argue that consuming conspicuous goods reveals information to criminals seeking bountiful victims and increases the likelihood of being victimized. Thus, property crime reduces the consumption of visible goods, even when these cannot be directly stolen but simply carry information about a potential victim’s wealth. We exploit the large decline in property crime in the U.S. during the 90s to test this mechanism. Using data from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey from 1986 to 2003, we find that households located in states experiencing sharper reductions in property crime increased significantly their consumption of visible goods, even when these goods are not generally stolen, both in absolute terms and relative to other consumption goods. Our findings hold when we instrument the decline in property crime during the 90s using a variety of strategies.

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Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings

Sherry Towers et al.
PLoS ONE, July 2015

Background: Several past studies have found that media reports of suicides and homicides appear to subsequently increase the incidence of similar events in the community, apparently due to the coverage planting the seeds of ideation in at-risk individuals to commit similar acts.

Methods: Here we explore whether or not contagion is evident in more high-profile incidents, such as school shootings and mass killings (incidents with four or more people killed). We fit a contagion model to recent data sets related to such incidents in the US, with terms that take into account the fact that a school shooting or mass murder may temporarily increase the probability of a similar event in the immediate future, by assuming an exponential decay in contagiousness after an event.

Conclusions: We find significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past. On average, this temporary increase in probability lasts 13 days, and each incident incites at least 0.30 new incidents (p = 0.0015). We also find significant evidence of contagion in school shootings, for which an incident is contagious for an average of 13 days, and incites an average of at least 0.22 new incidents (p = 0.0001). All p-values are assessed based on a likelihood ratio test comparing the likelihood of a contagion model to that of a null model with no contagion. On average, mass killings involving firearms occur approximately every two weeks in the US, while school shootings occur on average monthly. We find that state prevalence of firearm ownership is significantly associated with the state incidence of mass killings with firearms, school shootings, and mass shootings.

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Race and Youth Crime: Why Isn’t the Relationship Stronger?

Robert Agnew
Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Criminologists have devoted much effort to explaining why African American youth have higher rates of serious offending than Whites. But data suggest that African American youth have similar rates of minor offending than Whites and that the large share of African American youth are no more likely to engage in serious crime than Whites. This is the case even though African American youth are much more likely than White youth to be exposed to many of the leading causes of crime, including discrimination, poverty, and residence in very poor communities. This raises a major question that has been neglected by criminologists: Why isn’t the relationship between race and youth crime stronger? Drawing on limited criminological research and several literatures outside criminology, this article describes a range of protective factors that may reduce the likelihood that African American youth respond to discrimination and its negative consequences with crime. These factors fall into four groups: skills in coping, strengths in the face of adversity, social supports, and social controls (the four “S”s).

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The U.S. Crime Puzzle: A Comparative Perspective on U.S. Crime and Punishment

Holger Spamann
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper compares actual U.S. crime and incarceration rates to predicted rates from cross-country regressions. Global cross-country regressions of crime and incarceration on background characteristics explain much of the variation between other countries. But the estimated models predict only one-fourth of U.S. incarceration and not all of U.S. crime. The coincidence of the non-negative U.S. crime residuals with the very large positive U.S. incarceration residual constitutes a puzzle. The two pieces fit together only if the residual U.S. incarceration does not contribute to a reduction in crime, except to the extent an omitted criminogenic factor pushes up U.S. crime. The paper quantifies this relationship. Drawing on additional evidence from comparative and U.S.-specific data, it argues that the puzzle's most plausible solution combines low effectiveness of mass incarceration with omitted criminogenic factors such as U.S. neighborhood segregation.

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US punitiveness ‘Canadian style’? Cultural values and Canadian punishment policy

Cheryl Marie Webster & Anthony Doob
Punishment & Society, July 2015, Pages 299-321

Abstract:
From the mid-19th century until 2006, Canadian official policy statements (from both Liberal and Conservative governments) made it clear that offending was seen as largely socially determined and that it was the state’s responsibility to try to reintegrate those who offend back into mainstream society. In this context, imprisonment was seen as a necessary evil, to be avoided wherever possible. The era since 2006 looks considerably more American than Canadian. The policy elite in Canada has taken the position that those who commit offences are inherently ‘bad’ people and qualitatively different from ‘ordinary law abiding’ Canadians. Exclusionary responses are privileged as those who commit offences are seen as having chosen to forfeit their rights of full citizenship. Several broader (cultural and political) ramifications of this punitive shift in the normative orientation expressed by policy-makers in Canada are discussed.

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Improving Negative Emotion Recognition in Young Offenders Reduces Subsequent Crime

Kelly Hubble et al.
PLoS ONE, June 2015

Background: Children with antisocial behaviour show deficits in the perception of emotional expressions in others that may contribute to the development and persistence of antisocial and aggressive behaviour. Current treatments for antisocial youngsters are limited in effectiveness. It has been argued that more attention should be devoted to interventions that target neuropsychological correlates of antisocial behaviour. This study examined the effect of emotion recognition training on criminal behaviour.

Methods: Emotion recognition and crime levels were studied in 50 juvenile offenders. Whilst all young offenders received their statutory interventions as the study was conducted, a subgroup of twenty-four offenders also took part in a facial affect training aimed at improving emotion recognition. Offenders in the training and control groups were matched for age, SES, IQ and lifetime crime level. All offenders were tested twice for emotion recognition performance, and recent crime data were collected after the testing had been completed.

Results: Before the training there were no differences between the groups in emotion recognition, with both groups displaying poor fear, sadness and anger recognition. After the training fear, sadness and anger recognition improved significantly in juvenile offenders in the training group. Although crime rates dropped in all offenders in the 6 months following emotion testing, only the group of offenders who had received the emotion training showed a significant reduction in the severity of the crimes they committed.

Conclusions: The study indicates that emotion recognition can be relatively easily improved in youths who engage in serious antisocial and criminal behavior. The results suggest that improved emotion recognition has the potential to reduce the severity of reoffending.

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When in Rome: Testing the Moderating Influence of Neighborhood Composition on the Relationship Between Self-Control and Juvenile Offending

Adrian Jones
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the stability of self-control by examining whether neighborhood composition conditions the effect of self-control on offending. Congruent with social learning perspectives, I argue that neighborhood behavioral models provide a conduit for the expression of one’s self-control. Using data from the Project of Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN), I examine multi-level zero-inflated negative binomial models that include cross-level interactions between self-control and aggregate self-control. I found that for the frequency of delinquency, but not serious offending, the effect of low self-control is amplified in neighborhoods identified as having low aggregate self-control. These findings provide evidence that the effect of low self-control on offending is not always invariant across neighborhoods.

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Association Between Connecticut’s Permit-to-Purchase Handgun Law and Homicides

Kara Rudolph et al.
American Journal of Public Health, August 2015, Pages e49-e54

Objectives: We sought to estimate the effect of Connecticut’s implementation of a handgun permit-to-purchase law in October 1995 on subsequent homicides.

