Blog

 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Impaired

Association Between Use of Marijuana and Male Reproductive Hormones and Semen Quality: A Study Among 1,215 Healthy Young Men

Tina Djernis Gundersen et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 15 September 2015, Pages 473-481

Abstract:
A total of 1,215 young Danish men aged 18–28 years were recruited between 2008 and 2012 when they attended a compulsory medical examination to determine their fitness for military service. The participants delivered a semen sample, had a blood sample drawn, and underwent a physical examination. They responded to questionnaires including information on marijuana and recreational drug use during the past 3 months (no use, use once per week or less, or use more than once per week). A total of 45% had smoked marijuana within the last 3 months. Regular marijuana smoking more than once per week was associated with a 28% (95% confidence interval (CI): −48, −1) lower sperm concentration and a 29% (95% CI: −46, −1) lower total sperm count after adjustment for confounders. The combined use of marijuana more than once per week and other recreational drugs reduced the sperm concentration by 52% (95% CI: −68, −27) and total sperm count by 55% (95% CI: −71, −31). Marijuana smokers had higher levels of testosterone within the same range as cigarette smokers. Our findings are of public interest as marijuana use is common and may be contributing to recent reports of poor semen quality.

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

The Prospective Association Between Sipping Alcohol by the Sixth Grade and Later Substance Use

Kristina Jackson et al.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, March 2015, Pages 212–221

Objective: Although there is a clear association between early use of alcohol and short- and long-term adverse outcomes, it is unclear whether consumption of minor amounts of alcohol (less than a full drink) at a young age is prognostic of risk behaviors in later adolescence.

Method: Data were taken from 561 students enrolled in an ongoing prospective web-based study on alcohol initiation and progression (55% female; 25% White non-Hispanic). Based on a combination of monthly and semiannual surveys, we coded whether participants sipped alcohol before sixth grade and examined associations between early sipping and alcohol consumption by fall of ninth grade, as well as other indices of problem behavior. Participants also reported on the context of the first sipping event.

Results: The prevalence of sipping alcohol by fall of sixth grade was 29.5%. Most participants indicated that their first sip took place at their own home, and the primary source of alcohol was an adult, usually a parent. Youth who sipped alcohol by sixth grade had significantly greater odds of consuming a full drink, getting drunk, and drinking heavily by ninth grade than nonsippers. These associations held even when we controlled for temperamental, behavioral, and environmental factors that contribute to proneness for problem behavior, which suggests that sipping is not simply a marker of underlying risk.

Conclusions: Our findings that early sipping is associated with elevated odds of risky behaviors at high school entry dispute the idea of sipping as a protective factor. Offering even just a sip of alcohol may undermine messages about the unacceptability of alcohol consumption for youth.

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

Breaking Bad: Are Meth Labs Justified in Dry Counties?

Jose Fernandez, Stephan Gohmann & Joshua Pinkston
University of Louisville Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
This paper examines the influence of local alcohol prohibition on the prevalence of methamphetamine labs. Using multiple sources of data for counties in Kentucky, we compare various measures of meth manufacturing in wet, moist, and dry counties. Our preferred estimates address the endogeneity of local alcohol policies by using as instrumental variables data on religious affiliations in the 1930s, when most local-option votes took place. Alcohol prohibition status is influenced by the percentage of the population that is Baptist, consistent with the “bootleggers and Baptists” model. Our results suggest that the number of meth lab seizures in Kentucky would decrease by 24.4 percent if all counties became wet.

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

Poor Body Image and Alcohol Use in Women

Cathryn Glanton Holzhauer, Ashley Zenner & Edelgard Wulfert
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies were conducted to examine the association between body image and alcohol use. Of interest was the extent to which alcohol outcome expectancies act as a moderator in this relationship, particularly in women. In Study 1, 421 college students (175 men, 246 women) provided self-report data on body image, social expressiveness expectancies, and average weekly alcohol use; the data were examined using a moderation model. Results showed that women with poor body image and high social expressiveness expectancies reported a significantly greater amount of average weekly alcohol consumption, whereas no such interaction was observed for men. Study 2 tested the same moderation model with 67 female participants; however, this second study utilized an in-lab behavioral measure of alcohol consumption as the outcome variable. The second study replicated results from Study 1, showing that women with overweight body image and alcohol-related high social expressiveness expectancies consumed significantly more beer during a taste rating task than women with other combinations of these variables. Taken together, the results of Studies 1 and 2 indicate that, specifically for women, an overweight body image and positive expectancies about the social, confidence-enhancing benefits of alcohol act as risk factors for excessive drinking.

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

Initiation of Alcohol, Marijuana, and Inhalant Use by American-Indian and White Youth Living On or Near Reservations

Linda Stanley & Randall Swaim
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Early initiation of drinking, intoxication, marijuana, and inhalant use is associated with negative outcomes and substance use trajectories. Using national datasets, American Indian (AI) youth have been found to initiate substance use earlier than other youth. This study uses a population-based sample of youth living on or near reservations to compare substance use onset for AI and white youth where socioeconomic conditions may be similar for these youth.

Methods: Student survey data were gathered from 32 schools in 3 regions from 2009-2012. A retrospective person-period data set was constructed using reported age of initiation of intoxication and marijuana and inhalant use. Multi-level modeling and event history analysis were used to estimate initiation as a function of age, gender, ethnicity, and region.

Results: The results provide further evidence that AI youth living on or near reservations initiate substance use significantly earlier than white youth who attend the same schools and live in the same communities. Differences between the two cultural groups were most evident for marijuana initiation where the odds of initiating marijuana use ranged from seven to 10 times greater for nine vs. eight-year-old AI compared to white youth.

Conclusions: Prevention efforts targeted to AI youth must begin earlier than for non-AI youth in order to delay or prevent initiation. In addition, better understanding about the differences in the psychosocial environments of AI and white youth living in these communities is of paramount importance in designing prevention efforts.

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

Life Events, Genetic Susceptibility, and Smoking among Adolescents

Fred Pampel et al.
Social Science Research, November 2015, Pages 221–232

Abstract:
Although stressful life events during adolescence are associated with the adoption of unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, both social circumstances and physical traits can moderate the relationship. This study builds on the stress paradigm and gene-environment approach to social behavior by examining how a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR moderates the effect of life events on adolescent smoking. Tests of interaction hypotheses use data from the Family Transitions Project, a longitudinal study of 7th graders followed for 5 years. A sibling-pair design with separate models for the gender composition of pairs (brothers, sisters, or brother/sister) controls for unmeasured family background. The results show that negative life events are significantly and positively associated with smoking. Among brother pairs but not other pairs, the results provide evidence of gene-environment interaction by showing that life events more strongly influence smoking behavior for those with more copies of the 5-HTTLPR S allele.

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

Differential Susceptibility: The Genetic Moderation of Peer Pressure on Alcohol Use

Amanda Griffin et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, October 2015, Pages 1841-1853

Abstract:
Although peer pressure can influence adolescents’ alcohol use, individual susceptibility to these pressures varies across individuals. The dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4) is a potential candidate gene that may influence adolescents’ susceptibility to their peer environment due to the role dopamine plays in reward sensation during social interaction. We hypothesized that DRD4 genotype status would moderate the impact of 7th-grade antisocial peer pressure on 12th-grade lifetime alcohol use (n = 414; 58.7 % female; 92.8 % White). The results revealed significant main effects for antisocial peer pressure, but no main effects for DRD4 genotype on lifetime alcohol use. Adolescent DRD4 genotype moderated the association between peer pressure and lifetime alcohol use. For individuals who carried at least one copy of the DRD4 7-repeat allele (7+), antisocial peer pressure was associated with increased lifetime alcohol use. These findings indicate that genetic sensitivity to peer pressure confers increased alcohol use in late adolescence.

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

Humanizing Machines: Anthropomorphization of Slot Machines Increases Gambling

Paolo Riva, Simona Sacchi & Marco Brambilla
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do people gamble more on slot machines if they think that they are playing against humanlike minds rather than mathematical algorithms? Research has shown that people have a strong cognitive tendency to imbue humanlike mental states to nonhuman entities (i.e., anthropomorphism). The present research tested whether anthropomorphizing slot machines would increase gambling. Four studies manipulated slot machine anthropomorphization and found that exposing people to an anthropomorphized description of a slot machine increased gambling behavior and reduced gambling outcomes. Such findings emerged using tasks that focused on gambling behavior (Studies 1 to 3) as well as in experimental paradigms that included gambling outcomes (Studies 2 to 4). We found that gambling outcomes decrease because participants primed with the anthropomorphic slot machine gambled more (Study 4). Furthermore, we found that high-arousal positive emotions (e.g., feeling excited) played a role in the effect of anthropomorphism on gambling behavior (Studies 3 and 4). Our research indicates that the psychological process of gambling-machine anthropomorphism can be advantageous for the gaming industry; however, this may come at great expense for gamblers’ (and their families’) economic resources and psychological well-being.

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

Single-session interventions for problem gambling may be as effective as longer treatments: Results of a randomized control trial

Tony Toneatto
Addictive Behaviors, January 2016, Pages 58–65

Abstract:
Empirically supported treatments for problem gambling tend to be multimodal combining cognitive, behavior and motivational interventions. Since problem gamblers often prefer briefer treatments it is important that interventions adopt strategies that are optimally effective. In this study, 99 community-recruited problem gamblers (74% male, mean age: 47.5 years) were randomized to one of four treatments: six sessions of cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, and motivational therapy or a single-session intervention. The sample was followed up for 12 months post-treatment. In both the Intent-to-Treat and Completer statistical analyses, no significant group differences on key gambling variables (i.e., frequency, expenditures, severity) were found. All four treatments showed significant improvement as a result of treatment that endured throughout the follow-up period. These results, although preliminary, suggest that very brief, single-session interventions may be as effective as longer treatments.

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

Alcohol Use and Caloric Intake From Alcohol in a National Cohort of U.S. Career Firefighters

Christopher Keith Haddock et al.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, May 2015, Pages 360–366

Objective: Both media reports and preliminary research suggest that problem drinking is a concern in the U.S. fire service. However, no national epidemiological research has been conducted. This study presents the first national data on alcohol consumption patterns among firefighters.

Method: Data are from 954 male firefighters at 20 career fire departments. The departments covered 14 U.S. states, commonwealths, and/or territories and each of the four major U.S. Census Bureau Regions. Alcohol use was assessed through both surveys and, in a subsample, 24-hour dietary recall interviews from an off-duty day.

Results: More than 85% of participants consumed alcohol, nearly half reported excessive drinking, and approximately one third reported episodic heavy use when off duty. Firefighters (in comparison with officers or chiefs) and those with fewer years of service had particularly high levels of alcohol intake. Among firefighters who drank, the energy derived from alcohol averaged 539 kcals, or nearly 18% of total energy. Twenty five percent of firefighters consumed more than 770 kcals from alcohol in a single day.

Conclusions: Given the high prevalence of excessive and episodic heavy drinking and the impact of alcohol on energy intake in this population, national surveillance programs and targeted prevention interventions for problem drinking in the U.S. fire service are critically needed.

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

Divergent marijuana trajectories among men: Socioeconomic, relationship, and life satisfaction outcomes in the mid-30s

Helene White et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Given recent changes in marijuana policy in the United States, it is important to understand the long-term effects of marijuana use on adult functioning. We examined whether men who displayed different trajectories of marijuana use from adolescence through emerging adulthood (age ∼15–26) differed in terms of socioeconomic, social, and life satisfaction outcomes in their mid-30s.

Methods: Data came from a longitudinal sample of men who were recruited in early adolescence (N = 506) and followed into adulthood. Four trajectory groups based on patterns of marijuana use from adolescence into emerging adulthood were compared on adult outcomes (age ∼36) before and after controlling for co-occurring use of other substances and several pre-existing confounding factors in early adolescence. The potential moderating effect of race was also examined.

Results: Although there were initially group differences across all domains, once pre-existing confounds and co-occurring other substance use were included in the model, groups only differed in terms of partner and friend marijuana use. Chronic marijuana users reported the highest proportions of both. Frequent and persistent marijuana use was associated with lower socioeconomic status (SES) for Black men only.

Conclusions: After statistically accounting for confounding variables, chronic marijuana users were not at a heightened risk for maladjustment in adulthood except for lower SES among Black men. Chronic users were more likely to have friends and partners who also used marijuana. Future studies should take into account pre-existing differences when examining outcomes of marijuana use.

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

A comprehensive examination of U.S. laws enacted to reduce alcohol-related crashes among underage drivers

Eduardo Romano et al.
Journal of Safety Research, forthcoming

Introduction: To effectively address concerns associated with alcohol-related traffic laws, communities must apply comprehensive and well-coordinated interventions that account for as many factors as possible. The goal of the current research article is to examine and evaluate the simultaneous contribution of 20 underage drinking laws and 3 general driving safety laws, while accounting for demographic, economic, and environmental variables.

Methods: Annual fatal crash data (1982 to 2010), policies, and demographic, economic, and environmental information were collected and applied to each of the 51 jurisdictions (50 states and the District of Columbia). A structural equation model was fit to estimate the relative contribution of the variables of interest to alcohol-related crashes.

Results: As expected, economic factors (e.g., unemployment rate, cost of alcohol) and alcohol outlet density were found highly relevant to the amount of alcohol teens consume and therefore to teens' impaired driving. Policies such as those regulating the age of bartenders, sellers, or servers; social host civil liability laws; dram shop laws; internal possession of alcohol laws; and fake identification laws do not appear to have the same impact on teens' alcohol-related crash ratios as other types of policies such as those regulating alcohol consumption or alcohol outlet density.

Conclusions: This effort illustrates the need for comprehensive models of teens' impaired driving. After simultaneously accounting for as many factors as possible, we found that in general (for most communities) further reductions in alcohol-related crashes among teens might be more rapidly achieved from efforts focused on reducing teens' drinking rather than on reducing teens' driving. Future efforts should be made to develop models that represent specific communities. Practical applications: Based on this and community-specific models, simulation programs can be developed to help communities understand and visualize the impact of various policy alternatives.

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

Gambling and Problem Gambling in the United States: Changes Between 1999 and 2013

John Welte et al.
Journal of Gambling Studies, September 2015, Pages 695-715

Abstract:
Telephone surveys of US adults were conducted in 1999–2000 and again in 2011–2013. The same questions and methods were used so as to make the surveys comparable. There was a reduction in percentage of past-year gambling and in frequency of gambling. Rates of problem gambling remained stable. Lottery was included among the specific types of gambling for which past year participation and frequency of play declined. Internet gambling was the only form of gambling for which the past-year participation rate increased. The average win/loss increased for several forms of gambling, providing a modest indication that gamblers were betting more, albeit less frequently. Between the two surveys, the rates of past-year participation in gambling declined markedly for young adults. In both surveys, rates of problem gambling were higher for males than females, and this difference increased markedly between surveys as problem gambling rates increased for males and decreased for females. For the combined surveys, rates of problem gambling were highest for blacks and Hispanics and lowest for whites and Asians. In both surveys, the rates of problem gambling declined as socio-economic status became higher. Possible explanations for these trends are discussed.

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

Effect of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and Pill Mill Laws on Opioid Prescribing and Use

Lainie Rutkow et al.
JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: To quantify the effect of Florida’s PDMP and pill mill laws on overall and high-risk opioid prescribing and use.

Design, Setting, and Participants: We applied comparative interrupted time-series analyses to IMS Health LifeLink LRx data to characterize the effect of PDMP and pill mill law implementation on a closed cohort of prescribers, retail pharmacies, and patients from July 2010 through September 2012 in Florida (intervention state) compared with Georgia (control state). We conducted sensitivity analyses, including varying length of observation and modifying requirements for continuous observation of individuals throughout the study period.

Results: From July 2010 through September 2012, a cohort of 2.6 million patients, 431 890 prescribers, and 2829 pharmacies was associated with approximately 480 million prescriptions in Florida and Georgia, 7.7% of which were for opioids. Total monthly opioid volume, MME per transaction, days’ supply, and prescriptions dispensed were higher in Florida than Georgia before implementation. Florida’s laws were associated with statistically significant declines in opioid volume (2.5 kg/mo, P < .05; equivalent to approximately 500 000 5-mg tablets of hydrocodone bitartrate per month) and MME per transaction (0.45 mg/mo, P < .05), without any change in days’ supply. Twelve months after implementation, the policies were associated with approximately a 1.4% decrease in opioid prescriptions, 2.5% decrease in opioid volume, and 5.6% decrease in MME per transaction. Reductions were limited to prescribers and patients with the highest baseline opioid prescribing and use. Sensitivity analyses, varying time windows, and enrollment criteria supported the main results.

