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Monday, July 18, 2016

Advancement

The Financial Power of the Powerless: Socio-Economic Status and Interest Rates under Partial Rule of Law

Timur Kuran & Jared Rubin

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
In advanced economies interest rates vary inversely with the borrower's socio-economic status, which itself depends inversely on default risk. These relationships depend on the impartiality of the law. Where the law is markedly biased in favour of certain groups, the latter will pay a surcharge for capital. Legal power, as measured by privileges before the law, thus undermines financial power, the capacity to borrow cheaply. Developing this argument, this paper also tests it through judicial records from Ottoman Istanbul, 1602-1799. Three privileged Ottoman groups — men, Muslims, and titled elites — all paid relatively high interest rates conditional on various loan characteristics.

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Law and Social Capital: Evidence from the Code Napoleon in Germany

Johannes Buggle

European Economic Review, August 2016, Pages 148–175

Abstract:
I test whether legal institutions crowd-in social cooperation in the long-run, using the introduction of the Code Napoleon in parts of 19th century Germany as a historical experiment. I find that the application of the Code Napoleon is associated with higher levels of trust and cooperation today. This finding is robust to an identification strategy that uses only individuals located around a discontinuity in the number of years the Code Civil was used. Results from a falsification test that moves this discontinuity artificially, as well as the comparison of pre-treatment characteristics support the interpretation of a causal effect. In addition, regions around the discontinuity are similar in post-treatment economic development and inequality. On the contrary, the positive social consequences of the Code Civil manifest themselves in less political fraud in elections from 1871 to 1900, and in more “bridging” social capital in the 1920's.

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Agricultural Labor Intensity and the Origins of Work Ethics

Vasiliki Fouka & Alain Schlaepfer

Stanford Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
This study examines the historical determinants of differences in attitudes towards work across societies today. Our hypothesis is that a society’s work ethic depends on the role that labor has played in it historically, as an input in agricultural production: societies that have for centuries depended on the cultivation of crops with a high equilibrium labor to land ratio will work longer hours and develop a preference for working hard. We formalize this prediction in the context of a model of endogenous preference formation, with altruistic parents that can invest in reducing their offsprings’ disutility from work. To empirically found our model, we construct an index of potential agricultural labor intensity, that captures the suitability of a location for the cultivation of crops with a high estimated labor share in their production. We find that this index positively predicts the number of desired work hours and the importance placed on work in contemporary European regions. We find support for the hypothesis of cultural transmission, by examining the correlation between potential labor intensity in the parents’ country of origin and hours worked by children of European immigrants in the US.

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Early Childhood Human Capital and Development

Todd Schoellman

American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, July 2016, Pages 145-174

Abstract:
A growing literature stresses the importance of early childhood human capital. I ask whether variation in early childhood investments can help explain cross-country income differences. I provide new empirical evidence: the adult outcomes of refugees are independent of age at arrival to the United States up to age six, despite dramatic improvements in income and environment upon arrival. A standard model is consistent with this finding if parents but not country are important for early childhood development. This finding limits the mechanisms for generating cross-country early childhood human capital differences. I also provide suggestive evidence on parental inputs.

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Democracy and growth: Evidence from a machine learning indicator

Klaus Gründler & Tommy Krieger

European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a novel approach for measuring democracy based on Support Vector Machines, a mathematical algorithm for pattern recognition. The Support Vector Machines Democracy Index (SVMDI) is continuous on the [0,1] interval and enables very detailed and sensitive measurement of democracy for 185 countries in the period between 1981 and 2011. Application of the SVMDI yields results which highlight a robust positive relationship between democracy and economic growth. We argue that the ambiguity in recent studies mainly originates from the lack of sensitivity of traditional democracy indicators. Analyzing transmission channels through which democracy exerts its influence on growth, we conclude that democratic countries feature better educated populations, higher investment shares, and lower fertility rates, but not necessarily higher levels of redistribution.

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Factor endowments, the rule of law and structural inequality

Daniel Bennett & Boris Nikolaev

Journal of Institutional Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper provides an empirical test of the Engerman–Sokoloff hypothesis that factor endowments influenced the development of the rule of law, which in turn has perpetuated income inequality. Using a measure of the suitability of land for growing wheat relative to sugarcane as an instrument for the rule of law, as measured by area 2 of the Economic Freedom of the World index, we estimate the potential causal impact of the rule of law on the long-run net income inequality. Conditioning on geography, ethnolinguistic fractionalization and legal tradition, the rule of law exerts a negative impact on inequality that is both economically and statistically significant. The results are robust to additional control variables, two alternative measures of the rule of law, an alternative instrumental variable and the exclusion of strategic country samples and outliers.

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MNCs, Rents, and Corruption: Evidence from China

Boliang Zhu

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does multinational corporation (MNC) activity affect corruption in developing countries? The existing literature tends to suggest that economic integration helps reduce corruption, as it increases market competition and efficiency and promotes the diffusion of good governance. In this article, I argue that such a generalization oversimplifies the consequences of MNC activity in host countries. The entry and presence of MNCs may contribute to rent creation in developing countries, thereby leading to a high level of corruption. To test this argument, I conduct a case study on China and draw from original data of filed corruption cases to construct measures of corruption. I find that provinces with more MNC activity are strongly associated with more corruption. The results are robust and consistent when possible endogeneity, law enforcement, and alternative measures of corruption are considered. This finding has important implications for domestic governance in developing countries.

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Forbearance

Alisha Holland

American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Particularly in developing countries, there is a gap between written law and behavior. Comparative research emphasizes that laws go unenforced due to resource constraints or inadequate control of the bureaucracy. I instead introduce the concept of forbearance, or the intentional and revocable nonenforcement of law, and argue that politicians often withhold sanctions to maximize votes as well as rents. Drawing on tools from price theory and distributive politics, I present several methods to separate situations when politicians are unable versus unwilling to enforce the law. I demonstrate the identification strategies with original data on the enforcement of laws against street vending and squatting in urban Latin America. In contexts of inadequate social policy, politicians use forbearance to mobilize voters and signal their distributive commitments. These illustrations thus suggest the rich, and largely neglected, distributive politics behind apparent institutional weakness.

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Bones, Bacteria and Break Points: The Heterogeneous Spatial Effects of the Black Death and Long-Run Growth

Remi Jedwab, Noel Johnson & Mark Koyama

George Mason University Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
The Black Death killed about 40% of Europe’s population between 1347-1352. Historical studies suggest that this mortality shock played a major role in shifting Europe onto a path to sustained economic growth. Using a novel dataset that provides information on spatial variation in plague mortality at the city level, as well as a range of controls and various identification strategies based on the spread of the epidemic, we explore the short-run and long-run impact of the Black Death on city growth. We find evidence for aggregate convergence. On average, cities recovered their pre-plague population within two centuries. However, there was considerable heterogeneity in the response to the shock, hence local divergence. The Black Death led to an urban reset: cities with better geographical and non-geographical endowments did relatively well, while other cities collapsed. In particular, our results emphasize the importance of trading networks in explaining urban recovery. Furthermore, the Black Death led to the creation of new cities in areas that were relatively less urbanized before it hit. Our analysis thus suggests that the Black Death may have permanently affected the spatial distribution and aggregate level of economic activity, potentially contributing to long-run growth in Europe.

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Speed or Greed? High Wages and Corruption Among Public Servants

Doron Navot, Yaniv Reingewertz & Nissim Cohen

Administration & Society, July 2016, Pages 580-601

Abstract:
Scholars maintain that higher wages for public servants would make the public sector more efficient and reduce the abuse of power. This article challenges this idea and suggests that higher wages may actually increase public corruption. We argue that increasing pecuniary incentives for public service might lead public employees to advance their own self-interests and encourage justifications for accepting bribes. We test our theory empirically using 18,800 observations from 58 countries taken from the sixth wave of the World Values Survey. The findings confirm our theory and suggest a positive association between public servants’ wages and the toleration of corruption.

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Aggression and Violence Around the World: A Model of CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans (CLASH)

Paul Van Lange, Maria Rinderu & Brad Bushman

Behavioral and Brain Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Worldwide there are substantial differences within and between countries in aggression and violence. Although there are various exceptions, a general rule is that aggression and violence increase as one moves closer to the equator, which suggests the important role of climate differences. While this pattern is robust, theoretical explanations for these large differences in aggression and violence within countries and around the world are lacking. Most extant explanations focus on the influence of average temperature as a factor that triggers aggression (The General Aggression Model), or the notion that warm temperature allows for more social interaction situations (Routine Activity Theory) in which aggression is likely to unfold. We propose a new model of CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans (CLASH) that seeks to understand differences within and between countries in aggression and violence in terms of differences in climate. Lower temperatures, and especially larger degrees of seasonal variation in climate, calls for individuals and groups to adopt a slower life history strategy, and exert more focus on the future (versus present), and a stronger focus on self-control. The CLASH model further outlines that slow life strategy, future orientation, and strong self-control are important determinants of inhibiting aggression and violence. We also discuss how CLASH is different from other recently developed models that emphasize climate differences for understanding conflict. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and societal importance of climate in shaping individual and societal differences in aggression and violence.

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Puncturing the Malthus Delusion: Structural change in the British economy before the industrial revolution, 1500-1800

Patrick Wallis, Justin Colson & David Chilosi

London School of Economics Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Accounts of structural change in the pre-modern British economy vary substantially. We present the first time series of male labour sectoral shares before 1800, using a large sample of probate and apprenticeship data to produce national and county-level estimates. England experienced a rapid decline in the agricultural share between the early seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries, associated with rising agricultural and especially industrial productivity; Wales saw only limited changes. Our results provide further evidence of early structural change, highlighting the significance of the mid-seventeenth century as a turning point in English economic development.

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Anonymity, efficiency wages and technological progress

Stephen Broadberry, Sayantan Ghosal & Eugenio Proto

Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the industrial revolution is often characterized as the culmination of a process of commercialisation, the precise nature of such a link remains unclear. This paper provides an analysis of one such link: the role of commercialisation in raising wages as impersonal labour market transactions replace personalized customary relations. In the presence of an aggregate capital externality, we show that the resulting shift in relative factor prices will, under certain conditions, lead to higher capital-intensity in the production technology and hence, a faster rate of technological progress. We provide historical evidence using European data to show that England was among the most urbanized and the highest wage countries at the onset of the industrial revolution. The model highlights the effects of changes in the availability of information, typical of a modernising country, on efficiency wages and technological progress.

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Does medieval trade still matter? Historical trade venters, agglomeration and contemporary economic development

Fabian Wahl

Regional Science and Urban Economics, September 2016, Pages 50–60

Abstract:
This study establishes a link between medieval trade, agglomeration and contemporary regional development in ten European countries. It documents a statistically and economically significant positive relationship between prominent involvement in medieval trade and regional economic development today. The analysis indicates that a long-lasting effect of medieval trade on contemporary regional development is transmitted via its effect on agglomeration and industry concentration. Further empirical analyses show that medieval trade positively influenced city development both during the medieval period and in the long run; they also reveal a robust connection between medieval city growth and contemporary regional agglomeration and industry concentration. This research thus highlights the long-run importance of medieval trade in shaping the development of cities as well as the contemporary spatial distribution of economic activity throughout Europe.

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Size Matters: The Effect of the Size of Ethnic Groups on Development

Arcangelo Dimico

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The share of ethnic groups is one of the most important features of African politics. It affects civil wars, representation in government positions, distributive and allocative policies. In this paper, we use the partition of ethnic groups as a natural experiment in order to estimate the effect of the share of these ethnic groups on development. We show that larger groups have an advantage in terms of development and that the partition in itself does not matter for development. This result is explained by the fact that the partition matters only when the resulting groups are relatively small, since their lack of political representation may weaken support for institutions, may bias policies and the provision of ethnic/regional public goods.

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The great divergence and the economics of printing

Luis Angeles

Economic History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
While China's invention of printing took place several centuries ahead of Europe's, it was in Europe where the more advanced printing technology of movable type took hold and where book production reached far higher levels. This article explores the extent to which China's complex logographic writing system explains these different outcomes. Using an economic analysis, I show how China's preference for block printing technology over movable type can be justified as the rational choice of commercial producers. In addition to this, model simulations also predict that movable type would be used in China under some specific circumstances which closely match the historical record. On the other hand, the use of block printing would not have led to larger printing costs in China, and as such should not be regarded as the reason behind China's modest level of book production when compared to Europe's.

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A better vision for development: Eyeglasses and academic performance in rural primary schools in China

Paul Glewwe, Albert Park & Meng Zhao

Journal of Development Economics, September 2016, Pages 170–182

Abstract:
About 10% of primary school students in developing countries have poor vision, but very few of them wear glasses. Almost no research examines the impact of poor vision on school performance, and simple OLS estimates could be biased because studying harder may adversely affects one's vision. This paper presents results from a randomized trial in Western China that offered free eyeglasses to rural primary school students. Our preferred estimates, which exclude township pairs for which students in the control township were mistakenly provided eyeglasses, indicate that wearing eyeglasses for one academic year increased the average test scores of students with poor vision by 0.16 to 0.22 standard deviations, equivalent to 0.3 to 0.5 additional years of schooling. These estimates are averages across the two counties where the intervention was conducted. We also find that the benefits are greater for under-performing students. A simple cost-benefit analysis suggests very high economic returns to wearing eyeglasses, raising the question of why such investments are not made by most families. We find that girls are more likely to refuse free eyeglasses, and that parental lack of awareness of vision problems, mothers' education, and economic factors (expenditures per capita and price) significantly affect whether children wear eyeglasses in the absence of the intervention.

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Disaster recovery: New archaeological evidence for the long-term impact of the ‘calamitous’ fourteenth century

Carenza Lewis

Antiquity, June 2016, Pages 777-797

Abstract:
The Black Death swept across Europe and Asia in the fourteenth century, killing millions and devastating communities. Recent re-evaluations of source data, the discovery of new plague cemeteries and advances in genotyping have caused scholars to reconsider the extent of the devastation and to revise estimated mortality rates upwards. But what was the true impact of this catastrophic episode? Systematic test-pitting can reveal changes in medieval demography that can be both quantified and mapped at a range of scales. Comparing the relative amounts of high medieval (copious) to late medieval (much scarcer) pottery suggests that the pottery-using population across eastern England was around 45% lower in the centuries after the Black Death than before, and such comparison identifies exactly where this contraction was the most and least severely felt.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 17, 2016

All together now

Something to talk about: Are conversation sizes constrained by mental modeling abilities?

Jaimie Arona Krems, Robin Dunbar & Steven Neuberg

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conversations are ubiquitous and central elements of daily life. Yet a fundamental feature of conversation remains a mystery: It is genuinely difficult to maintain an everyday conversation with more than four speakers. Why? We introduce a “mentalizing explanation” for the conversation size constraint, which suggests that humans have a natural limit on their ability to model the minds of others, and that this limit, in turn, shapes the sizes of everyday conversations. Using established methodologies for investigating conversation size, we pit this mentalizing hypothesis against two competing explanations — that the size of a conversation is limited by a short-term memory capacity (limiting the factual information we process) or by an auditory constraint (speakers need to be able to hear what each other are saying) — in conversations drawn from a real-world college campus and from Shakespearean plays. Our results provide support for the mentalizing hypothesis and also render alternative accounts less plausible.

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Neural and Behavioral Evidence for Infants' Sensitivity to the Trustworthiness of Faces

Sarah Jessen & Tobias Grossmann

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Face evaluation is a key aspect of face processing in humans, serving important functions in regulating social interactions. Adults and preschool children readily evaluate faces with respect to a person's trustworthiness and dominance. However, it is unclear whether face evaluation is mainly a product of extensive learning or a foundational building block of face perception already during infancy. We examined infants' sensitivity to facial signs of trustworthiness (Experiment 1) and dominance (Experiment 2) by measuring ERPs and looking behavior in response to faces that varied with respect to the two facial attributes. Results revealed that 7-month-old infants are sensitive to facial signs of trustworthiness but not dominance. This sensitivity was reflected in infants' behavioral preference and in the modulation of brain responses previously linked to the emotion detection from faces. These findings provide first evidence that processing faces with respect to trustworthiness has its origins in infancy and shed light on the behavioral and neural correlates of early emerging sensitivity.

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Visual attention to powerful postures: People avert their gaze from nonverbal dominance displays

Elise Holland et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether humans avert their gaze from individuals engaging in nonverbal displays of dominance. Although past studies demonstrate that both humans and nonhuman primates direct more visual attention to high-status others than low-status others, non-human primates avert their gaze when high-status conspecifics engage in nonverbal dominance displays (e.g., chest pounding). In two experiments, participants were eye-tracked while viewing photographs of men and women adopting either dominant, high-power (i.e., expansive and open) or submissive, low-power (i.e., contractive and closed) nonverbal postures. Results demonstrated that humans, like primates, avert their gaze from the faces and upper bodies of individuals displaying dominance compared to those displaying submissiveness. Not only did participants look less often at the faces and upper bodies of dominance-displaying individuals, they also fixated on these regions for shorter durations. Our findings ultimately suggest that nonverbal dominance displays influence humans' visual attention in ways that are likely to shape how social interactions unfold.

