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Friday, June 26, 2015

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Why Do Cities Matter? Local Growth and Aggregate Growth

Chang-Tai Hsieh & Enrico Moretti
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We study how growth of cities determines the growth of nations. Using a spatial equilibrium model and data on 220 US metropolitan areas from 1964 to 2009, we first estimate the contribution of each U.S. city to national GDP growth. We show that the contribution of a city to aggregate growth can differ significantly from what one might naively infer from the growth of the city’s GDP. Despite some of the strongest rate of local growth, New York, San Francisco and San Jose were only responsible for a small fraction of U.S. growth in this period. By contrast, almost half of aggregate US growth was driven by growth of cities in the South. We then provide a normative analysis of potential growth. We show that the dispersion of the conditional average nominal wage across US cities doubled, indicating that worker productivity is increasingly different across cities. We calculate that this increased wage dispersion lowered aggregate U.S. GDP by 13.5%. Most of the loss was likely caused by increased constraints to housing supply in high productivity cities like New York, San Francisco and San Jose. Lowering regulatory constraints in these cities to the level of the median city would expand their work force and increase U.S. GDP by 9.5%. We conclude that the aggregate gains in output and welfare from spatial reallocation of labor are likely to be substantial in the U.S., and that a major impediment to a more efficient spatial allocation of labor are housing supply constraints. These constraints limit the number of US workers who have access to the most productive of American cities. In general equilibrium, this lowers income and welfare of all US workers.

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The Passthrough of Labor Costs to Price Inflation

Ekaterina Peneva & Jeremy Rudd
Federal Reserve Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We use a time-varying parameter/stochastic volatility VAR framework to assess how the passthrough of labor costs to price inflation has evolved over time in U.S. data. We find little evidence that changes in labor costs have had a material effect on price inflation in recent years, even for compensation measures where some degree of passthrough to prices still appears to be present. Our results cast doubt on explanations of recent inflation behavior that appeal to such mechanisms as downward nominal wage rigidity or a differential contribution of long-term and short-term unemployed workers to wage and price pressures.

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Offshoring Domestic Jobs

Hartmut Egger, Udo Kreickemeier & Jens Wrona
Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop a two-country general equilibrium model, in which heterogeneous firms offshore routine tasks to a low-wage host country. In the presence of fixed costs for offshoring the most productive firms self-select into offshoring, which leads to a reallocation of domestic labor towards less productive uses if offshoring costs are high. As a consequence domestic welfare may fall. The reallocation effect is reversed and domestic welfare rises if offshoring costs are low. The aggregate income distribution, comprising wages and entrepreneurial incomes, becomes more unequal with offshoring.

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Coal Mining, Economic Development, and the Natural Resources Curse

Michael Betz et al.
Energy Economics, July 2015, Pages 105-116

Abstract:
Coal mining has a long legacy of providing needed jobs in isolated communities but it is also associated with places that suffer from high poverty and weaker long-term economic growth. Yet, the industry has greatly changed in recent decades. Regulations, first on air quality, have altered the geography of coal mining, pushing it west from Appalachia. Likewise, technological change has reduced labor demand and has led to relatively new mining practices, such as invasive mountain-top approaches. Thus, the economic footprint of coal mining has greatly changed in an era when the industry appears to be on the decline. This study investigates whether these changes along with coal’s “boom/bust” cycles have affected economic prosperity in coal country. We separately examine the Appalachian region from the rest of the U.S. due to Appalachia’s unique history and different mining practices. Our study takes a new look at the industry by assessing the winners and losers of coal development around a range of economic indicators and addressing whether the natural resources curse applies to contemporary American coal communities. The results suggest that modern coal mining has rather nuanced effects that differ between Appalachia and the rest of the U.S. We do not find strong evidence of a resources curse, except that coal mining has a consistent inverse association with measures linked to population growth and entrepreneurship, and thereby future economic growth.

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Place-Based Programs and the Geographic Dispersion of Employment

Matthew Freedman
Regional Science and Urban Economics, July 2015, Pages 1-19

Abstract:
Government efforts to improve local economic conditions by encouraging private investment in targeted communities could affect the broader geographic distribution of employment in a region, especially to the extent that subsidized businesses face few constraints on whom they hire. This paper examines the labor market impacts of investment subsidized by the U.S. federal government’s New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, which provides tax incentives to promote business investment in low-income neighborhoods. To identify the program’s effects, I exploit a discontinuity in the rule determining the eligibility of census tracts for NMTC-subsidized investment. Using rich administrative data on workers’ residence and workplace locations, I find evidence that many of the new jobs created in areas that receive subsidized investment do not go to residents of targeted neighborhoods. The results suggest that the local economic benefits of place-based programs may be diluted when subsidized businesses have scope to hire from broader regional labor markets.

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Recent U.S. Labor Force Dynamics: Reversible or Not?

Ravi Balakrishnan et al.
IMF Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
The U.S. labor force participation rate (LFPR) fell dramatically following the Great Recession and has yet to start recovering. A key question is how much of the post-2007 decline is reversible, something which is central to the policy debate. The key finding of this paper is that while around ¼-⅓ of the post-2007 decline is reversible, the LFPR will continue to decline given population aging. This paper’s measure of the “employment gap” also suggests that labor market slack remains and will only decline gradually, pointing to a still important role for stimulative macro-economic policies to help reach full employment. In addition, given the continued downward pressure on the LFPR, labor supply measures will be an essential component of the strategy to boost potential growth. Finally, stimulative macroeconomic and labor supply policies should also help reduce the scope for further hysteresis effects to develop (e.g., loss of skills, discouragement).

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The Effect of Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Evidence from the 2012-2013 Phase-Out

Henry Farber, Jesse Rothstein & Robert Valletta
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 171-176

Abstract:
Unemployment Insurance benefit durations were extended during the Great Recession, reaching 99 weeks for most recipients. The extensions were rolled back and eventually terminated by the end of 2013. Using matched CPS data from 2008-2014, we estimate the effect of extended benefits on unemployment exits separately during the earlier period of benefit expansion and the later period of rollback. In both periods, we find little or no effect on job-finding but a reduction in labor force exits due to benefit availability. We estimate that the rollbacks reduced the labor force participation rate by about 0.1 percentage point in early 2014.

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Untangling Trade and Technology: Evidence from Local Labour Markets

David Autor, David Dorn & Gordon Hanson
Economic Journal, May 2015, Pages 621-646

Abstract:
We juxtapose the effects of trade and technology on employment in US local labour markets between 1980 and 2007. Labour markets whose initial industry composition exposes them to rising Chinese import competition experience significant falls in employment, particularly in manufacturing and among non-college workers. Labour markets susceptible to computerisation due to specialisation in routine task-intensive activities instead experience occupational polarisation within manufacturing and non-manufacturing but do not experience a net employment decline. Trade impacts rise in the 2000s as imports accelerate, while the effect of technology appears to shift from automation of production activities in manufacturing towards computerisation of information-processing tasks in non-manufacturing.

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Human Capital Quality and Aggregate Income Differences: Development Accounting for U.S. States

Eric Hanushek, Jens Ruhose & Ludger Woessmann
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Although many U.S. state policies presume that human capital is important for state economic development, there is little research linking better education to state incomes. In a complement to international studies of income differences, we investigate the extent to which quality-adjusted measures of human capital can explain within-country income differences. We develop detailed measures of state human capital based on school attainment from census micro data and on cognitive skills from state- and country-of-origin achievement tests. Partitioning current state workforces into state locals, interstate migrants, and immigrants, we adjust achievement scores for selective migration. We use the new human capital measures in development accounting analyses calibrated with standard production parameters. We find that differences in human capital account for 20-35 percent of the current variation in per-capita GDP among states, with roughly even contributions by school attainment and cognitive skills. Similar results emerge from growth accounting analyses.

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Opening the Black Box of the Matching Function: The Power of Words

Ioana Elena Marinescu & Ronald Wolthoff
University of Chicago Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
How do employers attract the right workers? How important are posted wages vs. other job characteristics? Using data from the leading job board CareerBuilder.com, we show that most vacancies do not post wages, and, for those that do, job titles explain more than 90% of the wage variance. Job titles also explain more than 80% of the across-vacancies variance in the education and experience of applicants. Finally, failing to control for job titles leads to a spurious negative elasticity of labor supply. Thus, our results uncover the previously undocumented power of words in the job matching process.

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House Prices, Home Equity Borrowing, and Entrepreneurship

Stefano Corradin & Alexander Popov
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that housing wealth helps alleviate credit constraints for potential entrepreneurs by enabling home owners to extract equity from their property and invest it in their business. Using a large U.S. individual-level survey dataset for the 1996-2006 period, we find that a 10% increase in home equity raises the share of individuals who transition into self-employment each year from 1% to 1.07%. Our results persist when we use proxies for aggregate housing demand shocks and for the topological elasticity of housing supply to generate variation in home equity that is orthogonal to entrepreneurial choice.

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The Impact of Disability Benefits on Labor Supply: Evidence from the VA's Disability Compensation Program

David Autor et al.
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Combining administrative data from the U.S. Army, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Social Security Administration, we analyze the effect of the VA’s Disability Compensation (DC) program on veterans’ labor force participation and earnings. The largely unstudied Disability Compensation program currently provides income and health insurance to almost four million veterans of military service who suffer service-connected disabilities. We study a unique policy change, the 2001 Agent Orange decision, which expanded DC eligibility for Vietnam veterans who had served in-theatre to a broader set of conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Exploiting the fact that the Agent Orange policy excluded Vietnam era veterans who did not serve in-theatre, we assess the causal effects of DC eligibility by contrasting the outcomes of these two Vietnam-era veteran groups. The Agent Orange policy catalyzed a sharp increase in DC enrollment among veterans who served in-theatre, raising the share receiving benefits by five percentage points over five years. Disability ratings and payments rose rapidly among those newly enrolled, with average annual non-taxed federal transfer payments increasing to $17K within five years. We estimate that benefits receipt reduced labor force participation by 18 percentage points among veterans enrolled due to the policy, though measured income net of transfer benefits rose on average. Consistent with the relatively advanced age and diminished health of Vietnam era veterans in this period, we estimate labor force participation elasticities that are somewhat higher than among the general population.

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Bounds on Treatment Effects in the Presence of Sample Selection and Noncompliance: The Wage Effects of Job Corps

Xuan Chen & Carlos Flores
Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Randomized and natural experiments are commonly used in economics and other social science fields to estimate the effect of programs and interventions. Even when employing experimental data, assessing the impact of a treatment is often complicated by the presence of sample selection (outcomes are only observed for a selected group) and noncompliance (some treatment group individuals do not receive the treatment while some control individuals do). We address both of these identification problems simultaneously and derive nonparametric bounds for average treatment effects within a principal stratification framework. We employ these bounds to empirically assess the wage effects of Job Corps (JC), the most comprehensive and largest federally-funded job training program for disadvantaged youth in the United States. Our results strongly suggest positive average effects of JC on wages for individuals who comply with their treatment assignment and would be employed whether or not they enrolled in JC (the “always-employed compliers”). Under relatively weak monotonicity and mean dominance assumptions, we find that this average effect is between 5.7 and 13.9 percent four years after randomization, and between 7.7 and 17.5 percent for Non-Hispanics. Our results are consistent with larger effects of JC on wages than those found without adjusting for noncompliance.

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Can helping the sick hurt the able? Incentives, information and disruption in a disability-related welfare reform

Nitika Bagaria, Barbara Petrongolo & John Van Reenen
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Disability rolls have escalated in developed nations over the last 40 years. The UK, however, stands out because the numbers on these benefits stopped rising when a welfare reform was introduced that integrated disability benefits with unemployment insurance (UI). This policy reform improved job information and sharpened bureaucratic incentives to find jobs for the disabled (relative to those on UI). We exploit the fact that policy was rolled-out quasi-randomly across geographical areas. In the long-run the policy improved the outflows from disability benefits by 6% and had an (insignificant) 1% increase in unemployment outflows. This is consistent with a model where information helps both groups, but bureaucrats were given incentives to shift effort towards helping the disabled find jobs and away from helping the unemployed. Interestingly, in the short-run the policy had a negative impact for both groups, suggesting important disruption effects. We estimate that it takes about six years for the estimated benefits of the reform to exceed its costs, which is beyond the time horizon of most policy-makers.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Baby boomers

Unpacking the “Black Box” of Race–Ethnic Variation in Fertility

Karen Benjamin Guzzo et al.
Race and Social Problems, June 2015, Pages 135-149

Abstract:
Race–ethnic differences in a range of childbearing behaviors are long standing and well documented, and these differences are attenuated, but not eliminated, when accounting for socioeconomic disparities. The residual differences are often attributed to vague and untested variation across race–ethnic groups in knowledge, attitudes, psychological attributes, normative beliefs, and social context. We use the longitudinal Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study (TARS), which contains a rich set of such factors measured in early adolescence, to assess whether they contribute to race–ethnic differences in having a birth among men and women ages 17–24 (n = 1,042). Specifically, we test whether individual attitudes, religiosity, and academic behaviors; knowledge and behaviors regarding sex and dating; peer normative context; and parental communication about sex account for variation in the risk of an early birth. We find that socioeconomic factors attenuate but do not reduce differences between black, Hispanic, and white respondents. Including adolescent academic performance and early entry into sex reduces the black–white difference in the odds of early fertility to non-significance; however, beyond socioeconomic status, none of the broad range of factors further attenuate Hispanic–white differences, which remain large and statistically significant.

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Can't Afford a Baby? Debt and Young Americans

Michael Nau, Rachel Dwyer & Randy Hodson
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article explores the role of personal debt in the transition to parenthood. We analyze data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth-1997 cohort and find that for the generation coming of age in the 2000s, student loans delay fertility for women, particularly at very high levels of debt. Home mortgages and credit card debt, in contrast, appear to be precursors to parenthood. These results indicate that different forms of debt have different implications for early adulthood transitions: whereas consumer loans or home mortgages immediately increase access to consumption goods, there is often a significant delay between the accrual and realization of benefits for student loans. The double-edged nature of debt as both barrier and facilitator to life transitions highlights the importance of looking at debt both as a monetary issue and also as a carrier of social meanings.

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Black-White Differences in Attitudes Related to Pregnancy Among Young Women

Jennifer Barber, Jennifer Eckerman Yarger & Heather Gatny
Demography, June 2015, Pages 751-786

Abstract:
In this article, we use newly available data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study to compare a wide range of attitudes related to pregnancy for 961 black and white young women. We also investigate the extent to which race differences are mediated by, or net of, family background, childhood socioeconomic status (SES), adolescent experiences related to pregnancy, and current SES. Compared with white women, black women generally have less positive attitudes toward young nonmarital sex, contraception, and childbearing, and have less desire for sex in the upcoming year. This is largely because black women are more religious than white women and partly because they are more socioeconomically disadvantaged in young adulthood. However, in spite of these less positive attitudes, black women are more likely to expect sex without contraception in the next year and to expect more positive consequences if they were to become pregnant, relative to white women. This is largely because, relative to white women, black women had higher rates of sex without contraception in adolescence and partly because they are more likely to have grown up with a single parent. It is unclear whether attitudes toward contraception and pregnancy preceded or are a consequence of adolescent sex without contraception. Some race differences remain unexplained; net of all potential mediators in our models, black women have less desire for sex in the upcoming year, but they are less willing to refuse to have sex with a partner if they think it would make him angry and they expect more positive personal consequences of a pregnancy, relative to white women. In spite of these differences, black women’s desires to achieve and to prevent pregnancy are very similar to white women’s desires.

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Offline Effects of Online Connecting: The Impact of Broadband Diffusion on Teen Fertility Decisions

Melanie Guldi & Chris Herbst
Arizona State University Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Broadband (high-speed) internet access expanded rapidly from 1999 to 2007. This expansion is associated with higher economic growth and labor market activity. In this paper, we examine whether the rollout also affected the social connections teens make. Specifically, we look at the relationship between increased broadband access and teen fertility. We hypothesize that increasing access to high-speed internet can influence fertility decisions by changing the size of the market as well as increasing the information available to participants in the market. We seek to understand both the overall effect of broadband internet on teen fertility as well as the mechanisms underlying this effect. Our results suggest that increased broadband access explains at least thirteen percent of the decline in the teen birth rate between 1999 and 2007. Although we focus on social markets, this work contributes more broadly to an understanding of how new technology interacts with existing markets.

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Ancestry Matters: Patrilineage Growth and Extinction

Xi Song, Cameron Campbell & James Lee
American Sociological Review, June 2015, Pages 574-602

Abstract:
Patrilineality, the organization of kinship, inheritance, and other key social processes based on patrilineal male descent, has been a salient feature of social organization in China and many other societies for centuries. Because patrilineage continuity or growth was the central focus of reproductive strategies in such societies, we introduce the number of patrilineal male descendants generations later as a stratification outcome. By reconstructing and analyzing 20,000 patrilineages in two prospective, multi-generational population databases from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century China, we show that patrilineages founded by high-status males had higher growth rates for the next 150 years. The elevated growth rate of these patrilineages was due more to their having a lower probability of extinction at each point in time than to surviving patrilineal male descendants having larger numbers of sons on average. As a result, male descendants of high-status males account for a disproportionately large share of the male population in later generations. In China and elsewhere, patrilineal kin network characteristics influence individuals’ life chances; effects of a male founder’s characteristics on patrilineage size many generations later thus represent an indirect channel of status transmission that has not been considered previously.

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The Effects of Cash Transfer Fertility Incentives and Parental Leave Benefits on Fertility and Labor Supply: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments

Xiaoling Lim Ang
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2015, Pages 263-288

Abstract:
This paper examined the labor supply and fertility effects of fertility incentives by making use of two major policy changes that occurred in Canada over the past 25 years: the Quebec Parental Insurance Program which provided generous parental leave benefits, and the series of cash-transfer fertility incentives introduced in Quebec in the 1980s. The empirical work for these projects was conducted using confidential versions of the Canadian Census and the Labour Force Surveys on-site at Statistics Canada. I found that while increases in the generosity of parental leave benefits substantially increased the birth rate and induced increases in labor supply among women of childbearing age, cash-transfer fertility incentives only slightly increased birth rates and decreased female labor supply. The net government cost of each additional birth due to an increase in the generosity of parental leave programs was $15,828 in 2008 Canadian dollars, whereas the net government cost of an additional birth due to cash-transfer fertility incentives was $223,625 in 2008 Canadian dollars. Therefore, paid parental leave is a low-cost way to increase fertility whereas the price per additional birth due to cash-transfer fertility incentives is quite high.

