Blog

 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A little help

The Price of Being Beautiful: Negative Effects of Attractiveness on Empathy for Children in Need

Robert Fisher & Yu Ma
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The research examines how the attractiveness of children in need affects the empathy they evoke and the subsequent help they receive from unrelated adults. We find that attractive children are attributed desirable characteristics related to social competence, which is consistent with the beautiful is good stereotype. Ironically, we find that these attributions reduce the empathy evoked by attractive children and the help they receive from unrelated adults as long as their need is not severe. We demonstrate these effects in four experiments. The research identifies a significant cost of being beautiful and an important exception to the beautiful is good stereotype. The results also have practical implications for how children are portrayed in promotional materials for disaster relief agencies, children’s hospitals, and other charities.

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

Social Heterogeneity and Volunteering in U.S. Cities

Thomas Rotolo & John Wilson
Sociological Forum, June 2014, Pages 429–452

Abstract:
In this research we explore the relationship between social heterogeneity and volunteering across U.S. metropolitan areas testing a theory that race heterogeneity, racial segregation, and income inequality are negatively associated with the rate of volunteering. Theorizing that social heterogeneity will have different effects for religious and secular volunteering rates, we analyze them separately. We use nonlinear multilevel models to analyze nearly 200,000 individuals across 248 cities, controlling for nonprofits per capita, religious congregations per capita, proportion of the population with college degrees, and the family poverty rate. While much of the intercity variation in volunteering is due to the composition of the population living in each city, we find general support for the predicted negative effect of social heterogeneity on volunteering. However, the effects vary by volunteering type. Race heterogeneity is negatively related only to secular volunteering, racial segregation is negatively related to both general volunteering and secular volunteering, and income inequality is negatively related to all types of volunteering.

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

The Chicago Fire of 1871: A bottom-up approach to disaster relief

Emily Skarbek
Public Choice, July 2014, Pages 155-180

Abstract:
Can bottom-up relief efforts lead to recovery after disasters? Conventional wisdom and contemporary public policy suggest that major crises require centralized authority to provide disaster relief goods. Using a novel set of comprehensive donation and expenditure data collected from archival records, this paper examines a bottom-up relief effort following one of the most devastating natural disasters of the nineteenth century: the Chicago Fire of 1871. Findings show that while there was no central government relief agency present, individuals, businesses, corporate entities and municipal governments were able to finance the relief effort though donations. The Chicago Relief and Aid Society, a voluntary association of agents with a stake in relief outcomes, leveraged organizational assets and constitutional rules to administer aid.

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

A Field Experiment on Directed Giving at a Public University

Catherine Eckel, David Herberich & Jonathan Meer
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
The use of directed giving - allowing donors to target their gifts to specific organizations or functions - is pervasive in fundraising, yet little is known about its effectiveness. We conduct a field experiment at a public university in which prospective donors are presented with either an opportunity to donate to the unrestricted Annual Fund, or an opportunity of donating to the Annual Fund and directing some or all of their donation towards the academic college from which they graduated. While there is no effect on the probability of giving, donations are significantly larger when there is the option of directing. However, the value of the option does not come directly from use, as very few donors choose to direct their gift.

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

An Upward Spiral Between Gratitude and Humility

Elliott Kruse et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two experiments and one diary study, we examined the relationship between self- and other-oriented processes by considering how gratitude can influence humility and vice versa. Humility is characterized by low self-focus, secure sense of self, and increased valuation of others. Gratitude is marked by a sense that one has benefited from the actions of another. In the first experiment, participants who wrote a gratitude letter showed higher state humility than those who performed a neutral activity. In the second experiment, baseline state humility predicted the amount of gratitude felt after writing a gratitude letter compared to a neutral activity. Finally, in a 14-day diary study, humility and gratitude mutually predicted one another, even after controlling for the other’s prior level. Our results suggest that humility and gratitude are mutually reinforcing.

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

Be Fair, Your Employees Are Watching: A Relational Response Model of External Third-Party Justice

Benjamin Dunford et al.
Personnel Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is growing theoretical recognition in the organizational justice literature that an organization's treatment of external parties (such as patients, community members, customers, and the general public) shapes its own employees’ attitudes and behavior toward it. However, the emerging third-party justice literature has an inward focus, emphasizing perceptions of the treatment of other insiders (e.g., co-workers or team members). This inward focus overlooks meaningful “outward” employee concerns relating to how organizations treat external parties. We propose a relational response model to advance the third-party justice literature asserting that the organization's fair treatment of external parties sends important relational signals to employees that shape their social exchange perceptions toward their employer. Supporting this proposition, in two multi-source studies in separate healthcare organizations we found that patient-directed justice had indirect effects on supervisory cooperative behavior ratings through organizational trust and organizational identification.

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

Paying it forward: How helping others can reduce the psychological threat of receiving help

Katherina Alvarez & Esther van Leeuwen
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that receiving help could be psychologically harmful for recipients, and passing on help to others after receiving help (“helping forward”) is a good strategy to improve and restore help recipients' self-competence. Participants (N = 87) received autonomy- or dependency-oriented help and anticipated helping forward or not. Compared to receiving autonomy-oriented help, receiving dependency-oriented help negatively affected participants' self-competence and their evaluation of the helper. Anticipation of future helping increased the liking for and evaluation of the helper. After paying help forward, participants felt more self-competent than before helping, and this effect was more pronounced among former recipients of dependency-oriented help. These results show that helping forward can negate the psychological threat associated with receiving help.

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

Unofficial Development Assistance: A Model of Development Charities’ Donation Income

Wiji Arulampalam, Peter Backus & John Micklewright
Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The empirical literature on the determinants of charities’ donation income, distinguishing the charitable cause, is small. We consider the case of development charities specifically. Using a panel covering a quarter of a century, we observe a strong fundraising effect and a unitary household income elasticity. We find evidence that the conventionally identified ‘price’ effect may simply be the product of omitted variable bias. Our results further suggest that public spending on development crowds in private donations for development. We find a positive spillover effect of fundraising, suggesting the efforts of one development charity may increase contributions to other development charities.

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

Sweetened blood sweetens behavior: Ego depletion, glucose, guilt, and prosocial behavior

Hanyi Xu et al.
Appetite, October 2014, Pages 8–11

Abstract:
Although guilt feels bad to the individual, it is good for society because guilty feelings can prompt people to perform good deeds. Previous research shows that fatigue decreases guilty feelings and helpful behavior. This present research tests whether glucose restores guilty feelings and increases helpful behavior. Depleted participants watched a movie about butchering animals for their meat or skin and were told to express no emotions, whereas non-depleted participants watched the same movie, but could express their emotions. Afterwards they drank a glucose or placebo beverage. Having participants play a game in which another person was punished for their errors induced guilt. Finally, participants played a dictator game in which they could leave lottery tickets for the next participant. Depleted participants felt less guilty and helped less than non-depleted participants, and those who consumed a placebo beverage felt less guilt and helped less than those who consumed a glucose beverage.

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

Helping the self help others: Self-affirmation increases self-compassion and pro-social behaviors

Emily Lindsay & David Creswell
Frontiers in Psychology, May 2014

Abstract:
Reflecting on an important personal value in a self-affirmation activity has been shown to improve psychological functioning in a broad range of studies, but the underlying mechanisms for these self-affirmation effects are unknown. Here we provide an initial test of a novel self-compassion account of self-affirmation in two experimental studies. Study 1 shows that an experimental manipulation of self-affirmation (3-min of writing about an important personal value vs. writing about an unimportant value) increases feelings of self-compassion, and these feelings in turn mobilize more pro-social behaviors to a laboratory shelf-collapse incident. Study 2 tests and extends these effects by evaluating whether self-affirmation increases feelings of compassion toward the self (consistent with the self-compassion account) or increases feelings of compassion toward others (an alternative other-directed compassion account), using a validated storytelling behavioral task. Consistent with a self-compassion account, Study 2 demonstrates the predicted self-affirmation by video condition interaction, indicating that self-affirmation participants had greater feelings of self-compassion in response to watching their own storytelling performance (self-compassion) compared to watching a peer’s storytelling performance (other-directed compassion). Further, pre-existing levels of trait self-compassion moderated this effect, such that self-affirmation increased self-compassionate responses the most in participants low in trait self-compassion. This work suggests that self-compassion may be a promising mechanism for self-affirmation effects, and that self-compassionate feelings can mobilize pro-social behaviors.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Team Player

The Too-Much-Talent Effect: Team Interdependence Determines When More Talent Is Too Much or Not Enough

Roderick Swaab et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Five studies examined the relationship between talent and team performance. Two survey studies found that people believe there is a linear and nearly monotonic relationship between talent and performance: Participants expected that more talent improves performance and that this relationship never turns negative. However, building off research on status conflicts, we predicted that talent facilitates performance — but only up to a point, after which the benefits of more talent decrease and eventually become detriments as intrateam coordination suffers. We also predicted that the level of task interdependence is a key determinant of when more talent is detrimental rather than beneficial. Three archival studies revealed that the too-much-talent effect emerged when team members were interdependent (football and basketball) but not independent (baseball). Our basketball analysis established the mediating role of team coordination. When teams need to come together, more talent can tear them apart.

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

Handshaking Promotes Cooperative Dealmaking

Juliana Schroeder et al.
Harvard Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Humans use subtle sources of information — like nonverbal behavior — to determine whether to act cooperatively or antagonistically when they negotiate. Handshakes are particularly consequential nonverbal gestures in negotiations because people feel comfortable initiating negotiations with them and believe they signal cooperation (Study 1). We show that handshakes increase cooperative behaviors, affecting outcomes for integrative and distributive negotiations. In two studies with MBA students, pairs who shook hands before integrative negotiations obtained higher joint outcomes (Studies 2a and 2b). Pairs randomly assigned to shake hands were more likely to openly reveal their preferences on trade-off issues, which improved joint outcomes (Study 3). In a fourth study using a distributive negotiation, pairs of executives assigned to shake hands were less likely to lie about their preferences and crafted agreements that split the bargaining zone more equally. Together, these studies show that handshaking promotes the adoption of cooperative strategies and influences negotiation outcomes.

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

Cynicism in negotiation: When communication increases buyers’ skepticism

Eyal Ert, Stephanie Creary & Max Bazerman
Judgment and Decision Making, May 2014, Pages 191–198

Abstract:
The economic literature on negotiation shows that strategic concerns can be a barrier to agreement, even when the buyer values the good more than the seller. Yet behavioral research demonstrates that human interaction can overcome these strategic concerns through communication. We show that there is also a downside of this human interaction: cynicism. Across two studies we focus on a seller-buyer interaction in which the buyer has uncertain knowledge about the goods for sale, but has a positive expected payoff from saying “yes” to the available transaction. Study 1 shows that most buyers accept offers made by computers, but that acceptance rates drop significantly when offers are made by human sellers who communicate directly with buyers. Study 2 clarifies that this effect results from allowing human sellers to communicate with buyers, and shows that such communication focuses the buyers’ attention on the seller’s trustworthiness. The mere situation of negotiated interaction increases buyers’ attention to the sellers’ self-serving motives and, consequently, buyers’ cynicism. Unaware of this downside of interaction, sellers actually prefer to have the opportunity to communicate with buyers.

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

“I am Disgusted by Your Proposal”: The Effects of a Strategic Flinch in Negotiations

Neil Fassina & Glen Whyte
Group Decision and Negotiation, July 2014, Pages 901-920

Abstract:
To flinch in negotiations refers to verbal or physical displays of shock, disgust, or disbelief made in response to an opening offer. We investigated the impact of advising negotiators to strategically flinch in distributive bargaining. In experiment 1, negotiators who flinched claimed significantly more value than negotiators who did not flinch. Targets of a flinch, however, viewed the negotiation relationship less positively than negotiators in a control condition. Yet, flinching appeared to have no effect on the target negotiators’ perceptions of how well they did. In experiment 2, the notion that a subtle flinch might still facilitate value claiming but without imperilling the bargaining relationship was supported. Implications for negotiation theory and practice, and directions for future research, are discussed.

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

Measuring Aggregate Social Capital Using Census Response Rates

David Martin & Benjamin Newman
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the importance of social capital to political science research, conventional means of measuring it are subject to a range of problems, including nonresponse bias, declining validity over time, and/or a lack of conceptual coherence. We argue that, in the case of the United States, rates of response to the decennial census represent a powerful yet overlooked measure for aggregate social capital. In this research note, we elaborate a theoretical rationale for the measure and empirically validate it, showing across multiple data sets and levels of geographic aggregation that census response rates (CRR) strongly predict various dimensions of social capital. Our findings highlight an important opportunity for social capital scholars to use existing governmental data to better measure geospatial variation in a key social science construct.

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

Amazonian horticulturalists live in larger, more related groups than hunter-gatherers

Robert Walker
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The relatedness of human groups has important ramifications for kin (group) selection to favor more collective action and invites the potential for more exploitation by political leaders. Endogamous marriages among kin create intensive kinship systems with high group relatedness, while exogamous marriages among nonrelatives create extensive kinship with low group relatedness. Here, a sample of 58 societies (7,565 adults living in 353 residential groups) shows that average group relatedness is higher in lowland horticulturalists than in hunter-gatherers. Higher relatedness in horticulturalists is remarkable given that village sizes are larger, harboring over twice the average number of adults than in hunter-gatherer camps. The relatedness differential between subsistence regimes increases for larger group sizes. Large and dense networks of kin may have favored an increased propensity for some forms of in-group cooperation and political inequality that emerged relatively recently in human history, after the advent of farming.

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

“Do the Right Thing:” The Effects of Moral Suasion on Cooperation

Ernesto Dal Bó & Pedro Dal Bó
Journal of Public Economics, September 2014, Pages 28–38

Abstract:
The use of moral appeals to affect the behavior of others is pervasive (from the pulpit to ethics classes) but little is known about the effects of moral suasion on behavior. In a series of experiments we study whether moral suasion affects behavior in voluntary contribution games and the mechanisms by which behavior is altered. We find that observing a message with a moral standard according to the golden rule or, alternatively, utilitarian philosophy, results in a significant but transitory increase in contributions above the levels observed for subjects that did not receive a message or received a message that advised them to contribute without a moral rationale. When players have the option of punishing each other after the contribution stage, the effect of the moral messages on contributions becomes persistent: punishments and moral messages interact to sustain cooperation. We also investigate the mechanisms through which moral suasion operates and find it affects both expectations and preferences.

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

Raising the Price of Talk: An Experimental Analysis of Transparent Leadership

Daniel Houser et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does transparent leadership promote cooperative groups? We address this issue using a public goods experiment with exogenously selected leaders who are able to send non-binding contribution suggestions to the group. To investigate the effect of transparency in this setting we vary the ease with which a leader's actions are known by the group. We find leaders’ suggestions encourage cooperation in all treatments, but that both leaders and their group members are more likely to follow leaders’ recommendations when institutions are transparent so that non-leaders can easily see what the leader does. Consequently, transparency leads to significantly more cooperation, higher group earnings and reduced variation in contributions among group members.

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

Physical Attractiveness and Cooperation in a Prisoner’s Dilemma Game

Mizuho Shinada & Toshio Yamagishi
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The modulating role of age on the relationship between physical attractiveness and cooperativeness in a prisoner’s dilemma game (PDG) was investigated. Previous studies have shown that physical attractiveness is negatively related to cooperative choices among young men but not young women. Following the argument that the negative relationship between physical attractiveness and cooperation is a product of short-term mating strategies among attractive men, we predicted that this relationship is unique to young men and absent among women and older men. We tested this hypothesis with 175 participants (aged 22–69 years). The results showed that physical attractiveness was negatively related to cooperative behavior among young men but not among women or older men. We further observed that the negative relationship between physical attractiveness and cooperation among young men was particularly strong when attractiveness was judged by women.