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Epigenetic modification of OXT and human sociability

Brian Haas et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 July 2016, Pages E3816–E3823

Abstract:
Across many mammalian species there exist genetic and biological systems that facilitate the tendency to be social. Oxytocin is a neuropeptide involved in social-approach behaviors in humans and others mammals. Although there exists a large, mounting body of evidence showing that oxytocin signaling genes are associated with human sociability, very little is currently known regarding the way the structural gene for oxytocin (OXT) confers individual differences in human sociability. In this study, we undertook a comprehensive approach to investigate the association between epigenetic modification of OXT via DNA methylation, and overt measures of social processing, including self-report, behavior, and brain function and structure. Genetic data were collected via saliva samples and analyzed to target and quantify DNA methylation across the promoter region of OXT. We observed a consistent pattern of results across sociability measures. People that exhibit lower OXT DNA methylation (presumably linked to higher OXT expression) display more secure attachment styles, improved ability to recognize emotional facial expressions, greater superior temporal sulcus activity during two social-cognitive functional MRI tasks, and larger fusiform gyrus gray matter volume than people that exhibit higher OXT DNA methylation. These findings provide empirical evidence that epigenetic modification of OXT is linked to several overt measures of sociability in humans and serve to advance progress in translational social neuroscience research toward a better understanding of the evolutionary and genetic basis of normal and abnormal human sociability.

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The Kiss of Death: Three Tests of the Relationship between Disease Threat and Ritualized Physical Contact within Traditional Cultures

Damian Murray et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The direct adaptive impact of rituals and other forms of behavior dictated or shaped by culture may be one factor influencing their persistence or lack thereof over time. Given that physical contact is a common means through which transmissible disease is spread, we explored the possibility that levels of normative physical contact would be negatively associated with levels of infectious disease prevalence. We tested this prediction across three domains of such behavior — greetings, romantic kissing, and mortuary rituals — by compiling ethnographic information on normative behavior in traditional cultures and comparing it with epidemiological estimates of pathogen prevalence. We find small but significant negative correlations between pathogen prevalence and both greetings and romantic kissing. Ancillary analyses suggest that these relationships are driven by human-transmitted pathogens. The relationship between pathogen prevalence and mortuary rituals is non-significant. Causal mechanisms that may account for these results, as well as implications and limitations, are discussed.

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Influence of oxytocin on emotion recognition from body language: A randomized placebo-controlled trial

Sylvie Bernaerts et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The neuropeptide ‘oxytocin’ (OT) is known to play a pivotal role in a variety of complex social behaviors by promoting a prosocial attitude and interpersonal bonding. One mechanism by which OT is hypothesized to promote prosocial behavior is by enhancing the processing of socially relevant information from the environment. With the present study, we explored to what extent OT can alter the ‘reading’ of emotional body language as presented by impoverished biological motion point light displays (PLDs). To do so, a double-blind between-subjects randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted, assessing performance on a bodily emotion recognition task in healthy adult males before and after a single-dose of intranasal OT (24 IU). Overall, a single-dose of OT administration had a significant effect of medium size on emotion recognition from body language. OT-induced improvements in emotion recognition were not differentially modulated by the emotional valence of the presented stimuli (positive versus negative) and also, the overall tendency to label an observed emotional state as ‘happy’ (positive) or ‘angry’ (negative) was not modified by the administration of OT. Albeit moderate, the present findings of OT-induced improvements in bodily emotion recognition from whole-body PLD provide further support for a link between OT and the processing of socio-communicative cues originating from the body of others.

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Are you looking my way? Ostracism widens the cone of gaze

Pessi Lyyra, James Wirth & Jari Hietanen Quarterly

Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Ostracized individuals demonstrate an increased need for belonging. To satisfy this need, they search for signals of inclusion, one of which may be another person’s gaze directed at oneself. We tested if ostracized, compared to included, individuals judge a greater degree of averted gaze as still being direct. This range of gaze angles still viewed as direct has been dubbed “the cone of (direct) gaze”. In the current research, ostracized and included participants viewed friendly-looking face stimuli with direct or slightly averted gaze (0°, 2°, 4°, 6°, and 8° to the left and to the right) and judged whether stimulus persons were looking at them or not. Ostracized individuals demonstrated a wider gaze cone than included individuals.

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Oxytocin, the peptide that bonds the sexes also divides them

Shan Gao et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 July 2016, Pages 7650–7654

Abstract:
Facilitation of social attraction and bonding by the evolutionarily conserved neuropeptide oxytocin is well-established in female mammals. However, accumulating behavioral evidence suggests that oxytocin may have evolved sex-specific functional roles in the domain of human social cognition. A critical question is how oxytocin differentially modulates neural processing of social information in men and women, leading to divergent behavioral responses. Here we show that intranasal oxytocin treatment produces sex- and valence-dependent increases in amygdala activation when women view individuals identified as praising others but in men those who criticize them. Women subsequently show increased liking for the faces of these individuals, whereas in men it is reduced. Thus, oxytocin may act differentially via the amygdala to enhance the salience of positive social attributes in women but negative ones in men. We hypothesize that oxytocin may have evolved different but complementary roles to help ensure successful reproduction by encouraging mothers to promote a prosocial rearing environment for offspring and fathers to protect against antisocial influences.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, July 16, 2016

No constraints

Employment Nondiscrimination Acts and Corporate Innovation

Huasheng Gao & Wei Zhang

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that U.S. state-level employment nondiscrimination acts (ENDAs) - laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity - spur innovation. We find a significant increase in patents and patent citations for firms headquartered in states that have passed ENDAs relative to firms headquartered in states that have not. This result is more pronounced for firms that previously have not implemented pro-gay nondiscrimination policies, for firms in states with a large homosexual population, and for firms in human capital-intensive industries. Lastly, we provide evidence suggesting that ENDAs affect innovation by matching employees, who are generally more creative than anti-gay employees, with innovative firms.

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Rights, Reflection, and Reciprocity: Implications of the Same-Sex Marriage Debate for Tolerance and the Political Process

Paul Djupe, Andrew Lewis & Ted Jelen

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contentious battles over state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts suggest a fundamental refashioning of the "culture war" clashes in American politics. Conservatives - particularly religious conservatives - have come to champion a politics of rights, using "liberal weapons" (rights) to win battles or at least stave off loses. This raises important questions about the long-run effects of making rights claims. Does rights claiming lead to balkanization and reinforce group boundaries or is rights claiming an education in the democratic process that promotes tolerance? Drawing on evidence from an experimental design, we find that exposure to rights claims made by clergy regarding exemptions from participation in same-sex ceremonies acts as a prime to boost tolerance of selected least-liked groups, an effect particularly potent for evangelical Protestants.

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In Search of Emerging Same-Sex Sexuality: Romantic Attractions at Age 13 Years

Gu Li & Melissa Hines

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sex-typed behavior in childhood is significantly related to sexual orientation in adulthood. In addition, same-sex attractions in early adolescence are more non-exclusive than in adulthood and can differ from later same-sex orientations. However, little research has focused on romantic attractions as they emerge during early adolescence. Drawing a sample from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (197 girls, 204 boys), the current study examined whether same-sex romantic attractions at age 13 years were exclusive, and whether they were predicted by sex-typed behavior at age 3.5 years. No young adolescents in this sample reported exclusive same-sex attractions, and increased same-sex attractions were not significantly related to reduced other-sex sexualities. Childhood sex-typed behavior did not significantly predict early same-sex attractions, suggesting that early same-sex attractions differ from later same-sex orientations. The current study highlights the importance of studying the development of sexuality beginning prior to adulthood.

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Gender-Typed Behavior Over Time in Children With Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Parents

Abbie Goldberg & Randi Garcia

Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current longitudinal study examined patterns and predictors of parent-reported gender-typed play behavior in adopted boys and girls in lesbian, gay, and heterosexual 2-parent families, across early childhood (Mage = 2.82 to 6.06 years). Specifically, using a sample of 181 couples (56 lesbian couples, 48 gay male couples, and 77 heterosexual couples), we examined parent reports of children's gender-typed play behavior on the Pre-School Activities Inventory (PSAI; Golombok & Rust, 1993) at 3 time points (mean age = 2.82 years at T1, 3.93 years at T2, and 6.06 years at T3). Family structure variables (i.e., parents' gender and sexual orientation; children's gender and sibling status) were included as predictors. At T1, according to parent reports, children in lesbian-parent families had less gender-differentiated behavior (boys were less masculine, girls were less feminine) than children in heterosexual- and gay-parent families, whereas the degree of gender differentiation did not differ between heterosexual- versus gay-parent families. Findings from a Common Fate Growth Model (Ledermann & Macho, 2014) revealed that, regardless of family type, the parent-reported gender-typed behavior of boys, but not girls, significantly changed over time (i.e., boys' behavior became more masculine). Our findings have implications for researchers who study gender development in children and adolescents, particularly those who are being raised by 2 mothers or 2 fathers.

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Gay Rights in Congress: Public Opinion and (Mis)Representation

Katherine Krimmel, Jeffrey Lax & Justin Phillips

Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public majorities have supported several gay rights policies for some time, yet Congress's response has been limited. We document and analyze this tension through dyadic analysis of the opinion-vote relationship on 23 roll calls between 1993 and 2010, revealing a nuanced picture of responsiveness and incongruence. While constituent preferences influence white male Democrats, black lawmakers and white female Democratic lawmakers generally support gay rights and Republicans consistently oppose them, regardless of constituent preferences. Moreover, changes in constituent opinion typically fail to engender vote changes. In sum, despite a degree of responsiveness to opinion, we find there is a persistent bias against constituent will on LGB rights.

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Baby babbling at five months linked to sex hormone levels in early infancy

Anja Quast et al.

Infant Behavior and Development, August 2016, Pages 1-10

Abstract:
Gender-dependent differentiation of the brain at morphological, neurochemical and functional levels of organization have been shown to be primarily controlled by sex differences in gonadal hormone concentrations during pre- and early postnatal development. Indeed, previous studies have reported that pre- and perinatal hormonal environments influence brain development and, consequently, affect sex specific long-term language outcomes. Herein, we investigated whether postnatal surges of estrogen (estradiol) and androgen (testosterone) may predict properties of pre-speech babbling at five months. This study is the first attempt to investigate a possible correlation between sex hormones and infants' articulatory skills during the typical postnatal period of extended hormonal activity known as 'mini-puberty.' A hierarchical, multiple regression approach revealed a significant, robust positive relationship between 4-week concentrations of estradiol and individual articulatory skills. In contrast, testosterone concentrations at five months negatively correlated with articulatory skills at the same age in both boys and girls. Our findings reinforce the assumption of the importance of sex hormones for auditory-vocal development towards language in human infants.

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Happiness and Sexual Minority Status

Mieke Beth Thomeer & Corinne Reczek

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
We used logistic regression on nationally representative data (General Social Survey, N = 10,668 and N = 6680) to examine how sexual minority status related to happiness. We considered two central dimensions of sexual minority status-sexual behavior and sexual identity. We distinguished between same-sex, both-sex, and different-sex-oriented participants. Because individuals transition between sexual behavior categories over the life course (e.g., from both-sex partners to only same-sex partners) and changes in sexual minority status have theoretical associations with well-being, we also tested the associations of transitions with happiness. Results showed that identifying as bisexual, gay, or lesbian, having both male and female partners since age 18, or transitioning to only different-sex partners was negatively related to happiness. Those with only same-sex partners since age 18 or in the past 5 years had similar levels of happiness as those with only different-sex partners since age 18. Additional tests showed that the majority of these happiness differences became non-significant when economic and social resources were included, indicating that the lower happiness was a product of structural and societal forces. Our findings clearly and robustly underscored the importance of taking a multi-faceted approach to understanding sexuality and well-being, demonstrating that not all sexual minority groups experience disadvantaged happiness. Our study calls for more attention to positive aspects of well-being such as happiness in examinations of sexual minorities and suggests that positive psychology and other happiness subfields should consider the role of sexual minority status in shaping happiness.

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Judged by the Company You Keep? Exposure to Nonprejudiced Norms Reduces Concerns About Being Misidentified as Gay/Lesbian

Jessica Cascio & Ashby Plant

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social contagion concerns, heterosexuals' fears about being misidentified as gay/lesbian, can lead to avoidant and hostile responses toward gay men/lesbians. We argue that apprehension about becoming the target of prejudice if misidentified as gay/lesbian contributes to contagion concerns. We hypothesized that exposing heterosexuals to others' nonprejudiced attitudes would reduce their contagion concerns. Consistent with these predictions, perceptions of peer prejudice statistically predicted contagion concerns, over and above personal prejudice (Study 1). In addition, participants exposed to a nonprejudiced versus a high-prejudiced norm (or control condition) expressed lower contagion concerns and less anxious/avoidant responses toward gay men/lesbians (Studies 2 and 4). Finally, exposure to fellow students' nonprejudiced views resulted in lower contagion concerns than a control group (Study 3) due to decreased concerns about becoming the target of prejudice if misidentified as gay/lesbian (Study 4). These results provide evidence that changing perceptions of others' prejudice can reduce contagion concerns.

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Do women advance equity? The effect of gender leadership composition on LGBT-friendly policies in American firms

Alison Cook & Christy Glass

Human Relations, July 2016, Pages 1431-1456

Abstract:
We advance the literature on the demographic factors that shape organizational outcomes by analyzing the impact of the gender composition of firm leadership on the likelihood that a firm will adopt lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)-friendly policies. Drawing on social role and token theory, we test the relative impact of CEO gender and the gender composition of the board of directors separately and together in order to identify the effects of gender diversity at the top of the organization. We rely on a unique data set that includes corporate policies (gender identity and sexual orientation non-discrimination policies, domestic-partner benefits, and overall corporate equality index scores) as well as the gender of the CEO and board of directors among Fortune 500 firms over a 10-year period. Our findings suggest that firms with gender-diverse boards are more likely than other firms to offer LGBT-friendly policies, whereas findings for firms with women CEOs offer mixed results.

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Longitudinal Associations of Homophobic Name-Calling Victimization With Psychological Distress and Alcohol Use During Adolescence

Joan Tucker et al.

Journal of Adolescent Health, July 2016, Pages 110-115

Methods: Results are based on 1,325 students from three Midwestern high schools who completed in-school surveys in 2012 and 2013. Linear regression analysis was used to examine the associations among homophobic name-calling victimization and changes in anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, and alcohol use one year later, controlling for other forms of victimization and demographics.

Results: Homophobic name-calling victimization by friends was not associated with changes in psychological distress or alcohol use among either students who self-identified as heterosexual or those who self-identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). In contrast, homophobic name-calling by nonfriends was associated with increased psychological distress over a one-year period among LGB students and increased drinking among heterosexual students.

Conclusions: Homophobic name-calling victimization, specifically from nonfriends, can adversely affect adolescent well-being over time and, thus, is important to address in school-based bullying prevention programs. School staff and parents should be aware that both LGB and heterosexual adolescents are targets of homophobic name-calling but may tend to react to this type of victimization in different ways. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms through which homophobic victimization increases the risk of psychological distress and alcohol use over time.

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Effect of Exposure to a Safe Zone Symbol on Perceptions of Campus Climate for Sexual Minority Students

Jennifer Katz et al.

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated student perceptions of campus climate after brief exposure to a Safe Zone symbol. After responding to measures of traditional and modern homophobia, undergraduates (N = 265; 78% female, 80% white, 14% LGBTQ, 18-23 years old) were randomly assigned to read an excerpt from a fictitious course syllabus that either did or did not feature a Safe Zone symbol. Afterward, participants rated campus climate characteristics for sexual minority students. Participants who viewed a Safe Zone symbol reported more positive campus climate characteristics for sexual minority students than those who did not view a Safe Zone symbol. Exposure to the symbol was not associated with perceptions of negative campus climate characteristics. Analyses conducted within the subsample of students who did not personally identify as sexual minorities showed no evidence for a negative or "backlash" effect of exposure to a Safe Zone symbol. Although homophobia was not related to how participants responded to a Safe Zone symbol, those who reported greater modern homophobia perceived more negative campus climate characteristics than those who reported less modern homophobia. The current results provide initial experimental evidence that displaying Safe Zone symbols can promote inclusive, accepting perceptions of the campus community.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, July 15, 2016

Holding power

Political Knowledge and Policy Representation in the States

William Jaeger, Jeffrey Lyons & Jennifer Wolak

American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political knowledge is central to the success of representative democracy. However, public policy has been shown to follow public opinion even despite low levels of political information in the electorate. Does this mean that political knowledge is irrelevant to policy representation? We consider whether knowledgeable electorates are better able to achieve representative policy outcomes. Using the heterogeneity in the responsiveness of government across the states, we consider how state political knowledge moderates the connection between citizen ideology and the policy outcomes of state government. Using national surveys and multilevel logit with post-stratification, we develop measures of collective political knowledge in the states. We test whether knowledgeable electorates are more likely to secure representative political outcomes than less politically informed constituencies. We find that as state political knowledge increases, so does the correspondence between the preferences of the public and the ideological tenor of state policy outcomes.

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Polarization and Policy: The Politics of Public-Sector Pensions

Sarah Anzia & Terry Moe

Legislative Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
For decades, America's state and local governments have promised their workers increasingly generous pensions but failed to fully fund them, producing a fiscal problem of staggering proportions. In this article, we examine the politics of public pensions. While mainstream theoretical ideas in the American politics literature would suggest the pension issue should be polarized, with Democrats pushing for generous pensions over Republican resistance, we develop an argument — rooted in more traditional theoretical work by Schattschneider, Lowi, Wilson, and others — implying that both parties should be expected to support generous pensions during normal times and that only after the onset of the Great Recession, which expanded the scope of conflict, should the parties begin to diverge. Using a new data set of state legislators' votes on hundreds of pension bills passed between 1999 and 2011, we carry out an empirical analysis that supports these expectations.