Conclusions and Relevance: Florida’s PDMP and pill mill laws were associated with modest decreases in opioid prescribing and use. Decreases were greatest among prescribers and patients with the highest baseline opioid prescribing and use.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Unnatural

Enforcing the Clean Water Act: The Effect of State-level Corruption on Compliance

Katherine Grooms
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses an event study to examine the transition from federal to state management of the Clean Water Act (CWA). I find that, overall, the transition from federal to state control has little effect on facility compliance, measured by the violation rate. However, states with a long run prevalence of corruption see a large decrease in the violation rate after authorization relative to states without corruption. Alternative specifications support these findings. I explore whether the response to transition to state control differs across political ideology, GDP and income per capita, government size, environmental preferences and government management performance. None of these alternative state level characteristics seem to account for the observed difference.

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

“No Fracking Way!” Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

Ion Bogdan Vasi et al.
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse. We find that Gasland contributed not only to greater online searching about fracking, but also to increased social media chatter and heightened mass media coverage. Local screenings of Gasland contributed to anti-fracking mobilizations, which, in turn, affected the passage of local fracking moratoria in the Marcellus Shale states. These results have implications not only for understanding movement outcomes, but also for theory and research on media, the environment, and energy.

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

U.S. housing prices and the Fukushima nuclear accident

Alexander Fink & Thomas Stratmann
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, September 2015, Pages 309–326

Abstract:
Did the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima in March 2011 cause individuals to reappraise the risks they attach to nuclear power plants? We investigate the change in home prices in the U.S. after the Fukushima event to test the hypothesis that home prices in the proximity of power plants fell due to an updated nuclear risk perception. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we do not find evidence in support of the hypothesis that individuals reappraised the risks associated with nuclear power plants. According to our results home prices close to nuclear reactor sites did not fall relative to home prices at other locations in the U.S.

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

Is tree loss associated with cardiovascular-disease risk in the Women's Health Initiative? A natural experiment

Geoffrey Donovan et al.
Health & Place, November 2015, Pages 1–7

Abstract:
Data from the Women's Health Initiative were used to quantify the relationship between the loss of trees to an invasive forest pest — the emerald ash borer — and cardiovascular disease. We estimated a semi-parametric Cox proportional hazards model of time to cardiovascular disease, adjusting for confounders. We defined the incidence of cardiovascular disease as acute myocardial infarction requiring overnight hospitalization, silent MI determined from serial electrocardiograms, ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, or death from coronary heart disease. Women living in a county infested with emerald ash borer had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (HR=1.25, 95% CI: 1.20–1.31).

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

Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates

Thomas Jemielita et al.
PLoS ONE, July 2015

Abstract:
Over the past ten years, unconventional gas and oil drilling (UGOD) has markedly expanded in the United States. Despite substantial increases in well drilling, the health consequences of UGOD toxicant exposure remain unclear. This study examines an association between wells and healthcare use by zip code from 2007 to 2011 in Pennsylvania. Inpatient discharge databases from the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council were correlated with active wells by zip code in three counties in Pennsylvania. For overall inpatient prevalence rates and 25 specific medical categories, the association of inpatient prevalence rates with number of wells per zip code and, separately, with wells per km2 (separated into quantiles and defined as well density) were estimated using fixed-effects Poisson models. To account for multiple comparisons, a Bonferroni correction with associations of p<0.00096 was considered statistically significant. Cardiology inpatient prevalence rates were significantly associated with number of wells per zip code (p<0.00096) and wells per km2 (p<0.00096) while neurology inpatient prevalence rates were significantly associated with wells per km2 (p<0.00096). Furthermore, evidence also supported an association between well density and inpatient prevalence rates for the medical categories of dermatology, neurology, oncology, and urology. These data suggest that UGOD wells, which dramatically increased in the past decade, were associated with increased inpatient prevalence rates within specific medical categories in Pennsylvania. Further studies are necessary to address healthcare costs of UGOD and determine whether specific toxicants or combinations are associated with organ-specific responses.

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

Fracking and environmental (in)justice in a Texas city

Matthew Fry, Adam Briggle & Jordan Kincaid
Ecological Economics, September 2015, Pages 97–107

Abstract:
Shale gas development (SGD) via horizontal drilling and fracking is touted for economic benefits and spurned for health and environmental impacts. Despite SGD's socioecological salience, few peer-reviewed, empirical studies document the distribution of positive and negative effects. The City of Denton, Texas has ~ 280 active gas wells and over a decade of SGD. Here we use an environmental justice framework to analyze the distribution of SGD's costs and benefits within Denton. Using data on mineral property values from 2002 to 2013 and gas well locations, we ask: who owns Denton's mineral rights (i.e. the greatest financial beneficiaries) and how does this ownership pattern relate to who lives near gas wells (i.e. those who shoulder the nuisances and health impacts)? Our results show that Denton's mineral wealth is widely distributed around the U.S., residents own 1% of the total value extracted, and the city government is a large financial beneficiary. In addition to distributional inequities, our analysis demonstrates that split estate doctrine, legal deference to mineral owners, and SGD's uniqueness in urban centers create disparities in municipal SGD decision-making processes. The environmental justice issues associated with fracking in Denton also provide one possible explanation for residents' November 2014 vote to ban hydraulic fracturing.

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

Trends in Exposure to Industrial Air Toxins for Different Racial and Socioeconomic Groups: A Spatial and Temporal Examination of Environmental Inequality in the U.S. from 1995 to 2004

Kerry Ard
Social Science Research, September 2015, Pages 375–390

Abstract:
In recent decades there have been dramatic declines in industrial air toxins. However, there has yet to be a national study investigating if the drop has mitigated the unequal exposure to industrial toxins by race and social class. This paper addresses this by developing a unique dataset of air pollution exposure estimates, by aggregating the annual fall-out location of 415 air toxins, from 17,604 facilities, for the years 1995 to 2004 up to Census block groups (N=216,159/year). These annual estimates of exposure were matched with census data to calculate trends in exposure for different racial and socioeconomic groups. Results show that exposure to air toxins has decreased for everyone, but African-Americans are consistently more exposed than Whites and Hispanics and socioeconomic status is not as protective for African-Americans. These results by race were further explored using spatially specified multilevel models which examine trends over time and across institutional boundaries.

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

Race, Deprivation, and Immigrant Isolation: The Spatial Demography of Air-Toxic Clusters in the Continental United States

Raoul Liévanos
Social Science Research, November 2015, Pages 50–67

Abstract:
This article contributes to environmental inequality outcomes research on the spatial and demographic factors associated with cumulative air-toxic health risks at multiple geographic scales across the United States. It employs a rigorous spatial cluster analysis of census tract-level 2005 estimated lifetime cancer risk (LCR) of ambient air-toxic emissions from stationary (e.g., facility) and mobile (e.g., vehicular) sources to locate spatial clusters of air-toxic LCR risk in the continental United States. It then tests intersectional environmental inequality hypotheses on the predictors of tract presence in air-toxic LCR clusters with tract-level principal component factor measures of economic deprivation by race and immigrant status. Logistic regression analyses show that net of controls, isolated Latino immigrant-economic deprivation is the strongest positive demographic predictor of tract presence in air-toxic LCR clusters, followed by black-economic deprivation and isolated Asian/Pacific Islander immigrant-economic deprivation. Findings suggest scholarly and practical implications for future research, advocacy, and policy.

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

Do Consumers Recognize the Value of Fuel Economy? Evidence from Used Car Prices and Gasoline Price Fluctuations

James Sallee, Sarah West & Wei Fan
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Debate about the appropriate design of energy policy hinges critically on whether consumers might undervalue energy efficiency, due to myopia or some other manifestation of limited rationality. We contribute to this debate by measuring consumers' willingness to pay for fuel economy using a novel identification strategy and high quality microdata from wholesale used car auctions. We leverage differences in future fuel costs across otherwise identical vehicles that have different current mileage, and therefore different remaining lifetimes. By seeing how price differences across high and low mileage vehicles of different fuel economies change in response to shocks to the price of gasoline, we estimate the relationship between vehicle prices and future fuel costs. Our data suggest that used automobile prices move one for one with changes in present discounted future fuel costs, which implies that consumers fully value fuel economy.

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

Crop Prices, Agricultural Revenues, and the Rural Economy

Jeremy Weber et al.
Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, September 2015, Pages 459-476

Abstract:
Policy makers in the United States often justify agricultural subsidies by stressing that agriculture is the engine of the rural economy. We use the increase in crop prices in the late 2000s to estimate the marginal effect of increased agricultural revenues on local economies in the U.S. Heartland. We find that $1 more in crop revenue generated 64¢ in personal income, with most going to farm proprietors and workers (59%) or nonfarmers who own farm assets (36%). The evidence suggests a weak link between revenues and nonfarm income or employment, or on population. Cuts to agricultural subsidies are therefore likely to have little effect on the broader rural economy in regions like the Heartland.

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

The potential of alternative fuel vehicles: A cost-benefit analysis

Yutaka Ito & Shunsuke Managi
Research in Transportation Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the economic validity of the diffusion of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and all-electric vehicles (EVs), employing a cost-benefit analysis from the social point of view. This research assumes the amount of NOx and tank-to-wheel CO2 emissions and gasoline use reduction as the benefits and the purchase costs, infrastructure expenses, and maintenance costs of alternative vehicles as the costs of switching internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to alternative energy vehicles. In addition, this study conducts a sensitivity analysis considering cost reductions in FCV and EV production and increasing costs for CO2 abatement as well as increasing gasoline prices. In summary, the results show that the diffusion of FCVs is not economically beneficial until 2110, even if the FCV purchase cost decreases to that of an ICE vehicle. EV diffusion might be beneficial by 2060 depending on increases in gasoline prices and CO2 abatement costs.

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

When top predators become prey: Black bears alter movement behaviour in response to hunting pressure

Milena Stillfried et al.
Behavioural Processes, November 2015, Pages 30–39

Abstract:
The trade-off between predator avoidance and foraging is a key decision making factor that shapes an organism's adaptive behaviour and movement patterns. Human hunters act as top predators to influence the behaviour of free-ranging mammals, including large carnivorous species such as black bears (Ursus americanus). Analysing the effects of hunting on animal behavioural patterns is essential for understanding the extent to which animals detect and respond to human-induced disturbances. To this end, we assessed whether black bear movement behaviour changed with varying risk from spatially and temporally heterogeneous human predation. Levels of risk were categorized as either low (disturbance from dog training; n = 19 bears) or high (disturbance from hunting activities; n = 11 bears). Road types were either paved (risk due to vehicles) or non-paved (risk due to hunters) and were used as proxies for hunting effort and amount of disturbance. We began by testing the null hypothesis that bears’ distribution before the onset of human disturbance is spatially random. Next, to test temporal movement adjustment between the low and high risk levels, we measured the distance to the nearest road and the road crossing frequency using mixed effects models with risk level, time of day and sex as predictor variables. As disturbance near non-paved roads increased due to the start of the hunting activity, the mean distances of bears to non-paved roads increased while the mean distances of bears to paved roads decreased, despite the continual risk of vehicle collision. These behavioural responses were observed during day and night, with the frequency of crossing paved roads at night five times greater than in daytime during the hunting season. Our findings demonstrate that black bears are able to detect risky places and adjust their spatial movements accordingly. More specifically, bears can perceive changes in the level of risk from human hunting activities on a fine temporal scale.

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

A phantom road experiment reveals traffic noise is an invisible source of habitat degradation

Heidi Ware et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decades of research demonstrate that roads impact wildlife and suggest traffic noise as a primary cause of population declines near roads. We created a “phantom road” using an array of speakers to apply traffic noise to a roadless landscape, directly testing the effect of noise alone on an entire songbird community during autumn migration. Thirty-one percent of the bird community avoided the phantom road. For individuals that stayed despite the noise, overall body condition decreased by a full SD and some species showed a change in ability to gain body condition when exposed to traffic noise during migratory stopover. We conducted complementary laboratory experiments that implicate foraging-vigilance behavior as one mechanism driving this pattern. Our results suggest that noise degrades habitat that is otherwise suitable, and that the presence of a species does not indicate the absence of an impact.

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

How Much Can We Expect the Rise in U.S. Domestic Energy Production to Suppress Net Energy Imports?

Richard York
Social Currents, September 2015, Pages 222-230

Abstract:
A reason commonly stated by policymakers in the United States for increasing domestic energy production is to reduce energy imports. However, the degree to which domestic production actually displaces imports is an open question. To help provide an answer to this question, I analyze data for the United States from 1960 to 2011 to assess how many units of imported energy are suppressed by each unit of domestic production, controlling for economic activity and energy prices. I show that the pattern is one where domestic energy production spurs energy use, so that the effect of production on net imports is less than one-for-one. This finding has important implications, which I discuss, about the ease with which reliance on foreign energy sources can be overcome and about the environmental consequences of rising domestic production.

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

Changes in Public and Private Environmentally Responsible Behaviors by Gender: Findings from the 1994 and 2010 General Social Survey

Adam Yates et al.
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine gender differences in public and private environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs) and whether and how these differences changed between 1994 and 2010. We consider how political attitudes and environmental concern influence the relationship between gender and ERBs. Ordinary least squares regression models were estimated using the 1994 and 2010 General Social Survey. The study results indicate that women had higher levels of private ERBs than men in 1994 and 2010. Political ideology and environmental concern partially explain gender differences in private ERBs in 1994 and fully explain them in 2010. Men and women have similar levels of public ERBs in 1994; in 2010, men's level of public ERBs is significantly higher than women's, after controlling for political ideology and environmental concern. In addition, there are some gender differences in the effects of political orientation and environmental concern on ERBs. Our study indicates that the relationship between gender and environmentalism is complex and that concern and political orientation should be considered when designing strategies to enhance ERBs.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Heads of households

Parental Incentives and Early Childhood Achievement: A Field Experiment in Chicago Heights

Roland Fryer, Steven Levitt & John List
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
This article describes a randomized field experiment in which parents were provided financial incentives to engage in behaviors designed to increase early childhood cognitive and executive function skills through a parent academy. Parents were rewarded for attendance at early childhood sessions, completing homework assignments with their children, and for their child’s demonstration of mastery on interim assessments. This intervention had large and statistically significant positive impacts on both cognitive and non-cognitive test scores of Hispanics and Whites, but no impact on Blacks. These differential outcomes across races are not attributable to differences in observable characteristics (e.g. family size, mother’s age, mother’s education) or to the intensity of engagement with the program. Children with above median (pre-treatment) non cognitive scores accrue the most benefits from treatment.

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

Does the Gender of Offspring Affect Parental Political Orientation?

Byungkyu Lee & Dalton Conley
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recently, offspring sex has been widely used as a natural experiment and argued to induce changes in political orientation among parents. However, prior results have been contradictory: in the UK, researchers found that having daughters led to parents favoring left-wing political parties and to holding more liberal views on family/gender roles, whereas in the United States scholars found that daughters were associated with more Republican (rightist) party identification and more conservative views on teen sexuality. We propose and examine three plausible explanations to account for these puzzling results using data from the General Social Survey and the European Social Survey; contextual (period/country) differences, heterogeneous treatment effects, and publication bias. In an analysis of thirty-six countries, we obtain null effects of the sex of the first child on party identification as well as on political ideology while ruling out country heterogeneity. Further, we observe no evidence of other heterogeneous treatment effects based on the analysis of Bayesian Additive Regression Tree models. As a corrective to the source of publication bias, we here add comprehensive null findings to the polarized canon of significant results.