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Pubertal Development and Sexual Intercourse Among Adolescent Girls: An Examination of Direct, Mediated, and Spurious Pathways

Jukka Savolainen et al.
Youth & Society, July 2015, Pages 520-538

Abstract:
There are strong reasons to assume that early onset of puberty accelerates coital debut among adolescent girls. Although many studies support this assumption, evidence regarding the putative causal processes is limited and inconclusive. In this research, longitudinal data from the 1986 Northern Finland Birth Cohort Study (N = 2,596) were used to address three theoretical explanations: (a) a direct effect premised on biological processes, (b) a mediated path based on social psychological processes, and (c) a spurious effect derived from the evolutionary theory of socialization. In support of the social psychological pathway, the negative association between age at menarche and coital status at age 15 was almost fully mediated by differential social exposure — an empirical construct measuring involvement in high-risk social contexts.

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How Many More Missing Women? Excess Female Mortality and Prenatal Sex Selection, 1970–2050

John Bongaarts & Christophe Guilmoto
Population and Development Review, June 2015, Pages 241–269

Abstract:
Sex-based discrimination has resulted in severe demographic imbalances between males and females, culminating in a large number of “missing women” in several countries around the world. We provide new estimates and projections of the number of missing females and of the roles played by prenatal and postnatal factors in this imbalance. We estimate time series of the number of missing females, the number of excess female deaths, and the number of missing female births for the world and selected countries. Estimates are provided for 1970–2010 and projections are made from 2010 to 2050. We show that the estimates of these different indicators are consistent with one another and account for the dynamics of the population of missing females over time. We conclude that the number of missing females has steadily risen in the past decades, reaching 126 million in 2010, and the number is expected to peak at 150 million in 2035. Excess mortality was the dominant cause of missing females in the past, and this is expected to remain the case in future decades in spite of the recent rise of prenatal sex selection. The annual number of newly missing females reached 3.4 million in 2010 and is expected to remain above 3 million every year until 2050.

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State Abortion Context and U.S. Women's Contraceptive Choices, 1995–2010

Josephine Jacobs & Maria Stanfors
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, June 2015, Pages 71–82

Context: The number of women in the United States exposed to restrictive abortion policies has increased substantially over the past decade. It is not well understood whether and how women adjust their contraceptive behavior when faced with restrictive abortion contexts.

Methods: Data from 14,523 women aged 15–44 were drawn from the 1995 and 2010 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth. A difference-in-differences approach was employed to examine the relationship between state-level changes in women's access to abortion and their contraceptive choices. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relative risk of using highly effective or less effective methods rather than no method for women exposed to varying levels of restrictive abortion contexts.

Results: Women who lived in a state where abortion access was low were more likely than women living in a state with greater access to use highly effective contraceptives rather than no method (relative risk ratio, 1.4). Similarly, women in states characterized by high abortion hostility (i.e., states with four or more types of restrictive policies in place) were more likely to use highly effective methods than were women in states with less hostility (1.3). The transition to a more restrictive abortion context was not associated with women's contraceptive behavior, perhaps because states that introduced restrictive abortion legislation between 1995 and 2010 already had significant limitations in place.

Conclusions: To prevent unwanted pregnancies, it is important to ensure access to highly effective contraceptive methods when access to abortions is limited.

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The Labor Supply Effects of Delayed First Birth

Jane Leber Herr
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 630-637

Abstract:
In this paper I compare the relationship between first-birth timing and post-birth labor supply for high school and college graduate mothers. Given that pre-birth wages are increasing in fertility delay, the rising opportunity cost of time would suggest that among both groups, later mothers work more. Yet I only find this pattern for high school graduates. For college graduates, I instead find that there is a strong U-shaped pattern between hours worked within motherhood, and the career timing of first birth.

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Does natural selection favour taller stature among the tallest people on earth?

Gert Stulp et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 May 2015

Abstract:
The Dutch are the tallest people on earth. Over the last 200 years, they have grown 20 cm in height: a rapid rate of increase that points to environmental causes. This secular trend in height is echoed across all Western populations, but came to an end, or at least levelled off, much earlier than in The Netherlands. One possibility, then, is that natural selection acted congruently with these environmentally induced changes to further promote tall stature among the people of the lowlands. Using data from the LifeLines study, which follows a large sample of the population of the north of The Netherlands (n = 94 516), we examined how height was related to measures of reproductive success (as a proxy for fitness). Across three decades (1935–1967), height was consistently related to reproductive output (number of children born and number of surviving children), favouring taller men and average height women. This was despite a later age at first birth for taller individuals. Furthermore, even in this low-mortality population, taller women experienced higher child survival, which contributed positively to their increased reproductive success. Thus, natural selection in addition to good environmental conditions may help explain why the Dutch are so tall.

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How Much Can Expanding Access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives Reduce Teen Birth Rates?

Jason Lindo & Analisa Packham
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Despite a near-continuous decline over the past 20 years, the teen birth rate in the United States continues to be higher than that of other developed countries. Given that over three- quarters of teen births are unintended at conception and that over a third of unplanned births are to women using contraception, many have advocated for promoting the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), which are more effective at preventing pregnancy than more commonly used contraceptives. In order to speak to the degree to which increasing access to LARCs can reduce teen birth rates, this paper analyzes the first large-scale policy intervention to promote and improve access to LARCs in the United States: Colorado’s Family Planning Initiative. We estimate its effects using a difference-in-differences approach, comparing the changes in teen birth rates in Colorado counties with Title X clinics (which received funding) to the changes observed in other US counties with Title X clinics. The results of this analysis indicate that the $23 million program reduced the teen birth rate by approximately 5% in the four years following its implementation, providing support for the notion that increasing access to LARCs is a mechanism through which policy can reduce teenage childbearing.

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Repeat Abortions in New York City, 2010

Amita Toprani
Journal of Urban Health, June 2015, Pages 593-603

Abstract:
This study aims to describe factors associated with the number of past abortions obtained by New York City (NYC) abortion patients in 2010. We calculated rates of first and repeat abortion by age, race/ethnicity, and neighborhood-level poverty and the mean number of self-reported past abortions by age, race/ethnicity, neighborhood-level poverty, number of living children, education, payment method, marital status, and nativity. We used negative binomial regression to predict number of past abortions by patient characteristics. Of the 76,614 abortions reported for NYC residents in 2010, 57 % were repeat abortions. Repeat abortions comprised >50 % of total abortions among the majority of sociodemographic groups we examined. Overall, mean number of past abortions was 1.3. Mean number of past abortions was higher for women aged 30–34 years (1.77), women with ≥5 children (2.50), and black non-Hispanic women (1.52). After multivariable regression, age, race/ethnicity, and number of children were the strongest predictors of number of past abortions. This analysis demonstrates that, although socioeconomic disparities exist, all abortion patients are at high risk for repeat unintended pregnancy and abortion.

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The Relationship Between Academic Achievement And Nonmarital Teenage Childbearing: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

Cary Lou & Adam Thomas
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, June 2015, Pages 91–98

Context: Females who do well in school are less likely than those who do poorly to experience a nonmarital teenage birth. However, little is known about which dimensions of academic achievement are the most strongly related to teenage childbearing, or about whether the relationship between achievement and childbearing varies according to the presence of other behavioral problems.

Methods: Individual-level and family-level data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, combined with information on contextual state-level economic and policy measures, were used to study nonmarital childbearing between the ages of 16 and 19 among 701 females who turned 16 between 2000 and 2007. Multivariate logistic regression analyses examined the relationship between the probability of nonmarital teenage childbearing and age-standardized scores on academic assessments of letter-word identification, passage comprehension and applied problem-solving ability.

Results: Scores on the passage comprehension and applied problem-solving subtests were strongly associated with the probability of experiencing a nonmarital teenage birth among respondents who had relatively few behavioral problems. For this group, an increase of one standard deviation in the score on either assessment was associated with a reduction of about 50% in the risk of experiencing a nonmarital teenage birth. However, no evidence was found of an equivalent relationship among respondents with more pronounced behavioral problems or for the letter-word identification assessment.

Conclusions: Future research should continue to explore the possibility that improvements in academic achievement may help to reduce the rate of nonmarital teenage childbearing.

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Fitness Consequences of Advanced Ancestral Age over Three Generations in Humans

Adam Hayward, Virpi Lummaa & Georgii Bazykin
PLoS ONE, June 2015

Abstract:
A rapid rise in age at parenthood in contemporary societies has increased interest in reports of higher prevalence of de novo mutations and health problems in individuals with older fathers, but the fitness consequences of such age effects over several generations remain untested. Here, we use extensive pedigree data on seven pre-industrial Finnish populations to show how the ages of ancestors for up to three generations are associated with fitness traits. Individuals whose fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers fathered their lineage on average under age 30 were ~13% more likely to survive to adulthood than those whose ancestors fathered their lineage at over 40 years. In addition, females had a lower probability of marriage if their male ancestors were older. These findings are consistent with an increase of the number of accumulated de novo mutations with male age, suggesting that deleterious mutations acquired from recent ancestors may be a substantial burden to fitness in humans. However, possible non-mutational explanations for the observed associations are also discussed.

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Selection criteria in the search for a sperm donor: Behavioural traits versus physical appearance

Stephen Whyte & Benno Torgler
Journal of Bioeconomics, July 2015, Pages 151-171

Abstract:
Despite extensive literature on female mate choice, empirical evidence on women’s mating preferences in the search for a sperm donor is scarce, even though this search, by isolating a male’s genetic impact on offspring from other factors like paternal investment, offers a naturally ”controlled” research setting. In this paper, we work to fill this void by examining the rapidly growing online sperm donor market, which is raising new challenges by offering women novel ways to seek out donor sperm. We not only identify individual factors that influence women’s mating preferences but find strong support for the proposition that behavioural traits (inner values) are more important in these choices than physical appearance (exterior values). We also report evidence that physical factors matter more than resources or other external cues of material success, perhaps because the relevance of good character in donor selection is part of a female psychological adaptation throughout evolutionary history. The lack of evidence on a preference for material resources, on the other hand, may indicate the ability of peer socialization and better access to resources to rapidly shape the female decision process. Overall, the paper makes useful contributions to both the literature on human behaviour and that on decision-making in extreme and highly important situations.

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Woman's body symmetry and oxidative stress in the first trimester of pregnancy

Agnieszka Żelaźniewicz, Judyta Nowak & Bogusław Pawłowski
American Journal of Human Biology, forthcoming

Objectives: High level of oxidative stress (OS) during the first weeks of pregnancy is related to many serious pregnancy complications. Previous studies showed that body fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is related to OS level in men, suggesting that FA is a marker of oxidative balance in an individual. The aim of this study was to analyze if body FA was related to the level of biomarkers of OS in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Methods: The sample included 34 women in the first trimester of pregnancy, not smoking, and not exposed to toxins in their work environment. The composite FA and levels of two biomarkers of OS, 8-iso-ProstaglandinF2α (an indicator of oxidative damage to lipids) and 8-OH-dG (an indicator of oxidative damage to DNA) were measured. Factors that may affect the level of OS (vitamin supplementation, age, smoking, alcohol drinking, physical activity, and health condition) were controlled.

Results: The levels of OS markers in the first trimester of pregnancy correlated positively with women's FA (r = 0.52, P = 0.002 for 8-OH-dG; r = 0.50; P = 0.003 for 8-iso-PGF2α level) and positively with body height (r = 0.37, P = 0.03 for 8-OH-dG level).

Conclusion: The level of OS is likely to be a substantial and important fitness trait, and FA may convey information on the level of OS in women. The result confirms that FA is an indicator of biological condition, as suggested by an evolutionary approach to morphological human traits perceived as attractive.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On a budget

Explaining Systematic Bias and Nontransparency in U.S. Social Security Administration Forecasts

Konstantin Kashin, Gary King & Samir Soneji
Political Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
The accuracy of U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) demographic and financial forecasts is crucial for the solvency of its Trust Funds, other government programs, industry decision-making, and the evidence base of many scholarly articles. Because SSA makes public insufficient replication information and uses antiquated statistical forecasting methods, no external group has ever been able to produce fully independent forecasts or evaluations of policy proposals to change the system. Yet, no systematic evaluation of SSA forecasts has ever been published by SSA or anyone else - until a companion paper to this one. We show that SSA's forecasting errors were approximately unbiased until about 2000, but then began to grow quickly, with increasingly overconfident uncertainty intervals. Moreover, the errors are largely in the same direction, making the Trust Funds look healthier than they are. We extend and then explain these findings with evidence from a large number of interviews with participants at every level of the forecasting and policy processes. We show that SSA's forecasting procedures meet all the conditions the modern social-psychology and statistical literatures demonstrate make bias likely. When those conditions mixed with potent new political forces trying to change Social Security, SSA's actuaries hunkered down, trying hard to insulate their forecasts from strong political pressures. Unfortunately, this led the actuaries into not incorporating the fact that retirees began living longer lives and drawing benefits longer than predicted. We show that fewer than 10% of their scorings of major policy proposals were statistically different from random noise as estimated from their policy forecasting error. We also show that the solution to this problem involves SSA or Congress implementing in government two of the central projects of political science over the last quarter century: (1) transparency in data and methods and (2) replacing with formal statistical models large numbers of ad hoc qualitative decisions too complex for unaided humans to make optimally.

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The Paradoxical Impact of Corporate Inversions on US Tax Revenue

Rita Nevada Gunn & Thomas Lys
Northwestern University Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Do corporate inversions cost the US Treasury billions of dollars in tax revenue, justifying legislative responses and even strong-arming corporations from moving their tax domicile abroad? We show that corporate inversions not only do not appear to reduce, but, paradoxically, are even likely to increase tax collections by the US Treasury.

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The Effect of State Taxes on the Geographical Location of Top Earners: Evidence from Star Scientists

Enrico Moretti & Daniel Wilson
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Using data on the universe of U.S. patents filed between 1976 and 2010, we quantify how sensitive is migration by star scientists to changes in personal and business tax differentials across states. We uncover large, stable, and precisely estimated effects of personal and corporate taxes on star scientists' migration patterns. The long run elasticity of mobility relative to taxes is 1.6 for personal income taxes, 2.3 for state corporate income tax and -2.6 for the investment tax credit. The effect on mobility is small in the short run, and tends to grow over time. We find no evidence of pre-trends: Changes in mobility follow changes in taxes and do not precede them. Consistent with their high income, star scientists migratory flows are sensitive to changes in the 99th percentile marginal tax rate, but are insensitive to changes in taxes for the median income. As expected, the effect of corporate income taxes is concentrated among private sector inventors: no effect is found on academic and government researchers. Moreover, corporate taxes only matter in states where the wage bill enters the state's formula for apportioning multi-state income. No effect is found in states that apportion income based only on sales (in which case labor's location has little or no effect on the tax bill). We also find no evidence that changes in state taxes are correlated with changes in the fortunes of local firms in the innovation sector in the years leading up to the tax change. Overall, we conclude that state taxes have significant effect of the geographical location of star scientists and possibly other highly skilled workers. While there are many other factors that drive where innovative individuals and innovative companies decide to locate, there are enough firms and workers on the margin that relative taxes matter.

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The Welfare Effects of Temporary Tax Cuts and Subsidies: Theory, Estimation, and Applications

Mark Phillips
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article presents a tractable and intuitive theory on the welfare effects of temporary tax cuts and subsidies, fiscal policies that I generically term "holidays." The Kaldor-Hicks efficiency effects are theoretically ambiguous, with competing pro- and anti-efficiency effects on newly incentivized versus time-shifted purchases. To rectify this ambiguity I derive expressions for the welfare effects that are consistent with constant elasticity assumptions and depend only upon readily and reliably observed information. To demonstrate the framework's broad applicability, I analyze two different policies: the 2009 Cash for Clunkers program and states' sales tax holidays. I estimate that both policies generated substantial deadweight loss.

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The Macroeconomic Effects of Public Investment: Evidence from Advanced Economies

Abdul Abiad, Davide Furceri & Petia Topalova
IMF Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This paper provides new evidence of the macroeconomic effects of public investment in advanced economies. Using public investment forecast errors to identify the causal effect of government investment in a sample of 17 OECD economies since 1985 and model simulations, the paper finds that increased public investment raises output, both in the short term and in the long term, crowds in private investment, and reduces unemployment. Several factors shape the macroeconomic effects of public investment. When there is economic slack and monetary accommodation, demand effects are stronger, and the public-debt-to-GDP ratio may actually decline. Public investment is also more effective in boosting output in countries with higher public investment efficiency and when it is financed by issuing debt.

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The Consequences of an Unknown Debt Target

Alexander Richter & Nathaniel Throckmorton
European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several proposals to reduce U.S. debt reveal large differences in their targets. We examine how an unknown debt target affects economic activity using a real business cycle model in which Bayesian households learn about a state-dependent debt target in an endogenous tax rule. Recent papers use stochastic volatility shocks to study fiscal uncertainty. In our setup, the fiscal rule is time-varying due to unknown changes in the debt target. Households infer the current debt target from a noisy tax rule and jointly estimate the transition probabilities. Three key findings emerge from our analysis: (1) Limited information about the debt target amplifies the effect of tax shocks through changes in expected tax rates; (2) The welfare losses are an order of magnitude larger when both the debt target state and transition matrix are unknown than when only the debt target state is unknown to households; (3) An unknown debt target likely reduced the stimulative effect of the ARRA and uncertainty about the sunset provision in the Bush tax cuts may have slowed the recovery and led to welfare losses.

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Identifying the Elasticity of Taxable Income

Sarah Burns & James Ziliak
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use matched panels from the Current Population Survey along with a grouping instrumental variables estimator to provide new estimates of the elasticity of taxable income. Our identification strategy exploits the fact that federal and state tax reforms over the past three decades have differentially affected cohorts across states and over time. We find that the elasticity is in the range of 0.4-0.55. The implication of our new estimates for tax policy is that the revenue-maximizing tax rate is nearly 30 percentage points lower than that obtained when we use the typical identification strategy in the literature.