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Gendered Perceptions and Reelection Incentives in the U.S. House of Representatives

Nicholas Pyeatt & Alixandra Yanus

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Summer 2016, Pages 295-315

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that the public systematically misperceives the ideology of female politicians. We posit that these misperceptions affect the ideal roll call ideology of female incumbents. Specifically, we contend that women receive greater benefits from more ideologically extreme roll call voting than comparable men. We test this theory by using data on the House of Representatives from 1972 to 2008. We find that even after accounting for district characteristics, female members are never penalized — at least in terms of facing a quality challenger — by ideological extremity. But extremity may increase male incumbents’ likelihood of facing such challengers.

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Political Party Affiliation of the President, Majority in Congress, and Sin Stock Returns

Sanjiv Sabherwal, Salil Sarkar & Mohammad Riaz Uddin

Financial Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that in contrast to the stock market, which performs better during Democratic presidencies, “sin” stocks — publicly traded producers of tobacco, alcohol, and gaming — perform better during Republican presidencies and even more so when the Republican presidency is accompanied by a Republican majority in at least one chamber of Congress. We examine whether sin firms use contributions to establish connections with politicians and find that sin firms contribute more to Republican candidates and that these contributions are greater when Republicans are in power. We also find a positive relation between political contributions and future returns. The relation is stronger for contributions to Republicans.

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The Effects of Congressional Staff Networks in the U.S. House of Representatives

Jacob Montgomery & Brendan Nyhan

Washington University in St. Louis Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Standard accounts of legislative behavior typically neglect the activities of professional staff, who are treated as extensions of the elected officials they serve. However, staff appear to have substantial independent effects on observed levels of legislator productivity and policy preferences. In this paper, we use a novel dataset of comprehensive longitudinal employment records from the U.S. House of Representatives to estimate the effects of Congressional staff on legislative behavior. Specifically, results from a series of heteroskedastic Bayesian spatial autoregressive models indicate that members of Congress who exchange important staff members across congresses are more similar in their legislative effectiveness and voting patterns than we would otherwise expect. These findings suggest that scholars should reconsider the role of staff in the legislative process.

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Dynamic Collective Choice with Endogenous Status Quo

Wioletta Dziuda & Antoine Loeper

Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We analyze a bargaining situation in which preferences evolve over time and the previous agreement becomes the next status quo. The endogeneity of the status quo exacerbates the players’ conflict of interest: Players disagree more often than under exogenous status quo. This leads to inefficiencies and status quo inertia. Under certain conditions, the negotiations can come to a complete gridlock: Players never reach an agreement. Gridlock can occur between players with arbitrarily similar preferences, provided they are sufficiently patient. In legislative settings, our model predicts polarization and explains why legislators may fail to react promptly to economic shocks.

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The Democratic Disconnect

Roberto Stefan Foa & Yascha Mounk

Journal of Democracy, July 2016, Pages 5-17

Abstract:
The citizens of wealthy, established democracies are less satisfied with their governments than they have been at any time since opinion polling began. Most scholars have interpreted this as a sign of dissatisfaction with particular governments rather than with the political system as a whole. Drawing on recent public opinion data, we suggest that this optimistic interpretation is no longer plausible. Across a wide sample of countries in North America and Western Europe, citizens of mature democracies have become markedly less satisfied with their form of government and surprisingly open to nondemocratic alternatives. A serious democratic disconnect has emerged. If it widens even further, it may begin to challenge the stability of seemingly consolidated democracies.

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EU enlargement and satisfaction with democracy: A peculiar case of immiserizing growth

Barbara Dluhosch, Daniel Horgos & Klaus Zimmermann

Constitutional Political Economy, September 2016, Pages 273-298

Abstract:
Studies on EU enlargement mostly focus on its welfare-economic and much less so on its public-choice dimension. Yet, the latter may be as important as the former when it comes to sustain integration. This paper aims at filling the gap by exploring theoretically and empirically how enlargement of multi-level systems like the EU affects satisfaction with democracy. In order to assess the effects of a widening in membership, we present a novel approach that draws on the probability of being outvoted. We find that, given the institutional arrangement, enlargement tends to depress satisfaction with democracy. Our theoretical results are backed by panel-data evidence for six European economies displaying a significant decline in satisfaction with democracy with growth in EU-membership.

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The Constrained Governor: Exploring Gubernatorial Decision Making on Senate Appointments

Christopher Cooper, Gibbs Knotts & Jordan Ragusa

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the vast majority of American states, governors have unrestricted authority to fill Senate vacancies, and in an average decade, one-third of all Americans have been represented by an appointed senator. Despite the importance of Senate appointments both theoretically and substantively, no published study has investigated the dynamics of gubernatorial selection. In this paper, we compile an original data set of Senate appointees as well as the list of the candidates the governor considered but did not select. We model the governor’s selection and discover that despite having no formal constraints on their appointment power, governors behave as constrained actors. In particular, we find that governors eschew the potential appointees who are closest to their policy views and instead appoint the candidate who is closest to the ideological position of the voters in their state. This effect is particularly pronounced when the governor is eligible for reelection within two years. These findings have both theoretical and normative implications for understanding Senate appointments, gubernatorial decision making, and the implicit power of the electorate.

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Assessing minority party influence on partisan issue attention in the US House of representatives, 1989–2012

Tyler Hughes

Party Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority party dominates legislative outputs and throughputs in rule-driven institutions, but these agenda-setting powers may not extend to other facets of the policy process. This article assesses the minority party’s ability to influence majority party issue attention in the US House of Representatives by analyzing one-minute speeches given on the House floor. This new measure of partisan issue attention highlights how the parties focus on the same policy issues in the same relative proportions, rather than crafting divergent issue agendas. Time series analysis indicates gaps between the parties’ level of attention to particular issues result in corresponding changes to majority party attention, which suggests the minority party can influence majority party issue attention by placing more emphasis on specific policy issues.

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FoIA in the age of “Open.Gov”: An analysis of the performance of the Freedom of Information Act under the Obama and Bush administrations

Ben Wasike

Government Information Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study used five standard Department of Justice FoIA parameters to analyze and compare FoIA performance between the Obama and Bush administrations in terms of: efficiency, disposition, type of exemptions, redress and staff workload. Results indicate that while efficiency is higher under Obama, agencies are releasing information only in part. While appeals were processed faster under Bush, petitioners have had more success under Obama. Additionally, FoIA staff workload has dramatically reduced under Obama. One notable finding was that contrary to popular media outcry, neither administration evoked national security and law enforcement exemptions as much as has been widely claimed. Legacy and commonality were also findings indicating that certain trends transcend the incumbent. Implications to government transparency and pertinent issues are discussed within.

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Partisanship, Sophistication, and Public Attitudes about Majority Rule and Minority Rights in Congress

Hong Min Park & Steven Smith

Legislative Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The balance between majority rule and minority rights is a central issue in the design and operation of democratic institutions and remains a contested issue in debates of policy-making processes. Remarkably, public attitudes about this balance are not subjected to scholarly investigation. In this article, we report the findings of the first survey experiment in which the American public's attitudes about majority rule and minority rights in legislative bodies are explored. We find robust support for both majority rule and minority rights, discover that only a few Americans distinguish between the US House of Representatives and Senate in the application of these principles, and demonstrate that views of majority rule and minority rights can be moved once we introduce respondents to the partisan implications of procedural rules. Moreover, with conflicting theoretical expectations about the effect of political sophistication on attitudes about majority rule and minority rights, we find that higher levels of political sophistication are associated with stronger partisan effects on attitudes about the balance between majority rule and minority rights in Congress.

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Constitutional Qualms or Politics as Usual? The Factors Shaping Public Support for Unilateral Action

Dino Christenson & Douglas Kriner

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The formal institutional constraints that Congress and the courts impose on presidential unilateral action are feeble. As a result, recent scholarship suggests that public opinion may be the strongest check against executive overreach. However, little is known about how the public assesses unilateral action. Through a series of five survey experiments embedded in nationally representative surveys, we examine the extent to which Americans evaluate unilateral action based on constitutional, partisan, and policy concerns. We find that Americans do not instinctively reject unilateral action as a threat to our system of checks and balances, but instead evaluate unilateral action in terms of whether it accords or conflicts with their partisan and policy preference priors. Our results suggest that the public constraint on presidential unilateral action is far from automatic. Rather, the strength and scope of this check are variable products of political contestation in the public sphere.

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Donations and dependence: Individual contributor strategies in House elections

Jennifer Heerwig

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the importance of individual contributors to financing federal candidates, past work has largely neglected this crucial financial constituency in favor of research on corporate and trade political action committees (PACs). By contrast, in this study I offer the first analysis of aggregate contributions from the population of individual contributors to House candidates. Using an original big dataset constructed from over fifteen million Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure records, I identify individual contributors (rather than contributions) and trace the variation in their strategies across types of House candidates. I distinguish between frequent donors, who are theorized to have more contact with members of Congress, versus infrequent donors in these elections. I find evidence that the character of aggregate donations from repeat donors is more access-oriented even while controlling for other salient candidate characteristics. Funds from infrequent donors, in contrast, appear more ideologically motivated. By also examining the percentage of funds that House candidates receive from repeat donors, I show that the fundraising coalitions of candidates may reproduce reliance on more access-oriented, repeat donors despite the influx of dollars from infrequent donors. I suggest that my findings provide a persuasive case for re-evaluating the diversity of roles individual contributors play in the campaign finance system, and for systematically analyzing variation in contributor strategies.

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Interbranch cooperation and the shadow of the future

Travis Baker & Thomas Schwartz

Constitutional Political Economy, September 2016, Pages 319-331

Abstract:
Prisoners’ Dilemma (PD) experiments confirm and extend Axelrod’s (The evolution of cooperation. Basic Books, New York, 1984) Shadow of the Future hypothesis: subjects cooperate in infinitely repeated PD, but they also cooperate until near the end in finitely repeated PD. So the extended hypothesis is that cooperation depends on the probability of continued play. Observational tests of this hypothesis, or even applications, have been rare at best. Here we not only apply but test it for interbranch cooperation under separated-powers constitutions, specifically those of the American states, using the end of governors’ final terms as end points and the rate of overridden vetoes as the extreme case of a breakdown in interbranch cooperation. Controlling for a variety of factors, including divided government, we find support for the hypothesis, whose explanation of interbranch interaction fills a gap left open by Madison’s Federalist 51: how republican government can control itself when what is needed is “energy” more than safeguards.

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Sending mixed signals: The role of gender and partisanship in evaluations of political leaders

Nicholas Pyeatt & Alixandra Yanus

Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, forthcoming

Abstract:
Partisanship and gender are powerful heuristic cues used by citizens to understand their elected officials’ ideology. When these cues send complementary signals – a Democratic woman or a Republican man – we expect they will aid citizens in evaluating their leaders’ political ideology. However, when partisanship and gender send conflicting signals, we expect citizens will be more likely to misperceive their leaders’ beliefs. We test this proposition using ideological evaluations of incumbent US senators collected in the 2010 and 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Studies. The findings support our hypotheses, illustrating voters’ reliance on both partisan and gender cues. Our results suggest potential consequences for not only Republican women, but also Democratic men.

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Informational Lobbying and Agenda Distortion

Christopher Cotton & Arnaud Déllis

Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article challenges the prevailing view that pure informational lobbying (in the absence of political contributions and evidence distortion or withholding) leads to better informed policymaking. In the absence of lobbying, the policymaker (PM) may prioritize more promising issues. Recognizing this, interest groups involved with other issues have a greater incentive to lobby in order to change the issues that the PM learns about and prioritizes. We show how informational lobbying can be detrimental, in the sense that it can lead to less informed PMs and worse policy. This is because informational lobbying can lead to the prioritization of less important issues with active lobbies, and can crowd out information collection by the PM on issues with more likely beneficial reforms. The analysis fully characterizes the set of detrimental lobbying equilibria under two alternative types of issue asymmetry.

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Competing for Attention: Lobbying Time-Constrained Politicians

Christopher Cotton

Journal of Public Economic Theory, August 2016, Pages 642–665

Abstract:
We develop a model of lobbying in which a time and resource constrained policymaker first chooses which policy proposals to learn about, before choosing which to implement. The policymaker reviews the proposals of the interest groups who provide the highest contributions. We study how policy outcomes and contributions depend on policymaker constraints and the design of the “Contest for Attention.” Among other results, awarding attention to the highest contributors generally guarantees the first best policy outcome. It can also lead to the highest possible contributions, suggesting that a policymaker may not need to sacrifice policy in order to maximize contributions. Our results also give insight into other settings where agents compete for a decision maker's attention.

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Presidential Influence in an Era of Congressional Dominance

Jon Rogowski

American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on presidential power focuses almost exclusively on the modern era, while earlier presidents are said to have held office while congressional dominance was at its peak. In this article, I argue that nineteenth-century presidents wielded greater influence than commonly recognized due to their position as head of the executive branch. Using an original dataset on the county-level distribution of U.S. post offices from 1876 to 1896, I find consistent evidence that counties represented by a president’s copartisans in the U.S. House received substantially more post offices than other counties, and that these advantages were especially large under divided government and in electorally important states. These results are robust across model specifications and when examining the Senate. The findings challenge key components of the congressional dominance and modern presidency theses, and have important implications for scholarship on interbranch relations, bureaucratic politics, and American political development.

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Mayors, Accomplishments, and Advancement

Eric Heberlig et al.

Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the effects of accomplishments on the career paths of big-city mayors. Using data from 104 cities with populations over 160,000 from 1992 to 2012, this study examines the extent to which performance in economics, crime, and recruiting mega-events affects mayors’ decisions to seek reelection or other offices, or retire. Results indicate those mayors of cities with population growth, a decrease in the crime rate, and that host certain mega-events (presidential nominating conventions) are more likely to seek another office than other mayors. A decrease in the crime rate seems to help mayors win reelection while none of the other accomplishments appear to improve their chances of winning campaigns for other offices.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pick your poison

Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Prescription Medication Use In Medicare Part D

Ashley Bradford & David Bradford

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1230-1236

Abstract:
Legalization of medical marijuana has been one of the most controversial areas of state policy change over the past twenty years. However, little is known about whether medical marijuana is being used clinically to any significant degree. Using data on all prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013, we found that the use of prescription drugs for which marijuana could serve as a clinical alternative fell significantly, once a medical marijuana law was implemented. National overall reductions in Medicare program and enrollee spending when states implemented medical marijuana laws were estimated to be $165.2 million per year in 2013. The availability of medical marijuana has a significant effect on prescribing patterns and spending in Medicare Part D.

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Minimum wages and youth binge drinking

Omer Hoke & Chad Cotti

Empirical Economics, August 2016, Pages 363-381

Abstract:
Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including unintentional injuries, intentional injuries (e.g., domestic violence, sexual assault), unintended pregnancy, and liver disease. Moreover, high-volume episodic binge drinking is very prevalent among teenagers and young adults. Given that approximately 90 % of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the USA is in the form of binge drinking (Murphy et al. in Addict Res Theory 20(6):456-465, 2012), understanding the determinants of binge drinking behavior, particularly among youth, is important from the perspective of health and policy. In this paper, we explore the relationship between youth binge drinking and an unanticipated determinate of this behavior, minimum wage laws. Using a fixed effects regression model, we observe a positive relationship between minimum wage increases and binge drinking among teenagers. We find that, after accounting for demographic characteristics, different types of risky behaviors, excise tax, state and time fixed effects, and time-varying state effects, a $1 increase in minimum wage increases binge drinking among teenagers by approximately 9 %. Our results support recent findings that minimum wage increases are positively associated with alcohol-related accidents among teenagers (Adam et al. in Rev Econ Stat 94(3):828-840, 2012). Findings suggest that authorities should consider the unexpected impacts that minimum wage increase may have on alcohol consumption among teens and consider parallel policies to help mitigate potential negative consequences.

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Alcohol abstention in early adulthood and premature mortality: Do early life factors, social support, and health explain this association?

Rebecca Evans-Polce, Jeremy Staff & Jennifer Maggs

Social Science & Medicine, August 2016, Pages 71-79

Objective: Adult alcohol abstainers have a heightened risk of premature mortality compared to light-to-moderate drinkers. We examine three plausible explanations, other than lack of alcohol, for this observed difference: Abstainers 1) have early life disadvantages that undermine long-term health; 2) lack social support; 3) are less healthy.

Method: In the National Child Development Study, an ongoing national British cohort study of individuals born in 1958, we investigated whether early life disadvantages, lack of social support, and poor physical health reduce or eliminate the elevated risk of mortality through age 51 among those abstaining from alcohol at age 33. Using Cox proportional hazard models in a stepwise approach we examined whether the alcohol-mortality relationship changed when potential confounders were included.

Results: The risk of mortality by age 51 was greater among age-33 abstainers compared to light drinkers (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 2.18; 95% CI = 1.40, 3.40). Including early life disadvantages and social support in the hazard models did not alter these associations (HR = 2.12; 95% CI = 1.27, 3.54). Including physical health in the model resulted in a 25% reduction in risk of death among abstainers, though the difference in risk remained statistically significant (HR = 1.75; 95% CI = 1.04, 2.94).

Conclusions: Abstaining from alcohol in early adulthood, in comparison to light drinking, predicts increased risk for premature mortality, even after accounting for numerous early and young adult confounders. Future research should examine potential moderators of this association.