Methods: Using the synthetic control method, we compared Connecticut’s homicide rates after the law’s implementation to rates we would have expected had the law not been implemented. To estimate the counterfactual, we used longitudinal data from a weighted combination of comparison states identified based on the ability of their prelaw homicide trends and covariates to predict prelaw homicide trends in Connecticut.

Results: We estimated that the law was associated with a 40% reduction in Connecticut’s firearm homicide rates during the first 10 years that the law was in place. By contrast, there was no evidence for a reduction in nonfirearm homicides.

Conclusions: Consistent with prior research, this study demonstrated that Connecticut’s handgun permit-to-purchase law was associated with a subsequent reduction in homicide rates. As would be expected if the law drove the reduction, the policy’s effects were only evident for homicides committed with firearms.

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Hold Your Fire: Did the 1996 Federal Gun Control Act Expansion Reduce Domestic Homicides?

Kerri Raissian
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 1996, Congress expanded the federal Gun Control Act (GCA) to prohibit defendants convicted of a qualifying domestic violence misdemeanor from possessing or purchasing a firearm. Using the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports along with homicide data collected from selected state law enforcement agencies, I investigate if this expansion was successful in reducing homicides among the target groups. I use variation from a legal loophole and a series of circuit court decisions to generate difference-in-differences estimates. I find evidence that the GCA expansion led to 17 percent fewer gun-related homicides among female intimate partner victims and 31 percent fewer gun homicides among male domestic child victims. The law also has protective benefits for those that were not targeted by the legislation. “Other” family members (parents and siblings) also experience a 24 percent reduction in gun homicides. I find no evidence that reductions in gun homicides were offset by an increase in nongun homicides. While most falsification and robustness tests support the above conclusions, some tests suggest caution when interpreting the results and a need for further research.

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State Firearm Legislation and Nonfatal Firearm Injuries

Joseph Simonetti et al.
American Journal of Public Health, August 2015, Pages 1703-1709

Objectives: We investigated whether stricter state-level firearm legislation was associated with lower hospital discharge rates for nonfatal firearm injuries.

Methods: We estimated discharge rates for hospitalized and emergency department–treated nonfatal firearm injuries in 18 states in 2010 and used negative binomial regression to determine whether strength of state firearm legislation was independently associated with total nonfatal firearm injury discharge rates.

Results: We identified 26 744 discharges for nonfatal firearm injuries. The overall age-adjusted discharge rate was 19.0 per 100 000 person-years (state range = 3.3–36.6), including 7.9 and 11.1 discharges per 100 000 for hospitalized and emergency department–treated injuries, respectively. In models adjusting for differences in state sociodemographic characteristics and economic conditions, states in the strictest tertile of legislative strength had lower discharge rates for total (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.60; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.44, 0.82), assault-related (IRR = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.34, 0.99), self-inflicted (IRR = 0.18; 95% CI = 0.14, 0.24), and unintentional (IRR = 0.53; 95% CI = 0.34, 0.84) nonfatal firearm injuries.

Conclusions: There is significant variation in state-level hospital discharge rates for nonfatal firearm injuries, and stricter state firearm legislation is associated with lower discharge rates for such injuries.

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Schools and Drug Markets: Examining the Relationship Between Schools and Neighborhood Drug Crime

Dale Willits, Lisa Broidy & Kristine Denman
Youth & Society, September 2015, Pages 634-658

Abstract:
Research on drug markets indicates that they are not randomly distributed. Instead they are concentrated around specific types of places. Theoretical and empirical literature implicates routine activities and social disorganization processes in this distribution. In the current study, we examine whether, consistent with these theories, drug markets are particularly likely to form near schools. This research contributes to our understanding of adolescent drug use patterns by assessing some of the place and neighborhood-level mechanisms that help explain how schools facilitate access to illicit drugs. Using data from Albuquerque, New Mexico, we find that neighborhoods with middle schools and high schools experience more drug crime than neighborhoods without middle or high schools. Moreover, the relationship between school presence and drug crime is strongest during the hours directly before, during, and after school. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.

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Do the Police Believe That Legitimacy Promotes Cooperation From the Public?

Justin Nix
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Tyler’s process-based model of regulation suggests that when citizens perceive the police as a legitimate authority, they are more likely to cooperate in the form of reporting crimes and providing information to the police. Yet most studies have considered citizens’ perceptions of police legitimacy — few studies have asked the police what they feel makes them legitimate in the eyes of the public. Likewise, no studies have considered whether the police believe legitimacy is associated with cooperation from the public. The present study addresses this gap using data from a stratified sample of U.S. police executives. Findings suggest police believe performance, rather than procedural justice, is the key to generating cooperation from the public.

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The impact of state policy on teen dating violence prevalence

Richard Hoefer, Beverly Black & Mark Ricard
Journal of Adolescence, October 2015, Pages 88–96

Abstract:
Teen dating violence (TDV) is a serious public health concern that is associated with many negative effects. Studies on TDV prevention most often focus on the evaluation of prevention programs in school and community settings. Much less is known about the effects of policy on TDV prevalence. This study tests a model to explain whether stronger laws regarding TDV, specifically civil protection orders, have an impact on TDV rates in states. Results show that stronger policy, Democratic party control of the governor’s office, and higher state median income are associated with lower rates of TDV. This study provides solid information regarding the role of civil protection orders as a means of TDV prevention and adds to our knowledge of the efficacy of state-level TDV policy. The information can lead to increased vigor on the part of advocates to strive for specific provisions in the law and to work for gubernatorial candidates who will support such laws.

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Lifetime Benefits and Costs of Diverting Substance-Abusing Offenders From State Prison

Gary Zarkin et al.
Crime & Delinquency, August 2015, Pages 829-850

Abstract:
Prisons hold a disproportionate number of society’s drug abusers. Approximately 50% of state prisoners meet the criteria for a diagnosis of drug abuse or dependence; however, only 10% of prisoners receive drug treatment. Diverting offenders to community-based treatment has been shown to generate positive net social benefits. We build on a lifetime simulation model of a nationally representative state prison cohort to examine diversion from reincarceration to community-based substance abuse treatment. We find that diversion provides positive net societal benefits to the United States and cost savings to the national criminal justice system. Our study demonstrates the societal gains from improving access to the community drug treatment system as an alternative to prison.