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At a Loss: The Real and Reporting Elasticity of Taxable Income

Elena Patel, Nathan Seegert & Matthew Grady Smith
U.S. Department of Treasury Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We provide evidence that the corporate tax distorts firms' behavior, leading them to report 8 percent less taxable income, such that the elasticity of corporate taxable income is 0.51. We find that this distortion is due to reporting responses, such as profit shifting, rather than real economic activity, such as capital investment. We exploit a particular feature of the U.S. corporate tax system that allows us to use a control group to estimate these firm responses. Relative to methods without a control group, this method corrects for a downward bias, produces estimates with less variance, and decreases the sensitivity to tuning parameters. Finally, we provide practical guidelines for the bias and variance tradeoff when estimating behavioral responses using bunching from discontinuities.

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The Crucible of Debt and Welfare Spending: Evidence from State-level Welfare Expenditures in the United States

Eloy Fisher
Review of Political Economy, Spring 2015, Pages 201-217

Abstract:
This paper argues that financial pressures affect state public welfare expenditures, controlling for economic effects, financial constraints faced by state administrations and general economic conditions. It develops a series of panel models for 17 states with the largest muni markets (representing 71 per cent of all state-level public welfare spending in the US or $326 billion) from 1998 to 2010. As economic conditions worsen, government revenues decline. Coupled with marginal increases in social spending, state governments face higher debt and binding budget constraints. As investors realize the situation, muni bond prices drop, yields increase and higher finance costs compel state governments to decrease expenditures. These cuts are generally focused on public welfare expenditures. Between 1998 and 2010, one percentage point increases in short (1y), medium (5y) and longer (10y) bonds yields are associated with 0.01 per cent, 0.03 per cent and 0.04 per cent decreases in public welfare expenditures relative to gross state output.

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Public Opinion, Policy Tools, and the Status Quo: Evidence from a Survey Experiment

Jake Haselswerdt & Brandon Bartels
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The method in which a government policy is delivered - for example, as a tax break rather than a direct payment - could potentially have significant implications for how the public views that policy. This is an especially important consideration given the importance of indirect policy approaches like tax breaks to modern American governance. We employ a series of survey experiments to test whether citizens react more favorably to tax breaks than to equivalent spending programs. We find that citizens prefer tax breaks, particularly when they are the established means of intervention. When direct intervention is the status quo, or when any government involvement on the issue is unfamiliar, the preference is reduced. We also find an interactive effect for ideology, with conservatives strongly preferring tax breaks to direct intervention, though the effect is still present among liberals. This study establishes the importance of delivery mechanism to citizens' policy preferences and suggests that the policy status quo structures citizens' perceptions of policy proposals.

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Shaming Tax Delinquents: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in the United States

Ricardo Perez-Truglia & Ugo Troiano
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
We study shaming as a policy to improve tax debt collection. First, we show that when the tax agency focuses on private welfare and revenues, the optimal policy may involve a mix of financial and shaming penalties. Second, we present evidence from a field experiment with 34,344 tax delinquents who owed half a billion dollars in three U.S. states. We find that increasing the salience of financial and shaming penalties reduces tax delinquency. We also provide suggestive evidence that the effectiveness of these penalties depends on the garnishability of the debtor's income as in the model.

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Directed giving enhances voluntary giving to government

Sherry Xin Li et al.
Economics Letters, August 2015, Pages 51-54

Abstract:
Giving to private charities is commonplace, and the chance to direct one's gift is a standard fundraising strategy. But voluntary donations to government organizations are less widely known, and the impact of the opportunity to direct a gift is unexplored. We investigate the effect of directed giving on voluntary contributions to government organizations using a "real donation" lab experiment. We compare giving to the US federal general revenue fund with directed giving to particular government organizations. Directed giving more than doubles both the likelihood of giving and the size of contributions, indicating that individuals are responsive to the opportunity to direct their gifts in the government context. Our results suggest that the revenue-raising potential of directed voluntary gifts to government may be underutilized.

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The Effect of Fiscal Decentralization on the Financial Condition of Municipal Government

Samuel Stone
International Journal of Public Administration, Spring 2015, Pages 453-460

Abstract:
This study examines the effect of fiscal decentralization between states and their local governments on the financial condition of municipal governments. There are strong theoretical arguments on both sides of the federalism debate about the benefits for and against decentralization. Most of the research in this area investigates economic and social welfare consequences of fiscal decentralization. There is limited research, however, on the effects of fiscal decentralization on the financial health of local governments. Using data from the nation's 150 largest cities, this study finds that intrastate fiscal decentralization results in weaker financial condition for municipalities in those states.

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Political Bonds: Political Hazards and the Choice of Municipal Financial Instruments

Abhay Aneja, Marian Moszoro & Pablo Spiller
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We study the link between the choice of rule-based public contracts and political hazards using the municipal bond market. While general obligation bonds are serviced from all municipal revenue streams and offer elected officials financial flexibility, revenue bonds limit the discretion that political agents have in repaying debt as well as the use of revenues from the projects financed by the debt. We predict that public officials choose revenue bonds when elections are very contested to signal trustworthiness and transparency in contracting to the voter. We test this hypothesis on municipal finance data that includes 6,500 bond issuances nationwide as well as election data on over 400 cities over 20 years. We provide evidence that in politically contested cities, mayors are more likely to issue revenue bonds. The correlation is economically significant: a close victory margin of winning candidates and more partisan swings increases the probability of debt being issued as a revenue bond by 3-15% and the probability of issuing bonds through competitive bids by 7%. We test a few additional hypotheses that strengthen the argument that the choice of revenue bonds is a political risk adaptation of public agents so as to signal commitment and lower the likelihood of successful political challenges of misuse of funds.

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Does a Common Set of Accounting Standards Affect Tax-Motivated Income Shifting for Multinational Firms?

Lisa De Simone
Journal of Accounting & Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
I test whether adoption of IFRS by individual affiliates of multinational entities (MNEs) for unconsolidated financial reporting facilitates tax-motivated income shifting. MNEs often justify transfer prices to tax authorities by benchmarking intercompany profit allocations against a range of book profit rates reported by economically comparable, independent firms that use similar accounting standards. Additional qualifying benchmark firms resulting from IFRS adoption could allow managers to support more tax-advantaged transfer prices. Using a database of European unconsolidated financial and ownership information over 2003 to 2012, I first document an increase in the arm's length range of book profits reported by potential IFRS benchmark firms following affiliate adoption of IFRS. I then estimate a statistically and economically significant 11.3 percent tax-motivated change in reported book pre-tax profits following affiliate IFRS adoption, relative to pre-adoption and non-adopter affiliate-years.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Out of the darkness

Nazi indoctrination and anti-Semitic beliefs in Germany

Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Attempts at modifying public opinions, attitudes, and beliefs range from advertising and schooling to “brainwashing.” Their effectiveness is highly controversial. In this paper, we use survey data on anti-Semitic beliefs and attitudes in a representative sample of Germans surveyed in 1996 and 2006 to show that Nazi indoctrination – with its singular focus on fostering racial hatred – was highly effective. Between 1933 and 1945, young Germans were exposed to anti-Semitic ideology in schools, in the (extracurricular) Hitler Youth, and through radio, print, and film. As a result, Germans who grew up under the Nazi regime are much more anti-Semitic than those born before or after that period: the share of committed anti-Semites, who answer a host of questions about attitudes toward Jews in an extreme fashion, is 2–3 times higher than in the population as a whole. Results also hold for average beliefs, and not just the share of extremists; average views of Jews are much more negative among those born in the 1920s and 1930s. Nazi indoctrination was most effective where it could tap into preexisting prejudices; those born in districts that supported anti-Semitic parties before 1914 show the greatest increases in anti-Jewish attitudes. These findings demonstrate the extent to which beliefs can be modified through policy intervention. We also identify parameters amplifying the effectiveness of such measures, such as preexisting prejudices.

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Us and Them: Black-White Relations in the Wake of Hispanic Population Growth

Maria Abascal
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
How will Hispanic population growth affect black-white relations in the United States? Research on intergroup relations operates within a two-group paradigm, furnishing few insights into multi-group contexts. This study is based on an original experiment that combines behavioral game and survey methods to evaluate the impact of perceived Hispanic growth on attitudes and behavior. Results reveal opposite reactions among blacks and whites. Whites in the baseline condition contribute comparable amounts to black and white recipients in a dictator game, whereas whites who first read about Hispanic growth contribute more to white recipients than to black ones. By contrast, blacks in the baseline condition contribute more to black recipients than to white ones, whereas blacks who first read about Hispanic growth contribute comparable amounts to black and white recipients. Patterns of identification mirror patterns of contributions: whites exposed to Hispanic growth identify relatively more strongly with their racial group than with their national group, whereas blacks exposed to Hispanic growth identify relatively more strongly with their national group than with their racial group. Together, these results suggest that people respond to the growth of a third group by prioritizing the most privileged identity to which they can plausibly lay claim and which also excludes the growing group.

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Fair Housing Enforcement in the South and Non-South

Charles Bullock, Eric Wilk & Charles Lamb
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We compare outcomes in racial discrimination fair housing complaints processed by southern state and local civil rights agencies to those handled by state and local agencies outside the South and the federal agency, HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development).

Methods: Based on data obtained directly from HUD, we rely on a fixed effects logistic regression model with cluster-correlated standard errors.

Results: First, southern local agencies are significantly more likely to provide outcomes favorable to complainants in racial discrimination fair housing cases than are local agencies outside the South. Second, state and local agencies in the Deep South provide favorable outcomes to the same extent as their nonsouthern counterparts. Third, southern local agencies are more likely to provide favorable outcomes than is HUD, whereas southern state agencies provide favorable outcomes at roughly the same rate as HUD. Variations within the South partially explain these findings.

Conclusion: We find evidence of progressive changes in southern fair housing enforcement, although those changes occur in an uneven fashion depending on the state or locality.

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Are People Willing to Pay for Less Segregation? Evidence from U.S. Internal Migration

Junfu Zhang & Liang Zheng
Regional Science and Urban Economics, July 2015, Pages 97–112

Abstract:
It is difficult to determine whether racial housing segregation is socially desirable, because segregation has some effects that are hard to measure. To overcome this challenge, we estimate a migration choice model to measure the willingness to pay for reduced segregation. The key idea underlying our empirical approach is that if segregation is undesirable, migrants should be willing to give up some earnings to avoid living in segregated cities. Using decennial census data from 1980 to 2000, we provide evidence that segregation is an urban disamenity. It is shown that both black and white migrants prefer to live in less segregated cities. For example, for a one percentage point reduction in the dissimilarity index, the estimated marginal willingness to pay of blacks is $436 (in 1999 dollars) in 2000. Among whites, this marginal willingness to pay is $301.

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Cause-of-Death Disparities in the African Diaspora: Exploring Differences Among Shared-Heritage Populations

Ian Hambleton et al.
American Journal of Public Health, July 2015, Pages S491-S498

Objectives: We investigated changes in life expectancy (LE) and cause-specific mortality over time, directly comparing African-descent populations in the United States and the Caribbean.

Methods: We compared LE at birth and cause-specific mortality in 6 disease groups between Caribbean countries with a majority (> 90%) African-descent population and US African Americans.

Results: The LE improvement among African Americans exceeded that of Afro-Caribbeans so that the LE gap, which favored the Caribbean population by 1.5 years in 1990, had been reversed by 2009. This relative improvement among African Americans was mainly the result of the improving mortality experience of African American men. Between 2000 and 2009, Caribbean mortality rates in 5 of the 6 disease groups increased relative to those of African Americans. By 2009, mortality from cerebrovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes was higher in Afro-Caribbeans relative to African Americans, with a diabetes mortality rate twice that of African Americans and 4 times that of White Americans.

Conclusions: The Caribbean community made important mortality reductions between 2000 and 2009, but this progress fell short of African American health improvements in the same period, especially among men.

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Emergent Ghettos: Black Neighborhoods in New York and Chicago, 1880–1940

John Logan, Weiwei Zhang & Miao David Chunyu
American Journal of Sociology, January 2015, Pages 1055-1094

Abstract:
This article studies in detail the settlement patterns of blacks in the urban North from before the Great Migration and through 1940, focusing on the cases of New York and Chicago. It relies on new and rarely used data sources, including census geocoded microdata from the 1880 census (allowing segregation patterns and processes to be studied at any geographic scale) and census data for 1900–1940 aggregated to enumeration districts. It is shown that blacks were unusually highly isolated in 1880 given their small share of the total population and that segregation reached high levels in both cities earlier than previously reported. Regarding sources of racial separation, neither higher class standing nor northern birth had much effect on whether blacks lived within or outside black neighborhoods in 1880 or 1940, and it is concluded that the processes that created large black ghettos were already in place several decades before 1940.

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Estimating Slavery Reparations: Present Value Comparisons of Historical Multigenerational Reparations Policies

Thomas Craemer
Social Science Quarterly, June 2015, Pages 639–655

Objective: I investigate two problems regarding multigenerational reparations: legal obstacles caused by the passage of time and economic difficulties in obtaining realistic present value estimates.

Methods: To investigate legal precedents, I trace the French spoliation claims, which were paid over a period of 123 years, and Haiti's independence debt, which was paid over 156 years. To investigate present value estimation, I compare existing slavery reparations estimates based on slave prices as expected future income to alternative estimates based on the number of unremunerated work hours multiplied with historical free labor market wages.

Results: I estimate the present value of U.S. slave labor in 2009 dollars to range from $5.9 to $14.2 trillion. Historical precedents suggest that political rather than narrowly legal processes will determine any ultimate claims.

Conclusions: Neither problems nor solutions associated with multigenerational reparations are new. New is the estimation method and the resulting upward correction of reparations estimates.

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The “Dream of Black Metropolis” in the Early Twentieth-Century United States: Racial Segregation, Regional Location, and Black Population Size

Robert Boyd
Sociological Spectrum, May/June 2015, Pages 271-285

Abstract:
The present study uses Census data on occupations to examine the opportunity structures of Black Metropolises in the early twentieth century. The Black Metropolises with the highest odds of blacks’ employment in medicine, retailing, and social work were those with the highest black-white segregation levels, implying that a racially segregated Black Metropolis promoted blacks’ employment in occupations serving black clientele. In addition, the odds of blacks’ employment in many occupations were approximately equal in northern and southern Black Metropolises, casting doubt on the argument that the North was the more favorable region. Finally, when New York (Harlem) and Chicago (Bronzeville) are omitted, the odds of blacks’ employment in most occupations are unrelated to black population size, indicating that, outside the two largest Black Metropolises, additional numbers of blacks were of little consequence for the pursuit of the Dream of Black Metropolis.

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Parental Wealth and the Black–White Mobility Gap in the U.S.

Liana Fox
Review of Income and Wealth, forthcoming

Abstract:
Utilizing longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this paper examines the relationship between parental wealth and intergenerational income mobility for black and white families. I find that total parental wealth is positively associated with upward mobility for low-income white families, but is not associated with reduced likelihood of downward mobility for white families from the top half of the income distribution. Conversely, I find that total parental wealth does not have the same positive association for low-income black families, while home ownership may have negative associations with the likelihood of upward mobility for these families. However, for black families from the top half of the income distribution, home equity is associated with a decreased likelihood of downward mobility, suggesting a heterogeneous relationship between home ownership and mobility for black families.

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Infectious diseases, contamination rumors and ethnic violence: Regimental mutinies in the Bengal Native Army in 1857 India

Sunasir Dutta & Hayagreeva Rao
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, July 2015, Pages 36–47

Abstract:
The current paper connects anxiety about disease contamination to that about cultural contamination and the exclusionary behavior toward ethnic outgroups that it incites. We suggest that when individuals are exposed to disease fears, an epistemic groundwork is laid for construing outgroups as sources of contamination. We begin with a pilot experiment showing that contagious disease anxiety primes opposition to legalization of illegal aliens. We then analyze historical data about the diffusion of rumor-based ethnic violence, showing that Indian regiments of the East India Company were more likely to mutiny against their British officers if they had been exposed some months earlier to a cholera discourse. (These mutinies were proximally caused by acceptance of a rumor that the Company administration had violated a cultural taboo.) We discuss implications for studying the cognitive antecedents of the diffusion of beliefs and practices in organizations and in cultures.

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Race-Ethnicity, Poverty, Urban Stressors, and Telomere Length in a Detroit Community-based Sample

Arline Geronimus et al.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, June 2015, Pages 199-224

Abstract:
Residents of distressed urban areas suffer early aging-related disease and excess mortality. Using a community-based participatory research approach in a collaboration between social researchers and cellular biologists, we collected a unique data set of 239 black, white, or Mexican adults from a stratified, multistage probability sample of three Detroit neighborhoods. We drew venous blood and measured telomere length (TL), an indicator of stress-mediated biological aging, linking respondents’ TL to their community survey responses. We regressed TL on socioeconomic, psychosocial, neighborhood, and behavioral stressors, hypothesizing and finding an interaction between poverty and racial-ethnic group. Poor whites had shorter TL than nonpoor whites; poor and nonpoor blacks had equivalent TL; and poor Mexicans had longer TL than nonpoor Mexicans. Findings suggest unobserved heterogeneity bias is an important threat to the validity of estimates of TL differences by race-ethnicity. They point to health impacts of social identity as contingent, the products of structurally rooted biopsychosocial processes.

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A Research Note on Trends in Black Hypersegregation

Douglas Massey & Jonathan Tannen
Demography, June 2015, Pages 1025-1034

Abstract:
In this note, we use a consistently defined set of metropolitan areas to study patterns and trends in black hypersegregation from 1970 to 2010. Over this 40-year period, 52 metropolitan areas were characterized by hypersegregation at one point or another, although not all at the same time. Over the period, the number of hypersegregated metropolitan areas declined by about one-half, but the degree of segregation within those areas characterized by hypersegregation changed very little. As of 2010, roughly one-third of all black metropolitan residents lived in a hypersegregated area.

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Exploring the Role of Ethnic Identity in Family Functioning among Low-Income Parents

Eliana Hurwich-Reiss et al.
Journal of Community Psychology, July 2015, Pages 545–559

Abstract:
The majority of research on ethnic identity (EI) has highlighted its role in mitigating risks associated with racial discrimination; however, discrimination is only one of many stressors that ethnic minority individuals face. The current study examined the relationships between EI, emotional distress, and the parent–child relationship among ethnically diverse, low-income parents. Results indicated significant associations between EI and emotional distress, and EI and the parent–child relationship for African American parents, but not for their Latino or European American counterparts. Furthermore, when examined separately by gender, stronger EI buffered the impact of economic hardship on emotional distress for African American fathers. The current study provides preliminary evidence that EI plays an important role in the lives of ethnically diverse parents who are facing economic hardship. Methods for embracing and fostering EI may be valuable to incorporate into therapeutic services and strength-based intervention programming, especially when serving low-income African American individuals.