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Evidence Suggests That The ACA's Tobacco Surcharges Reduced Insurance Take-Up And Did Not Increase Smoking Cessation

Abigail Friedman, William Schpero & Susan Busch

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1176-1183

Abstract:
To account for tobacco users' excess health care costs and encourage cessation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed insurers to impose a surcharge on tobacco users' premiums for plans offered on the health insurance exchanges, or Marketplaces. Low-income tax credits for Marketplace coverage were based on premiums for non-tobacco users, which means that these credits did not offset any surcharge costs. Thus, this policy greatly increased out-of-pocket premiums for many tobacco users. Using data for 2011-14 from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we examined the effect of tobacco surcharges on insurance status and smoking cessation in the first year of the exchanges' implementation, among adults most likely to purchase insurance from them. Relative to smokers who faced no surcharges, smokers facing medium or high surcharges had significantly reduced coverage (reductions of 4.3 percentage points and 11.6 percentage points, respectively), but no significant differences in smoking cessation. In contrast, those facing low surcharges showed significantly less smoking cessation. Taken together, these findings suggest that tobacco surcharges conflicted with a major goal of the ACA - increased financial protection - without increasing smoking cessation. States should consider these potential effects when deciding whether to limit surcharges to less than the federal maximum.

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The Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Morbidity in the US

Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide the first evaluation of the effect of the US minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) on nonfatal injuries. Using administrative records from several states and a regression discontinuity approach, we document that inpatient hospital admissions and emergency department (ED) visits increase by 8.4 and 71.3 per 10,000 person-years, respectively, at age 21. These effects are due mainly to an increase in the rate at which young men experience accidental injuries, alcohol overdoses, and injuries inflicted by others. Our results suggest that the literature's disproportionate focus on mortality leads to a significant underestimation the benefits of tighter alcohol control.

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E-Cigarettes and Future Cigarette Use

Jessica Barrington-Trimis et al.

Pediatrics, July 2016

Methods: The Children's Health Study is a prospectively followed cohort in Southern California. Data on e-cigarette use were collected in 11th and 12th grade (mean age = 17.4); follow-up data on tobacco product use were collected an average of 16 months later from never-smoking e-cigarette users at initial evaluation (n = 146) and from a sample of never-smoking, never e-cigarette users (n = 152) frequency matched to e-cigarette users on gender, ethnicity, and grade.

Results: Cigarette initiation during follow-up was reported by 40.4% of e-cigarette users (n = 59) and 10.5% of never users (n = 16). E-cigarette users had 6.17 times (95% confidence interval: 3.30-11.6) the odds of initiating cigarettes as never e-cigarette users. Results were robust to adjustment for potential confounders and in analyses restricted to never users of any combustible tobacco product. Associations were stronger in adolescents with no intention of smoking at initial evaluation. E-cigarette users were also more likely to initiate use of any combustible product (odds ratio = 4.98; 95% confidence interval: 2.37-10.4), including hookah, cigars, or pipes.

Conclusions: E-cigarette use in never-smoking youth may increase risk of subsequent initiation of cigarettes and other combustible products during the transition to adulthood when the purchase of tobacco products becomes legal. Stronger associations in participants with no intention of smoking suggests that e-cigarette use was not simply a marker for individuals who would have gone on to smoke regardless of e-cigarette use.

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Minimum Ages of Legal Access for Tobacco in the United States From 1863 to 2015

Dorie Apollonio & Stanton Glantz

American Journal of Public Health, July 2016, Pages 1200-1207

Abstract:
In the United States, state laws establish a minimum age of legal access (MLA) for most tobacco products at 18 years. We reviewed the history of these laws with internal tobacco industry documents and newspaper archives from 1860 to 2014. The laws appeared in the 1880s; by 1920, half of states had set MLAs of at least 21 years. After 1920, tobacco industry lobbying eroded them to between 16 and 18 years. By the 1980s, the tobacco industry viewed restoration of higher MLAs as a critical business threat. The industry's political advocacy reflects its assessment that recruiting youth smokers is critical to its survival. The increasing evidence on tobacco addiction suggests that restoring MLAs to 21 years would reduce smoking initiation and prevalence, particularly among those younger than 18 years.

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Breaks in Play: Do They Achieve Intended Aims?

Alexander Blaszczynski et al.

Journal of Gambling Studies, June 2016, Pages 789-800

Abstract:
Breaks in play represent a responsible gambling strategy designed to disrupt states of dissociation and enhance the likelihood of drawing attention to a player's session behaviour and expenditure with respect to time and money. The aim of the break in play is to motivate the player to modify or cease gambling so the activity remains within affordable levels. The aim of this study was to investigate whether imposed breaks in play in the absence of accompanying warning messages were effective in reducing cravings. Participants (141 university students) were randomly allocated to one of three conditions: 15 min computer simulated Black Jack play followed by no break, a 3 or 8 min break in play. Participants were administered a battery of measures to assess problem gambling card play, cravings, and dissociation to assess the effects of length of break on cravings. Results indicated that cravings increased rather than decreased with imposed breaks in play, and that the strength of cravings were higher following the eight- compared to 3-min break. It was concluded that breaks in play in isolation might produce counterproductive, unintended, and even perverse effects. The policy implications for responsible gambling strategies is that breaks in play ought to be accompanied with warning and/or personal appraisal messages if optimal effects in reducing within session gambling expenditure are to be achieved.

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Underreporting of ecstasy use among high school seniors in the US

Joseph Palamar, Katherine Keyes & Charles Cleland

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, August 2016, Pages 279-282

Background: National surveys suggest ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine [MDMA]) use has decreased substantially among adolescents in the US since 2001; however, the recent phenomenon of "Molly" (ecstasy marketed as "pure MDMA") may be leading to underreporting of use as not all users are aware that "Molly" is a form of ecstasy.

Methods: We examined 2014 data from Monitoring the Future, a nationally representative survey of high school seniors in the US (N = 6250, modal age: 18). Three randomly distributed survey forms asked about ecstasy use, and one included "Molly" in the definition. Self-reported lifetime, 12-month, and 30-day ecstasy use were compared to determine whether including "Molly" in the definition was associated with higher prevalence or frequency of use.

Results: The form including "Molly" in the definition had significantly higher prevalence than the two (combined) forms that did not. Lifetime use (8.0% vs. 5.5%) and 12-month use (5.1% vs. 3.6%) were significantly higher with "Molly" in the definition. Lifetime prevalence remained higher with "Molly" in the definition when controlling for correlates of ecstasy use; however, 12-month use did not. Differences in prevalence were associated with lifetime occasions of use, with lower concordance between forms at lower levels of lifetime occasions (e.g., 1-2 times). Survey form was not related to number of times used among more frequent users.

Conclusions: Prevalence of ecstasy use appears to be underestimated when "Molly" is not included in the definition of ecstasy/MDMA. Surveys should include "Molly" in the definition of ecstasy to more adequately assess prevalence of use.

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Decline In Public Substance Use Disorder Treatment Centers Most Serious In Counties With High Shares Of Black Residents

Janet Cummings, Hefei Wen & Michelle Ko

Health Affairs, June 2016, Pages 1036-1044

Abstract:
Previous research has associated declines in health care resources such as hospitals and trauma centers with communities' racial composition. However, little is known about changes in the substance use disorder treatment infrastructure in recent years and the implications for black communities. We used data for the period 2002-10 from the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services to describe changes in the supply of public and private outpatient facilities for substance use disorder treatment, and to determine whether these trends had implications for the geographical availability of these facilities in counties with high percentages of black residents. During the study period the number of publicly owned facilities declined 17.2 percent, whereas the number of private for-profit facilities grew 19.1 percent. At baseline, counties with very high percentages of black residents (that is, more than one standard deviation above the mean) were more likely than counties with less than the mean percentage of black residents to be served by public facilities and were thus disproportionately affected by the overall decline in public facilities. Future research should examine the effect of expanding eligibility for Medicaid on the supply of substance use disorder treatment facilities across diverse communities.

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The Share Price Effect of CVS Health's Announcement to Stop Selling Tobacco: A Comparative Case Study Using Synthetic Controls

Martin Andersen & Sebastian Bauhoff

Forum for Health Economics and Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study how the announcement by CVS Health, a large US-based pharmacy chain, to stop selling tobacco products affected its share price and that of its close competitors, as well as major tobacco companies. Combining event study and synthetic control methodologies we compare measures of CVS's stock market valuation with those of a peer group consisting of large publicly listed firms that are part of Standard & Poor's S&P 500 stock market index. CVS's announcement is associated with a short-term decrease in its share price, whereas close competitors have benefitted from CVS' decision. We also find a negative share price effect for Altria, the largest US domestic tobacco firm. Overall our findings are consistent with markets expecting consumers to shift from CVS to alternative outlets in the short-run, and interpreting CVS' decision to drop tobacco products as signal that other firms may follow suit.

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Social anxiety and alcohol-related sexual victimization: A longitudinal pilot study of college women

Amie Schry, Brenna Maddox & Susan White

Addictive Behaviors, October 2016, Pages 117-120

Objective: We sought to examine social anxiety as a risk factor for alcohol-related sexual victimization among college women. Participants: Women (Time 1: n = 574; Time 2: n = 88) who reported consuming alcohol at least once during the assessment timeframe participated.

Method: Social anxiety, alcohol use, alcohol-related consequences, and sexual victimization were assessed twice, four months apart. Logistic regressions were used to examine social anxiety as a risk factor for alcohol-related sexual victimization at both time points.

Results: Longitudinally, women high in social anxiety were approximately three times more likely to endorse unwanted alcohol-related sexual experiences compared to women with low to moderate social anxiety.

Conclusions: This study suggests social anxiety, a modifiable construct, increases risk for alcohol-related sexual victimization among college women. Implications for clinicians and risk-reduction program developers are discussed.

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Changes in inmates' substance use and dependence from pre-incarceration to one year post-release

June Tangney et al.

Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2016, Pages 228-238

Methods: In Study 1, professionals (n = 162) and laypersons (n = 50) predicted how jail inmates' substance misuse would change from pre-incarceration to post-release. In Study 2, a longitudinal study of 305 jail inmates, we examined actual changes in substance use and dependence from pre-incarceration to the first year post-incarceration, as well as whether changes varied as a function of demographic, criminal justice, treatment, and personality factors.

Results: Professionals and laypersons predicted little change in substance misuse whereas, in fact, inmates' frequency of substance use and dependence decreased substantially from pre-incarceration to post-release. Sharper decreases were observed for inmates who were female, younger, more educated, serving longer sentences, enrolled in substance abuse treatment, high in shame-proneness, and low in criminogenic thinking. Race, first time incarceration, transfer to other correctional facilities, mandated community supervision (probation), and guilt-proneness did not predict changes in substance use or dependence.

Conclusions: Although substance misuse decreased, this remains a population high in need of substance abuse treatment both upon arrest and at one year post-incarceration; 60% of former inmates met at least one DSM-IV criterion for substance dependence at one year post-release.

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Examination of the Divergence in Trends for Adolescent Marijuana Use and Marijuana-Specific Risk Factors in Washington State

Charles Fleming et al.

Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Methods: Data were from 2000 to 2014 biennial Washington State surveys of 10th-grade students. First, we assessed whether associations between marijuana use and marijuana-specific risk factors have weakened over time. Second, we examined whether decreases in alcohol and cigarette use can account for the lack of expected increase in marijuana use prevalence.

Results: Despite stability in marijuana use prevalence, there were increases in marijuana-specific risk factors of low perceived harm, youth favorable attitudes about use, and perceived community attitudes favorable to use. Associations between marijuana use and marijuana use predictors varied little across time; if anything, the positive association between low perceived harm and marijuana use grew stronger. Decreases in prevalence of alcohol and cigarette use largely accounted for stability in marijuana use during a period when marijuana risk factors increased.

Conclusions: Decreases in other types of substance use or in the underlying, common risk for substance use may have mitigated effects of increases in marijuana-specific risk factors.

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Decreased Diversion by Doctor-Shopping for a Reformulated Extended Release Oxycodone Product

Howard Chilcoat et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, August 2016, Pages 221-228

Background: Doctor-shopping (obtaining prescriptions from multiple prescribers/pharmacies) for opioid analgesics produces a supply for diversion and abuse, and represents a major public health issue.

Methods: An open cohort study assessed changes in doctor-shopping in the U.S. for a brand extended release (ER) oxycodone product (OxyContin) and comparator opioids before (July, 2009 to June, 2010) versus after (January, 2011 to June, 2013) introduction of reformulated brand ER oxycodone with abuse-deterrent properties, using IMS LRx longitudinal data covering >150 million patients and 65% of retail U.S. prescriptions.

Results: After its reformulation, the rate of doctor-shopping decreased 50% (for 2+ prescribers/3+ pharmacies) for brand ER oxycodone, but not for comparators. The largest decreases in rates occurred among young adults (73%), those paying with cash (61%) and those receiving the highest available dose (62%), with a 90% decrease when stratifying by all three characteristics. The magnitude of doctor-shopping reductions increased with increasing number of prescribers/pharmacies (eg, 75% reduction for ?2 prescribers/ ? 4 pharmacies).

Conclusions: The rate of doctor-shopping for brand ER oxycodone decreased substantially after its reformulation, which did not occur for other prescription opioids. The largest reductions in doctor-shopping occurred with characteristics associated with higher abuse risk such as youth, cash payment and high dose, and with more specific thresholds of doctor-shopping. A higher prescriber and/or pharmacy threshold also increased the magnitude of the decrease, suggesting that it better captured the effect of the reformulation on actual doctor-shoppers.

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History of abuse and risky sex among substance users: The role of rejection sensitivity and the need to belong

Jacqueline Woerner et al.

Addictive Behaviors, November 2016, Pages 73-78

Abstract:
This study investigates abuse and rejection sensitivity as important correlates of risky sexual behavior in the context of substance use. Victims of abuse may experience heightened sensitivity to acute social rejection and consequently engage in risky sexual behavior in an attempt to restore belonging. Data were collected from 258 patients at a substance use treatment facility in Washington, D.C. Participants' history of abuse and risky sexual behavior were assessed via self-report. To test the mediating role of rejection sensitivity, participants completed a social rejection task (Cyberball) and responded to a questionnaire assessing their reaction to the rejection experience. General risk-taking propensity was assessed using a computerized lab measure. Abuse was associated with increased rejection sensitivity (B = 0.124, SE = 0.040, p = 0.002), which was in turn associated with increased risky sex (B = 0.06, SE = 0.028, p = 0.03) (indirect effect = 0.0075, SE = 0.0043; 95% CI [0.0006, 0.0178]), but not with other indices of risk-taking. These findings suggest that rejection sensitivity may be an important mechanism underlying the relationship between abuse and risky sexual behavior among substance users. These effects do not extend to other risk behaviors, supporting the notion that risky sex associated with abuse represents a means to interpersonal connection rather than a general tendency toward self-defeating behavior.

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How MDMA flows across the USA: Evidence from price data

Siddharth Chandra, Yan-Liang Yu & Vinay Bihani

Global Crime, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study uses wholesale prices of MDMA for 59 cities in the USA published by the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) over the period of 2002-2011 to identify trafficking patterns of MDMA. Price differentials and correlations between pairs of cities are used to infer the presence of a link and the direction of flow of MDMA. The presence of inward and outward links is used to categorise each city as a 'source', 'destination', 'transit', or 'weakly integrated' city. The analysis identified low prices close to the Canadian and Mexican borders, in a number of cities such as Chicago, Miami, New York City, a trio of cities in the Carolinas, and along the West Coast. A number of these cities are linked to large numbers of other cities, indicating hub- or source-like status. The findings generate insights into the status of major US cities in the MDMA trafficking network.

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Trends in cannabis use disorders among racial/ethnic population groups in the United States

Li-Tzy Wu, He Zhu & Marvin Swartz

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, August 2016, Pages 181-190

Background:
Minority groups generally experience more disparities than whites in behavioral healthcare use. The population of racial/ethnic groups is growing faster than whites. Given increased concerns of cannabis use (CU) and its associations with health conditions, we examined national trends in cannabis use disorder (CUD) among adults aged ?18 by race/ethnicity.

Methods: Data were from the 2005-2013 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (N = 340,456). We compared CU patterns and the conditional prevalence of CUD among cannabis users by race/ethnicity to understand racial/ethnic variations in CUD.

Results: Approximately 1.5% of adults met criteria for a CUD in the past year. Regardless of survey year, cannabis dependence was more common than cannabis abuse, representing 66% of adults with a CUD. Across racial/ethnic groups, the prevalence of cannabis abuse and dependence remained stable during 2005-2013. In the total adult sample, the odds of weekly CU, monthly CU, and cannabis dependence were greater among blacks, native-Americans, and mixed-race adults than whites. Among cannabis users, the odds of cannabis abuse and dependence were greater among blacks, native-Americans, and Hispanics than whites. Logistic regression controlling for age, sex, education, and survey year indicated an increased trend in monthly CU and weekly CU in the total sample and among past-year cannabis users. Younger age, male sex, and low education were associated with increased odds of cannabis dependence.

Conclusions: The large sample provides robust information that indicates a need for research to monitor CUD and identify culturally appropriate interventions especially for targeting minority populations.

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The Influence of Geography and Measurement in Estimating Cigarette Price Responsiveness

Michael Pesko et al.

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We use data from the 2006-07 and 2010-11 waves of the Tobacco Use Supplement of the Current Population Survey to calculate cigarette price elasticities that compensate for within-state cigarette prices, which includes variation from the local tax environment. We use four state-level cigarette price measures and two sub-state-level cigarette price measures. For the two local price measures, we exploit month specific changes in these two prices in 446 sub-state areas of the United States. We document substantial variation in within-state prices, and we calculate that this variation approximately triples estimates of cigarette price responsiveness compared to using state-level prices. When using local prices, we calculate that a 10% rise in cigarette prices reduces cigarette consumption by a mean of 2.5%, which ranges from a 1.7% reduction at a price level $3 to a 5.6% reduction at a price level of $9. Our results suggest an important role for the local tax environment in studies of cigarette price responsiveness.