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

Comparison of Poverty and Income Disparity of Single Mothers and Fathers Across Three Decades: 1990–2010

Karen Kramer et al.
Gender Issues, forthcoming

Abstract:
As the potential for more children being raised by single parents increases, so does the societal need to examine this phenomena of single parent earnings and the impact it will have on the ability to support a family above the poverty line. Research suggests a substantial pay gap between men and women, but most research is limited to individuals in traditional families. This study explores income disparity and poverty between single mothers and single fathers across three decades (1990–2010), using a US nationally representative sample. Based on human capital theory, our analysis reveals that single mothers were more likely to be in poverty at far greater rates than single fathers, after controlling for a host of demographic, human capital, and work related variables. We also found that a contributing factor to this disparity is that single mothers were penalized for having more children while single fathers were not. We find that gendered poverty and the gender pay gap narrowed between 1990 and 2000, but have stayed stable since. Overall, human capital decreases the gender income and poverty gap, but a substantial gap still remains. Implications for policy-makers are discussed.

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

Effects of an Attachment-Based Intervention on Child Protective Services–Referred Mothers' Event-Related Potentials to Children's Emotions

Kristin Bernard, Robert Simons & Mary Dozier
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the neurobiology of maternal sensitivity to children's emotions among mothers involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) and low-risk comparison mothers (Mage = 31.6 years). CPS-referred mothers participated in the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) intervention or a control intervention. Mothers' event-related potentials (ERPs) were measured while they categorized images of children with crying, laughing, and neutral expressions. CPS-referred ABC mothers (n = 19) and low-risk comparison mothers (n = 30) showed a larger enhancement of ERP responses for emotional faces relative to neutral faces than CPS-referred control mothers (n = 21). Additionally, the magnitude of ERP responses to emotional faces was associated with observed maternal sensitivity. Findings add to the understanding of the neurobiology of deficits in parenting and suggest that these deficits are changeable through a parenting intervention.

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

Family Spillovers of Long-Term Care Insurance

Norma Coe, Gopi Shah Goda & Courtney Harold Van Houtven
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
We examine how long-term care insurance (LTCI) affects family outcomes expected to be sensitive to LTCI, including utilization of informal care and spillover effects on children. An instrumental variables approach allows us to address the endogeneity of LTCI coverage. LTCI coverage induces less informal caregiving, suggesting the presence of intra-family moral hazard. We also find that children are less likely to co-reside or live nearby parents with LTCI and more likely to work full-time, suggesting that significant economic gains from private LTCI could accrue to the younger generation.

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

Intergenerational Effects of Parents’ Math Anxiety on Children’s Math Achievement and Anxiety

Erin Maloney et al.
Psychological Science, September 2015, Pages 1480-1488

Abstract:
A large field study of children in first and second grade explored how parents’ anxiety about math relates to their children’s math achievement. The goal of the study was to better understand why some students perform worse in math than others. We tested whether parents’ math anxiety predicts their children’s math achievement across the school year. We found that when parents are more math anxious, their children learn significantly less math over the school year and have more math anxiety by the school year’s end — but only if math-anxious parents report providing frequent help with math homework. Notably, when parents reported helping with math homework less often, children’s math achievement and attitudes were not related to parents’ math anxiety. Parents’ math anxiety did not predict children’s reading achievement, which suggests that the effects of parents’ math anxiety are specific to children’s math achievement. These findings provide evidence of a mechanism for intergenerational transmission of low math achievement and high math anxiety.

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

The relationship between genetic attributions, appraisals of birth mothers' health, and the parenting of adoptive mothers and fathers

Carla Smith Stover et al.
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, November–December 2015, Pages 19–27

Abstract:
Parenting beliefs and attributions can influence parenting behavior. We used an adoption design to examine the associations among perinatal risk and poor birth mother health, adoptive parent appraisals of birth mothers' mental health, and genetic attributions to adoptive parents' feelings and behaviors toward their adopted infants. A sample of 361 pairs of adoptive parents and birth mothers were interviewed using standardized measures when infants were between 4 and 9 months old. Adoptive mothers and fathers were observed during play tasks when their infants were 9 months old. We found that adoptive mothers' and fathers' appraisals of birth mothers' health were associated with perinatal risk and poor birth mother health. Adoptive mothers' appraisals were linked to hostile parenting, after accounting for characteristics of the child that may influence her appraisals and attributions. These associations were not present for adoptive fathers. Genetic attributions were associated with both adoptive mother and fathers' feelings of daily hassles in parenting. These findings have implications for prevention and intervention.

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

Has there been a recent increase in adolescent narcissism? Evidence from a sample of at-risk adolescents (2005–2014)

Christopher Barry & Lauren Lee-Rowland
Personality and Individual Differences, December 2015, Pages 153–157

Abstract:
The present study examined the level of overall self-reported narcissism in cohorts of 16–19 year olds (N = 2696; 2272 males) attending the same 22-week residential program from 2005 to 2014. Fourteen cohorts completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory for Children (NPIC; Barry, Frick, & Killian, 2003), and 10 of these cohorts completed the Narcissism Scale of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD; Frick & Hare, 2001). Two approaches to analyze scores in relation to year of data collection were employed. There were no significant changes in narcissism from either measure across the study time period. The implications of these findings for considering current generational trends in narcissism and the need for further research on developmental influences of narcissism are discussed.

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

Sharing the Burden: The Interpersonal Regulation of Emotional Arousal in Mother−Daughter Dyads

Jessica Lougheed, Peter Koval & Tom Hollenstein
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to social baseline theory (Beckes & Coan, 2011), load sharing is a feature of close relationships whereby the burden of emotional distress is distributed across relationship partners. Load sharing varies by physical closeness and relationship quality. We investigated the effect of load sharing on emotional arousal via galvanic skin response, an indicator of sympathetic nervous system arousal, during a social stressor. Social stress was elicited in 66 adolescent girls (Mage = 15 years) using a spontaneous public-speaking task. Mother−daughter dyads reported their relationship quality, and physical closeness was manipulated by having mothers either touch or not touch their daughter’s hand during the performance. We found evidence of load sharing among dyads who held hands, independent of relationship quality. However, without physical contact, load sharing was only evident among dyads with higher relationship quality. Thus, high relationship quality buffers against threat in a similar way to the physical comfort of a loved one.

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

Early Social Deprivation and the Social Buffering of Cortisol Stress Reponses in Late Childhood: An Experimental Study

Camelia Hostinar, Anna Johnson & Megan Gunnar
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The goal of the present study was to investigate the role of early social deprivation in shaping the effectiveness of parent support to alleviate hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA)-axis-stress responses of children (ages 8.9–11, M = 9.83 years, SD = .55). The sample was equally divided between children who had been adopted internationally from orphanage care by age 5 (n = 40) and an age- and gender-matched group of nonadopted (NA) children (n = 40). On average, internationally adopted children were invited to the laboratory 7.6 years postadoption (SD = 1.45). We experimentally manipulated the provision of parent support during the 5-min speech preparation period before a modified Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and examined its effect on levels of salivary cortisol secreted in response to this laboratory stressor. All participants were randomly assigned to receive support from their parent or a stranger. Analyses revealed a significant interaction of support condition and group such that parent support significantly dampened the cortisol-stress response in NA children compared with support from a stranger, whereas the cortisol response curves of postinstitutionalized (PI) children did not differ between the parent- and stranger-support conditions. Cortisol reactivity for PI children in both conditions was lower than that of NA children in the stranger-support condition. Social deprivation during the first few years of life may shape neurobehavioral development in ways that reduce selective responses to caregivers versus strangers.

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

Early Psychosocial Neglect Adversely Impacts Developmental Trajectories of Brain Oscillations and Their Interactions

Catherine Stamoulis et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rhythmicity is a fundamental property of neural activity at multiple spatiotemporal scales, and associated oscillations represent a critical mechanism for communication and transmission of information across brain regions. During development, these oscillations evolve dynamically as a function of neural maturation and may be modulated by early experiences, positive and/or negative. This study investigated the impact of psychosocial deprivation associated with institutional rearing in early life and the effects of subsequent foster care intervention on developmental trajectories of neural oscillations and their cross-frequency correlations. Longitudinally acquired nontask EEGs from three cohorts of children from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project were analyzed. These included abandoned children initially reared in institutions and subsequently randomized to be placed in foster care or receive care as usual (prolonged institutional rearing) and a group of never-institutionalized children. Oscillation trajectories were estimated from 42 to 96 months, that is, 1–3 years after all children in the intervention arm of the study had been placed in foster care. Significant differences between groups were estimated for the amplitude trajectories of cognitive-related gamma, beta, alpha, and theta oscillations. Similar differences were identified as a function of time spent in institutions, suggesting that increased time spent in psychosocial neglect may have profound and widespread effects on brain activity. Significant group differences in cross-frequency coupling were estimated longitudinally between gamma and lower frequencies as well as alpha and lower frequencies. Lower cross-gamma coupling was estimated at 96 months in the group of children that remained in institutions at that age compared to the other two groups, suggesting potentially impaired communication between local and long-distance brain networks in these children. In contrast, higher cross-alpha coupling was estimated in this group compared to the other two groups at 96 months, suggesting impaired suppression of alpha–theta and alpha–delta activity, which has been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Age at foster care placement had a significant positive modulatory effect on alpha and beta trajectories and their mutual coupling, although by 96 months these trajectories remained distinct from those of never-institutionalized children. Overall, these findings suggest that early psychosocial neglect may profoundly impact neural maturation, particularly the evolution of neural oscillations and their interactions across a broad frequency range. These differences may result in widespread deficits across multiple cognitive domains.

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

Links between family gender socialization experiences in childhood and gendered occupational attainment in young adulthood

Katie Lawson, Ann Crouter & Susan McHale
Journal of Vocational Behavior, October 2015, Pages 26–35

Abstract:
Gendered occupational segregation remains prevalent across the world. Although research has examined factors contributing to the low number of women in male-typed occupations – namely science, technology, engineering, and math – little longitudinal research has examined the role of childhood experiences in both young women's and men's later gendered occupational attainment. This study addressed this gap in the literature by examining family gender socialization experiences in middle childhood – namely parents' attitudes and work and family life – as contributors to the gender typicality of occupational attainment in young adulthood. Using data collected from mothers, fathers, and children over approximately 15 years, the results revealed that the associations between childhood socialization experiences (~ 10 years old) and occupational attainment (~ 26 years old) depended on the sex of the child. For sons but not daughters, mothers' more traditional attitudes toward women's roles predicted attaining more gender-typed occupations. In addition, spending more time with fathers in childhood predicted daughters attaining less and sons acquiring more gender-typed occupations in young adulthood. Overall, evidence supports the idea that childhood socialization experiences help to shape individuals' career attainment and thus contribute to gender segregation in the labor market.

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

Better for Baby? The Retreat From Mid-Pregnancy Marriage and Implications for Parenting and Child Well-being

Jessica Houston Su, Rachel Dunifon & Sharon Sassler
Demography, August 2015, Pages 1167-1194

Abstract:
Recent decades have seen a significant decline in mid-pregnancy (“shotgun”) marriage, particularly among disadvantaged groups, which has contributed to increasing nonmarital birth rates. Despite public and political concern about this shift, the implications for parenting and child well-being are not known. Drawing on a sample of U.S. black and white mothers with nonmarital conceptions from the NLSY79, our study fills this gap. Using propensity score techniques to address concerns about selection bias, we found that mid-pregnancy marriages were associated with slightly better parenting quality relative to remaining single, although effect sizes were small and limited to marriages that remained intact at the time of child assessment. Mid-pregnancy marriages were not associated with improved children’s behavior or cognitive ability. These findings suggest that the retreat from mid-pregnancy marriage may contribute to increasing inequality in parenting resources for children.

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

Sibling Genes as Environment: Sibling Dopamine Genotypes and Adolescent Health Support Frequency Dependent Selection

Emily Rauscher, Dalton Conley & Mark Siegal
Social Science Research, November 2015, Pages 209–220

Abstract:
While research consistently suggests siblings matter for individual outcomes, it remains unclear why. At the same time, studies of genetic effects on health typically correlate variants of a gene with the average level of behavioral or health measures, ignoring more complicated genetic dynamics. Using National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data, we investigate whether sibling genes moderate individual genetic expression. We compare twin variation in health-related absences and self-rated health by genetic differences at three locations related to dopamine regulation and transport to test sibship-level cross-person gene-gene interactions. Results suggest effects of variation at these genetic locations are moderated by sibling genes. Although the mechanism remains unclear, this evidence is consistent with frequency dependent selection and suggests much genetic research may violate the stable unit treatment value assumption.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, September 14, 2015

Great idea

Does the Technological Content of Government Demand Matter for Private R&D? Evidence from US States

Viktor Slavtchev & Simon Wiederhold
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Governments purchase everything from airplanes to zucchini. This paper investigates the role of the technological content of government procurement in innovation. In a theoretical model, we first show that a shift in the composition of public purchases toward high-tech products translates into higher economy-wide returns to innovation, leading to an increase in the aggregate level of private R&D. Using unique data on federal procurement in US states and performing panel fixed-effects estimations, we find support for the model's prediction of a positive R&D effect of the technological content of government procurement. Instrumental-variable estimations suggest a causal interpretation of our findings.

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

Inventing Prizes: A Historical Perspective on Innovation Awards and Technology Policy

Zorina Khan
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Prizes for innovations are currently experiencing a renaissance, following their marked decline during the nineteenth century. However, Daguerre’s “patent buyout,” the longitude prize, inducement prizes for butter substitutes and billiard balls, the activities of the Royal Society of Arts and other “encouragement” institutions, all comprise historically inaccurate and potentially misleading case studies. Daguerre, for instance, never obtained a patent in France and, instead, lobbied for government support in a classic example of rent-seeking. This paper surveys empirical research using more representative samples drawn from Britain, France, and the United States, including “great inventors” and their ordinary counterparts, and prizes at industrial exhibitions. The results suggest that administered systems of rewards to innovators suffered from a number of disadvantages in design and practice, some of which might be inherent to their non-market orientation. These findings in part explain why innovation prizes lost favour as a technology policy instrument in both the United States and Europe in the period of industrialization and economic growth.

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

Shielded Innovation

Lauren Cohen, Umit Gurun & Scott Kominers
Harvard Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
We show that increased litigation risk has driven innovators to shield themselves by shifting innovation out of industry and into universities. We show both theoretically and empirically that litigation by Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) pushes innovation to spaces with reduced litigation threat. Innovation has shifted into universities (and away from public and private firms) in exactly those industries with the most aggressive NPE litigation, precisely following extensive NPE litigation. The extent of innovation shielding is large and significant. An increase of 100 NPE lawsuits in an industry shifts up the university share of innovation by roughly 70% in subsequent years (t=5.34).

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

Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science

Brian Nosek et al.
Science, 28 August 2015

Abstract:
We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. There is no single standard for evaluating replication success. Here, we evaluated reproducibility using significance and P values, effect sizes, subjective assessments of replication teams, and meta-analysis of effect sizes. The mean effect size (r) of the replication effects (Mr = 0.197, SD = 0.257) was half the magnitude of the mean effect size of the original effects (Mr = 0.403, SD = 0.188), representing a substantial decline. Ninety-seven percent of original studies had significant results (P < .05). Thirty-six percent of replications had significant results; 47% of original effect sizes were in the 95% confidence interval of the replication effect size; 39% of effects were subjectively rated to have replicated the original result; and if no bias in original results is assumed, combining original and replication results left 68% with statistically significant effects. Correlational tests suggest that replication success was better predicted by the strength of original evidence than by characteristics of the original and replication teams.

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

Underreporting in Psychology Experiments: Evidence From a Study Registry

Annie Franco, Neil Malhotra & Gabor Simonovits
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many scholars have raised concerns about the credibility of empirical findings in psychology, arguing that the proportion of false positives reported in the published literature dramatically exceeds the rate implied by standard significance levels. A major contributor of false positives is the practice of reporting a subset of the potentially relevant statistical analyses pertaining to a research project. This study is the first to provide direct evidence of selective underreporting in psychology experiments. To overcome the problem that the complete experimental design and full set of measured variables are not accessible for most published research, we identify a population of published psychology experiments from a competitive grant program for which questionnaires and data are made publicly available because of an institutional rule. We find that about 40% of studies fail to fully report all experimental conditions and about 70% of studies do not report all outcome variables included in the questionnaire. Reported effect sizes are about twice as large as unreported effect sizes and are about 3 times more likely to be statistically significant.