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Linked Fate and Outgroup Perceptions: Blacks, Latinos, and the U.S. Criminal Justice System

Jon Hurwitz, Mark Peffley & Jeffery Mondak
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies focusing on black–Latino intergroup perceptions in zero-sum environments (e.g., jobs) have found little perceived outgroup discrimination or a tendency for each group to perceive the injustices faced by the other group. In contrast, we examine the non-zero-sum criminal justice domain. Although we find some asymmetry — that is, blacks are somewhat more likely to see discrimination toward Latinos than vice-versa, we mainly find both groups acknowledge the discrimination faced by the other disadvantaged group, especially those who feel closely linked to the fate of their own group. Under such circumstances, blacks and Latinos recognize a common sense of deprivation and discrimination and are likely to regard the other group as facing comparable victimization, potentially seeing the other group as a coalition partner for remediating mutual concerns.

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Community Attraction and Avoidance in Chicago: What’s Race Got to Do with It?

Michael Bader & Maria Krysan
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July 2015, Pages 261-281

Abstract:
We argue that the relative persistence of racial segregation is due, at least in part, to the process of residential search and the perceptions upon which those searches are based — a critical but often-ignored component of the residential sorting process. We examine where Chicago-area residents would “seriously consider” and “never consider” living, finding that community attraction and avoidance are highly racialized. Race most clearly shapes the residential perceptions and preferences of whites, and matters the least to blacks. Latinos would seriously consider moving to numerous neighborhoods, but controls for demographics and distance from the respondents’ home make Latino preferences much like those of whites. Critically, the geography of existing segregation begets further segregation: distance from current community significantly affects perceptions of the communities into which respondents might move. While neighborhood perception may cause persistent segregation, it may also offer hope for integration with appropriate policy interventions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 22, 2015

Graded on a curve

The Test-Optional Movement at America’s Selective Liberal Arts Colleges: A Boon for Equity or Something Else?

Andrew Belasco, Kelly Rosinger & James Hearn
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2015, Pages 206-223

Abstract:
The test-optional movement in the United States emerged largely in response to criticism of standardized admissions tests as inadequate and potentially biased measures of postsecondary promise. Although anecdotal reports suggest that test-optional policies have improved campus diversity, empirical research has not yet confirmed this claim. Consequently, this study employs quasi-experimental techniques to assess the relationship between test-optional policy implementation and subsequent growth in the proportion of low-income and minority students enrolling at adopting liberal arts colleges. It also examines whether test-optional policies increase institutional standing through greater application numbers and higher reported Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. Results show that, on average, test-optional policies enhance the perceived selectivity, rather than the diversity, of participating institutions.

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What is a Blue Chip Recruit Worth? Estimating the Marginal Revenue Product of College Football Quarterbacks

Peter Hunsberger & Seth Gitter
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has faced growing scrutiny due to the perceived disparity between the compensation athletes receive and their contribution to athletic revenue. Our novel use of college football game–level statistics shows a gap of millions of dollars between compensation and marginal revenue product (MRP) for elite quarterbacks, consistent with previous studies. Professional sports typically weight pay toward ex ante expected value of performance rather than incentives that pay ex post of performance. Using high school prospect rankings, we show ex ante estimates of elite quarterback expected MRP are substantially lower, roughly US$400,000, and have limited statistical significance with respect to winning or revenue. Our ex ante measurements suggest that expected player value may be closer to the value of scholarships than previous research suggests due to the difficulty in predicting which high school quarterbacks will excel in college.

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Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago

Sara Heller et al.
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This paper describes how automatic behavior can drive disparities in youth outcomes like delinquency and dropout. We suggest that people often respond to situations without conscious deliberation. While generally adaptive, these automatic responses are sometimes deployed in situations where they are ill-suited. Although this is equally true for all youths, disadvantaged youths face greater situational variability. This increases the likelihood that automaticity will lead to negative outcomes. This hypothesis suggests that interventions that reduce automaticity can lead to positive outcomes for disadvantaged youths. We test this hypothesis by presenting the results of three large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of interventions carried out on the south and west sides of Chicago that seek to improve the outcomes of low-income youth by teaching them to be less automatic. Two of our RCTs test a program called Becoming a Man (BAM) developed by Chicago-area non-profit Youth Guidance; the first, carried out in 2009-10, shows participation improved schooling outcomes and reduced violent-crime arrests by 44%, while the second RCT in 2013-14 showed participation reduced overall arrests by 31%. The third RCT was carried out in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) in 2009-11 and shows reductions in return rates of 22%. We also present results from various survey measures suggesting the results do not appear to be due to changes in mechanisms like emotional intelligence or self-control. On the other hand results from some decision-making exercises we carried out seem to support reduced automaticity as a key mechanism.

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Assessing the Cognitive Demands of a Century of Reading Curricula: An Analysis of Reading Text and Comprehension Tasks From 1910 to 2000

Robert Stevens et al.
American Educational Research Journal, June 2015, Pages 582-617

Abstract:
This research investigated the cognitive demands of reading curricula from 1910 to 2000. We considered both the nature of the text used and the comprehension tasks asked of students in determining the cognitive demands of the curricula. Contrary to the common assumption of a trend of simplification of the texts and comprehension tasks in third- and sixth-grade curricula, the results indicate that curricular complexity declined early in the century and leveled off over the middle decades but has notably increased since the 1970s, particularly for the third-grade curricula.

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Do 'No Excuses' Charter Schools Raise More than Test Scores? College-Going Impacts of a High School Network in Chicago

Matthew Davis & Blake Heller
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
While it is well-known that certain charter schools dramatically increase students' standardized test scores, there is considerably less evidence that these human capital gains persist into adulthood. To address this matter, we match three years of lottery data from a high-performing charter high school to administrative college enrollment records and estimate the effect of winning an admissions lottery on college matriculation, quality, and persistence. Seven to nine years after the lottery, we find that lottery winners are 10.0 percentage points more likely to attend college and 9.5 percentage points more likely to enroll for at least four semesters. These impacts do not come at the expense of college quality; our estimates are entirely driven by enrollment at selective, four-year institutions. Finally, we provide non-experimental evidence that more recent cohorts at other campuses increased enrollment at a similar rate. Overall, our results suggest that the causal effects of attending a "No Excuses" high school extend beyond graduation and into early adulthood.

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Early Childhood Education by MOOC: Lessons from Sesame Street

Melissa Kearney & Phillip Levine
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Sesame Street is one of the largest early childhood interventions ever to take place. It was introduced in 1969 as an educational, early childhood program with the explicit goal of preparing preschool age children for school entry. Millions of children watched a typical episode in its early years. Well-designed studies at its inception provided evidence that watching the show generated an immediate and sizeable increase in test scores. In this paper we investigate whether the first cohorts of preschool children exposed to Sesame Street experienced improved outcomes subsequently. We implement an instrumental variables strategy exploiting limitations in television technology generated by distance to a broadcast tower and UHF versus VHF transmission to distinguish counties by Sesame Street reception quality. We relate this geographic variation to outcomes in Census data including grade-for-age status in 1980, educational attainment in 1990, and labor market outcomes in 2000. The results indicate that Sesame Street accomplished its goal of improving school readiness; preschool-aged children in areas with better reception when it was introduced were more likely to advance through school as appropriate for their age. This effect is particularly pronounced for boys and non-Hispanic, black children, as well as children living in economically disadvantaged areas. The evidence regarding the impact on ultimate educational attainment and labor market outcomes is inconclusive.

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In the Union Now: Understanding Public Sector Union Membership

Jacob Fowles & Joshua Cowen
Administration & Society, July 2015, Pages 574-595

Abstract:
Despite periodic consideration of public sector unions in the public management and administration literature, empirical evidence on the union membership decisions of public employees remains scant. In this article, we begin to address this issue by considering unique data on union membership drawn from a local educational agency in a midsize American city. We find union membership rates to be highest in schools that are hardest to staff and where working conditions may be most difficult. We consider this evidence in light of recent efforts to reform public sector unions in general and teacher unions in particular.

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Bargaining for Success: Examining the Relationship Between Teacher Unions and Student Achievement

Todd Vachon & Josef (Kuo-Hsun) Ma
Sociological Forum, June 2015, Pages 391–414

Abstract:
While many previous studies have identified a positive relationship between teachers unions and student achievement on standardized tests, little research to date has explored the channels through which unions might actually affect achievement. Utilizing multilevel random intercept models, we examine the effects of two categories of items commonly negotiated in teacher contracts — “industrial union” items and “professional union” items — on individual student math scores. Further, we assess the ability of these two clusters of variables to explain the positive union effect found in previous research. The results confirm that teachers unions are positively associated with student achievement and suggest that the industrial model explains moderately more of the union effect than the professional model; however, only the combination of both models is capable of reducing the union effect to nonsignificance. These findings are also confirmed in a supplemental analysis utilizing instrumental variables to account for the possibility of endogeneity. Finally, a decomposition of the union effect suggests that teachers unions are most beneficial to middle- and high-achieving students. We conclude that through industrial and professional bargaining, teachers are able to secure higher salaries, credentialing, and greater autonomy which lead to improved student achievement.

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The Effects of Making Performance Information Public: Evidence from Los Angeles Teachers and a Regression Discontinuity Design

Peter Bergman & Matthew Hill
Columbia University Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
In theory, the publication of performance ratings may improve performance through reputation concerns and peer effects or impede performance by demoralizing employees. This paper uses school-district data and a regression discontinuity design to answer how consumers and employees respond to making performance information public. We find that high-performing students sorted into classrooms with highly-rated teachers as a result of publication. Teachers who were published do not perform better or worse than teachers who were not published on average. This average effect is due to the heterogeneous impact of publication; highly-rated teachers perform worse following publication while low-rated teachers perform better. On net, the gap between high and low-performing students closes slightly as a result.

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Performance Federalism and Local Democracy: Theory and Evidence from School Tax Referenda

Vladimir Kogan, Stéphane Lavertu & Zachary Peskowitz
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Federal governments are increasingly employing empirical measures of lower-level government performance to ensure that provincial and local jurisdictions pursue national policy goals. We call this burgeoning phenomenon “performance federalism” and argue that it can distort democratic accountability in lower-level elections. We estimate the impact of a widely publicized federal indicator of local school district performance — one that we show does not allow voters to draw valid inferences about the quality of local educational institutions — on voter support for school tax levies in a U.S. state uniquely appropriate for this analysis. The results indicate that a signal of poor district performance increases the probability of levy failure, a substantively large and robust effect that disproportionately affects impoverished communities. The analysis employs a number of identification strategies and tests for multiple behavioral mechanisms to support the causal interpretation of these findings.

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Understanding the Gap in Special Education Enrollments Between Charter and Traditional Public Schools: Evidence From Denver, Colorado

Marcus Winters
Educational Researcher, May 2015, Pages 228-236

Abstract:
A widely cited report by the federal Government Accountability Office found that charter schools enroll a significantly smaller percentage of students with disabilities than do traditional public schools. However, thus far no hard evidence exists to definitively explain or quantify the disparity between special education enrollment rates in charter and traditional public schools. This article uses student-level data from Denver, Colorado, to map the creation and growth of the special education gap in elementary and middle school grades. The gap begins because students with disabilities are less likely to apply to charter schools in gateway grades than are nondisabled students. However, the special education gap in Denver elementary schools more than doubles as students progress between kindergarten and the fifth grade. About half of the growth in the gap in elementary grades (46%) occurs because of classification differences across sectors. The remaining 54% of the growth in the gap in elementary grades is due to differences in student mobility across sectors. However, the gap does not primarily grow — and in fact tends to shrink — due to the movement of students with disabilities across sectors and out of the city’s school system. Rather, the impact of student mobility on the gap is driven primarily by nondisabled students: Regular enrollment students are more likely to enter into charter schools, thus disproportionately reducing the percentage of students with disabilities within the charter sector.

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The distribution and mobility of effective teachers: Evidence from a large, urban school district

Jennifer Steele et al.
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using seven years of student achievement data from a large urban school district in the south, this study examines the sorting of teachers’ value-added effectiveness estimates by student demographics and considers factors that may contribute to such sorting. We find that students in schools in the highest quartile of minority enrollments have teachers with value-added estimates that are about 0.11 of a student-level standard deviation lower than their peers in schools in the lowest minority quartile. However, neither teacher mobility patterns nor between-school differences in teacher qualifications seems responsible for this sorting. Though the highest minority schools face higher teacher turnover, they do not disproportionately lose their highest value-added teachers, nor are teachers with high value-added systematically migrating to lower-minority schools. Instead, teachers in the highest minority schools have lower value-added on average, regardless of experience. We find suggestive but inconclusive evidence that teachers’ improvement rates differ by minority-enrollment quartile.

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How Do College Students Respond to Public Information about Earnings?

Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar
Journal of Human Capital, Summer 2015, Pages 117-169

Abstract:
Expectations are important determinants of decisions made under uncertainty, and if individuals’ expectations are biased, they can make suboptimal choices. This paper uses a unique “information” experiment in which we provide college students true information about the population distribution of earnings. We find that college students are substantially misinformed about population earnings and revise their earnings beliefs in a sensible way in response to the information. The specificity and informativeness of the signal matters for updating. There is, however, substantial heterogeneity in students’ updating heuristics. We also find that students revise their intended major in response to the information.

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Pushing and Pulling Emerging Adults Through College: College Generational Status and the Influence of Parents and Others in the First Year

Laura Nichols & Ángel Islas
Journal of Adolescent Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interview, survey, and academic transcript data with a diverse sample of first-generation college (FGC) and continuing generation college (CGC) premedical intended emerging adults are analyzed to study academic outcomes and any differences in the availability and use of social capital the first year of college. CGC students know many people with college degrees including those in careers they aspire to obtain, while FGC students do not. All students identify parents as very important forms of social capital who contribute to their success in college, but the types of support differs by educational background. Students whose parents have at least a bachelor’s degree (CGC) are “pulled” through their first year with specific advice from their parents about how to succeed in college, while FGC students are “pushed” by their parents with support. In addition, CGC students display evidence of enacting Lareau’s concept of concerted cultivation, being much more likely than FGC students to approach and gain assistance from professors, openly critiquing those professors and classes in which they are not doing well and showing a sense of entitlement to and confidence in their ability to stay on the premedical track, even when receiving low test scores.

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The Relationship Between Siblings’ College Choices: Evidence from One Million SAT-Taking Families

Joshua Goodman et al.
Economics of Education Review, October 2015, Pages 75–85

Abstract:
Recent empirical work has demonstrated the importance both of educational peer effects and of various factors that affect college choices. We connect these literatures by highlighting a previously unstudied determinant of college choice, namely the college choice made by one's older sibling. Data on 1.6 million sibling pairs of SAT-takers reveals that younger and older siblings’ choices are very closely related. One-fifth of younger siblings enroll in the same college as their older siblings. Compared to their high school classmates of similar academic skill and with observably similar families, younger siblings are about 15-20 percentage points more likely to enroll in four-year colleges or highly competitive colleges if their older siblings do so first. These findings vary little by family characteristics. Younger siblings are more likely to follow the college choices of their older siblings the more they resemble each other in terms of academic skill, age and gender. We discuss channels through which older siblings’ college choices might causally influence their younger siblings, noting that the facts documented here should prompt further research on the sharing of information and shaping of educational preferences within families.

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Teacher Effectiveness: An Analysis of Licensure Screens

James Shuls & Julie Trivitt
Educational Policy, June 2015, Pages 645-675

Abstract:
Historically, the government has sought to improve the quality of the teacher workforce by requiring certification. Teachers are among the most licensed public personnel employees in the United States. Traditionally, an education degree with a student teaching experience and passage of licensure exams were necessary for licensure. In the 1980s, alternative paths to certification developed. In this article, we evaluated the impact of licensure screens and licensure routes on student achievement. Our findings from an analysis of Arkansas data suggest that there is little difference in terms of quality between traditionally and alternatively certified teachers. However, licensure exams do have some predictive power.

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When Education Expenditure Matters: An Empirical Analysis of Recent International Data

Emiliana Vegas & Chelsea Coffin
Comparative Education Review, May 2015, Pages 289-304

Abstract:
We analyze the diminishing correlations between education expenditure and learning outcomes to address two fundamental questions: Do education systems with different levels of education spending have different student achievement levels? If so, at what amount of education spending does the relationship between increased expenditure and student achievement differ? Using data from a large group of countries around the world, we find that the association between education spending and student performance in mathematics is statistically significant among systems that spend below a threshold of US$8,000 per student annually (in purchasing power parity). Controlling for average income (GDP) per capita and income inequality, our estimates suggest that education spending is associated with increased student performance only among systems that spend below this threshold, with mean student achievement approximately 14 points higher on the PISA scale for every additional US$1,000 spent.

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Higher Test Scores or More Schooling? Another Look at the Causes of Economic Growth

Theodore Breton
Journal of Human Capital, Summer 2015, Pages 239-263

Abstract:
I use a dynamic augmented Solow model to estimate the effect of international test scores and investment in schooling and tutoring on economic growth rates in 55 countries during 1985–2005. Either test scores or investment in schooling and tutoring can explain growth rates in the full data set or in countries that had less than 8 years of schooling in 1985. In countries with more schooling in 1985, investment in schooling has a small effect and test scores have no effect on growth rates. In the 24 countries with scores above 470, higher scores have no effect on growth rates.

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Choice of Ontario high schools and student sorting by ability

P.S.J. Leonard
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
To what extent can offering more choice in schooling lead to ‘cream skimming,’ or the sorting of students by ability? I study whether increased choice leads to student sorting by ability into high schools in the Greater Toronto Area. On average, 41% of students ‘opt out’ of the high school to which they would normally be assigned based on their residence. Students are more likely to opt out in areas where accessibility to other schools is greatest due to population density and explicit ‘open enrolment’ policies. While students of higher ability are generally more likely to opt out, an interaction term between school choice and ability is insignificant, suggesting that increased choice does not have differential impacts by student ability. Findings are robust to changes in assumptions about instrument exogeneity.