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Bayesian inference for the distribution of grams of marijuana in a joint

Greg Ridgeway & Beau Kilmer

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, August 2016, Pages 175-180

Background: The average amount of marijuana in a joint is unknown, yet this figure is a critical quantity for creating credible measures of marijuana consumption. It is essential for projecting tax revenues post-legalization, estimating the size of illicit marijuana markets, and learning about how much marijuana users are consuming in order to understand health and behavioral consequences.

Methods: Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring data collected between 2000 and 2010 contain relevant information on 10,628 marijuana transactions, joints and loose marijuana purchases, including the city in which the purchase occurred and the price paid for the marijuana. Using the Brown-Silverman drug pricing model to link marijuana price and weight, we are able to infer the distribution of grams of marijuana in a joint and provide a Bayesian posterior distribution for the mean weight of marijuana in a joint.

Results: We estimate that the mean weight of marijuana in a joint is 0.32 g (95% Bayesian posterior interval: 0.30-0.35).

Conclusions: Our estimate of the mean weight of marijuana in a joint is lower than figures commonly used to make estimates of marijuana consumption. These estimates can be incorporated into drug policy discussions to produce better understanding about illicit marijuana markets, the size of potential legalized marijuana markets, and health and behavior outcomes.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Out of energy

Retraining Investment for U.S. Transition from Coal to Solar Photovoltaic Employment

Edward Louie & Joshua Pearce

Energy Economics, June 2016, Pages 295–302

Abstract:
Although coal remains the largest source of electricity in the U.S., a combination of factors is driving a decrease in profitability and employment in the coal-sector. Meanwhile, the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry is growing rapidly in the U.S. and generating many jobs that represent employment opportunities for laid off coal workers. In order to determine the viability of a smooth transition from coal to PV-related employment, this paper provides an analysis of the cost to retrain current coal workers for solar photovoltaic industry employment in the U.S. The current coal industry positions are determined, the skill set evaluated and the salaries tabulated. For each type of coal position, the closest equivalent PV position is determined and then the re-training time and investment are quantified. These values are applied on a state-by-state basis for coal producing states employing the bulk of coal workers as a function of time using a reverse seniority retirement program for the current American fleet of coal-powered plants. The results show that a relatively minor investment in retraining would allow the vast majority of coal workers to switch to PV-related positions even in the event of the elimination of the coal industry.

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‘Climate value at risk’ of global financial assets

Simon Dietz et al.

Nature Climate Change, July 2016, Pages 676–679

Abstract:
Investors and financial regulators are increasingly aware of climate-change risks. So far, most of the attention has fallen on whether controls on carbon emissions will strand the assets of fossil-fuel companies. However, it is no less important to ask, what might be the impact of climate change itself on asset values? Here we show how a leading integrated assessment model can be used to estimate the impact of twenty-first-century climate change on the present market value of global financial assets. We find that the expected ‘climate value at risk’ (climate VaR) of global financial assets today is 1.8% along a business-as-usual emissions path. Taking a representative estimate of global financial assets, this amounts to US$2.5 trillion. However, much of the risk is in the tail. For example, the 99th percentile climate VaR is 16.9%, or US$24.2 trillion. These estimates would constitute a substantial write-down in the fundamental value of financial assets. Cutting emissions to limit warming to no more than 2 °C reduces the climate VaR by an expected 0.6 percentage points, and the 99th percentile reduction is 7.7 percentage points. Including mitigation costs, the present value of global financial assets is an expected 0.2% higher when warming is limited to no more than 2 °C, compared with business as usual. The 99th percentile is 9.1% higher. Limiting warming to no more than 2 °C makes financial sense to risk-neutral investors — and even more so to the risk averse.

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Millions projected to be at risk from sea-level rise in the continental United States

Mathew Hauer, Jason Evans & Deepak Mishra

Nature Climate Change, July 2016, Pages 691–695

Abstract:
Sea-level rise (SLR) is one of the most apparent climate change stressors facing human society. Although it is known that many people at present inhabit areas vulnerable to SLR, few studies have accounted for ongoing population growth when assessing the potential magnitude of future impacts. Here we address this issue by coupling a small-area population projection with a SLR vulnerability assessment across all United States coastal counties. We find that a 2100 SLR of 0.9 m places a land area projected to house 4.2 million people at risk of inundation, whereas 1.8 m affects 13.1 million people — approximately two times larger than indicated by current populations. These results suggest that the absence of protective measures could lead to US population movements of a magnitude similar to the twentieth century Great Migration of southern African-Americans. Furthermore, our population projection approach can be readily adapted to assess other hazards or to model future per capita economic impacts.

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Simple reframing unlikely to boost public support for climate policy

Thomas Bernauer & Liam McGrath

Nature Climate Change, July 2016, Pages 680–683

Abstract:
Ambitious policies for limiting climate change require strong public support. However, the public’s appetite for such policies, as observed in most countries, is rather limited. One possibility for enhancing public support could be to shift the main justification in the public policy discourse on greenhouse gas mitigation from benefits of reducing climate change risks (the conventional justification) to other types of benefit. Technological innovation, green jobs, community building and health benefits are widely discussed candidates. The intuition is that reframing greenhouse gas mitigation efforts and their benefits in such terms could make them more personally relevant as well as more emotionally engaging and appealing to citizens. On the basis of results from two survey-embedded experiments (combined N = 1,675), and in contrast to some earlier studies, we conclude that simple reframing of climate policy is unlikely to increase public support, and outline reasons for this finding. As the added value of other justifications remains unclear at best and potentially nil, sticking to climate risk reduction as the dominant justification seems worthwhile.

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What’s powering wind? The effect of the U.S. state renewable energy policies on wind capacity (1994–2012)

Karen Maguire

Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
As of 2012, 29 states had enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), while 37 states had at least one utility offering Green Power Purchasing (GPP) to their customers. The goal of both policies is to promote the adoption of clean, renewable energy. This article examines the influence of these polices on wind capacity across the United States from 1994–2012, a period of significant expansion of the wind generation market. The analysis focuses on wind because as compared with other modern renewable energy sources, wind is the only renewable energy source to make significant inroads into the U.S. electricity generation market. My findings indicate that while there have been significant increases in commercial scale wind generation capacity, neither RPS nor GPP programmes had a significant influence on within state wind capacity additions.

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Evidence for climate change in the satellite cloud record

Joel Norris et al.

Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Clouds substantially affect Earth’s energy budget by reflecting solar radiation back to space and by restricting emission of thermal radiation to space. They are perhaps the largest uncertainty in our understanding of climate change, owing to disagreement among climate models and observational datasets over what cloud changes have occurred during recent decades and will occur in response to global warming. This is because observational systems originally designed for monitoring weather have lacked sufficient stability to detect cloud changes reliably over decades unless they have been corrected to remove artefacts. Here we show that several independent, empirically corrected satellite records exhibit large-scale patterns of cloud change between the 1980s and the 2000s that are similar to those produced by model simulations of climate with recent historical external radiative forcing. Observed and simulated cloud change patterns are consistent with poleward retreat of mid-latitude storm tracks, expansion of subtropical dry zones, and increasing height of the highest cloud tops at all latitudes. The primary drivers of these cloud changes appear to be increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and a recovery from volcanic radiative cooling. These results indicate that the cloud changes most consistently predicted by global climate models are currently occurring in nature.

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Strongly increasing heat extremes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the 21st century

J. Lelieveld et al.

Climatic Change, July 2016, Pages 245-260

Abstract:
The ensemble results of CMIP5 climate models that applied the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios have been used to investigate climate change and temperature extremes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Uncertainty evaluation of climate projections indicates good model agreement for temperature but much less for precipitation. Results imply that climate warming in the MENA is strongest in summer while elsewhere it is typically stronger in winter. The summertime warming extends the thermal low at the surface from South Asia across the Middle East over North Africa, as the hot desert climate intensifies and becomes more extreme. Observations and model calculations of the recent past consistently show increasing heat extremes, which are projected to accelerate in future. The number of warm days and nights may increase sharply. On average in the MENA, the maximum temperature during the hottest days in the recent past was about 43 °C, which could increase to about 46 °C by the middle of the century and reach almost 50 °C by the end of the century, the latter according to the RCP8.5 (business-as-usual) scenario. This will have important consequences for human health and society.

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Offshore CCS and ocean acidification: A global long-term probabilistic cost-benefit analysis of climate change mitigation

Bob van der Zwaan & Reyer Gerlagh

Climatic Change, July 2016, Pages 157-170

Abstract:
Public fear over environmental and health impacts of CO2 storage, or over potential leakage of CO2 from geological reservoirs, is among the reasons why over the past decade CCS has not yet been deployed on a scale large enough so as to meaningfully contribute to mitigate climate change. Storage of CO2 under the seabed moves this climate mitigation option away from inhabited areas and could thereby take away some of the opposition towards this technology. Given that in the event of CO2 leakage through the overburden in the case of sub-seabed CCS, the ocean could function as buffer for receiving this greenhouse gas, instead of it directly being emitted into the atmosphere, offshore CCS could also address concerns over the climatic impacts of CO2 seepage. We point out that recent geological studies provide evidence that to date CO2 has been safely stored under the seabed. Leakage for individual offshore CCS operations could thus be unlikely from a technical point of view, if storage sites are well chosen, well managed and well monitored. But we argue that on a global longterm scale, for an ensemble of thousands or millions of storage sites, leakage of CO2 could take place in certain cases and/or countries for e.g. economic, institutional, legal or safety-cultural reasons. In this paper we investigate what the impact could be in terms of temperature increase and ocean acidification if leakage occurs at a global level, and address the question what the relative roles could be of on- and offshore CCS if mankind desires to divert the damages resulting from climate change. For this purpose, we constructed a top-down energy-environment-economy model, with which we performed a probabilistic Monte-Carlo cost-benefit analysis of climate change mitigation with on- and offshore CCS as specific CO2 abatement options. One of our main conclusions is that, even under conditions with non-zero (permille/year) leakage for CCS activity globally, both onshore and offshore CCS should probably – on economic grounds at least - still account for anywhere between 20 % and 80 % of all future CO2 abatement efforts under a broad range of CCS cost assumptions.

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Anthropogenic forcing dominates global mean sea-level rise since 1970

Aimée Slangen et al.

Nature Climate Change, July 2016, Pages 701–705

Abstract:
Sea-level change is an important consequence of anthropogenic climate change, as higher sea levels increase the frequency of sea-level extremes and the impact of coastal flooding and erosion on the coastal environment, infrastructure and coastal communities. Although individual attribution studies have been done for ocean thermal expansion and glacier mass loss, two of the largest contributors to twentieth-century sea-level rise, this has not been done for the other contributors or total global mean sea-level change (GMSLC). Here, we evaluate the influence of greenhouse gases (GHGs), anthropogenic aerosols, natural radiative forcings and internal climate variability on sea-level contributions of ocean thermal expansion, glaciers, ice-sheet surface mass balance and total GMSLC. For each contribution, dedicated models are forced with results from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) climate model archive. The sum of all included contributions explains 74 ± 22% (±2σ) of the observed GMSLC over the period 1900–2005. The natural radiative forcing makes essentially zero contribution over the twentieth century (2 ± 15% over the period 1900–2005), but combined with the response to past climatic variations explains 67 ± 23% of the observed rise before 1950 and only 9 ± 18% after 1970 (38 ± 12% over the period 1900–2005). In contrast, the anthropogenic forcing (primarily a balance between a positive sea-level contribution from GHGs and a partially offsetting component from anthropogenic aerosols) explains only 15 ± 55% of the observations before 1950, but increases to become the dominant contribution to sea-level rise after 1970 (69 ± 31%), reaching 72 ± 39% in 2000 (37 ± 38% over the period 1900–2005).

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Human-induced greening of the northern extratropical land surface

Jiafu Mao et al.

Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Significant land greening in the northern extratropical latitudes (NEL) has been documented through satellite observations during the past three decades. This enhanced vegetation growth has broad implications for surface energy, water and carbon budgets, and ecosystem services across multiple scales. Discernible human impacts on the Earth’s climate system have been revealed by using statistical frameworks of detection–attribution. These impacts, however, were not previously identified on the NEL greening signal, owing to the lack of long-term observational records, possible bias of satellite data, different algorithms used to calculate vegetation greenness, and the lack of suitable simulations from coupled Earth system models (ESMs). Here we have overcome these challenges to attribute recent changes in NEL vegetation activity. We used two 30-year-long remote-sensing-based leaf area index (LAI) data sets, simulations from 19 coupled ESMs with interactive vegetation, and a formal detection and attribution algorithm. Our findings reveal that the observed greening record is consistent with an assumption of anthropogenic forcings, where greenhouse gases play a dominant role, but is not consistent with simulations that include only natural forcings and internal climate variability. These results provide the first clear evidence of a discernible human fingerprint on physiological vegetation changes other than phenology and range shifts.

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Statements about climate researchers’ carbon footprints affect their credibility and the impact of their advice

Shahzeen Attari, David Krantz & Elke Weber

Climatic Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Would you follow advice about personal energy conservation from a climate specialist with a large carbon footprint? Many climate researchers report anecdotes in which their sincerity was challenged based on their alleged failure to reduce carbon emissions. Here, we report the results of two large online surveys that measure the perceived credibility of a climate researcher who provides advice on how to reduce energy use (by flying less, conserving home energy, and taking public transportation), as a function of that researcher’s personal carbon footprint description. Across the two studies, we randomly assigned participants to one of 18 vignettes about a climate scientist. We show that alleged large carbon footprints can greatly reduce the researcher’s credibility compared to low footprints. We also show that these differences in perceived credibility strongly affect participants’ reported intentions to change personal energy consumption. These effects are large, both for participants who believe climate change is important and for those who do not. Participants’ politics do affect their attitudes toward researchers, and have an extra effect on reported intentions to use public transportation (but not on intentions to fly less or conserve home energy). Credibility effects are similar for male and female climate scientists.

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Enhanced economic connectivity to foster heat stress–related losses

Leonie Wenz & Anders Levermann

Science Advances, June 2016

Abstract:
Assessing global impacts of unexpected meteorological events in an increasingly connected world economy is important for estimating the costs of climate change. We show that since the beginning of the 21st century, the structural evolution of the global supply network has been such as to foster an increase of climate-related production losses. We compute first- and higher-order losses from heat stress–induced reductions in productivity under changing economic and climatic conditions between 1991 and 2011. Since 2001, the economic connectivity has augmented in such a way as to facilitate the cascading of production loss. The influence of this structural change has dominated over the effect of the comparably weak climate warming during this decade. Thus, particularly under future warming, the intensification of international trade has the potential to amplify climate losses if no adaptation measures are taken.

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The downside risk of climate change in California’s Central Valley agricultural sector

Michael Hanemann, Susan Stratton Sayre & Larry Dale

Climatic Change, July 2016, Pages 15-27

Abstract:
Downscaled climate change projections for California, when translated into changes in irrigation water delivery and then into profit from agriculture in the Central Valley, show an increase in conventional measures of variability such as the variance. However, these increases are modest and mask a more pronounced increase in downside risk, defined as the probability of unfavorable outcomes of water supply or profit. This paper describes the concept of downside risk and measures it as it applies to outcomes for Central Valley agriculture projected under four climate change scenarios. We compare the effect of downside risk aversion versus conventional risk aversion or risk neutrality when assessing the impact of climate change on the profitability of Central Valley agriculture. We find that, when downside risk is considered, the assessment of losses due to climate change increases substantially.

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From Urban to National Heat Island: The effect of anthropogenic heat output on climate change in high population industrial countries

John Murray & Douglas Heggie

Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
The project presented here sought to determine whether changes in anthropogenic thermal emission can have a measurable effect on temperature at the national level, taking Japan & Great Britain as type examples. Using energy consumption as a proxy for thermal emission, strong correlations (mean r2 = 0.90 & 0.89 respectively) are found between national equivalent heat output HO and temperature above background levels ∆t averaged over 5 to 8 year periods between 1965 and 2013, as opposed to weaker correlations for CMIP5 model temperatures above background levels ∆mt (mean r2 = 0.52 & 0.10). It is clear that the fluctuations in ∆t are better explained by energy consumption than by present climate models, and that energy consumption can contribute to climate change at the national level on these timescales.

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Rapid carbon mineralization for permanent disposal of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions

Juerg Matter et al.

Science, 10 June 2016, Pages 1312-1314

Abstract:
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) provides a solution toward decarbonization of the global economy. The success of this solution depends on the ability to safely and permanently store CO2. This study demonstrates for the first time the permanent disposal of CO2 as environmentally benign carbonate minerals in basaltic rocks. We find that over 95% of the CO2 injected into the CarbFix site in Iceland was mineralized to carbonate minerals in less than 2 years. This result contrasts with the common view that the immobilization of CO2 as carbonate minerals within geologic reservoirs takes several hundreds to thousands of years. Our results, therefore, demonstrate that the safe long-term storage of anthropogenic CO2 emissions through mineralization can be far faster than previously postulated.

