Blog

 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

There's some risk

Uber and Metropolitan Traffic Fatalities in the United States

Noli Brazil & David Kirk

American Journal of Epidemiology, 1 August 2016, Pages 192-198

Abstract:
Uber and similar rideshare services are rapidly dispersing in cities across the United States and beyond. Given the convenience and low cost, Uber has been characterized as a potential countermeasure for reducing the estimated 121 million episodes of drunk driving and the 10,000 resulting traffic fatalities that occur annually in the United States. We exploited differences in the timing of the deployment of Uber in US metropolitan counties from 2005 to 2014 to test the association between the availability of Uber's rideshare services and total, drunk driving-related, and weekend- and holiday-specific traffic fatalities in the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the United States using negative binomial and Poisson regression models. We found that the deployment of Uber services in a given metropolitan county had no association with the number of subsequent traffic fatalities, whether measured in aggregate or specific to drunk-driving fatalities or fatalities during weekends and holidays.

---------------------

Economic Conditions and Children's Mental Health

Ezra Golberstein, Gilbert Gonzales & Ellen Meara

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Research linking economic conditions and health largely ignores children’s mental health problems, which are the most common and consequential health issues for children and adolescents. We examine the effects of unemployment rates and housing prices on child and adolescent mental health and use of special education services for emotional problems in the 2001-2013 National Health Interview Survey. Mental health status declines as economic conditions deteriorate, and this result is pervasive across nearly every subgroup we examine, including families least likely to experience job loss. The use of special education services for emotional problems also rises when economic conditions worsen.

---------------------

Changing Polygenic Penetrance on Phenotypes in the 20th Century Among Adults in the US Population

Dalton Conley et al.

Scientific Reports, July 2016

Abstract:
This study evaluates changes in genetic penetrance — defined as the association between an additive polygenic score and its associated phenotype — across birth cohorts. Situating our analysis within recent historical trends in the U.S., we show that, while height and BMI show increasing genotypic penetrance over the course of 20th Century, education and heart disease show declining genotypic effects. Meanwhile, we find genotypic penetrance to be historically stable with respect to depression. Our findings help inform our understanding of how the genetic and environmental landscape of American society has changed over the past century, and have implications for research which models gene-environment (GxE) interactions, as well as polygenic score calculations in consortia studies that include multiple birth cohorts.

---------------------

Mental Disorders Top The List Of The Most Costly Conditions In The United States: $201 Billion

Charles Roehrig

Health Affairs, June 2016, Pages 1130-1135

Abstract:
Estimates of annual health spending for a comprehensive set of medical conditions are presented for the entire US population and with totals benchmarked to the National Health Expenditure Accounts. In 2013 mental disorders topped the list of most costly conditions, with spending at $201 billion.

---------------------

“Sorry, I’m Not Accepting New Patients”: An Audit Study of Access to Mental Health Care

Heather Kugelmass

Journal of Health and Social Behavior, June 2016, Pages 168-183

Abstract:
Through a phone-based field experiment, I investigated the effect of mental help seekers’ race, class, and gender on the accessibility of psychotherapists. Three hundred and twenty psychotherapists each received voicemail messages from one black middle-class and one white middle-class help seeker, or from one black working-class and one white working-class help seeker, requesting an appointment. The results revealed an otherwise invisible form of discrimination. Middle-class help seekers had appointment offer rates almost three times higher than their working-class counterparts. Race differences emerged only among middle-class help-seekers, with blacks considerably less likely than whites to be offered an appointment. Average appointment offer rates were equivalent across gender, but women were favored over men for appointment offers in their preferred time range.

---------------------

Recent Increases in the U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate: Disentangling Trends From Measurement Issues

Marian MacDorman et al.

Obstetrics & Gynecology, forthcoming

Objective: To develop methods for trend analysis of vital statistics maternal mortality data, taking into account changes in pregnancy question formats over time and between states, and to provide an overview of U.S. maternal mortality trends from 2000 to 2014.

Methods: This observational study analyzed vital statistics maternal mortality data from all U.S. states in relation to the format and year of adoption of the pregnancy question. Correction factors were developed to adjust data from before the standard pregnancy question was adopted to promote accurate trend analysis. Joinpoint regression was used to analyze trends for groups of states with similar pregnancy questions.

Results: The estimated maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 live births) for 48 states and Washington, DC (excluding California and Texas, analyzed separately) increased by 26.6%, from 18.8 in 2000 to 23.8 in 2014. California showed a declining trend, whereas Texas had a sudden increase in 2011-2012. Analysis of the measurement change suggests that U.S. rates in the early 2000s were higher than previously reported.

Conclusions: Despite the United Nations Millennium Development Goal for a 75% reduction in maternal mortality by 2015, the estimated maternal mortality rate for 48 states and Washington, DC, increased from 2000 to 2014; the international trend was in the opposite direction. There is a need to redouble efforts to prevent maternal deaths and improve maternity care for the 4 million U.S. women giving birth each year.

---------------------

Are handheld cell phone and texting bans really effective in reducing fatalities?

Leandro Rocco & Breno Sampaio

Empirical Economics, September 2016, Pages 853-876

Abstract:
This paper aims at evaluating if texting and handheld cell phone bans are effective in reducing the number of fatalities occurring in motor vehicle crashes using US county-level data. In the past two decades, many debates have been going on among policy makers regarding the impact of using mobile phone devices while driving. This political debate is partially motivated by the lack of clear empirical evidence on the relationship between cell phone use, bans and driving performance. Our results show that states that enacted primary cell phone bans experienced a significant reduction in the number of fatalities. Primary texting bans also affected fatalities, but this effect was significantly smaller than that estimated for handheld cell phone bans. This is an important and contradicting result, given most of the legislative activity in 2012 focused on text messaging behind the wheel, considered the most dangerous of the distracted driving activities. Additionally, we looked at how heterogeneous were these effects among states that enacted such bans. We observed that all states benefited from the ban in terms of fatality reduction; however, some were highly affected (such as CA and DC) and some affected in small scale (such as UT and WA).

---------------------

Insurance Financing Increased For Mental Health Conditions But Not For Substance Use Disorders, 1986–2014

Tami Mark et al.

Health Affairs, June 2016, Pages 958-965

Abstract:
This study updates previous estimates of US spending on mental health and substance use disorders through 2014. The results reveal that the long-term trend of greater insurance financing of mental health care continued in recent years. The share of total mental health treatment expenditures financed by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid increased from 44 percent in 1986 to 68 percent in 2014. In contrast, the share of spending for substance use disorder treatment financed by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid was 45 percent in 1986 and 46 percent in 2014. From 2004 to 2013, a growing percentage of adults received mental health treatment (12.6 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively), albeit only because of the increased use of psychiatric medications. In the same period, only 1.2–1.3 percent of adults received substance use disorder treatment in inpatient, outpatient, or residential settings, although the use of medications to treat substance use disorders increased rapidly.

---------------------

Eat (and Drink) Better Tonight: Food Stamp Benefit Timing and Drunk Driving Fatalities

Chad Cotti, John Gordanier & Orgul Ozturk

American Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the relationship between the timing of food stamp benefits and daily alcohol related fatal accidents. We exploit substantial exogenous variation in state food stamp distribution dates and enrollment numbers to estimate the relationship using binary outcome and count data frameworks. Our main result is that, in contrast to previous work on income receipt and mortality, alcohol related accidents with fatalities are substantially lower on the date of food stamp receipt and that the result is largely driven by a same-day effect. Further this effect is only present on weekdays. We find no effect of receipt on non-alcohol related accidents. We hypothesize that this is possibly driven by families being more likely to eat at home on distribution days.

---------------------

Cost and benefit estimates of partially-automated vehicle collision avoidance technologies

Corey Harper, Chris Hendrickson & Constantine Samaras

Accident Analysis & Prevention, October 2016, Pages 104–115

Abstract:
Many light-duty vehicle crashes occur due to human error and distracted driving. Partially-automated crash avoidance features offer the potential to reduce the frequency and severity of vehicle crashes that occur due to distracted driving and/or human error by assisting in maintaining control of the vehicle or issuing alerts if a potentially dangerous situation is detected. This paper evaluates the benefits and costs of fleet-wide deployment of blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning crash avoidance systems within the US light-duty vehicle fleet. The three crash avoidance technologies could collectively prevent or reduce the severity of as many as 1.3 million U.S. crashes a year including 133,000 injury crashes and 10,100 fatal crashes. For this paper we made two estimates of potential benefits in the United States: (1) the upper bound fleet-wide technology diffusion benefits by assuming all relevant crashes are avoided and (2) the lower bound fleet-wide benefits of the three technologies based on observed insurance data. The latter represents a lower bound as technology is improved over time and cost reduced with scale economies and technology improvement. All three technologies could collectively provide a lower bound annual benefit of about $18 billion if equipped on all light-duty vehicles. With 2015 pricing of safety options, the total annual costs to equip all light-duty vehicles with the three technologies would be about $13 billion, resulting in an annual net benefit of about $4 billion or a $20 per vehicle net benefit. By assuming all relevant crashes are avoided, the total upper bound annual net benefit from all three technologies combined is about $202 billion or an $861 per vehicle net benefit, at current technology costs. The technologies we are exploring in this paper represent an early form of vehicle automation and a positive net benefit suggests the fleet-wide adoption of these technologies would be beneficial from an economic and social perspective.

---------------------

Increasing incidence of metastatic prostate cancer in the United States (2004–2013)

Adam Weiner et al.

Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, forthcoming

Background: Changes in prostate cancer screening practices in the United States have led to recent declines in overall incidence, but it is unknown whether relaxed screening has led to changes in the incidence of advanced and metastatic prostate cancer at diagnosis.

Methods: We identified all men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the National Cancer Data Base (2004–2013) at 1089 different health-care facilities in the United States. Joinpoint regressions were used to model annual percentage changes (APCs) in the incidence of prostate cancer based on stage relative to that of 2004.

Results: The annual incidence of metastatic prostate cancer increased from 2007 to 2013 (Joinpoint regression: APC: 7.1%, P<0.05) and in 2013 was 72% more than that of 2004. The incidence of low-risk prostate cancer decreased from years 2007 to 2013 (APC: −9.3%, P<0.05) to 37% less than that of 2004. The greatest increase in metastatic prostate cancer was seen in men aged 55–69 years (92% increase from 2004 to 2013).

Conclusions: Beginning in 2007, the incidence of metastatic prostate cancer has increased especially among men in the age group thought most likely to benefit from definitive treatment for prostate cancer. These data highlight the continued need for nationwide refinements in prostate cancer screening and treatment.

---------------------

Early-life disease exposure and associations with adult survival, cause of death, and reproductive success in preindustrial humans

Adam Hayward, Francesca Rigby & Virpi Lummaa

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 9 August 2016, Pages 8951–8956

Abstract:
A leading hypothesis proposes that increased human life span since 1850 has resulted from decreased exposure to childhood infections, which has reduced chronic inflammation and later-life mortality rates, particularly from cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. Early-life cohort mortality rate often predicts later-life survival in humans, but such associations could arise from factors other than disease exposure. Additionally, the impact of early-life disease exposure on reproduction remains unknown, and thus previous work ignores a major component of fitness through which selection acts upon life-history strategy. We collected data from seven 18th- and 19th-century Finnish populations experiencing naturally varying mortality and fertility levels. We quantified early-life disease exposure as the detrended child mortality rate from infectious diseases during an individual’s first 5 y, controlling for important social factors. We found no support for an association between early-life disease exposure and all-cause mortality risk after age 15 or 50. We also found no link between early-life disease exposure and probability of death specifically from cardiovascular disease, stroke, or cancer. Independent of survival, there was no evidence to support associations between early-life disease exposure and any of several aspects of reproductive performance, including lifetime reproductive success and age at first birth, in either males or females. Our results do not support the prevailing assertion that exposure to infectious diseases in early life has long-lasting associations with later-life all-cause mortality risk or mortality putatively linked to chronic inflammation. Variation in adulthood conditions could therefore be the most likely source of recent increases in adult life span.

---------------------

Returns on Investment in California County Departments of Public Health

Timothy Brown

American Journal of Public Health, August 2016, Pages 1477-1482

Objectives: To estimate the average return on investment for the overall activities of county departments of public health in California.

Methods: I gathered the elements necessary to estimate the average return on investment for county departments of public health in California during the period 2001 to 2008–2009. These came from peer-reviewed journal articles published as part of a larger project to develop a method for determining return on investment for public health by using a health economics framework. I combined these elements by using the standard formula for computing return on investment, and performed a sensitivity analysis. Then I compared the return on investment for county departments of public health with the returns on investment generated for various aspects of medical care.

Results: The estimated return on investment from $1 invested in county departments of public health in California ranges from $67.07 to $88.21.

Conclusions: The very large estimated return on investment for California county departments of public health relative to the return on investment for selected aspects of medical care suggests that public health is a wise investment.

---------------------

Equity and length of lifespan are not the same

Benjamin Seligman, Gabi Greenberg & Shripad Tuljapurkar

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 26 July 2016, Pages 8420–8423

Abstract:
Efforts to understand the dramatic declines in mortality over the past century have focused on life expectancy. However, understanding changes in disparity in age of death is important to understanding mechanisms of mortality improvement and devising policy to promote health equity. We derive a novel decomposition of variance in age of death, a measure of inequality, and apply it to cause-specific contributions to the change in variance among the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) from 1950 to 2010. We find that the causes of death that contributed most to declines in the variance are different from those that contributed most to increase in life expectancy; in particular, they affect mortality at younger ages. We also find that, for two leading causes of death [cancers and cardiovascular disease (CVD)], there are no consistent relationships between changes in life expectancy and variance either within countries over time or between countries. These results show that promoting health at younger ages is critical for health equity and that policies to control cancer and CVD may have differing implications for equity.

---------------------

Indoor tanning among New Jersey high school students before and after the enactment of youth access restrictions

Elliot Coups, Jerod Stapleton & Cristine Delnevo

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, August 2016, Pages 440–442

"We examined indoor tanning rates among New Jersey youth before and after a ban on indoor tanning for those younger than 17 years was enacted on October 1, 2013... Among girls, boys, and for both sexes combined, indoor tanning rates in 2014 did not differ significantly from those in 2012 for those younger than 17 years (to whom the ban applied) or for students aged 17 years and older. Among students of all ages, the indoor tanning rate did not differ significantly from 2012 to 2014 for female students but among male students the rate increased from 2012 to 2014."

---------------------

A ubiquitous but ineffective intervention: Signs do not increase hand hygiene compliance

David Birnbach et al.