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The Effect of Shocks to College Revenues on For-Profit Enrollment: Spillover from the Public Sector

Sarena Goodman & Alice Henriques
Federal Reserve Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether declines in public funding for post-secondary institutions have increased for-profit enrollment. The two primary channels through which funding might operate to reallocate students across sectors are price (measured by tuition) and quality (measured by resource constraints). We estimate, on average, that a 10 percent cut in appropriations raises tuition about 1 to 2 percent and decreases faculty resources by ½ to 1 percent, creating substantial bottlenecks for prospective students on both price and quality. These cuts, in turn, generate a nearly one percentage point increase in the for-profit market share of “elastic” enrollment (i.e. attendees of community colleges plus for-profit institutions), owing entirely to students who, in a better funding environment, would have attended a public institution. We estimate an elasticity of for-profit enrollment with respect to state and local appropriations of 0.2. Finally, we extend our analysis is to show that for every 1 percent increase in flagship tuition generated by funding shortfalls, for-profit attendance increases by 1½ percent.

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The Impact of Tuition Increases on Undocumented College Students' Attainment

Dylan Conger & Lesley Turner
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We examine the impact of a temporary price shock on the attainment of undocumented college students enrolled in a large urban college system. In spring 2002, the City University of New York reversed its policy of charging in-state tuition to undocumented students. By fall 2002, the state legislature restored in-state rates. Using a differences-in-differences identification strategy, we estimate impacts on reenrollment, credits, grades, and degree completion. The price shock led to an immediate 8 percent decrease in senior college students' enrollment. Senior college students who entered college the semester prior to the price shock experienced lasting reductions in attainment, including a 22 percent decrease in degree receipt. Conversely, among senior college students who been enrolled for at least a year, the price shock only affected the timing of exit.

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Intervention for First Graders With Limited Number Knowledge: Large-Scale Replication of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Russell Gersten et al.
American Educational Research Journal, June 2015, Pages 516-546

Abstract:
Replication studies are extremely rare in education. This randomized controlled trial (RCT) is a scale-up replication of Fuchs et al., which in a sample of 139 found a statistically significant positive impact for Number Rockets, a small-group intervention for at-risk first graders that focused on building understanding of number operations. The study was relatively small scale (one site) and highly controlled. This replication was implemented at a much larger scale — in 76 schools in four urban districts; 994 at-risk students participated. Intervention students participated in approximately 30 hours of small-group work in addition to classroom instruction; control students received typical instruction and whatever assistance the teacher would normally provide. Intervention students showed significantly superior performance on a broad measure of mathematics proficiency.

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Effective teaching in elementary mathematics: Identifying classroom practices that support student achievement

David Blazar
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent investigations into the education production function have moved beyond traditional teacher inputs, such as education, certification, and salary, focusing instead on observational measures of teaching practice. However, challenges to identification mean that this work has yet to coalesce around specific instructional dimensions that increase student achievement. I build on this discussion by exploiting within-school, between-grade, and cross-cohort variation in scores from two observation instruments; further, I condition on a uniquely rich set of teacher characteristics, practices, and skills. Findings indicate that inquiry-oriented instruction positively predicts student achievement. Content errors and imprecisions are negatively related, though these estimates are sensitive to the set of covariates included in the model. Two other dimensions of instruction, classroom emotional support and classroom organization, are not related to this outcome. Findings can inform recruitment and development efforts aimed at improving the quality of the teacher workforce.

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Subjective and Projected Returns to Education

Nick Huntington-Klein
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is significant heterogeneity over high school students in the wage and employment rate returns to education. I evaluate this heterogeneity using subjective returns derived from a data set of high school juniors and seniors in Washington State. Variation over observables in projected returns estimated using observed data is uncorrelated with variation in subjective returns elicited by directly asking students about their beliefs. These results mean that returns estimated using observed data are likely a very weak proxy for student beliefs.

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Compulsory schooling laws and school crime

Gregory Gilpin & Luke Pennig
Applied Economics, Summer 2015, Pages 4056-4073

Abstract:
Extensive literature demonstrates that compulsory schooling laws improve educational attainment, well-being, civic involvement, and labour market outcomes. However, at-risk youth incapacitated to schools may impact the learning environment and school safety. The purpose of this article is to study whether raising the minimum dropout age (MDA) requirement above 16 increases crime committed within US public high schools. A difference-in-difference estimation exploits changes in state-level MDA laws over time and indicates that schools in states that raise their MDA requirement to 18 incur more overall crime relative to schools in states that do not, while no effect on overall crime is identified when the MDA requirement is raised to 17. Furthermore, these effects persist for 4 years after passage and more intensely in metropolitan areas. Coupling this research with existing literature suggests that when the MDA requirement is raised to 18, only a small portion of the observed reduction in juvenile crime is displaced to schools. Analysis by category of crime reveals schools incur more physical attacks, no change in illegal drug and property crimes, and fewer violent crimes in states that raise their MDA requirement to 18, while illegal drug crimes increase in states that raise their MDA requirement to 17.

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Stay Late or Start Early? Experimental evidence on the benefits of college matriculation support from high schools versus colleges

Benjamin Castleman, Laura Owen & Lindsay Page
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The summer melt and academic mismatch literatures have focused largely on college-ready, low-income students. Yet, a broader population of students may also benefit from additional support in formulating and realizing their college plans. We investigate the impact of a unique high school-university partnership to support college-intending students to follow through on their college plans. Specifically, we facilitated a collaborative effort between the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and the University of New Mexico (UNM), and randomly assigned 1602 APS graduates admitted to UNM across three experimental conditions: (1) outreach from an APS-based counselor; (2) outreach from a UNM-based counselor; or (3) the control group. Among Hispanic males, who are underrepresented at UNM compared to their APS graduating class, summer outreach improved timely postsecondary matriculation, with suggestive evidence that college-based outreach may be particularly effective. This finding is consistent with the social-psychological literature showing that increasing students’ sense of belonging at college can improve enrollment outcomes.

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Performance Screens for School Improvement: The Case of Teacher Tenure Reform in New York City

Susanna Loeb, Luke Miller & James Wyckoff
Educational Researcher, May 2015, Pages 199-212

Abstract:
Tenure is intended to protect teachers with demonstrated teaching skills against arbitrary or capricious dismissal. Critics of typical tenure processes argue that tenure assessments are superficial and rarely discern whether teachers in fact have the requisite teaching skills. A recent reform of the tenure process in New York City provides an unusual opportunity to learn about the role of tenure in teachers’ career outcomes. We find the reform led to many fewer teachers receiving tenure. Those not receiving tenure typically had their probationary periods extended to allow them an opportunity to demonstrate teaching effectiveness. These “extended” teachers were much more likely to leave their schools and be replaced by a teacher who was judged to be more effective.

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Career Technical Education and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from California Community Colleges

Ann Huff Stevens, Michal Kurlaender & Michel Grosz
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
This paper estimates the earnings returns to vocational, or career technical, education programs in the nation’s largest community college system. While career technical education (CTE) programs have often been mentioned as an attractive alternative to four-year colleges for some students, very little systematic evidence exists on the returns to specific vocational certificates and degrees. Using administrative data covering the entire California Community College system and linked administrative earnings records, this study estimates returns to CTE education. We use rich pre-enrollment earnings data and estimation approaches including individual fixed effects and individual trends, and find average returns to CTE certificate and degrees that range from 12 to 23 percent. The largest returns are for programs in the healthcare sector; among non-health related CTE programs estimated returns range from five to ten percent.

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Adjusted State Teacher Salaries and the Decision to Teach

Dan Rickman, Hongbo Wang & John Winters
Oklahoma State University Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Using the 3-year sample of the American Community Survey (ACS) for 2009 to 2011, we compute public school teacher salaries for comparison across U.S. states. Teacher salaries are adjusted for state differences in teacher characteristics, cost of living, household amenity attractiveness and federal tax rates. Salaries of non-teaching college graduates, defined as those with occupations outside of education, are used to adjust for state household amenity attractiveness. We then find that state differences in federal tax-adjusted teacher salaries relative to those of other college graduates significantly affects the share of education majors that are employed as teachers at the time of the survey.

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Teachers Without Borders: Consequences of Teacher Labor Force Mobility

Kevin Bastian & Gary Henry
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2015, Pages 163-183

Abstract:
Many states have responded to teacher shortages by granting certification to individuals traditionally prepared out-of-state; now, out-of-state prepared teachers comprise a sizable percentage of the teacher workforce in many states. We know little about these teachers, and therefore, in the present study, we estimate the effectiveness of out-of-state prepared teachers in North Carolina elementary schools. We find that out-of-state prepared teachers are significantly less effective than in-state prepared and alternative entry teachers; however, there is a substantial overlap in the distributions of effectiveness across groups. Upon testing hypotheses to explain these findings, results indicate that differences in human capital help explain out-of-state prepared teachers’ underperformance and suggest the utility of research evidence to inform state policy and local hiring decisions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Founders

3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya

Sonia Harmand et al.
Nature, 21 May 2015, Pages 310–315

Abstract:
Human evolutionary scholars have long supposed that the earliest stone tools were made by the genus Homo and that this technological development was directly linked to climate change and the spread of savannah grasslands. New fieldwork in West Turkana, Kenya, has identified evidence of much earlier hominin technological behaviour. We report the discovery of Lomekwi 3, a 3.3-million-year-old archaeological site where in situ stone artefacts occur in spatiotemporal association with Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment. The Lomekwi 3 knappers, with a developing understanding of stone’s fracture properties, combined core reduction with battering activities. Given the implications of the Lomekwi 3 assemblage for models aiming to converge environmental change, hominin evolution and technological origins, we propose for it the name ‘Lomekwian’, which predates the Oldowan by 700,000 years and marks a new beginning to the known archaeological record.

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Sex equality can explain the unique social structure of hunter-gatherer bands

Mark Dyble et al.
Science, 15 May 2015, Pages 796-798

Abstract:
The social organization of mobile hunter-gatherers has several derived features, including low within-camp relatedness and fluid meta-groups. Although these features have been proposed to have provided the selective context for the evolution of human hypercooperation and cumulative culture, how such a distinctive social system may have emerged remains unclear. We present an agent-based model suggesting that, even if all individuals in a community seek to live with as many kin as possible, within-camp relatedness is reduced if men and women have equal influence in selecting camp members. Our model closely approximates observed patterns of co-residence among Agta and Mbendjele BaYaka hunter-gatherers. Our results suggest that pair-bonding and increased sex egalitarianism in human evolutionary history may have had a transformative effect on human social organization.

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Population genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia

Morten Allentoft et al.
Nature, 11 June 2015, Pages 167–172

Abstract:
The Bronze Age of Eurasia (around 3000–1000 BC) was a period of major cultural changes. However, there is debate about whether these changes resulted from the circulation of ideas or from human migrations, potentially also facilitating the spread of languages and certain phenotypic traits. We investigated this by using new, improved methods to sequence low-coverage genomes from 101 ancient humans from across Eurasia. We show that the Bronze Age was a highly dynamic period involving large-scale population migrations and replacements, responsible for shaping major parts of present-day demographic structure in both Europe and Asia. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesized spread of Indo-European languages during the Early Bronze Age. We also demonstrate that light skin pigmentation in Europeans was already present at high frequency in the Bronze Age, but not lactose tolerance, indicating a more recent onset of positive selection on lactose tolerance than previously thought.

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New chronology for Ksâr ‘Akil (Lebanon) supports Levantine route of modern human dispersal into Europe

Marjolein Bosch et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Modern human dispersal into Europe is thought to have occurred with the start of the Upper Paleolithic around 50,000–40,000 y ago. The Levantine corridor hypothesis suggests that modern humans from Africa spread into Europe via the Levant. Ksâr ‘Akil (Lebanon), with its deeply stratified Initial (IUP) and Early (EUP) Upper Paleolithic sequence containing modern human remains, has played an important part in the debate. The latest chronology for the site, based on AMS radiocarbon dates of shell ornaments, suggests that the appearance of the Levantine IUP is later than the start of the first Upper Paleolithic in Europe, thus questioning the Levantine corridor hypothesis. Here we report a series of AMS radiocarbon dates on the marine gastropod Phorcus turbinatus associated with modern human remains and IUP and EUP stone tools from Ksâr ‘Akil. Our results, supported by an evaluation of individual sample integrity, place the EUP layer containing the skeleton known as “Egbert” between 43,200 and 42,900 cal B.P. and the IUP-associated modern human maxilla known as “Ethelruda” before ∼45,900 cal B.P. This chronology is in line with those of other Levantine IUP and EUP sites and demonstrates that the presence of modern humans associated with Upper Paleolithic toolkits in the Levant predates all modern human fossils from Europe. The age of the IUP-associated Ethelruda fossil is significant for the spread of modern humans carrying the IUP into Europe and suggests a rapid initial colonization of Europe by our species.

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Carriers of Mitochondrial DNA Macrohaplogroup N Lineages Reached Australia around 50,000 Years Ago following a Northern Asian Route

Rosa Fregel et al.
PLoS ONE, June 2015

Background: The modern human colonization of Eurasia and Australia is mostly explained by a single-out-of-Africa exit following a southern coastal route throughout Arabia and India. However, dispersal across the Levant would better explain the introgression with Neanderthals, and more than one exit would fit better with the different ancient genomic components discovered in indigenous Australians and in ancient Europeans. The existence of an additional Northern route used by modern humans to reach Australia was previously deduced from the phylogeography of mtDNA macrohaplogroup N. Here, we present new mtDNA data and new multidisciplinary information that add more support to this northern route.

Methods: MtDNA hypervariable segments and haplogroup diagnostic coding positions were analyzed in 2,278 Saudi Arabs, from which 1,725 are new samples. Besides, we used 623 published mtDNA genomes belonging to macrohaplogroup N, but not R, to build updated phylogenetic trees to calculate their coalescence ages, and more than 70,000 partial mtDNA sequences were screened to establish their respective geographic ranges.

Results: The Saudi mtDNA profile confirms the absence of autochthonous mtDNA lineages in Arabia with coalescence ages deep enough to support population continuity in the region since the out-of-Africa episode. In contrast to Australia, where N(xR) haplogroups are found in high frequency and with deep coalescence ages, there are not autochthonous N(xR) lineages in India nor N(xR) branches with coalescence ages as deep as those found in Australia. These patterns are at odds with the supposition that Australian colonizers harboring N(xR) lineages used a route involving India as a stage. The most ancient N(xR) lineages in Eurasia are found in China, and inconsistently with the coastal route, N(xR) haplogroups with the southernmost geographical range have all more recent radiations than the Australians.

Conclusions: Apart from a single migration event via a southern route, phylogeny and phylogeography of N(xR) lineages support that people carrying mtDNA N lineages could have reached Australia following a northern route through Asia. Data from other disciplines also support this scenario.

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Massive migration from the steppe was a source for Indo-European languages in Europe

Wolfgang Haak et al.
Nature, 11 June 2015, Pages 207–211

Abstract:
We generated genome-wide data from 69 Europeans who lived between 8,000–3,000 years ago by enriching ancient DNA libraries for a target set of almost 400,000 polymorphisms. Enrichment of these positions decreases the sequencing required for genome-wide ancient DNA analysis by a median of around 250-fold, allowing us to study an order of magnitude more individuals than previous studies and to obtain new insights about the past. We show that the populations of Western and Far Eastern Europe followed opposite trajectories between 8,000–5,000 years ago. At the beginning of the Neolithic period in Europe, ~8,000–7,000 years ago, closely related groups of early farmers appeared in Germany, Hungary and Spain, different from indigenous hunter-gatherers, whereas Russia was inhabited by a distinctive population of hunter-gatherers with high affinity to a ~24,000-year-old Siberian. By ~6,000–5,000 years ago, farmers throughout much of Europe had more hunter-gatherer ancestry than their predecessors, but in Russia, the Yamnaya steppe herders of this time were descended not only from the preceding eastern European hunter-gatherers, but also from a population of Near Eastern ancestry. Western and Eastern Europe came into contact ~4,500 years ago, as the Late Neolithic Corded Ware people from Germany traced ~75% of their ancestry to the Yamnaya, documenting a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery. This steppe ancestry persisted in all sampled central Europeans until at least ~3,000 years ago, and is ubiquitous in present-day Europeans. These results provide support for a steppe origin of at least some of the Indo-European languages of Europe.

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Gradual decline in mobility with the adoption of food production in Europe

Christopher Ruff et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 9 June 2015, Pages 7147-7152

Abstract:
Increased sedentism during the Holocene has been proposed as a major cause of decreased skeletal robusticity (bone strength relative to body size) in modern humans. When and why declining mobility occurred has profound implications for reconstructing past population history and health, but it has proven difficult to characterize archaeologically. In this study we evaluate temporal trends in relative strength of the upper and lower limb bones in a sample of 1,842 individuals from across Europe extending from the Upper Paleolithic [11,000–33,000 calibrated years (Cal y) B.P.] through the 20th century. A large decline in anteroposterior bending strength of the femur and tibia occurs beginning in the Neolithic (∼4,000–7,000 Cal y B.P.) and continues through the Iron/Roman period (∼2,000 Cal y B.P.), with no subsequent directional change. Declines in mediolateral bending strength of the lower limb bones and strength of the humerus are much smaller and less consistent. Together these results strongly implicate declining mobility as the specific behavioral factor underlying these changes. Mobility levels first declined at the onset of food production, but the transition to a more sedentary lifestyle was gradual, extending through later agricultural intensification. This finding only partially supports models that tie increased sedentism to a relatively abrupt Neolithic Demographic Transition in Europe. The lack of subsequent change in relative bone strength indicates that increasing mechanization and urbanization had only relatively small effects on skeletal robusticity, suggesting that moderate changes in activity level are not sufficient stimuli for bone deposition or resorption.

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Lethal Interpersonal Violence in the Middle Pleistocene

Nohemi Sala et al.
PLoS ONE, May 2015

Abstract:
Evidence of interpersonal violence has been documented previously in Pleistocene members of the genus Homo, but only very rarely has this been posited as the possible manner of death. Here we report the earliest evidence of lethal interpersonal violence in the hominin fossil record. Cranium 17 recovered from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site shows two clear perimortem depression fractures on the frontal bone, interpreted as being produced by two episodes of localized blunt force trauma. The type of injuries, their location, the strong similarity of the fractures in shape and size, and the different orientations and implied trajectories of the two fractures suggest they were produced with the same object in face-to-face interpersonal conflict. Given that either of the two traumatic events was likely lethal, the presence of multiple blows implies an intention to kill. This finding shows that the lethal interpersonal violence is an ancient human behavior and has important implications for the accumulation of bodies at the site, supporting an anthropic origin.