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

The temporal course of the influence of anxiety on fairness considerations

Yi Luo et al.
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated the potential causes of anxious people's social avoidance. The classic ultimatum game was utilized in concert with electroencephalogram recording. Participants were divided into two groups according to levels of trait anxiety as identified by a self-report scale. The behavioral results indicate that high-anxious participants were more prone to reject human-proposed than computer-proposed unequal offers compared to their low-anxious counterparts. The event-related potential results indicate that the high-anxious group showed a larger feedback-related negativity when receiving unequal monetary offers than equal ones, and a larger P3 when receiving human-proposed offers than computer-proposed ones, but these effects were absent in the low-anxious group. We suggest anxious people's social avoidance results from hypersensitivity to unequal distributions during interpersonal interactions.

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

Social learning in cooperative dilemmas

Shakti Lamba
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 July 2014

Abstract:
Helping is a cornerstone of social organization and commonplace in human societies. A major challenge for the evolutionary sciences is to explain how cooperation is maintained in large populations with high levels of migration, conditions under which cooperators can be exploited by selfish individuals. Cultural group selection models posit that such large-scale cooperation evolves via selection acting on populations among which behavioural variation is maintained by the cultural transmission of cooperative norms. These models assume that individuals acquire cooperative strategies via social learning. This assumption remains empirically untested. Here, I test this by investigating whether individuals employ conformist or payoff-biased learning in public goods games conducted in 14 villages of a forager–horticulturist society, the Pahari Korwa of India. Individuals did not show a clear tendency to conform or to be payoff-biased and are highly variable in their use of social learning. This variation is partly explained by both individual and village characteristics. The tendency to conform decreases and to be payoff-biased increases as the value of the modal contribution increases. These findings suggest that the use of social learning in cooperative dilemmas is contingent on individuals' circumstances and environments, and question the existence of stably transmitted cultural norms of cooperation.

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

Strategic Social Learning And The Population Dynamics Of Human Behavior: The Game Of Go

Bret Alexander Beheim, Calvin Thigpen & Richard Mcelreath
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Human culture is widely believed to undergo evolution, via mechanisms rooted in the nature of human cognition. A number of theories predict the kinds of human learning strategies, as well as the population dynamics that result from their action. There is little work, however, that quantitatively examines the evidence for these strategies and resulting cultural evolution within human populations. One of the obstacles is the lack of individual-level data with which to link transmission events to larger cultural dynamics. Here, we address this problem with a rich quantitative database from the East Asian board game known as Go. We draw from a large archive of Go games spanning the last six decades of professional play, and find evidence that the evolutionary dynamics of particular cultural variants are driven by a mix of individual and social learning processes. Particular players vary dramatically in their sensitivity to population knowledge, which also varies by age and nationality. The dynamic patterns of opening Go moves are consistent with an ancient, ongoing arms race within the game itself.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 20, 2014

Representing

Political Capital: Corporate Connections and Stock Investments in the U.S. Congress, 2004-2008

Andrew Eggers & Jens Hainmueller
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Spring 2014, Pages 169-202

Abstract:
Recent research suggests that, public perceptions notwithstanding, members of Congress are rather mediocre investors. Why do the consummate political insiders fail to profit as investors? We consider various explanations that pertain to members' political relationships to public firms. We show that members of Congress invest disproportionately in local firms and campaign contributors, which suggests that overall underperformance cannot be explained by the absence of political considerations in members' portfolio decisions. These connected investments (and particularly local investments) generally outperform members' other investments, which suggests that poor performance is not explained by an excessive political skew in members' portfolios. It appears that members of Congress earn poor investing returns primarily because their non-connected investments perform poorly, perhaps due to the usual failings of individual investors; a combination of political and financial considerations may explain why they do not make more extensive use of their political advantages as investors.

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

Business Interests and the Party Coalitions: Industry Sector Contributions to U.S. Congressional Campaigns

James Gimpel, Frances Lee & Michael Parrott
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We identify the economic interests in the United States that have a partisan alignment. We disaggregate corporate and trade association political action committees by economic sector, using the most fine-grained classifications available. We then analyze the campaign contributions to House incumbents from each sector, controlling for the majority party, economic geography, committee membership, and electoral competition. We find wide variation in how economic sectors relate to the parties. More than one third have a clear party tilt, with far more leaning toward Republicans than to Democrats. The remainder have no discernible partisan preference, either giving without reference to party or opportunistically to the majority. Republican-leaning sectors concentrate in particular enterprises, especially natural resources extraction, while most professional service sectors are nonpartisan. Business is not a monolith, to be contrasted with "labor" or "ideological interest groups," but embedded in economic sectors that are more or less politicized in partisan terms.

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

Historical changes in American self-interest: State of the Union addresses 1790 to 2012

William Chopik, Deepti Joshi & Sara Konrath
Personality and Individual Differences, August 2014, Pages 128-133

Abstract:
Many psychological theories of morality suggest that satisfying our own self-interest motives and desires at the expense of others is the default condition in early childhood development, but that humans eventually learn to behave selflessly in the interest of others. Recent research examining societal increases in traits related to self-interest (e.g., narcissism) in the US finds increases in such traits over the past 30 years. The current study examined changes in self-interest from 1790 through 2012 using presidential State of the Union addresses. Self-interest (relative to interest in others) was low during the 19th century but rose after the turn of the 20th century.

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

The Impact of Public Officials' Corruption on the Size and Allocation of U.S. State Spending

Cheol Liu & John Mikesell
Public Administration Review, May/June 2014, Pages 346-359

Abstract:
This article demonstrates the impact of public officials' corruption on the size and allocation of U.S. state spending. Extending two theories of "excessive" government expansion, the authors argue that public officials' corruption should cause state spending to be artificially elevated. Corruption increased state spending over the period 1997-2008. During that time, the 10 most corrupt states could have reduced their total annual expenditure by an average of $1,308 per capita - 5.2 percent of the mean per capita state expenditure - if corruption had been at the average level of the states. Moreover, at the expense of social sectors, corruption is likely to distort states' public resource allocations in favor of higher-potential "bribe-generating" spending and items directly beneficial to public officials, such as capital, construction, highways, borrowing, and total salaries and wages. The authors use an objective, concrete, and consistent measurement of corruption, the number of convictions.

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

State politics, tuition, and the dynamics of a political budget cycle

Lockwood Reynolds
Empirical Economics, June 2014, Pages 1241-1270

Abstract:
This paper attempts to improve the understanding of political budget cycles by first identifying a previously undocumented cycle in tuition and required fees at public four-year institutions of higher education in the United States. I find that tuition and fees are 1.5 % lower during gubernatorial election years than in non-election years. No similar cycle is found in private tuition and fees. Using a newly constructed dataset, I then explore the variation in electoral competition in gubernatorial and state legislative elections within states over time to uncover the underlying electoral incentives creating the cycle. The results suggest that the tuition cycle is not designed to increase the reelection prospects of governors as standard theories would predict. I find that tuition decreases during gubernatorial election years as the reelection prospects of the incumbent governor increases. Instead, the evidence suggests that popular governors use lower tuition as political pork to expand party power in the state by capturing swing districts in concurrent state legislative elections. I find that the magnitude of the cycle increases with the level of competition in state house elections and that the effect is concentrated among those districts held by the opposition party, particularly if those opposition districts are populated with voters likely to be responsive to tuition as a policy lever. These results reveal important dynamics about party competition within states in the United States and suggest that the electoral incentives driving political budget cycles can be complex.

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

Responding to Voters or Responding to Markets? Political Parties and Public Opinion in an Era of Globalization

Lawrence Ezrow & Timothy Hellwig
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom has it that political parties have incentives to respond to public opinion. It is also conventional wisdom that in open economies, policymakers must also "respond" to markets. Research on representation has provided ample evidence in support of the first claim. Research on the political economy of globalization has not, however, provided evidence for the second. This article examines the effects of globalization on how parties respond to voters. We argue that while elections motivate parties to respond to public sentiment, economic interdependence distracts political elites from their electorates and toward market actors, reducing party responsiveness to the mean voter. Evidence from a pair of distinct data sources spanning elections in twenty advanced capitalist democracies from the 1970s to 2010 shows that while parties have incentives to respond to left-right shifts in the mean voter position, they only do so when the national economy is sufficiently sheltered from the world economy. These findings have implications for party strategies, for representation, and for the broader effects of market integration.

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

The Conditional Effect of Term Limits on Electoral Activities

Julie VanDusky-Allen
Politics & Policy, June 2014, Pages 431-458

Abstract:
In this article, I examine how term limits affect the amount of time that legislators focus on constituency service and fundraising. I use data from the 2002 U.S. State Legislative Survey conducted by Carey, Niemi, Powell, and Moncrief to provide support for my hypotheses. The results from the data analysis suggest that in the presence of term limits, legislators with long-term career goals in politics spend less time on constituency service activities and more time on fundraising with their caucus. For legislators with short-term career goals in politics, there is very little evidence to suggest that term limits have an effect on how much time they spend on constituency service activities and fundraising activities.

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

Cynics and Skeptics: Evaluating the Credibility of Mainstream and Citizen Journalism

Jasun Carr et al.
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
With the increase in citizen-generated news, the need to understand how individual predispositions interact with news sources to influence perceptions of news credibility becomes increasingly important. Using a web-based experiment, this study examines the influences individual predispositions toward the media and politics have on perceived credibility of mainstream and citizen journalism. Analyzing data drawn from a representative sample of the U.S. adult population, results indicate that media skepticism and political cynicism interact, such that cynics and skeptics perceive citizen journalism as more credible, while non-cynics and non-skeptics think mainstream journalism is more credible.

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

Sunshine as Disinfectant: The Effect of State Freedom of Information Act Laws on Public Corruption

Adriana Cordis & Patrick Warren
Journal of Public Economics, July 2014, Pages 18-36

Abstract:
We assess the effect of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws on public corruption in the United States. Specifically, we investigate the impact of switching from a weak to a strong state-level FOIA law on corruption convictions of state and local government officials. The evidence suggests that strengthening FOIA laws has two offsetting effects: reducing corruption and increasing the probability that corrupt acts are detected. The conflation of these two effects led prior work to find little impact of FOIA on corruption. We find that conviction rates approximately double after the switch, which suggests an increase in detection probabilities. However, conviction rates decline from this new elevated level as the time since the switch from weak to strong FOIA increases. This decline is consistent with officials reducing the rate at which they commit corrupt acts by about twenty percent. These changes are more pronounced in states with more intense media coverage, for those that had more substantial changes in their FOIA laws, for FOIA laws which include strong liabilities for officials who contravene them, for local officials, and for more serious crimes. Conviction rates of federal officials, who are not subject to the policy, show no concomitant change.

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

"'Do This! Do That!' and Nothing Will Happen": Executive Orders and Bureaucratic Responsiveness

Joshua Kennedy
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
How effective is unilateral presidential power? Recent developments have shifted presidential scholarship in the direction of a more institutional approach, and one of the most important tenets of this work holds that the president has the ability to make policy on his own. However, there is significant anecdotal evidence suggesting that agency responsiveness to executive orders is not at all guaranteed. This study leverages a unique data set tracing the implementation of executive orders across 10 government agencies, and the results indicate that despite conventional wisdom, presidential directives are not universally implemented, and a host of factors come to bear on an agency's decision as to whether they will respond. This project represents among the first quantitative empirical assessments of the utility of unilateral power and suggests that the field may benefit most from shifting toward a bargaining-based model similar to those used in legislative scholarship.

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

Chamber Size Effects on the Collaborative Structure of Legislatures

Justin Kirkland
Legislative Studies Quarterly, May 2014, Pages 169-198

Abstract:
The collective nature of legislating forces legislators to rely on one another for information and support. This collaborative activity requires a choice about partnerships in an environment of uncertainty. The basic size and organization of a legislature amplifies this uncertainty in relational choices. Analysis of collaborative patterns between all the U.S. state legislators in 2007 corroborates this expectation, indicating that large legislatures have highly partisan collaborative networks with generally low density, while larger legislative committees mitigate these effects. Thus, even when the attributes of legislators do not change, the organizational size of the legislature can shape how those legislators interact.

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

Whistleblower laws and exposed corruption in the United States

Rajeev Goel & Michael Nelson
Applied Economics, Summer 2014, Pages 2331-2341

Abstract:
This research creates a unique internet-based measure of awareness about state-level whistleblower laws and provisions to examine their effects on observed corruption in the United States. Are whistleblower laws complementary or substitutes for other, more direct, corruption control measures? Placing the analysis within the corruption literature, the findings show that greater whistleblower awareness results in more observed corruption and this finding holds across specifications. Internet awareness about whistleblower laws seems relatively more effective at exposing corruption than the quantity and quality of state whistleblower laws themselves.

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

The Role of Race, Ethnicity, and Party on Attitudes Toward Descriptive Representation

Jason Casellas & Sophia Wallace
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using original survey data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey (CCES), we examine variation in racial and ethnic group and partisan attitudes toward legislators and representation. Respondents were asked about their views on descriptive representation, its importance for their own elected official, and whether it was important to have more descriptive representatives in general. Using respondents' personal characteristics such as education, partisanship, race, ethnicity, income, and race and ethnicity of their House of Representatives member, we analyze the impact of these variables on attitudes toward representation. We find that Latino and Black respondents place a high level of importance on having descriptive representatives in their own districts in addition to articulating a high degree of importance to having more representatives from their respective group. However, Latino Republicans place less importance on descriptive representation overall than Latino non-Republican respondents. Non-Latino Republicans also place importance on more legislators of their same race or ethnicity. The findings have implications for democratic governance as the demographics of the United States rapidly changes.

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

Transparency actually: How transparency affects public perceptions of political decision-making

Jenny de Fine Licht
European Political Science Review, May 2014, Pages 309-330

Abstract:
Building on a widely held account of transparency as integral to legitimate and successful governance, this article addresses the question of how transparency in decision-making can influence public perceptions of political decision-making. An original experiment with 1099 participants shows that people who perceive political decision-making to be transparent judge the degree of procedural fairness highly and are more willing to accept the final decision. Perceptions of transparency are, however, largely shaped by transparency cues (e.g. statements provided by external sources) rather than by the degree of actual transparency, and no direct effect of actual transparency can be found on decision acceptance. The implication is that it is difficult to influence people's acceptance of political decisions by means of transparency reforms, as people base their assessments of political decisions largely on considerations other than evalutations of actual decision-making procedures.

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

Not All News Sources Are Equally Informative: A Cross-National Analysis of Political Knowledge in Europe

Marta Fraile & Shanto Iyengar
International Journal of Press/Politics, July 2014, Pages 275-294

Abstract:
Across a sample of twenty-seven European nations, we examine variation in the level of factual political knowledge in relation to self-reported exposure to news programs aired by public or commercial channels, and to broadsheet or tabloid newspapers. Unlike previous studies, we estimate the effects of exposure to these news outlets while controlling for self-selection into the audience. Our results show that the positive effects of exposure to broadsheets and public broadcasting on knowledge remain robust. Finally, we show that only exposure to broadsheets (and not to public broadcasting) narrows the knowledge gap within nations; relatively apathetic individuals who read broadsheet newspapers are able to "catch up" with their more attentive counterparts.

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

Conclave

Maksymilian Kwiek
European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A committee is choosing between two alternatives. If the required supermajority is not reached, voting is repeated indefinitely, although there is a cost to delay. Under suitable assumptions the equilibrium analysis provides a sharp prediction. The result can be interpreted as a generalization of the seminal median voter theorem known from the simple majority case. If a supermajority is required instead, the power to select the outcome moves from the median voter to the more extreme voters. Normative analysis indicates that, in the utilitarian sense, simple majority is strictly inferior to some supermajorities. Even if unanimity is a bad voting rule, voting rules close to unanimity may be efficient. The more likely it is to have very many almost indifferent voters and some very opinionated ones, the more stringent a supermajority is required for efficiency.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Feedlot

What Money Can Buy: Family Income and Childhood Obesity

Young Jo
Economics & Human Biology, December 2014, Pages 1–12

Abstract:
This paper investigates the relationship between family income and childhood obesity. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), I report three new findings. First, family income and childhood obesity are generally negatively correlated, but for children in very low-income families, they are positively correlated. Second, the negative association between family income and Body Mass Index (BMI) is especially strong and significant among high-BMI children. Third, the difference in obesity rates between children from low- and high-income families increases as children age. This study further investigates potential factors that might contribute to a rapid increase in the obesity rate among low-income children. I find that their faster weight gain, rather than slower height growth, is a greater contributor to the rapid increase in their BMI over time. On the other hand, I also find that the faster weight gain by low-income children cannot be attributed to any single factor, such as participation in school meal programs, parental characteristics, or individual characteristics. These findings add to the current obesity debate by demonstrating that the key to curbing childhood obesity may lie in factors generating different obesity rates across income levels.