Journal of Infection and Public Health, forthcoming

Abstract:
Proper hand hygiene is critical for preventing healthcare-associated infection, but provider compliance remains suboptimal. While signs are commonly used to remind physicians and nurses to perform hand hygiene, the content of these signs is rarely based on specific, validated health behavior theories. This observational study assessed the efficacy of a hand hygiene sign disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an intensive care unit compared to an optimized evidence-based sign designed by a team of patient safety experts. The optimized sign was developed by four patient safety experts to include known evidence-based components and was subsequently validated by surveying ten physicians and ten nurses using a 10 point Likert scale. Eighty-two physicians and 98 nurses (102 females; 78 males) were observed for hand hygiene (HH) compliance, and the total HH compliance rate was 16%. HH compliance was not significantly different among the signs (Baseline 10% vs. CDC 18% vs. OIS 20%; p = 0.280). The findings of this study suggest that even when the content and design of a hand hygiene reminder sign incorporates evidence-based constructs, healthcare providers comply only a fraction of the time.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, August 15, 2016

Between you and your doctor

Shock, but no shift: Hospitals' responses to changes in patient insurance mix

Kathryn Wagner

Journal of Health Economics, September 2016, Pages 46-58

Abstract:
Medicaid reimburses healthcare providers for services at a lower rate than any other type of insurance coverage. To account for the burden of treating Medicaid patients, providers claim that they must cost-shift by raising the rates of individuals covered by private insurance. Previous investigations of cost-shifting has produced mixed results. In this paper, I exploit a disabled Medicaid expansion where crowd-out was complete to investigate cost-shifting. I find that hospitals reduce the charge rates of the privately insured. Given that Medicaid is expanding in several states under the Affordable Care Act, these results may alleviate cost-shifting concerns of the reform.

---------------------

Health Spending For Low-, Middle-, And High-Income Americans, 1963-2012

Samuel Dickman et al.

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1189-1196

Abstract:
US medical spending growth slowed between 2004 and 2013. At the same time, many Americans faced rising copayments and deductibles, which may have particularly affected lower-income people. To explore whether the health spending slowdown affected all income groups equally, we divided the population into income quintiles. We then assessed trends in health expenditures by and on behalf of people in each quintile using twenty-two national surveys carried out between 1963 and 2012. Before the 1965 passage of legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid, the lowest income quintile had the lowest expenditures, despite their worse health compared to other income groups. By 1977 the unadjusted expenditures for the lowest quintile exceeded those for all other income groups. This pattern persisted until 2004. Thereafter, expenditures fell for the lowest quintile, while rising more than 10 percent for the middle three quintiles and close to 20 percent for the highest income quintile, which had the highest expenditures in 2012. The post-2004 divergence of expenditure trends for the wealthy, middle class, and poor occurred only among the nonelderly. We conclude that the new pattern of spending post-2004, with the wealthiest quintile having the highest expenditures for health care, suggests that a redistribution of care toward wealthier Americans accompanied the health spending slowdown.

---------------------

Selective Regulator Decoupling and Organizations' Strategic Responses

Jonas Heese, Ranjani Krishnan & Frank Moers

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organizations often respond to institutional pressures by symbolically adopting policies and procedures but decoupling them from actual practice. Literature has examined why organizations decouple from regulatory pressures. In this study, we argue that decoupling occurs within regulatory agencies and results from a combination of conflicting institutional pressures, complex goals, and internal fragmentation. Further, regulatory decoupling is selective, i.e., regulators fail to adequately enforce standards only for one set of organizations. Regulated organizations that benefit from selective regulatory decoupling use nonmarket strategies to maintain their favorable regulatory status and in the process selectively decouple their norms in one organizational activity but not others. As an empirical context, we use the hospital industry where regulators have to balance conflicting pressures to be tough on fraud, while maintaining the community's access to essential but unprofitable services such as charity care and medical education. In response, hospital regulators selectively decouple and exhibit leniency in enforcement of mispricing practices towards beneficent hospitals, defined as hospitals that provide more charity care and medical education. In turn, beneficent hospitals selectively decouple their service and profit goals by providing unprofitable services to uninsured patients, while mispricing insured patients to earn higher reimbursements.

---------------------

Secret Shoppers Find Access To Providers And Network Accuracy Lacking For Those In Marketplace And Commercial Plans

Simon Haeder, David Weimer & Dana Mukamel

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1160-1166

Abstract:
The adequacy of provider networks for plans sold through insurance Marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act has received much scrutiny recently. Various studies have established that networks are generally narrow. To learn more about network adequacy and access to care, we investigated two questions. First, no matter the nominal size of a network, can patients gain access to primary care services from providers of their choice in a timely manner? Second, how does access compare to plans sold outside insurance Marketplaces? We conducted a "secret shopper" survey of 743 primary care providers from five of California's nineteen insurance Marketplace pricing regions in the summer of 2015. Our findings indicate that obtaining access to primary care providers was generally equally challenging both inside and outside insurance Marketplaces. In less than 30 percent of cases were consumers able to schedule an appointment with an initially selected physician provider. Information about provider networks was often inaccurate. Problems accessing services for patients with acute conditions were particularly troubling. Effectively addressing issues of network adequacy requires more accurate provider information.

---------------------

Share Of Specialty Drugs In Commercial Plans Nearly Quadrupled, 2003-14

Stacie Dusetzina

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1241-1246

Abstract:
From 2003 to 2014 the proportion of specialty prescription drugs (defined as those reimbursed at $600 or more per thirty-day fill) nearly quadrupled. Over this time period, fills for specialty drugs increased by 198 percent and spending for the drugs increased by 292 percent, as percentages of total drug fills and spending. Median out-of-pocket spending increased by 46 percent for specialty drugs and decreased by 57 percent for nonspecialty drugs during this time.

---------------------

Emergency Department Death Rates Dropped By Nearly 50 Percent, 1997-2011

Hemal Kanzaria, Marc Probst & Renee Hsia

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1303-1308

Abstract:
Between 1997 and 2011, there was a nearly 50 percent reduction in US emergency department mortality rates for adults. This trend likely has many causes, related to advances in palliative, prehospital, and emergency care.

---------------------

The anticipatory effects of Medicare Part D on drug utilization

Abby Alpert

Journal of Health Economics, September 2016, Pages 28-45

Abstract:
While health care policies are frequently signed into law well before they are implemented, such lags are ignored in most empirical work. This paper demonstrates the importance of implementation lags in the context of Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit that took effect two years after it was signed into law. Exploiting the differential responses of chronic and acute drugs to anticipated future prices, I show that individuals reduced drug utilization for chronic but not acute drugs in anticipation of Part D's implementation. Accounting for this anticipatory response substantially reduces the estimated total treatment effect of Part D.

---------------------

Medicaid Expansion In 2014 Did Not Increase Emergency Department Use But Did Change Insurance Payer Mix

Jesse Pines et al.

Health Affairs, August 2016, Pages 1480-1486

Abstract:
In 2014 twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia had expanded Medicaid eligibility while federal and state-based Marketplaces in every state made subsidized private health insurance available to qualified individuals. As a result, about seventeen million previously uninsured Americans gained health insurance in 2014. Many policy makers had predicted that Medicaid expansion would lead to greatly increased use of hospital emergency departments (EDs). We examined the effect of insurance expansion on ED use in 478 hospitals in 36 states during the first year of expansion (2014). In difference-in-differences analyses, Medicaid expansion increased Medicaid-paid ED visits in those states by 27.1 percent, decreased uninsured visits by 31.4 percent, and decreased privately insured visits by 6.7 percent during the first year of expansion compared to nonexpansion states. Overall, however, total ED visits grew by less than 3 percent in 2014 compared to 2012-13, with no significant difference between expansion and nonexpansion states. Thus, the expansion of Medicaid coverage strongly affected payer mix but did not significantly affect overall ED use, even though more people gained insurance coverage in expansion states than in nonexpansion states. This suggests that expanding Medicaid did not significantly increase or decrease overall ED visit volume.

---------------------

Impact of Massachusetts Health Reform on Enrollment Length and Health Care Utilization in the Unsubsidized Individual Market

Laura Garabedian et al.

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate the impact of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform, the model for the Affordable Care Act, on short-term enrollment and utilization in the unsubsidized individual health insurance market.

Data Source: Seven years of administrative and claims data from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

Research Design: We employed pre-post survival analysis and an interrupted time series design to examine changes in enrollment length, utilization patterns, and use of elective procedures (discretionary inpatient surgeries and infertility treatment) among nonelderly adult enrollees before (n = 6,912) and after (n = 29,207) the MA reform.

Principal Findings: The probability of short-term enrollment dropped immediately after the reform. Rates of inpatient encounters (HR = 0.83, 95 percent CI: 0.74, 0.93), emergency department encounters (HR = 0.85, 95 percent CI: 0.80, 0.91), and discretionary inpatient surgeries (HR = 0.66 95 percent CI: 0.45, 0.97) were lower in the postreform period, whereas the rate of ambulatory visits was somewhat higher (HR = 1.04, 95 percent CI: 1.00, 1.07). The rate of infertility treatment was higher after the reform (HR = 1.61, 95 percent CI: 1.33, 1.97), driven by women in individual (vs. family) plans. The reform was not associated with increased utilization among short-term enrollees.

Conclusions: MA health reform was associated with a decrease in short-term enrollment and changes in utilization patterns indicative of reduced adverse selection in the unsubsidized individual market. Adverse selection may be a problem for specific, high-cost treatments.

---------------------

Medicare Advantage Plans Pay Hospitals Less Than Traditional Medicare Pays

Laurence Baker et al.

Health Affairs, August 2016, Pages 1444-1451

Abstract:
There is ongoing debate about how prices paid to providers by Medicare Advantage plans compare to prices paid by fee-for-service Medicare. We used data from Medicare and the Health Care Cost Institute to identify the prices paid for hospital services by fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, and commercial insurers in 2009 and 2012. We calculated the average price per admission, and its trend over time, in each of the three types of insurance for fixed baskets of hospital admissions across metropolitan areas. After accounting for differences in hospital networks, geographic areas, and case-mix between Medicare Advantage and FFS Medicare, we found that Medicare Advantage plans paid 5.6 percent less for hospital services than FFS Medicare did. Without taking into account the narrower networks of Medicare Advantage, the program paid 8.0 percent less than FFS Medicare. We also found that the rates paid by commercial plans were much higher than those of either Medicare Advantage or FFS Medicare, and growing. At least some of this difference comes from the much higher prices that commercial plans pay for profitable service lines.

---------------------

Favorable Risk Selection in Medicare Advantage: Trends in Mortality and Plan Exits Among Nursing Home Beneficiaries

Elizabeth Goldberg et al.

Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) increased payments to Medicare Advantage plans and instituted a new risk-adjustment payment model to reduce plans' incentives to enroll healthier Medicare beneficiaries and avoid those with higher costs. Whether the MMA reduced risk selection remains debatable. This study uses mortality differences, nursing home utilization, and switch rates to assess whether the MMA successfully decreased risk selection from 2000 to 2012. We found no decrease in the mortality difference or adjusted difference in nursing home use between plan beneficiaries pre- and post the MMA. Among beneficiaries with nursing home use, disenrollment from Medicare Advantage plans declined from 20% to 12%, but it remained 6 times higher than the switch rate from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage. These findings suggest that the MMA was not associated with reductions in favorable risk selection, as measured by mortality, nursing home use, and switch rates.

---------------------

Primary Care Appointment Availability for Medicaid Patients: Comparing Traditional and Premium Assistance Plans

Simon Basseyn et al.

Medical Care, September 2016, Pages 878-883

Background: Arkansas and Iowa received waivers from the federal government in 2014 to use federal Medicaid expansion funding to enroll beneficiaries in commercial insurance plans on the Marketplaces. One key hypothesis of these "private option" or "premium assistance" programs was that Medicaid beneficiaries would experience increased access to care. In this study, we compare new patient primary care appointment availability and wait-times for beneficiaries of traditional Medicaid and premium assistance Medicaid.

Methods: Trained field staff posing as patients, randomized to traditional Medicaid or Marketplace plans, called primary care practices seeking new patient appointments in Arkansas and Iowa in May to July 2014. All calls were made to offices that previously indicated being in-network for the plan. Offices were drawn randomly, within insurance type, based on the county proportion of the population with each insurance type. We calculated appointment rates and wait-times for new patients for traditional Medicaid and Marketplace plans.

Results: In Arkansas, Marketplace appointment rates were 27.2 percentage points higher than traditional Medicaid appointment rates (83.2% compared with 55.5%, P<0.001), while in Iowa, Marketplace appointment rates were 12.0 percentage points higher (86.3% compared with 74.3%, P<0.001). Conditional on receiving an appointment, median wait-times were roughly 1 week in each state without significant differences by insurance type.

Conclusions: The experiences of Arkansas and Iowa suggest that enrolling Medicaid beneficiaries into Marketplace plans may lead to higher primary care appointment availability for new patients at participating providers. Further research is needed on whether premium assistance programs affect quality and continuity of care, and at what cost.

---------------------

The Impact of Nursing Home Pay-for-Performance on Quality and Medicare Spending: Results from the Nursing Home Value-Based Purchasing Demonstration

David Grabowski et al.

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate the impact of the Nursing Home Value-Based Purchasing demonstration on quality of care and Medicare spending.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Administrative and qualitative data from Arizona, New York, and Wisconsin nursing homes over the base-year (2008-2009) and 3-year (2009-2012) demonstration period.

Study Design: Nursing homes were randomized to the intervention in New York, while the comparison facilities were constructed via propensity score matching in Arizona and Wisconsin. We used a difference-in-difference analysis to compare outcomes across the base-year relative to outcomes in each of the three demonstration years. To provide context and assist with interpretation of results, we also interviewed staff members at participating facilities.

Principal Findings: Medicare savings were observed in Arizona in the first year only and Wisconsin for the first 2 years; no savings were observed in New York. The demonstration did not systematically impact any of the quality measures. Discussions with nursing home administrators suggested that facilities made few, if any, changes in response to the demonstration, leading us to conclude that the observed savings likely reflected regression to the mean rather than true savings.

Conclusion: The Federal nursing home pay-for-performance demonstration had little impact on quality or Medicare spending.

---------------------

Search and You Shall Find: Geographic Characteristics Associated With Google Searches During the Affordable Care Act's First Enrollment Period

Sarah Gollust et al.

Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies indicate that Internet searching was a major source of information for the public during the launch of the Affordable Care Act, but little is known about geographic variation in searching. Our objective was to examine factors associated with health insurance-related Google searches in 199 U.S. metro areas during the first open enrollment period (October 2013 through March 2014), by merging data from Google Trends with metro-area-level and state-level characteristics. Our results indicate substantial geographic variation in the volumes of searching across the United States, and these patterns were related to local uninsurance rates. Specifically, areas with higher uninsurance rates were more likely to search in higher volumes for "Obamacare" and "health insurance," after adjusting for sociodemographic, political, and insurance market characteristics. The enormous political, advocacy, and media attention to the Affordable Care Act's launch may have contributed to heightened Internet search activity, particularly in areas characterized by higher uninsurance.

---------------------

The Evolution of Physician Practice Styles: Evidence from Cardiologist Migration

David Molitor

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Physician treatment choices for observably similar patients vary dramatically across regions. This paper exploits cardiologist migration to disentangle the role of physician-specific factors such as preferences and learned behavior versus environment-level factors such as hospital capacity and productivity spillovers on physician behavior. Physicians who start in the same region and subsequently move to dissimilar regions practice similarly before the move, but each percentage point change in practice environment results in an immediate 2/3 percentage point change in physician behavior, with no further changes over time. This suggests environment factors are twice as important as physician-specific factors for explaining regional disparities.