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Future Changes in Convective Storm Days over the Northeastern United States Using Linear Discriminant Analysis Applied to CMIP5 Predictions

Harrison Li & Brian Colle

Journal of Climate, June 2016, Pages 4327–4345

Abstract:
Future changes in the frequency of environmental conditions conducive for convective storm days (“CE days”) are determined for the northeastern United States (NEUS) during the warm seasons (April–September) of the twenty-first century. Statistical relationships between historical runs of seven models in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and radar-classified convective storm days are developed using linear discriminant analysis (LDA), and these relationships are then applied to analyze changes in the convective environment under the high-emissions representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario over the period 2006–99. The 1996–2007 warm seasons are used to train the LDA thresholds using convective precipitation from two reanalysis datasets and radar data, and the 1979–95 and 2008–10 warm seasons are used to verify these thresholds. For the CMIP5 historical period (1979–2005), the frequency of warm season CE days averaged across the CMIP5 models is slightly greater than that derived using reanalysis data, although both methods indicate a slight increasing trend through the historical period. Between 2006 and 2099, warm season CE day frequency is predicted to increase substantially at an average rate of 4–5 days decade−1 (50%–80% increase over the entire period). These changes are mostly attributed to a predicted 30%–40% increase in midlevel precipitable water between the historical period and the last few decades of the twenty-first century. Consistent with previous studies, there is decreasing deep-layer vertical wind shear as a result of a weakening horizontal temperature gradient, but this is outweighed by increases in instability led by the moisture increases.

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The Realization of Extreme Tornadic Storm Events under Future Anthropogenic Climate Change

Robert Trapp & Kimberly Hoogewind

Journal of Climate, July 2016, Pages 5251–5265

Abstract:
This research seeks to answer the basic question of how current-day extreme tornadic storm events might be realized under future anthropogenic climate change. The pseudo global warming (PGW) methodology was adapted for this purpose. Three contributions to the CMIP5 archive were used to obtain the mean 3D atmospheric state simulated during May 1990–99 and May 2090–99. The climate change differences (or Δs) in temperature, relative humidity, pressure, and winds were added to NWP analyses of three high-end tornadic storm events, and this modified atmospheric state was then used for initial and boundary conditions for real-data WRF Model simulations of the events at high resolution. Comparison of an ensemble of these simulations with control simulations (CTRL) facilitated assessment of PGW effects. In contrast to the robust development of supercellular convection in each CTRL, the combined effects of increased convective inhibition (CIN) and decreased parcel lifting under PGW led to a failure of convection initiation in many of the experiments. Those experiments that had sufficient matching between the CIN and lifting tended to generate stronger convective updrafts than CTRL, although not in proportion to the projected higher levels of convective available potential energy (CAPE) under PGW. In addition, the experiments with enhanced updrafts also tended to have enhanced vertical rotation. In fact, such supercellular convection was even found in simulations that were driven with PGW-reduced environmental wind shear. Notably, the PGW modifications did not induce a change in the convective morphology in any of the PGW experiments with significant convective storminess.

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Cash for Carbon: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Payments for Ecosystem Services to Reduce Deforestation

Seema Jayachandran et al.

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
This paper evaluates a Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) program in western Uganda that offered forest-owning households cash payments if they conserved their forest. The program was implemented as a randomized trial in 121 villages, 60 of which received the program for two years. The PES program reduced deforestation and forest degradation: Tree cover, measured using high-resolution satellite imagery, declined by 2% to 5% in treatment villages compared to 7% to 10% in control villages during the study period. We find no evidence of shifting of tree-cutting to nearby land. We then use the estimated effect size and the "social cost of carbon" to value the delayed carbon dioxide emissions, and compare this benefit to the program's cost.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bottoms up

Does Banning Carbonated Beverages in Schools Decrease Student Consumption?

Shirlee Lichtman-Sadot

Journal of Public Economics, August 2016, Pages 30–50

Abstract:
I evaluate the effectiveness of carbonated beverage bans in schools by investigating their impact on household soda consumption. I match households in Nielsen Homescan Data to their school district’s carbonated beverage policies over an eight-year period (2002–2009). I find that when high schools ban the sale of carbonated beverages to students, households with a high school student experiencing the ban increase their consumption of non-diet soda by roughly the equivalent of 3.4 cans per month. I present evidence that this is a substantial offsetting (67–75%) of the average non-diet carbonated beverage consumption in high schools, when these are available to students, thus demonstrating the persistence of preferences when attempting to alter unhealthy habits.

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The Impact of Late-Career Job Loss and Genotype on Body Mass Index

Lauren Schmitz & Dalton Conley

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
This study examines whether the effect of job loss on body mass index (BMI) at older ages is moderated by genotype using twenty years of socio-demographic and genome-wide data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). To avoid any potential confounding we interact layoffs due to a plant or business closure — a plausibly exogenous environmental exposure — with a polygenic risk score for BMI in a regression-adjusted semiparametric differences-in-differences matching framework that compares the BMI of those before and after an involuntary job loss with a control group that has not been laid off. Results indicate genetically-at-risk workers who lost their job before they were eligible for Social Security benefits, or before age 62, were more likely to gain weight. Further analysis reveals heterogeneous treatment effects by demographic, health, and socioeconomic characteristics. In particular, we find high risk individuals who gained weight after a job loss were more likely to be male, in worse health, single, and at the bottom half of the wealth distribution. Across the board, effects are concentrated among high-risk individuals who were not overweight prior to job loss, indicating unemployment at older ages may trigger weight gain in otherwise healthy or normal weight populations.

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The impact of changing economic conditions on overweight risk among children in California from 2008 to 2012

Vanessa Oddo et al.

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Methods: We investigated the association between indicators of changing macroeconomic conditions from 2008 to 2012 and overweight/obesity risk among school-aged children in California (n=1 741 712) using longitudinal anthropometric measurements. Multivariate regression, with individual and county fixed effects, was used to examine the effects of annual county-level unemployment and foreclosure rates on risk of child overweight/obesity, overall and among subgroups (race/ethnicity, sex, county-level median household income and county-level urban/rural status).

Results: From 2008 to 2012, ∼36% of children were overweight/obese and unemployment and foreclosure rates averaged 11% and 6.9%, respectively. A 1-percentage point (pp) increase in unemployment was associated with a 1.4 pp (95% CI 1.3 to 1.5) increase in overweight/obesity risk. Therefore, a child of average weight could expect a 14% increase in their body mass index z-score in association with a 1 pp increase in unemployment during the study period. We found some differences in the magnitude of the effects for unemployment among demographic subgroups, with the largest effects observed for unemployment among American Indians and Pacific Islanders.

Conclusions: Comparing children to themselves over time, we provide evidence that increases in county-level unemployment are associated with increased overweight/obesity risk. Given that overweight among children with lower economic resources remains a challenge for public health, these findings highlight the importance of policy-level approaches, which aim to mitigate the impact of decreased resources as economic conditions change.

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The Changing Body Mass–Mortality Association in the United States: Evidence of Sex-Specific Cohort Trends from Three National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys

Yan Yu

Biodemography and Social Biology, Summer 2016, Pages 143-163

Abstract:
The association between body mass index (BMI) categories and mortality remains uncertain. Using three National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys covering the 1971–2006 period for cohorts born between 1896 and 1968, this study estimates separately for men and women models for year-of-birth (cohort) and year-of-observation (period) trends in how age-specific mortality rates differ across BMI categories. Among women, relative to the normal weight (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2), there are increasing trends in mortality rates for the overweight (BMI 25–29.9) or obese (BMI ≥ 30). Among men, mortality rates relative to the normal weight decrease for the overweight, do not change for the moderately obese (BMI 30–34.9), and increase for the severely obese (BMI ≥ 35). Period and cohort trends are similar, but the cohort trends are more consistent. In the latest cohorts, compared with the normal weight, mortality rates are 50 percent lower for overweight men, not different for moderately obese men, and 100–200 percent higher for severely obese men and for overweight or obese women. For U.S. cohorts born after the 1920s, a lower overweight than normal weight mortality is confined to men. I speculate on possible reasons why the mortality association with overweight and obesity varies by sex and cohort.

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The Effect of Sorority Membership on Eating Disorders, Body Weight, and Disordered-Eating Behaviors

Susan Averett, Sabrina Terrizzi & Yang Wang

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Eating disorders are currently the deadliest mental disorder in the United States, affecting an estimated 12%–25% of all college women. Previous research has found a positive correlation between sorority membership and eating disorders, but the causal link has not been firmly established. We contribute to the literature by investigating a possible causal link among sororities and diagnosed eating disorders, measurable weight outcomes, and disordered-eating behaviors using data from the American College Health Association Survey. We handle the potential endogeneity of sorority membership using propensity score matching and instrumental variable methods to determine whether joining a sorority is a cause of the weight-related outcomes we study. We find that sorority members exhibit worse weight-related outcomes than those not in a sorority. However, our propensity score matching and instrumental variable results suggest that, other than BMI, this is merely a correlation, and there is little evidence that sorority membership is a cause of the outcomes we study.

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Association Between Artificially Sweetened Beverage Consumption During Pregnancy and Infant Body Mass Index

Meghan Azad et al.

JAMA Pediatrics, July 2016, Pages 662-670

Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study included 3033 mother-infant dyads from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study, a population-based birth cohort that recruited healthy pregnant women from 2009 to 2012. Women completed dietary assessments during pregnancy, and their infants’ BMI was measured at 1 year of age (n = 2686; 89% follow-up). Statistical analysis for this study used data collected after the first year of follow-up, which was completed in October 2013. The data analysis was conducted in August 2015.

Results: The mean (SD) age of the 3033 pregnant women was 32.4 (4.7) years, and their mean (SD) BMI was 24.8 (5.4). The mean (SD) infant BMI z score at 1 year of age was 0.19 (1.05), and 5.1% of infants were overweight. More than a quarter of women (29.5%) consumed artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy, including 5.1% who reported daily consumption. Compared with no consumption, daily consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was associated with a 0.20-unit increase in infant BMI z score (adjusted 95% CI, 0.02-0.38) and a 2-fold higher risk of infant overweight at 1 year of age (adjusted odds ratio, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.23-3.88). These effects were not explained by maternal BMI, diet quality, total energy intake, or other obesity risk factors. There were no comparable associations for sugar-sweetened beverages.

Conclusions and Relevance: To our knowledge, we provide the first human evidence that maternal consumption of artificial sweeteners during pregnancy may influence infant BMI. Given the current epidemic of childhood obesity and widespread use of artificial sweeteners, further research is warranted to confirm our findings and investigate the underlying biological mechanisms, with the ultimate goal of informing evidence-based dietary recommendations for pregnant women.

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Desire for weight loss, weight-related social contact, and body mass outcomes

Matthew Andersson & Nicholas Christakis

Obesity, July 2016, Pages 1434–1437

Objective: This study evaluated whether desiring to lose weight is associated with subsequent changes in social contact with individuals perceived to be thinner or heavier.

Methods: Longitudinal data were used to examine associations between desiring to lose weight at baseline and social contact with thinner and heavier individuals across a 1-year follow-up period (N = 9,335, 2013–2014 Gallup National Panel). How baseline social contact is linked to body mass outcomes among those desiring to lose weight (N = 7,134) was also examined.

Results: Over time, individuals desiring to lose weight interacted more frequently (+69 interactions/year, on average) and were more likely to possess social ties (tie probability +0.12) with heavier individuals while lessening their interactions (−51 interactions/year) and decreasing their likelihood of ties (tie probability −0.048) with thinner individuals. On the other hand, increasing contacts and interactions with thinner individuals, and declining contacts and interactions with heavier individuals, were linked to actual weight loss.

Conclusions: Using national longitudinal data, an important mismatch was demonstrated between the social contacts created by individuals desiring weight loss and the contextual factors possibly useful for weight loss. This may help to explain why weight loss is often unsuccessful.

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Heterogeneous Behavior, Obesity, and Storability in the Demand for Soft Drinks

Emily Wang, Christian Rojas & Francesca Colantuoni

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We apply a dynamic estimation procedure to investigate the effect of obesity on the demand for soda. The dynamic model accounts for consumers’ storing behavior, and allows us to study soda consumers’ price sensitivity (how responsive consumers are to the overall price) and sale sensitivity (the fraction of consumers that store soda during temporary price reductions). By matching store-level purchase data to county-level data on obesity incidence, we find higher sale sensitivity in populations with higher obesity rates. Conversely, we find that storers are less price sensitive than non-storers, and that their price sensitivity decreases with the obesity rate. Our results suggest that policies aimed at increasing soda prices might be less effective than previously thought, especially in areas where consumers can counteract that price increase by stockpiling during sale periods; according to our results, this dampening effect would be more pronounced precisely in those areas with higher obesity rates.

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Increased textural complexity in food enhances satiation

Danaé Larsen et al.

Appetite, October 2016, Pages 189–194

Abstract:
For the first time this study has shown a direct effect of food textural complexity on satiation. Independent of oral processing time, increasing the textural complexity of a food significantly decreased food intake. Foods with complex textures stimulate many sensory perceptions during oral processing, with a succession of textures perceived between first bite and swallow. Previously the impact of texture on satiation (commonly tested by increasing viscosities of semi-solids) has been explained by texture's influence on oral processing time; a long oral processing time enhances satiation. The results of the current study show that subjects in a randomised cross-over trial who consumed a “starter” (preload) model food with high textural complexity went on to eat significantly less of a two course ad libitum meal. Subjects who consumed a “starter” model food with low textural complexity, but with the same flavour, energy density and oral processing time, ate significantly more of the same ad libitum meal. The results show that increasing the number of textures perceived during chewing of a solid food triggers the satiation response earlier than when chewing a less texturally complex food. Increasing textural complexity of manufactured foods, to allow for greater sensory stimulation per bite, could potentially be used as a tool to enhance the satiation response and decrease food intake.

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Toddlers’ bias to look at average versus obese figures relates to maternal anti-fat prejudice

Ted Ruffman et al.

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, February 2016, Pages 195–202

Abstract:
Anti-fat prejudice (weight bias, obesity stigma) is strong, prevalent, and increasing in adults and is associated with negative outcomes for those with obesity. However, it is unknown how early in life this prejudice forms and the reasons for its development. We examined whether infants and toddlers might display an anti-fat bias and, if so, whether it was influenced by maternal anti-fat attitudes through a process of social learning. Mother–child dyads (N = 70) split into four age groups participated in a preferential looking paradigm whereby children were presented with 10 pairs of average and obese human figures in random order, and their viewing times (preferential looking) for the figures were measured. Mothers’ anti-fat prejudice and education were measured along with mothers’ and fathers’ body mass index (BMI) and children’s television viewing time. We found that older infants (M = 11 months) had a bias for looking at the obese figures, whereas older toddlers (M = 32 months) instead preferred looking at the average-sized figures. Furthermore, older toddlers’ preferential looking was correlated significantly with maternal anti-fat attitudes. Parental BMI, education, and children’s television viewing time were unrelated to preferential looking. Looking times might signal a precursor to explicit fat prejudice socialized via maternal anti-fat attitudes.

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Marketing Vegetables in Elementary School Cafeterias to Increase Uptake

Andrew Hanks, David Just & Adam Brumberg

Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objectives: Children do not eat enough servings of vegetables, underscoring the need for effective interventions encouraging this behavior. The purpose of this research was to measure the impact that daily exposure to branded vegetable characters has on vegetable selection among boys and girls in elementary schools.

Methods: In a large urban school district, 10 elementary schools agreed to participate in the study. They were randomly assigned to a control condition or 1 of 3 treatment conditions: (1) a vinyl banner displaying vegetable characters that was fastened around the base of the salad bar; (2) short television segments with health education delivered by vegetable characters; or (3) a combination of the vinyl banner and television segments. We collected 22 206 student-day observations over a 6-week period by tallying the number of boys and girls taking vegetables from the school’s salad bar.

Results: Results show that 90.5% (from 12.6% to 24.0%; P = .04) more students took vegetables from the salad bar when exposed to the vinyl banner only, and 239.2% (from 10.2% to 34.6%; P < .001) more students visited the salad bar when exposed to both the television segments and vinyl banners. Both boys and girls responded positively to the vinyl banners (P < .05 in both cases).

Conclusions: Evidence from this study highlights the positive impact of branded media on children’s vegetable selection in the school cafeteria. Results from this study suggest potential opportunities for using branded media to encourage healthier choices for children.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 11, 2016

Bet on it

Trading on Twitter: Using Social Media Sentiment to Predict Stock Returns

Hong Kee Sul, Alan Dennis & Lingyao (Ivy) Yuan

Decision Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decision making is often based on the rational assessment of information, but recent research shows that emotional sentiment also plays an important role, especially for investment decision making. Emotional sentiment about a firm's stock that spreads rapidly through social media is more likely to be incorporated quickly into stock prices (e.g., on the same trading day it was expressed), while sentiment that spreads slowly takes longer to be incorporated into stock prices and thus is more likely to predict stock prices on future days. We analyzed the cumulative sentiment (positive and negative) in 2.5 million Twitter postings about individual S&P 500 firms and compared this to the stock returns of those firms. Our results show that the sentiment in tweets about a specific firm from users with less than 171 followers (the median in our sample) had a significant impact on the stock's returns on the next trading day, the next 10 days, and the next 20 days. Interestingly, sentiment in tweets from users with fewer than 171 followers that were not retweeted had the greatest impact on future stock returns. A trading strategy based on these findings produced meaningful economic gains on the order of an 11-15% annual return.

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What Do Measures of Real-time Corporate Sales Tell Us about Earnings Surprises and Post-Announcement Returns?

Kenneth Froot et al.