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Large-scale recent expansion of European patrilineages shown by population resequencing

Chiara Batini et al.
Nature Communications, May 2015

Abstract:
The proportion of Europeans descending from Neolithic farmers ~10 thousand years ago (KYA) or Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers has been much debated. The male-specific region of the Y chromosome (MSY) has been widely applied to this question, but unbiased estimates of diversity and time depth have been lacking. Here we show that European patrilineages underwent a recent continent-wide expansion. Resequencing of 3.7 Mb of MSY DNA in 334 males, comprising 17 European and Middle Eastern populations, defines a phylogeny containing 5,996 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Dating indicates that three major lineages (I1, R1a and R1b), accounting for 64% of our sample, have very recent coalescent times, ranging between 3.5 and 7.3 KYA. A continuous swathe of 13/17 populations share similar histories featuring a demographic expansion starting ~2.1–4.2 KYA. Our results are compatible with ancient MSY DNA data, and contrast with data on mitochondrial DNA, indicating a widespread male-specific phenomenon that focuses interest on the social structure of Bronze Age Europe.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blind dates

The Impact of Perceived Disease Threat on Women's Desire for Novel Dating and Sexual Partners: Is Variety the Best Medicine?

Sarah Hill, Marjorie Prokosch & Danielle DelPriore
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Researchers in the evolutionary sciences have long understood men's desire to mate with a variety of women. Because men's obligatory investment in offspring production is relatively small, men can directly increase their number of descendants by mating with multiple partners. Relatively less is known, however, about the conditions that favor sexual variety seeking in women. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology, we examined the relationship between the perceived pathogen load in an environment and women's desire for sexual variety. Across 5 experiments, we primed women with cues indicating that the rate of disease is increasing in their environment. We then measured their desire for novel sexual and dating partners. Results revealed that women with a history of vulnerability to illness respond to these cues by desiring a greater number of novel partners. This shift was not found in men and did not predict variety seeking in a nonsexual domain. In addition to providing evidence of a novel conceptual link between the pathogen load and patterns of human mating behavior, this research also provides new insights into women's mating psychology and the conditions that favor sexual variety seeking in the greater investing sex.

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Show versus tell? The effects of mating context on women's memory for a man's physical features and verbal statements

Terrence Horgan et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does women's memory for a man's features and verbal statements vary as a function of whether they are thinking about him as a short- versus long-term mate? Evolutionary psychology suggests that a man's physical attributes might matter more to women seeking a short- versus a long-term mate. In a laboratory experiment, female undergraduates watched a videotaped male introducing himself after they had been encouraged to think of him as either a short- or long-term mate. Women's memory for his features and verbal statements was then tested. Compared to women in the long-term context, women in the short-term context demonstrated better memory for his features and worse memory for his verbal statements. The implications of these findings for adaptive memory are discussed.

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Leveling the Playing Field: Longer Acquaintance Predicts Reduced Assortative Mating on Attractiveness

Lucy Hunt, Paul Eastwick & Eli Finkel
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Clear empirical demonstrations of the theoretical principles underlying assortative mating remain elusive. This article examines a moderator of assortative mating - how well couple members knew each other before dating - suggested by recent findings related to market-based (i.e., competition) theories. Specifically, competition is pervasive to the extent that people achieve consensus about who possesses desirable qualities (e.g., attractiveness) and who does not. Because consensus is stronger earlier in the acquaintance process, assortative mating based on attractiveness should be stronger among couples who formed a relationship after a short period rather than a long period of acquaintance. A study of 167 couples included measures of how long partners had known each other before dating and whether they had been friends before dating, as well as coders' ratings of physical attractiveness. As predicted, couples revealed stronger evidence of assortative mating to the extent that they knew each other for a short time and were not friends before initiating a romantic relationship.

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Schadenfreude as a mate-value-tracking mechanism: Replication and extension of Colyn and Gordon (2013)

Wilco van Dijk, Jaap Ouwerkerk & Richard Smith
Personal Relationships, June 2015, Pages 299-307

Abstract:
The present research provides a replication and extension of L. A. Colyn and A. K. Gordon's (2013) study on gender differences in schadenfreude. An experiment - in which both the gender of the unfortunate other and the dimension on which the misfortune occurred were manipulated - showed that female participants reported more schadenfreude when a same-gender other (vs. an opposite-gender other) experienced a misfortune on the dimension of physical attractiveness (vs. social status), whereas male participants reported more schadenfreude when a same-gender other (vs. an opposite-gender other) experienced a misfortune on the dimension of social status (vs. physical attractiveness). In the discussion, differences between our results and those of Colyn and Gordon are discussed.

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How Status Inheritance Rules Affect Marital Sorting: Theory and Evidence from Urban China

Li Han, Tao Li & Yaohui Zhao
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a matching model, we show that marital sorting by status tends to decline as parental statuses become less complementary in determining their children's status. Our test explores a policy change in China in which men are granted the same rights as women in passing residency permits (hukou) to their children regardless of their spouse's hukou - a change resulting in a less complementary status inheritance technology. We find that this change disrupted the previously rigid sorting by hukou and that the position of local men in the urban marriage market improved, whereas that of local women deteriorated.

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How Sexually Dimorphic Are Human Mate Preferences?

Daniel Conroy-Beam et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies on sex-differentiated mate preferences have focused on univariate analyses. However, because mate selection is inherently multidimensional, a multivariate analysis more appropriately measures sex differences in mate preferences. We used the Mahalanobis distance (D) and logistic regression to investigate sex differences in mate preferences with data secured from participants residing in 37 cultures (n = 10,153). Sex differences are large in multivariate terms, yielding an overall D = 2.41, corresponding to overlap between the sexes of just 22.8%. Moreover, knowledge of mate preferences alone affords correct classification of sex with 92.2% accuracy. Finally, pattern-wise sex differences are negatively correlated with gender equality across cultures but are nonetheless cross-culturally robust. Discussion focuses on implications in evaluating the importance and magnitude of sex differences in mate preferences.

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The Role of Overconfidence in Romantic Desirability and Competition

Sean Murphy et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four studies and a computer simulation tested the hypothesis that people who are overconfident in their self-assessments may be more successful in attracting mates. In Study 1, overconfident people were perceived as more confident in their dating profiles, and this perceived confidence predicted increased romantic desirability. Study 2 revealed that overconfident people also tend to be perceived as arrogant, which counteracts the positive effects of perceived confidence. However, Study 3 revealed that overconfidence might confer an advantage in intrasexual competition, as people were less likely to compete with overconfident individuals by virtue of their perceived confidence and arrogance. Study 4 showed that overconfident raters were also more likely to choose to compete for romantic partners. In Study 5, agent-based modeling incorporating the coefficients from these studies suggested that overconfidence facilitates mate acquisition in the presence of intrasexual competition.

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Emotion Expression and Color: Their Joint Influence on Perceived Attractiveness and Social Position

Vanessa Buechner et al.
Current Psychology, June 2015, Pages 422-433

Abstract:
This research examined the joint influence of emotion expression (pride vs. shame) and color (red vs. blue) on female and male perceptions of the attractiveness and social position of a male target. In female perceivers, we observed an Emotion Expression x Color interaction: for women viewing a man displaying pride, the color red increased their perceptions of his attractiveness, but for women viewing a man displaying shame, the color red tended to decrease their perceptions of his attractiveness. Male perceivers did not show this Emotion Expression x Color interaction. A main effect of emotion expression was observed for both male and female perceivers on both status and dominance ratings, independent of color. These findings point to a moderator of the influence of the color red in female mate evaluation, and illustrate the powerful, embodied connection between emotion expression and social position.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 19, 2015

Irreconcilable

Why Do Liberals Drink Lattes?

Michael Macy, Daniel DellaPosta & Yongren Shi
American Journal of Sociology, March 2015, Pages 1473-1511

Abstract:
Popular accounts of “lifestyle politics” and “culture wars” suggest that political and ideological divisions extend also to leisure activities, consumption, aesthetic taste, and personal morality. Drawing on a total of 22,572 pairwise correlations from the General Social Survey (1972–2010), the authors provide comprehensive empirical support for the anecdotal accounts. Moreover, most ideological differences in lifestyle cannot be explained by demographic covariates alone. The authors propose a surprisingly simple solution to the puzzle of lifestyle politics. Computational experiments show how the self-reinforcing dynamics of homophily and influence dramatically amplify even very small elective affinities between lifestyle and ideology, producing a stereotypical world of “latte liberals” and “bird-hunting conservatives” much like the one in which we live.

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Partisan Conflict and Private Investment

Marina Azzimonti
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
American politics have been characterized by a high degree of partisan conflict in recent years. Combined with a divided government, this has led not only to significant Congressional gridlock, but also to spells of high fiscal policy uncertainty. The unusually slow recovery from the Great Recession during the same period suggests the possibility that the two phenomena may be related. In this paper, I investigate the hypothesis that political discord depresses private investment. To this end, I first present a reduced-form political economy model to illustrate how news about political disagreement affects investment through agents' expectations. I then construct a novel high-frequency indicator of partisan conflict consistent with the model. The index, computed monthly between 1981 and 2015, uses a semantic search methodology to measure the frequency of newspaper articles reporting lawmakers' disagreement about policy. Using a 2SLS approach, I estimate that a 10% increase in the partisan conflict index is associated with a 3.4% decline in aggregate private investment in the US.

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Party Hacks and True Believers: The Effect of Party Affiliation on Political Preferences

Eric Gould & Esteban Klor
Hebrew University of Jerusalem Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
This paper examines the effect of party affiliation on an individual’s political views. To do this, we exploit the party realignment that occurred in the U.S. due to abortion becoming a more prominent and highly partisan issue over time. We show that abortion was not a highly partisan issue in 1982, but a person’s abortion views in 1982 led many to switch parties over time as the two main parties diverged in their stances on this issue. We find that voting for a given political party in 1996, due to the individual’s initial views on abortion in 1982, has a substantial effect on a person’s political, social, and economic attitudes in 1997. These findings are stronger for highly partisan political issues, and are robust to controlling for a host of personal views and characteristics in 1982 and 1997. As individuals realigned their party affiliation in accordance with their initial abortion views, their other political views followed suit.

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The Importance of Context in the Genetic Transmission of U.S. Party Identification

Zoltán Fazekas & Levente Littvay
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this study, we discuss one example where behavior genetic findings vary greatly across political contexts. We present original findings on how party identification is heritable around the 2008 election on a sample of twins from Minnesota. As this is in contrast with findings from the late 1980s and with how a mid-2000 study interpreted their results, we explain how the increasing partisan ideological polarization could be responsible for these seemingly contradictory findings. In the Minnesota sample, we show a genetic correlation between party identification and ideology, a finding consistent in the political science literature. We highlight how heritability of political characteristics, like all others, is population specific and highly context dependent stressing its nondeterministic nature.

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Red rural, blue rural? Presidential voting patterns in a changing rural America

Dante Scala, Kenneth Johnson & Luke Rogers
Political Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines individual and aggregate data to document the growing political diversity in rural America. This political diversity is evident in the various economies within rural America. The new rural economy is reflected in recreational counties, where natural and built amenities combined with the provision of services to residents and visitors are the basis for the local economy. Residents of recreational counties tend to be more liberal than their rural peers on a variety of political issues, and supported Barack Obama at significantly higher levels in 2008 and 2012. In contrast, in regions dominated by the old rural economy of farming, political views are more conservative and there is far less support for Democrats in general and President Obama in particular. An analysis of survey data combined with multivariate spatial regression analysis demonstrates that these differences between the old and new rural economy persist even when a variety of demographic, economic, social and geographic variables are controlled.

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Speaking Different Languages or Reading from the Same Script? Word Usage of Democratic and Republican Politicians

Jayme Neiman et al.
Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Words are believed to be indicators of the values that are important to politicians and an impressive amount of empirical research has analyzed variations in language use. While it is generally accepted that there are value differences between Democrats and Republicans, the extent to which these differences are reflected in word usage has been theorized but is largely untested. The connection between values and language is, theoretically, not limited just to politicians, but should be especially evident among politicians as representatives of existing ideological poles. In this article, we examine elite rhetoric through the lens of four value-centered theoretical frameworks (Lakoff’s Parenting Styles model, Moral Foundations Theory, Schwartz’s Values Theory, and Motivated Social Cognition Theory). Contrary to the expectations posited by these four theories, we find little reliable evidence of value-related language differences between Democratic and Republican politicians. Our findings suggest that, at least when it comes to elite rhetoric, widely accepted theoretical claims about the value-based nature of political language and political differences are not consistently supported by empirical analysis.

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The Rich are Different: The Effect of Wealth on Partisanship

Erik Peterson
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rich voters tend to be Republicans and poor voters tend to be Democrats. Yet, in most settings it is difficult to distinguish the effects of affluence on partisanship from those of closely related variables such as education. To address these concerns I use state lottery and administrative records to examine the effect of changing economic circumstances on the partisanship of over 1,900 registered voters. Winning larger amounts in the lottery produces a small increase in the probability an individual is later a registered Republican, an effect that is larger for those who registered to vote after winning. This suggests that wealth does affect partisanship, particularly for those without preexisting attachments to a political party. Comparing estimates from the lottery to cross-sectional data suggests the latter exaggerates the relationship between wealth and partisanship, although controlling for additional variables produces largely similar estimates.

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Judging Political Hearts and Minds: How Political Dynamics Drive Social Judgments

James Cornwell, Allison Bajger & Tory Higgins
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated how judgments of political messengers depend upon what would benefit one’s preferred candidate. In Study 1a, participants were asked to evaluate the warmth and competence of the writer of a pro- or anti-Obama political message for the 2012 presidential election (Obama/warm; Romney/competent). When judging the messages, warmth was emphasized by Democrats and competence by Republicans. Study 1b replicated these effects for messages about Romney as well. Study 2 examined the 2004 presidential election where perceptions of the party candidates’ warmth and competence reversed (Bush/warm; Kerry/competent). There competence was emphasized by Democrats and warmth by Republicans. Study 3 showed that varying the warmth and competence of each party’s prospective candidates for the 2016 election influences whether warmth or competence is emphasized by Democrats or Republicans. Thus, differences between Republicans and Democrats in emphasizing warmth or competence reflect a dynamic motivated cognition that is tailored to benefit their preferred candidate.

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On the misplaced politics of behavioral policy interventions

David Tannenbaum, Craig Fox & Todd Rogers
University of Chicago Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
One common criticism of “nudges” — general-purpose interventions derived from behavioral science that can be applied to a range of policy objectives — is that such interventions are manipulative and coercive. In this article we show that this criticism sometimes reflects a partisan nudge bias, whereby attitudes toward policy goals or policymakers distort feelings about policy interventions. In particular, people find nudges more ethically problematic when applied to policy objectives they oppose (or when applied by policymakers they oppose), than when those same nudges are applied to policy objectives they support (or when applied by policymakers they support). Both political liberal and conservative respondents exhibit partisan nudge bias, as do practicing policymakers. Furthermore, partisan differences disappear when nudges are described without mention of a particular policy objective, suggesting that nudges are not inherently partisan. We argue that an honest debate about the appropriateness of behavioral policy interventions will likely require stripping away details about the policy objectives to which they are applied and the parties that endorse them.

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Cognitive ability and political beliefs in the United States

Noah Carl
Personality and Individual Differences, September 2015, Pages 245–248

Abstract:
Recent evidence indicates that cognitive ability has a monotonically positive relation to socially liberal beliefs and some measures of fiscally conservative beliefs, and that it has a non-monotonic relation to other measures of fiscally conservative beliefs. This study examines the relationship between cognitive ability and political beliefs in a recent, nationally representative sample of American adults. It finds that cognitive ability is positively associated with both socially liberal beliefs and fiscally conservative beliefs. The relationships with socially liberal beliefs are monotonically positive. In contrast, some of the relationships with fiscally conservative beliefs are non-monotonic: Americans of highest ability are less fiscally conservative than those of high ability. The association between cognitive ability and a dimension of fiscal conservatism is reduced substantially when controlling for socio-economic position.

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Verbal ability as a predictor of political preferences in the United States, 1974–2012

Gerhard Meisenberg
Intelligence, May–June 2015, Pages 135–143

Abstract:
The relationship between cognitive ability and stated political preferences in the United States is examined with data from the General Social Survey, which includes a brief vocabulary test (Wordsum) as a measure of verbal ability. Since the 1970s, liberal and conservative self-identification became increasingly identified with the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively. Liberal self-identification has increasingly been related to higher Wordsum scores since the 1970s, but liberal-conservative differences rarely exceed the equivalent of 3 IQ points. Among Whites, those identifying themselves as “moderate” or “independent” have lower average Wordsum scores than those with stated ideological or political party preferences, contrary to the hypothesis that higher intelligence is related to less extreme political positions. The relationship between Wordsum and Democratic Party affiliation has moved from negative to neutral since the 1970s. In presidential elections, the most consistent finding is that voters scored substantially higher than non-voters. Those voting for the Democratic candidate had higher average scores than those voting for his Republican opponent since 2000. In regression models that control for demographics, higher Wordsum scores are associated with liberal self-identification but not with political party preferences. In conclusion, higher vocabulary scores are associated with a greater likelihood that people place themselves on the ideological and political spectrum and that they vote in presidential elections, but have only small relationships with liberal-versus-conservative self-identification.

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How Much Disagreement is Good for Democratic Deliberation?

Kevin Esterling, Archon Fung & Taeku Lee
Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ideal of deliberation requires that citizens engage in reasonable discussion despite disagreements. In practice, if their experience is to match this normative ideal, participants in an actual deliberation should prefer moderate disagreement to conflict-free discussion within homogeneous groups, and to conflict-driven discussion where differences are intractable. This article proposes a research design and methods for assessing the quality of a deliberative event based on the perceptions of the participants themselves. In a structured deliberative event, over 2,000 individuals were assigned to small groups composed of about 10 persons of varying levels of ideological difference to discuss health care reform in California. We find that participants experience higher satisfaction with deliberation under moderate ideological difference than when they are in homogeneous or in highly disparate groups. That moderate disagreement induces optimal deliberation is consistent with normative expectations and empirically demonstrates the deliberative quality of this event.

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Tea Leaves and Southern Politics: Explaining Tea Party Support in the Region

M.V. Hood, Quentin Kidd & Irwin Morris
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: Our research assesses the distinctiveness of Tea Party adherents among mobilized Republicans in the South.