---------------------

Does It Pay to Penalize Hospitals for Excess Readmissions? Intended and Unintended Consequences of Medicare's Hospital Readmissions Reductions Program

Jennifer Mellor, Michael Daly & Molly Smith

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
To incentivize hospitals to provide better quality care at a lower cost, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 included the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), which reduces payments to hospitals with excess 30-day readmissions for Medicare patients treated for certain conditions. We use triple difference estimation to identify the HRRP's effects in Virginia hospitals; this method estimates the difference in changes in readmission over time between patients targeted by the policy and a comparison group of patients and then compares those difference-in-differences estimates in patients treated at hospitals with readmission rates above the national average (i.e., those at risk for penalties) and patients treated at hospitals with readmission rates below or equal to the national average (those not at risk). We find that the HRRP significantly reduced readmission for Medicare patients treated for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We find no evidence that hospitals delay readmissions, treat patients with greater intensity, or alter discharge status in response to the HRRP, nor do we find changes in the age, race/ethnicity, health status, and socioeconomic status of patients admitted for AMI. Future research on the specific mechanisms behind reduced AMI readmissions should focus on actions by healthcare providers once the patient has left the hospital.

---------------------

Impact of Massachusetts Health Reform on Inpatient Care Use: Was the Safety-Net Experience Different Than in the Non-Safety-Net?

Amresh Hanchate et al.

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: Most inpatient care for the uninsured and other vulnerable subpopulations occurs in safety-net hospitals. As insurance expansion increases the choice of hospitals for the previously uninsured, we examined if Massachusetts health reform was associated with shifts in the volume of inpatient care from safety-net to non-safety-net hospitals overall, or among other vulnerable sociodemographic (racial/ethnic minority, low socioeconomic status, high uninsured rate area) and clinical subpopulations (emergent status, diagnosis).

Data Sources/Study Setting: Discharge records for adults discharged from all nonfederal acute care hospitals in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania 2004-2010.

Study Design: Using a difference-in-differences design, we compared pre-/post-reform changes in safety-net and non-safety-net hospital discharge outcomes in Massachusetts among adults 18-64 with corresponding changes in comparisons states with no reform, overall, and by subpopulations.

Principal Findings: Reform was not associated with changes in inpatient care use at safety-net and non-safety-net hospitals across all discharges or in most subpopulations examined.

Conclusions: Demand for inpatient care at safety-net hospitals may not decrease following insurance expansion. Whether this is due to other access barriers or patient preference needs to be explored.

---------------------

Combined Regional Investments Could Substantially Enhance Health System Performance And Be Financially Affordable

Jack Homer et al.

Health Affairs, August 2016, Pages 1435-1443

Abstract:
Leaders across the United States face a difficult challenge choosing among possible approaches to transform health system performance in their regions. The ReThink Health Dynamics Model simulates how alternative scenarios could unfold through 2040. This article compares the likely consequences if four interventions were enacted in layered combinations in a prototypical midsize US city. We estimated the effects of efforts to deliver higher-value care; reinvest savings and expand global payment; enable healthier behaviors; and expand socioeconomic opportunities. Results suggest that there may be an effective and affordable way to unlock much greater health and economic potential, ultimately reducing severe illness by 20 percent, lowering health care costs by 14 percent, and improving economic productivity by 9 percent. This would require combined investments in clinical and population-level initiatives, coupled with financial agreements that reduce incentives for costly care and reinvest a share of the savings to ensure adequate long-term financing.

---------------------

Advertising in Health Insurance Markets

Bradley Shapiro

University of Chicago Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We study the effect of television ads in the market for health insurance for the elderly. Regulators are concerned about firms potentially using ads to "cream skim", or attract an advantageous risk pool as well as the potential for firms to use misinformation to take advantage of the elderly. On the other hand, ads could provide useful information or remind people to reconsider their options, making regulation potentially welfare reducing. Using the discontinuity in advertising exposure created by the borders of television markets, we estimate television advertising to have on average zero lift on the share of seniors who choose private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans over government-provided Traditional Medicare (TM) with enough precision to reject the null of positive ROI from market expansion. Leveraging the unilateral cessation of advertising by United Healthcare for three years, we additionally find that rival advertising provided zero average impact on United's brand share with enough precision to reject positive ROI from business stealing. Additionally, advertising is not more effective in counties with a healthier population, potentially easing the concern over cream skimming. The lack of advertising effect cannot be attributed to the shape of the advertising response curve or to long-run effects.

---------------------

Accounting For Patients' Socioeconomic Status Does Not Change Hospital Readmission Rates

Susannah Bernheim et al.

Health Affairs, August 2016, Pages 1461-1470

Abstract:
There is an active public debate about whether patients' socioeconomic status should be included in the readmission measures used to determine penalties in Medicare's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). Using the current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services methodology, we compared risk-standardized readmission rates for hospitals caring for high and low proportions of patients of low socioeconomic status (as defined by their Medicaid status or neighborhood income). We then calculated risk-standardized readmission rates after additionally adjusting for patients' socioeconomic status. Our results demonstrate that hospitals caring for large proportions of patients of low socioeconomic status have readmission rates similar to those of other hospitals. Moreover, readmission rates calculated with and without adjustment for patients' socioeconomic status are highly correlated. Readmission rates of hospitals caring for patients of low socioeconomic status changed by approximately 0.1 percent with adjustment for patients' socioeconomic status, and only 3-4 percent fewer such hospitals reached the threshold for payment penalty in Medicare's HRRP. Overall, adjustment for socioeconomic status does not change hospital results in meaningful ways.

---------------------

The Effect of Occupational Licensing on Consumer Welfare: Early Midwifery Laws and Maternal Mortality

Mark Anderson et al.

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Occupational licensing is intended to protect consumers. Whether it does so is an important, but unanswered, question. Exploiting variation across states and municipalities in the timing and details of midwifery laws introduced during the period 1900-1940, and using a rich data set that we assembled from primary sources, we find that requiring midwives to be licensed reduced maternal mortality by 6 to 7 percent. In addition, we find that requiring midwives to be licensed may have had led to modest reductions in nonwhite infant mortality and mortality among children under the age of 2 from diarrhea. These estimates provide the first econometric evidence of which we are aware on the relationship between licensure and consumer safety, and are directly relevant to ongoing policy debates both in the United States and in the developing world surrounding the merits of licensing midwives.

---------------------

Impact of State Reporting Laws on Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection Rates in U.S. Adult Intensive Care Units

Hangsheng Liu et al.

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the effect of mandated state health care-associated infection (HAI) reporting laws on central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rates in adult intensive care units (ICUs).

Data Sources: We analyzed 2006-2012 adult ICU CLABSI and hospital annual survey data from the National Healthcare Safety Network. The final analytic sample included 244 hospitals, 947 hospital years, 475 ICUs, 1,902 ICU years, and 16,996 ICU months.

Principal Findings: Controlling for the overall time trend, ICUs in states with laws had lower CLABSI rates beginning approximately 6 months prior to the law's effective date (incidence rate ratio = 0.66; p < .001); this effect persisted for more than 6 1/2 years after the law's effective date. These findings were robust in secondary models and are likely to be attributed to changes in central line usage and/or resources dedicated to infection control.

Conclusions: Our results provide valuable evidence that state reporting requirements for HAIs improved care. Additional studies are needed to further explore why and how mandatory HAI reporting laws decreased CLABSI rates.

---------------------

Competition, information, and quality: Evidence from nursing homes

Xin Zhao

Journal of Health Economics, September 2016, Pages 136-152

Abstract:
Economic theory suggests that competition and information can both be important for product quality, and yet evidence on how they may interact to affect quality is sparse. This paper estimates the impact of competition between nursing homes on their quality, and how this impact varies when consumers have better access to information. The effect of competition is identified using exogenous variation in the geographical proximity of nursing homes to their potential consumers. The change in information transparency is captured by the launch of the Five-Star Quality Rating System in 2009, which improved access to the quality information of nursing homes. We find that while the effect of competition on nursing home quality is generally rather limited, this effect becomes significantly stronger with increased information transparency. The results suggest that regulations on public quality reporting and on market structure are policy complements, and should be considered jointly to best improve quality.

---------------------

The Affordable Care Act's Effects On The Formation, Expansion, And Operation Of Physician-Owned Hospitals

Elizabeth Plummer & William Wempe

Health Affairs, August 2016, Pages 1452-1460

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposed new restrictions on the formation and expansion of physician-owned hospitals. These restrictions provided incentives for the hospitals and their owners to take preemptive actions before the effective dates of ACA provisions and modify their operations thereafter. We studied 106 physician-owned hospitals in Texas to determine how they responded to ACA restrictions. We found that there were significant pre-ACA increases in the formation, physician ownership, and physical capacity of physician-owned hospitals, which suggests that they reacted quickly to the policy changes. After the ACA's provisions took effect, the hospitals improved the use of their assets to generate increased amounts of services, revenue, and profits. We found no evidence that existing physician-owned hospitals stopped accepting Medicare to avoid the ACA restrictions, although some investors adopted a seemingly unsuccessful strategy of not accepting Medicare at physician-owned hospitals formed after implementation of the ACA. We conclude that the ACA restrictions effectively eliminated the formation of new physician-owned hospitals, thus accomplishing what previous legislative efforts had failed to do.

---------------------

Electronic Medical Records and Medical Procedure Choice: Evidence from Cesarean Sections

Seth Freedman & Noah Hammarlund

Indiana University Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
This paper examines how hospital adoption of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) impacts medical procedure choice in the context of Cesarean section deliveries. It provides a unique contribution by tying the literature on EMR diffusion to the literature on the utilization of expensive medical technology. We exploit exogenous within-hospital variation in EMR adoption to estimate whether EMRs assists providers in matching patients to the most appropriate procedure, given their medical condition. We find that EMR adoption reduces C-section rates for low-risk mothers. However, we find this effect occurs predominantly in hospitals that were already performing fewer C-sections, and EMRs do not change the behavior of already high-intensity providers. Additional results suggest that our findings are driven by unscheduled C-sections, which are most likely to be impacted by EMRs within the hospital, and that some of the benefits of reduced low-risk C-section rates may be offset by increases in adverse health outcomes.

---------------------

Variation in Physician Practice Styles within and across Emergency Departments

Jessica Van Parys

PLoS ONE, August 2016

Abstract:
Despite the significant responsibility that physicians have in healthcare delivery, we know surprisingly little about why physician practice styles vary within or across institutions. Estimating variation in physician practice styles is complicated by the fact that patients are rarely randomly assigned to physicians. This paper uses the quasi-random assignment of patients to physicians in emergency departments (EDs) to show how physicians vary in their treatment of patients with minor injuries. The results reveal a considerable degree of variation in practice styles within EDs; physicians at the 75th percentile of the spending distribution spend 20% more than physicians at the 25th percentile. Observable physician characteristics do not explain much of the variation across physicians, but there is a significant degree of sorting between physicians and EDs over time, with high-cost physicians sorting into high-cost EDs as they gain experience. The results may shed light on why some EDs remain persistently higher-cost than others.

---------------------

Early Efforts By Medicare Accountable Care Organizations Have Limited Effect On Mental Illness Care And Management

Alisa Busch, Haiden Huskamp & Michael McWilliams

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1247-1256

Abstract:
People with mental illness use more health care and have worse outcomes than those without such illnesses. In response to incentives to reduce spending, accountable care organizations (ACOs) may therefore attempt to improve their management of mental illness. We examined changes in mental health spending, utilization, and quality measures associated with ACO contracts in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and Pioneer model for beneficiaries with mental illness, using Medicare claims for the period 2008-13 and difference-in-differences comparisons with local non-ACO providers. Pioneer contracts were associated with lower spending on mental health admissions in the first year of the contract, an effect that was attenuated in the second year. Otherwise, ACO contracts were associated with no changes in mental health spending or readmissions, outpatient follow-up after mental health admissions, rates of depression diagnosis, or mental health status. These results suggest that ACOs have not yet focused on mental illness or have been largely unsuccessful in early efforts to improve their management of it.

---------------------

Impact of ACA Insurance Coverage Expansion on Perforated Appendix Rates Among Young Adults

John Scott et al.

Medical Care, September 2016, Pages 818-826

Background: The 2010 Dependent Coverage Provision (DCP) of the Affordable Care Act allowed young adults to remain on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26 years. Although the provision improved coverage and survey-reported access to care, little is known regarding its impact on timely access for acute conditions. This study aims to assess changes in insurance coverage and perforation rates among young adults with acute appendicitis - an established metric for population-level health care access - after the DCP.

Methods: The National Inpatient Sample and difference-in-differences linear regression were used to assess prepolicy/postpolicy changes for policy-eligible young adults (aged 19-25 y) compared with a slightly older, policy-ineligible comparator group (aged 26-34 y).

Results: After adjustment for covariates, 19-25 year olds experienced a 3.6-percentage point decline in the uninsured rate after the DCP (baseline 22.5%), compared with 26-34 year olds (P<0.001). This coincided with a 1.4-percentage point relative decline in perforated appendix rate for 19-25 year olds (baseline 17.5%), compared with 26-34 year olds (P=0.023). All subgroups showed significant reductions in uninsured rates; however, statistically significant reductions in perforation rates were limited to racial/ethnic minorities, patients from lower-income communities, and patients presenting to urban teaching hospitals.

Conclusions: Reductions in uninsured rates among young adults after the DCP were associated with significant reductions in perforated appendix rates relative to a comparator group, suggesting that insurance expansion could lead to fewer delays in seeking and accessing care for acute conditions. Greater relative declines in perforation rates among the most at-risk subpopulations hold important implications for the use of coverage expansion to mitigate existing disparities in access to care.

---------------------

Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner Malpractice Trends

Douglas Brock, Jeffrey Nicholson & Roderick Hooker

Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trends in malpractice awards and adverse actions (e.g., revocation of provider license) following an act or omission constituting medical error or negligence were examined. The National Practitioner Data Bank was used to compare rates of malpractice reports and adverse actions for physicians, physician assistants (PAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs). During 2005 through 2014, there ranged from 11.2 to 19.0 malpractice payment reports per 1,000 physicians, 1.4 to 2.4 per 1,000 PAs, and 1.1 to 1.4 per 1,000 NPs. Physician median payments ranged from 1.3 to 2.3 times higher than PAs or NPs. Diagnosis-related malpractice allegations varied by provider type, with physicians having significantly fewer reports (31.9%) than PAs (52.8%) or NPs (40.6%) over the observation period. Trends in malpractice payment reports may reflect policy enactments to decrease liability.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Way back

Genomic insights into the origin of farming in the ancient Near East

Iosif Lazaridis et al.

Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report genome-wide ancient DNA from 44 ancient Near Easterners ranging in time between ~12,000 and 1,400 BCE, from Natufian hunter–gatherers to Bronze Age farmers. We show that the earliest populations of the Near East derived around half their ancestry from a ‘Basal Eurasian’ lineage that had little if any Neanderthal admixture and that separated from other non-African lineages before their separation from each other. The first farmers of the southern Levant (Israel and Jordan) and Zagros Mountains (Iran) were strongly genetically differentiated, and each descended from local hunter–gatherers. By the time of the Bronze Age, these two populations and Anatolian-related farmers had mixed with each other and with the hunter–gatherers of Europe to drastically reduce genetic differentiation. The impact of the Near Eastern farmers extended beyond the Near East: farmers related to those of Anatolia spread westward into Europe; farmers related to those of the Levant spread southward into East Africa; farmers related to those from Iran spread northward into the Eurasian steppe; and people related to both the early farmers of Iran and to the pastoralists of the Eurasian steppe spread eastward into South Asia.