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

Neighborhood Effects on Food Consumption

Tammy Leonard et al.
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, August 2014, Pages 99–113

Abstract:
Food consumption behavior is likely a result of environmental stimuli, access, and personal preferences, making policy aimed at increasing the nutritional content of food consumption challenging. We examine the dual role of the social and physical neighborhood environment as they relate to the eating behaviors of residents of a low-income minority urban neighborhood. We find that both proximity to different types of food sources (a characteristic of the physical neighborhood environment) and dietary intake of neighbors (a characteristic of the neighborhood's social environment) are related to dietary intake. The relationships are most robust for fruits and vegetables consumption. Proximity to fast food sources is related to less fruits and vegetables consumption while the opposite is found for individuals residing closer to fresh food sources. Additionally, individuals whose neighbors report increased fruits and vegetables intake also report higher fruits and vegetables consumption, while controlling for proximity to food sources. Instrumental variable and quasi-experimental robustness checks suggest that correlation in neighbors’ fruits and vegetables consumption is likely due to social interactions among neighboring residents. The results elucidate important inter-relationships between access and social norms that influence dietary behavior.

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

The Behavioralist as Nutritionist: Leveraging Behavioral Economics To Improve Child Food Choice and Consumption

John List & Anya Savikhin Samek
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., with now almost a third of children ages 2-19 deemed overweight or obese. In this study, we leverage recent findings from behavioral economics to explore new approaches to tackling one aspect of childhood obesity: food choice and consumption. Using a field experiment where we include more than 1,500 children, we report several key insights. First, we find that individual incentives can have large influences: in the control, only 17% of children prefer the healthy snack, whereas the introduction of small incentives increases take-up of the healthy snack to roughly 75%, more than a four-fold increase. There is some evidence that the effects continue after the treatment period, consistent with a model of habit formation. Second, we find little evidence that the framing of incentives (loss versus gain) matters. While incentives work, we find that educational messaging alone has little influence on food choice. Yet, we do observe an important interaction effect between messaging and incentives: together they provide an important influence on food choice. For policymakers, our findings show the power of using incentives to combat childhood obesity. For academics, our approach opens up an interesting combination of theory and experiment that can lead to a better understanding of theories that explain healthy decisions and what incentives can influence them.

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

Differences by mother’s education in the effect of childcare on child obesity

Zafar Nazarov & Michael Rendall
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have found adverse effects of maternal employment on child obesity for higher educated mothers. Using a quasi-structural model, we find additionally a lower risk of obesity for children of less educated mothers with increased time in non-parental childcare.

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

The Relationship Between Obesity and Exposure to Light at Night: Cross-Sectional Analyses of Over 100,000 Women in the Breakthrough Generations Study

Emily McFadden et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been a worldwide epidemic of obesity in recent decades. In animal studies, there is convincing evidence that light exposure causes weight gain, even when calorie intake and physical activity are held constant. Disruption of sleep and circadian rhythms by exposure to light at night (LAN) might be one mechanism contributing to the rise in obesity, but it has not been well-investigated in humans. Using multinomial logistic regression, we examined the association between exposure to LAN and obesity in questionnaire data from over 100,000 women in the Breakthrough Generations Study, a cohort study of women aged 16 years or older who were living in the United Kingdom and recruited during 2003–2012. The odds of obesity, measured using body mass index, waist:hip ratio, waist:height ratio, and waist circumference, increased with increasing levels of LAN exposure (P < 0.001), even after adjustment for potential confounders such as sleep duration, alcohol intake, physical activity, and current smoking. We found a significant association between LAN exposure and obesity which was not explained by potential confounders we could measure. While the possibility of residual confounding cannot be excluded, the pattern is intriguing, accords with the results of animal experiments, and warrants further investigation.

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

‘We’ve Got Some Underground Business Selling Junk Food’: Qualitative Evidence of the Unintended Effects of English School Food Policies

Adam Fletcher et al.
Sociology, June 2014, Pages 500-517

Abstract:
Drawing on two qualitative studies, we report evidence of pervasive black markets in confectionery, ‘junk’ food and energy drinks in English secondary schools. Data were collected at six schools through focus groups and interviews with students (n = 149) and staff (n = 36), and direct observations. Supermarkets, new technologies and teachers’ narrow focus on attainment have enabled these ‘underground businesses’ to emerge following increased state regulation of school food and drink provision. These activities represent a new form of counter-school resistance to institutional constraints within the context of enduring, although less visible, class-based stratification in British secondary schools. These black markets also appear to be partly driven by the unsafe and unsociable nature of school canteens, which was a recurring theme across all schools. These findings highlight how new school food ‘bans’ ignore the complex, ecological drivers of poor diet in youth and the potential for iatrogenic effects which exacerbate health inequalities.

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

If It's Useful and You Know It, Do You Eat? Preschoolers Refrain from Instrumental Food

Michal Maimaran & Ayelet Fishbach
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marketers, educators, and caregivers often refer to instrumental benefits to convince preschoolers to eat (e.g., “this food will make you strong”). We propose that preschoolers infer that if food is instrumental to achieve a goal, it is less tasty, and therefore they consume less of it. Accordingly, preschoolers (3-5.5 years old) rated crackers as less tasty and consumed fewer of them when the crackers were presented as instrumental to achieve a health goal (studies 1-2). In addition, preschoolers consumed fewer carrots and crackers when these were presented as instrumental to knowing how to read (study 3) and count (studies 4-5). This research supports an inference account for the negative impact of certain persuasive messages on consumption: preschoolers who are exposed to one association (e.g., between eating carrots and intellectual performance) infer another association (e.g., between carrots and taste) must be weaker.

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

The effects of extended bedtimes on sleep duration and food desire in overweight young adults. A home-based intervention

Esra Tasali et al.
Appetite, September 2014, Pages 220–224

Introduction: Sleep curtailment is an endemic behavior in modern society. Well-controlled laboratory studies have shown that sleep loss in young adults is associated with increased desire for high-calorie food and obesity risk. However, the relevance of these laboratory findings to real life is uncertain. We conducted a 3 week, within-participant, intervention study to assess the effects of extended bedtimes on sleep duration and food desire under real life conditions in individuals who are at risk for obesity.

Methods: Ten overweight young adults reporting average habitual sleep duration of less than 6.5 h were studied in the home environment. Habitual bedtimes for 1-week (baseline) were followed by bedtimes extended to 8.5 h for 2-weeks (intervention). Participants were unaware of the intervention until after the baseline period. Participants received individualized behavioral counseling on sleep hygiene on the first day of the intervention period. Sleep duration was recorded by wrist actigraphy throughout the study. Participants rated their sleepiness, vigor and desire for various foods using visual analog scales at the end of baseline and intervention periods.

Results: On average, participants obtained 1.6 h more sleep with extended bedtimes (5.6 vs 7.1; P < 0.001) and reported being less sleepy (P = 0.004) and more vigorous (P = 0.034). Additional sleep was associated with a 14% decrease in overall appetite (P = 0.030) and a 62% decrease in desire for sweet and salty foods (P = 0.017). Desire for fruits, vegetables and protein-rich nutrients was not affected by added sleep.

Conclusions: Sleep duration can be successfully increased in real life settings and obtaining adequate sleep is associated with less desire for high calorie foods in overweight young adults who habitually curtail their sleep.

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

The Short-Run Impact of the Healthy Incentives Pilot Program on Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Jacob Klerman et al.
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to low consumption levels of fruits and vegetables by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service created the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) to test the efficacy of providing a 30% incentive for purchases of targeted fruits and vegetables (TFVs). Four to six months after implementation, mean daily TFV intake for adult HIP participants was 0.22 cup-equivalents higher (24% higher) than for control-group SNAP participants. These impact estimates with a random-assignment research design generally agree with previously published nonexperimental elasticity estimates, which imply that a pure price reduction of 30% would increase fruit and vegetable consumption by about 20%.

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

The Effects of Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages across Different Income Groups

Anurag Sharma et al.
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) taxes on consumption, bodyweight and tax burden for low-income, middle-income and high-income groups using an Almost Ideal Demand System and 2011 Household level scanner data. A significant contribution of our paper is that we compare two types of SSB taxes recently advocated by policy makers: A 20% flat rate sales (valoric) tax and a 20 cent/L volumetric tax. Censored demand is accounted for using a two-step procedure. We find that the volumetric tax would result in a greater per capita weight loss than the valoric tax (0.41 kg vs. 0.29 kg). The difference between the change in weight is substantial for the target group of heavy purchasers of SSBs in low-income households, with a weight reduction of up to 3.20 kg for the volumetric and 2.06 kg for the valoric tax. The average yearly per capita tax burden on low-income households is $17.87 (0.21% of income) compared with $15.17 for high-income households (0.07% of income) for the valoric tax, and $13.80 (0.15%) and $10.10 (0.04%) for the volumetric tax. Thus, the tax burden is lower, and weight reduction is higher under a volumetric tax.

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

Obesity and the Natural Environment Across US Counties

Paul von Hippel & Rebecca Benson
American Journal of Public Health, July 2014, Pages 1287-1293

Objectives: We estimated the association between obesity and features of the natural environment. We asked whether the association is mediated by diet or by physical activity.

Methods: Using county-level data from the contiguous United States, we regressed adult obesity prevalence on 9 measures of the natural environment. Our regression model accounted for spatial correlation, and controlled for county demographics and the built environment. We included physical activity and diet (proxied by food purchases) as potential mediators.

Results: Obesity was more prevalent in counties that are hot in July or cold in January. To a lesser degree, obesity was more prevalent in counties that are dark in January or rainy (but not snowy) year-round. Other aspects of the natural environment—including wind, trees, waterfront, and hills and mountains—had little or no association with obesity. Nearly all of the association between obesity and the natural environment was mediated by physical activity; none was mediated by diet.

Conclusions: Hot summers and cold winters appear to promote obesity by discouraging physical activity. Attempts to encourage physical activity should compensate for the effects of extreme temperatures.

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

Maternal prepregnancy obesity and child neurodevelopment in the Collaborative Perinatal Project

Lisu Huang et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, June 2014, Pages 783-792

Objectives: To examine the association between maternal prepregnancy weight and child neurodevelopment, and the effect of gestational weight gain.

Methods: Using the U.S. Collaborative Perinatal Project data, 1959–76, a total of 30 212 women with a calculable prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain, and term singleton children followed up for more than 7 years were included in this study. Intelligence quotient (IQ) was measured at 7 years of age by Wechsler Intelligence Scales.

Results: Maternal prepregnancy BMI displayed inverted U-shaped associations with child IQ after adjustment for maternal age, maternal education levels, maternal race, marital status, socioeconomic status, smoking during pregnancy, parity and study center. Women with BMI at around 20 kg/m2 appeared to have the highest offspring IQ scores. After controlling for familial factors in the siblings’ sample, maternal obesity (BMI ≥30.0 kg/m2) was associated with lower Full-scale IQ (adjusted ß = −2.0, 95% confidence interval −3.5 to −0.5), and Verbal scale IQ (adjusted ß = −2.5, 95% confidence interval −4.0 to −1.0), using BMI of 18.5–24.9 kg/m2 as the reference category. Compared with children born to normal-weight women who gained 21–25 lb. during pregnancy, those born to obese women who gained more than 40 lb. had 6.5 points deficit in IQ after adjustment for potential confounders.

Conclusions: Maternal prepregnancy obesity was associated with lower child IQ, and excessive weight gain accelerated the association. With obesity rising steadily, these results appear to raise serious public health concerns.

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

Stereotypes Can “Get Under the Skin”: Testing a Self-Stereotyping and Psychological Resource Model of Overweight and Obesity

Luis Rivera & Stefanie Paredez
Journal of Social Issues, June 2014, Pages 226–240

Abstract:
The authors draw upon social, personality, and health psychology to propose and test a self-stereotyping and psychological resource model of overweight and obesity. The model contends that self-stereotyping depletes psychological resources, namely self-esteem, that help to prevent overweight and obesity. In support of the model, mediation analysis demonstrates that adult Hispanics who highly self-stereotype had lower levels of self-esteem than those who self-stereotype less, which in turn predicted higher levels of body mass index (overweight and obesity levels). Furthermore, the model did not hold for the referent sample, White participants, and an alternative mediation model was not supported. These data are the first to theoretically and empirically link self-stereotyping and self-esteem (a psychological resource) with a strong physiological risk factor for morbidity and short life expectancy in stigmatized individuals. Thus, this research contributes to understanding ethnic-racial health disparities in the United States and beyond.

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

Is there an influence of modern life style on skeletal build?

Christiane Scheffler & Michael Hermanussen
American Journal of Human Biology, forthcoming

Objectives: Modern human life style has led to significant decrease in everyday physical activity and bipedal locomotion. It has previously been shown that skeletal robustness (relative elbow breadth) is associated with daily step counts. The aim of the study was to investigate whether also other skeletal measures, particularly pelvic breadth may have changed in recent decades.

Methods: We re-analyzed elbow breadth, pelvic breadth (bicristal), and thoracic depth and breadth, of up to 28,975 healthy females and 28,288 healthy males aged 3–18 years from cross-sectional anthropological surveys performed between 1980 and 2012 by the Universities of Potsdam and Berlin, Germany.

Results: Relative elbow breadth (Frame index) significantly decreased in both sexes since 1980 (<0.001). The trend toward slighter built was even more pronounced in absolute and relative pelvic breadth. In contrast, equivalent changes of parts of the skeletal system that are not involved in bipedal locomotion such as thoracic breadth, thoracic depth, and the thoracic index were absent.

Conclusions: The present investigation confirms the decline in relative elbow breadth in recent decades. Analogue, but even more pronounced changes were detected in pelvic breadth that coincides with the modern decline in upright locomotion. The findings underscore the phenotypic plasticity of humans while adapting to new environmental conditions.

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

The effect of portion size on food intake is robust to brief education and mindfulness exercises

Karen Cavanagh et al.
Journal of Health Psychology, June 2014, Pages 730-739

Abstract:
We examined whether a brief education and a brief mindfulness exercise would reduce the effect of portion size on food intake. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three information conditions (education, mindfulness, or control) and then received a small or large portion of pasta for lunch. Neither education nor mindfulness was effective in reducing the effect of portion size: Overall, participants served a large portion consumed 34 percent more pasta than did those served a small portion. Participants in the mindfulness condition tended to eat less overall than participants did in the two other conditions, but this trend was not significant.

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

Socioeconomic gradients in body mass index (BMI) in US immigrants during the transition to adulthood: Examining the roles of parental education and intergenerational educational mobility

Sandra Albrecht & Penny Gordon-Larsen
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Despite comparatively lower socioeconomic status (SES), immigrants tend to have lower body weight and weaker SES gradients relative to US-born individuals. Yet, it is unknown how changes in SES over the life-course relate to body weight in immigrants versus US-born individuals.

Methods: We used longitudinal data from a nationally representative, diverse sample of 13 701 adolescents followed into adulthood to investigate whether associations between SES mobility categories (educational attainment reported by individuals as adults and by their parents during adolescence) and body mass index (BMI) measured in adulthood varied by immigrant generation. Weighted multivariable linear regression models were adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity and immigrant generation.