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

Misconduct Policies, Academic Culture and Career Stage, Not Gender or Pressures to Publish, Affect Scientific Integrity

Daniele Fanelli, Rodrigo Costas & Vincent Larivière
PLoS ONE, June 2015

Abstract:
The honesty and integrity of scientists is widely believed to be threatened by pressures to publish, unsupportive research environments, and other structural, sociological and psychological factors. Belief in the importance of these factors has inspired major policy initiatives, but evidence to support them is either non-existent or derived from self-reports and other sources that have known limitations. We used a retrospective study design to verify whether risk factors for scientific misconduct could predict the occurrence of retractions, which are usually the consequence of research misconduct, or corrections, which are honest rectifications of minor mistakes. Bibliographic and personal information were collected on all co-authors of papers that have been retracted or corrected in 2010-2011 (N=611 and N=2226 papers, respectively) and authors of control papers matched by journal and issue (N=1181 and N=4285 papers, respectively), and were analysed with conditional logistic regression. Results, which avoided several limitations of past studies and are robust to different sampling strategies, support the notion that scientific misconduct is more likely in countries that lack research integrity policies, in countries where individual publication performance is rewarded with cash, in cultures and situations were mutual criticism is hampered, and in the earliest phases of a researcher’s career. The hypothesis that males might be prone to scientific misconduct was not supported, and the widespread belief that pressures to publish are a major driver of misconduct was largely contradicted: high-impact and productive researchers, and those working in countries in which pressures to publish are believed to be higher, are less-likely to produce retracted papers, and more likely to correct them. Efforts to reduce and prevent misconduct, therefore, might be most effective if focused on promoting research integrity policies, improving mentoring and training, and encouraging transparent communication amongst researchers.

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

Insider Trading and Innovation

Ross Levine, Chen Lin & Lai Wei
University of California Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
This paper assesses whether the enforcement of insider trading laws increases or decreases patent-based measures of technological innovation. Based on about 75,000 industry-country-year observations across 94 economies from 1976 to 2006, we find evidence consistent with the view that enforcing insider trading laws spurs innovation — as measured by patent intensity, scope, impact, generality, and originality — after controlling for country-year and industry-year fixed effects. Consistent with theories that insider trading slows innovation by impeding the valuation of innovative activities, the relationship between enforcing insider trading laws and innovation is much larger in industries that are naturally innovative and opaque, where we use the U.S. to benchmark industries.

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

Does Compulsory Licensing Discourage Invention? Evidence From German Patents After WWI

Joerg Baten, Nicola Bianchi & Petra Moser
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether compulsory licensing – which allows governments to license patents without the consent of patent-owners – discourages invention. Our analysis exploits new historical data on German patents to examine the effects of compulsory licensing under the US Trading-with-the-Enemy Act on invention in Germany. We find that compulsory licensing was associated with a 28 percent increase in invention. Historical evidence indicates that, as a result of war-related demands, fields with licensing were negatively selected, so OLS estimates may underestimate the positive effects of compulsory licensing on future inventions.

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

Patent Publication and the Market for Ideas

Deepak Hegde & Hong Luo
Harvard Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
In this paper, we study the effect of invention disclosure — through patent publication — on the market for ideas. We do so by analyzing the effects of the American Inventor’s Protection Act of 1999 (AIPA), which required US patent applications be published 18 months after their filing date rather than at patent grant, on the timing of licensing deals in the biomedical industry. We find that post-AIPA US patent applications are significantly more likely to be licensed before patent grant and shortly after 18-month publication. Licensing delays are reduced by about ten months, on average, after AIPA’s enactment. These findings suggest a hitherto unexplored benefit of the patent system: by requiring inventions to be published through a credible, standardized, and centralized repository, it mitigates information costs for buyers and sellers and thus facilitates transactions in the market for ideas.

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

Patent Pools, Competition, and Innovation — Evidence from 20 US Industries under the New Deal

Ryan Lampe & Petra Moser
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Patent pools have become a prominent mechanism to reduce litigation risks and facilitate the commercialization of new technologies. This article takes advantage of a window of regulatory tolerance under the New Deal to investigate the effects of pools that would form in the absence of effective antitrust. Difference-in-differences regressions of patents and patent citations across 20 industries imply a 14% decline in patenting for each additional patent that is included in a pool. An analysis of the mechanism by which pools discourage innovation indicates that this decline is driven by technologies for which the creation of a pool weakened competition in R&D.

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

Thriving innovation amidst manufacturing decline: The Detroit auto cluster and the resilience of local knowledge production

Thomas Hannigan, Marcelo Cano-Kollmann & Ram Mudambi
Industrial and Corporate Change, June 2015, Pages 613-634

Abstract:
Analyzing the comprehensive 35-year patent data set associated with the Detroit auto cluster we confirm that innovation in clusters can increase in spite of a long-term decline in manufacturing activity. The “stickiness” of local knowledge is sustained by: (i) increasing technological specialization at the local level and (ii) growing connectedness to global centers of excellence. The very forces that bring about the decline in manufacturing in a cluster sustain their position as a global center of innovative excellence.

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

Pricing Genius: The Market Evaluation of Innovation

David Galenson & Simone Lenzu
University of Chicago Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Economists have neglected a key issue for understanding and increasing technological change, in failing to study how talented individuals produce innovations. This paper takes a quantitative approach to this problem. Regression analysis of auction data from 1965-2015 reveals that the age-price profiles of Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol – the two greatest painters born in the 20th century – closely resemble the age profiles of the two artists derived both from textbooks of art history and from retrospective exhibitions. The agreement of these sources confirms that the auction market assigns the highest prices to the most important art, and examination of the artists’ careers reveals that this art is the most important because it is the most innovative. These results lend strong support to our understanding of creativity at the individual level, with a sharp contrast between the extended experimental innovation of Pollock and the sudden conceptual innovation of Warhol.

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

Tradition and Innovation in Scientists’ Research Strategies

Jacob Foster, Andrey Rzhetsky & James Evans
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
What factors affect a scientist’s choice of research problem? Qualitative research in the history and sociology of science suggests that this choice is patterned by an “essential tension” between productive tradition and risky innovation. We examine this tension through Bourdieu’s field theory of science, and we explore it empirically by analyzing millions of biomedical abstracts from MEDLINE. We represent the evolving state of chemical knowledge with networks extracted from these abstracts. We then develop a typology of research strategies on these networks. Scientists can introduce novel chemicals and chemical relationships (innovation) or delve deeper into known ones (tradition). They can consolidate knowledge clusters or bridge them. The aggregate distribution of published strategies remains remarkably stable. High-risk innovation strategies are rare and reflect a growing focus on established knowledge. An innovative publication is more likely to achieve high impact than a conservative one, but the additional reward does not compensate for the risk of failing to publish. By studying prizewinners in biomedicine and chemistry, we show that occasional gambles for extraordinary impact are a compelling explanation for observed levels of risky innovation. Our analysis of the essential tension identifies institutional forces that sustain tradition and suggests policy interventions to foster innovation.

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

Understanding the Changing Structure of Scientific Inquiry

Ajay Agrawal, Avi Goldfarb & Florenta Teodoridis
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The fall of the Iron Curtain led to an influx of new mathematical ideas into Western science. We show that research teams grew disproportionately in size in subfields of mathematics in which the Soviets were strongest. This is consistent with the knowledge burden hypothesis that an outward shift in the knowledge frontier increases the returns to collaboration. We also report additional evidence consistent with this interpretation: (1) The effect is present in countries outside the US and is not correlated with the local population of Soviet scholars, (2) Researchers in Soviet-rich subfields disproportionately increased their level of specialization.

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

Do Economic Downturns Dampen Patent Litigation?

Alan Marco, Shawn Miller & Ted Sichelman
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, September 2015, Pages 481–536

Abstract:
Recent studies estimate that the economic impact of U.S. patent litigation may be as large as $80 billion per year and that the overall rate of U.S. patent litigation has been growing rapidly over the past 20 years. And yet, the relationship of the macroeconomy to patent litigation rates has never been studied in any rigorous fashion. This lacuna is notable given that there are two opposing theories among lawyers regarding the effect of economic downturns on patent litigation. One camp argues for a substitution theory, holding that patent litigation should increase in a downturn because potential plaintiffs have a greater incentive to exploit patent assets relative to other investments. The other camp posits a capital constraint theory that holds that the decrease in cash flow and available capital disincentivizes litigation. Analyzing quarterly patent infringement suit filing data from 1971–2009 using a time-series vector autoregression (VAR) model, we show that economic downturns have significantly affected patent litigation rates. (To aid other researchers in testing and extending our analyses, we have made our entire data set available online.) Importantly, we find that these effects have changed over time. In particular, patent litigation has become more dependent on credit availability in a downturn. We hypothesize that such changes resulted from an increase in use of contingent-fee attorneys by patent plaintiffs and the rise of nonpracticing entities (NPEs), which, unlike most operating companies, generally fund their lawsuits directly from outside capital sources. Over roughly the last 20 years, we find that macroeconomic conditions have affected patent litigation in contrasting ways. Decreases in GDP (particularly economy-wide investment) are correlated with significant increases in patent litigation and countercyclical economic trends. On the other hand, increases in T-bill and real interest rates as well as increases in economy-wide financial risk are generally correlated with significant decreases in patent suits, leading to procyclical trends. Thus, the specific nature of a downturn predicts whether patent litigation rates will tend to rise or fall.

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

Law and Innovation: Evidence from State Trade Secrets Laws

I.P.L. Png
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Here, I study the effect of state enactment of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) on R&D among U.S. businesses between 1979-98. Using a new index of the legal protection of trade secrets, I find that the UTSA was associated with higher R&D among larger companies and those in high-tech industries. For the average company in the respective industry, the UTSA was associated with 3.2 percent more R&D in pharmaceuticals and 3.1 percent more R&D in computers and office equipment, as contrasted with no significant change in soaps and cleaners, and industrial machinery and equipment.

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

Technology Entry in the Presence of Patent Thickets

Bronwyn Hall, Christian Helmers & Georg von Graevenitz
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
We analyze the effect of patent thickets on entry into technology areas by firms in the UK. We present a model that describes incentives to enter technology areas characterized by varying technological opportunity, complexity of technology, and the potential for hold-up in patent thickets. We show empirically that our measure of patent thickets is associated with a reduction of first time patenting in a given technology area controlling for the level of technological complexity and opportunity. Technological areas characterized by more technological complexity and opportunity, in contrast, see more entry. Our evidence indicates that patent thickets raise entry costs, which leads to less entry into technologies regardless of a firm’s size.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Socialized

Does singlehood isolate or integrate? Examining the link between marital status and ties to kin, friends, and neighbors

Natalia Sarkisian & Naomi Gerstel
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article addresses a debate about the relationship of singlehood and informal ties - singlehood as isolating versus integrative - and evaluates structural explanations for this relationship, focusing on life course characteristics and socioeconomic resources. Using the National Survey of Families and Households (1992-1994) and the General Social Survey (2000, 2004, 2006, 2012), we examine ties to relatives, neighbors, and friends among U.S. adults. We find that single individuals are more likely to frequently stay in touch with, provide help to, and receive help from parents, siblings, neighbors, and friends than the married. These differences between the single and the married are more prominent for the never married than for the previously married, suggesting that marriage extends its reach after it ends. Being single increases the social connections of both women and men. Overall, much of the positive relationship between singlehood and social ties remains even when we take into account structural explanations. We conclude that instead of promoting marriage, policy should acknowledge the social constraints associated with marriage and recognize that single individuals have greater involvement with the broader community.

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

On wealth and the diversity of friendships: High social class people around the world have fewer international friends

Maurice Yearwood et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, December 2015, Pages 224-229

Abstract:
Having international social ties carries many potential advantages, including access to novel ideas and greater commercial opportunities. Yet little is known about who forms more international friendships. Here, we propose social class plays a key role in determining people's internationalism. We conducted two studies to test whether social class is related positively to internationalism (the building social class hypothesis) or negatively to internationalism (the restricting social class hypothesis). In Study 1, we found that among individuals in the United States, social class was negatively related to percentage of friends on Facebook that are outside the United States. In Study 2, we extended these findings to the global level by analyzing country-level data on Facebook friends formed in 2011 (nearly 50 billion friendships) across 187 countries. We found that people from higher social class countries (as indexed by GDP per capita) had lower levels of internationalism - that is, they made more friendships domestically than abroad.

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

Socioeconomic Status and Social Support: Social Support Reduces Inflammatory Reactivity for Individuals Whose Early-Life Socioeconomic Status Was Low

Neha John-Henderson et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Low socioeconomic status (SES) during childhood confers risk for adverse health in adulthood. Accumulating evidence suggests that this may be due, in part, to the association between lower childhood SES and higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Drawing from literature showing that low childhood SES predicts exaggerated physiological reactivity to stressors and that lower SES is associated with a more communal, socially attuned orientation, we hypothesized that inflammatory reactivity would be more greatly affected by cues of social support among individuals whose childhood SES was low than among those whose childhood SES was high. In two studies, we found that individuals with lower subjective childhood SES exhibited greater reductions in pro-inflammatory cytokine reactivity to a stressor in the presence of a supportive figure (relative to conditions with an unsupportive or neutral figure). These effects were independent of current SES. This work helps illuminate SES-based differences in inflammatory reactivity to stressors, particularly among individuals whose childhood SES was low.

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

Reconnection Choices: Selecting the Most Valuable (vs. Most Preferred) Dormant Ties

Jorge Walter, Daniel Levin & Keith Murnighan
Organization Science, September-October 2015, Pages 1447-1465

Abstract:
Recent research has shown that reconnecting long-lost, dormant ties can yield tremendous value, often more than active ties. Yet two key research questions remain unanswered: which of a person's many dormant ties provide the most value, and which are advice seekers most inclined to choose as reconnection targets? In the current study, we asked executives to seek advice on an important work project from two dormant ties (their first, most preferred choice plus one selected randomly from their next nine most preferred choices) and to respond to surveys before and after their reconnections. This two-stage design allowed us to make causal inferences about the executives' advice-seeking preferences and the value of reconnecting certain types of dormant ties. Our results show that the most valuable reconnections are to people who provide novelty (by not having spent much time together in the past and having higher status) as well as engagement (by being trustworthy and willing to help). Our executive participants, however, preferred neither novelty nor engagement. Rather, the prospect of reconnecting can make people feel anxious. To avoid this discomfort, executives preferred contacts with whom they had spent a lot of time together in the past, thereby actually reducing novelty. Thus, our findings identify critical biases in executives' reconnection preferences as well as insights into how to make more effective reconnections. Our discussion presents broader implications of these findings for advice seeking and social networks.

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

Running With the Pack: Teen Peer-Relationship Qualities as Predictors of Adult Physical Health

Joseph Allen, Bert Uchino & Christopher Hafen
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study assessed qualities of adolescent peer relationships as long-term predictors of physical health quality in adulthood. In an intensive multimethod, multireporter study of a community sample of 171 individuals assessed repeatedly from the ages of 13 to 27 years, physical health quality in adulthood was robustly predicted by independent reports of early-adolescent close-friendship quality and by a pattern of acquiescence to social norms in adolescent peer relationships. Predictions remained after accounting for numerous potential confounds, including prior health problems, concurrent body mass index, anxious and depressive symptoms, personality characteristics, adolescent-era financial adversity, and adolescent-era physical attractiveness. These findings have important implications for understanding the unique intensity of peer relationships in adolescence.

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

Trait sensitivity to social disconnection enhances pro-inflammatory responses to a randomized controlled trial of endotoxin

Mona Moieni et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, December 2015, Pages 336-342

Abstract:
One proposed mechanism for the association between social isolation and poor health outcomes is inflammation. Lonely or socially disconnected individuals show greater inflammatory responses, including up-regulation of pro-inflammatory gene expression, and people who are sensitive to cues of social disconnection (e.g., high levels of anxious attachment) exhibit greater inflammation in response to psychological stress. However, no studies have examined how sensitivity to social disconnection may influence pro-inflammatory responses to an inflammatory challenge. In the present study, we investigated the impact of sensitivity to social disconnection (a composite score comprised of loneliness, anxious attachment, fear of negative evaluation, and rejection sensitivity) on pro-inflammatory cytokines and gene expression in response to endotoxin, an inflammatory challenge, vs. placebo in a sample of one hundred and fifteen (n = 115) healthy participants. Results showed that those who are more sensitive to social disconnection show increased pro-inflammatory responses (i.e., increased levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6) to endotoxin, as well as up-regulation of multiple genes related to inflammation. Furthermore, bioinformatics analyses revealed that those in the endotoxin group who are more sensitive to social disconnection exhibited a conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA) regulatory profile, involving up-regulation of beta-adrenergic and pro-inflammatory transcription control pathways and down-regulation of antiviral transcription factors in response to endotoxin. These results may ultimately have implications for understanding the links between social isolation, inflammation, and health.