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A Difference-In-Differences Study of the Effects of a New Abandoned Building Remediation Strategy on Safety

Michelle Kondo et al.
PLoS ONE, July 2015

Abstract:
Vacant and abandoned buildings pose significant challenges to the health and safety of communities. In 2011 the City of Philadelphia began enforcing a Doors and Windows Ordinance that required property owners of abandoned buildings to install working doors and windows in all structural openings or face significant fines. We tested the effects of the new ordinance on the occurrence of crime surrounding abandoned buildings from January 2011 to April 2013 using a difference-in-differences approach. We used Poisson regression models to compare differences in pre- and post-treatment measures of crime for buildings that were remediated as a result of the ordinance (n = 676) or permitted for renovation (n = 241), and randomly-matched control buildings that were not remediated (n = 676) or permitted for renovation (n = 964), while also controlling for sociodemographic and other confounders measured around each building. Building remediations were significantly associated with citywide reductions in overall crimes, total assaults, gun assaults and nuisance crimes (p <0.001). Building remediations were also significantly associated with reductions in violent gun crimes in one city section (p <0.01). At the same time, some significant increases were seen in narcotics sales and possession and property crimes around remediated buildings (p <0.001). Building renovation permits were significantly associated with reductions in all crime classifications across multiple city sections (p <0.001). We found no significant spatial displacement effects. Doors and windows remediation offers a relatively low-cost method of reducing certain crimes in and around abandoned buildings. Cities with an abundance of decaying and abandoned housing stock might consider some form of this structural change to their built environments as one strategy to enhance public safety.

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To Tell or Not to Tell

Carrie Carretta, Ann Burgess & Rosanna DeMarco
Violence Against Women, September 2015, Pages 1145-1165

Abstract:
The underreporting of rape is well known; however, there is less information on women who fail to disclose to anyone. This online study suggests that 24% of 242 women who were non-disclosing compared with those who had disclosed were significantly less likely to seek treatment for emotional injuries. Also, almost two thirds of non-disclosing women believed that the abuse was their fault versus 39.1% of women with prior disclosure. Of clinical interest is that regardless of disclosure pattern, there was no significant difference in reports of depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the majority of respondents endorsed support for online counseling over telephone or individual contact.

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Urban Homicide in the United States, 1980-2010: The Importance of Disaggregated Trends

Roland Chilton & William Chambliss
Homicide Studies, August 2015, Pages 257-272

Abstract:
Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mortality and census data with Supplementary Homicide Reports, we compare 25- and 30-year homicide trends for four age-race-sex categories in 172 U.S. cities. The comparisons indicate that one of the most salient aspects of homicide in the United States from 1980 to 2010 was the disproportionate involvement of young Black men as homicide victims and offenders. The persistence of these rates before, during, and after a sharp rise followed by a dramatic drop in the overall rates suggests the need for a focus on specific explanations for this aspect of urban homicide.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Make up your mind

Quality, Subjectivity, and Sustained Superior Performance at the Olympic Games

David Waguespack & Robert Salomon
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In some competitions, performance evaluation includes a substantial subjective component. We argue that the inherent uncertainty and ambiguity in subjective evaluation can lead to favorable ex post treatment for reputationally privileged competitors. Post consumption, judges may infer quality that is not directly observed and/or make conservative choices to assuage accountability concerns. We examine these issues in the context of the Olympic Games, comparing country-level performance outcomes across Olympic sports. We find that past performance is predictive of current performance in all sports, but the effect is stronger in subjective outcome sports versus objective outcome sports. That is, past performance is a better predictor of future performance in sports where external judges and referees can influence the outcomes. We find the same pattern in individual boxing matches, with past country-level performance having a stronger effect on subjective boxing outcomes (judges' decisions) than objective boxing outcomes (knockouts).

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The highest form of intelligence: Sarcasm increases creativity for both expressers and recipients

Li Huang, Francesca Gino & Adam Galinsky
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sarcasm is ubiquitous in organizations. Despite its prevalence, we know surprisingly little about the cognitive experiences of sarcastic expressers and recipients or their behavioral implications. The current research proposes and tests a novel theoretical model in which both the construction and interpretation of sarcasm lead to greater creativity because they activate abstract thinking. Studies 1 and 2 found that both sarcasm expressers and recipients reported more conflict but also demonstrated enhanced creativity following a simulated sarcastic conversation or after recalling a sarcastic exchange. Study 3 demonstrated that sarcasm's effect on creativity for both parties was mediated by abstract thinking and generalizes across different forms of sarcasm. Finally, Study 4 found that when participants expressed sarcasm toward or received sarcasm from a trusted other, creativity increased but conflict did not. We discuss sarcasm as a double-edged sword: despite its role in instigating conflict, it can also be a catalyst for creativity.

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The Continued Influence of Implied and Explicitly Stated Misinformation in News Reports

Patrick Rich & Maria Zaragoza
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
The piecemeal reporting of unfolding news events can lead to the reporting of mistaken information (or misinformation) about the cause of the newsworthy event, which later needs to be corrected. Studies of the continued influence effect have shown, however, that corrections are not entirely effective in reversing the effects of initial misinformation. Instead, participants continue to rely on the discredited misinformation when asked to draw inferences and make judgments about the news story. Most prior studies have employed misinformation that explicitly states the likely cause of an outcome. However, news stories do not always provide misinformation explicitly, but instead merely imply that something or someone might be the cause of an adverse outcome. Two experiments employing both direct and indirect measures of misinformation reliance were conducted to assess whether implied misinformation is more resistant to correction than explicitly stated misinformation. The results supported this prediction. Experiment 1 showed that corrections reduced misinformation reliance in both the explicit and implied conditions, but the correction was much less effective following implied misinformation. Experiment 2 showed that implied misinformation was more resistant to correction than explicit misinformation, even when the correction was paired with an alternative explanation. Finally, Experiment 3 showed that greater resistance to correction in the implied misinformation condition did not reflect greater disbelief in the correction. Potential reasons why implied misinformation is more difficult to correct than explicitly provided misinformation are discussed.

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Words speak louder: Conforming to preferences more than actions

Yanping Tu & Ayelet Fishbach
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, August 2015, Pages 193-209

Abstract:
Whereas people generally conform to others' choices, this research documents that conformity decreases once others have acted on their chosen options. It suggests words speak louder than actions - people are more likely to conform to others' preferences than their actions. Specifically, people are less likely to follow another person's food choice if that person has already eaten his or her selected food (Study 1), and are less likely to follow others' choices of household items if these choices are framed in terms of action (others "want to have it") rather than preference (others "like it"; Study 2). People's tendency to mentally share others' actions causes the decrease in conformity. Indeed, people recall greater past consumption of items that others have had (Study 3), choose differently only when they can complement (vs. contradict) what others have (Study 4), and are more strongly affected by the choices of those close to them (vs. strangers; Study 5). Finally, even when information about others' actions and preferences are simultaneously available (e.g., in online shopping and the consumption of social media), people are more likely to follow what others prefer, rather than what others have (Study 6).

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Pain and Preferences: Observed Decisional Conflict and the Convergence of Preferences

Rom Schrift & Moty Amar
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decision making often entails conflict. In many situations, the symptoms of such decisional conflict are conspicuous. This paper explores an important and unexamined question: How does observing someone else experiencing decisional conflict impact our own preferences? The authors show that observing others' emotional conflict and agony over an impending decision makes the observer's preferences converge to those of the conflicted actor (i.e., choose similarly). Thus, this paper contributes to the social influence literature by demonstrating that observers' preferences are not only influenced by an actor's ultimate choice, but also by the process leading to this choice. For example, in one experiment, participants' real monetary donations to one of two charities converged to those of a paid confederate that agonized over the decision. Six studies demonstrate this effect and show that it is triggered by empathy and a greater sense of shared identity with the conflicted actor. Accordingly, the studies show the effect is more pronounced for individuals with a greater tendency to empathize with others, and that convergence occurs only if participants deem the actor's conflict warranted given the decision at hand. The authors also demonstrate important implications of this effect in contexts of group decision-making.