---------------------

Early Neolithic genomes from the eastern Fertile Crescent

Farnaz Broushaki et al.

Science, 29 Jul 2016, Pages 499-503

Abstract:
We sequenced Early Neolithic genomes from the Zagros region of Iran (eastern Fertile Crescent), where some of the earliest evidence for farming is found, and identify a previously uncharacterized population that is neither ancestral to the first European farmers nor has contributed significantly to the ancestry of modern Europeans. These people are estimated to have separated from Early Neolithic farmers in Anatolia some 46-77,000 years ago and show affinities to modern day Pakistani and Afghan populations, but particularly to Iranian Zoroastrians. We conclude that multiple, genetically differentiated hunter-gatherer populations adopted farming in SW-Asia, that components of pre-Neolithic population structure were preserved as farming spread into neighboring regions, and that the Zagros region was the cradle of eastward expansion.

---------------------

Controlled fire use in early humans might have triggered the evolutionary emergence of tuberculosis

Rebecca Chisholm et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 9 August 2016, Pages 9051–9056

Abstract:
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), a wildly successful group of organisms and the leading cause of death resulting from a single bacterial pathogen worldwide. It is generally accepted that MTBC established itself in human populations in Africa and that animal-infecting strains diverged from human strains. However, the precise causal factors of TB emergence remain unknown. Here, we propose that the advent of controlled fire use in early humans created the ideal conditions for the emergence of TB as a transmissible disease. This hypothesis is supported by mathematical modeling together with a synthesis of evidence from epidemiology, evolutionary genetics, and paleoanthropology.

---------------------

Repeated Demographic-Structural Crises Propel the Spread of Large-scale Agrarian States Throughout the Old World

James Bennett

Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution, 2016, Pages 1-36

Abstract:
I investigate the geographical consequences of demographic-structural dynamics using a spatially resolved agent-based model of agrarian empires in several Old World regions between 1500 BCE and 1500 CE. I estimate and bound key model parameters from two historical datasets. Although several very large-scale polities (e.g., Roman, Persian, Tang empires) do not arise and certain geographical expansions occur at different times, overall the model suggests that factional civil wars, the result of repeated internal demographic-structural crises, can substantially account for the spread of large-scale agriculture throughout the Old World after the Bronze Age.

---------------------

Postglacial viability and colonization in North America’s ice-free corridor

Mikkel Pedersen et al.

Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
During the Last Glacial Maximum, continental ice sheets isolated Beringia (northeast Siberia and northwest North America) from unglaciated North America. By around 15 to 14 thousand calibrated radiocarbon years before present (cal. kyr BP), glacial retreat opened an approximately 1,500-km-long corridor between the ice sheets. It remains unclear when plants and animals colonized this corridor and it became biologically viable for human migration. We obtained radiocarbon dates, pollen, macrofossils and metagenomic DNA from lake sediment cores in a bottleneck portion of the corridor. We find evidence of steppe vegetation, bison and mammoth by approximately 12.6 cal. kyr BP, followed by open forest, with evidence of moose and elk at about 11.5 cal. kyr BP, and boreal forest approximately 10 cal. kyr BP. Our findings reveal that the first Americans, whether Clovis or earlier groups in unglaciated North America before 12.6 cal. kyr BP, are unlikely to have travelled by this route into the Americas. However, later groups may have used this north–south passageway.

---------------------

No relative expansion of the number of prefrontal neurons in primate and human evolution

Mariana Gabi et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Human evolution is widely thought to have involved a particular expansion of prefrontal cortex. This popular notion has recently been challenged, although controversies remain. Here we show that the prefrontal region of both human and nonhuman primates holds about 8% of cortical neurons, with no clear difference across humans and other primates in the distribution of cortical neurons or white matter cells along the anteroposterior axis. Further, we find that the volumes of human prefrontal gray and white matter match the expected volumes for the number of neurons in the gray matter and for the number of other cells in the white matter compared with other primate species. These results indicate that prefrontal cortical expansion in human evolution happened along the same allometric trajectory as for other primate species, without modification of the distribution of neurons across its surface or of the volume of the underlying white matter. We thus propose that the most distinctive feature of the human prefrontal cortex is its absolute number of neurons, not its relative volume.

---------------------

Middle Pleistocene subsistence in the Azraq Oasis, Jordan: Protein residue and other proxies

A. Nowell et al.

Journal of Archaeological Science, September 2016, Pages 36–44

Abstract:
Excavations at Shishan Marsh, a former desert oasis in Azraq, northeast Jordan, reveal a unique ecosystem and provide direct family-specific protein residue evidence of hominin adaptations in an increasingly arid environment approximately 250,000 years ago. Based on lithic, faunal, paleoenvironmental and protein residue data, we conclude that Late Pleistocene hominins were able to subsist in extreme arid environments through a reliance on surprisingly human-like adaptations including a broadened subsistence base, modified tool kit and strategies for predator avoidance and carcass protection.

---------------------

Climate, Environment and Early Human Innovation: Stable Isotope and Faunal Proxy Evidence from Archaeological Sites (98-59ka) in the Southern Cape, South Africa

Patrick Roberts et al.

PLoS ONE, July 2016

Abstract:
The Middle Stone Age (MSA) of southern Africa, and in particular its Still Bay and Howiesons Poort lithic traditions, represents a period of dramatic subsistence, cultural, and technological innovation by our species, Homo sapiens. Climate change has frequently been postulated as a primary driver of the appearance of these innovative behaviours, with researchers invoking either climate instability as a reason for the development of buffering mechanisms, or environmentally stable refugia as providing a stable setting for experimentation. Testing these alternative models has proved intractable, however, as existing regional palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental records remain spatially, stratigraphically, and chronologically disconnected from the archaeological record. Here we report high-resolution records of environmental shifts based on stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in ostrich eggshell (OES) fragments, faunal remains, and shellfish assemblages excavated from two key MSA archaeological sequences, Blombos Cave and Klipdrift Shelter. We compare these records with archaeological material remains in the same strata. The results from both sites, spanning the periods 98–73 ka and 72–59 ka, respectively, show significant changes in vegetation, aridity, rainfall seasonality, and sea temperature in the vicinity of the sites during periods of human occupation. While these changes clearly influenced human subsistence strategies, we find that the remarkable cultural and technological innovations seen in the sites cannot be linked directly to climate shifts. Our results demonstrate the need for scale-appropriate, on-site testing of behavioural-environmental links, rather than broader, regional comparisons.

---------------------

Neandertal cannibalism and Neandertal bones used as tools in Northern Europe

Hélène Rougier et al.

Scientific Reports, July 2016

Abstract:
Almost 150 years after the first identification of Neandertal skeletal material, the cognitive and symbolic abilities of these populations remain a subject of intense debate. We present 99 new Neandertal remains from the Troisième caverne of Goyet (Belgium) dated to 40,500–45,500 calBP. The remains were identified through a multidisciplinary study that combines morphometrics, taphonomy, stable isotopes, radiocarbon dating and genetic analyses. The Goyet Neandertal bones show distinctive anthropogenic modifications, which provides clear evidence for butchery activities as well as four bones having been used for retouching stone tools. In addition to being the first site to have yielded multiple Neandertal bones used as retouchers, Goyet not only provides the first unambiguous evidence of Neandertal cannibalism in Northern Europe, but also highlights considerable diversity in mortuary behaviour among the region’s late Neandertal population in the period immediately preceding their disappearance.

---------------------

Urbanization, State Formation, and Cooperation: A Reappraisal

Justin Jennings & Timothy Earle

Current Anthropology, August 2016, Pages 474-493

Abstract:
Since at least the Enlightenment, scholars have linked urbanization to state formation in the evolution of complex societies. We challenge this assertion, suggesting that the cooperative units that came together in the earliest cities were premised on limiting outside domination and thus usually acted to impede efforts to create more centralized structures of control. Although cities often became the capitals of states, state formation was quicker and more effective where environments kept people more dispersed. Data from the Andes and Polynesia are used to support this argument. In the Lake Titicaca Basin, household- and lineage-based groups living in the city of Tiahuanaco structured urban dynamics without the state for the settlement’s first 300 years, while similarly organized Hawaiian groups that were isolated in farmsteads were quickly realigned into a state structure. By decoupling urbanization from state formation, we can better understand the interactions that created the world’s first cities.

---------------------

The Socioecology of Territory Size and a "Work-Around" Hypothesis for the Adoption of Farming

Jacob Freeman

PLoS ONE, July 2016

Abstract:
This paper combines theory from ecology and anthropology to investigate variation in the territory sizes of subsistence oriented agricultural societies. The results indicate that population and the dependence of individuals within a society on “wild” foods partly determine the territory sizes of agricultural societies. In contrast, the productivity of an agroecosystem is not an important determinant of territory size. A comparison of the population-territory size scaling dynamics of agricultural societies and human foragers indicates that foragers and farmers face the same constraints on their ability to expand their territory and intensify their use of resources within a territory. However, the higher density of food in an agroecosystem allows farmers, on average, to live at much higher population densities than human foragers. These macroecological patterns are consistent with a “work-around hypothesis” for the adoption of farming. This hypothesis is that as residential groups of foragers increase in size, farming can sometimes better reduce the tension between an individual’s autonomy over resources and the need for social groups to function to provide public goods like defense and information.

---------------------

Divergent Ah receptor ligand selectivity during hominin evolution

Troy Hubbard et al.

Molecular Biology and Evolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
We have identified a fixed nonsynonymous sequence difference between humans (Val381; derived variant) and Neandertals (Ala381; ancestral variant) in the ligand-binding domain of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) gene. In an exome sequence analysis of four Neandertal and Denisovan individuals compared to nine modern humans, there are only 90 total nucleotide sites genome-wide for which archaic hominins are fixed for the ancestral nonsynonymous variant and the modern humans are fixed for the derived variant. Of those sites, only 27, including Val381 in the AHR, also have no reported variability in the human dbSNP database, further suggesting that this highly conserved functional variant is a rare event. Functional analysis of the amino acid variant Ala381 within the AHR carried by Neandertals and non-human primates indicate enhanced polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) binding, DNA binding capacity, and AHR mediated transcriptional activity compared to the human AHR. Also relative to human AHR, the Neandertal AHR exhibited 150-1000 times greater sensitivity to induction of Cyp1a1 and Cyp1b1 expression by PAHs (e.g. benzo(a)pyrene). The resulting CYP1A1/CYP1B1 enzymes are responsible for PAH first pass metabolism, which can result in the generation of toxic intermediates and perhaps AHR-associated toxicities. In contrast, the human AHR retains the ancestral sensitivity observed in primates to non-toxic endogenous AHR ligands (e.g. indole, indoxyl sulfate). Our findings reveal that a functionally significant change in the AHR occurred uniquely in humans, relative to other primates, that would attenuate the response to many environmental pollutants, including chemicals present in smoke from fire use during cooking.

---------------------

Experimental Insights into the Cognitive Significance of Early Stone Tools

Mark Moore & Yinika Perston

PLoS ONE, July 2016

Abstract:
Stone-flaking technology is the most enduring evidence for the evolving cognitive abilities of our early ancestors. Flake-making was mastered by African hominins ~3.3 ma, followed by the appearance of handaxes ~1.75 ma and complex stone reduction strategies by ~1.6 ma. Handaxes are stones flaked on two opposed faces (‘bifacially’), creating a robust, sharp-edged tool, and complex reduction strategies are reflected in strategic prior flaking to prepare or ‘predetermine’ the nature of a later flake removal that served as a tool blank. These technologies are interpreted as major milestones in hominin evolution that reflect the development of higher-order cognitive abilities, and the presence and nature of these technologies are used to track movements of early hominin species or ‘cultures’ in the archaeological record. However, the warranting argument that certain variations in stone tool morphologies are caused by differences in cognitive abilities relies on analogy with technical replications by skilled modern stoneworkers, and this raises the possibility that researchers are projecting modern approaches to technical problems onto our non-modern hominin ancestors. Here we present the results of novel experiments that randomise flake removal and disrupt the modern stoneworker’s inclination to use higher-order reasoning to guide the stone reduction process. Although our protocols prevented goal-directed replication of stone tool types, the experimental assemblage is morphologically standardised and includes handaxe-like ‘protobifaces’ and cores with apparently ‘predetermined’ flake removals. This shows that the geometrical constraints of fracture mechanics can give rise to what appear to be highly-designed stoneworking products and techniques when multiple flakes are removed randomly from a stone core.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Girlie men

The Coalitional Value Theory of Antigay Bias

Bo Winegard et al.

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research indicates that antigay bias follows a specific pattern (and probably has throughout written history, at least in the West): (a) men evince more antigay bias than women; (b) men who belong to traditionally male coalitions evince more antigay bias than those who do not; (c) antigay bias is targeted more at gay men than at lesbians; and (d) antigay bias is targeted more at effeminate gay men than at masculine gay men. We propose the coalitional value theory (CVT) of antigay bias to explain this pattern. The CVT argues that men evolved psychological systems to facilitate coalitional formation and regulation and that these systems may lead to antigay bias because men perceive gay men as possessing lower coalitional value for traditionally male coalitions. We tested the CVT in 4 studies. In Study 1, gay men were perceived as less masculine than straight men and as less competent at traditionally masculine activities. In Studies 2 and 3, masculine gay men were rated as more competent than and chosen over feminine straight men in traditionally masculine activities. In Study 4, actual coalitional contribution predicted men's perceptions of other men's derogation more than did sexual orientation. We also found that men's preferences for masculinity diminished in nontraditionally masculine tasks such as poetry, suggesting that men's assessments are contingent upon the nature of the task. This offers a possible palliative for antigay bias: coalitional pluralism, which we discuss.

---------------------

Wedding Imagery and Public Support for Gay Marriage

Paul Brewer, David Wilson & Michael Habegger

Journal of Homosexuality, August 2016, Pages 1041-1051

Abstract:
This study uses an experiment embedded in a large, nationally representative survey to test whether exposure to imagery of a gay or lesbian couple's wedding influences support for gay marriage. It also tests whether any such effects depend on the nature of the image (gay or lesbian couple, kissing or not) and viewer characteristics (sex, age, race, education, religion, and ideology). Results show that exposure to imagery of a gay couple kissing reduced support for gay marriage relative to the baseline. Other image treatments (gay couple not kissing, lesbian couple kissing, lesbian couple not kissing) did not significantly influence opinion.

---------------------

When Perspective Taking Creates a Motivational Threat: The Case of Conservatism, Same-Sex Sexual Behavior, and Anti-Gay Attitudes

Marlon Mooijman & Chadly Stern

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, June 2016, Pages 738-754

Abstract:
Taking another person's perspective has generally been found to foster positive attitudes. We propose that perspective taking can lead to more negative attitudes when people imagine an experience that threatens their current motivations and goals. We test this idea by examining how taking the perspective of a male same-sex couple influences political conservatives' attitudes. Across four studies, we demonstrate that (a) the extent to which conservatives (but not liberals) imagine same-sex sexual behavior predicts more anti-gay attitudes, (b) this effect is in part attributable to conservatives experiencing greater disgust, and (c) having conservatives reappraise disgust as not necessarily signaling the threat of disease eliminates this effect. These findings indicate that perspective taking can foster negative attitudes when the content of perspective taking threatens current motivations. The proposed ideas provide unique insights toward developing a more comprehensive framework of how perspective taking shapes attitudes.