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

Stigma-Based Rejection and the Detection of Signs of Acceptance

Laura Richman, Julie Martin & Jennifer Guadagno
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
After people experience social rejection, one tactic to restore a sense of belonging is to selectively attend to and readily perceive cues that connote acceptance. The multimotive model of responses to rejection suggests that contextual features of the rejection are important determinants of how people are motivated to respond. According to this model, when rejection is construed as pervasive and chronic, people will be less likely to adopt strategies that promote belonging. Across two studies, we found that chronic rejection - in the context of stigmatization - predicted a slower response time to smiling faces and less recognition of affiliation-related words as compared to a nonstigmatized control group. These results suggest that, unlike more transitory forms of rejection, stigmatization leads to slower detection of signs of acceptance. These responses may hinder belonging repair and thus have important negative implications for health and well-being.

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

To email or not to email: The impact of media on psychophysiological responses and emotional content in utilitarian and romantic communication

Taylor Wells & Alan Dennis
Computers in Human Behavior, January 2016, Pages 1-9

Abstract:
Lean asynchronous computer mediated communication is often considered poor for communicating emotion, yet individuals continue to use it for business, personal, and even romantic communication. We used a lab experiment to investigate the influence of media (email and voicemail) and task type (romantic and utilitarian) on both the psychophysiological responses of senders and the content of the resulting messages. Message senders had more arousing physiological responses when sending emails than when leaving voicemails. An interaction exists between media and task such that the content of romantic email messages was more positive than romantic voicemails; while the opposite was true for utilitarian tasks. Thus the choice of media triggers different emotional responses in the sender and leads to different message content.

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

Dopamine D4 receptor polymorphism and sex interact to predict children's affective knowledge

Sharon Ben-Israel et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, June 2015

Abstract:
Affective knowledge, the ability to understand others' emotional states, is considered to be a fundamental part in efficient social interaction. Affective knowledge can be seen as related to cognitive empathy, and in the framework of theory of mind (ToM) as affective ToM. Previous studies found that cognitive empathy and ToM are heritable, yet little is known regarding the specific genes involved in individual variability in affective knowledge. Investigating the genetic basis of affective knowledge is important for understanding brain mechanisms underlying socio-cognitive abilities. The 7-repeat (7R) allele within the third exon of the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4-III) has been a focus of interest, due to accumulated knowledge regarding its relevance to individual differences in social behavior. A recent study suggests that an interaction between the DRD4-III polymorphism and sex is associated with cognitive empathy among adults. We aimed to examine the same association in two childhood age groups. Children (N = 280, age 3.5 years, N = 283, age 5 years) participated as part of the Longitudinal Israel Study of Twins. Affective knowledge was assessed through children's responses to an illustrated story describing different emotional situations, told in a laboratory setting. The findings suggest a significant interaction between sex and the DRD4-III polymorphism, replicated in both age groups. Boy carriers of the 7R allele had higher affective knowledge scores than girls, whereas in the absence of the 7R there was no significant sex effect on affective knowledge. The results support the importance of DRD4-III polymorphism and sex differences to social development. Possible explanations for differences from adult findings are discussed, as are pathways for future studies.

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

The "Empty Vessel" Physician: Physicians' Instrumentality Makes Them Seem Personally Empty

Juliana Schroeder & Ayelet Fishbach
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although much research examines how physicians perceive their patients, here we study how patients perceive physicians. We propose patients consider their physicians like personally emotionless "empty vessels": The higher is individuals' need for care, the less they value physicians' traits related to their personal lives (e.g., self-focused emotions), but the more they value physicians' traits related to patients (e.g., patient-focused emotions). In an initial study, participants recalled fewer personal facts (e.g., marital status) about physicians who seemed more important to their health. In subsequent experiments, participants in higher need for care believed physicians have less personal emotions. Although higher need individuals, such as patients in a clinic, perceived their physicians to be personally emotionless, they wanted the clinic to hire physicians who displayed patient-focused emotion. We discuss implications of perceiving physicians as empty vessels for health care.

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

The Outcomes of Broadcasting Self-Disclosure Using New Communication Technologies: Responses to Disclosure Vary Across One's Social Network

Stephen Rains & Steven Brunner
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several new communication technologies have made it relatively easy for individuals to broadcast a single self-disclosure directly to almost everyone with whom they share a relationship - ranging from close friends to little-known acquaintances. Drawing from research on self-disclosure and the negativity effect, two studies were conducted to test the notion that the interpersonal and relational outcomes of broadcasting positive and negative self-disclosures are not uniform. The results of the cross-sectional survey offer evidence that the outcomes of positive and negative broadcasted disclosures vary depending on the receiver's relationship with the discloser. The results from the experiment largely support the negativity effect explanation for differences in the outcomes of broadcasted disclosures. Relative to positive disclosures, negative broadcasted self-disclosures have a significantly greater impact on acquaintances than on friends' perceptions of the discloser and their relationship.

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

From social anxiety to interpersonal connectedness: Relationship building within face-to-face, phone and instant messaging mediums

Brenda Lundy & Michelle Drouin
Computers in Human Behavior, January 2016, Pages 271-277

Abstract:
The present research examined whether social anxiety moderates the potential relationship between conversation medium and interpersonal connectedness. Hypotheses predicted that individuals with high social anxiety would demonstrate greater interpersonal connectedness following instant messaging conversations; whereas, individuals with low social anxiety would report greater interpersonal connectedness following face-to-face and phone conversations. Undergraduate participants (N = 165) were randomly assigned to one of three conversation mediums (face-to-face, phone or instant messaging) during which they engaged in an interaction with an unfamiliar partner. Participants completed a measure of social anxiety before the interaction and measures of interpersonal connectedness prior to and following the interaction. Results revealed that level of social anxiety is a significant contingent condition for the association between type of conversation medium and attitude homophily (i.e., a measure of interpersonal connectedness). For individuals with low social anxiety, scores on the attitude homophily measure were significantly lower in the instant messaging condition, compared to the face-to-face and phone conditions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Every which way

The Personal Politics of Same-Sex Marriage

Craig Burnett & Aaron King
Politics & Policy, August 2015, Pages 586-610

Abstract:
Research on attitudes toward gay people and same-sex marriage finds that individuals who know a gay person in their immediate personal network are not only more likely to view gay people positively but also support same-sex marriage. Here we examine whether this result extends to an individual's stance toward specific ballot measures regarding same-sex marriage across different social and political climates ranging from the conservative South to the liberal Pacific Northwest. Using survey data collected in three states that considered banning or approving same-sex marriage during the 2012 election cycle, we analyze the hypothesis that a personal relationship with a gay person affects an individual's vote choice on a ballot measure with actual policy consequences. In the end, we find mixed results across the three states. Our results suggest the importance of state-level variation in the social climate that may temper the effect of contact.

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

The Social Context of Sexual Identity

Elizabeth Aura McClintock
University of Notre Dame Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
Prior research documents greater longitudinal change in sexual identity and higher rates of non-heterosexuality and among women than among men, particularly, higher rates of bisexual and "heteroflexible" identities. Yet researchers have not considered the social structure of sexual identity, or gender differences in the importance of social context and experience for sexual identity. I argue that female sexual flexibility implies context-dependent and experience-dependent sexual identities; if men's sexual attractions are less flexible, context and experience would have little relevance for men's sexual identities. Using data from Add Health, a large, nationally-representative probability sample, I find that both contextual and personal characteristics - such as higher educational attainment, socioeconomic background, timing of childbearing, and race - are associated with women's sexual identity and with longitudinal change in women's sexual identity. These patterns are very different for men, for whom social context has less relevance to sexual identity.

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

The Difference One Word Makes: Imagining Sexual Orientation in Graduate School Application Essays

Kamden Strunk & Lucy Bailey
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past researchers in implicit racial bias have illuminated how changes of even a single word in such writing samples as job applications and syllabi can shape perceptions and behavior. In the present study, a multistaged experiment was undertaken to expand the work in implicit racial bias by using a similar research design focused on sexual orientation. We attempted to elicit sexual orientation identification via 1-word changes (wife, partner, or husband to refer to significant other) in graduate school admission essays and investigated differences in participants' ratings of those essays on a number of relevant dimensions. Results indicate that essays referring to a partner or husband were perceived as more feminine/less masculine and more gay/less straight versus those referring to a wife. We also found that the essays mentioning the partner or husband were rated as being a poorer "fit" to the university versus those referring to a wife. These results have implications for research, as this introduces a useful research paradigm for LGBTQ work, and for practice as it highlights the ways that single-word variations can elicit sexual subjectivities and impact subsequent decisions about admissions and fit.

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

Upset in Response to a Sibling's Partner's Infidelity: A Study With Siblings of Gays and Lesbians, From an Evolutionary Perspective

Dafni Hellstrand & Elisavet Chrysochoou
Evolutionary Psychology, September 2015

Abstract:
Existing evidence suggests that the psychological design of romantic jealousy differs for men and women: Men are more likely than women to report greater upset in response to a partner's sexual than emotional infidelity, whereas women are more likely than men to report greater upset in response to a partner's emotional than sexual infidelity. However, the observed sex difference can be explained after the fact by both an evolutionary analysis of past reproductive costs and a social constructionist analysis of social and gender role training. Attempting to disentangle these competing perspectives, researchers have measured participants' upset in response to a sibling's or a child's partner's infidelities. In contrast to what a socialization perspective would predict, participants' sex did not seem to affect their responses; the key variable was the sex of the sibling or the child, in line with a heuristic application of the evolutionary perspective. The present study attempted not only to test these competing hypotheses but also to extend previous work by involving participants with a gay or lesbian sibling and examining whether participants' responses are triggered by their sibling's or sibling's partner's sex. In line with an evolutionary perspective, participants' sex did not assert an effect on their responses. The key variable seemed to be the sex of the sibling (rather than the sex of the sibling's partner), with participants reporting greater levels of upset in response to the sexual than emotional infidelity of a gay brother's partner and to the emotional than sexual infidelity of a lesbian sister's partner. The ensuing discussion offers suggestions for future work on sex-specific triggers of jealousy.

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

Power and Sadomasochism: Understanding the Antecedents of a Knotty Relationship

Joris Lammers & Roland Imhoff
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large sample of 14,306 men and women was used to examine the relationship between social power and sexual arousal to consensual sadomasochism. Results showed that power increases the arousal to sadomasochism, after controlling for age and dominance. Furthermore, the effect of power on arousal by sadistic thoughts is stronger among women than among men, while the effect of power on arousal by masochistic thoughts is stronger among men than women. These findings refute common beliefs, reinforced through novels such as Fifty Shades of Grey, that the desire for sadomasochism reflects a desire to play out power dynamics in the bedroom. Instead, the effect of power is driven through a process of disinhibition that leads people to disregard sexual norms in general and disregard sexual norms associated with their gender in particular. These results add to an emerging literature that social power changes traditional gender patterns in sex.

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

Differences in Health Risk Behaviors Across Understudied LGBT Subgroups

Bryant Smalley, Jacob Warren & Nikki Barefoot
Health Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: The purpose of the current study was to conduct a large-scale, geographically diverse comparison of health risk behaviors between a broad range of sexual orientation and gender identity groups to more fully understand the health risks of subgroups within the LGBT community.

Method: A total of 3,279 individuals self-identifying as LGBT (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, and/or another gender or sexual minority) were recruited from across the United States through 2 sequentially implemented online recruitment methods. Participants completed a demographic assessment and the Health Risk Questionnaire (assessing diet and exercise, substance use and smoking, motor vehicle risks, sexual behaviors, violence, and medical risk-taking).

Results: Significant differences were found across genders for 18 of the 28 health risk behaviors investigated and across sexual orientations for 23 behaviors. Major differences emerged particularly with relation to diet and exercise behaviors, as well as sexual risk-taking, substance use, and medical risk-taking. Groups with notably elevated health risk behaviors included transgender women (diet and exercise behaviors), cisgender men (alcohol-related risk-taking), bisexual participants (substance use), and both transgender men and pansexual participants (self-harm). Differences between transgender participants and genderqueer or nonbinary participants were stark, indicating that these frequently combined groups have distinct health risk profiles.

Conclusions: Results suggest that there are extensive and largely variable levels of engagement in health risk behaviors within the LGBT community. In addition, gender and sexual orientation subcategories that are traditionally collapsed into 1 category (i.e., transgender and bisexual) evidenced strikingly different risks when examined independently. Recommendations for future research and LGBT health promotion efforts are discussed.

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

The Social Costs of Gender Nonconformity for Transgender Adults: Implications for Discrimination and Health

Lisa Miller & Eric Anthony Grollman
Sociological Forum, September 2015, Pages 809-831

Abstract:
Research suggests that transgender people face high levels of discrimination in society, which may contribute to their disproportionate risk for poor health. However, little is known about whether gender nonconformity, as a visible marker of one's stigmatized status as a transgender individual, heightens trans people's experiences with discrimination and, in turn, their health. Using data from the largest survey of transgender adults in the United States, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (N = 4,115), we examine the associations among gender nonconformity, transphobic discrimination, and health-harming behaviors (i.e., attempted suicide, drug/alcohol abuse, and smoking). The results suggest that gender nonconforming trans people face more discrimination and, in turn, are more likely to engage in health-harming behaviors than trans people who are gender conforming. Our findings highlight the important role of gender nonconformity in the social experiences and well-being of transgender people.

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

The impact of prenatal testosterone on female interest in slash fiction

Catherine Salmon
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, July 2015, Pages 161-169

Abstract:
This study examines the possible connection between prenatal levels of testosterone and adult female interest in erotica, in particular, the genre known as slash fiction. Slash stories focus on the romantic and sexual relationships between (generally) heterosexual males, fictional characters from TV and film, such as Star Trek's Kirk and Spock or Sherlock's Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Salmon and Symons (2001, 2004) suggested that higher than average levels of prenatal testosterone exposure might predispose women to prefer this type of fiction. This study attempts to use the sexually dimorphic finger ratio, 2D:4D, as an indicator of prenatal testosterone exposure, comparing the 2D:4D ratios of slash readers to those of nonreaders. Female slash readers had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios than females who were not readers of slash fiction, indicating higher prenatal testosterone exposure, thereby supporting the hypothesis that prenatal testosterone exposure may influence individual differences in preferences for erotic literature.

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

Reducing Heterosexuals' Prejudice Toward Gay Men and Lesbian Women via an Induced Cross-Orientation Friendship

Ashley Lytle & Sheri Levy
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is limited correlational research on whether cross-orientation friendships reduce heterosexuals' sexual prejudice, and no existing experimental studies on the impact of simulated cross-orientation friendships on attitudes toward gay men and lesbian women. The current study involved a novel and experimental examination of whether simulated cross-orientation friendships would reduce sexual prejudice. College student participants (White heterosexual) completed an experimental-manipulated closeness exercise (the fast friends procedure; Aron, Melinat, Aron, Vallone, & Bator, 1997) with a confederate (matched to participants' gender). Participants were randomly assigned to undergo the fast friends procedure with a confederate who either did not reveal his or her sexual orientation (control condition) or revealed being gay or lesbian at the beginning (reveal-beginning condition) or end of the interaction (reveal-end condition). As predicted, participants in both experimental conditions relative to those in a control condition reported significantly improved attitudes toward gay men and lesbian women (pre- to postexperiment), greater feelings of interpersonal closeness, and more positive behavior (longer and friendlier responses following disclosure of sexual orientation). The experimental conditions did not differ from each other. Implications of these findings are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, September 11, 2015

Going through the motions

Regulation and corruption

Randall Holcombe & Christopher Boudreaux
Public Choice, July 2015, Pages 75-85

Abstract:
Higher levels of government expenditures and more regulation naturally invite corruption, because they provide the opportunity for government officials to be paid off for regulatory favors, subsidies, and government contracts. Some countries have relatively large governments but lower levels of corruption. Scandinavian countries offer examples. While institutional differences may explain some of the cross-country differences in corruption, the most consistent relationship is that high levels of regulation are associated with more corruption. When looking at the effect of the size of government, it is the regulatory state, rather than the productive or redistributive state, that is associated with corruption.