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Two-stage decisions increase preference for hedonic options

Rajesh Bhargave, Amitav Chakravarti & Abhijit Guha
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, September 2015, Pages 123-135

Abstract:
When choosing from multiple options, decision-makers may directly choose an option (single-stage decision), or initially shortlist a subset of options, and then choose an option from this shortlist (two-stage decision). Past work suggests that these two decision formats should lead to the same final choice when information about the choice alternatives is held constant. In contrast, this research demonstrates a novel effect: two-stage decisions increase preference for hedonic (vs. utilitarian) options. A regulatory focus account explains this effect. In a two-stage process, after shortlisting, decision-makers feel that they have sufficiently advanced their prevention goals, and this reduces their prevention focus during the final choice stage. Reduced prevention focus, in turn, enhances hedonic preference. Four studies across different decision contexts illustrate this effect and support the underlying process mechanism. The findings suggest that the formal structure of a decision (single-stage vs. two-stage) leads to systematic differences in decision-makers' choices.

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Do Prediction Markets Aid Defenders in a Weak-Link Contest?

Cary Deck, Li Hao & David Porter
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, September 2015, Pages 248-258

Abstract:
Laboratory experiments have demonstrated that prediction market prices weakly aggregate the disparate information of the traders about states (moves) of nature. However, in many practical applications one is attempting to predict the move of a strategic rival. This is particularly important in aggressor-defender contests. This paper reports an experiment where the defender may have the advantage of observing a prediction market on the aggressor's action. The results of the experiments indicate that: the use of prediction markets does not increase the defender's win rate; prediction markets contain reliable information regarding aggressors' decisions that is not being exploited by defenders; and the existence of a prediction market does not alter the behavior of the aggressor whose behavior is being forecast.

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Cognitive Training Can Reduce Civilian Casualties in a Simulated Shooting Environment

Adam Biggs, Matthew Cain & Stephen Mitroff
Psychological Science, August 2015, Pages 1164-1176

Abstract:
Shooting a firearm involves a complex series of cognitive abilities. For example, locating an item or a person of interest requires visual search, and firing the weapon (or withholding a trigger squeeze) involves response execution (or inhibition). The present study used a simulated shooting environment to establish a relationship between a particular cognitive ability and a critical shooting error - response inhibition and firing on civilians, respectively. Individual-difference measures demonstrated, perhaps counterintuitively, that simulated civilian casualties were not related to motor impulsivity (i.e., an itchy trigger finger) but rather to an individual's cognitive ability to withhold an already initiated response (i.e., an itchy brain). Furthermore, active-response-inhibition training reduced simulated civilian casualties, which revealed a causal relationship. This study therefore illustrates the potential of using cognitive training to possibly improve shooting performance, which might ultimately provide insight for military and law-enforcement personnel.

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Conceiving Creativity: The Nature and Consequences of Laypeople's Beliefs About the Realization of Creativity

Matthijs Baas et al.
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, August 2015, Pages 340-354

Abstract:
To examine laypeople's beliefs about the conception of creativity, we asked people (N = 891) to indicate the extent to which they believed that certain cognitive processes, mind states, and circumstances were conducive to creativity (Studies 1-3). We further examined whether these beliefs are in line with their own experiences (Study 2) and with scientific evidence (General Discussion), and we examined the consequences that these beliefs have for the circumstances and conditions people select if creativity is required (Study 3). Findings showed that people have strong beliefs about the facilitating processes and circumstances for creativity. However, these beliefs are often incomplete and not in line with their own experiences and current empirical evidence. Moreover, lay beliefs inform the choices that people make about how to shape the circumstances to putatively stimulate their creativity. Therefore, a better understanding of the scientific evidence about creativity is crucial to help practitioners select and shape the processes and circumstances that stimulate creativity.

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Earnings and hindsight bias: An experimental study

Patricia Chelley-Steeley, Brian Kluger & Jim Steeley
Economics Letters, September 2015, Pages 130-132

Abstract:
We conduct prediction experiments where subjects estimate, and later reconstruct probabilities of upcoming events. Subjects also value state-contingent claims on these events. We find that hindsight bias is greater for events where subjects earned more money.

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Losing Face and Sinking Costs: Experimental Evidence on the Judgment of Political and Military Leaders

Jonathan Renshon
International Organization, Summer 2015, Pages 659-695

Abstract:
Status has long been implicated as a critical value of states and leaders in international politics. However, decades of research on the link between status and conflict have yielded divergent findings, and little evidence of a causal relationship. I attempt to resolve this impasse by shifting the focus from status to relative status concerns in building a theory of status from the ground up, beginning with its behavioral microfoundations. I build on and extend previous work through an experimental study of status threats and the escalation of commitment, operationalized here as a new behavioral escalation task using real financial incentives and framed around a narrative of war and peace. I utilize a unique sample of high-profile political and military leaders from the Senior Executive Fellow (SEF) program at the Harvard Kennedy School, as well as a group of demographically matched control subjects, allowing me to evaluate the moderating effect of power on status concerns while also addressing typical concerns about external validity in IR experiments. I find strong evidence that the fear of losing status impedes decision making and increases the tendency to "throw good money after bad," but that power aids decision making by buffering high-power subjects against the worst effects of status loss.

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The Power of a Picture: Overcoming Scientific Misinformation by Communicating Weight-of-Evidence Information with Visual Exemplars

Graham Dixon et al.
Journal of Communication, August 2015, Pages 639-659

Abstract:
Although most experts agree that vaccines do not cause autism, a considerable portion of the American public believes in a link. In an experiment (N = 371), we identified journalistic balance as a source of misperception about this issue and examined ways to attenuate misperceptions. In particular, by including weight-of-evidence information (i.e., stating that only one view is supported by evidence and a scientific consensus), we explored whether an article can present conflicting views without causing misperceptions. Including weight-of-evidence information fostered more accurate beliefs about an autism-vaccine link, but only for people with favorable pre-existing scientific views. However, this conditional effect disappeared when visual exemplars accompanied weight-of-evidence information. The findings of this study have both theoretical and practical implications for science communication.