Methods: The data come from an interactive voice response (IVR) survey of households containing at least one Republican primary voter across nine southern states conducted approximately one month before the 2012 presidential election. We analyze the data using multivariate logistic regression.

Results: Unlike other scholarship, we find no evidence that racial animosity drives the movement, but we do find a strong relationship between evangelicalism and Tea Party support. We also find Tea Party adherents are older, more likely to be men, less wealthy, more ideologically conservative, and more partisan than their fellow Republicans.

Conclusions: Tea Party supporters in the South are likely to have a significant impact on the future of the Republican Party — both in the South, and nationally. The fact that our profile of southern Tea Party supporters does not include growing segments of the electorate does not bode well for the future development of the GOP.

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Fox News and Political Knowledge

Elizabeth Schroeder & Daniel Stone
Journal of Public Economics, June 2015, Pages 52–63

Abstract:
The effects of partisan media on political knowledge are theoretically ambiguous. Knowledge effects are important because of their close connection to welfare effects, but the existing empirical literature on knowledge is limited. We study the knowledge effects of the Fox News Channel. Following DellaVigna and Kaplan (2007), we exploit naturally random variation in Fox’s availability to identify causal effects. We use knowledge survey data from 2000, 2004 and 2008; our final sample has nearly one million question-level observations. We first confirm and expand on previous findings of Fox effects on voting. We then present an array of results from our knowledge analysis. While average effects (across issues), over the full time-frame are near-zero and most precise, we find evidence of positive effects both for issues that were more favorable to Republicans and for issues that Fox covered more often, and negative effects for issues Fox neglected. We also present evidence of Fox being associated with a decline in newspaper readership.

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The Politics of Affirmation Theory: When Group-Affirmation Leads to Greater Ingroup Bias

Gaven Ehrlich & Richard Gramzow
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
It has been well established in the literature that affirming the individual self reduces the tendency to exhibit group-favoring biases. The limited research examining group-affirmation and bias, however, is inconclusive. We argue that group-affirmation can exacerbate group-serving biases in certain contexts, and in the current set of studies, we document this phenomenon directly. Unlike self-affirmation, group-affirmation led to greater ingroup-favoring evaluative judgments among political partisans (Experiment 1). This increase in evaluative bias following group-affirmation was moderated by political party identification and was not found among those who affirmed a non-political ingroup (Experiment 2). In addition, the mechanism underlying these findings is explored and interpreted within the theoretical frameworks of self-categorization theory and the multiple self-aspects model (Experiments 2 and 3). The broader implications of our findings for the understanding of social identity and affirmation theory are discussed.

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The Knowledge Gap Versus the Belief Gap and Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Douglas Blanks Hindman & Changmin Yan
Journal of Health Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
The knowledge gap hypothesis predicts widening disparities in knowledge of heavily publicized public affairs issues among socioeconomic status groups. The belief gap hypothesis extends the knowledge gap hypothesis to account for knowledge and beliefs about politically contested issues based on empirically verifiable information. This analysis of 3 national surveys shows belief gaps developed between liberals and conservatives regarding abstinence-only sex education; socioeconomic status–based knowledge gaps did not widen. The findings partially support both belief gap and knowledge gap hypotheses. In addition, the unique contributions of exposure to Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC in this process were investigated. Only exposure to Fox News was linked to beliefs about abstinence-only sex education directly and indirectly through the cultivation of conservative ideology.

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You are either for us or against us: When are ambivalent in-group members sanctioned?

David Somlo, William Crano & Michael Hogg
Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
The subjective group dynamics model describes conditions for sanctioning deviant in-group members. A description of a new or established group member's (the target) attitude toward “Obamacare” was provided to 136 Republican participants. The target expressed a group-normative, ambivalent, or deviant opinion. Participants indicated the self-relevance of Obamacare, and evaluated the target. Neither target status nor attitude affected evaluations for non-vested participants; however, highly vested participants evaluated new ambivalent targets more favorably than established ambivalent targets (p < .05): derogation or sanctioning of ambivalent and deviant targets, that is, was moderated by evaluators’ vested interest and longevity of the target's group membership.

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Are conservatives overconfident?

Pietro Ortoleva & Erik Snowberg
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies suggest psychological differences between conservatives and liberals, including that conservatives are more overconfident. We use a behavioral political economy model to show that while this is undoubtedly true for election years in the current era, there is no reason to believe that conservative ideologies are intrinsically linked to overconfidence. Indeed, it appears that in 1980 and before, conservatives and liberals were equally overconfident.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Not who you think

Unlearning implicit social biases during sleep

Xiaoqing Hu et al.
Science, 29 May 2015, Pages 1013-1015

Abstract:
Although people may endorse egalitarianism and tolerance, social biases can remain operative and drive harmful actions in an unconscious manner. Here, we investigated training to reduce implicit racial and gender bias. Forty participants processed counterstereotype information paired with one sound for each type of bias. Biases were reduced immediately after training. During subsequent slow-wave sleep, one sound was unobtrusively presented to each participant, repeatedly, to reactivate one type of training. Corresponding bias reductions were fortified in comparison with the social bias not externally reactivated during sleep. This advantage remained 1 week later, the magnitude of which was associated with time in slow-wave and rapid-eye-movement sleep after training. We conclude that memory reactivation during sleep enhances counterstereotype training and that maintaining a bias reduction is sleep-dependent.

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Benevolent racism? The impact of target race on ambivalent sexism

Jean McMahon & Kimberly Barsamian Kahn
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies investigated whether benevolent sexism is differentially applied based on a woman’s race. Study 1 demonstrated that participants expressed more benevolent sexism to White females than Black females when given no other information besides race. Study 2 introduced positive (chaste) and negative (promiscuous) sexually subtyped behaviors in addition to female race. Under these conditions, participants directed more benevolent sexism at chaste Black women rather than chaste White women, consistent with shifting standards theory. Despite receiving more benevolent sexism, chaste Black women did not receive more positive evaluations overall. Across both studies, expressions of hostile sexism did not differ by race. Results suggest that race may function as a subtype to elicit benevolent sexism contingent on behavior. Black women who follow traditional gender norms may be overcompensated for their conformity with benevolent sexism, but not receive more positive benefits.

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Arab American Housing Discrimination, Ethnic Competition, and the Contact Hypothesis

Michael Gaddis & Raj Ghoshal
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July 2015, Pages 282-299

Abstract:
This study uses a field experiment to study bias against living with Arab American women, a group whose position in the U.S. race system remains uncertain. We developed fictitious female white and Arab American identities and used the audit method to respond to 560 roommate-wanted advertisements in four metro areas: Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, and Houston. To focus on social — rather than purely economic — biases, all responses identified the sender as college-educated and employed and were written in grammatically correct English. We compare the number of replies received, finding that Arab-origin names receive about 40 percent fewer replies. We then model variation in discrimination rates by proximity to mosques, geographic concentration of mosques, and the percentage of Arabs living in a census tract so as to test ethnic competition theory and the contact hypothesis. In Los Angeles and New York, greater discrimination occurred in neighborhoods with the highest concentration of mosques.

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Finding a Roommate on Craigslist: Racial Discrimination and Residential Segregation

Raj Ghoshal & Michael Gaddis
University of Michigan Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This study uses experimental methods to investigate covert racial discrimination in “roommate wanted” ads on Craigslist. Roommate relationships include significant social dimensions, and are an important site through which segregation may be reproduced or broken down, but have received very little attention by researchers. We develop fictitious racially-coded female names and identities for white, black, Hispanic, Chinese, and Indian room-seekers, along with Hispanic, Chinese, and Indian room-seekers with “Americanized” first names. We implement a field experiment and respond to over 1,500 “roommate wanted” advertisements on Craigslist across three metropolitan areas. Our emails express interest in the roommate-wanted ad, and mention that the sender is college-educated and employed full-time. We monitor response rates in the aggregate and within Census tracts of varying racial and economic characteristics. We find severe discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics, and Chinese-origin individuals. Asians with Americanized first names are treated equally to whites, while traditional Indian names and Americanized Latina names face moderate levels of discrimination. Patterns of discrimination by neighborhood race and class characteristics yield better access to upward mobility for Asian Americans than for underrepresented minority group members. Our findings reveal an important social mechanism that constricts integration and opportunity, shed new light on Asians’ and Latinas’ place in the US race system, reveal important interactions of race and presumed nativity, and show the ongoing relevance of race.

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Breaking down a barrier: Increasing perceived out-group knowledge reduces negative expectancies about intergroup interaction

Adem Aydogan & Karen Gonsalkorale
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although intergroup contact is an effective way of reducing prejudice, negative expectancies about interacting with out-group members often create a barrier to intergroup contact. The current study investigated cognitive appraisals by which negative expectancies may arise. Specifically, we examined whether increasing Anglo Australians' appraisals of their knowledge about Muslims would reduce their negative expectancies about an (ostensible) upcoming interaction with a Muslim Australian. Participants (89 Anglo Australians) completed a test that provided positive feedback either on their knowledge about Muslims or on their general knowledge (control). As predicted, Anglo Australians who received positive feedback on their knowledge about Muslims had a lower threat appraisal and expected to feel less anxious during the intergroup interaction compared with those who were in the control condition. This provides support for the precursory role out-group knowledge may have as a resource that is appraised upon the prospect of an intergroup interaction.

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The role of appearance stigma in implicit racial ingroup bias

Laurie Rudman & Meghan McLean
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Minority groups who show implicit outgroup preference (African Americans, the elderly, and the overweight) are also likely to suffer from appearance stigma (for deviating from cultural aesthetic norms; Goffman, 1963). Three studies showed that people who automatically preferred Whites using the attitude Implicit Association Test (IAT) also associated Whites more than Blacks with attractiveness using the aesthetic IAT. In Study 1, the aesthetic IAT covaried with Black American’s preference for Black women with chemically treated versus natural hair, and rating products that purchase “racial capital” (e.g., skin whiteners) as important and useful. In Study 2, Black American’s pro-White bias was only eliminated when the attitude IAT represented their group as more attractive than Whites (i.e., when appearance stigma was reversed). Further, the aesthetic IAT predicted the attitude IAT more uniquely than outgroup contact. In concert, the findings suggest that appearance stigma is an overlooked factor influencing racial asymmetries in automatic ingroup esteem.

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“It’s Dude Time!”: A Quarter Century of Excluding Women’s Sports in Televised News and Highlight Shows

Cheryl Cooky, Michael Messner & Michela Musto
Communication & Sport, forthcoming

Abstract:
The last quarter century has seen a dramatic movement of girls and women into sport, but this social change is reflected unevenly in sports media. This study, a 5-year update to a 25-year longitudinal study, indicates that the quantity of coverage of women’s sports in televised sports news and highlights shows remains dismally low. Even more so than in past iterations of this study, the lion’s share of coverage is given to the “big three” of men’s pro and college football, basketball, and baseball. The study reveals some qualitative changes over time, including a decline in the once-common tendency to present women as sexualized objects of humor replaced by a tendency to view women athletes in their roles as mothers. The analysis highlights a stark contrast between the exciting, amplified delivery of stories about men’s sports, and the often dull, matter-of-fact delivery of women’s sports stories. The article ends with suggestions for three policy changes that would move TV sports news and highlights shows toward greater gender equity and fairness.

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When do high and low status group members support confrontation? The role of perceived pervasiveness of prejudice

Kimberly Barsamian Kahn et al.
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines how perceived pervasiveness of prejudice differentially affects high and low status group members’ support for a low status group member who confronts. In Experiment 1 (N = 228), men and women read a text describing sexism as rare or as pervasive and subsequently indicated their support for a woman who confronted or did not confront a sexist remark. Experiment 2 (N = 324) specified the underlying process using a self-affirmation manipulation. Results show that men were more supportive of confrontation when sexism was perceived to be rare than when it was pervasive. By contrast, women tended to prefer confrontation when sexism was pervasive relative to when it was rare. Personal self-affirmation decreased men's and increased women's support for confrontation when prejudice was rare, suggesting that men's and women's support for confrontation when prejudice is rare is driven by personal impression management considerations. Implications for understanding how members of low and high status groups respond to prejudice are discussed.

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Property and prejudice: How racial attitudes and social-evaluative concerns shape property appraisals

Jason McIntyre, Merryn Constable & Fiona Kate Barlow
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Property evaluations rarely occur in the absence of social context. However, no research has investigated how intergroup processes related to prejudice extend to concepts of property. In the present research, we propose that factors such as group status, prejudice and pressure to mask prejudiced attitudes affect how people value the property of racial ingroup and outgroup members. In Study 1, White American and Asian American participants were asked to appraise a hand-painted mug that was ostensibly created by either a White or an Asian person. Asian participants demonstrated an ingroup bias. White participants showed an outgroup bias, but this effect was qualified. Specifically, among White participants, higher racism towards Asian Americans predicted higher valuations of mugs created by Asian people. Study 2 revealed that White Americans' prejudice towards Asian Americans predicted higher valuations of the mug created by an Asian person only when participants were highly concerned about conveying a non-prejudiced personal image. Our results suggest that, ironically, prejudiced majority group members evaluate the property of minority group members whom they dislike more favourably. The current findings provide a foundation for melding intergroup relations research with research on property and ownership.

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Expectations and speech intelligibility

Molly Babel & Jamie Russell
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, April 2015

Abstract:
Socio-indexical cues and paralinguistic information are often beneficial to speech processing as this information assists listeners in parsing the speech stream. Associations that particular populations speak in a certain speech style can, however, make it such that socio-indexical cues have a cost. In this study, native speakers of Canadian English who identify as Chinese Canadian and White Canadian read sentences that were presented to listeners in noise. Half of the sentences were presented with a visual-prime in the form of a photo of the speaker and half were presented in control trials with fixation crosses. Sentences produced by Chinese Canadians showed an intelligibility cost in the face-prime condition, whereas sentences produced by White Canadians did not. In an accentedness rating task, listeners rated White Canadians as less accented in the face-prime trials, but Chinese Canadians showed no such change in perceived accentedness. These results suggest a misalignment between an expected and an observed speech signal for the face-prime trials, which indicates that social information about a speaker can trigger linguistic associations that come with processing benefits and costs.

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Don’t bring me down: Divergent effects of being the target of empathy versus perspective-taking on minority group members’ perceptions of their group’s social standing

Jacquie Vorauer & Matthew Quesnel
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
This experiment examined how being the target of one of two commonly recommended strategies for improving intergroup relations — empathy or perspective-taking — affects minority group members’ sense of their group’s power and status in society. The main hypothesis was that the distinct status hierarchies implied by each of these mindsets would be communicated across face-to-face intergroup exchanges. Specifically, because empathy targets are typically in lower power positions whereas perspective-taking targets are typically in higher power positions, minority group members who were targets of a dominant group member’s empathy were expected to come away with a reduced sense of their group’s social standing relative to those who were targets of a dominant group member’s perspective-taking. Results were consistent with this prediction and further suggested that the mindset effect was partially mediated by a tendency for dominant group members’ efforts to empathize with minority targets to foster heightened imbalance in the levels of various power-relevant behaviors exhibited by each person.

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Black and white as valence cues: A large-scale replication effort of Meier, Robinson, and Clore (2004)

Brian Meier, Adam Fetterman & Michael Robinson
Social Psychology, Summer 2015, Pages 174-178

Abstract:
Replication efforts involving large samples are recommended in helping to determine the reliability of an effect. This approach was taken for a study from Meier, Robinson, and Clore (2004), one of the first papers in social cognition guided by conceptual metaphor theory, which reported that evaluations were faster when word valence metaphorically matched (e.g., a word with a negative meaning in black) rather than mismatched (e.g., a word with a negative meaning in white) font color. The present investigation was a direct large-scale replication attempt involving 980 participants who completed an experiment using web-based software and were diverse in terms of race, age, and geographical location. Words with a positive meaning were evaluated faster when font color was white rather than black and words with a negative meaning were evaluated faster when font color was black rather than white, replicating the main results of Meier et al. (2004).

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Effect of Wearing Eyeglasses on Judgment of Socioprofessional Group Membership

Nicolas Guéguen
Social Behavior and Personality, Spring 2015, Pages 661-665

Abstract:
Several researchers have reported that people photographed wearing eyeglasses were perceived as being more intelligent and honest than people who were not wearing them. In this study, conducted in France, I tried to replicate this effect using a forced-choice situation. Participants viewed a photograph of a male target wearing, or not wearing, eyeglasses and were instructed to estimate his socioprofessional group using a well-known French list. Results showed that, compared with the target without eyeglasses, the target wearing eyeglasses was more frequently associated with a higher status socioprofessional group and less often with midstatus or low-status socioprofessional groups. These results confirmed that a common cue of facial appearance is sufficient to activate a stereotype of social group membership.

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The interaction between aging and death anxieties predicts ageism

Ehud Bodner et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2015, Pages 15–19

Abstract:
While aging anxiety is associated with the threat of deterioration that leads to death, death anxiety is related to the threat of non-existence and to fears from an unknown afterlife, and both anxieties can lead to ageism. The current study examined the unexplored relationship between these two existential anxieties and ageism. Measures of aging and death anxieties, ageism (in the form of ageist attitudes), and various measures of physical health were collected from 1073 older adults at the age range of 50–86. When death anxiety was low, aging anxiety was positively related to ageism, but when aging anxiety was low, death anxiety was positively related to ageism. The interaction between both anxieties and ageism remained significant after controlling for a myriad of background characteristics and physical health measures. These findings, which point at the distinctive and complementary roles that both anxieties have in connecting between one another and ageist attitudes, are discussed in light of theories on ageism.

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Self-expansion motivation improves cross-group interactions and enhances self-growth

Odilia Dys-Steenbergen, Stephen Wright & Arthur Aron
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rather than seeing outgroup members as targets of fear, conflict, or even tolerance, the self-expansion model proposes that outgroup members might be seen as attractive opportunities for self-growth. The current study utilizes an experimental manipulation to raise (or lower) self-expansion motivation prior to a positive interaction with a stranger from a different ethnic group. The results show that priming high self-expansion motivation leads to higher quality interactions, greater interpersonal closeness, greater feelings of self-growth, and higher feelings of self-efficacy. In addition, these outcomes show patterns of mediation consistent with the predictions of self-expansion theory. These findings point to a potentially valuable tool for improving the quality of cross-group contact experiences. More broadly, they focus attention on the genuinely positive functions that relationships with outgroup members can have for the self.