Results: Among first-generation immigrants, although parental education was not associated with adult BMI, an immigrant's own education attainment was inversely associated with BMI (β=−2.6 kg/m2; SE=0.9, p<0.01). In addition, upward educational mobility was associated with lower adult mean BMI than remaining low SES (β=−2.5 kg/m2; SE=1.2, p<0.05). In contrast, among US-born respondents, college education in adulthood did not attenuate the negative association between parental education and adult BMI. Although an SES gradient emerged in adulthood for immigrants, remaining low SES from adolescence to adulthood was not associated with loss of health advantage relative to US-born respondents of US-born parents of similar SES.

Conclusions: Immigrants were able to translate higher SES in adulthood into a lower adult mean BMI regardless of childhood SES, whereas the consequences of lower childhood SES had a longer reach even among the upwardly mobile US born.

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

Individual differences in executive function predict distinct eating behaviours

Vanessa Allom & Barbara Mullan
Appetite, September 2014, Pages 123–130

Abstract:
Executive function has been shown to influence the performance of health behaviours. Healthy eating involves both the inhibitory behaviour of consuming low amounts of saturated fat, and the initiatory behaviour of consuming fruit and vegetables. Based on this distinction, it was hypothesised that these behaviours would have different determinants. Measures of inhibitory control and updating were administered to 115 participants across 2 days. One week later saturated fat intake and fruit and vegetable consumption were measured. Regression analyses revealed a double dissociation effect between the different executive function variables and the prediction of eating behaviours. Specifically, inhibitory control, but not updating, predict saturated fat intake, whilst updating, but not inhibitory control, was related to fruit and vegetable consumption. In both cases, better executive function capacity was associated with healthier eating behaviour. The results support the idea that behaviours that require stopping a response such as limiting saturated fat intake, have different determinants to those that require the initiation of a response such as fruit and vegetable consumption. The findings suggest that interventions aimed at improving these behaviours should address the relevant facet of executive function.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On demand

Trading Dollars for Dollars: The Price of Attention Online and Offline

Matthew Gentzkow
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 481-488

Abstract:
Popular accounts suggest that advertising revenue per unit of consumer attention is lower online than offline, and has fallen in traditional media as the Internet has made advertising markets more competitive. I assess these claims theoretically and empirically, and compare the patterns we observe for the Internet to trends in advertising around the introduction of television and radio. The evidence suggests that the price of attention for similar consumers is actually higher online than offline, and that the growth of new media is not robustly associated with a declining price of attention.

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

Persuasive Puffery

Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh
Marketing Science, May-June 2014, Pages 382-400

Abstract:
Sellers often make claims about product strengths without providing evidence. Even though such claims are mere puffery, we show that they can be credible because talking up any one strength comes at the implicit trade-off of not talking up another potential strength. Puffery pulls in some buyers who value product attributes that are talked up or emphasized while pushing away other buyers who infer that the attributes they value are relative weaknesses. When the initial probability of making a sale is low, there are more potential buyers to pull in than to push away, so puffery is persuasive overall. This persuasiveness requires that buyers have some privacy about their preferences so that the seller does not completely pander to them. More generally, the results show how comparative cheap talk by an expert to a decision maker can be credible and persuasive in standard discrete choice models used throughout marketing, economics, and other disciplines.

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

Harbingers of Failure

Eric Anderson et al.
Northwestern University Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
We show that some customers systematically purchase new products that flop. Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail - the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed. These customers, whom we call ‘Harbingers’ [of failure], prefer products that other customers do not want. More broadly, we document that distinguishing among the types of customers who adopt a new product can be predictive of whether a new product will succeed or fail. We discuss how these insights can be readily incorporated into the new product development process. Our findings challenge the conventional wisdom that positive customer feedback is always a signal of future success. The possibility that firms are encouraged by Harbingers’ purchases during pilot market tests may help to explain the high failure rate for new products.

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

Should the Devil Sell Prada? Retail Rejection Increases Aspiring Consumers' Desire for the Brand

Morgan Ward & Darren Dahl
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to consumers’ complaints that they feel rejected in and thus avoid luxury stores, retailers have encouraged sales personnel to be more friendly. However, prior research on social rejection supports the idea that rejection encourages people to elevate their perceptions of their rejecters, and strengthens their predilection to affiliate with them. Four studies examine the circumstances in which consumers increase their regard and willingness to pay after brand rejection. In a retail context, the data reveal that after threat, consumers have more positive attitudes and higher WTP when 1) the rejection comes from an aspirational (versus non-aspirational) brand, 2) the consumer relates the brand to his/her ideal self-concept, 3) s/he is unable to self-affirm prior to rejection, 4) the salesperson delivering the threat reflects the brand, and 5) the threat occurred recently. The substantive implications of these findings for retailers are discussed and opportunities for future research are identified.

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

Leveraging Market Power Through Tying and Bundling: Does Google Behave Anti-Competitively?

Benjamin Edelman
Harvard Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
I examine Google’s pattern and practice of tying and bundling to leverage its dominance into new sectors under antitrust law principles. In particular, I show how Google used these tactics to enter numerous markets, to compel usage of its services, and often to dominate competing offerings. I explore the technical and commercial implementations of these practices, and I identify their effects on competition. I conclude that Google’s tying and bundling tactics are suspect under antitrust law.

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

Touch vs. Tech: When Technology Functions as a Barrier or a Benefit to Service Encounters

Michael Giebelhausen et al.
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interpersonal exchanges between customers and frontline service employees increasingly involve the use of technology, such as point-of-sale terminals, tablets, and kiosks. The present research draws on role and script theories to demonstrate customer reactions to technology-infused service exchanges depend on the presence of employee rapport. When rapport is present during the exchange, technology use functions as an interpersonal barrier preventing the customer from responding in kind to employee rapport-building efforts, thereby decreasing service encounter evaluations. However, during service encounters where employees are not engaging in rapport-building, technology functions as an interpersonal barrier allowing customers to retreat from the relatively unpleasant service interaction, thereby increasing service encounter evaluations. Two analyses utilizing J.D. Power Guest Satisfaction Index data support the barrier and beneficial effects of technology use during service encounters with and without rapport, respectively. A follow-up experiment replicates this data pattern and identifies psychological discomfort as a key process that governs the effect. For managers, results demonstrate the inherent incompatibility of initiatives designed to encourage employee-customer rapport with those that introduce technology into frontline service exchanges.

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

“Selling Out” and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry

Joshua Gans
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
There is a puzzle arising from empirical analyses of the impact of music piracy that this has caused declines in music revenue without a consequential decline, and perhaps even an increase, in the entry of artists and the supply of high quality music. There have been numerous explanations posited and this paper adds a novel one: that artists are time inconsistent and hence, tend to underweight fame over fortune when making future choices; i.e., the degree to which they will ‘sell out.’ Regardless of whether selling out is anticipated or not, the puzzle is resolved. When selling out is not anticipated, future expectations of piracy are not a concern as these impact on monetary awards that are not driving entry. When selling out is anticipated, piracy actually constrains the degree to which artists sell out, and assured of that, raises entry returns. Implications and the role of publisher contracts are also explored.

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

Internet vs. TV Advertising: A Brand-Building Comparison

Michaela Draganska, Wesley Hartmann & Gena Stanglein
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many advertisers are reluctant to shift a large proportion of their advertising budgets to the Internet because they still view television advertising as the main vehicle for building a brand. Using a unique and rich data set comprising 20 campaigns across a variety of industries, we demonstrate that Internet ads perform on par with TV ads on the brand-building metrics that advertisers use and trust. We extend traditional brand-message recall measurement to facilitate comparisons between Internet formats and television by supplementing brand-message surveys conducted during the campaign with a set of pre-campaign surveys to control for pre-existing brand knowledge. A matching procedure ensures the pre-campaign sample is comparable to the in-flight one. We find that accounting for differences in pre-existing brand knowledge is paramount in obtaining valid comparisons across advertising formats, as individuals exposed to Internet display ads have significantly lower levels of pre-existing brand knowledge than television viewers. Without considering the differences in these “initial conditions”, TV advertising appears to be more effective than advertising on the Internet, but once the pre-existing differences among media formats are taken into account, the brand recall lift measures for Internet ads are statistically indistinguishable from comparable television lift measures.

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

Drive for Show and Putt for Dough? Not Anymore

Carson Baugher, Jonathan Day & Elvin Burford
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Ten years ago, some golf analysts believed that “drive for show and putt for dough” may no longer be true on the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour. Scholars analyzed data from 1991 to 2002 and found that the old adage was still true since putting remained the number one skill determining earnings. We updated their models with data from 2006 to 2013 and found that driving replaced putting as the number one skill determining earnings starting in 2011. The most likely reasons for this return to skill are the lengthening of the courses and the shortening of the rough.

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

Conflicting Social Codes and Organizations: Hygiene and Authenticity in Consumer Evaluations of Restaurants

David Lehman, Balázs Kovács & Glenn Carroll
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organization theory highlights the spread of norms of rationality in contemporary life. Yet rationality does not always spread without friction; individuals often act based on other beliefs and norms. We explore this problem in the context of restaurants and diners. We argue that consumers potentially apply either of two social codes when forming value judgments about restaurants: (1) an apparently rational science-based code of hygiene involving compliance with local health regulations or (2) a context-activated code of authenticity involving conformity to cultural norms. We propose that violations of the hygiene code recede in importance when the authenticity code is activated. This claim is supported by empirical analyses of 442,086 online consumer reviews and 52,740 governmental health inspections conducted from 2004 to 2011.

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

Social Networks, Personalized Advertising and Privacy Controls

Catherine Tucker
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates how internet users' perception of control over their personal information affects how likely they are to click on online advertising on a social networking website. The paper uses data from a randomized field experiment that examined the effectiveness of personalizing ad text with user-posted personal information relative to generic text. The website gave users more control over their personally identifiable information in the middle of the field test. However, the website did not change how advertisers used data to target and personalize ads. Before the policy change, personalized ads did not perform particularly well. However, after this enhancement of perceived control over privacy, users were nearly twice as likely to click on personalized ads. Ads that targeted but did not use personalized text remained unchanged in effectiveness. The increase in effectiveness was larger for ads that used more unique private information to personalize their message and for target groups who were more likely to use opt-out privacy settings.

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

Does It Pay to Wait? The Paths of Posted Prices and Ticket Composition for the Final Four and Super Bowl

David Harrington & Jaret Treber
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A couple of weeks before the 2012 Super Bowl, Andrew Lehren of The New York Times advised fans wanting tickets to be “patient,” because prices in secondary ticket markets tend to fall “precipitously” as the time to kickoff nears. Using data compiled from SeatGeek.com on more than 46,000 ticket postings in the two weeks prior to the 2013 Super Bowl and more than 18,000 ticket postings prior to the 2012 NCAA Final Four, we find that average prices decreased in the last few days prior to these events, reaching their lowest levels on the mornings before kickoff and first tipoff. This evidence seems to support Lehren’s recommendation that savvy fans should wait until the last minute to buy their tickets. But, we also show that savvy fans can often find similar or better bargains much earlier in the week by searching the available inventory. The greater variation in posted prices earlier in the week implies that fans can often find better bargains by searching than by being patient, especially for super-premium seats. We discuss how changes in technology have made it easier to search for bargains, while also insuring against being left ticketless if fans decide to patiently wait until the day of the game. Both strategies — patiently waiting until close to game time versus searching early and often — can produce bargains, although we suspect that changes in technology have increased the relative rewards to searching.

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

Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment

Tom Blake, Steven Tadelis & Chris Nosko
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Internet advertising has been the fastest growing advertising channel in recent years with paid search ads comprising the bulk of this revenue. We present results from a series of large scale field experiments done at eBay that were designed to measure the causal effectiveness of paid search ads. Because search clicks and purchase behavior are correlated, we show that returns from paid search are a fraction of conventional non-experimental estimates. As an extreme case, we show that brand-keyword ads have no measurable short-term benefits. For non-brand keywords we find that new and infrequent users are positively influenced by ads but that more frequent users whose purchasing behavior is not influenced by ads account for most of the advertising expenses, resulting in average returns that are negative.

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

Substituting piracy with a pay-what-you-want option: Does it make sense?

Sana El Harbi, Gilles Grolleau & Insaf Bekir
European Journal of Law and Economics, April 2014, Pages 277-297

Abstract:
Rather than tolerating piracy or increasing sanctions, an artist can release his product directly to consumers by allowing them to download it under a ‘pay-what-you-want’ online strategy. We show analytically that this strategy can (1) be more profitable than a strategy with perfect or imperfect intellectual property rights enforcement for the artist and (2) change the organization and allocation of added value between artists and publishers along the supply chain. This higher profit result is achieved through an increased demand for live performance and positive voluntary contributions of downloaders directly pocketed by the artist. Indeed, a ‘pay-what-you-want’ strategy allows artists to reduce piracy without using sanctions while benefiting from a strategic negotiation ‘weapon’ in the relationship with record labels. Moreover, consumers draw procedural utility from the way the product is delivered. Counter-intuitively, rather than advocating for elimination of conventional releases at posted prices, pay-what-you-want strategies may need them to remain successful. A brief case study of Radiohead’s experiment and anecdotal evidence are developed to support these theoretical insights. Some implications regarding the re-organization of the supply chain and property rights regime are drawn.

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

Unlikely allies: Credibility transfer during a corporate crisis

Justin Heinze, Eric Luis Uhlmann & Daniel Diermeier
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, May 2014, Pages 392–397

Abstract:
A company that faces a crisis can reestablish trust with stakeholders by announcing an independent investigation by a third party. Announcing an independent investigation, without knowing its outcome, significantly restored attitudes toward the company while an internal investigation was ineffective. Liberals responded most positively to a company that invited an independent investigation by a consumer advocacy group (Study 1). Experimentally activating liberal values using an implicit priming procedure likewise enhanced credibility transfer from a consumer advocacy group's investigation to a company in crisis (Study 2).

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

Looking Innovative: Exploring the Role of Impression Management in High-Tech Product Adoption and Use

Stacy Wood & Steve Hoeffler
Journal of Product Innovation Management, November 2013, Pages 1254–1270

Abstract:
Although consumer adoption of high-tech innovations is certainly influenced by the product's functional benefits, can the use of a new product confer social benefits as well? Specifically, can the mere use of an innovative product convey the impression that the user is an innovative person? Impression management (IM) is a well-established phenomenon in social psychology that refers to the human tendency to monitor, consciously or unconsciously, the efficacy of his or her communication of self to others. This research explores the role that IM motivations, or “looking innovative,” play in consumers' use of new high-tech products, especially in the workplace — an environment in which innovativeness is clearly valued by employers and, thus, individuals have strong motivations to convey innovativeness as a personal characteristic. Data from both ethnographic and experimental methods demonstrate that (1) the use of new high-tech products can be a surprisingly effective social signal of one's “tech savvy” and personal innovativeness; (2) this impression even significantly increases positive evaluations of secondary traits such as leadership and professional success; and (3) this effect differs by gender. Intriguingly, stronger benefits accrue for women than for men — a finding that runs counter to the backlash effect typically found in IM research in business settings (i.e., female job evaluations typically suffer after engaging in the same self-promoting IM strategies that benefit their male counterparts). Further, the data show that, even for professional recruiters, a momentary observation of a job candidate using a new high-tech product versus a low-tech equivalent significantly increases the candidate's evaluation and likelihood of being hired.

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

What is in a Name: Drug Names Convey Implicit Information about Their Riskiness and Efficacy

Alessandra Tasso, Teresa Gavaruzzi & Lorella Lotto
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research provides empirical evidence that drug names may entail implicit promises about their therapeutic power. We asked people to evaluate the perceived efficacy and risk associated with hypothetical drug names and other secondary related measures. We compared opaque (without meaning), functional (targeting the health issue that the drug is meant to solve) and persuasive (targeting the expected outcome of the treatment) names. Persuasive names were perceived as more efficacious and less risky than both opaque and functional names, suggesting that names that target the expected outcome of the drug may bias the perception of risk and efficacy. Implications for health-related communication are discussed in light of both the increasing use of over-the-counter drugs and the concern about people's low health literacy.