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When Knowledge Knows No Bounds: Self-Perceived Expertise Predicts Claims of Impossible Knowledge

Stav Atir, Emily Rosenzweig & David Dunning
Psychological Science, August 2015, Pages 1295-1303

Abstract:
People overestimate their knowledge, at times claiming knowledge of concepts, events, and people that do not exist and cannot be known, a phenomenon called overclaiming. What underlies assertions of such impossible knowledge? We found that people overclaim to the extent that they perceive their personal expertise favorably. Studies 1a and 1b showed that self-perceived financial knowledge positively predicts claiming knowledge of nonexistent financial concepts, independent of actual knowledge. Study 2 demonstrated that self-perceived knowledge within specific domains (e.g., biology) is associated specifically with overclaiming within those domains. In Study 3, warning participants that some of the concepts they saw were fictitious did not reduce the relationship between self-perceived knowledge and overclaiming, which suggests that this relationship is not driven by impression management. In Study 4, boosting self-perceived expertise in geography prompted assertions of familiarity with nonexistent places, which supports a causal role for self-perceived expertise in claiming impossible knowledge.

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Frighteningly Similar: Relationship Metaphors Elicit Defensive Information Processing

Lucas Keefer & Mark Landau
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Messages in public discourse commonly employ metaphors to describe abstract sociopolitical issues in terms of unrelated concepts. In prior research, exposure to such metaphoric messages influences attitudes. The current research tests the novel possibility that metaphor exposure can elicit defensive avoidance of otherwise benign information. We build on the evidence that individuals with avoidant attachment style avoid thinking about close relationships, operationalized as lower recall of relationship information. Two studies show that dispositionally high and experimentally increased attachment avoidance impaired recall of messages framing political topics metaphorically in terms of close relationships. This effect is specific to the relationship metaphor and avoidance regarding relevant relationships. It held even when the message referred to positive relationships, casting doubt on an alternative valence priming explanation. Although the target political topics are not, literally speaking, close relationships, relationship-metaphoric messages led individuals who avoid relationship information to transfer that defensive processing style across domains.

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Improving dynamic decision making through training and self-reflection

Sarah Donovan, Dominik Güss & Dag Naslund
Judgment and Decision Making, July 2015, Pages 284-295

Abstract:
The modern business environment requires managers to make effective decisions in a dynamic and uncertain world. How can such dynamic decision making (DDM) improve? The current study investigated the effects of brief training aimed at improving DDM skills in a virtual DDM task. The training addressed the DDM process, stressed the importance of self-reflection in DDM, and provided 3 self-reflective questions to guide participants during the task. Additionally, we explored whether participants low or high in self-reflection would perform better in the task and whether participants low or high in self-reflection would benefit more from the training. The study also explored possible strategic differences between participants related to training and self-reflection. Participants were 68 graduate business students. They individually managed a computer-simulated chocolate production company called CHOCO FINE and answered surveys to assess self-reflection and demographics. Training in DDM led to better performance, including the ability to solve initial problems more successfully and to make appropriate adjustments to market changes. Participants' self-reflection scores also predicted performance in this virtual business company. High self-reflection was also related to more consistency in planning and decision making. Participants low in self-reflection benefitted the most from training. Organizations could use DDM training to establish and promote a culture that values self-reflective decision making.

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Creativity and Memory: Effects of an Episodic-Specificity Induction on Divergent Thinking

Kevin Madore, Donna Rose Addis & Daniel Schacter
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People produce more episodic details when imagining future events and solving means-end problems after receiving an episodic-specificity induction - brief training in recollecting details of a recent event - than after receiving a control induction not focused on episodic retrieval. Here we show for the first time that an episodic-specificity induction also enhances divergent creative thinking. In Experiment 1, participants exhibited a selective boost on a divergent-thinking task (generating unusual uses of common objects) after a specificity induction compared with a control induction; by contrast, performance following the two inductions was similar on an object association task thought to involve little divergent thinking. In Experiment 2, we replicated the specificity-induction effect on divergent thinking using a different control induction, and also found that participants performed similarly on a convergent-thinking task following the two inductions. These experiments provide novel evidence that episodic memory is involved in divergent creative thinking.

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Good self, bad self: Initial success and failure moderate the endowment effect

Theodore Alexopoulos, Milija Šimleša & Mélanie Francis
Journal of Economic Psychology, October 2015, Pages 32-40

Abstract:
Recent research on the endowment effect (a gap between selling and buying prices for the same good) considers as a working hypothesis that an endowed good becomes part of the self. Consequently, the endowment effect is viewed as a self-enhancement strategy originating or following from this self-object link. Within this perspective, subsequent self-threat typically enhances the endowment effect, whereas self-affirmation eliminates the endowment effect. Contrasting these findings and drawing on the idea that initial self-evaluations constrain the value of a newly acquired object, we reasoned that failures (successes) of the self experienced before the endowment will lower (raise) the value of possessions and influence the endowment effect accordingly. In Studies 1 and 2, we show that a private self-threat (vs. no threat) induced before endowing (vs. presenting) participants with a good eliminates the endowment effect. In Study 3, we show that feelings of pride (vs. no pride) induced via proprioceptive feedback yields a reliable endowment effect. These findings suggest that initial self-success/failure moderates the endowment effect and further show that bodily cues influence property transaction.

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Reducing Misanthropic Memory Through Self-Awareness: Reducing Bias

Mark Davis
American Journal of Psychology, Fall 2015, Pages 347-354

Abstract:
Two experiments investigated the influence of self-awareness on misanthropic recall. Misanthropic recall is the tendency to recall more negative behaviors dispositionally attributed and positive behaviors situationally attributed than negative behaviors situationally attributed and positive behaviors dispositionally attributed. It was hypothesized that when one is self-aware, more systematic information processing would occur, thereby reducing misanthropic memory and influencing attitudinal judgments. The first experiment used a mirror and the second experiment used a live video to induce self- awareness. Participants were asked to form an impression of a group. The results of both experiments replicated the previously found pattern of misanthropic memory for non-self-aware participants (ybarra & stephan, 1996), and revealed less misanthropic recall bias in self-aware participants.

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The Influence of Serotonin Deficiency on Choice Deferral and the Compromise Effect

Marcel Lichters et al.
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychological and physiological states such as mood, hunger, stress and sleep deprivation are known to affect decision-making processes and therefore crucially impact consumer behavior. A possible biological mechanism underlying the observed variability of consumer behavior is the context-sensitive variation in the levels of neuromodulators in the brain. In a series of four experimental studies, we pharmaceutically reduce the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain to diminish the availability of subjects' cognitive resources. In doing so, we study how serotonin brain levels influence (1) subjects' tendency to avoid buying, and (2) their preference for product options that are positioned as a compromise in a given choice set rather than for more extreme alternatives (i.e., the compromise effect). Using realistic product choice scenarios in a binding decision framework, we find that a reduction of serotonin brain levels leads to choice deferral and eliminates the compromise effect, both as a within-subjects and as a between-subjects choice phenomenon. As such, this study provides neurobiological evidence for the assumption that the compromise effect is the result of deliberate and demanding thought processes rather than intuitive decision-making.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It's a jungle out there

Drivers for the renaissance of coal

Jan Christoph Steckel, Ottmar Edenhofer & Michael Jakob
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 21 July 2015, Pages E3775–E3781

Abstract:
Coal was central to the industrial revolution, but in the 20th century it increasingly was superseded by oil and gas. However, in recent years coal again has become the predominant source of global carbon emissions. We show that this trend of rapidly increasing coal-based emissions is not restricted to a few individual countries such as China. Rather, we are witnessing a global renaissance of coal majorly driven by poor, fast-growing countries that increasingly rely on coal to satisfy their growing energy demand. The low price of coal relative to gas and oil has played an important role in accelerating coal consumption since the end of the 1990s. In this article, we show that in the increasingly integrated global coal market the availability of a domestic coal resource does not have a statistically significant impact on the use of coal and related emissions. These findings have important implications for climate change mitigation: If future economic growth of poor countries is fueled mainly by coal, ambitious mitigation targets very likely will become infeasible. Building new coal power plant capacities will lead to lock-in effects for the next few decades. If that lock-in is to be avoided, international climate policy must find ways to offer viable alternatives to coal for developing countries.