---------------------

How Gender Affects Heterosexual Allies' Intentions of Confronting Sexual Prejudice

Kelly LeMaire & Debra Oswald

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sexual prejudice and discrimination are extremely prevalent throughout society, and previous research suggests that there are a multitude of negative consequences associated with being the target of this prejudice. One way of reducing prejudice is for heterosexual allies to confront the perpetrator of sexually prejudicial behaviors. The current study utilized an experimental design to examine how the gender of the perpetrator, target, and nontarget witness of heterosexist prejudice, as well as the interaction of these gender variables, affects the witness' responses to a derogatory heterosexist statement. A sample of 254 (140 women) heterosexual undergraduate college students watched 1 of 4 videos in which a perpetrator (man or woman) "approaches" them and makes heterosexist comments about a lesbian woman or gay man and then answered questions about how they would respond if they were in that situation. Additionally, they reported on their attitudes about the comments and the perpetrator. Results suggest that gender of the participant, target, and particularly the perpetrator, all play a significant role in responses to heterosexist hate speech. Implications for reduction of prejudice and future research are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, August 12, 2016

Come on over

Backlash: The Unintended Effects of Language Prohibition in US Schools after World War I

Vasiliki Fouka

Stanford Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Can forced assimilation policies successfully integrate immigrant groups? As cross-border migration surges, more countries must grapple with this question. A rich theoretical literature argues that forced integration can either succeed or create a powerful backlash, heightening the sense of cultural identity among the minority. This paper examines how a specific integration policy — namely language restrictions in elementary school — affects integration and identification with the host country later in life. I focus on the case of Germans in the United States during and after World War I. In the period 1917–1923, several US states barred foreign languages from their schools, often targeting German explicitly. Yet rather than facilitating the assimilation of immigrant children, that policy instigated a backlash. In particular, individuals who had two German parents and were affected by these language laws were less likely to volunteer in WWII; they were also more likely to marry within their ethnic group and to choose decidedly German names for their offspring. These observed effects were greater in locations where the initial sense of German identity, as proxied by Lutheran church influence, was stronger. These findings are compatible with a model of cultural transmission of identity, in which parental investment overcompensates for the direct effects of assimilation policies.

---------------------

The Causal Effect of Place: Evidence from Japanese-American Internment

Daniel Shoag & Nicholas Carollo

Harvard Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Recent research has stressed the importance of long-run place effects on income and economic mobility, but the literature has struggled to isolate the causal impact of location. This paper provides new evidence on these effects using administrative data on over 100,000 Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II. Internees were conditionally randomly assigned to camps in seven different states and held for several years. Restitution payments paid in the early 1990s to the universe of surviving internees allow us to measure their locations and outcomes nearly half a century after the camp assignments. Using this unique natural experiment we find, first, that camp assignment had a lasting effect on individuals’ long-term locations. Next, using this variation, we find large place effects on individual economic outcomes like income, education, socioeconomic status, house prices, and housing quality. People assigned to richer locations do better on all measures. Random location assignment affected intergenerational economic outcomes as well, with families assigned to more socially mobile areas (as designated by Chetty et al., 2014) displaying lower cross-generational correlation in outcomes. Finally, we provide evidence that assignment to richer places impacted people’s values and political views, a new and intriguing mechanism through which place effects operate. Together, this new causal evidence on location effects has broad implications for urban economics, as well as potential policy implications for policymakers struggling to resettle and integrate large refugee or immigrant populations.

---------------------

Cultural Assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration

Ran Abramitzky, Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Using two million census records, we document cultural assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration, a formative period in US history. Immigrants chose less foreign names for children as they spent more time in the US, eventually closing half of the gap with natives. Many immigrants also intermarried and learned English. Name-based assimilation was similar by literacy status, and faster for immigrants who were more culturally distant from natives. Cultural assimilation affected the next generation. Within households, brothers with more foreign names completed fewer years of schooling, faced higher unemployment, earned less and were more likely to marry foreign-born spouses.

---------------------

The Muted Consequences of Correct Information About Immigration

Daniel Hopkins, John Sides & Jack Citrin

University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Previous research shows that people commonly exaggerate the size of minority populations. Moreover, as theories of inter-group threat would predict, the larger people perceive minority groups to be, the less favorably they feel toward these groups. Here, we investigate whether correcting Americans' misperceptions of one such population -- immigrants -- affects attitudes toward this group. We confirm that non-Hispanic Americans over-estimate the percentage of the population that is foreign-born or that is in the U.S. without authorization. However, in four separate survey experiments, we find that providing accurate information does little to affect attitudes toward immigration. This is true even when people's misperceptions are explicitly corrected. These results call into question a potential cognitive mechanism that could underpin inter-group threat theory. Misperceptions of the size of minority groups may be a consequence, rather than cause, of attitudes toward those groups.

---------------------

Inequality, Labor Market Segmentation, and Preferences for Redistribution

James Alt & Torben Iversen

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We formalize and examine two overlapping models that show how rising inequality combined with ethnic and racial heterogeneity can explain why many advanced industrial countries have experienced a drop in support for redistribution as inequality has risen. One model, based on altruism and homophily, focuses on the effect of increasing “social distance” between the poor and the middle class, especially when minorities are increasingly overrepresented among the very poor. The other, based on self-interest, combines an “insurance” model of preferences for redistribution with increasingly segmented labor markets, in which immigration of workers without recognized skills leaves most native workers better off but intensifies competition for low-end jobs. Empirically, when we estimate parameters from the two models using data from multiple waves of ISSP surveys, we find that labor market segmentation, previously omitted in this literature, has more consistent effects than social distance.

---------------------

Immigration Enforcement and Childhood Poverty in the United States

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Esther Arenas-Arroyo & Almudena Sevilla

San Diego State University Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Over the past two decades immigration enforcement has grown exponentially in the United States. We exploit the geographical and temporal variation in a novel index of the intensity of immigration enforcement between 2005 and 2011 to show how the average yearly increase in interior immigration enforcement over that time period raised the likelihood of living in poverty of households with U.S. citizen children by 4 percent. The effect is robust to a number of identification tests accounting for the potential endogeneity of enforcement policies, and is primarily driven by police-based immigration enforcement measures adopted at the local level such as 287(g) agreements.

---------------------

Racial Threat and the Influence of Latino Turnout on State Immigration Policy

James Avery, Jeffrey Fine & Timothy Márquez

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Method: Using state-level data from 2009 through 2012, we examine the influence of Latino constituency size and Latino electoral strength on the number of restrictive immigration laws enacted by U.S. state legislatures.

Results: We find that states with larger Latino populations pass more restrictive laws, but greater Latino electoral strength leads states to pass fewer restrictive policies. This relationship is interactive such that increases in Latino turnout act to mitigate the positive effect of Latino population size on restrictive policies. Finally, we show that the positive effect of Latino mobilization is indirect, meditated by their electoral influence on the partisan and ethnic composition of state legislatures.

---------------------

From Refuge to Riches? An Analysis of Refugees' Wage Assimilation in the United States

Animesh Giri

International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given that refugees may be fleeing from political, social, racial, ethnic, or religious persecution, they are not expected to be economically independent upon arrival to the United States. Considerable state and federal resources are specifically aimed at the economic assimilation of refugees in the United States. In this article, I examine the extent to which average refugee wages have assimilated toward those of their native counterparts in the United States. Among synthetic cohorts from 1990 to 2000, most recent young refugees increase average refugee wages by approximately 17 percent within a decade. Similarly, in the period between 2000 and 2010, the gains for young and recent refugees increase average refugee wages by approximately 22 percent. In contrast, across both decades, duration effects for the oldest refugee cohorts — irrespective of their length of stay in the United States — exert a considerable downward push on average refugee wages. The contrasts in wage contributions for the oldest and youngest cohorts are less extreme for non-refugee immigrants. These findings underscore the importance of age at entry into the United States for wage assimilation, especially in the case of refugees.

---------------------

Occupations, National Identity, and Immigrant Integration

Rahsaan Maxwell

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines strategies for immigrants to improve integration by exploring the relationship between occupational choice and assimilation. I ask whether immigrant-origin individuals will be viewed as better representatives of the nation when employed in occupations that reflect national identity. I examine this question with data from original surveys in France, Germany, and the United States. Results suggest that native and immigrant-origin individuals in occupations that reflect national identity are more likely to be seen as ideal representatives of the nation. Yet, the benefits of an occupation that reflects national identity are fairly minor for immigrant-origin individuals in France and Germany and roughly one third the size of the benefit for native-origin individuals. In comparison, native and immigrant-origin individuals in the United States have the same increase in likelihood of being seen as ideal representatives of the nation. These findings have implications for our understanding of immigrant integration and national identity.

---------------------

The Changing Contours of the Immigrant Rights Protest Movement in the United States: Who Demonstrates Now?

James McCann et al.

The Forum, July 2016, Pages 169–190

Abstract:
Drawing from several original longitudinal surveys of the Mexican immigrant population in Texas and Indiana, we examine the course of the immigrant rights movement in the wake of the historic mobilization in the spring of 2006. We find that from 2007 to 2015, the number of participants in demonstrations, rallies, and marches to support immigrant rights dropped substantially, though protesting remains a fairly prevalent activity. The Mexicans taking part in protest events today, however, have higher levels of education and are older compared to 8 years ago, and they are not primarily driven by personal grievances. This change in the activist base suggests that the immigrant rights movement is following a trajectory that is common among protest movements across many democratic systems. What began as an expression of profound discontent has become a somewhat more conventional mode of involvement.

---------------------

Sale of Visas: A Smuggler's Final Song?

Emmanuelle Auriol & Alice Mesnard

Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
Is there a way of eliminating human smuggling? We set up a model to simultaneously determine the provision of human smuggling services and the demand from would-be migrants. A visa-selling policy may be successful in eliminating smugglers by eroding their profits, but it also increases immigration. In contrast, repression decreases migration but fuels cartelized smugglers. To overcome this trade-off we show that legalization through selling visas in combination with repression can be used to weaken human smuggling while controlling migration flows. Our results highlight the complementarities between repression and selling visas, and call into question current policies.

---------------------

Financing public goods and attitudes toward immigration

Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe & Gabriel Romero

European Journal of Political Economy, September 2016, Pages 159–178

Abstract:
We study a model where individuals choose both the level of provision of a public good and the quota of low-skilled immigrants that are allowed into the country. Individuals can supplement the public good in the private market. Immigrants affect natives through three channels: (i) the labor market; (ii) tax collection; (iii) the quality of the public good. We find that the higher the political weight of the rich (highly skilled) is, the less tolerant the poor and the middle-class are toward immigration and the more demanding they are toward increasing public spending. The rich are the most favorable to immigration. As they have more weight, the political outcome is closer to their preferences and further from the preferences of the other groups. We use data from the European Social Survey to test the implications of our model.

---------------------

Do restrictive asylum and visa policies increase irregular migration into Europe?

Mathias Czaika & Mogens Hobolth

European Union Politics, September 2016, Pages 345-365

Abstract:
This article investigates the extent to which restrictive asylum and visa policies trigger an unintended behavioural response of potential and rejected asylum seekers. Based on our analysis of bilateral asylum and visa policies on migrant flows to 29 European states in the 2000s, we find evidence of a significant deflection into irregularity at work. Our estimates suggest that a 10% increase in asylum rejections raises the number of irregular migrants by on average 2% to 4%, and similarly, a 10% increase in short-stay visa rejections leads to a 4% to 7% increase in irregular border entries. We identify significant nuances in the impact of restrictive asylum and visa policies on the number of apprehensions ‘at the border’ versus ‘on territory’.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Openings

Self-reliance: A Gender Perspective on its Relationship to Communality and Leadership Evaluations

Rebecca Schaumberg & Francis Flynn

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We posit a female advantage in the relationship between self-reliance and leadership evaluations. We test this prediction in four studies. First, using multi-rater evaluations of young managers, we find that self-reliance relates positively to leadership evaluations for women, but not for men. Next, in each of three experiments, we manipulate the gender of a leader and the agentic trait he or she displays (e.g., self-reliance, dominance, no discrete agentic trait). We find that self-reliant female leaders are evaluated as better leaders than self-reliant male leaders. In contrast, we find a male advantage or no gender advantage for dominant leaders or leaders who are described positively, but not in terms of any discrete agentic trait. Consistent with expectancy violation theory, the female advantage in the relationship between self-reliance and leadership evaluations emerges because self-reliant female leaders are seen as similarly competent, but more communal, than self-reliant male leaders. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the effects of self-reliance, gender stereotypes, and stereotype violations on leadership evaluations.

---------------------

Beyond One-Size-Fits-All: Tailoring Diversity Approaches to the Representation of Social Groups

Evan Apfelbaum, Nicole Stephens & Ray Reagans

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
When and why do organizational diversity approaches that highlight the importance of social group differences (vs. equality) help stigmatized groups succeed? We theorize that social group members’ numerical representation in an organization, compared with the majority group, influences concerns about their distinctiveness, and consequently, whether diversity approaches are effective. We combine laboratory and field methods to evaluate this theory in a professional setting, in which White women are moderately represented and Black individuals are represented in very small numbers. We expect that focusing on differences (vs. equality) will lead to greater performance and persistence among White women, yet less among Black individuals. First, we demonstrate that Black individuals report greater representation-based concerns than White women (Study 1). Next, we observe that tailoring diversity approaches to these concerns yields greater performance and persistence (Studies 2 and 3). We then manipulate social groups’ perceived representation and find that highlighting differences (vs. equality) is more effective when groups’ representation is moderate, but less effective when groups’ representation is very low (Study 4). Finally, we content-code the diversity statements of 151 major U.S. law firms and find that firms that emphasize differences have lower attrition rates among White women, whereas firms that emphasize equality have lower attrition rates among racial minorities (Study 5).

---------------------

Man Up, Man Down: Race–Ethnicity and the Hierarchy of Men in Female-Dominated Work

Jill Yavorsky, Philip Cohen & Yue Qian

Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have largely overlooked the significance of race and socioeconomic status in determining which men traverse gender boundaries into female-dominated, typically devalued, work. Examining the gender composition of the jobs that racial minority men occupy provides critical insights into mechanisms of broader racial disparities in the labor market — in addition to stalled occupational desegregation trends between men and women. Using nationally representative data from the three-year American Community Survey (2010–2012), we examine racial/ethnic and educational differences in which men occupy gender-typed jobs. We find that racial minority men are more likely than white men to occupy female-dominated jobs at all levels of education — except highly educated Asian/Pacific Islander men — and that these patterns are more pronounced at lower levels of education. These findings have implications for broader occupational inequality patterns among men as well as between men and women.