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

An Examination of Social Influence on Shopper Behavior Using Video Tracking Data

Xiaoling Zhang et al.
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research investigates how the social elements of a retail store visit affect shoppers' product interaction and purchase likelihood. The research uses a bivariate model of the shopping process, implemented in a hierarchical Bayes framework, which models the customer and contextual factors driving product touch and purchase simultaneously. A unique video tracking database captures each shopper's path and activities during the store visit. The findings reveal that interactive social influences (salesperson contact, shopper conversations) tend to slow down the shopper, encourage a longer store visit, and increase product interaction and purchase. When shoppers are part of a larger group, they are influenced more by discussions with companions and less by third parties. Stores with customers present encourage product interaction up to a point, beyond which the density of shoppers interferes with the shopping process. The effects of social influence vary by the salesperson's demographic similarity to the shopper and the type of product category being shopped. Several behavioral cues signal when shoppers are in a potentially high need state and may be good sales prospects.

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

Cannibalization and Option Value Effects of Secondary Markets: Evidence from the US Concert Industry

Victor Manuel Bennett, Robert Seamans & Feng Zhu
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how reducing search frictions in secondary markets affects the value appropriated by firms in primary markets. We characterize two effects on primary market firms caused by intermediaries entering secondary markets: the ‘cannibalization’ and ‘option value’ effects. Separation between primary and secondary markets can drive which of the two effects dominates. Firms selling valuable and scarce products are more likely to have separate primary and secondary markets, and will therefore appropriate more value when secondary markets thicken. Firms selling products that are not valuable and scarce will be hurt. Further, we hypothesize that firms have incentives to engineer scarcity by limiting supply when secondary markets thicken to separate primary and secondary markets. We find support for these hypotheses in the U.S. concert ticket industry.

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

Informational Value of Social Tagging Networks

Hyoryung Nam & P.K. Kannan
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social tagging is a new way to share and categorize online content, allowing users to express their thoughts, perceptions, and feelings with respect to diverse concepts such as brands, firms, music, politics, and more. In social tagging, content is connected through user-generated keywords known as “tags” and is readily searchable through these tags. The rich associative information provided by social tagging offers marketers new opportunities to infer brand associative networks. This paper investigates how the information contained in social tags can act as a proxy measure for brand performance and can predict the financial valuation of a firm. Using the data collected from a social tagging and bookmarking website, delicious.com, we examined social tagging data for 44 firms across 14 markets. After controlling for accounting metrics, media citations, and other user-generated content, we found that social tag-based brand management metrics capturing brand familiarity, favorability of associations, and competitive overlaps of brand associations can explain unanticipated stock returns. In addition, we found that in managing brand equity, it is more important for strong brands to enhance category dominance (that is, strongly relate to primary associations in the category) while for weak brands it is more critical to enhance connectedness (that is, become more connected to competitors’ associations). These findings suggest a new way for practitioners to track, measure, and manage intangible brand equity, proactively improve brand performance, and have an impact on a firm’s financial performance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Historically black

Slavery, Education, and Inequality

Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico
European Economic Review, October 2014, Pages 197-209

Abstract:
We investigate the effect of slavery on the current level of income inequality across US counties. We find that a larger proportion of slaves over population in 1860 persistently increases inequality, and in particular inequality across races. We also show that a crucial channel of transmission from slavery to racial inequality is human capital accumulation, i.e., current inequality is primarily influenced by slavery through the unequal educational attainment of blacks and whites. Finally, we provide suggestive evidence that the underlying links run through the political exclusion of former slaves and the resulting negative influence on the local provision of education.

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

Shifting From Structural to Individual Attributions of Black Disadvantage: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Black Explanations of Racial Disparities

Candis Watts Smith
Journal of Black Studies, July 2014, Pages 432-452

Abstract:
Despite significant changes in American society, Blacks still lag behind Whites on several important socioeconomic indicators. Attributing this gap to structural reasons (e.g., racial discrimination) or to person-centered reasons (e.g., individual willpower) is highly correlated with the extent to which individuals feel that the government should implement policies to ameliorate racial disparities. Scholars have shown that Blacks have shifted their explanations of Black disadvantage from structural attributions to person-centered over the past three decades. Some suggest that this change is because all Blacks are becoming more conservative while others suggest that cohort replacement is undergirding the shift. I used a newly developed method, the intrinsic estimator, to determine whether period, age, and/or cohort effects are responsible for the shift. I find that, generally, Blacks are less inclined to suggest that discrimination is a credible explanation due to period effects, but the increase in person-centered attributions is primarily due to cohort variation.

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

Divergent Pathways of Gentrification: Racial Inequality and the Social Order of Renewal in Chicago Neighborhoods

Jackelyn Hwang & Robert Sampson
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gentrification has inspired considerable debate, but direct examination of its uneven evolution across time and space is rare. We address this gap by developing a conceptual framework on the social pathways of gentrification and introducing a method of systematic social observation using Google Street View to detect visible cues of neighborhood change. We argue that a durable racial hierarchy governs residential selection and, in turn, gentrifying neighborhoods. Integrating census data, police records, prior street-level observations, community surveys, proximity to amenities, and city budget data on capital investments, we find that the pace of gentrification in Chicago from 2007 to 2009 was negatively associated with the concentration of blacks and Latinos in neighborhoods that either showed signs of gentrification or were adjacent and still disinvested in 1995. Racial composition has a threshold effect, however, attenuating gentrification when the share of blacks in a neighborhood is greater than 40 percent. Consistent with theories of neighborhood stigma, we also find that collective perceptions of disorder, which are higher in poor minority neighborhoods, deter gentrification, while observed disorder does not. These results help explain the reproduction of neighborhood racial inequality amid urban transformation.

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

Separate When Equal? Racial Inequality and Residential Segregation

Patrick Bayer, Hanming Fang & Robert McMillan
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper sets out a new mechanism, involving the emergence of middle-class black neighborhoods, that can lead segregation to increase as racial inequality narrows in American cities. The formation of these neighborhoods requires a critical mass of highly educated blacks in the population and leads to an increase in segregation when those communities are attractive for blacks who otherwise would reside in middle-class white neighborhoods. To assess the empirical importance of this "neighborhood formation" mechanism, we propose a two-part research design. First, inequality and segregation should be negatively related in cross section for older blacks if our mechanism operates strongly, as we find using both the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. Second, a negative relationship should also be apparent over time, particularly for older blacks. Here, we show that increased educational attainment of blacks relative to whites in a city between 1990 and 2000 leads to a significant rise in segregation, especially for older blacks, and to a marked increase in the number of middle-class black communities. These findings draw attention to a negative feedback loop between racial inequality and segregation that has implications for the dynamics of both phenomena.

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

School diversity and racial discrimination among African-American adolescents

Eleanor Seaton & Sara Douglass
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, April 2014, Pages 156-165

Abstract:
The study presented here examined school context as a moderator in the relation between daily perceptions of racial discrimination and depressive symptoms. The sample included 75 Black adolescents who completed daily surveys for 14 days. The results indicated that approximately 97% of adolescents reported experiencing at least one discriminatory experience over the 2-week period. During the daily diary period, the 2-week average was 26 discriminatory experiences with a daily average of 2.5 discriminatory events. The results indicated perceptions of racial discrimination were linked to increased depressive symptoms on the following day. This relation was apparent for Black youth attending predominantly Black and White high schools, but not for Black youth attending schools with no clear racial majority.

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

Racial Winners and Losers in American Party Politics

Zoltan Hajnal & Jeremy Horowitz
Perspectives on Politics, March 2014, Pages 100-118

Abstract:
The Democratic and Republican Parties both make strong claims that their policies benefit racial and ethnic minorities. These claims have, however, received little systematic empirical assessment. This is an important omission, because democracy rests on the ability of the electorate to evaluate the responsiveness of those who govern. We assess Democrats' and Republicans' claims by compiling census data on annual changes in income, poverty, and unemployment over the last half century for each of America's racial and ethnic groups. Judged by the empirical record, it is clear which party truly benefits America's communities of color. When the nation is governed by Democrats, racial and ethnic minority well-being improves dramatically. By contrast, under Republican administrations, blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans generally suffer losses.

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

Race, Ethnicity, and Discriminatory Zoning

Allison Shertzer, Tate Twinam & Randall Walsh
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Zoning has been cited as a discriminatory policy tool by critics, who argue that ordinances are used to locate manufacturing activity in minority neighborhoods (environmental racism) and deter the entry of minority residents into good neighborhoods using density restrictions (exclusionary zoning). However, empirically documenting such discriminatory behavior is complicated by the fact that zoning and land use have been co-evolving for nearly a century in most American cities, rendering discrimination and sorting observationally equivalent. We employ a novel approach to overcome this challenge, studying the introduction of comprehensive zoning in Chicago. Using fine-scale spatial data on the location of African Americans and immigrants across the city along with maps of pre-existing land use, we find strong evidence of environmental racism. Both southern black and immigrant neighborhoods appear to have been targeted for increased levels of industrial use zoning. We also find evidence of a pre-cursor to modern day exclusionary zoning.

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

Do Racial Disparities in Private Transfers Help Explain the Racial Wealth Gap? New Evidence From Longitudinal Data

Signe-Mary McKernan et al.
Demography, June 2014, Pages 949-974

Abstract:
How do private transfers differ by race and ethnicity, and do such differences explain the racial and ethnic disparity in wealth? Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this study examines private transfers by race and ethnicity in the United States and explores a causal relationship between private transfers and wealth. Panel data and a family-level fixed-effect model are used to control for the endogeneity of private transfers. Private transfers in the form of financial support received and given from extended families and friends, as well as large gifts and inheritances, are examined. We find that African Americans and Hispanics (both immigrant and nonimmigrant) receive less in both types of private transfers than whites. Large gifts and inheritances, but not net financial support received, are related to wealth increases for African American and white families. Overall, we estimate that the African American shortfall in large gifts and inheritances accounts for 12 % of the white-black racial wealth gap.

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

Prisoners and Paupers: The Impact of Group Threat on Incarceration in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Cities

Susan Olzak & Suzanne Shanahan
American Sociological Review, June 2014, Pages 392-411

Abstract:
This article uses data on prisoners incarcerated for misdemeanors in late-nineteenth-century U.S. cities to assess a three-part argument that asserts that threats to white dominance prompted efforts of social control directed against African Americans and foreign-born whites: (1) For African Americans, competition with whites for jobs instigated efforts by whites to enforce the racial barrier. (2) For the foreign-born, upward mobility became associated with white identity, which allowed those who "became white" to be seen as less threatening. We thus expect the threat from foreign-born whites to be highest where their concentration in poverty was greatest. (3) We suggest that violence against a given boundary raises the salience of group threat, so a positive relationship should exist between prior violence against a group and its level of incarceration for misdemeanors. Using panel analyses of cities from 1890 through 1910, we find supporting evidence for the first two arguments and partial support for the third.

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

Economic Well-being and Anti-Semitic, Xenophobic, and Racist Attitudes in Germany

Naci Mocan & Christian Raschke
NBER Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
The fear and hatred of others who are different has economic consequences because such feelings are likely to translate into discrimination in labor, credit, housing, and other markets. The implications range from earnings inequality to intergenerational mobility. Using German data from various years between 1996 and 2010, we analyze the determinants of racist and xenophobic feelings towards foreigners in general, and against specific groups such as Italians and Turks. We also analyze racist and anti-Semitic feelings towards German citizens who differ in ethnicity (Aussiedler from Eastern Europe) or in religion (German Jews). Individuals' perceived (or actual) economic well-being is negatively related to the strength of these feelings. Education, and having contact with foreigners mitigate racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic feelings. People who live in states which had provided above-median support of the Nazi party in the 1928 elections have stronger anti-Semitic feelings today. The results are not gender-driven. They are not an artifact of economic conditions triggering feelings about job priority for German males, and they are not fully driven by fears about foreigners taking away jobs. The results of the paper are consistent with the model of Glaeser (2005) on hate, and with that of Akerlof and Kranton (2000, 2005) on identity in the utility function.

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

Racial Residential Segregation and Social Control: A Panel Study of the Variation in Police Strength Across U.S Cities, 1980-2010

Stephanie Kent & Jason Carmichael
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2014, Pages 228-249

Abstract:
Despite a great deal of theoretical and empirical attention given to racial residential segregation and its influence on a number of social problems in the United States, few scholars have examined the role that this persistent form of racial inequality plays in shaping the magnitude of formal social control efforts. Our study examines this relationship by assessing the potential influence that the isolation of minorities may have on efforts to control crime in urban centers across the United States. Using a pooled time-series regression technique well suited for the analysis of aggregate, longitudinal data, we assess the potential influence of racial segregation on the size of municipal police departments in 170 U.S. cities between 1980 and 2010. After accounting for minority group size, economic threat, crime, and disorganization, we find that racial residential segregation has a significant non-linear effect on police force size. Cities with the most racially integrated populations have the smallest police presence but at very high levels of segregation, police strength levels off. This finding is consistent with expectations derived from the contact hypothesis. Under such conditions, majority group members appear to be less inclined to demand greater crime control measures such as increased police protection. Period interactions with residential segregation also suggest that this relationship has grown stronger in each decade since 1980. Overall, our study provides strong support for threat theories and the contact hypothesis but offers necessary refinements.

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

Socioeconomic Differences among Blacks in America: Over Time Trends

Mamadi Corra & Casey Borch
Race and Social Problems, June 2014, Pages 103-119

Abstract:
Compared to Hispanic and Asian immigrants, black immigrants in the United States have been considerably less researched, and until very recently, black African immigrants remained a relatively understudied group. Using data from three waves of the US Census (1980, 1990, and 2000), we assess differences in earnings (and related measures of socioeconomic status) among male and female African Americans and black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. Results of the analysis suggest a sizeable earnings advantage for immigrants. Controlling for a host of human capital variables, however, reduced the gap between the earnings of African immigrants and native-born blacks, although the difference still remained statistically significant. No such attenuation was found for immigrants from the Caribbean. The results also indicate that for females only, the immigrant advantage has grown over time. Moreover, the findings show that additional years of work experience in the USA or in foreign countries correspond to a rather sizable increase in hourly earnings for both males and females, but, for males, this effect has grown weaker over time. Finally, men earned more than women, both overall and within comparison groups with the gap remaining relatively stable over time.

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

Violence and economic activity: Evidence from African American patents, 1870-1940

Lisa Cook
Journal of Economic Growth, June 2014, Pages 221-257

Abstract:
Recent studies have examined the effect of political conflict and domestic terrorism on economic and political outcomes. This paper uses the rise in mass violence between 1870 and 1940 as an historical experiment for determining the impact of ethnic and political violence on economic activity, namely patenting. I find that violent acts account for more than 1,100 missing patents compared to 726 actual patents among African American inventors over this period. Valuable patents decline in response to major riots and segregation laws. Absence of the rule of law covaries with declines in patent productivity for white and black inventors, but this decline is significant only for African American inventors. Patenting responds positively to declines in violence. These findings imply that ethnic and political conflict may affect the level, direction, and quality of invention and economic growth over time.

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

Ethnic Diversity and Neighborhood House Prices

Qiang Li
Regional Science and Urban Economics, September 2014, Pages 21-38

Abstract:
In recent decades, the large influx of immigrants to the U.S. and other developed countries has made cities in these countries more ethnically diverse. In this paper, I aim to understand whether and how ethnic diversity affects communities in these cities. A general equilibrium model is built in which people of many ethnic groups interact in the housing market through both price signals and non-market mechanisms. An endogenous correlation between neighborhood house price and the Herfindahl index of ethnic concentration arises because of social interactions. After addressing the endogeneity issue, I find that neighborhoods with more homogeneous minority populations command higher prices using a dataset of housing transactions and neighborhood socio-economic characteristics in Vancouver, Canada. This and other findings support the notion that non-market social interactions influence people's preference and behavior.