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The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits

Severin Borenstein & Lucas Davis
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Since 2006, U.S. households have received more than $18 billion in federal income tax credits for weatherizing their homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other "clean energy" investments. We use tax return data to examine the socioeconomic characteristics of program recipients. We find that these tax expenditures have gone predominantly to higher-income Americans. The bottom three income quintiles have received about 10% of all credits, while the top quintile has received about 60%. The most extreme is the program aimed at electric vehicles, where we find that the top income quintile has received about 90% of all credits. By comparing to previous work on the distributional consequences of pricing greenhouse gas emissions, we conclude that tax credits are likely to be much less attractive on distributional grounds than market mechanisms to reduce GHGs.

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General Equilibrium Impacts of a Federal Clean Energy Standard

Lawrence Goulder, Marc Hafstead & Roberton Williams
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economists have tended to view emissions pricing (e.g., cap and trade or a carbon tax) as the most cost-effective approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This paper offers a different view. Employing analytical and numerically solved general equilibrium models, it provides plausible conditions under which a more conventional form of regulation — namely, the use of a clean energy standard (CES) — is more cost-effective. The models reveal that the CES distorts factor markets less because it is a smaller implicit tax on factors of production. This advantage more than offsets the disadvantages of the CES when minor emissions reductions are involved.

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Scientists’ views and positions on global warming and climate change: A content analysis of congressional testimonies

Xinsheng Liu et al.
Climatic Change, August 2015, Pages 487-503

Abstract:
Among many potential causes for policymakers’ contention over whether there is a largely unified scientific agreement on global warming and climate change (GWCC), one possible factor, according to the information deficit theory, is that the scientists who testified in congressional hearings might be substantially divided in their views and positions associated with GWCC. To clarify this, we perform content analysis of 1350 testimonies from congressional GWCC hearings over a period of 39 years from 1969 to 2007 and use the data derived from this content analysis to provide an overview of scientist witnesses’ stances on GWCC. The key findings include: (1) among the scientists’ testimonies with an expressed view on whether GWCC is real, a vast majority (86 %) indicates that it is happening; (2) among the scientists’ testimonies with an identified stance on whether GWCC is anthropogenic, a great majority of them (78 %) indicates that GWCC is caused, at least to some degree, by human activity; (3) even under Republican controlled congresses, there is still a supermajority (75 %) - among the scientists’ testimonies with an expressed position on GWCC existence or GWCC cause - that believes that GWCC is real and that GWCC is anthropogenic; (4) most scientists’ testimonies (95 %) endorse pro-action policy to combat GWCC; and (5) the percentages of scientists’ views and positions are consistent across different types of scientist testimony groups. Our findings suggest that the scientific information transmitted to Congress is not substantially different from the general agreement in the climate science community.

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Should We Give Up After Solyndra? Optimal Technology R&D Portfolios under Uncertainty

Mort Webster et al.
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Global climate change and other environmental challenges require the development of new energy technologies with lower emissions. In the near-term, R&D investments, either by government or the private sector, can bring down the costs of these lower emission technologies. However, the results of R&D are uncertain, and there are many potential technologies that may turn out to play an effective role in the future energy mix. In this paper, we address the problem of allocating R&D across technologies under uncertainty. Specifically, given two technologies, one with lower costs at present, but the other with greater uncertainty in the returns to R&D, how should one allocate the R&D budget? We develop a multi-stage stochastic dynamic programming version of an integrated assessment model of climate and economy that represents endogenous technological change through R&D decisions for two substitutable non-carbon backstop technologies. Using the model, we demonstrate that near-term R&D into the higher cost technology is justified, and that the amount of R&D into the high cost technology increases with both the variance in the uncertainty in returns to R&D and with the skewness of the uncertainty. We also present an illustrative case study of wind and solar photovoltaic technologies, and show that poor R&D results in early periods do not necessarily mean that investment should not continue.

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21st century United States emissions mitigation could increase water stress more than the climate change it is mitigating

Mohamad Hejazi et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is evidence that warming leads to greater evapotranspiration and surface drying, thus contributing to increasing intensity and duration of drought and implying that mitigation would reduce water stresses. However, understanding the overall impact of climate change mitigation on water resources requires accounting for the second part of the equation, i.e., the impact of mitigation-induced changes in water demands from human activities. By using integrated, high-resolution models of human and natural system processes to understand potential synergies and/or constraints within the climate–energy–water nexus, we show that in the United States, over the course of the 21st century and under one set of consistent socioeconomics, the reductions in water stress from slower rates of climate change resulting from emission mitigation are overwhelmed by the increased water stress from the emissions mitigation itself. The finding that the human dimension outpaces the benefits from mitigating climate change is contradictory to the general perception that climate change mitigation improves water conditions. This research shows the potential for unintended and negative consequences of climate change mitigation.

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Climate variability and international migration: An empirical analysis

Nicola Coniglio & Giovanni Pesce
Environment and Development Economics, August 2015, Pages 434-468

Abstract:
Is international migration an adaptation strategy to sudden or gradual climatic shocks? In this paper we investigate the direct and the indirect role of climatic shocks in developing countries as a determinant of out-migration flows toward rich OECD countries in the period 1990–2001. Contrarily to the bulk of existing studies, we use a macro approach and explicitly consider the heterogeneity of climatic shocks (type, size, sign of shocks and seasonal effects). Our results show that the occurrence of adverse climatic events in origin countries has significative direct and indirect effects on out-migration from poor to rich countries.