---------------------

Does 'Ban the Box' Help or Hurt Low-Skilled Workers? Statistical Discrimination and Employment Outcomes When Criminal Histories Are Hidden

Jennifer Doleac & Benjamin Hansen

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Jurisdictions across the United States have adopted "ban the box" (BTB) policies preventing employers from conducting criminal background checks until late in the job application process. Their goal is to improve employment outcomes for those with criminal records, with a secondary goal of reducing racial disparities in employment. However, removing information about job applicants' criminal histories could lead employers who don't want to hire ex-offenders to try to guess who the ex-offenders are, and avoid interviewing them. In particular, employers might avoid interviewing young, low-skilled, black and Hispanic men when criminal records are not observable. This would worsen employment outcomes for these already-disadvantaged groups. In this paper, we use variation in the details and timing of state and local BTB policies to test BTB's effects on employment for various demographic groups. We find that BTB policies decrease the probability of being employed by 3.4 percentage points (5.1%) for young, low-skilled black men, and by 2.3 percentage points (2.9%) for young, low-skilled Hispanic men. These findings support the hypothesis that when an applicant's criminal history is unavailable, employers statistically discriminate against demographic groups that are likely to have a criminal record.

---------------------

The Emergence of Gender Inequality in a Crowdfunding Market: An Experimental Test of Gender System Theory

Jason Radford

University of Chicago Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Research on ascriptive inequality investigates how social groups differ, whether resources are allocated unequally by group differences, and what mechanisms create and sustain this unequal allocation. In the sociology of gender, gender system theory links these three questions into a single theory but has yet to be tested comprehensively. In this study, I perform such a test using data from DonorsChoose, a crowdfunding website for public school teachers in the United States. The data is large and diverse enough to measure the gender differences theorized by gender system theory and allows us to examine whether these gender differences correspond to inequalities in funding. Critically, the data also contain a natural experiment whereby teachers’ identity was hidden until 2008. This allows for a direct test of the causes of gender inequality hypothesized by gender system theory. The results show that inequality only emerges after educators’ identity was published. And, de-anonymization caused inequality to emerge across all types of gender difference. These results provide robust support for gender system theory and contribute to research on the structure and causes of gender inequality.

---------------------

Men and the Middle: Gender Differences in Dyadic Compromise Effects

Hristina Nikolova & Cait Lamberton

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individual decision makers show robust tendencies toward choosing compromise options. But what happens when consumers make choices with someone else? This article examines the choice of compromise options in joint dyadic decisions. Findings reveal that preferences for compromise alternatives replicate in mixed-gender and female-female dyads as among individuals but are attenuated when two males make a choice together. Moreover, when two males make joint choices, their tendency to choose the compromise alternative decreases not only relative to other types of pairs but also to male and female individual decision makers. Evidence is presented that this happens because male-male dyadic contexts cue gender dichotomization, behavior that is consistent with masculine but not feminine gender norms. Because the extremity in decision making is maximally consistent with masculine but not feminine gender role norms, male-male dyads exhibit lower preferences for compromise options. However, if men have an opportunity to signal masculinity to one another prior to making joint compromise choices, male-male dyads prefer compromise options at proportions no different from female-female dyads. This work brings together the judgment and decision-making literature with insights from the social psychology literature, identifying a case when gender role norms have profound influences on classic judgment and decision-making effects.

---------------------

Cognitive Performance and Labor Market Outcomes

Dajun Lin, Randall Lutter & Christopher Ruhm

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
We use information from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and supplementary data sources to examine how cognitive performance, measured at approximately the end of secondary schooling, is related to the labor market outcomes of 20 through 50 year olds. Our estimates control for a wide array of individual and family background characteristics, a limited set of non-cognitive attributes, survey year dummy variables and, sometimes, geographic place effects. The analysis reveals five main findings. First, cognitive performance is positively associated with future labor market outcomes at all ages. The relationship is attenuated but not eliminated by the addition of controls for non-cognitive characteristics, while the inclusion of place effects does not change the estimated associations. Second, the returns to cognitive skill increase with age. Third, the effect on total incomes reflects a combination of positive impacts of cognitive performance for both hourly wages and annual work hours. Fourth, the returns to cognitive skill are greater for women than men and for blacks and Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites, with differential effects on work hours being more important than corresponding changes in hourly wages. Fifth, the average gains in lifetime incomes predicted to result from greater levels of cognitive performance are only slightly above those reported in prior studies but the effects are heterogeneous, with larger relative and absolute increases, in most models, for nonwhites or Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites, and higher relative but not absolute returns for women than men.

---------------------

Undermining Gender Equality: Female Attrition from Private Law Practice

Fiona Kay, Stacey Alarie & Jones Adjei

Law & Society Review, September 2016, Pages 766–801

Abstract:
The number of women in the legal profession has grown tremendously over the last 40 years, with women now representing about half of all law school graduates. Despite the decades-long pipeline of women into the profession, women's representation among law firm partnerships remains dismally low. One key reason identified for women's minority presence among law firm partners is the high level of attrition of women associates from law firms. This high rate of female attrition undermines efforts to achieve gender equality in the legal profession. Using a survey of 1,270 law graduates, we employ piecewise constant exponential hazard regression models to explore gendered career paths from private law practice. Our analysis reveals that, for both men and women, the time leading up to partnership decisions sees many lawyers exit private practice, but women continue to leave private practice long after partnership decisions are made. Gender differences in leaving private practice also surface with reference to cohorts, areas of law, billable hours, firm sizes, and career gaps. Notably, working in criminal law augmented women's risk of leaving private practice, but not for men, while taking time away from practice for reasons other than parental leaves, hastens both men's and women's exits from private practice.

---------------------

Does Rosie Like Riveting? Male and Female Occupational Choices

Grace Lordan & Jörn-Steffen Pischke

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Occupational segregation and pay gaps by gender remain large while many of the constraints traditionally believed to be responsible for these gaps have weakened over time. Here, we explore the possibility that women and men have different tastes for the content of the work they do. We run regressions of job satisfaction on the share of males in an occupation. Overall, there is a strong negative relationship between female satisfaction and the share of males. This relationship is fairly stable across different specifications and contexts, and the magnitude of the association is not attenuated by personal characteristics or other occupation averages. Notably, the effect is muted for women but largely unchanged for men when we include three measures that proxy the content and context of the work in an occupation, which we label ‘people,’ ‘brains,’ and ‘brawn.’ These results suggest that women may care more about job content, and this is a possible factor preventing them from entering some male dominated professions. We continue to find a strong negative relationship between female satisfaction and the occupation level share of males in a separate analysis that includes share of males in the firm. This suggests that we are not just picking up differences in the work environment, although these seem to play an independent and important role as well.

---------------------

The Links Between Youth Employment and Educational Attainment Across Racial Groups

NaYoung Hwang & Thurston Domina

Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests that the relations between adolescent employment and youth development vary by socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity. However, it is unclear whether the links between paid work and college outcomes vary by either SES or race/ethnicity, or both. Using data from the Educational Longitudinal Study, we find that low-intensity work during high school is associated with positive college outcomes for almost all students, whereas the associations between high-intensity work and negative postsecondary outcomes are mostly limited to White students. Our results suggest that both differential selections into youth employment and differential consequences of youth employment contribute to these varying links between paid work and educational outcomes across different racial groups.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Plotters

Earthquakes, Religion, and Transition to Self-Government in Italian Cities

Marianna Belloc, Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati

Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper presents a unique historical experiment to explore the dynamics of institutional change in the Middle Ages. We have assembled a novel dataset, where information on political institutions for northern-central Italian cities between 1000 and 1300 is matched with detailed information on the earthquakes that occurred in the area and period of interest. Exploiting the panel structure of the data, we document that the occurrence of an earthquake retarded institutional transition from autocratic regimes to self-government (the commune) in cities where the political and the religious leaders were one and the same person (Episcopal see cities), but not in cities where political and religious powers were distinct (non-Episcopal see cities). Such differential effect holds both for destructive seismic episodes and for events that were felt by the population but did not cause any material damage to persons or objects. Ancillary results show that seismic events provoked a positive and statistically significant differential effect on the construction and further ornamentation of religious buildings between Episcopal and non-Episcopal see cities. Our findings are consistent with the idea that earthquakes, interpreted in the Middle Ages as manifestation of the will and outrage of God, represented a shock to people’s religious beliefs and, as a consequence, enhanced the ability of political-religious leaders to restore social order after a crisis relative to the emerging communal institutions. This interpretation is supported by historical evidence.

---------------------

Irrigation and Autocracy

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, Nicolai Kaarsen & Asger Moll Wingender

Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
Irrigated agriculture makes societies more likely to be ruled by authoritarian regimes. Ancient societies have long been thought to follow this pattern. We empirically show that irrigation affects political regimes even in the present. To avoid endogeneity, we use geographical and climatic variation to identify irrigation dependent societies. We find that countries whose agriculture depended on irrigation are about six points less democratic on the 21-point polity2 scale than countries where agriculture has been rainfed. We find qualitatively similar results across regions within countries. We argue that the effect has historical origins: irrigation allowed landed elites in arid areas to monopolize water and arable land. This made elites more powerful and better able to oppose democratization. Consistent with this conjecture, we show that irrigation dependence predicts land inequality both at the country level, and in premodern societies surveyed by ethnographers.

---------------------

Free and fair elections: A new database

Sylvia Bishop & Anke Hoeffler

Journal of Peace Research, July 2016, Pages 608-616

Abstract:
The holding of elections has become universal but only about half of all elections are free and fair. Electoral malpractice not only distorts the quality of representation but has implications for political, social and economic outcomes. Existing datasets either provide information on election quality for a large number of elections but offer little detail, or they provide very detailed information for a small number of elections. Our data collection effort closes this gap by providing ten variables of election quality for all leadership elections for the period 1975–2011. We use these data to provide an assessment of elections that is closely tied to the commonly used term ‘free and fair’. We define ‘freeness’ of the election as the rules of the election and the process leading up to the election, and ‘fairness’ of the election refers to the events on the election day. Our data show that the quality of elections has declined over time. These electoral problems are mainly due to issues in the run-up to the elections. Using probit regressions we investigate the possible causes of election malpractice. Our analysis suggests that the freeness and the fairness of the elections are related to a number of variables, such as income, aid, executive constraints and the presence of election monitors, but that these variables have differential effects on freeness and fairness.

---------------------

Regime Stability and the Persistence of Traditional Practices

Michael Poyker

University of California Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
I investigate the role of national institutions on the persistence of cultural norms and traditions. In particular, I examine why the harmful tradition of female genital mutilation (FGM) persists in certain African countries while in others it has been successfully eradicated. I argue that people are more willing to abandon their institutions and traditions if they are sure that the government is durable enough to set up long term replacements for them. If the regime is weak, people revert to their traditional cultural norms. I exploit the fact that ethnic groups in Africa were artificially partitioned by national borders and, using a country-ethnicity panel dataset, I show that one standard deviation in political regime durability explains at least 14% of the standard deviation of the share of circumcised women. The results are robust to an array of control variables and robustness checks. I confirm that the results are unlikely to be spurious by using within nation variation in regime durability induced by leaders' deaths from natural causes.

---------------------

Who Supports Violent Extremism in Developing Countries? Analysis of Attitudes Based on Value Surveys

Elena Ianchovichina & Youssouf Kiendrebeogo

World Bank Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
What are the common characteristics among radicalized individuals, willing to justify attacks targeting civilians? Drawing on information on attitudes toward extreme violence and other characteristics of 30,787 individuals from 27 developing countries around the world, and employing a variety of econometric techniques, this paper identifies the partial correlates of extremism. The results suggest that the typical extremist who supports attacks against civilians is more likely to be young, unemployed and struggling to make ends meet, relatively uneducated, and not as religious as others, but more willing to sacrifice own life for his or her beliefs. Gender and marital status are not found to explain significantly the individual-level variation in attitudes toward extremism. Although these results may vary in magnitude and significance across countries and geographic regions, they are robust to various sensitivity analyses.

---------------------

Bias and Trust in Authoritarian Media

Rory Truex

Princeton Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
How do citizens living under authoritarian rule perceive state-controlled news? Building on existing research on media bias in the U.S., this paper presents findings from a survey experiment that exposes Chinese citizens to different news stories, randomly assigning the putative source as well as the content itself. The core result is that respondents are aware of pro-regime biases in official mouthpieces but trust these outlets more anyway. Open-ended questions reveal two likely mechanisms. Citizens either a.) genuinely support the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and want pro-government news media or b.) are better able to "back out the biases" from the reliably slanted official papers. Existing models of media politics must be amended to account for the dominance of official papers in authoritarian settings.

---------------------

Revolutionary Leaders and Mass Killing

Nam Kyu Kim

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article argues that revolutionary leaders are more willing to commit mass killing than nonrevolutionary leaders. Revolutionary leaders are more ideologically committed to transforming society, more risk tolerant, and more likely to view the use of violence as appropriate and effective. Furthermore, such leaders tend to command highly disciplined and loyal organizations, built in the course of revolutionary struggles, that can perpetrate mass killing. This study uses time series cross-sectional data from 1955 to 2004 to demonstrate that revolutionary leaders are more likely to initiate genocide or politicide than nonrevolutionary leaders. The violent behaviors of revolutionary leaders are not limited to the immediate postrevolutionary years but also occur later in their tenure. This demonstrates that the association of revolutionary leaders and mass killing is not simply indicative of postrevolutionary instability. This article also provides evidence for the importance of exclusionary ideologies in motivating revolutionary leaders to inflict massive violence.

---------------------

The Rebels’ Credibility Dilemma

Jakana Thomas, William Reed & Scott Wolford

International Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines why rebel groups make large demands of governments that are inconsistent with their fighting capacity, especially when such demands are almost always rejected. We show that making large demands, even if ultimately rejected by the government, makes sense for rebels who face a credibility dilemma. Such a dilemma is most likely to arise when militarily weak rebel groups face governments of uncertain strength and can commit to fight credibly only when they believe the government is also weak. This results in a counterintuitive set of strategic incentives for weak rebels, who choose their demands to ensure that they are rejected even when the government is weak. Thus, to make their threat to fight credible, weak rebels make large demands that, when rejected, result in inefficient fighting. Since most civil wars are characterized by weak rebels bargaining with much stronger governments, it is important to understand how this particular feature of civil war shapes intrawar negotiations between the rebels and the government. We develop a model of bargaining between a government and rebel group and evaluate its implications using historical data on civil conflict in Africa from 1989 to 2010. The results suggest that the tendency for the government to be significantly stronger than rebels induces rebel groups to make unrealistically large demands.

---------------------

Crowdsourcing the Egyptian Constitution: Social Media, Elites, and the Populace

Tofigh Maboudi & Ghazal Nadi

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing on empirical evidence from online citizen feedback on the 2012 Egyptian Constitution, we demonstrate that despite normative skepticism about implications of participatory constitution making, citizen participation matters. Using data of more than 650,000 online votes and comments on the constitution, we find that draft provisions with higher public approval are less likely to change and those with lower approval are more likely to change. We also find that Articles related to rights and freedoms are more likely to change based on online public input. Finally, following the boycott of the Constituent Assembly by non-Islamists, changes in draft Articles based on public feedback drop sharply. These findings highlight the conditions under which participatory constitution making becomes more effective. First, consensus among citizens over the most salient issues increases the probability that those issues would be successfully incorporated in the constitution. Second, without ex ante elite agreement over the design of the constitution, it becomes difficult to account for citizen proposals amid political clash between elites.