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

Holocaust Survival Differentials in the Netherlands, 1942-1945: The Role of Wealth and Nationality

Marnix Croes
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Summer 2014, Pages 1-24

Abstract:
Almost all of the 140,000 Jews living in the Netherlands when the German occupation began were sent to transit camps and eventually to death camps, but not on the same timetable. According to the Jews themselves, social-economic class and (pre-war) nationality played an important role in determining when and whether people were sent to meet their death. However, data from the province of Overijssel reveal that Jews from the highest social economic class were, in general, transferred to Westerbork transit camp at a later date than were Jews from lower social-economic classes. Although the usual assumption is that Jews who had more time to find a safe hideout had a better chance to survive the Holocaust, the analysis reveals otherwise. The results for nationality are similar. German Jews from Overijssel were, in general, deported from Westerbork transit camp to the death camps in the East later than were Dutch Jews from the same province. Even though this delay reduced the likelihood that German Jews were sent to a concentration camp that had a survival rate even worse than the one at Auschwitz, German Jews did not survive the Holocaust to a greater extent than did Dutch Jews.

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

Race versus Religion in the Making of the International Convention Against Racial Discrimination, 1965

Ofra Friesel
Law and History Review, May 2014, Pages 351-383

Abstract:
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965 (CERD), was negotiated at the United Nations (UN) during the years 1962-1965. At that period, the UN was an organization so highly politicized and split that it was almost paralyzed, operatively speaking. Human rights codification was a major field whose advancement came to a standstill as a result of the lack of cooperation between UN member-states. Nevertheless, the UN managed to unite around the denunciation of racial discrimination, and unanimously adopted CERD on December 21, 1965. Furthermore, the period of time that elapsed between the presentation of the initiative and the vote on the final version of the treaty was only 3 years; a rather short period of time, UN experience considered.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 16, 2014

Left behind

Injecting Charter School Best Practices into Traditional Public Schools: Evidence from Field Experiments

Roland Fryer
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the impact on student achievement of implementing a bundle of best practices from high-performing charter schools into low-performing, traditional public schools in Houston, Texas using a school-level randomized field experiment and quasi-experimental comparisons. The five practices in the bundle are increased instructional time, more-effective teachers and administrators, high-dosage tutoring, data-driven instruction, and a culture of high expectations. The findings show that injecting best practices from charter schools into traditional Houston public schools significantly increases student math achievement in treated elementary and secondary schools - by 0.15 to 0.18 standard deviations per year - and has little effect on reading achievement. Similar bundles of practices are found to significantly raise math achievement in analyses for public schools in a field experiment in Denver and program in Chicago.

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

The Industrial Organization of Online Education

Tyler Cowen & Alex Tabarrok
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 519-522

Abstract:
Online education has flexibility and cost advantages over in-class teaching and these advantages will grow with improvements in information technology. We consider likely market structures given that the quality aspects of online education exhibit endogenous fixed costs. Concentration in the market for courses could be high, as it is currently in the market for textbooks. The not-for-profit sector will exhibit lower costs, lower concentration, and possibly zero price.

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

Visual Environment, Attention Allocation, and Learning in Young Children: When Too Much of a Good Thing May Be Bad

Anna Fisher, Karrie Godwin & Howard Seltman
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large body of evidence supports the importance of focused attention for encoding and task performance. Yet young children with immature regulation of focused attention are often placed in elementary-school classrooms containing many displays that are not relevant to ongoing instruction. We investigated whether such displays can affect children's ability to maintain focused attention during instruction and to learn the lesson content. We placed kindergarten children in a laboratory classroom for six introductory science lessons, and we experimentally manipulated the visual environment in the classroom. Children were more distracted by the visual environment, spent more time off task, and demonstrated smaller learning gains when the walls were highly decorated than when the decorations were removed.

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

The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma

Damon Clark & Paco Martorell
Journal of Political Economy, April 2014, Pages 282-318

Abstract:
This paper distinguishes between the human capital and signaling theories by estimating the earnings return to a high school diploma. Unlike most indicators of education (e.g., a year of school), a diploma is essentially a piece of paper and, hence, by itself cannot affect productivity. Any earnings return to holding a diploma must therefore reflect the diploma's signaling value. Using regression discontinuity methods to compare the earnings of workers who barely passed and barely failed high school exit exams - standardized tests that students must pass to earn a high school diploma - we find little evidence of diploma signaling effects.

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

Compulsory Education and the Benefits of Schooling

Melvin Stephens & Dou-Yan Yang
American Economic Review, June 2014, Pages 1777-1792

Abstract:
Causal estimates of the benefits of increased schooling using U.S. state schooling laws as instruments typically rely on specifications which assume common trends across states in the factors affecting different birth cohorts. Differential changes across states during this period, such as relative school quality improvements, suggest that this assumption may fail to hold. Across a number of outcomes including wages, unemployment, and divorce, we find that statistically significant causal estimates become insignificant and, in many instances, wrong-signed when allowing year of birth effects to vary across regions.

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

Do 3rd Grade Math Scores Determine Students' Futures? A Statewide Analysis of College Readiness and the Income Achievement Gap

Dorothyjean Cratty
Duke University Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
This study explores the relationship between large, early income-achievement gaps and subsequent low rates of college readiness in mathematics among low-income high school students. Within-school course taking patterns in math are examined for the same students from 3rd through 12th grade, conditional on previous grade math scores and socioeconomic status, using detailed, statewide longitudinal data. The study asks the following at each grade level: i) are advanced classes identifiable within schools; ii) conditional on previous scores, do students in these classes advance faster; and iii) conditional on previous scores, are these classes more likely to be assigned to one group than another? Together, the findings indicate that, in terms of college readiness opportunities, it is better to be a low-performing high-income student than a high-performing low-income student, at every grade level, and that the share of students in each of these categories is quite large in most schools.

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

Linguistic services and parental involvement among Latinos: A help or hindrance to involvement?

Michael Nino
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite being one of the most consistent predictors of achievement among youth, parental involvement among Latinos continues to be low. In an attempt to increase involvement among Latinos, schools have implemented programs that provide linguistic services for parents who face language and cultural barriers. In order to understand the effectiveness of these programs, a subset of data are used from the National Survey of Latinos: Education to examine the relationship between four linguistic services and parental involvement. Results demonstrate linguistic services play only a marginal role in parental involvement among Latinos, and in some instances, even decrease involvement. Consequently, there is minimal support for programs that provide linguistic services to Latino parents in schools, suggesting policymakers should revisit the impact these services have on the Latino parent community.

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

Ability-Tracking, Instructional Time, and Better Pedagogy: The Effect of Double-Dose Algebra on Student Achievement

Kalena Cortes & Joshua Goodman
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 400-405

Abstract:
This paper provides new evidence on tracking by studying an innovative curriculum implemented by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). In 2003, CPS enacted a double-dose algebra policy requiring 9th grade students with 8th grade math scores below the national median to take two periods of algebra instead of one. This policy led schools to sort students into algebra classes by math ability, so that tracking increased in all algebra classes. We show that double-dosed students are exposed to a much lower-skilled group of peers in their algebra classes but nonetheless benefit substantially from the additional instructional time and improved pedagogy.

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

The effect of variable light on the fidgetiness and social behavior of pupils in school

Nino Wessolowski et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies on the effects of light in work environments show that specific lighting situations have different effects on human performance and social behavior. These findings suggest that beneficial lighting should also be applied in schools. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of variable lighting on pupils' fidgetiness and their aggressive and prosocial behaviors. The variable lighting system employed was equipped with seven lighting programs featuring different varieties of illuminance and color temperature. In a controlled, quasi-experimental field study, a combination of cross-sectional and longitudinal observations was collected. The participants included n = 110 pupils of various age levels and school types and n = 11 teachers from Hamburg. Fidgetiness was measured by the changes in pixel scores in a digital recording of the students. To quantify aggressiveness and prosocial behaviors, structured behavioral observations were conducted. Self-perceived changes throughout the school year were captured using questionnaires. The findings showed a significantly stronger decline in fidgetiness and observed aggressive behaviors and a tendency toward increased prosocial behaviors within the intervention group. In the long term, the pupils did not rate themselves as being calmer or less aggressive. Overall, the findings indicated that variable light could directly reduce pupils' restlessness and improve their social behaviors. Variable lighting can thus play a part in optimizing general conditions for school learning.

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

Acute aerobic exercise: An intervention for the selective visual attention and reading comprehension of low-income adolescents

Michele Tine
Frontiers in Psychology, June 2014

Abstract:
There is a need for feasible and research-based interventions that target the cognitive performance and academic achievement of low-income adolescents. In response, this study utilized a randomized experimental design and assessed the selective visual attention (SVA) and reading comprehension abilities of low-income adolescents and, for comparison purposes, high-income adolescents after they engaged in 12-min of aerobic exercise. The results suggest that 12-min of aerobic exercise improved the SVA of low- and high-income adolescents and that the benefit lasted for 45-min for both groups. The SVA improvement among the low-income adolescents was particularly large. In fact, the SVA improvement among the low-income adolescents was substantial enough to eliminate a pre-existing income gap in SVA. The mean reading comprehension score of low-income adolescents who engaged in 12-min of aerobic exercise was higher than the mean reading comprehension score of low-income adolescents in the control group. However, there was no difference between the mean reading comprehension scores of the high-income adolescents who did and did not engage in 12-min of aerobic exercise. Based on the results, schools serving low-income adolescents should consider implementing brief sessions of aerobic exercise during the school day.

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

Homeschooled adolescents in the United States: Developmental outcomes

Sharon Green-Hennessy
Journal of Adolescence, June 2014, Pages 441-449

Abstract:
The mission of schools has broadened beyond academics to address risk behaviors such as substance use, delinquency, and socialization problems. With an estimated 3.4% of all U.S. youth being homeschooled, this study examines how U.S. homeschoolers fare on these outcomes given their lack of access to these school services. Adolescents (ages 12-17) from the 2002 through 2011 National Surveys of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) were divided based on school status (home vs. traditional schooling) and religious affiliation (stronger vs. weaker). Controlling for demographic differences, homeschoolers with weaker religious ties were three times more likely to report being behind their expected grade level and two and a half times more likely to report no extracurricular activities in the prior year than their traditionally schooled counterparts. This group was also more likely to report lax parental attitudes toward substance use. Findings suggest homeschoolers with weaker religious ties represent an at-risk group.

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

State involvement in limiting textbook choice by school districts

Michelle Andrea Phillips
Public Choice, July 2014, Pages 181-203

Abstract:
Who gets to decide what textbooks are used in America's public school classrooms varies by state. States can let each school district decide, provide standards that must be followed and make available an incomplete listing of books meeting those standards, or allow schools to choose books only from a list provided by the state. I present a model that provides an explanation for state limits on textbook selection by school districts. I examine the roles played by decision making costs, effectiveness of voters, religious composition, power of teachers, and propensity of state governments to interfere with or to help districts in textbook selection policies at the state level. There has been virtually no research on this topic. My findings corroborate the extant literature that addresses interference by state governments in local affairs and extend the morality politics literature by finding a strong link between religious fundamentalism and state-level policies. I also find that state book lists are less likely (1) in more educated states, where voters are better able to select the most appropriate textbook, (2) in states with smaller school districts, where voters are more involved in the schools, and (3) in states with stronger teacher unions, giving teachers more power in textbook selection.

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

What parents want: School preferences and school choice

Simon Burgess et al.
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate parents' preferences for school attributes in a unique dataset of survey, administrative, census and spatial data. Using a conditional logit, incorporating characteristics of households, schools, and home-school distance, we show that most families have strong preferences for schools' academic performance. Parents also value schools' socio-economic composition and distance, which may limit the potential of school choice to improve academic standards. Most of the variation in preferences for school quality across socio-economic groups arises from differences in the quality of accessible schools rather than differences in parents' preferences, although more advantaged parents have stronger preferences for academic performance.

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

Estimating the Effects of No Child Left Behind on Teachers' Work Environments and Job Attitudes

Jason Grissom, Sean Nicholson-Crotty & James Harrington
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several recent studies have examined the impacts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on school operations and student achievement. We complement that work by investigating the law's impacts on teachers' perceptions of their work environments and related job attitudes, including satisfaction and commitment to remain in teaching. Using four waves of the nationally representative Schools and Staffing Survey, which cover the period from 1994 to 2008, we document overall trends in teacher attitudes across this time period and take advantage of differences in the presence and strength of prior state accountability systems and differences in likely impacts on high- and low-poverty schools to isolate NCLB effects. Perhaps surprisingly, we show positive trends in many work environment measures, job satisfaction, and commitment across the time period coinciding with the implementation of NCLB. We find, however, relatively modest evidence of an impact of NCLB accountability itself. There is some evidence that the law has negatively affected perceptions of teacher cooperation but positively affected feelings of classroom control and administrator support. We find little evidence that teacher job satisfaction or commitment has changed in response to NCLB.

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

No Base Left Behind: The Impact of Military Base Closures on Educational Expenditures and Outcomes

Phuong Nguyen-Hoang, Ryan Yeung & Alexander Bogin
Public Finance Review, July 2014, Pages 439-465

Abstract:
This study examines the effects of military base closures on educational expenditures and student outcomes with a national panel data set of school districts between 1990 and 2002. We adopt difference-in-differences estimation in combination with propensity score matching and instrumental variables techniques to estimate these effects. We find that per-pupil spending increases by 25.2 percent in the first year, where it remains. We also find a substantial decrease in graduation rates, but an improving trend occurs in the years after the closure.

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

Grading on a Curve, and other Effects of Group Size on All-Pay Auctions

James Andreoni & Andy Brownback
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We model contests with a fixed proportion of prizes, such as a grading curve, as all-pay auctions where higher effort weakly increases the likelihood of a prize. We find theoretical predictions for the effect of contest size on effort and test our predictions in a laboratory experiment that compares two-bidder auctions with one prize and 20-bidder auctions with ten prizes. Our results demonstrate that larger contests elicit lower effort by low-skilled students, but higher effort by high-skilled. Large contests also generate more accurate rankings of students and more accurate assignment of high grades to the high-skilled.

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

Changes in Implicit Theories of Ability in Biology and Dropout from STEM Majors: A Latent Growth Curve Approach

Ting Dai & Jennifer Cromley
Contemporary Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This longitudinal study was designed to investigate the associations between changes in implicit theories of ability in biology and college students' dropout from STEM majors. We modeled the one-year growth patterns of entity and incremental beliefs about ability in biology with 4 time points of self-reported data and two covariates - biology domain knowledge and inference making and gateway course grade, and predicted STEM dropout with the growth trajectories of implicit theories. Results indicated that students' entity beliefs increased, while incremental beliefs decreased over time, which provides support for the changeability of implicit beliefs over a short period of time. The growth of incremental beliefs was directly associated with STEM dropout above and beyond biology course grade and biology domain knowledge and inference making. Low intercept and negative slope of incremental beliefs predicted leaving STEM majors; however, the decline of entity beliefs did not have significant effects on dropout. Interestingly, the effect of biology domain knowledge and inference making on STEM dropout was mediated by biology course grade and incremental beliefs. The findings imply the importance of monitoring changes in students' implicit beliefs and gateway course achievement in order to better understand and promote STEM retention.