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Historically unprecedented global glacier decline in the early 21st century

Michael Zemp et al.
Journal of Glaciology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Observations show that glaciers around the world are in retreat and losing mass. Internationally coordinated for over a century, glacier monitoring activities provide an unprecedented dataset of glacier observations from ground, air and space. Glacier studies generally select specific parts of these datasets to obtain optimal assessments of the mass-balance data relating to the impact that glaciers exercise on global sea-level fluctuations or on regional runoff. In this study we provide an overview and analysis of the main observational datasets compiled by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). The dataset on glacier front variations (~42 000 since 1600) delivers clear evidence that centennial glacier retreat is a global phenomenon. Intermittent readvance periods at regional and decadal scale are normally restricted to a subsample of glaciers and have not come close to achieving the maximum positions of the Little Ice Age (or Holocene). Glaciological and geodetic observations (~5200 since 1850) show that the rates of early 21st-century mass loss are without precedent on a global scale, at least for the time period observed and probably also for recorded history, as indicated also in reconstructions from written and illustrated documents. This strong imbalance implies that glaciers in many regions will very likely suffer further ice loss, even if climate remains stable.

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Solar Geoengineering, Uncertainty, and the Price of Carbon

Garth Heutel, Juan Moreno Cruz & Soheil Shayegh
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
We consider the socially optimal use of solar geoengineering to manage climate change. Solar geoengineering can reduce damages from atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, potentially more cheaply than reducing emissions. If so, optimal policy includes less abatement than recommended by models that ignore solar geoengineering, and the price of carbon is lower. Solar geoengineering reduces temperature but does not reduce atmospheric or ocean carbon concentrations, and that carbon may cause damages apart from temperature increases. Finally, uncertainty over climate change and solar geoengineering alters the optimal deployment of solar geoengineering. We explore these issues with an analytical model and a numerical simulation. The price of carbon is 30%-45% lower than the price recommended in a model without geoengineering, depending on the parameterizations of geoengineering costs and benefits. Carbon concentrations are higher but temperature is lower when allowing for solar geoengineering. The optimal amount of solar geoengineering is more sensitive to climate uncertainty than is the optimal amount of abatement.

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Recent hiatus caused by decadal shift in Indo-Pacific heating

Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis & William Patzert
Science, 31 July 2015, Pages 532-535

Abstract:
Recent modeling studies have proposed different scenarios to explain the slowdown in surface temperature warming in the most recent decade. Some of these studies seem to support the idea of internal variability and/or rearrangement of heat between the surface and the ocean interior. Others suggest that radiative forcing might also play a role. Our examination of observational data over the past two decades shows some significant differences when compared to model results from reanalyses and provides the most definitive explanation of how the heat was redistributed. We find that cooling in the top 100-meter layer of the Pacific Ocean was mainly compensated for by warming in the 100- to 300-meter layer of the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the past decade since 2003.

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Change points of global temperature

Niamh Cahill, Stefan Rahmstorf & Andrew Parnell
Environmental Research Letters, August 2015

Abstract:
We aim to address the question of whether or not there is a significant recent 'hiatus', 'pause' or 'slowdown' of global temperature rise. Using a statistical technique known as change point (CP) analysis we identify the changes in four global temperature records and estimate the rates of temperature rise before and after these changes occur. For each record the results indicate that three CPs are enough to accurately capture the variability in the data with no evidence of any detectable change in the global warming trend since ~1970. We conclude that the term 'hiatus' or 'pause' cannot be statistically justified.

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Decadal acidification in the water masses of the Atlantic Ocean

Aida Ríos et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 August 2015, Pages 9950–9955

Abstract:
Global ocean acidification is caused primarily by the ocean’s uptake of CO2 as a consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels. We present observations of the oceanic decrease in pH at the basin scale (50°S–36°N) for the Atlantic Ocean over two decades (1993–2013). Changes in pH associated with the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 (ΔpHCant) and with variations caused by biological activity and ocean circulation (ΔpHNat) are evaluated for different water masses. Output from an Institut Pierre Simon Laplace climate model is used to place the results into a longer-term perspective and to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for pH change. The largest decreases in pH (∆pH) were observed in central, mode, and intermediate waters, with a maximum ΔpH value in South Atlantic Central Waters of −0.042 ± 0.003. The ΔpH trended toward zero in deep and bottom waters. Observations and model results show that pH changes generally are dominated by the anthropogenic component, which accounts for rates between −0.0015 and −0.0020/y in the central waters. The anthropogenic and natural components are of the same order of magnitude and reinforce one another in mode and intermediate waters over the time period. Large negative ΔpHNat values observed in mode and intermediate waters are driven primarily by changes in CO2 content and are consistent with (i) a poleward shift of the formation region during the positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode in the South Atlantic and (ii) an increase in the rate of the water mass formation in the North Atlantic.

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Increased record-breaking precipitation events under global warming

Jascha Lehmann, Dim Coumou & Katja Frieler
Climatic Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the last decade record-breaking rainfall events have occurred in many places around the world causing severe impacts to human society and the environment including agricultural losses and floodings. There is now medium confidence that human-induced greenhouse gases have contributed to changes in heavy precipitation events at the global scale. Here, we present the first analysis of record-breaking daily rainfall events using observational data. We show that over the last three decades the number of record-breaking events has significantly increased in the global mean. Globally, this increase has led to 12 % more record-breaking rainfall events over 1981–2010 compared to those expected in stationary time series. The number of record-breaking rainfall events peaked in 2010 with an estimated 26 % chance that a new rainfall record is due to long-term climate change. This increase in record-breaking rainfall is explained by a statistical model which accounts for the warming of air and associated increasing water holding capacity only. Our results suggest that whilst the number of rainfall record-breaking events can be related to natural multi-decadal variability over the period from 1901 to 1980, observed record-breaking rainfall events significantly increased afterwards consistent with rising temperatures.

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Drivers of the US CO2 emissions 1997–2013

Kuishuang Feng et al.
Nature Communications, July 2015

Abstract:
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions in the United States decreased by ~11% between 2007 and 2013, from 6,023 to 5,377 Mt. This decline has been widely attributed to a shift from the use of coal to natural gas in US electricity production. However, the factors driving the decline have not been quantitatively evaluated; the role of natural gas in the decline therefore remains speculative. Here we analyse the factors affecting US emissions from 1997 to 2013. Before 2007, rising emissions were primarily driven by economic growth. After 2007, decreasing emissions were largely a result of economic recession with changes in fuel mix (for example, substitution of natural gas for coal) playing a comparatively minor role. Energy–climate policies may, therefore, be necessary to lock-in the recent emissions reductions and drive further decarbonization of the energy system as the US economy recovers and grows.

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Decreasing US aridity in a warming climate

J.M. Finkel, L.M. Canel-Katz & J.I. Katz
International Journal of Climatology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The mean North American and world climates have warmed since the 19th century following the anthropogenic emission of large quantities of greenhouse gases. It has been suggested that this warming may increase the frequency or severity of droughts. We define a quantitative and objective aridity index that describes the precipitation forcing function of drought. Using the extensive historical database of precipitation records, we evaluate changes in the aridity in the 48 contiguous United States. The area-averaged mean fractional rate of change of aridity of 1218 sites in the period 1893–2013 was (−6.6 ± 0.4) × 10− 4 per year; the 48 contiguous United States became less arid. The rate of decrease of aridity was roughly consistent with expectations from the Clausius–Clapeyron relation and the rate of warming. The fractional rate of change of aridity was nearly uncorrelated with the aridity itself, but there were regional differences: many Western and coastal Southeastern sites showed increasing aridity, but regions of rapidly decreasing aridity were found in a band 85∘–100∘W and the Northeast.