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We develop real-time proxies of retail corporate sales from multiple sources, including ~50 million mobile devices. These measures contain information from both the earnings quarter ("within quarter") and the period between that quarter's end and the earnings announcement date ("post quarter"). Our within-quarter measure is powerful in explaining quarterly sales growth, revenue surprises, and earnings surprises, generating average excess returns at announcement of 3.4%. However, surprisingly, our post-quarter measure is related negatively to announcement returns, and positively to post-announcement returns. When post-quarter private information is directionally strong, managers, at announcement, provide guidance and use language that points statistically in the opposite direction. This effect is more pronounced when, post-announcement, management insiders trade. We conclude managers do not fully disclose their private information and instead message to shareholders and analysts something of opposite sign. The data suggest they may be motivated in part by subsequent personal stock-trading opportunities.

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Do Investors Use the Olympics as a Category for Investment and Should They?

Patricia Dechow, Alastair Lawrence & Mei Luo

University of California Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
There is a seven year period between the time that a country first learns that it has won a bid to host the Olympics to the playing of the games. We investigate whether investors use the Olympics as a category for investment over this time period. We examine two hosting countries: China in 2008 and the UK in 2012, and identify a set of stocks from a broad range of industries that are mentioned by media outlets as either directly or indirectly involved in the Olympics. We find that in both countries, Olympic stocks exhibit increases in comovement of returns after the Olympics are announced and declines in comovement after the games are played. We also find that Olympic stocks earn large excess returns when the stock market has performed well, consistent with investors moving funds into these stocks after observing strong past stock price performance. However, these excess returns are lost in subsequent market downturns. Further, evidence suggests that the Olympic Games have little impact on cash flows or earnings. Overall, our evidence suggests that Olympic "euphoria" is sufficient in both China and the UK to influence stock returns and valuations but the overall fundamental benefits of the Olympics are small.

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Investment Decisions Under Ambiguity: Evidence from Mutual Fund Investor Behavior

Wei Li, Ashish Tiwari & Lin Tong

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide novel evidence on the role of ambiguity aversion in determining the response of mutual fund investors to fund performance. Our analysis is motivated by theoretical models of decision making by ambiguity-averse investors. A key implication of the models is that when investors face information signals of uncertain quality, they place a greater weight on the worst signal. We find strong empirical support for this prediction in the form of heightened sensitivity of investor fund flows to the worst performance measure across multiple horizons. This effect is particularly pronounced for retail funds in contrast to institutional funds.

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Gambling Preferences, Options Markets, and Volatility

Benjamin Blau, Boone Bowles & Ryan Whitby

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, April 2016, Pages 515-540

Abstract:
This study examines whether the gambling behavior of investors affects volume and volatility in financial markets. Focusing on the options market, we find that the ratio of call option volume relative to total option volume is greatest for stocks with return distributions that resemble lotteries. Consistent with the theoretical predictions of Stein (1987), we demonstrate that gambling-motivated trading in the options market influences future spot price volatility. These results not only identify a link between lottery preferences in the stock market and the options market, but they also suggest that lottery preferences can lead to destabilized stock prices.

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Stock Returns and Future Tense Language in 10-K Reports

Rasa Karapandza

Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that firms talking less about the future in their annual reports generate positive abnormal returns of about 5% annually. I measure how much companies talk about the future in their annual 10-K reports by the frequency of the verbs will, shall, and going to. The evidence favors a risk-based interpretation: firms that use less future tense in their report offer higher returns since they are riskier. These results are consistent with finance theories stating that investors need to be rewarded for holding stocks of firms that put less information about the future in the marketplace.

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Art as a Wartime Investment: Conspicuous Consumption and Discretion

Kim Oosterlinck

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
During World War II, artworks significantly outperformed all alternative investments in Occupied France. With the surge in demand for portable and easy-to-hide (discreet) assets such as artworks and collectible stamps, prices boomed. This suggests that discreet assets may be viewed as crypto-currencies, demand for which varies depending on the environment and the need to hide value. Regarding art market valuation, this paper argues that while some economic actors derive significant utility from conspicuous consumption, others value the discretion offered by artworks. Motives for purchasing art may thus vary over time.

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Finding Fortune: How Do Institutional Investors Pick Asset Managers?

Gregory Brown, Oleg Gredil & Preetesh Kantak

University of North Carolina Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
This paper studies how professional asset allocators such as endowments, fund-of-funds, or pension funds select fund managers for investments. We develop a simple model of their due-diligence process to motivate predictions about the timing of investment decisions. We then test these predictions using a unique dataset with detailed information on the interactions between a large institutional investor and 1,093 hedge funds over the course of 8 years. Soft information conveyed during the meetings with fund managers strongly influences the decisions. A one standard deviation increase in our proxy for positive soft information doubles the probability of fund selection and reduces the due-diligence time by 20%. Contrary to prior research, we find no evidence that relying on these subjective judgements is wasteful. Instead, in a matched sample, conditioned on the fund characteristics and past performance, the 12-month average peer-adjusted returns are 1.5% higher for the selected funds.

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Prospect Theory and Stock Returns: An Empirical Test

Nicholas Barberis, Abhiroop Mukherjee & Baolian Wang

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We test the hypothesis that, when thinking about allocating money to a stock, investors mentally represent the stock by the distribution of its past returns and then evaluate this distribution in the way described by prospect theory. In a simple model of asset prices in which some investors think in this way, a stock whose past return distribution has a high (low) prospect theory value earns a low (high) subsequent return, on average. We find empirical support for this prediction in the cross-section of stock returns in the U.S. market, and also in a majority of forty-six other national stock markets.

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Additional evidence of heuristic-based inefficiency in season wins total betting markets: Major League Baseball

Bill Woodland & Linda Woodland

Journal of Economics and Finance, July 2016, Pages 538-548

Abstract:
The large majority of sports betting papers have addressed questions of market efficiency based on the outcome of single game, such as spread (sides) or point totals wagers. This research examines the Major League Baseball (MLB) season wins total over/under betting market with respect to questions of market efficiency and profitability. Woodland and Woodland (2013, 2015) investigated the season wins total markets for the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) and found significant inefficiencies. Betting rules tested in this paper parallel those proposed by Woodland and Woodland for the NFL and NBA. They aim to take advantage of the implications of the representativeness heuristic, that is, individuals expect results from a small number of games to generalize to the entire population. The MLB market is found to be inefficient, and provides opportunities for profitable wagering. We establish a tendency for bettors to overreact to a team's performance in the previous season, particularly for teams with winning records. Results are consistent with the findings for the NFL and NBA season wins totals betting markets. This may be the consequence of monetary betting limits and a structure requiring the completion of a sport's season before the bet outcome is determined, both of which could discourage some bettors from participating.

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Are Friday announcements special? Overcoming selection bias

Roni Michaely, Amir Rubin & Alexander Vedrashko

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report reduced market response to Friday announcements of dividend changes, seasoned equity offerings, share repurchases, earnings, and mergers, which is seemingly consistent with the notion of investor inattention on Fridays. However, we show that these findings are an outcome of selection bias. Firms that make announcements on Fridays experience reduced market response on any weekday and have common unobserved characteristics across announcement types. After correcting for selection bias, there is no evidence that investors pay less attention to announcements made on Fridays. The method introduced here is applicable to other studies in which an exogenous factor influencing firm performance can actually be associated with firm characteristics.

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Jim Cramer's 'Mad Money' Charitable Trust Performance and Factor Attribution

Jonathan Hartley & Matthew Olson

University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
This study analyzes the complete historical performance of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio from 2001 to 2016 which includes many of the stock recommendations made on Cramer's TV show "Mad Money". Both since inception of the portfolio and since the start of "Mad Money" in 2005 (when it was converted into a charitable trust), Cramer's portfolio has underperformed the S&P 500 total return index and a basket of S&P 500 stocks that does not reinvest dividends (both on an overall returns basis and in Sharpe ratio). These findings contrast with previous studies which analyzed Cramer's outperformance in short windows before the 2008 financial crisis. Using factor analysis, we find that Cramer's portfolio returns are primarily driven by underlevered exposure to market returns and in some specifications tilting toward small cap stocks, growth stocks and stocks with low quality of earnings. These results have broad implications for market efficiency, the usefulness of single name stock recommendations made on television, financial education, and the implementation of academic factors thematic in Cramer's portfolio.

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Does Information Intensity Matter for Stock Returns? Evidence from Form 8-K Filings

Xiaofei Zhao

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper identifies an important source of variation in U.S. firms' material information flows: their Form 8-K filing frequency. Exploiting cross-sectional variation in this novel proxy for information intensity, this paper finds that firms with higher information intensity experience lower future returns and lower future volatilities. The marginal return impact is higher at low levels of information intensity and high levels of prior volatility. On average, an information-intensity-based long-short portfolio generates a return spread of 4.3% per year. After adjusting for the Fama-French three factors and the momentum factor, the abnormal return remains 4.4% per year. These novel findings suggest that, because of the dynamic nature of information arrival, the frequency/quantity of information is an important source affecting the information environment and stock returns of public companies. These findings are consistent with the predictions of a broad class of noisy rational expectations equilibrium models and estimation risk models, and they highlight the importance of learning in financial markets with incomplete information.

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Voluntary monthly earnings disclosures and analyst behavior

Shou-Min Tsao, Hsueh-Tien Lu & Edmund Keung

Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how voluntary monthly earnings disclosures relate to monthly analyst behavior. We focus on the number of analysts following a firm and several properties that characterize analysts' earnings forecasts for the upcoming annual earnings. We find firms that disclose monthly earnings attract more analysts, have more accurate and less dispersed analyst earnings forecasts, and have lower overall uncertainty and less commonality of information in analysts' earnings forecasts. In addition, the effect of monthly earnings disclosure on analyst behavior is more pronounced for the firms that regularly disclose monthly earnings. Our results are consistent with the notion that an important role played by a voluntary increase in reporting frequency is to trigger the generation of idiosyncratic information by financial analysts. In other words, analysts tend to complement rather than substitute for firm-provided voluntary disclosures.

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Can Analysts Assess Fundamental Risk and Valuation Uncertainty? An Empirical Analysis of Scenario-based Value Estimates

Peter Joos, Joseph Piotroski & Suraj Srinivasan

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use a data set of sell-side analysts' scenario-based equity valuation estimates to examine whether analysts can assess the state-contingent risk surrounding a firm's fundamental value. We find that the spread in analysts' scenario-based valuations captures the riskiness of operations and predicts the absolute magnitude of long-run valuation errors and future changes in firm fundamentals. We also show that analysts' assessment of fundamental risk and its predictive ability systematically improved after the financial crisis, consistent with the macroeconomic shock raising analysts' awareness of firms' systematic risk exposures.

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Loss-Averse Preferences, Performance, and Career Success of Institutional Investors

Andriy Bodnaruk & Andrei Simonov

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using survey-based measures of mutual fund manager loss aversion, we study the effects of institutional investor preferences on their investment decisions, performance, and career outcomes. We find that managers with higher aversion to losses choose portfolios with lower downside risk, increase their risk-taking more in response to poor past performance, and display a stronger disposition effect. Further, we provide evidence that managers who are more loss-averse have lower performance and are more likely to have their contracts terminated.

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Being Surprised by the Unsurprising: Earnings Seasonality and Stock Returns

Tom Chang et al.

University of Southern California Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We present evidence consistent with markets failing to properly price information in seasonal earnings patterns. Firms with historically larger earnings in one quarter of the year ("positive seasonality quarters") have higher returns when those earnings are usually announced. Analysts have more positive forecast errors in positive seasonality quarters, consistent with the returns being driven by mistaken earnings estimates. We show that investors appear to overweight recent lower earnings following positive seasonality quarters, leading to pessimistic forecasts in the subsequent positive seasonality quarter. The returns are not explained by risk-based explanations, firm-specific information, increased volume, or idiosyncratic volatility.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bummer

How Are You, My Dearest Mozart? Well-being and Creativity of Three Famous Composers Based on their Letters

Karol Jan Borowiecki

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The importance of creativity is being increasingly recognized by economists; however, the possibility that emotional factors determine creative processes is largely ignored. Building on 1,400 letters written by three famous music composers, I obtain wellbeing indices that span their lifetimes. The validity of this methodology is shown by linking the indices with biographical information and through estimation of the determinants of well-being. I then exploit the data and provide quantitative evidence on the existence of a causal impact of negative emotions on outstanding creativity, an association hypothesized across several disciplines since the Antiquity, but that has not yet been convincingly established.

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Billboard Hot 100 Songs: Self-Promoting Over the Past 20 Years

Pam McAuslan & Marie Waung

Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests that an increase in narcissism and individualism in contemporary Western society corresponds with greater self-focus depicted in cultural products (Morling & Lamoreaux, 2008). However, little attention has been given to popular music within this context (DeWall, Pond, Campbell, & Twenge, 2011). The current study examines changes in self-promotion (e.g., references to self, bragging, demands for respect), and the sociodemographic characteristics of both artists and audiences as they relate to self-promoting tendencies in popular music. Data were obtained using Billboard Hot 100 songs for the years 1990, 2000, and 2010. The most popular music in 2010 contained significantly more types of self-promotion than music from previous decades. This change reflects characteristics of genres (e.g., rap/hip-hop, pop, dance) that have gained popularity among younger audiences, but also corresponds to larger societal changes in individualism. Songs by male artists and African American artists were more likely to contain self-promotion than those by female or Caucasian artists. These differences are considered within the context of past theory and research related to socialization across groups more generally. Implications for parents, educators, and consumers are discussed.

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Does Variety Among Activities Increase Happiness?

Jordan Etkin & Cassie Mogilner

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does variety increase happiness? Eight studies examine how the variety among the activities that fill people’s day-to-day lives affects subsequent happiness. The studies demonstrate that whether variety increases or decreases happiness depends on the perceived duration of the time within which the activities occur. For longer time periods (like a day), variety does increase happiness. However, for shorter time periods (like an hour), variety instead decreases happiness. This reversal stems from people’s sense of stimulation and productivity during that time. Whereas filling longer time periods with more varied activities makes the time feel more stimulating (which increases happiness), filling shorter time periods with more varied activities makes the time feel less productive (which decreases happiness). These effects are robust across actual and perceived variety, actual and perceived time duration, and multiple types of activities (work and leisure, self-selected and imposed, social and solo). Together the findings confirm that “variety is the spice of life” — but not of an hour.

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Population Of US Practicing Psychiatrists Declined, 2003–13, Which May Help Explain Poor Access To Mental Health Care

Tara Bishop et al.

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1271-1277

Abstract:
A large proportion of the US population suffers from mental illness. Limited access to psychiatrists may be a contributor to the underuse of mental health services. We studied changes in the supply of psychiatrists from 2003 to 2013, compared to changes in the supply of primary care physicians and neurologists. During this period the number of practicing psychiatrists declined from 37,968 to 37,889, which represented a 10.2 percent reduction in the median number of psychiatrists per 100,000 residents in hospital referral regions. In contrast, the numbers of primary care physicians and neurologists grew during the study period. These findings may help explain why patients report poor access to mental health care. Future research should explore the impact of the declining psychiatrist supply on patients and investigate new models of care that seek to integrate mental health and primary care or use team-based care that combines the services of psychiatrists and nonphysician providers for individuals with severe mental illnesses.

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Good day for Leos: Horoscope's influence on perception, cognitive performances, and creativity

Magali Clobert et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, October 2016, Pages 348–355

Abstract:
Do people treat horoscopes as mere entertainment, or does reading horoscopes have more substantial consequences? Building upon research on the expectancy effect as well as on literature highlighting the influence of astrology on individuals, we hypothesized that reading positive versus negative horoscopes would affect people's perceptions, emotions, cognitions, and creativity. Across three experiments, reading positive versus negative astrological forecasts increased positive interpretation of ambiguous events (Experiment 1, N = 195), cognitive performance (Experiment 2, N = 189), and creativity (Experiment 3, N = 193). Furthermore, positive (versus negative) horoscopes decreased negative emotions among people who believe in astrology and the effects of horoscopes on cognitive performances and creativity were stronger among people with a low internal locus of control. Opening newspapers and searching for daily horoscopes have more consequences than one may initially think.

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Narcissism is associated with weakened frontostriatal connectivity: A DTI study

David Chester et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, July 2016, Pages 1036-1040

Abstract:
Narcissism is characterized by the search for affirmation and admiration from others. Might this motivation to find external sources of acclaim exist to compensate for neurostructural deficits that link the self with reward? Greater structural connectivity between brain areas that process self-relevant stimuli (i.e. the medial prefrontal cortex) and reward (i.e. the ventral striatum) is associated with fundamentally positive self-views. We predicted that narcissism would be associated with less integrity of this frontostriatal pathway. We used diffusion tensor imaging to assess the frontostriatal structural connectivity among 50 healthy undergraduates (32 females, 18 males) who also completed a measure of grandiose narcissism. White matter integrity in the frontostriatal pathway was negatively associated with narcissism. Our findings, while purely correlational, suggest that narcissism arises, in part, from a neural disconnect between the self and reward. The exhibitionism and immodesty of narcissists may then be a regulatory strategy to compensate for this neural deficit.

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Drawing to Distract: Examining the Psychological Benefits of Drawing Over Time

Jennifer Drake, Ingrid Hastedt & Clara James

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individuals gravitate toward the arts during times of emotional stress. We examined the benefits of drawing over several sessions to determine whether drawing improves mood and, if so, whether it does so because it allows for emotional expression or distraction. After inducing a sad mood, we asked participants (n = 40) to draw over 4 consecutive days. Half of the participants were instructed to draw as a way to express their feelings (express condition) and half were instructed to draw as a way to focus and observe (distract condition). Mood was measured after the first and final testing session and a life satisfaction scale was administered at the beginning of the first testing session and after the final session. We found that drawing to distract improved mood more than drawing to express, both after a single drawing session and after 4 sessions. These findings are consistent with previous findings on drawing, but run counter to reports on the relative health benefits of expressive writing. We suggest drawing and writing may affect mood through different mechanisms.