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

Does private tutoring work? The effectiveness of private tutoring: A nonparametric bounds analysis

Stefanie Hof
Education Economics, July/August 2014, Pages 347-366

Abstract:
Private tutoring has become popular throughout the world. However, evidence for the effect of private tutoring on students' academic outcome is inconclusive; therefore, this paper presents an alternative framework: a nonparametric bounds method. The present examination uses, for the first time, a large representative data-set in a European setting to identify the causal effect of self-initiated private tutoring. Under relatively weak assumptions, I find some evidence that private tutoring improves students' outcome in reading. However, the results indicate a heterogeneous and nonlinear effect of private tutoring, e.g. a threshold may exist after which private tutoring becomes ineffective or even detrimental.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Friends with benefits

Checkbooks in the Heartland: Change over Time in Voluntary Association Membership

Matthew Painter & Pamela Paxton
Sociological Forum, June 2014, Pages 408-428

Abstract:
Numerous scholars documented declines in America's social capital through the mid-1990s but we do not know whether the trend has continued. Further, despite warnings by Robert Putnam and Theda Skocpol that the quality of Americans' voluntary association memberships has also deteriorated - moving from active, "face-to-face" memberships to passive, "checkbook" memberships - data have not been available to test this claim. In this article, we use both the Iowa Community Survey and the General Social Survey to explore the changing nature of voluntary association membership between 1994 and 2004. We demonstrate that not only are declines in voluntary association memberships continuing in the new century but there has been a shift in the intensity of voluntary association participation over time. We observe a decline in active membership over time and an increase in checkbook membership over time. These findings provide support for Putnam's claim that checkbook membership is increasing at the expense of more active types of memberships.

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

Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseeable Technological Mistake

Stefan Bauernschuster, Oliver Falck & Ludger Woessmann
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does the Internet undermine social capital, such as real-world inter-personal relations and civic engagement? Merging unique telecommunication data with geo-coded German individual-level data, we investigate how broadband Internet affects social capital. A first identification strategy uses first-differencing to account for unobserved time-invariant individual heterogeneity. A second identification strategy exploits a quasi-experiment in East Germany created by a mistaken technology choice of the state-owned telecommunication provider in the 1990s that hindered broadband Internet roll-out for many households. We find no evidence of negative effects of the Internet on several aspects of social capital. In fact, the effect on a composite social capital index is significantly positive.

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

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks

Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory & Jeffrey Hancock
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others' positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.

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

Happy but unhealthy: The relationship between social ties and health in an emerging network

Jennifer Howell et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social connections are essential to health and well-being. However, when pursing social acceptance, people may sometimes engage in behavior that is detrimental to their health. Using a multi-time-point design, we examined whether the structure of an emerging network of students in an academic summer school program correlated with their physical health and mental well-being. Participants who were more central in the network typically experienced greater symptoms of illness (e.g., cold/flu symptoms), engaged in riskier health behaviors (e.g., binge drinking), and had higher physiological reactivity to a stressor. At the same time, they were happier, felt more efficacious, and perceived less stress in response to a strenuous math task. These outcomes suggest that social ties in an emerging network are associated with better mental well-being, but also with poorer physical health and health behaviors.

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

The Contaminating Effects of Building Instrumental Ties: How Networking Can Make Us Feel Dirty

Tiziana Casciaro, Francesca Gino & Maryam Kouchaki
Harvard Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
To create social ties to support their professional or personal goals, people actively engage in instrumental networking. Drawing from moral psychology research, we posit that this intentional behavior has unintended consequences for an individual's morality. Unlike personal networking in pursuit of emotional support or friendship, and unlike social ties that emerge spontaneously, instrumental networking in pursuit of professional goals can impinge on an individual's moral purity - a psychological state that results from viewing the self as clean from a moral standpoint - and make an individual feel dirty. We theorize that such feelings of dirtiness decrease the frequency of instrumental networking and, as a result, work performance. We also examine sources of variability in networking-induced feelings of dirtiness by proposing that the amount of power people have when they engage in instrumental networking influences how dirty this networking makes them feel. Three laboratory experiments and a survey study of lawyers in a large North American law firm provide support for our predictions. We call for a new direction in network research that investigates how network-related behaviors associated with building social capital influence individuals' psychological experiences and work outcomes.

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

Social identification moderates the effect of crowd density on safety at the Hajj

Hani Alnabulsi & John Drury
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Crowd safety is a major concern for those attending and managing mass gatherings, such as the annual Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca (also called Makkah). One threat to crowd safety at such events is crowd density. However, recent research also suggests that psychological membership of crowds can have positive benefits. We tested the hypothesis that the effect of density on safety might vary depending on whether there is shared social identification in the crowd. We surveyed 1,194 pilgrims at the Holy Mosque, Mecca, during the 2012 Hajj. Analysis of the data showed that the negative effect of crowd density on reported safety was moderated by social identification with the crowd. Whereas low identifiers reported reduced safety with greater crowd density, high identifiers reported increased safety with greater crowd density. Mediation analysis suggested that a reason for these moderation effects was the perception that other crowd members were supportive. Differences in reported safety across national groups (Arab countries and Iran compared with the rest) were also explicable in terms of crowd identification and perceived support. These findings support a social identity account of crowd behavior and offer a novel perspective on crowd safety management.

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

Moving Narcissus: Can Narcissists Be Empathic?

Erica Hepper, Claire Hart & Constantine Sedikides
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Empathy plays a critical role in fostering and maintaining social relations. Narcissists lack empathy, and this may account for their interpersonal failures. But why do narcissists lack empathy? Are they incapable, or is change possible? Three studies addressed this question. Study 1 showed that the link between narcissism and low empathy generalizes to a specific target person presented in a vignette. The effect was driven by maladaptive narcissistic components (i.e., entitlement, exploitativeness, exhibitionism). Study 2 examined the effect of perspective-taking (vs. control) instructions on self-reported responses to a video. Study 3 examined the effect of the same manipulation on autonomic arousal (heart rate [HR]) during an audio-recording. Perspective-taking ameliorated negative links between maladaptive narcissism and both self-reported empathy and HR. That is, narcissists can be moved by another's suffering, if they take that person's perspective. The findings demonstrate that narcissists' low empathy does not reflect inability, implying potential for intervention.

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

Narcissists' social pain seen only in the brain

Christopher Cascio, Sara Konrath & Emily Falk
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Narcissism is a complex phenomenon, involving a level of defensive self-enhancement. Narcissists have avoidant attachment styles, maintain distance in relationships, and claim not to need others. However, they are especially sensitive to others' evaluations, needing positive reflected appraisals to maintain their inflated self-views, and showing extreme responses (e.g. aggression) when rejected. The current study tested the hypothesis that narcissists also show hypersensitivity in brain systems associated with distress during exclusion. We measured individual differences in narcissism (Narcissistic Personality Inventory) and monitored neural responses to social exclusion (Cyberball). Narcissism was significantly associated with activity in an a priori anatomically defined social pain network (AI, dACC, and subACC) during social exclusion. Results suggest hypersensitivity to exclusion in narcissists may be a function of hypersensitivity in brain systems associated with distress, and suggests a potential pathway that connects narcissism to negative consequences for longer term physical and mental health - findings not apparent with self-report alone.

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

Reducing social pain: Sex differences in the impact of physical pain relievers

Anita Vangelisti et al.
Personal Relationships, June 2014, Pages 349-363

Abstract:
There is evidence that social pain or "hurt feelings" and physical pain share the same neural system. Although researchers have found that a physical pain reliever can reduce social pain, studies suggest that sex differences may influence these findings. Our results indicate that women who took ibuprofen felt less hurt or social pain when they were excluded from a game and when they relived a painful experience than did women who took a placebo. Men who took the pain reliever, by contrast, felt more hurt in both situations than did those who took the placebo. Further, the sex difference revealed in men's and women's ratings of their social pain was reflected in their open-ended verbal descriptions of social and physical pain.

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

The two sides of spontaneity: Movement onset asymmetries in facial expressions influence social judgments

Evan Carr et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 31-36

Abstract:
When forming basic social impressions, it is important to quickly and accurately classify facial expressions (including their spontaneity). Early studies on emotion perception, employing static pictures in the chimeric-face paradigm, demonstrated that expressions shown on the left hemi-face (LHF) were rated as more intense, compared to the right hemi-face (RHF). Interestingly, recent studies on emotion production, using high-speed video recordings, discovered an onset asymmetry (OAS) such that spontaneous expressions start earlier in the LHF, while posed expressions start in the RHF. Here, using highly controlled and dynamically developing video stimuli of avatar faces, we tested whether OASs in perceived faces influence the efficiency with which an expression is classified, as well as judgments of expression intensity, spontaneity, and trustworthiness. Videos of avatars making happy and angry expressions, with OASs of either 20 or 400 milliseconds, were judged on several social dimensions by 68 participants. The results highlight the importance of the LHF for emotion classifications and social judgments: Expressions with earlier LHF onsets were not only judged to be more spontaneous but were also detected more quickly and accurately (a difference that was most evident for angry expressions with a briefly presented OAS, but not for happy expressions). Generally, these findings underscore how adaptive social perception relies on subtle cues in the dynamics of emotional facial expressions.

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

Consensus and stratification in the affective meaning of human sociality

Jens Ambrasat et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 June 2014, Pages 8001-8006

Abstract:
We investigate intrasocietal consensus and variation in affective meanings of concepts related to authority and community, two elementary forms of human sociality. Survey participants (n = 2,849) from different socioeconomic status (SES) groups in German society provided ratings of 909 social concepts along three basic dimensions of affective meaning. Results show widespread consensus on these meanings within society and demonstrate that a meaningful structure of socially shared knowledge emerges from organizing concepts according to their affective similarity. The consensus finding is further qualified by evidence for subtle systematic variation along SES differences. In relation to affectively neutral words, high-status individuals evaluate intimacy-related and socially desirable concepts as less positive and powerful than middle- or low-status individuals, while perceiving antisocial concepts as relatively more threatening. This systematic variation across SES groups suggests that the affective meaning of sociality is to some degree a function of social stratification.

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

It's only a computer: Virtual humans increase willingness to disclose

Gale Lucas et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, August 2014, Pages 94-100

Abstract:
Research has begun to explore the use of virtual humans (VHs) in clinical interviews (Bickmore, Gruber, & Picard, 2005). When designed as supportive and "safe" interaction partners, VHs may improve such screenings by increasing willingness to disclose information (Gratch, Wang, Gerten, & Fast, 2007). In health and mental health contexts, patients are often reluctant to respond honestly. In the context of health-screening interviews, we report a study in which participants interacted with a VH interviewer and were led to believe that the VH was controlled by either humans or automation. As predicted, compared to those who believed they were interacting with a human operator, participants who believed they were interacting with a computer reported lower fear of self-disclosure, lower impression management, displayed their sadness more intensely, and were rated by observers as more willing to disclose. These results suggest that automated VHs can help overcome a significant barrier to obtaining truthful patient information.

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

Creating a communication system from scratch: Gesture beats vocalization hands down

Nicolas Fay et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2014

Abstract:
How does modality affect people's ability to create a communication system from scratch? The present study experimentally tests this question by having pairs of participants communicate a range of pre-specified items (emotions, actions, objects) over a series of trials to a partner using either non-linguistic vocalization, gesture or a combination of the two. Gesture-alone outperformed vocalization-alone, both in terms of successful communication and in terms of the creation of an inventory of sign-meaning mappings shared within a dyad (i.e., sign alignment). Combining vocalization with gesture did not improve performance beyond gesture-alone. In fact, for action items, gesture-alone was a more successful means of communication than the combined modalities. When people do not share a system for communication they can quickly create one, and gesture is the best means of doing so.

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

Remind Me Who I Am: Social Interaction Strategies for Maintaining the Threatened Self-Concept

Erica Slotter & Wendi Gardner
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
After failure, individuals frequently turn to others for support. The current research examined the process through which individuals utilize interpersonal relationships to stabilize threatened self-views. We may seek support to reassure us with warmth and acceptance after a self-threat, or to provide support for threatened self-knowledge. We proposed that although both types of support are likely to repair the affective consequences of a self-threat, only interacting with others who can provide evidence from the individuals' past that reconfirms a threatened self-aspect would help stabilize the self-concept. Two studies demonstrated that, for individuals who have suffered a self-threat, receiving specific evidentiary support for the threatened self-aspect was more effective at restoring confidence in both the specific self-aspect and at recovering self-concept clarity than was receiving emotional support, whether the interaction was imagined (Study 1), or offered in person (Study 2) after the threat.

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

The magic of collective emotional intelligence in learning groups: No guys needed for the spell!

Petru Curşeu et al.
British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a cross-lagged design, the present study tests an integrative model of emergent collective emotions in learning groups. Our results indicate that the percentage of women in the group fosters the emergence of collective emotional intelligence, which in turn stimulates social integration within groups (increases group cohesion and reduces relationship conflict) and the associated affective similarity, with beneficial effects for group effectiveness.

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

Oxytocin facilitates social approach behavior in women

Katrin Preckel et al.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, May 2014

Abstract:
In challenging environments including both numerous threats and scarce resources, the survival of an organism depends on its ability to quickly escape from dangers and to seize opportunities to gain rewards. The phylogenetically ancient neurohormonal oxytocin (OXT) system has been shown to influence both approach and avoidance (AA) behavior in men, but evidence for comparable effects in women is still lacking. We thus conducted a series of pharmacological behavioral experiments in a randomized double-blind study involving 76 healthy heterosexual women treated with either OXT (24 IU) or placebo intranasally. In Experiment 1, we tested how OXT influenced the social distance subjects maintained between themselves and either a female or male experimenter. In Experiment 2, we applied a reaction time based AA task. In Experiment 3 we investigated effects on peri-personal space by measuring the lateral attentional bias in a line bisection task. We found that OXT specifically decreased the distance maintained between subjects and the male but not the female experimenter and also accelerated approach toward pleasant social stimuli in the AA task. However, OXT did not influence the size of peri-personal space, suggesting that it does not alter perception of personal space per se, but rather that a social element is necessary for OXT's effects on AA behavior to become evident. Taken together, our results point to an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism by which OXT in women selectively promotes approach behavior in positive social contexts.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pleasantly disposed

Sex Differences in Wild Chimpanzee Behavior Emerge during Infancy

Elizabeth Lonsdorf et al.
PLoS ONE, June 2014

Abstract:
The role of biological and social influences on sex differences in human child development is a persistent topic of discussion and debate. Given their many similarities to humans, chimpanzees are an important study species for understanding the biological and evolutionary roots of sex differences in human development. In this study, we present the most detailed analyses of wild chimpanzee infant development to date, encompassing data from 40 infants from the long-term study of chimpanzees at Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Our goal was to characterize age-related changes, from birth to five years of age, in the percent of observation time spent performing behaviors that represent important benchmarks in nutritional, motor, and social development, and to determine whether and in which behaviors sex differences occur. Sex differences were found for indicators of social behavior, motor development and spatial independence with males being more physically precocious and peaking in play earlier than females. These results demonstrate early sex differentiation that may reflect adult reproductive strategies. Our findings also resemble those found in humans, which suggests that biologically-based sex differences may have been present in the common ancestor and operated independently from the influences of modern sex-biased parental behavior and gender socialization.

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

Sexual Orientation Change Efforts through Psychotherapy for LGBQ Individuals Affiliated With the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Kate Bradshaw et al.
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study reports the results of a comprehensive online survey of 1,612 current or former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) many of whom engaged in psychotherapy in an effort to cope with (understand, accept, or change) their same-sex attractions. Data obtained from written and quantitative responses showed that therapy was initiated over a very wide age range and continued for many years. However, counseling was largely ineffective; less than 4% reported any modification of core same-sex erotic attraction. Moreover, 42% reported that their change-oriented therapy was “not at all effective,” and 37% found it to be moderately to severely harmful. In contrast, affirming psychotherapeutic strategies were often found to be beneficial in reducing depression, increasing self-esteem, and improving family and other relationships. Our data suggest that the very low likelihood of a modification of sexual orientation and the ambiguous nature of any such change should be important considerations for highly religious sexual minority individuals considering reorientation therapy.