---------------------

Democracy and the demographic transition

Ben Wilson & Tim Dyson

Democratization, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article addresses the role of demographic factors in contributing to the emergence of democracy. It maintains that, other things being equal, progress in the demographic transition promotes democratization. The argument is developed with reference to the effects of interrelated changes in mortality, natural increase (i.e. population growth), fertility, and population age structure. Suggestions are also made with respect to how demographic and democratic trends should be gauged. An analysis of data for the period 1970–2005 for 77 countries that were initially non-democratic provides substantial support for the argument. Some implications are discussed, as are future trends in democratization from a demographer’s perspective.

---------------------

Countering Coups: Leadership Succession Rules in Dictatorships

Erica Frantz & Elizabeth Stein

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Paradoxically, many dictators agree to institutionalized succession rules even though these rules could regulate their removal from office. This study shows that succession rules, like other pseudo-democratic institutions in authoritarian regimes, provide survival benefits for dictators. Specifically, they protect dictators from coup attempts because they reduce elites’ incentives to try to grab power preemptively via forceful means. By assuaging the ambition of some elites who have more to gain with patience than with plotting, institutionalized succession rules hamper coordination efforts among coup plotters, which ultimately reduce a leader’s risk of confronting coups. Based on a variety of statistical models, including instrumental variables regression that addresses potential endogeneity between succession rules and coup attempts, the empirical evidence supports the authors’ hypothesis that institutions governing leadership succession reduce the likelihood that dictators confront coups. This study clarifies one of the ways in which institutions in dictatorships help autocratic leaders survive.

---------------------

Weapons of choice: The effect of natural resources on terror and insurgencies

Axel Dreher & Merle Kreibaum

Journal of Peace Research, July 2016, Pages 539-553

Abstract:
This article investigates the effect of natural resources on whether ethno-political groups choose to pursue their goals with nonviolent as compared to violent means, distinguishing terrorism from insurgencies. It is hypothesized that whether or not the extraction of fossil fuels sparks violence depends both on the group’s characteristics and the state’s reaction. Data are taken from the Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) project, covering 118 organizations in 13 countries of the Middle East and North Africa over the 1980–2004 period. The multinomial logit models combine group- and country-specific information and show that ethno-political groups are more likely to resort to rebellion rather than using nonviolent means or becoming terrorists when representing regions rich in oil. This effect is enhanced for groups already enjoying regional autonomy or being supported by a foreign state but can be mitigated by power-sharing arrangements. These results are thus in line with the argument that economic considerations, or ‘greed’, dominate over political considerations, or ‘grievances’, with regard to violent conflicts. The opposite appears to hold considering terrorism, as we do not find any evidence for a resource curse here, but find an increasing effect of political discrimination and a decreasing effect of regional autonomy.

---------------------

Endogenous Presidentialism

James Robinson & Ragnar Torvik

Journal of the European Economic Association, August 2016, Pages 907–942

Abstract:
We develop a model to understand the incidence of presidential and parliamentary institutions. Our analysis is predicated on two ideas: first, that minorities are relatively powerful in a parliamentary system compared to a presidential system, and second, that presidents have more power with respect to their own coalition than prime ministers do. These assumptions imply that while presidentialism has separation of powers, it does not necessarily have more checks and balances than parliamentarism. We show that political leaders who prefer presidentialism may be supported by their own coalition if they fear losing agenda-setting power to another group. We argue that the model is consistent with a great deal of qualitative information about presidentialism in Africa and Latin America.

---------------------

Investing in stability: Economic interdependence, coups d’état, and the capitalist peace

Jonathan Powell & Mwita Chacha

Journal of Peace Research, July 2016, Pages 525-538

Abstract:
The capitalist peace thesis argues transnational economic ties have a pacifying effect on interstate relations. An extension of this literature reports that economic ties can prompt belligerents in civil conflicts to peacefully resolve their disputes and can attract third-party intervention from states with strong economic ties. This pacifying effect of economic ties, we argue, is applicable in the context of coups d’état: as a state becomes more economically interdependent with the rest of the world, the opportunity costs of domestic political disturbances are raised for both the targeted state and its financial partners. These costs – potential economic losses and a damaged economic reputation – influence belligerents in the state to use constitutional means to resolve their disputes while providing stronger incentives to foreign economic partners to influence the calculus of these belligerents as they consider the coup attempt. We test this argument quantitatively by investigating the influence of a dozen indicators of economic openness on coups in a global sample of states from 1952 to 2007. Our findings demonstrate the applicability of the capitalist peace thesis to coups d’état, manifestations of political uncertainty that are less likely to be accompanied by substantial loss of life or destruction of infrastructure.

---------------------

Foreign Direct Investment and Authoritarian Stability

Daehee Bak & Chungshik Moon

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines how foreign direct investment (FDI) affects the likelihood of authoritarian leaders’ political survival. We argue that FDI reduces the likelihood of experiencing political challenges from elites. We present two mechanisms for this claim. First, the host governments of authoritarian regimes can use FDI for long-term private good provision, so that FDI helps them to appease elite dissents and to buy off potential elite challengers. Second, FDI mitigates a commitment problem between elites and authoritarian leadership by creating an FDI-related distributional coalition, which in turn makes political defections costly to both parties. Our empirical tests using various two-stage estimators show that FDI significantly decreases the likelihood of elite-driven authoritarian leadership failure and coup attempt.

---------------------

Examining the Development of Judicial Independence

Kirk Randazzo, Douglas Gibler & Rebecca Reid

Political Research Quarterly, September 2016, Pages 583-593

Abstract:
Scholars who examine judicial independence offer various theories regarding its development. Some argue that it serves as a type of insurance for regimes who believe their majority status is in jeopardy. Other scholars argue that insurance theory does not offer an adequate explanation until states democratize. We argue that part of the explanation for these mixed results involves the inadequacy of insurance theory as a complete explanation. Our paper develops a multidimensional theory that focuses on the interplay of constraints on ruling elites derived from levels of political competition within the government, the potential for social competition within the state, and regime type. We test our argument using a dataset of approximately 145 countries over forty years, and our results support the argument that development of judicial independence is related to the political landscape encountered by the executive. Ethnic fractionalization in the state, political competition, and regime type each has a conditional effect on the observation of judicial independence.

---------------------

Peace from the past: Pre-colonial political institutions and civil wars in Africa

Tore Wig

Journal of Peace Research, July 2016, Pages 509-524

Abstract:
Research on the relationship between political institutions and civil war has paid insufficient attention to the role of traditional institutions in developing countries. This study presents large-N evidence showing that traditional ethnic institutions with origins prior to Western colonization are associated with the prevalence of civil wars in Africa after independence. Matching ethnographic data on the pre-colonial political organization of African indigenous groups to contemporary data on ethnic groups in conflict, I investigate the relationship between the traditional organization of ethnic groups and ethnic civil wars in Africa after decolonization. Specifically, I argue that excluded groups with centralized traditional institutions can rely on these institutions to more credibly bargain with the state, and that this reduces their risk of conflict. Accordingly, I find that excluded groups with centralized pre-colonial institutions are less likely to be involved in civil wars.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Starting families

Reproductive rights and the career plans of U.S. college freshmen

Herdis Steingrimsdottir

Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the heterogeneous effects of the birth control pill and abortion rights on young people's career plans. In particular, these effects are allowed to vary by sex, race, religion, and, importantly, by level of academic ability. Using annual surveys of over two million college freshmen from 1968 to 1976, I find that the pill mainly affected high ability women, by shifting their plans toward occupations with higher wages and higher male ratios. Abortion rights, in contrast, were mainly shown to affect women in the low ability group, with their plans shifting toward careers associated with lower income and lower prestige scores. My findings also suggest that the career plans of black males were positively affected by both increased access to the pill and abortions.

---------------------

Does Family Planning Increase Children’s Opportunities? Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X

Martha Bailey, Olga Malkova & Zoe McLaren

University of Michigan Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
This paper examines the relationship between parents’ access to family planning and the economic resources of the average child. Using the county-level introduction of U.S. family planning programs between 1964 and 1973, we find that children born after programs began had 2.5% higher household incomes. They were also 7% less likely to live in poverty and 11% less likely to live in households receiving public assistance. Even with extreme assumptions about selection, these estimates are large enough to imply that family planning programs directly increased children’s resources, including increases in mothers’ paid work and increased childbearing within marriage.

---------------------

Benefits from delay? The effect of abortion availability on young women and their children

Eirin Mølland

Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
While much is now known about the effects of the arrival of the contraceptive pill on the fertility choices and other outcomes of women, there has been less study of the effects of abortion availability. Abortion was made widely available within week 12 of gestation to teenage women in Oslo several years before the rest of Norway. I use a differences-in-differences approach to examine the effects on teen childbearing, fertility at older ages, educational attainment, and labor market outcomes of the affected women. I also study several outcomes for the first-born children of these women. I find that abortion availability delayed fertility but did not reduce completed family size. It also resulted in higher educational attainment. Children of mothers who had access to abortion are also found to have better outcomes.

---------------------

Long-Term Effect of Exposure to a Friend's Adolescent Childbirth on Fertility, Education, and Earnings

Kandice Kapinos & Olga Yakusheva

Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Methods: Estimating causal peer effects in fertility is challenging because the exposure variable (peer pregnancy and childbirth) is nonrandomly assigned. Miscarriages in early pregnancy occur spontaneously in a significant proportion of pregnancies and, therefore, create a natural experiment within which the causal effect of childbirth can be examined. This exploratory study compared adjusted fertility, educational, and labor market outcomes of female adolescents whose adolescent pregnant friend gave birth to female adolescents whose pregnant friend miscarried. Longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were analyzed using logistic, ordinal logistic, linear, and log-linear regressions.

Results: Females whose adolescent pregnant friends gave birth (instead of miscarried) had decreased adolescent sexual activity, pregnancy, and teen childbearing and increased educational attainment, but there were no significant long-term effects on total fertility or differences in labor market outcomes, relative to females whose pregnant adolescent friend miscarried.

Conclusions: Adolescent females appear to learn vicariously from teen childbearing experiences of their friends, resulting in delayed childbearing and higher educational attainment. Interventions that expose adolescents to the reality of teen motherhood may be an effective way of reducing the rates of teen childbearing and improving schooling.

---------------------

Early Menarche is Associated With Preference for Masculine Male Faces and Younger Preferred Age to Have a First Child

Carlota Batres & David Perrett

Evolutionary Psychology, April 2016

Abstract:
One developmental factor that is associated with variation in reproductive strategy is pubertal timing. For instance, women who experience earlier menarche have their first pregnancy earlier and prefer more masculinized male voices. Early menarche may also lead to preferences for masculine faces, but no study has shown such a link. We therefore investigated the relationships between pubertal timing, reproductive plans, sexual attitudes and behaviors, and masculinity preferences in nulliparous women aged 18–30 from the United Kingdom (N = 10,793). We found that women who experienced earlier menarche reported a younger preferred age to have a first child and showed stronger masculinity preferences. This provides evidence that women experiencing early menarche not only have children earlier but notably plan to have children earlier. Additionally, our findings provide evidence that age of menarche influences partner selection, which is instrumental for the implementation of reproductive strategies.

---------------------

Is Education Always Reducing Fertility? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Reforms

Margherita Fort, Nicole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the relationship between education and fertility, exploiting compulsory schooling reforms in England and Continental Europe, implemented between 1936 and 1975. We assess the causal effect of education on the number of biological children and the incidence of childlessness. While we find a negative relationship between education and fertility in England, this result cannot be confirmed for Continental Europe. The additional education generated by schooling expansions on the Continent did not lead to a decrease in the number of biological children nor to an increase in childlessness. These findings are robust to a number of sensitivity and falsification checks.

---------------------

Improved Contraceptive Use Among Teen Mothers in a Patient-Centered Medical Home

Amy Lewin et al.

Journal of Adolescent Health, August 2016, Pages 171–176

Purpose: The Generations program, a patient-centered medical home, providing primary medical care, social work, and mental health services to teen mothers and their children, offers a promising approach to pregnancy prevention for teen mothers. This study tested whether the Generations intervention was associated with improved rates of contraceptive and condom use among participants 12 months after program entry.

Methods: This study compared teen mothers enrolled in Generations to those receiving standard community-based pediatric primary care over 12 months. Participants included African-American mothers ages 19 and younger, with infants under 6 months, living in Washington DC. A total of 83% of the baseline sample (150 mother-child dyads) was retained at follow-up.

Results: Generations participants had over three times the odds of contraceptive use, with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.35, and twice the odds of condom use (OR = 2.29) after 12 months, compared to participants receiving standard pediatric care. The odds remained comparable and significant when adjusting for differences in baseline use. Once additional covariates were entered into the model, the association was reduced to OR = 2.59 because being in a relationship with the baby's father was significantly associated with reduced contraceptive use. The same pattern was evident for condom use. Mothers in Generations had steady use of contraceptives over time, but there was a decline in use among comparison mothers, indicating that Generations prevented contraceptive discontinuation.

Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that the Generations program is an effective intervention for improving contraceptive use among teen mothers, a group at especially high risk for pregnancy.

---------------------

The Emergence of Two Distinct Fertility Regimes in Economically Advanced Countries

Ronald Rindfuss, Minja Kim Choe & Sarah Brauner-Otto

Population Research and Policy Review, June 2016, Pages 287-304

Abstract:
Beginning in 2000, in economically advanced countries, a remarkable bifurcation in fertility levels has emerged, with one group in the moderate range of period total fertility rates, about 1.9, and the other at 1.3. The upper branch consists of countries in Northern and Western Europe, Oceania and the United States; the lower branch includes Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe, and East and Southeast Asia. A review of the major theories for low-fertility countries reveals that none of them would have predicted this specific bifurcation. We argue that those countries with fertility levels close to replacement level have institutional arrangements, and related policies, that make it easier, not easy, for women to combine the worker and mother roles. The institutional details are quite different across countries, suggesting that multiple combinations of institutional arrangements and policies can lead to the same country-level fertility outcome. Canada, the only exception to this bifurcation, illustrates the importance of the different institutional structures in Québec compared to the rest of Canada.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, August 8, 2016

Trade deals

International Trade and Job Polarization: Evidence at the Worker-Level

Wolfgang Keller & Hâle Utar

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
This paper examines the role of international trade for job polarization, the phenomenon in which employment for high- and low-wage occupations increases but mid-wage occupations decline. With employer-employee matched data on virtually all workers and firms in Denmark between 1999 and 2009, we use instrumental-variables techniques and a quasi-natural experiment to show that import competition is a major cause of job polarization. Import competition with China accounts for about 17% of the aggregate decline in mid-wage employment. Many mid-skill workers are pushed into low-wage service jobs while others move into high-wage jobs. The direction of movement, up or down, turns on the skill focus of workers’ education. Workers with vocational training for a service occupation can avoid moving into low-wage service jobs, and among them workers with information-technology education are far more likely to move into high-wage jobs than other workers.