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Who Can't Take a Compliment? The Role of Construal Level and Self-Esteem in Accepting Positive Feedback from Close Others

David Kille et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
One way that relationship partners express positive regard – a key variable in relationship success – is through compliments. However, some people are unable to perceive positive regard through compliments. We hypothesized that low self-esteem (LSE) individuals' relatively negative self-theories conflict with the positive information conveyed in compliments. Hence, LSEs' self-verification motives (e.g., Swann, 1997, 2012) may lead LSEs to reject the positive implications of compliments. In an initial study, we demonstrated that LSEs (vs. high self-esteem individuals; HSEs) feel greater self-related concerns and negative affect after receiving compliments, which leads them to devalue those compliments. Drawing on theories of mental construal (e.g., Libby, Valenti, Pfent, & Eibach, 2011), we reasoned that the remedy for such self-theory-driven processes is to adopt a concrete (vs. abstract) mindset: LSEs should be less likely to apply their relatively negative self-theories when they process compliments in a concrete mindset. Across three studies, we used diverse methods to induce participants to experience either a concrete or abstract mindset, and asked them to recall (Studies 2 and 3) or imagine (Study 4) a partner's compliment. We then assessed their perceptions of their partners' regard. Results confirmed that the discrepancy in LSEs' and HSEs' perceptions of positive regard following a compliment from their romantic partners was significantly reduced when a concrete mindset was induced compared to when an abstract mindset (or no mindset, Study 4) was induced.

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Current Evolutionary Adaptiveness of Psychiatric Disorders: Fertility Rates, Parent−Child Relationship Quality, and Psychiatric Disorders Across the Lifespan

Nicholas Jacobson

Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study sought to evaluate the current evolutionary adaptiveness of psychopathology by examining whether these disorders impact the quantity of offspring or the quality of the parent–child relationship across the life span. Using the National Comorbidity Survey, this study examined whether DSM–III–R anxiety, posttraumatic stress, depressive, bipolar, substance use, antisocial, and psychosis disorders predicted later fertility and the quality of parent–child relationships across the life span in a national sample (N = 8,098). Using latent variable and varying coefficient models, the results suggested that anxiety in males and bipolar pathology in males and females were associated with increased fertility at younger ages. The results suggested almost all other psychopathology was associated with decreased fertility in middle to late adulthood. The results further suggested that all types of psychopathology had negative impacts on the parent–child relationship quality (except for antisocial pathology in males). Nevertheless, for all disorders, the impact of psychopathology on both fertility and the parent–child relationship quality was affected by the age of the participant. The results also showed that anxiety pathology is associated with a high-quantity, low-quality parenting strategy followed by a low-quantity, low-quality parenting strategy. Further, the results suggest that bipolar pathology is associated with an early high-quantity and a continued low-quality parenting strategy. Posttraumatic stress, depression, substance use, antisocial personality, and psychosis pathology are each associated with a low-quantity, low-quality parenting strategy, particularly in mid to late adulthood. These findings suggest that the evolutionary impact of psychopathology depends on the developmental context.

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Creativity and Habitual Sleep Patterns Among Art and Social Sciences Undergraduate Students

Neta Ram-Vlasov et al.

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study aimed to explore whether creativity and visual arts practice are associated with altered sleep structure, patterns, and quality. Fourteen visual arts and 16 social sciences undergraduate students participated in this home-based study. Sleep structure was measured by Polysomnography (PSG), habitual sleep patterns were monitored by Actigraphy and assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire (MCTQ), and creativity was measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT). Results indicated that for the entire sample, higher visual creativity was associated with higher sleep disturbance, daytime dysfunction, and lower overall sleep quality, and that higher verbal creativity was associated with longer sleep duration and later sleep midpoint. Group comparisons showed that art students reported increased sleep disturbance and daytime dysfunction, and later sleep midpoint and chronotype, and exhibited longer sleep duration compared with the nonart students. This observational and correlative study establishes multidimensional relationships between creativity and sleep. Possible explanations for our findings are offered, acknowledging psychobiological mechanisms that are known to regulate both creativity and sleep.

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Stitching Time: Vintage Consumption Connects the Past, Present, and Future

Gülen Sarial-Abi et al.

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated a novel avenue for buffering against threats to meaning frameworks: vintage consumption. Although the appeal of vintage goods, defined as previously owned items from an earlier era, is strong and growing, this paper is among the first to examine the possible psychological ramifications of vintage consumption. Six studies found that vintage items mitigated the typical reactions to meaning threats. Four of these studies also showed that vintage consumption facilitates mental connections among the past, present, and future. As a result, people whose meaning structures had been threatened, for example by being reminded of their own eventual death, preferred vintage products more than others who had not experienced a meaning threat, and more than similar non-vintage products. These findings suggest that meaning disruptions stimulate a desire for intertemporal connections, a desire that vintage products — as existing and continuing symbols of bygone eras — seem to satisfy.

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When context matters: Negative emotions predict psychological health and adjustment

Karin Coifman, Jessica Flynn & Lavinia Pinto

Motivation and Emotion, August 2016, Pages 602-624

Abstract:
Functional theories of emotion argue for the adaptive function of negative emotions in response to specific contextual or environmental demands. However, data supporting these theories in community samples is limited and much research has suggested the opposite: negative emotions predict poor adjustment. To begin to address this discrepancy, we tested the functional association between negative emotion and psychological health and adjustment across three diverse samples: adults in intimate-partnerships, patients with chronic illness, and first-year college students. In each study we employed lab-based methods to elicit and index emotion as a multi-dimensional response system and considered contextual factors and the theorized or demonstrated function of negative emotions in that context and in relation to specific outcomes. Data analysis revealed that contextually sensitive negative emotion was adaptive, and associated with better relationship adjustment and related behaviors (Study 1), higher treatment adherence (Study 2), and adaptive responses to peer rejection (Study 3). Across samples, circumstances, and outcomes, negative emotions were positively associated with psychological health and adjustment.

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An autobiographical gateway: Narcissists avoid first-person visual perspective while retrieving self-threatening memories

Marta Marchlewska & Aleksandra Cichocka

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the role of narcissistic versus genuine self-evaluation in the retrieval of self-threatening memories. Autobiographical memories can be retrieved either from a first-person or a third-person visual perspective. Because narcissism is linked to sensitivity to psychological threats, it should predict retrieval of self-threatening memories using the third-person perspective. Genuine self-esteem, on the other hand, is resilient to threats. Therefore, it should be associated with retrieving self-relevant, even if threatening, memories from the first-person perspective. In two experiments we measured narcissism and self-esteem. Experiment 1 manipulated valence of self-relevant memories by asking participants to recall self-threatening (shameful) or self-boosting (proud) situations. Experiment 2 manipulated self-relevance of negative memories by asking participants to recall self-threatening (shameful) or negative, yet not self-threatening (sad) situations. Visual perspective of memory retrieval served as the dependent variable. In Experiment 1, narcissism predicted avoiding the first-person perspective and employing the third-person perspective in self-threatening memories, while self-esteem predicted the first-person perspective regardless of the memories being self-threatening or self-boosting. In Experiment 2, narcissism predicted the third-person perspective, while genuine self-esteem predicted the first-person perspective when self-threatening memories were recalled. Neither narcissism, nor genuine self-esteem were associated with visual perspective when participants recalled negative memories irrelevant to the self. Results shed light on the role of self-evaluation in processing autobiographical memories.

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Effect of Palliative Care–Led Meetings for Families of Patients With Chronic Critical Illness: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Shannon Carson et al.

Journal of the American Medical Association, 5 July 2016, Pages 51-62

Design, Setting, and Participants: A multicenter randomized clinical trial conducted from October 2010 through November 2014 in 4 medical intensive care units (ICUs). Adult patients (aged ≥21 years) requiring 7 days of mechanical ventilation were randomized and their family surrogate decision makers were enrolled in the study. Observers were blinded to group allocation for the measurement of the primary outcomes.

Interventions: At least 2 structured family meetings led by palliative care specialists and provision of an informational brochure (intervention) compared with provision of an informational brochure and routine family meetings conducted by ICU teams (control). There were 130 patients with 184 family surrogate decision makers in the intervention group and 126 patients with 181 family surrogate decision makers in the control group.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale symptom score (HADS; score range, 0 [best] to 42 [worst]; minimal clinically important difference, 1.5) obtained during 3-month follow-up interviews with the surrogate decision makers. Secondary outcomes included posttraumatic stress disorder experienced by the family and measured by the Impact of Events Scale-Revised (IES-R; total score range, 0 [best] to 88 [worst]), discussion of patient preferences, hospital length of stay, and 90-day survival.

Results: Among 365 family surrogate decision makers (mean age, 51 years; 71% female), 312 completed the study. At 3 months, there was no significant difference in anxiety and depression symptoms between surrogate decision makers in the intervention group and the control group (adjusted mean HADS score, 12.2 vs 11.4, respectively; between-group difference, 0.8 [95% CI, −0.9 to 2.6]; P = .34). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were higher in the intervention group (adjusted mean IES-R score, 25.9) compared with the control group (adjusted mean IES-R score, 21.3) (between-group difference, 4.60 [95% CI, 0.01 to 9.10]; P = .0495). There was no difference between groups regarding the discussion of patient preferences (intervention, 75%; control, 83%; odds ratio, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.34 to 1.16; P = .14]). The median number of hospital days for patients in the intervention vs the control group (19 days vs 23 days, respectively; between-group difference, −4 days [95% CI, −6 to 3 days]; P = .51) and 90-day survival (hazard ratio, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.65 to 1.38], P = .96) were not significantly different.

Conclusions and Relevance: Among families of patients with chronic critical illness, the use of palliative care–led informational and emotional support meetings compared with usual care did not reduce anxiety or depression symptoms and may have increased posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. These findings do not support routine or mandatory palliative care–led discussion of goals of care for all families of patients with chronic critical illness.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Jerks

Subjective Socioeconomic Status Causes Aggression: A Test of the Theory of Social Deprivation

Tobias Greitemeyer & Christina Sagioglou

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Seven studies (overall N = 3690) addressed the relation between people’s subjective socioeconomic status (SES) and their aggression levels. Based on relative deprivation theory, we proposed that people low in subjective SES would feel at a disadvantage, which in turn would elicit aggressive responses. In 3 correlational studies, subjective SES was negatively related to trait aggression. Importantly, this relation held when controlling for measures that are related to 1 or both subjective SES and trait aggression, such as the dark tetrad and the Big Five. Four experimental studies then demonstrated that participants in a low status condition were more aggressive than were participants in a high status condition. Compared with a medium-SES condition, participants of low subjective SES were more aggressive rather than participants of high subjective SES being less aggressive. Moreover, low SES increased aggressive behavior toward targets that were the source for participants’ experience of disadvantage but also toward neutral targets. Sequential mediation analyses suggest that the experience of disadvantage underlies the effect of subjective SES on aggressive affect, whereas aggressive affect was the proximal determinant of aggressive behavior. Taken together, the present research found comprehensive support for key predictions derived from the theory of relative deprivation of how the perception of low SES is related to the person’s judgments, emotional reactions, and actions.

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Talking About School Bullying: News Framing of Who Is Responsible for Causing and Fixing the Problem

Sei-Hill Kim & Matthew Telleen

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Our content analysis examines how American news media have framed the question of who is responsible for causing and solving the school bullying problem. We identified presence of considerable victim blaming in news coverage. Among potential causes examined, victims and their families were mentioned most often as being responsible. When talking about how to solve the problem, the media were focusing heavily on schools and teachers, while bullies and their families — the direct source of the problem — were mentioned least often. We also found that liberal newspapers were focusing more than conservative papers on social-level responsibilities, while conservative papers were more likely than liberal papers to attribute responsibility to individuals, suggesting that the political orientations of news organizations can affect which level of responsibility will be highlighted. Drawing upon the notion of frame building, we discuss in detail how several internal and external factors of news organizations can affect their selective uses of frames.

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Evidence That Self-Affirmation Reduces Relational Aggression: A Proof of Concept Trial

Christopher Armitage & Richard Rowe

Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: Acts of relational aggression cause significant social and personal costs, and interventions are needed to reduce relational aggression in community as well as clinical settings. The present study used a persuasive message coupled with a self-affirmation manipulation to reduce relational aggression among a group of adolescents recruited from the community.

Method: Participants (N = 503) all received a persuasive message designed to reduce relational aggression and were randomly allocated to participate in a self-affirming or nonaffirming task.

Results: Findings demonstrated a significant reduction in relational aggression over 1-month among participants who were randomized to the self-affirmation condition (d = −0.50) in contrast with a small increase in relational aggression in the control condition (d = +0.20). Contrary to expectations, these effects were not mediated by message processing or changes in interpersonal affect.

Conclusion: The present study used the novel approach of asking pupils to self-affirm following a persuasive message and showed that it was possible to reduce relational aggression. Self-affirmation shows considerable promise as a means of augmenting the delivery of interventions to reduce antisocial behavior in addition to other social and health behaviors.

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Environmental Determinants of Aggression in Adolescents: Role of Urban Neighborhood Greenspace

Diana Younan et al.

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, July 2016, Pages 591–601

Objective: Neighborhood greenspace improves mental health of urban-dwelling populations, but its putative neurobehavioral benefits in adolescents remain unclear. We conducted a prospective study on urban-dwelling adolescents to examine the association between greenspace in residential neighborhood and aggressive behaviors.

Method: Participants (n = 1,287) of the Risk Factors for Antisocial Behavior Study, a multi-ethnic cohort of twins and triplets born in 1990 to 1995 and living in Southern California, were examined in 2000 to 2012 (aged 9−18 years) with repeated assessments of their aggressive behaviors by the parent-reported Child Behavior Checklist. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) derived from satellite imagery was used as a proxy for residential neighborhood greenspace aggregated over various spatiotemporal scales before each assessment. Multilevel mixed-effects models were used to estimate the effects of greenspace on aggressive behaviors, adjusting for within-family/within-individual correlations and other potential confounders.

Results: Both short-term (1- to 6-month) and long-term (1- to 3-year) exposures to greenspace within 1,000 meters surrounding residences were associated with reduced aggressive behaviors. The benefit of increasing vegetation over the range (∼0.12 in NDVI) commonly seen in urban environments was equivalent to approximately 2 to 2.5 years of behavioral maturation. Sociodemographic factors (e.g., age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status) and neighborhood quality did not confound or modify these associations, and the benefits remained after accounting for temperature.

Conclusion: Our novel findings support the benefits of neighborhood greenspace in reducing aggressive behaviors of urban-dwelling adolescents. Community-based interventions are needed to determine the efficacy of greenspace as a preemptive strategy to reduce aggressive behaviors in urban environments.

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Seeing more than others: Identification of subtle aggressive information as a function of trait aggressiveness

Sarah Teige-Mocigemba, Fabian Hölzenbein & Karl Christoph Klauer

Social Psychology, Summer 2016, Pages 136-149

Abstract:
Researchers have long argued that aggressive individuals automatically tend to perceive hostile intent in others, even when it is in fact absent (hostile attribution bias). Wilkowski and Robinson (2012) recently showed, however, that aggressive individuals were particularly accurate in the identification of subtle cues of facial anger, indicating greater perceptual sensitivity to anger information rather than a biased perception or interpretation. We tested the generality of this finding in four paradigms with different stimuli. As predicted by Wilkowski and Robinson, the more aggressive participants were, the more accurately they identified subtle aggressive information, whereas accuracy in the identification of nonaggressive emotional information was not a function of self-reported aggressiveness. The discussion focuses on the generality and limitations of the findings.

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The Longitudinal Association Between Competitive Video Game Play and Aggression Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Paul Adachi & Teena Willoughby

Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
The longitudinal association between competitive video game play and aggression among young adults and adolescents was examined. Young adults (N = 1,132; Mage = 19 years) were surveyed annually over 4 years about their video game play and aggression, and data from a 4-year longitudinal study of adolescents (N = 1,492; Mage = 13 years) was reanalyzed. The results demonstrated a longitudinal association between competitive video game play and aggressive behavior among both age groups. In addition, competitive video game play predicted higher levels of aggressive affect over time, which, in turn, predicted higher levels of aggressive behavior over time, suggesting that aggressive affect was a mechanism of this link. These findings highlight the importance of investigating competitive elements of video game play that may predict aggression over time.

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Does Trait Masculinity Relate to Expressing Toughness? The Effects of Masculinity Threat and Self-Affirmation in College Men

Stephanie Fowler & Andrew Geers

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Men have higher morbidity and mortality rates than women across the life span. One potential explanation for this gap is greater pressure for men to express their masculine toughness. Situations that threaten masculinity often result in compensatory behaviors (e.g., binge drinking) geared toward proving toughness. The present research tested the hypothesis that threats to masculinity would lead men to behave in ways that express toughness to a greater extent if they were highly masculine, as measured by the Bem Sex-Role Inventory. Further, we anticipated that self-affirmation would ameliorate the compensatory responding exhibited by higher masculine men under threat. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 experimental cells in a 2 (Masculine Identity Threat: yes, no) × 2 (Self-Affirmation: yes, no) between-subjects factorial design. Results indicated that men expressed masculine toughness to a greater extent when facing a masculinity threat than when under no threat. Further, higher masculinity amplified the effect of threat in expressing toughness. Results also showed that the opportunity to self-affirm reduced expression of toughness among higher masculine men facing a masculinity threat. Theoretical contributions, implications, and future directions for this line of research are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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