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Co-Viewing Effects of Ethnic-Oriented Programming: An Examination of In-Group Bias and Racial Comedy Exposure

Omotayo Banjo et al.
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Entertainment consumption is often shared with others, whether friends or strangers. Whereas most co-viewing scholarship has examined parent–child viewing, few have examined viewing among in-group and out-group members. The present study explores in-group and out-group responses to racial comedy featuring disparaging information about the in-group. Findings suggest that Blacks report a more positive attitude, greater perceived similarity, and identification when viewing racially charged comedy with Black in-group members than when viewing with White out-group members. White viewers display no differences in their responses to television comedy based on whether they were viewing with in-group members or out-group members. Implications are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Taking charge

Why Whine about Wining and Dining?

Benjamin Hermalin
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given potential abuse, conflicts of interest, and other issues, why do companies routinely pay for their managers to entertain the managers of other firms and allow their own managers to be so entertained? An answer that such practices facilitate interfirm cooperation is incomplete because it fails to address why companies cannot or do not induce such cooperation directly via their own incentive systems. This article addresses these issues. It shows, inter alia, that even when firms can induce cooperation via their own incentive systems, they will do better obtaining that cooperation via cross-firm entertaining and other favor granting. This remains true even if "entertainment" budgets are subject to corruption, including excessive use or potential embezzlement. Furthermore, the results are wholly independent of any favorable tax treatment such practices may receive.

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Expressive Effects of Ethics Codes

Maryam Kouchaki, Yuval Feldman & Francesca Gino
Northwestern University Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We focus on understanding how employees perceive and interpret ethics codes. Research on ethics codes suggests that they may play an important role in the overall attempt to curb unethical behavior. Codes are viewed as an important form of organizational discourse, which is crafted, implemented, and interpreted within particular social and organizational systems. Given the mixed results in the existing business ethics literature on the effectiveness of ethics code, an important question is to examine whether an organizational code of conduct reduces unethical behaviors or not. Thus, the overall objective of this project is to identify and evaluate factors that will increase compliance with codes of conduct. In particular, the studies reported in this paper focus on the relationship between the language used in the codes of conduct and individuals' likelihood of compliance. We examine the differences in employees' compliance with codes of conduct and behaving in the interest of the company when the corporation uses a language that induces strong identification with the company as compared to a more formal language (i.e., refers to its employees as "we" as compared to "employees"). Our coding of the Fortune top 50 companies showed that 38% used an informal language while 62% used a formal language. We suggest that when a corporation uses a language that induces strong identification, the emphasis on identification will increase employees' likelihood to engage in unethical self-interested behaviors, because such emphasis suggests high trust in employees and thus a perception of leniency. In contrast, when the corporation refers to its employees as "employees" it signals to them a more formal approach, where the expectations from them to behave ethically are based on notions of rule. Three studies, a field experiment and two online studies, lend support to our predictions. We found that employees who were hired into an organization with a less formal and more family-like codes of conduct ("we") were more likely to choose their own self-interest over the interest of company and their perception of the group as being more forgiving for the violation of group's code of conduct and more trusting was responsible for this decreases in compliance with the code of conduct.

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Organizational Income Inequality and Precarious Employee Relations: The Role of Social Distance

Sreedhari Desai
University of North Carolina Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
At the societal level of analysis, researchers often have examined the potential dysfunctional consequences of income inequality. Wilkinson and Pickett (2005), for example, identified 155 papers reporting findings on the association between income distribution and population health and observed that a large majority of those studies suggest that health is worse in those cities where income differences are larger. A key setting in which societal income inequality is produced are organizations (e.g., Baron, 1984; Davis & Cobb, 2013). In this paper, we examine the size of the income gap between top managers and rank-and-file workers and the experienced job security of those workers. We focus, in this initial effort, on experienced job insecurity or what Kalleberg (2009) labels, "precarious employment relations" because while such employment is viewed by managers as a source of flexibility, it is seen by workers as uncertain, unpredictable, and risky, and thus, an undesirable aspect of a job (Kalleberg, 2011), one that is on the rise in the United States (e.g., Cappelli, 1999; Farber, 2008; Fullerton & Wallace, 2005; Hecker, 2006; Jacoby, 2001). Over the last several decades, income inequality in organizations, or what top managers make relative to average employees, has increased dramatically. Here, we suggest that an increase in organizational income inequality results in top executives perceiving increased social distance between themselves and ordinary employees in the organization. Social distance is a reflection of the ways in which individuals see each other as different from one another (Eveland, Nathanson, Detenber, & McLeod, 1999; Fiedler, 1953). Research suggests that the greater the social distance, the less positive individuals feel about the out-group, the less likely they are to think of them as individuals, the more likely they are to engage in uncooperative or even predatory behavior (Brescia, 2011). Moreover, construal level theory suggests that social distance predisposes people to construe information abstractly (Magee & Smith, 2013) and focus on the central aspects of situations such as profit maximization, disregarding secondary aspects such as moral concerns related to business decisions. Thus, we argue that increased social distance as a consequence of income inequality may cause executives to think of their relationship to ordinary employees in primarily short run economic terms and treat their employees in ways that maximize their short-term value to the firm by resorting to work practices such as summary dismissal and layoffs. In sum, we propose that as income inequality in an organization increases, its top managers are more likely to formulate policies that adversely affect employee relations. We present evidence from two archival studies as well as a lab experiment that support our conjecture.

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When 3 + 1 > 4: Gift Structure and Reciprocity in the Field

Duncan Gilchrist, Michael Luca & Deepak Malhotra
Harvard Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Do higher wages elicit reciprocity and lead to increased productivity? In a field experiment with 266 employees, we find that paying higher wages, per se, does not have a discernible effect on productivity (in a context with no future employment opportunities). However, structuring a portion of the wage as a clear and unexpected gift - by offering a raise (with no additional conditions) after the employee has accepted the contract - does lead to higher productivity for the duration of the job. Gifts are roughly as efficient as hiring more workers.

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Does experience imply learning?

Jaideep Anand, Louis Mulotte & Charlotte Ren
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research traditionally uses experiential learning arguments to explain the existence of a positive relationship between repetition of an activity and performance. We propose an additional interpretation of this relationship in the context of discrete corporate development activities. We argue that firms choose to repeat successful activities, thereby accumulating high experience with them. Data on 437 aircraft projects introduced through three governance modes show that the positive performance effect of the firm's experience with the focal mode becomes insignificant after accounting for experience endogeneity. We suggest that in a general case, experience with corporate development activities may be tinged with both learning as well as selection effects. Therefore, omitting to account for experience endogeneity may lead to incorrect conclusions from an "empirically observed" positive experience-performance relationship.

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Positional WAR in the National Football League

Andrew Hughes, Cory Koedel & Joshua Price
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We empirically estimate positional "wins above replacement" (WAR) in the National Football League (NFL). Positional WAR measures the value of players in the NFL, by position, in terms of generating wins. WAR is a commonly used metric to evaluate individual players in professional baseball and basketball in the United States, but to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to construct WAR measures for American football. A key challenge in constructing these measures is that individual statistics for many football players are not as well developed as in baseball and basketball. Related to this point, the productivity of individual football players, perhaps more than players in any other major sport, is highly dependent on context. We circumvent issues related to measuring productivity for individual players by constructing WAR measures at the position rather than individual level. The identifying variation that we leverage in our study is generated by arguably exogenous player injuries and suspensions. Using data from three seasons and all 32 NFL teams, we show that the most valuable positions in the NFL are quarterback, wide receiver, tight end/fullback, and offensive tackle. Perhaps our most surprising finding is that positional WAR for all positions on the defensive side of the football is zero.

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The Flaring of Intellectual Outliers: An Organizational Interpretation of the Generation of Novelty in the RAND Corporation

Mie Augier, James March & Andrew Marshall
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much of intellectual history is punctuated by the flaring of intellectual outliers, small groups of thinkers who briefly, but decisively, influence the development of ideas, technologies, policies, or worldviews. To understand the flaring of intellectual outliers, we use archival and interview data from the RAND Corporation after the Second World War. We focus on five factors important to the RAND experience: (1) a belief in fundamental research as a source of practical ideas, (2) a culture of optimistic urgency, (3) the solicitation of renegade ambition, (4) the recruitment of intellectual cronies, and (5) the facilitation of the combinatorics of variety. To understand the subsequent decline of intellectual outliers at RAND, we note that success yields a sense of competence, endurance in a competitive world, and the opportunity and inclination to grow. Self-confidence, endurance, and growth produce numerous positive consequences for an organization; but for the most part, they undermine variety. Outliers and the conditions that produce them are not favored by their environments. Engineering solutions to this problem involve extending time and space horizons, providing false information about the likelihoods of positive returns from exploration, buffering exploratory activities from the pressures of efficiency, and protecting exploration from analysis by connecting it to dictates of identities.

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Does Experience Help or Hinder Top Managers? Working with Different Types of Resources in Hollywood

Michael Mannor, Jamal Shamsie & Donald Conlon
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on the resource-based view has begun to place more emphasis on the ability of managers to extract better performance from the resources that are available to them. In this paper, we show that prior experience can both help and hinder their ability to generate performance from various categories of resources. Further, we argue that the fungibility of each resource influences the opportunities managers have to use their experience in order to find the best method to deploy them. We test our hypotheses by examining the ability of Hollywood film producers to generate results from financial, brand, and human resources. Our findings show that experienced producers can generate better performance from more fungible resources, but they actually achieve weaker results with less fungible resources.

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My Family Made Me Do It: A Cross-Domain, Self-Regulatory Perspective on Antecedents to Abusive Supervision

Stephen Courtright et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing on resource drain theory, we introduce self-regulatory resource (ego) depletion stemming from family-to-work conflict (FWC) as an alternative theoretical perspective on why supervisors behave abusively toward subordinates. Our two-study examination of a cross-domain antecedent of abusive supervision stands in contrast to prior research, which has focused primarily on work-related factors that influence abusive supervision. Further, our investigation shows how ego depletion is proximally related to abusive supervision. In the first study, conducted at a Fortune 500 company and designed as a lagged survey study, we found that after controlling for alternative theoretical mechanisms, supervisors who experience FWC display more abusive behaviors toward subordinates, and that this relationship was stronger for female supervisors and for supervisors who operate in environments with greater situation-control. These results were then replicated and expanded in an experience sampling study using a multi-organization sample of supervisors. This allowed us to study the FWC-abusive supervision relationship as it emerges on a day-to-day basis and to examine ego depletion as an explanatory mechanism. Consistent with our hypotheses, we found that FWC is associated with abusive supervision, ego depletion acts as a mediator of the FWC-abusive supervision relationship, and that gender and situation-control serve as moderators.

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The Contingent Effect of Management Practices

Steven Blader, Claudine Madras Gartenberg & Andrea Prat
NYU Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
This paper investigates how the success of a management practice depends on nature of the long-term relationship between the firm and its employees. A large US transportation company is in the process of fitting its trucks with an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR), which provide drivers with information on their driving performance. In this setting, a natural question is whether the optimal managerial practice consists of: (1) Letting each driver know his or her individual performance only; or (2) Also providing drivers with information about their ranking with respect to other drivers. The company is also in the first phase of a multi-year "lean-management journey". This phase focuses exclusively on changing employee values, mainly toward a greater emphasis on teamwork and empowerment. The main result of our randomized experiment is that (2) leads to better performance than (1) in a particular site if and only if the site has not yet received the values intervention, and worse performance if it has. The result is consistent with the presence of a conflict between competition-based managerial practices and a cooperation-based relational contract. More broadly, it highlights the role of intangible relational factors: the optimal set of managerial practices depends on the long-term relationship the company chooses to have with its workers.

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Employee rights and acquisitions

Kose John, Anzhela Knyazeva & Diana Knyazeva
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the outcomes and characteristics of corporate acquisitions from the perspective of stakeholder-shareholder agency conflicts. Using state variation in labor protections, we find that acquirers with strong labor rights experience lower announcement returns. Combined acquirer and target announcement returns are also lower in the presence of strong labor rights. Our findings remain statistically and economically significant after we control for a range of deal, firm, industry and state characteristics and explore various channels for the labor rights effect. Overall, the evidence indicates that employee-shareholder conflicts of interest reduce shareholder gains from acquisitions.

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Who Gets Credit for Input? Demographic and Structural Status Cues in Voice Recognition

Taeya Howell et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors investigate the employee features that, alongside overall voice expression, affect supervisors' voice recognition. Drawing primarily from status characteristics and network position theories, the authors propose and find in a study of 693 employees from 89 different credit union units that supervisors are more likely to credit those reporting the same amount of voice if the employees have higher ascribed or assigned (by the organization) status ― cued by demographic variables such as majority ethnicity and full-time work hours. Further, supervisors are more likely to recognize voice from employees who have higher achieved status ― cued by their centrality in informal social structures. The authors also find that even when certain groups of lower status employees speak up more, they cannot compensate for the negative effect of their demographic membership on voice recognition by their boss. The authors underscore how recognition of employee voice by supervisors matters for employees. It carries (mediates) the effects of voice expression and status onto performance evaluations 1 year later, which means that demographic differences in the assignment of credit for voice can serve as an implicit pathway for discrimination.

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Equality under threat by the talented: Evidence from worker-managed firms

Gabriel Burdín
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does workplace democracy engender greater pay equality? Are high-ability individuals more likely to quit egalitarian organisational regimes? The paper revisits this long-standing issue by analyzing the interplay between compensation structure and quit behavior in the distinct yet underexplored institutional setting of worker-managed firms. The analysis is based on novel administrative data sources, which allow constructing a simple ordinal measure of the workers′ ability type. The paper's key findings are that (1) worker-managed firms have a more compressed compensation structure than conventional firms; and (2) high-ability members are more likely than other members to exit.

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Leaders' Use of Moral Justifications Increases Policy Support

Alex Van Zant & Don Moore
Psychological Science, June 2015, Pages 934-943

Abstract:
Leaders must choose how to justify their organization's actions to stakeholders. We differentiate moral frames, or justifications based on moral values, from pragmatic frames, or justifications based on practical costs and benefits. In Experiments 1a and 1b, we found that moral policy frames elicited more support than pragmatic frames across a variety of scenarios. This effect was mediated by the perception that leaders who offer moral justifications possess relatively greater moral character. In Experiment 2, we found that perceptions of a leader's private motives had a stronger influence on policy support than did the leader's public stance. Experiment 3 demonstrated that, irrespective of how a policy was framed, people were most supportive of a policy championed by a leader high in moral character. In Experiment 4, we documented an additional benefit of moral policy frames: They allow leaders to mitigate the moral outrage generated by reneging on a policy.

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Project Characteristics, Incentives, and Team Production

Richard Fu, Ajay Subramanian & Anand Venkateswaran
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop a model to show how agency conflicts, free-rider effects, and monitoring costs interact to affect optimal team size and workers' incentive contracts. Team size increases with project risk, decreases with profitability, and decreases with monitoring costs as a proportion of output. Our predictions are consistent with empirical evidence that firm-specific risk has increased over time, average corporate earnings have declined, and firms' organizational structures have also flattened. The predicted effects of monitoring costs on team size are supported by evidence that improvements in information technology likely to lower monitoring costs lead to larger teams. Further, firms with relatively more intangible assets, where monitoring costs are likely to be higher, are smaller. Optimal incentive intensities decrease with risk and increase with profitability. The endogenous determination of team size accentuates the positive effects of a decline in risk and an increase in profitability on incentives.

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Different Views of Hierarchy and Why They Matter: Hierarchy as Inequality or as Cascading Influence

Stuart Bunderson et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Hierarchy is a reality of group life, for humans as well as for most other group-living species. And yet, there remains considerable debate about whether and when hierarchy can promote group performance and member satisfaction. We suggest that progress in this debate has been hampered by a lack of clarity about hierarchy and how to conceptualize it. Whereas prevailing conceptualizations of hierarchy in the group and organization literature focus on inequality in member power or status (i.e., centralization or steepness), we build on the ethological and social network traditions to advance a view of hierarchy as cascading relations of dyadic influence (i.e., acyclicity). We further suggest that hierarchy thus conceptualized is more likely to capture the functional benefits of hierarchy whereas hierarchy as inequality is more likely to be dysfunctional. In a study of 75 teams drawn from a wide range of industries, we show that whereas acyclicity in influence relations reduces conflict and thereby enhances both group performance and member satisfaction, centralization and steepness have negative effects on conflict, performance, and satisfaction, particularly in groups that perform complex tasks. The theory and results of this study can help to clarify and advance research on the functions and dysfunctions of hierarchy in task groups.

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Game Changer: The Topology of Creativity

Mathijs de Vaan, Balazs Vedres & David Stark
American Journal of Sociology, January 2015, Pages 1144-1194

Abstract:
This article examines the sociological factors that explain why some creative teams are able to produce game changers ― cultural products that stand out as distinctive while also being critically recognized as outstanding. The authors build on work pointing to structural folding ― the network property of a cohesive group whose membership overlaps with that of another cohesive group. They hypothesize that the effects of structural folding on game changing success are especially strong when overlapping groups are cognitively distant. Measuring social distance separately from cognitive distance and distinctiveness independently from critical acclaim, the authors test their hypothesis about structural folding and cognitive diversity by analyzing team reassembly for 12,422 video games and the career histories of 139,727 video game developers. When combined with cognitive distance, structural folding channels and mobilizes a productive tension of rules, roles, and codes that promotes successful innovation. In addition to serving as pipes and prisms, network ties are also the source of tools and tensions.

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What Influences Managers' Procedural Fairness towards Their Subordinates? The Role of Subordinates' Trustworthiness

Guozhen Zhao, Ya-Ru Chen & Joel Brockner
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 96-112

Abstract:
Four studies examined when and why the trustworthiness of subordinates influenced their managers' procedural fairness towards them. Subordinates seen as having more benevolence trustworthiness elicited greater procedural fairness from their managers, whereas subordinates seen as having less integrity trustworthiness elicited greater procedural fairness. Moreover, the positive (negative) relationship between subordinates' benevolence (integrity) trustworthiness and managers' procedural fairness was more pronounced when subordinates were perceived as higher in ability trustworthiness. Additional moderating and mediating findings suggest that managers' tendencies to show high procedural fairness towards their subordinates reflect two different underlying motivations: (1) to help managers maintain or cultivate good working relationships with their subordinates, and (2) to maintain control over their subordinates, that is, to make it less likely for subordinates to behave in ways that disrupt managers from attaining their goals. Implications for the organizational justice and trust literatures are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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