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

Influence and the Administrative Process: Lobbying the U.S. President's Office of Management and Budget

Simon Haeder & Susan Webb Yackee
American Political Science Review, August 2015, Pages 507-522

Abstract:
All administrative processes contain points of entry for politics, and the U.S. president's use of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review government regulations is no exception. Specifically, OMB review can open up a pathway for interest groups to lobby for policy change. We theorize that interest group lobbying can be influential during OMB review, especially when there is consensus across groups. We use a selection model to test our argument with more than 1,500 regulations written by federal agencies that were subjected to OMB review. We find that lobbying is associated with change during OMB review. We also demonstrate that, when only business groups lobby, we are more likely to see rule change; however, the same is not true for public interest groups. We supplement these results with illustrative examples suggesting that interest groups can, at times, use OMB review to influence the content of legally binding government regulations.

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

The Voter's Blunt Tool

Renee Bowen & Cecilia Hyunjung Mo
Journal of Theoretical Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
When do voters win? In this paper we derive conditions under which a democracy will produce policies that favor the voter over special interests. We show that increasing political competition, increasing office holding benefits, decreasing potential rents to firms and increasing the salience of policy implies improved policies for the representative voter. We also find a positive interaction between the effect of political competition and office holding benefits. Panel data from the United States supports the model’s predictions. The ratio of taxes paid by individuals relative to corporations is decreasing with governor salary (a proxy for office holding benefits), protest activity (a proxy for policy salience), and political competition. Additionally, minimum wages are increasing with governor salary, protest activity, and political competition.

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

Policy Influence and Private Returns from Lobbying in the Energy Sector

Karam Kang
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, I quantify the extent to which lobbying expenditures by firms affect policy enactment. To achieve this end, I construct a novel dataset containing all federal energy legislation and lobbying activities by the energy sector during the 110th Congress. I then develop and estimate a game-theoretic model where heterogeneous players choose lobbying expenditures to affect the probability that a policy is enacted. I find that the effect of lobbying expenditures on a policy’s equilibrium enactment probability to be statistically significant but very small. Nonetheless, the average returns from lobbying expenditures are estimated to be over 130 percent.

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

Editorial Bias in Crowd-Sourced Political Information

Joshua Kalla & Peter Aronow
PLoS ONE, September 2015

Abstract:
The Internet has dramatically expanded citizens’ access to and ability to engage with political information. On many websites, any user can contribute and edit “crowd-sourced” information about important political figures. One of the most prominent examples of crowd-sourced information on the Internet is Wikipedia, a free and open encyclopedia created and edited entirely by users, and one of the world’s most accessed websites. While previous studies of crowd-sourced information platforms have found them to be accurate, few have considered biases in what kinds of information are included. We report the results of four randomized field experiments that sought to explore what biases exist in the political articles of this collaborative website. By randomly assigning factually true but either positive or negative and cited or uncited information to the Wikipedia pages of U.S. senators, we uncover substantial evidence of an editorial bias toward positivity on Wikipedia: Negative facts are 36% more likely to be removed by Wikipedia editors than positive facts within 12 hours and 29% more likely within 3 days. Although citations substantially increase an edit’s survival time, the editorial bias toward positivity is not eliminated by inclusion of a citation. We replicate this study on the Wikipedia pages of deceased as well as recently retired but living senators and find no evidence of an editorial bias in either. Our results demonstrate that crowd-sourced information is subject to an editorial bias that favors the politically active.

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

Return to Spender: The Electoral Connection’s Effect on Veto Challenges and Overrides

Dave Bridge
The Forum, July 2015, Pages 289–309

Abstract:
This paper uses assumptions about position taking and credit claiming to help predict when Congress will challenge and override a presidential veto. Using assumptions about position taking and credit claiming to generate measurable hypotheses, I find that vetoes on spending bills are 13.0 percentage points more likely to be challenged and 13.1 percentage points more likely to be overridden. Furthermore, spending vetoes are more likely to be overridden when congressional elections are nearing. The results confirm that the electoral connection not only explains individual behavior, but can also help predict institutional outcomes.

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

The Corporate Value of (Corrupt) Lobbying

Alexander Borisov, Eitan Goldman & Nandini Gupta
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine whether the stock market considers corporate lobbying to be value enhancing, using an event that limited the ability of firms to lobby but was exogenous to their characteristics and prior lobbying decisions. The results show that this exogenous shock affects negatively the value of firms that lobby. In particular, we estimate that a firm that spends 100,000 more on lobbying in the 3 years before the shock (where sample average lobbying expenses are about 4 million), experiences a loss of about $1.2 million in shareholder value on average. We also examine the channels through which lobbying may create value for firms.

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

Economic Perceptions, Presidential Approval, and Causality: The Moderating Role of the Economic Context

Bradley Dickerson
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Citizens process economic information in ways that confirm their prior political beliefs. We therefore see stronger effects of presidential approval on economic perceptions than vice versa. Yet as economic conditions worsen, voters become heavily exposed to negative economic information and more likely to experience conflicting political and economic considerations. As conditions improve, identities and evaluations fall back into sync and political attitudes become more useful as an identity-confirming shortcut. I expect that the effect of economic perceptions on presidential approval grows stronger as economic conditions worsen and the effect of presidential approval on economic perceptions grows stronger as conditions improve. Using panel data from four American National Election Studies, I apply simultaneous equation extensions of the Anderson–Hsiao estimator to test the relationship between economic and political attitudes. Results show that the effect of economic perceptions on presidential approval was substantially stronger during the Great Recession than during the previous three panel studies.

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

Professionalism and Contracts in Organizations

Canice Prendergast
Journal of Labor Economics, July 2015, Pages 591-621

Abstract:
Employees in public agencies rarely have pay for performance: instead their incentives are often guided by a sense of professionalism. This paper concerns how organizations should monitor professionals. The primary outcome of the paper is that weak incentives lead public agencies to exhibit bias in their oversight, by rewarding the interests of their employees to the detriment of other constituencies’ concerns. In some instances, this bias is complete by entirely ignoring other interests.

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

Lexical shifts, substantive changes, and continuity in State of the Union discourse, 1790–2014

Alix Rule, Jean-Philippe Cointet & Peter Bearman
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1 September 2015, Pages 10837–10844

Abstract:
This study reveals that the entry into World War I in 1917 indexed the decisive transition to the modern period in American political consciousness, ushering in new objects of political discourse, a more rapid pace of change of those objects, and a fundamental reframing of the main tasks of governance. We develop a strategy for identifying meaningful categories in textual corpora that span long historic durées, where terms, concepts, and language use changes. Our approach is able to account for the fluidity of discursive categories over time, and to analyze their continuity by identifying the discursive stream as the object of interest.

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

The Impact of Direct Democracy on State Spending Priorities

Daniel Lewis, Saundra Schneider & William Jacoby
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do direct democracy institutions affect governmental policy? Previous research on the American states has generated a disparate variety of findings, so there is no scholarly consensus on this question. We argue that many earlier works were limited by their focus on single policy areas or static analyses. To overcome these issues, we analyze yearly data on governmental spending priorities across a full array of policy areas in the 50 states from 1982 through 2011. Our results clearly show that direct democracy states devote more resources to collective goods policies while non-direct democracy states emphasize particularized benefits. This difference occurs because public preferences in direct democracy states are more closely aligned with policy priorities than is the case in states without direct democracy institutions.

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

Making Constitutional Meaning: The Removal Debate and the Birth of Constitutional Essentialism

Jonathan Gienapp
Journal of the Early Republic, Fall 2015, Pages 375-418

Abstract:
In one of its earliest debates, the first federal Congress divided over the question of whether the president could remove executive officers. Long neglected by historians, the episode has received ample attention from constitutional scholars who have interpreted it as a crucial contest over the scope of presidential power. However, the debate’s significance owes less to these implications than it does to the language of constitutional essentialism that it produced. In the aftermath of ratification, American politicians were still reckoning with what it meant to be subject to the authority of a supreme, written constitution and in so doing debated not only the meaning of specific constitutional clauses but more generally the kinds of interpretive practices that could legitimately accompany Americans’ governing document. The removal debate began because the Constitution, other than specifications for impeachment, was silent on removal. Some contended that, given this silence, nobody could remove. Most disagreed and as justification contended that Congress enjoyed discretion to fill the document’s silences. However, those who favored removal divided over who could remove: the president alone or in conjunction with the Senate. In waging this disagreement the two sides grounded their rival interpretations in two separate sources of authority: the ‘‘nature of things’’ and the original intent of the Constitution’s framers. In retreating from arguments built on congressional discretion in favor of ones premised on fixed constitutional meaning, politicians constructed a powerful language of constitutional essentialism that implied that the Constitution was equipped with unchangeable meaning.

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

The Loyalists and the Federal Constitution: The Origins of the Bill of Attainder Clause

Brett Palfreyman
Journal of the Early Republic, Fall 2015, Pages 451-473

Abstract:
During American Revolution, rebel state governments adopted bills of attainder to contain and control loyalists, dangerous internal enemies who would apply their blood, treasure, and influence to put down the rebellion. In this extreme form of punitive legislation, state assemblies identified specific Tories by name, judged them guilty of treason, and prescribed a variety of punishments ranging from property confiscation to permanent banishment. Just four years after the war, however, delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia passed an unconditional ban on attainder laws with a unanimous vote and almost no debate. In fact, protection from bills of attainder was one of the handful of individual rights that the Framers included in the actual text of the Constitution. So why the change? Why did so many Americans view bills of attainder as acceptable during the war, then turn around and reject them just a few years later? The Framers’ unanimous decision to ban attainder laws was predicated on two related developments that took place in the aftermath of the Revolution. The first was the peaceful reintegration of loyalists who chose to remain in the states after the war. Once loyalists ceased to pose a special threat, states no longer needed extraordinary measures to manage them. The second was the Framers’ increasing fear that state assemblies had grown too powerful. In this sense, the attainder ban was part of a larger effort to take power away from the people — particularly the alarming power to confiscate private property.

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

The Logic of Collective Inaction: Senatorial Delay in Executive Nominations

Ian Ostrander
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
While most executive nominees are successfully confirmed, this success masks wide variation in how long it takes the Senate to decide. Delay of critical nominees influences the character and effectiveness of agencies while hampering the policy ambitions of presidents. The exact logic of which nominees are targeted for delay and why, however, remains difficult to uncover. Building on prior literature, this project suggests that delay can be used to protect allied agencies from presidential politicization. Using a data set of several thousand executive nominations from 1987 to 2012, the ideological predisposition of an agency relative to the president is demonstrated to influence senatorial delay. Ultimately, these findings help explain why some nominees are delayed while other, seemingly similar, nominees are not.

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

Petro Populism

Egil Matsen, Gisle Natvik & Ragnar Torvik
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We aim to explain petro populism — the excessive use of oil revenues to buy political support. To reap the full gains of natural resource income, politicians need to remain in office over time. Hence, even a rent-seeking incumbent who prioritizes his own welfare above that of citizens, will want to provide voters with goods and services if it promotes his probability of remaining in office. While this incentive benefits citizens under the rule of rent-seekers, it adversely motivates benevolent policymakers to short-term overprovision of goods and services. In equilibrium, politicians of all types indulge in excessive resource extraction, while voters reward policies they realize cannot be sustained over time. Moreover, overextraction might even be reinforced as voters become better informed.

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

The Exposure Theory of Access: Why Some Firms Seek More Access to Incumbents than Others

Alexander Fouirnaies & Andrew Hall
Stanford Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
Studies of American politics consistently find little link between campaign contributions and electoral and policy outcomes, concluding that donors gain little from donating. Despite this, the donations of access-oriented interest groups continue to generate a large part of incumbents' financial advantage in U.S. legislative campaigns. We argue that we can learn directly about the motivations of interest groups, and indirectly about the possible value that they extract from incumbents, by examining differences in the degree to which they seek access. Specifically, we construct a measure of firm-level exposure to regulation using the text of over 170,000 SEC filings, and we use a variety of empirical techniques to estimate how firms' sensitivity to incumbency varies with exposure. The results indicate that firms seek more access to incumbents when they are more exposed to regulation. Exposure to the effects of policy decisions therefore appears to be an important motivator of firm contribution behavior, suggesting that firms seek access in order to influence policy, and that they benefit, or at the very least believe that they benefit, from doing so.

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

The Structure of Contingency

Ivan Ermakoff
American Journal of Sociology, July 2015, Pages 64-125

Abstract:
Can we identify and theorize contingency as a property of processes and situations? Applied to social and historical events, contingency denotes a mode of causality characterized by its indeterminate character. Conjunctural causation and period effects lack the specificity required to identify a distinctive class of processes. References to chance happenings offer no clue to analyze endogenous disruptions. Focusing on breaks in patterns of social relations and the role played by individual agency, the author distinguishes four types of impact — pyramidal, pivotal, sequential, and epistemic — and investigates how these relate to the possibility of indeterminacy through an Event Structure Analysis of the night of August 4, 1789, in Versailles. This empirical foray underscores the significance of junctures that are indeterminate with respect to their collective outcomes. The article grounds analytically this class of conjunctures with the concept of mutual uncertainty, gauges the phenomenal scope of this contingency in terms of action domains and group types, contrasts it with the notion of chance events, and draws its implications for the study of social and historical change.

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

The DC factor? Advocacy groups in the news

Young Mie Kim & Michael McCluskey
Journalism, August 2015, Pages 791-811

Abstract:
This study examines dynamics among organized interests’ characteristics, the organizations’ strategic activities, and news coverage of organizations’ activities by incorporating theoretical perspectives from group politics and journalism. To examine the relationship among groups’ characteristics, strategic efforts, and news coverage (visibility and prominence), the study combines three large data sets: group profile data (208 US organizations based on the Internal Revenue Service data collected by the National Center for Charitable Statistics), telephone interviews with groups’ executive members (208 randomly sampled organizations nationwide), and content coding of newspaper articles that covered the same organizations (548 newspaper articles). Findings from this study show that the ‘DC factor’, that is, being located in Washington, DC, is consistently a significant factor in explaining the presence of groups in newspapers, even after controlling for group resources, including total revenue. The implications of the findings are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Knowns and unknowns

When Self-Perceptions of Expertise Increase Closed-Minded Cognition: The Earned Dogmatism Effect

Victor Ottati et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although cultural values generally prescribe open-mindedness, open-minded cognition systematically varies across individuals and situations. According to the Earned Dogmatism Hypothesis, social norms dictate that experts are entitled to adopt a relatively dogmatic, closed-minded orientation. As a consequence, situations that engender self-perceptions of high expertise elicit a more closed-minded cognitive style. These predictions are confirmed in six experiments.

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

Knowledge Does Not Protect Against Illusory Truth

Lisa Fazio et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
In daily life, we frequently encounter false claims in the form of consumer advertisements, political propaganda, and rumors. Repetition may be one way that insidious misconceptions, such as the belief that vitamin C prevents the common cold, enter our knowledge base. Research on the illusory truth effect demonstrates that repeated statements are easier to process, and subsequently perceived to be more truthful, than new statements. The prevailing assumption in the literature has been that knowledge constrains this effect (i.e., repeating the statement “The Atlantic Ocean is the largest ocean on Earth” will not make you believe it). We tested this assumption using both normed estimates of knowledge and individuals’ demonstrated knowledge on a postexperimental knowledge check (Experiment 1). Contrary to prior suppositions, illusory truth effects occurred even when participants knew better. Multinomial modeling demonstrated that participants sometimes rely on fluency even if knowledge is also available to them (Experiment 2). Thus, participants demonstrated knowledge neglect, or the failure to rely on stored knowledge, in the face of fluent processing experiences.