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Projected changes in regional climate extremes arising from Arctic sea ice loss

James Screen, Clara Deser & Lantao Sun
Environmental Research Letters, August 2015

Abstract:
The decline in Arctic sea ice cover has been widely documented and it is clear that this change is having profound impacts locally. An emerging and highly uncertain area of scientific research, however, is whether such Arctic change has a tangible effect on weather and climate at lower latitudes. Of particular societal relevance is the open question: will continued Arctic sea ice loss make mid-latitude weather more extreme? Here we analyse idealized atmospheric general circulation model simulations, using two independent models, both forced by projected Arctic sea ice loss in the late twenty-first century. We identify robust projected changes in regional temperature and precipitation extremes arising solely due to Arctic sea ice loss. The likelihood and duration of cold extremes are projected to decrease over high latitudes and over central and eastern North America, but to increase over central Asia. Hot extremes are projected to increase in frequency and duration over high latitudes. The likelihood and severity of wet extremes are projected to increase over high latitudes, the Mediterranean and central Asia; and their intensity is projected to increase over high latitudes and central and eastern Asia. The number of dry days over mid-latitude Eurasia and dry spell duration over high latitudes are both projected to decrease. There is closer model agreement for projected changes in temperature extremes than for precipitation extremes. Overall, we find that extreme weather over central and eastern North America is more sensitive to Arctic sea ice loss than over other mid-latitude regions. Our results are useful for constraining the role of Arctic sea ice loss in shifting the odds of extreme weather, but must not be viewed as deterministic projections, as they do not account for drivers other than Arctic sea ice loss.

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Evaluating changes in season length, onset, and end dates across the United States (1948–2012)

Michael Allen & Scott Sheridan
International Journal of Climatology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Discussed in a global context, the issue of scale is important to consider as it relates to climate change. As climatological studies utilize temporally and spatially static definitions of seasonal definitions, the understanding of seasonal change may be limited by the way in which seasons are defined. This research serves as a challenge to this perspective by examining the changes in seasons by incorporating variability into the way in which seasons are defined. Temporally and spatially variable seasons were defined based on thresholds of apparent temperature and upper-level circulation patterns for the period 1948–2012. Using 60 US surface stations, two apparent air temperature metrics were used to define seasons that vary spatially and temporally. Stations represented major cities found in the contiguous United States. A large-scale circulation approach utilized synoptic categorizations based on 250-mb geopotential heights from the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis (NNR) as a metric of seasonal delineation. In this method, seasons varied temporally but not spatially. Despite the different methodological approaches, consistent trends were found. Since 1948, late starts of autumn and winter have been observed while earlier onsets of spring and summer have taken place. For the individual stations, the largest shifts occurred along coasts and in larger, more urbanized environments. Individual locations also showed increased variability in start date, and significant changes were found for all four seasons in the circulation approach. Seasons have been shown to be important for a variety of processes including phenological responses and human adaptation to extreme temperature environments; therefore, the consideration of season variability may be appropriate for future climatological research.

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High-resolution dynamically downscaled projections of precipitation in the mid and late 21st century over North America

Jiali Wang & Veerabhadra Kotamarthi
Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study performs high-spatial-resolution (12 km) Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) simulations over a very large domain (7200 km × 6180 km, covering much of North America) to explore changes in mean and extreme precipitation in the mid and late 21st century under Representative Concentration Pathways 4.5 (RCP 4.5) and 8.5 (RCP 8.5). We evaluate WRF model performance for a historical simulation and future projections, applying the Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4) as initial and boundary conditions with and without a bias correction. WRF simulations using boundary and initial conditions from both versions of CCSM4 show smaller biases versus evaluation data sets than does CCSM4 over western North America. WRF simulations also improve spatial details of precipitation over much of North America. However, driving the WRF with the bias-corrected CCSM4 does not always reduce the bias. WRF-projected changes in precipitation include decreasing intensity over the U.S. Southwest, increasing intensity over the eastern United Sates and most of Canada, and an increase in the number of days with heavy precipitation over much of North America. Projected precipitation changes are more evident in the late 21st century than the mid 21st century, and they are more evident under RCP 8.5 than RCP 4.5 in the late 21st century. Uncertainties in the projected changes in precipitation due to different warming scenarios are non-negligible. Differences in summer precipitation changes between WRF and CCSM4 are significant over most of the United States.

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Global change at the landscape level: Relating regional and landscape-scale drivers of historical climate trends in the Southern Appalachians

Mark Lesser & Jason Fridley
International Journal of Climatology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organisms in montane environments are sensitive to fine-scale climatic variation associated with highly dissected topography, yet few studies have examined the sensitivity of different landscape positions to climate change. We downscaled biologically significant temperature variables to below-canopy 30 m resolution and assessed temporal trends from 1980 to 2011 across elevation and topographic gradients in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP; Tennessee and North Carolina, USA) using a previously developed empirical model derived from a 120-sensor temperature network. Additionally, we assessed GSMNP climate trends from 1900 using six historical climate records from the region and an additional eight records from 1980, spanning the Park's elevation gradient. Regional temperatures increased through the 1980s and 1990s, but currently remain at or below those recorded in the early to mid-20th century and are strongly associated with different phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation. In contrast, annual and growing season precipitation steadily rose during the past century. Landscape-scale analysis showed that rates of change for maximum seasonal temperatures, frost-free days (FFD), and growing degree days were strongly mediated by topographic position, with high-elevation ridges having greater rates of maximum temperature increases, whereas high-elevation near-stream positions showed the least amount of increase in FFD and growing degree days. Most importantly, we show how modelled differences in rates of climatic change based on landscape position could have significant ecological effects in this biologically significant region, depending on how organisms respond to particular climate factors. Organisms that depend on growing season length may experience the largest climate effects at the lowest elevations, while those that depend on warm days in spring and autumn for particular phenological processes will experience the largest shifts at high-elevation ridges.

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Impacts of climate change on electric power supply in the Western United States

Matthew Bartos & Mikhail Chester
Nature Climate Change, August 2015, Pages 748–752

Abstract:
Climate change may constrain future electricity generation capacity by increasing the incidence of extreme heat and drought events. We estimate reductions to generating capacity in the Western United States based on long-term changes in streamflow, air temperature, water temperature, humidity and air density. We simulate these key parameters over the next half-century by joining downscaled climate forcings with a hydrologic modelling system. For vulnerable power stations (46% of existing capacity), climate change may reduce average summertime generating capacity by 1.1–3.0%, with reductions of up to 7.2–8.8% under a ten-year drought. At present, power providers do not account for climate impacts in their development plans, meaning that they could be overestimating their ability to meet future electricity needs.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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