---------------------

Who wrote the rules for the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Todd Allee & Andrew Lugg

Research & Politics, July 2016

Abstract:
Twelve governments recently signed the much-anticipated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), sparking heated debate about its merits. As a primary motivation for this first “mega-regional” agreement, US President Barack Obama argues that the TPP is a way for the USA, and not China or someone else, to write the global trade rules of the future. This begs some important questions, namely which country or countries really did write most of the TPP and thus whose agenda for 21st century trade might it advance? To answer these questions, we compare the recently-released text of the TPP to the language in the 74 previous trade agreements that TPP members signed since 1995. Our text-as-data analyses reveal that the contents of the TPP are taken disproportionately from earlier US trade agreements. The ten preferential trade agreements (PTAs) that most closely match the TPP are all US PTAs. Moreover, the contents of controversial chapters, such as the one on investment, are drawn even more heavily from past US treaty language. Our study and findings apply power-based accounts of international institutions to a landmark new agreement, and portray a more active, template-based process of international diffusion.

---------------------

Currency Wars, Coordination, and Capital Controls

Olivier Blanchard

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
The strong monetary policy actions undertaken by advanced economies' central banks have led to complaints of “currency wars” by some emerging market economies, and to widespread demands for more macroeconomic policy coordination. This paper revisits these issues. It concludes that, while advanced economies' monetary policies indeed have had substantial spillover effects on emerging market economies, there was and still is little room for coordination. It then argues that restrictions on capital flows were and are a more natural instrument for advancing the objectives of both macro and financial stability.

---------------------

International Technology Spillovers and Growth over the Past 142 Years: The Role of Genetic Proximity

Jakob Madsen & Minoo Farhadi

Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper suggests genetic proximity, in addition to geographic proximity and imports, as a factor facilitating international knowledge transmission, where knowledge is measured as the stock of knowledge as well as research intensity to allow for the possibility that international knowledge spillovers have permanent productivity growth effects. Using data for 31 countries with diverse development paths over the period 1870–2011, the results show that genetic proximity and imports are important in facilitating knowledge transmission, and that knowledge spillovers have permanent growth effects.

---------------------

A Global View of Productivity Growth in China

Chang-Tai Hsieh & Ralph Ossa

Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does a country’s productivity growth affect worldwide real incomes through international trade? In this paper, we take this classic question to the data by measuring the spillover effects of China’s productivity growth. Using a quantitative trade model, we first estimate China’s productivity growth between 1995-2007 and then isolate what would have happened to real incomes around the world if only China’s productivity had changed. We find that the spillover effects are small for all countries in our sample, ranging from a cumulative real income loss of at most -0.2 percent to a cumulative real income gain of at most 0.2 percent.

---------------------

Dark matter, black holes and old-fashioned exploitation: Transnational corporations and the US economy

Mona Ali

Cambridge Journal of Economics, July 2016, Pages 997-1018

Abstract:
In advanced economies, foreign direct investment (FDI) is usually a two-way process, involving both inwards and outwards investment, often in the same industries. Why, then, is US FDI so profitable whilst FDI in the USA is conspicuous in its unprofitability? Using sectoral-based data from 1999 to 2005 to investigate this puzzle, I find that US-owned FDI (USDIA) demonstrates far higher returns particularly relative to foreign-owned direct investment in the USA (FDIUS) but also compared to all US-based industries (NIPA). FDIUS is the worst performing of all three portfolios, exhibiting the poorest and most volatile returns for the period examined. These results hold for both the aggregate non-financial data as well as for the ‘narrow measured value added’. For the period tested, US inwards FDI isn’t employment generating whereas US direct investment abroad produces the fastest gains in labour productivity, output, employment, investment expenditures and tax revenues. Whilst it is debatable that ‘dark matter’ or intangible proprietary assets drive superior relative returns to USDIA, labour exploitation appears to play a role. Increases in labour productivity coupled with declining wage shares for all three portfolios (especially pronounced for USDIA) suggest ‘race to bottom’ outcomes. A burgeoning aspect of this race is cross-border profit-shifting to minimise firms’ global tax burdens. I suspect but am unable to confirm that profits are being shifted overseas — vanishing into the ‘black holes’ of tax havens, transfer pricing and other modes of tax avoidance.

---------------------

Partisan Cycles in Offshore Outsourcing: Evidence from U.S. Imports

Pablo Pinto & Stephen Weymouth

Economics & Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The wage and employment effects of offshoring roil politics in the United States and around the world. Firms that offshore either outsource their activities to unaffiliated businesses, or internalize production by establishing subsidiaries from which they import intrafirm. We argue that the political environment in trade partner countries influences U.S. offshoring patterns in ways that have been ignored in the extant literature. Drawing on the political business cycle literature, we expect higher production costs and lower profits for firms in capital (labor) intensive sectors when the Left (Right) is in power. These partisan cycles, in turn, shape the sectoral composition of exports from the partner to the United States, and the degree to which trade is conducted intrafirm. Under a Left- (Right-) leaning government in a partner country, U.S. intrafirm imports of capital- (labor-) goods increase relative to total imports in these industries. Examining highly disaggregated U.S. import data, we find strong support for our argument. Our results indicate that the effect of partisan governments on offshore outsourcing depends on factor intensities of production, which vary across industries. The degree of internalization in global sourcing is shaped in part by the distributional objectives of partisan governments, and not by economic factors alone.

---------------------

The Effects of Import Competition on Worker Health

Clay McManus & Georg Schaur

Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Occupational health is an important determinant of workers' welfare. Existing mechanisms and evidence from the international trade and occupational safety literatures combine to predict that import competition impacts work place injuries, especially at small firms that are most affected by foreign imports. We examine this prediction with novel data on injuries at US manufacturers using Chinese import growth in 1996–2007 as a shock to competition. The data show that injury rates in the competing US industries increase over the short to medium run, particularly at smaller establishments. Back of the envelope calculations show that injury risk increases by 13% at the smallest establishments, the equivalent of a 1 to 2% reduction in workers' wages.

---------------------

Does Partisan Conflict Deter FDI Inflows to the US?

Marina Azzimonti

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
I analyze the effects of political uncertainty on foreign direct investment flows to the US using a novel indicator, the partisan conflict index (PCI). Partisan conflict is relevant for the evolution of cross-border capital flows because the expected returns on investment projects are less predictable when the timing, size, and composition of fiscal policy is uncertain. The partisan conflict index tracks the evolution of political disagreement among policymakers as reported by the media. Using aggregate quarterly data from 1985 to 2015, I show that an innovation of the PCI is associated with a significant decline in FDI flows to the US. The magnitude of the effect is similar when disaggregated data from a panel of parent countries is considered instead.

---------------------

Predictability Versus Flexibility: Secrecy in International Investment Arbitration

Emilie Hafner-Burton, Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld & David Victor

World Politics, July 2016, Pages 413-453

Abstract:
There is heated debate over the wisdom and effect of secrecy in international negotiations. This debate has become central to the process of foreign investment arbitration because parties to disputes nearly always can choose to hide arbitral outcomes from public view. Working with a new database of disputes at the world's largest investor-state arbitral institution, the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the authors examine the incentives of firms and governments to keep the details of their disputes secret. The authors argue that secrecy in the context of investment arbitration works like a flexibility-enhancing device, similar to the way escape clauses function in the context of international trade. To attract and preserve investment, governments make contractual and treaty-based promises to submit to binding arbitration in the event of a dispute. They may prefer secrecy in cases when they are under strong political pressure to adopt policies that violate international legal norms designed to protect investor interests. Investors favor secrecy when managing politically sensitive disputes over assets they will continue to own and manage in host countries long after the particular dispute has passed. Although governments prefer secrecy to help facilitate politically difficult bargaining, secrecy diminishes one of the central purposes of arbitration: to allow governments to signal publicly their general commitment to investor-friendly policies. Understanding the incentives for keeping the details of dispute resolution secret may help future scholars explain more accurately the observed patterns of wins and losses from investor-state arbitration as well as patterns of investment.

---------------------

Economic Crises and Trade Policy Competition

Cameron Ballard-Rosa, Allison Carnegie & Nikhar Gaikwad

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do crises affect trade policy? This article reconciles starkly diverging accounts in the literature by showing that economic adversity generates endogenous incentives not only for protection, but also for liberalization. It first formally develops the mechanisms by which two features of shocks – intensity and duration – influence the resources and political strategies of distressed firms. The central insight is that policy adjustments to resuscitate afflicted industries typically generate ‘knock-on’ effects on the profitability and political maneuverings of other firms in the economy. The study incorporates these countervailing pressures in its analysis of trade policy competition. In the wake of crises, protection initially increases when affected firms lobby for assistance, but then decreases as industries run low on resources to expend on lobbying and as firms in other industries mobilize to counter-lobby. The theoretical predictions are tested using sub-national and cross-national data, and real-world illustrations are presented to highlight the mechanisms driving the results.

---------------------

Centers of Gravity: Regional Powers, Democracy, and Trade

Timothy Peterson & Thomas Lassi

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Classic studies on hegemonic stability and power transition suggest that concentration of capabilities favoring a single state can promote economic cooperation and discourage militarized conflict. However, tests of these arguments have been primarily limited to examining temporal variation in global capability distributions and corresponding levels of system-wide cooperation; few have examined the impact of capability concentration at the region level. In this article, we contend that concentration of regional military capabilities corresponds to lower trade costs for states throughout a region and to an incentive for weaker states to de-prioritize expenditure on the military, freeing resources that can be used to promote trade. As a result, this condition promotes higher levels of trade, particularly within the region. We also argue that democratic regional powers are better able to foster confidence in the sustainability of cooperation; thus, the trade-enhancing impact of concentrated regional capabilities is stronger when the predominant state is more democratic. We find evidence in support of our expectations in statistical models examining state trade between 1960 and 2007.

---------------------

Human Rights, NGO Shaming and the Exports of Abusive States

Timothy Peterson, Amanda Murdie & Victor Asal

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does the attention of human rights organizations limit exports from rights-abusing states? This article examines how naming and shaming by human rights organizations (HROs) conditions the influence of human rights abuse on exports, and argues that human rights abuse alone is insufficient to damage a state’s exports. However, as attention to abuse via HRO shaming increases, abuse has an increasingly negative impact on exports. Importantly, this relationship is also conditional on the respect for human rights among importing states; human rights abuse, even if it is shamed, has no effect when importers are similarly abusive. Empirical tests utilizing gravity models of trade incorporating data on physical integrity rights abuse and HRO shaming in 1990–2008 yield strong support for our expectations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Generous

Social Class and Prosocial Behavior: The Moderating Role of Public Versus Private Contexts

Michael Kraus & Bennett Callaghan

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Associations between social class and prosocial behavior - defined broadly as action intended to help others - may vary as a function of contextual factors. Three studies examined how making prosocial actions public, versus private, moderates this association. In Study 1, participation in a public prosocial campaign was higher among upper than lower class individuals. In Studies 2 and 3, lower class individuals were more prosocial in a dictator game scenario in private than in public, whereas upper class individuals showed the reverse pattern. Follow-up analyses revealed the importance of reputational concerns for shaping class differences in prosociality: Specifically, higher class individuals reported that pride motivated their prosocial behavior more than lower class individuals, and this association partially accounted for class-based differences in prosociality in public versus private contexts. Together, these results suggest that unique strategies for connecting and relating to others develop based on one's position in the class hierarchy.

---------------------

Communicating to Influence Perceptions of Social Stigma: Implications for the Use of Signs by the Homeless as a Means of Soliciting Funds

Franklin Boster et al.

American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
Homelessness is an important social problem in many countries, including the United States. The plight of the homeless is compounded by a high level of stigma associated with the homeless. This study examines the effects of humorous and nonhumorous signs used by the homeless to attract donations. Study 1 shows that nonhumorous signs attracted 10 times as much money as humorous signs. Study 2 shows that subjects felt more comfortable in the presence of homeless not holding a sign and perceived them more positively compared with homeless holding a humorous sign. Positive perceptions of them led to more comfort, which led to more donations. Study 3 shows that subjects perceived homeless not holding a sign more positively compared with homeless holding a nonhumorous sign. These findings suggest that signs make potential donors feel uncomfortable, potentially resulting in diminished donations.

---------------------

To Give or Not to Give? Interactive Effects of Status and Legitimacy on Generosity

Nicholas Hays & Steven Blader

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although previous research has demonstrated that generosity can lead to status gains, the converse effect of status on generosity has received less attention. This is a significant gap because groups and society at large rely on the beneficence of all members, especially those holding high-status positions. More broadly, research on the psychology of status remains largely unexplored, which is striking in light of the attention given to other forms of social hierarchy, such as power. The current work focuses on the psychology of status and explores the interactive effects of status and legitimacy on generosity. In particular, we hypothesize that status will decrease generosity when the status hierarchy is perceived as legitimate because status can inflate views of one's value to the group and sense of deservingness. In contrast, we hypothesize that status increases generosity when the status hierarchy is perceived as illegitimate, due to efforts to restore equity through one's generosity. Our results support these hypotheses across 6 studies (a field study and 5 experiments) and empirically demonstrate that the effects of status and legitimacy on generosity can be attributed to concerns about equity in status allocation.

---------------------

Helping from the heart: Voluntary upregulation of heart rate variability predicts altruistic behavior

Boris Bornemann et al.

Biological Psychology, September 2016, Pages 54-63

Abstract:
Our various daily activities continually require regulation of our internal state. These regulatory processes covary with changes in High Frequency Heart Rate Variability (HF-HRV), a marker of parasympathetic activity. Specifically, incidental increases in HF-HRV accompany positive social engagement behavior and prosocial action. Little is known about deliberate regulation of HF-HRV and the role of voluntary parasympathetic regulation in prosocial behavior. Here, we present a novel biofeedback task that measures the ability to deliberately increase HF-HRV. In two large samples, we find that a) participants are able to voluntarily upregulate HF-HRV, and b) variation in this ability predicts individual differences in altruistic prosocial behavior, but not non-altruistic forms of prosociality, assessed through 14 different measures. Our findings suggest that self-induction of parasympathetic states is involved in altruistic action. The biofeedback task may provide a measure of deliberate parasympathetic regulation, with implications for the study of attention, emotion, and social behavior.

---------------------

Fundraising Intermediaries Inhibit Quality-Driven Charitable Donations

Lucas Coffman

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Charitable donations are frequently raised by an intermediary, which accepts donations and subsequently sends the proceeds to the charity - for example, a workplace campaign for United Way, a 5-km walk for Susan G. Komen, or buying cookies from a local troop for the Girl Scouts. These fundraisers can greatly increase donations received by a given charity, but how do they affect what types of charities we support? This article shows intermediary fundraisers can make donors insensitive to differences in charity quality: Unattractive charities can receive the same financial support as an attractive charity. In a series of across-subject experiments, when donations are framed as going directly to the charity, unattractive charities receive fewer and smaller contributions relative to attractive charities; however, when donations for the same charities are collected by (meaningless) intermediary fundraising campaigns, donations become indistinguishable across charities. The fundraising campaign does not affect donor recall of charity identity or evaluation of charity quality; it simply precludes donors from using these data in the donation decision. Follow-up experiments suggest the results are driven by information overload.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


Previous   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12   Next


RSS Subscribe to this feed