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

The Influence of Control on Belief in Conspiracy Theories: Conceptual and Applied Extensions

Jan-Willem van Prooijen & Michele Acker
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Threats to control have been found to increase belief in conspiracy theories. We argue, however, that previous research observing this effect was limited in two ways. First, previous research did not exclude the possibility that affirming control might reduce conspiracy beliefs. Second, because of artificial lab procedures, previous findings provide little information about the external validity of the control threat–conspiracy belief relationship. In Study 1, we address the first limitation and find that affirming control indeed reduces belief in conspiracy theories as compared with a neutral baseline condition. In Study 2, we address the second limitation of the literature. In a large-scale US sample, we find that a societal threat to control, that citizens actually experienced, predicts belief in a range of common conspiracy theories. Taken together, these findings increase insight in the fundamental relationship between the human need for control and the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories.

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

Some Dare Call It Conspiracy: Labeling Something a Conspiracy Theory Does Not Reduce Belief in It

Michael Wood
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
“Conspiracy theory” is widely acknowledged to be a loaded term. Politicians use it to mock and dismiss allegations against them, while philosophers and political scientists warn that it could be used as a rhetorical weapon to pathologize dissent. In two empirical studies conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk, I present an initial examination of whether this concern is justified. In Experiment 1, 150 participants judged a list of historical and speculative theories to be no less likely when they were labeled “conspiracy theories” than when they were labeled “ideas.” In Experiment 2 (N = 802), participants who read a news article about fictitious “corruption allegations” endorsed those allegations no more than participants who saw them labeled “conspiracy theories.” The lack of an effect of the conspiracy-theory label in both experiments was unexpected and may be due to a romanticized image of conspiracy theories in popular media or a dilution of the term to include mundane speculation regarding corruption and political intrigue.

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

Expertise and decision-making in American football

Adam Woods et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, 13 July 2015

Abstract:
In American football, pass interference calls can be difficult to make, especially when the timing of contact between players is ambiguous. American football history contains many examples of controversial pass interference decisions, often with fans, players, and officials interpreting the same event differently. The current study sought to evaluate the influence of experience with concepts important for officiating decisions in American football on the probability (i.e., response criteria) of pass interference calls. We further investigated the extent to which such experience modulates perceptual biases that might influence the interpretation of such events. We hypothesized that observers with less experience with the American football concepts important for pass interference would make progressively more pass interference calls than more experienced observers, even when given an explicit description of the necessary criteria for a pass interference call. In a go/no-go experiment using photographs from American football games, three groups of participants with different levels of experience with American football (Football Naïve, Football Player, and Football Official) made pass interference calls for pictures depicting left-moving and right-moving events. More experience was associated with progressively and significantly fewer pass interference calls [F(2,48) = 10.4, p < 0.001], with Football Naïve participants making the most pass interference calls, and Football Officials the least. In addition, our data replicated a prior finding of spatial biases for interpreting left-moving images more harshly than identical right-moving images, but only in Football Players. These data suggest that experience with the concepts important for making a decision may influence the rate of decision-making, and may also play a role in susceptibility to spatial biases.

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

Collective Intelligence Meets Medical Decision-Making: The Collective Outperforms the Best Radiologist

Max Wolf et al.
PLoS ONE, August 2015

Abstract:
While collective intelligence (CI) is a powerful approach to increase decision accuracy, few attempts have been made to unlock its potential in medical decision-making. Here we investigated the performance of three well-known collective intelligence rules (“majority”, “quorum”, and “weighted quorum”) when applied to mammography screening. For any particular mammogram, these rules aggregate the independent assessments of multiple radiologists into a single decision (recall the patient for additional workup or not). We found that, compared to single radiologists, any of these CI-rules both increases true positives (i.e., recalls of patients with cancer) and decreases false positives (i.e., recalls of patients without cancer), thereby overcoming one of the fundamental limitations to decision accuracy that individual radiologists face. Importantly, we find that all CI-rules systematically outperform even the best-performing individual radiologist in the respective group. Our findings demonstrate that CI can be employed to improve mammography screening; similarly, CI may have the potential to improve medical decision-making in a much wider range of contexts, including many areas of diagnostic imaging and, more generally, diagnostic decisions that are based on the subjective interpretation of evidence.

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

Teaching critical thinking

N.G. Holmes, Carl Wieman & D.A. Bonn
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8 September 2015, Pages 11199–11204

Abstract:
The ability to make decisions based on data, with its inherent uncertainties and variability, is a complex and vital skill in the modern world. The need for such quantitative critical thinking occurs in many different contexts, and although it is an important goal of education, that goal is seldom being achieved. We argue that the key element for developing this ability is repeated practice in making decisions based on data, with feedback on those decisions. We demonstrate a structure for providing suitable practice that can be applied in any instructional setting that involves the acquisition of data and relating that data to scientific models. This study reports the results of applying that structure in an introductory physics laboratory course. Students in an experimental condition were repeatedly instructed to make and act on quantitative comparisons between datasets, and between data and models, an approach that is common to all science disciplines. These instructions were slowly faded across the course. After the instructions had been removed, students in the experimental condition were 12 times more likely to spontaneously propose or make changes to improve their experimental methods than a control group, who performed traditional experimental activities. The students in the experimental condition were also four times more likely to identify and explain a limitation of a physical model using their data. Students in the experimental condition also showed much more sophisticated reasoning about their data. These differences between the groups were seen to persist into a subsequent course taken the following year.

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

Why some surprises are more surprising than others: Surprise as a metacognitive sense of explanatory difficulty

Meadhbh Foster & Mark Keane
Cognitive Psychology, September 2015, Pages 74–116

Abstract:
Early theories of surprise, including Darwin’s, argued that it was predominantly a basic emotion. Recently, theories have taken a more cognitive view of surprise, casting it as a process of “making sense of surprising events”. The current paper advances the view that the essence of this sense-making process is explanation; specifically, that people’s perception of surprise is a metacognitive estimate of the cognitive work involved in explaining an abnormal event. So, some surprises are more surprising because they are harder to explain. This proposal is tested in eight experiments that explore how (i) the contents of memory can influence surprise, (ii) different classes of scenarios can retrieve more/less relevant knowledge from memory to explain surprising outcomes, (iii) how partial explanations constrain the explanation process, reducing surprise, and (iv) how, overall, any factor that acts to increase the cognitive work in explaining a surprising event, results in higher levels of surprise (e.g., task demands to find three rather than one explanations). Across the present studies, using different materials, paradigms and measures, it is consistently and repeatedly found that the difficulty of explaining a surprising outcome is the best predictor for people’s perceptions of the surprisingness of events. Alternative accounts of these results are considered, as are future directions for this research.

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

Conformity in Groups: The Effects of Others’ Views on Expressed Attitudes and Attitude Change

Lindsey Levitan & Brad Verhulst
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two experiments demonstrate the powerful influence of others’ views on individual attitudes and attitude expression. Those around us can influence our views through persuasion and information exchange, but the current research hypothesizes that exposure to alternate views even without discussion or exchange of persuasive arguments can also alter what attitudes are expressed, and even generate long term shifts in attitudes. In an initial study, naïve participants were asked their attitudes on a range of standard survey items privately, publicly in a group with trained confederates, and again privately following the group setting. Findings indicate significant attitudinal conformity, which was most pronounced when participants were faced with a unanimous (versus non-unanimous) group. The group experience continued to influence participants’ views when they were again asked their views in private. A second experiment varied whether participants heard views from live confederates or via computer, demonstrating that these effects could not be attributed only to issue-relevant information provided by or inferred from group members, and that attitude change persisted long after participants had left the laboratory. In summary, when people are asked their attitudes publicly, they adjust their responses to conform to those around them, and this attitude change persists privately, even weeks later. Accordingly, such purely social processes of attitude change may be every bit as important as more traditional cognitive informational processes in understanding where people’s political attitudes come from, and how they may be changed.

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

Blinded by Experience: Prior Experience, Negative News and Belief Updating

Bradley Staats, Diwas KC & Francesca Gino
Harvard Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
Traditional models of operations management involve dynamic decision-making assuming optimal (Bayesian) updating. However, behavioral theory suggests that individuals exhibit bias in their beliefs and decisions. We conduct both a field study and two laboratory studies to examine the phenomena in the context of health. In particular, we examine how an individual’s prior experiences and the experiences of those around them alter the operational decisions that the individual makes. We draw on an exogenous announcement of negative news by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and explore how this affects an operational decision – production tool choice – of interventional cardiologists deciding between two types of cardiac stents. Analyzing 147,000 choices over 6 years, we find that individuals do respond to negative news by using the focal production tool less often. However, we find that both individual’s own experience and others’ experience alter their responses in predictable ways. Moreover, although individual and other experience act as substitutes prior to negative news, the two types of experience act as complements following the negative announcement – leading to even greater use of the same production tool. Two controlled lab studies replicate our main findings and show that behavioral biases, not rational expectations, drive the effect. Our research contributes not only to operations management research, but also to the practice of healthcare and operations more generally.

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

Learning from experience in nonlinear environments: Evidence from a competition scenario

Emre Soyer & Robin Hogarth
Cognitive Psychology, September 2015, Pages 48–73

Abstract:
We test people’s ability to learn to estimate a criterion (probability of success in a competition scenario) that requires aggregating information in a nonlinear manner. The learning environments faced by experimental participants are kind in that they are characterized by immediate, accurate feedback involving either naturalistic outcomes (information on winning and/or ranking) or the normatively correct probabilities. We find no evidence of learning from the former and modest learning from the latter, except that a group of participants endowed with a memory aid performed substantially better. However, when the task is restructured such that information should be aggregated in a linear fashion, participants learn to make more accurate assessments. Our experiments highlight the important role played by prior beliefs in learning tasks, the default status of linear aggregation in many inferential judgments, and the difficulty of learning in nonlinear environments even in the presence of veridical feedback.

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

The precision of value-based choices depends causally on fronto-parietal phase coupling

Rafael Polanía et al.
Nature Communications, August 2015

Abstract:
Which meal would you like today, chicken or pasta? For such value-based choices, organisms must flexibly integrate various types of sensory information about internal states and the environment to transform them into actions. Recent accounts suggest that these choice-relevant processes are mediated by information transfer between functionally specialized but spatially distributed brain regions in parietal and prefrontal cortex; however, it remains unclear whether such fronto-parietal communication is causally involved in guiding value-based choices. We find that transcranially inducing oscillatory desynchronization between the frontopolar and -parietal cortex leads to more inaccurate choices between food rewards while leaving closely matched perceptual decisions unaffected. Computational modelling shows that this exogenous manipulation leads to imprecise value assignments to the choice alternatives. Thus, our study demonstrates that accurate value-based decisions critically involve coherent rhythmic information transfer between fronto-parietal brain areas and establishes an experimental approach to non-invasively manipulate the precision of value-based choices in humans.

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

Interference effects of choice on confidence: Quantum characteristics of evidence accumulation

Peter Kvam et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 August 2015, Pages 10645–10650

Abstract:
Decision-making relies on a process of evidence accumulation which generates support for possible hypotheses. Models of this process derived from classical stochastic theories assume that information accumulates by moving across definite levels of evidence, carving out a single trajectory across these levels over time. In contrast, quantum decision models assume that evidence develops over time in a superposition state analogous to a wavelike pattern and that judgments and decisions are constructed by a measurement process by which a definite state of evidence is created from this indefinite state. This constructive process implies that interference effects should arise when multiple responses (measurements) are elicited over time. We report such an interference effect during a motion direction discrimination task. Decisions during the task interfered with subsequent confidence judgments, resulting in less extreme and more accurate judgments than when no decision was elicited. These results provide qualitative and quantitative support for a quantum random walk model of evidence accumulation over the popular Markov random walk model. We discuss the cognitive and neural implications of modeling evidence accumulation as a quantum dynamic system.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lots of interest

The Decline in the Natural Rate of Interest

John Williams
Business Economics, April 2015, Pages 57–60

Abstract:
With the Federal Reserve widely expected to begin normalization of monetary policy in the wake of the Great Recession — perhaps in 2015 — an important question for public policy and private-sector planning is what the "new normal" for interest rates is likely to be. In particular, are real interest rates likely to be lower in the future than in recent decades? An investigation through the use of the Kalman filter shows that the natural rate of interest — the real federal funds rate consistent with the economy operating at its full potential — has declined since 1980, especially after the Great Recession. This will have important implications for monetary policy and for the private sector, including recognition that the natural rate of interest is not fixed.

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

Political power, economic freedom and Congress: Effects on bank performance

Daniel Gropper, John Jahera & Jung Chul Park
Journal of Banking & Finance, November 2015, Pages 76–92

Abstract:
This paper studies the linkages between bank performance, connections to powerful politicians, and the degree of economic freedom in a bank's home state. We find that bank performance is positively related to state economic freedom. We also reconfirm the finding of Gropper et al. (2013) that bank performance is improved by political connections. However, the positive effect of political connections appears to be significantly reduced when there is a higher degree of economic freedom in the state, indicating that political connections may matter less to banks when there is more economic freedom. Economic freedom in a state can have a beneficial effect on the state economic growth and hence may outweigh any political connection benefits. However, the declines in state economic freedom in recent years could make political connections potentially more valuable to banks.

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

Discount Window Stigma During the 2007–2008 Financial Crisis

Olivier Armantier et al.
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide empirical evidence for the existence, magnitude, and economic cost of stigma associated with banks borrowing from the Federal Reserve's Discount Window (DW) during the 2007–2008 financial crisis. We find that banks were willing to pay a premium of around 44 basis points (bps) across funding sources (126 bps after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers) to avoid borrowing from the DW. DW stigma is economically relevant as it increased some banks' borrowing cost by 32 bps of their pre-tax return on assets (ROA) during the crisis. The implications of our results for the provision of liquidity by central banks are discussed.

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

Size, Leverage, and Risk-taking of Financial Institutions

Sanjai Bhagat, Brian Bolton & Jun Lu
Journal of Banking & Finance, October 2015, Pages 520–537

Abstract:
We investigate the link between firm size and risk-taking among financial institutions during the period of 1998-2008 and make three contributions. First, size is positively correlated with risk-taking measures even when controlling for other observable firm characteristics, such as market-to-book value ratio, corporate governance, and ownership structure. This is consistent with the notion that "too-big-to-fail" policies distort the risk incentives of financial institutions. Second, a simple decomposition of the primary risk measure, the Z-score, reveals that financial firms engage in excessive risk-taking mainly through increased leverage. Third, we find that bank corporate governance measured as the median director dollar stockholding has a substantial impact on reducing firms' risk-taking.

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

The Impact of Foreclosure Delay on U.S. Employment

Kyle Herkenhoff & Lee Ohanian
NBER Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
This paper documents that the time required to initiate and complete a home foreclosure rose from about 9 months on average prior to the Great Recession to an average of 15 months during the Great Recession and afterward. We refer to these changes as foreclosure delay. We also document that many borrowers who are in foreclosure ultimately exit foreclosure and keep their homes by making up for missed mortgage payments. We analyze the impact of foreclosure delay on the U.S. labor market as an implicit credit line from a lender to a borrower (mortgagor) within a search model. In the model, foreclosure delay provides unemployed mortgagors with additional time to search for a high-paying job. We find that foreclosure delay decreases mortgagor employment by about 0.75 percentage points, nearly doubles the stock of delinquent mortgages, increases the rate of homeownership by about 0.3 percentage points, and increases job match quality, as mortgagors search longer. Severe foreclosure delays, such as those observed in Florida and New Jersey, can depress mortgagor employment by up to 1.3 percentage points. The model results are consistent with PSID and SCF data that show that employment rates rise for delinquent mortgagors once the mortgagor is in the foreclosure process.

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

Screening Peers Softly: Inferring the Quality of Small Borrowers

Rajkamal Iyer et al.
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the performance of new online lending markets that rely on nonexpert individuals to screen their peers' creditworthiness. We find that these peer lenders predict an individual's likelihood of defaulting on a loan with 45% greater accuracy than the borrower's exact credit score (unobserved by the lenders, who only see a credit category). Moreover, peer lenders achieve 87% of the predictive power of an econometrician who observes all standard financial information about borrowers. Screening through soft or nonstandard information is relatively more important when evaluating lower-quality borrowers. Our results highlight how aggregating over the views of peers and leveraging nonstandard information can enhance lending efficiency.

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

Deleveraging and Mortgage Curtailment

Meagan McCollum, Hong Lee & Kelley Pace
Journal of Banking & Finance, November 2015, Pages 60–75

Abstract:
Using monthly loan-level data, individual partial prepayments (curtailments) from January 2001 to June 2011 are observed for mortgages in twenty metropolitan statistical areas. Contrary to some earlier assertions, American homeowners now frequently commit funds towards their mortgage payments in excess of the amount due; over 30% of loans outstanding have made at least one curtailment payment. After controlling for borrower and loan-level variables, we show that the latent propensity to curtail has steadily risen from 2003 to 2006 and remains at elevated levels. Therefore, curtailment provides an example of consumer deleveraging behavior that began prior to the Great Recession.

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

Mortgage Refinancing, Consumer Spending, and Competition: Evidence from the Home Affordable Refinancing Program

Sumit Agarwal et al.
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
We examine the ability of the government to impact mortgage refinancing activity and spur consumption by focusing on the Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP). The policy allowed intermediaries to refinance insufficiently collateralized mortgages by extending government credit guarantee on such loans. We use proprietary loan-level panel data from a large market participant with refinancing history and social security number matched consumer credit records of each borrower. A difference-in-difference empirical design reveals a substantial increase in refinancing activity by the program, inducing more than three million eligible borrowers with primarily fixed-rate mortgages – the predominant contract type in the U.S. – to refinance their loans. Borrowers received a reduction of around 140 basis points in interest rate due to HARP refinancing amounting to about $3,500 in annual savings per borrower. More than 20% of interest rate savings from refinancing was allocated to durable (auto) spending, with larger spending response among less wealthy and creditworthy. Regions more exposed to the program saw a relative increase in non-durable and durable consumer spending, a decline in foreclosure rates, and a faster recovery in house prices. A variety of identification strategies reveal that competitive frictions in the refinancing market may have hampered HARP's impact. On average, these frictions reduced take-up rate among eligible borrowers by 10% and cut interest rate savings by 16 basis points, with both these effects being twice as large among the most indebted borrowers. These findings have implications for future policy interventions, pass-through of monetary policy through household balance sheets, and design of the mortgage market.

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

Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy

Tom Krebs, Moritz Kuhn & Mark Wright
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use data from the Survey of Consumer Finance and Survey of Income Program Participation to show that young households with children are under-insured against the risk that an adult member of the household dies. We develop a tractable macroeconomic model with human capital risk, age-dependent returns to human capital investment, and endogenous borrowing constraints due to the limited pledgeability of human capital. We show analytically that, consistent with the life insurance data, in equilibrium young households are borrowing constrained and under-insured. A calibrated version of the model can quantitatively account for the life-cycle variation of life-insurance holdings, financial wealth, earnings, and consumption inequality observed in the US data. Our analysis implies that a reform that makes consumer bankruptcy more costly, like the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, leads to a substantial increase in the volume of both credit and insurance.

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

Foreclosures, House Prices, and the Real Economy

Atif Mian, Amir Sufi & Francesco Trebbi
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
From 2007 to 2009, states without a judicial requirement for foreclosures were twice as likely to foreclose on delinquent homeowners. Analysis of borders of states with differing foreclosure laws reveals a discrete jump in foreclosure propensity as one enters nonjudicial states. Using state judicial requirement as an instrument for foreclosures, we show that foreclosures led to a large decline in house prices, residential investment, and consumer demand from 2007 to 2009. As foreclosures subsided from 2011 to 2013, the foreclosure rates in nonjudicial and judicial requirement states converged and we find some evidence of a stronger recovery in nonjudicial states.

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

Estimating Changes in Supervisory Standards and Their Economic Effects

William Bassett, Seung Jung Lee & Thomas Spiller
Journal of Banking & Finance, November 2015, Pages 21–43

Abstract:
The disappointingly slow recovery in the U.S. from the depths of the financial crisis once again focused attention on the relationship between financial frictions and economic growth. Some bankers and borrowers suggested that unnecessarily tight supervisory policies were a constraint on new lending that hindered the recovery. This paper explores one aspect of supervisory policy: whether the standards used to assign commercial bank CAMELS ratings have changed materially over time (1991-2013). Models incorporating time-varying parameters or economy-wide variables suggest that standards used in the assignment of CAMELS ratings over the post-crisis period generally were in line with historical experience. Indeed, each of the models used suggests that the variation in supervisory standards has been relatively small in absolute terms over most of the sample period. However, we show that when this measure of supervisory stringency becomes elevated, it has a noticeable dampening effect on lending activity in subsequent quarters.

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

The Power of Institutional Legacies: How Nineteenth Century Housing Associations Shaped Twentieth Century Housing Regime Differences between Germany and the United States

Sebastian Kohl
European Journal of Sociology, August 2015, Pages 271-306

Abstract:
Comparative welfare and production regime literature has so far neglected the considerable cross-country differences in the sphere of housing. The United States became a country of homeowners living in cities of single-family houses in the twentieth century. Its housing policy was focused on supporting private mortgage indebtedness with only residual public housing. Germany, on the contrary, remained a tenant-dominated country with cities of multi-unit buildings. Its housing policy has been focused on construction subsidies to non-profit housing associations and incentives for savings earmarked for financing housing. The article claims that these differences are the outcome of different housing institutions that had already emerged in the nineteenth century. Germany developed non-profit housing associations and financed housing through mortgage banks, both privileging the construction of rental apartments. In the United States, savings and loan associations favored mortgages for owner-occupied, single-family house construction. When governments intervened during housing crises in the 1920/1930s, they aimed their subsidies at these existing institutions. Thus, US housing policy became finance-biased in favor of savings and loan associations, while Germany supported the housing cooperatives.

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

Banks' Internal Capital Markets and Deposit Rates

Itzhak Ben-David, Ajay Palvia & Chester Spatt
NBER Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
A common view is that deposit rates are determined primarily by supply: depositors require higher deposit rates from risky banks, thereby creating market discipline. An alternative perspective is that market discipline is limited (e.g., due to deposit insurance and/or enhanced capital regulation) and that internal demand for funding by banks determines rates. Using branch-level deposit rate data, we find little evidence for market discipline as rates are similar across bank capitalization levels. In contrast, banks' loan growth has a causal effect on deposit rates: e.g., branches' deposit rates are correlated with loan growth in other states in which their bank has some presence, suggesting internal capital markets help reallocate the bank's funding.

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

Land Bank 2.0: An Empirical Evaluation

Stephan Whitaker & Thomas Fitzpatrick
Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2009, Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland and 58 suburbs), established a land bank to acquire low-value properties, mitigate blighted housing, and slow the decline of property values. This empirical study evaluates the effectiveness of the land bank by estimating spatially corrected hedonic price models using sales near the land-bank homes. The land bank reduces the negative externalities of the properties it acquires. Its largest impact is the preservation of equity in unsold homes. We also estimate the recovered value for homes sold during the study period and the property tax revenue that may have been forgone, absent the land bank.

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

Self Control and Commitment: Can Decreasing the Liquidity of a Savings Account Increase Deposits?

John Beshears et al.
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
If individuals have self-control problems, they may take up commitment contracts that restrict their spending. We experimentally investigate how contract design affects the demand for commitment contracts. Each participant divides money between a liquid account, which permits unrestricted withdrawals, and a commitment account with withdrawal restrictions that are randomized across participants. When the two accounts pay the same interest rate, the most illiquid commitment account attracts more money than any of the other commitment accounts. We show theoretically that this pattern is consistent with the presence of sophisticated present-biased agents, who prefer more illiquid commitment accounts even if they are subject to uninsurable marginal utility shocks drawn from a broad class of distributions. When the commitment account pays a higher interest rate than the liquid account, the relationship between illiquidity and deposits is flat, suggesting that agents without present bias and/or naïve present-biased agents are also present in our sample.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Unbelievable

Negative Stereotypes Cause Christians to Underperform in and Disidentify With Science

Kimberly Rios et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite Christians being a religious majority in the United States, relatively few pursue higher education and careers in science. Our studies show that stereotypes about Christians being less competent in science than other groups are recognized by both Christians and non-Christians and are openly endorsed by non-Christians (Study 1). Our studies further demonstrate that when these stereotypes become salient, Christians are less interested in and identified with science (Study 2) and underperform on science-relevant tasks (Studies 3–5), compared to non-Christians. Even subtle contextual cues that bear more or less relevance to science are sufficient to compromise Christians’ scientific task performance, particularly among the highly religious (Study 5). When these stereotypes are explicitly removed, however, performance differences between Christians and non-Christians disappear. These results suggest that Christians’ awareness of the negative societal stereotypes about their group’s scientific competence may be partially responsible for the underperformance and underrepresentation of Christians in scientific fields.

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

Islam, Inequality and Pre-Industrial Comparative Development

Stelios Michalopoulos, Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
This study explores the interaction between trade and geography in shaping the Islamic economic doctrine. We build a model where an unequal distribution of land quality in presence of trade opportunities conferred differential gains from trade across regions, fostering predatory behavior by groups residing in the poorly endowed territories. We show that in such an environment it was mutually beneficial to institute an economic system of income redistribution featuring income transfers in return for safe passage to conduct trade. A commitment problem, however, rendered a merely static redistribution scheme unsustainable. Islam developed a set of dynamic redistributive rules that were self-enforcing, in regions where arid lands dominated the landscape. While such principles fostered the expansion of trade within the Muslim world they limited the accumulation of wealth by the commercial elite, shaping the economic trajectory of Islamic lands in the pre-industrial era.

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

"Give us a Sign of Your Presence": Paranormal Investigation as a Spiritual Practice

Marc Eaton
Sociology of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
The recent proliferation of ghost hunting television shows reflects the broad public interest in what participants refer to as “paranormal investigation.” Currently, over 3,000 paranormal investigation teams exist in the United States, and more exist worldwide. Paranormal investigators use a wide variety of investigative methods in their attempts to find evidence of ghosts and, therefore, life after death. Based on three years of participant observation and 32 interviews with paranormal investigators, this article argues that paranormal investigation functions as a spiritual practice for participants. Investigators' motives, methods, and the meanings they attribute to investigating are all imbued with spiritual significance. For some investigators the practice helps validate existing religious beliefs, while for others it prompts a spiritual transformation. Many participants rely upon conventional religious or New Age beliefs to interpret experiences during investigations, but even those who primarily rely upon science and technology find the practice spiritually meaningful.

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

Losing my Religion: The Effects of Religious Scandals on Religious Participation and Charitable Giving

Nicolas Bottan & Ricardo Perez-Truglia
Journal of Public Economics, September 2015, Pages 106–119

Abstract:
We study how the U.S. Catholic clergy abuse scandals affected religious participation, religious beliefs, and pro-social behavior. To estimate the causal effects of the scandals on various outcomes, we conduct an event-study analysis that exploits the fine distribution of the scandals over space and time. First, a scandal causes a significant and long-lasting decline in religious participation in the zip code where it occurs. Second, the decline in religious participation does not generate a statistically significant decline in religious beliefs, pro-social beliefs, and some commonly used measures of pro-social behavior. This evidence is consistent with the view that changes in religious participation during adulthood may have limited or no effect on deep beliefs and values. Third, the scandals cause a long-lasting decline in charitable contributions. Indeed, the decline in charitable giving is an order of magnitude larger than the direct costs of the scandals to the Catholic churches (e.g., lawsuits). If we assume that the scandals affect charitable giving only through the decline in religious participation, our estimates would suggest that the strong cross-sectional correlation between religious participation and charitable giving has the presumed direction of causality.

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

Between consumer demand and Islamic law: The evolution of Islamic credit cards in Turkey

Murat Çokgezen & Timur Kuran
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The elimination of interest from financial transactions has been a salient goal of Islamization movements around the world. Its proponents have had to balance this objective, which they claim to draw from Islamic law (sharia), against consumer demand for convenient products. In general they have opted to accommodate consumer demand, but surreptitiously, using legal ruses to disguise their compromises. Turkey's experience with credit cards offers a revealing case of the obfuscation in question. Having denounced credit cards as un-Islamic, Turkey's Islamic banks have all proceeded to issue credit cards of their own in order to remain competitive with their openly interest-friendly, conventional rivals. With local variations, the Turkish pattern resembles that of other markets where Islamic credit cards have made inroads. In Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, too, Islamic credit cards function like those of the conventional banks with which they compete for customers. The “Islamic” features of Islamic credit cards amount to branding. Contrary to the claims of their proponents, they do not involve fundamental financial innovations.

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

Blessed be the Children: A Case–Control Study of Sexual Abusers in the Catholic Church

Cynthia Calkins et al.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law, August 2015, Pages 580–594

Abstract:
Individuals working in churches and other youth-serving institutions have a unique level of access to children, yet the problem of sexual abuse in institutional settings has received scant research attention. To address this gap, we analyzed data from a large sample of clergy (N = 1,121) and applied a social–ecological model of offending to identify risk factors for sexual abuse perpetration. Using a case–control study design that compared clergy sexual abusers with three control groups of clergy, this study focuses specifically on individual-, relationship-, and community-level factors associated with a higher risk of abuse in professional populations. Findings revealed that clergy sexual abusers tended to have more truncated pre-seminary dating histories, and that their dating and sexual partners were more likely to have been male than female. Self-reported sexual abuse history was associated with a greater likelihood of sexual abuse perpetration among clergy. Clergy abusers tended to be more involved with youth and adolescents in their ministries; however, they were observed to relate less well to youth and adolescents than their clergy counterparts. Given widespread changes in our cultural understanding of abuse as well as more specific changes in the organizational approach to seminary education, these differences underscore the role that youth-serving institutions and society can have in the primary prevention of child sexual abuse.

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

God Is Watching You...But Also Watching Over You: The Influence of Benevolent God Representations on Secular Volunteerism Among Christians

Kathryn Johnson, Adam Cohen & Morris Okun
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
One prominent theory is that prosociality is promoted by the belief in an authoritarian God. Building upon this theory, we developed a theoretical model in which beliefs about the self and the world and volunteer motives account for differential effects of benevolent and authoritarian God representations on secular volunteerism (benefiting those outside the family or religious group). This model was tested with undergraduate (Study 1) and community samples (Study 2) of Christian theists. In support of our model, representations of a benevolent God were positively associated with a benevolent self-identity and a moral obligation, with a significant total positive indirect effect on secular volunteerism via internal motivations. In contrast, representations of an authoritarian God were associated with a low benevolent self-identity and a significant total negative indirect effect on secular volunteerism. The effects of God representations on volunteerism via religious obligation and external motivation (eternal rewards) were inconsistent across samples.

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

Why Churches Need Free-riders: Religious Capital Formation and Religious Group Survival

Michael McBride
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, October 2015, Pages 77–87

Abstract:
Prevailing theory claims that churches thrive when they overcome the free-rider problem. However, this paper argues that religious organizations need free-riders in a dynamic setting. If individuals’ contributions to congregations increase as their exposure to religion increases, then allowing potential members to free-ride temporarily may increase future membership and contribution levels. Free-riders thus comprise a risky but necessary investment by the church. Strict churches screen out riskier investments yet still allow some free-riding, while ultra-strict churches screen out all but members’ children. This new theory yields predictions consistent with stylized empirical facts.

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

A Jewish American Monster: Stanley Kubrick, Anti-Semitism and Lolita (1962)

Nathan Abrams
Journal of American Studies, August 2015, Pages 541-556

Abstract:
This article presents a case study of the filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, considering how his films can be considered an emotional response to the Holocaust, the legacy of European anti-Semitism, and stereotypes of the Jewish American woman. It will argue that there are various clues in Kubrick's films which produce Jewish moments; that is, where, through a complementary directing and acting strategy, in particular one of misdirection, the viewer is given the possibility of “reading Jewish,” albeit not with certainty, for Jewishness is “textually submerged.” Its focus is Kubrick's 1962 adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955), in particular the character of Charlotte Haze, played by Shelley Winters, especially in light of Kubrick's choice of casting for the role, and Winters's subsequent performance of it. It will conclude that Holocaust and anti-Semitic stereotypes/reverse stereotypes haunt Kubrick's version of Lolita as an emotional, yet sub-epidermis, presence.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


Previous   22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42   Next


RSS Subscribe to this feed