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

Why Do They Have to Flaunt it? Perceptions of Communicative Intent Predict Antigay Prejudice Based Upon Brief Exposure to Nonverbal Cues

David Lick, Kerri Johnson & Simone Gill
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Perceivers use gender-atypical nonverbal cues to categorize others as lesbian/gay, and the same cues help to explain the occurrence of antigay prejudice. Although these patterns replicate across recent studies, their proximal causes have received little attention. It remains unclear, for example, why the gender-atypical appearances common among sexual minority individuals arouse negative evaluations. Here, we tested whether perceptions of communicative intent — believing that targets’ visible features are deliberately enacted in order to convey aspects of their identities — may help to explain observed links between sexual orientation categorization, gender typicality, and prejudice. In Study 1, gender-atypical body motions were associated with the perception that targets were intentionally trying to communicate their identity, and perceptions of communicative intent predicted expressions of antigay prejudice. Study 2 replicated these effects with static facial images. Collectively, these findings highlight communicative intent as an important factor predicting antigay prejudice in the early moments of social perception.

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

Hands of a surgeon: Second to fourth digit ratios in the surgical profession

C.W. Joyce et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, October 2014, Pages 28–31

Abstract:
Second to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) is a sexually dimorphic trait and a low ratio has been shown to be linked with a heightened visuospatial ability. Surgeons are typically renowned for good visuospatial awareness and this is now a requirement to gain access on to surgical training programmes. We hypothesized that a lower 2D:4D would be found in a cohort of surgeons compared to an age and gender matched control group. Digit ratios were measured in each group and compared. We found that male surgeons had a significantly reduced 2D:4D ratio compared to the controls. There was no difference observed between female surgeons and the female control. We have demonstrated that male surgeons have a significantly lower 2D:4D ratio compared to an age and gender matched control. This would be in keeping with published reports that a low 2D:4D ratio is associated with improved visuospatial ability.

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

British colonialism and the criminalization of homosexuality

Enze Han & Joseph O'Mahoney
Cambridge Review of International Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
What explains the global variation in laws criminalizing homosexual conduct? Recent research has claimed that British colonialism is largely responsible for the criminalization of homosexuality around the world. This article utilizes a newly constructed dataset that includes up-to-date data on 185 countries to assess this claim. We find that British colonies are much more likely to have criminalization of homosexual conduct laws than other colonies or other states in general. This result holds after controlling for other variables that might be expected to influence the likelihood of repressive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights legislation. However, we also find that the evidence in favour of the claim that British imperialism ‘poisoned’ societies against homosexuality is weak. British colonies do not systematically take longer to decriminalize homosexual conduct than other European colonies.

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

Sexual-Orientation Disparities in School: The Mediational Role of Indicators of Victimization in Achievement and Truancy Because of Feeling Unsafe

Michelle Birkett, Stephen Russell & Heather Corliss
American Journal of Public Health, June 2014, Pages 1124-1128

Objectives: We examined sexual-orientation identity disparities in truancy and academic achievement, and the mediational role of victimization in a large high-school sample.

Methods: We utilized pooled data, measuring sexual identity, from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System Surveys. Multilevel logistic regression modeling estimated the odds of low grades and truancy because of feeling unsafe comparing lesbian/gay, bisexual, (LGB) and unsure students to heterosexuals. We stratified models by gender. Indicators of victimization were examined to mediate the relationship between identifying as a sexual minority and school achievement or truancy.

Results: LGB-identified youths reported significantly elevated odds of truancy and low grades (odds ratios = 1.6–3.2; all P < .05). Additionally, both genders noting uncertainty about their sexual identity showed increased odds of truancy. Victimization indicators mediated the relationship between identifying as a sexual minority and experiencing negative school outcomes, with greater victimization indicators being associated with increased truancy and lower grades, and the extent of mediation differed by gender.

Conclusions: As early disparities in academic achievement and school engagement have indicated a lifetime of increased health and behavioral risk factors, early intervention targeting school victimization is necessary.

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

Perceptual Underpinnings of Antigay Prejudice: Negative Evaluations of Sexual Minority Women Arise on the Basis of Gendered Facial Features

David Lick & Kerri Johnson
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychologists have amassed robust evidence of antigay prejudice by assessing participants’ global attitudes toward sexual minorities and their reactions to behavioral descriptions of hypothetical targets. In daily interactions, however, perceivers make decisions about others’ sexual orientations based upon visible cues alone. Does antigay prejudice arise on the basis of such visual exposure, and if so, why? Three studies revealed that perceivers evaluated women they categorized as lesbians more negatively than women they categorized as straight. Moreover, prejudice against lesbian women was strongly tethered to gendered aspects of their facial appearance: Women categorized as lesbians tended to appear gender-atypical, and women who appeared gender-atypical were perceived to be unattractive, leading to prejudice. Similar findings did not emerge for men categorized as gay. As such, we argue that gendered appearance cues lay the perceptual foundation for prejudice against women, but not men, who are categorized as sexual minorities.

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

Is subjective ambivalence toward gays a modern form of bias?

Mark Hoffarth & Gordon Hodson
Personality and Individual Differences, October 2014, Pages 75–80

Abstract:
Theoretically, modern racism and sexism are characterized by ambivalence. We directly examined the consequence of being higher in subjective ambivalence toward gays (i.e. attitudes that feel “torn”) with regard to gay rights support. In Study 1, greater subjective ambivalence was associated with more negative attitudes (and not more positive attitudes), more ideological opposition to gays, more negative intergroup emotions, and less gay rights support. In Study 2, less opposition to gay bullying was predicted by: (a) greater subjective ambivalence (through lower intergroup empathy); and (b) experimentally-salient bullying justification norms (through lower collective guilt). These effects held controlling for Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men (i.e., traditional negative attitudes). Although not overtly negative, individual differences in subjective ambivalence tap a unique, subtle, and less objectionable form of bias, consistent with aversive racism and justification–suppression frameworks of explaining modern biases.

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

Testosterone across successive competitions: Evidence for a ‘winner effect’ in humans?

Samuele Zilioli & Neil Watson
Psychoneuroendocrinology, September 2014, Pages 1–9

Abstract:
In many species testosterone fluctuates in concert with outcome-dependent changes in social status, such that winning a competition leads to an increase in circulating testosterone (i.e. competition effect). Although this phenomenon has been well studied in humans, the cumulative endocrine impact of multiple successive competitions is poorly understood. Moreover, although changes in testosterone after a competition seem to predict immediate aggressive behavior, competitive motivation, risk-taking, and affiliation, whether this endocrine response also has long-term behavioral effects, as suggested by studies in non-human animals, has not been examined. In this study, salivary testosterone was collected from pairs of male participants engaging, on two consecutive days, in head-to-head competitions on a previously validated laboratory task. We found that testosterone reactivity on the first day, which was congruent with the competition effect (i.e. net testosterone increase in randomly assigned winners), predicted the task performance on the second day. Further, when looking at testosterone reactivity on the second day, those individuals that lost both competitions experienced the steepest decline in testosterone compared to those individuals who lost on the second day but won on the first day. Testosterone fluctuations on the second day were also analyzed considering the type of status hierarchy (stable vs. unstable) that emerged as a result of the combined outcomes of the two competitions. In accordance with the Challenge Hypothesis, men in unstable hierarchies (first day winners/second day losers and first day losers/second day winners) experienced an increase in testosterone compared to men in the stable hierarchies (double winners and double losers). Results are discussed within a comparative perspective, drawing parallels with the Winner Effect and the Challenge Hypothesis observed in non-human animals.

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

The moderating effect of prior attitudes on intergroup face-to-face contact

Heather Graham, Mark Frame & Jared Kenworthy
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examined cooperative contact as an antecedent to reducing negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians, as measured by Herek's Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men Scale—Short Form (ATLG). In a scripted role-play, participants were paired with a confederate who declared their character's sexual orientation as either heterosexual or homosexual. Hierarchical regression analysis demonstrated that contact with homosexual individuals affected participants' attitudes toward gay men and lesbians over and above the participants' prior ATLG scores. A moderating effect for prior ATLG scores was also found. The effect of confederate's sexual orientation was stronger for participants with more negative ATLG scores compared to those with more favorable attitudes. Implications for decreasing homophobia in organizations are discussed.

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

Does Menstrual Cycle Phase Influence the Gender Specificity of Heterosexual Women’s Genital and Subjective Sexual Arousal?

Jennifer Bossio et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, July 2014, Pages 941-952

Abstract:
Unlike men, heterosexual women’s genital arousal is gender nonspecific, such that heterosexual women show relatively similar genital arousal to sexual stimuli depicting men and women but typically report greater subjective arousal to male stimuli. Based on the ovulatory-shift hypothesis — that women show a mid-cycle shift in preferences towards more masculine features during peak fertility — we predicted that heterosexual women’s genital and subjective arousal would be gender specific (more arousal towards male stimuli) during peak fertility. Twenty-two naturally-cycling heterosexual women were assessed during the follicular and luteal phases of their menstrual cycle to examine the role of menstrual cycle phase in gender specificity of genital and subjective sexual arousal. Menstrual cycle phase was confirmed with salivary hormone assays; phase at the time of first testing was counterbalanced. Women’s genital and subjective sexual arousal patterns were gender nonspecific, irrespective of cycle phase. Cycle phase at first testing session did not influence genital or subjective arousal in the second testing session. Similar to previous research, women’s genital and subjective sexual arousal varied with cues of sexual activity, but neither genital nor subjective sexual arousal varied by gender cues, with the exception of masturbation stimuli, where women showed higher genital arousal to the stimuli depicting male compared to female actors. These data suggest that menstrual cycle phase does not influence the gender specificity of heterosexual women’s genital and subjective sexual arousal.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 13, 2014

Race for the cure

More Insurers Lower Premiums: Evidence from Initial Pricing in the Health Insurance Marketplaces

Leemore Dafny, Jonathan Gruber & Christopher Ody
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
First-year insurer participation in the Health Insurance Marketplaces (HIMs) established by the Affordable Care Act is limited in many areas of the country. There are 3.9 participants, on (population-weighted) average, in the 395 ratings areas spanning the 34 states with federally facilitated marketplaces (FFMs). Using data on the plans offered in the FFMs, together with predicted market shares for exchange participants (estimated using 2011 insurer-state market shares in the individual insurance market), we study the impact of competition on premiums. We exploit variation in ratings-area-level competition induced by United Healthcare’s decision not to participate in any of the FFMs. We estimate that United’s nonparticipation decision raised the second-lowest-price silver premium (which is directly linked to federal subsidies) by 5.4 percent, on average. If all insurers active in each state’s individual insurance market in 2011 had participated in all ratings areas in that state’s HIM, we estimate this key premium would be 11.1% lower and 2014 federal subsidies would be reduced by $1.7 billion.

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

The Political Polarization of Physicians in the United States: An Analysis of Campaign Contributions to Federal Elections, 1991 Through 2012

Adam Bonica, Howard Rosenthal & David Rothman
JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: To analyze campaign contributions that physicians made from the 1991 to 1992 through the 2011 to 2012 election cycles to Republican and Democratic candidates in presidential and congressional races and to partisan organizations, including party committees and super political action committees (Super PACs).

Design, Setting, and Participants: We explored partisan differences in physician contributions by sex, for-profit vs nonprofit practice setting, and specialty using multiple regression analysis. We studied the relation between the variation in the mean annual income across specialties and the mean percentage of physicians within each specialty contributing to Republicans.

Results: Between the 1991 to 1992 and the 2011 to 2012 election cycles, physician campaign contributions increased from $20 million to $189 million, and the percentage of active physicians contributing increased from 2.6% to 9.4%. Of physicians who contributed during the study period, the mean percentage contributing to Republicans was 57% for men and 31% for women. Since 1996, the percentage of physicians contributing to Republicans has decreased, to less than 50% in the 2007 to 2008 election cycle and again in the 2011 to 2012 election cycle. Contributions to Republicans in 2011 to 2012 were more prevalent among men vs women (52.3% vs 23.6%), physicians practicing in for-profit vs nonprofit organizations (53.2% vs 25.6%), and surgeons vs pediatricians (70.2% vs 22.1%). In 1991 to 1992, these contribution gaps were smaller: for sex, 54.5% vs 30.9%; for organizations, 54.2% vs 40.0%; and for specialty, 65.5% vs 32.7%. The percentage of physicians contributing to Republicans across specialties correlated 0.84 with the mean log earnings of each specialty; specialties with higher mean earnings had higher percentages of physicians contributing to Republicans.

Conclusions and Relevance: Between 1991 and 2012, the political alignment of US physicians shifted from predominantly Republican toward the Democrats. The variables driving this change, including the increasing percentage of female physicians and the decreasing percentage of physicians in solo and small practices, are likely to drive further changes.

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

The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions

Sarah Cohodes et al.
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Public health insurance programs comprise a large share of federal and state government expenditure, and these programs are due to be expanded as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Despite a large literature on the effects of these programs on health care utilization and health outcomes, little prior work has examined the long-term effects of these programs and resultant health improvements on important outcomes, such as educational attainment. We contribute to filling this gap in the literature by examining the effects of the public insurance expansions among children in the 1980s and 1990s on their future educational attainment. Our findings indicate that expanding health insurance coverage for low-income children has large effects on high school completion, college attendance and college completion. These estimates are robust to only using federal Medicaid expansions, and they are mostly due to expansions that occur when the children are older (i.e., not newborns). We present suggestive evidence that better health is one of the mechanisms driving our results by showing that Medicaid eligibility when young translated into better teen health. Overall, our results indicate that the long-run benefits of public health insurance are substantial.

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

Health-Insurer Bargaining Power and Firms' Incentives to Manage Earnings

Francesco Bova, Yiwei Dou & Ole-Kristian Hope
University of Toronto Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Health-insurance premiums account for a significant portion of the cost base of U.S. corporations. A recent study in The American Economic Review (Dafny 2010) finds that health-insurance premiums increase for firms that experience positive profit shocks, suggesting that the health-insurance market is not perfectly competitive. Motivated by this finding and the economic importance of health-insurance premiums, this is the first study to examine firms’ earnings-management incentives in the face of insurance carriers with strong bargaining power. Using an innovative dataset for a large sample of U.S. firms with detailed information on insurance premiums and insurance-plan characteristics, we find that firms manage their reported earnings downward when insurance providers have strong bargaining power. This finding holds using both association tests and a natural experiment. We further show that this effect is more pronounced in settings in which there are ex-ante reasons to expect stronger incentives to manage earnings. We also provide preliminary evidence suggesting that downward earnings management has the intended effect of reducing future health-insurance premiums. Our analyses highlight an inefficient health-insurance market as an important determinant of firms’ accounting choices.

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

Impacts of the Affordable Care Act Dependent Coverage Provision on Health-Related Outcomes of Young Adults

Silvia Barbaresco, Charles Courtemanche & Yanling Qi
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
The first major insurance expansion of the Affordable Care Act – a provision requiring insurers to allow dependents to remain on parents’ health insurance until turning 26 – took effect in September 2010. We estimate this mandate’s impacts on numerous health-related outcomes using a difference-in-differences approach with 23-25 year olds as the treatment group and 27-29 year olds as the control group. For the full sample, the dependent coverage provision increased the probabilities of having insurance, a primary care doctor, and excellent self-assessed health, while decreasing unmet medical needs because of cost. However, we find no evidence of improvements in preventive care utilization or health behaviors. Subsample analyses reveal particularly striking gains for college graduates, including reduced obesity. Finally, we show that the mandate’s impacts on 19-22 year olds were generally weaker than those on 23-25 year olds, although we observe a reduction in pregnancies for unmarried 19-22 year old women.

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

Do Physicians Possess Market Power?

Abe Dunn & Adam Hale Shapiro
Journal of Law and Economics, February 2014, Pages 159-193

Abstract:
We study the degree to which greater physician concentration leads to higher service prices charged by physicians in the commercially insured medical care market. Using a database of physicians throughout the United States, we construct physician-firm concentration measures based on market boundaries defined by fixed driving times, which we label the fixed-travel-time Herfindahl-Hirschman index. We link these concentration measures to health insurance claims. We find that physicians in more concentrated markets charge higher service prices; a physician in the 90th percentile of market concentration will charge 14–30 percent higher fees than a physician in the 10th percentile. Our estimates imply that physician consolidation has caused about an 8 percent increase in fees on average over the last 20 years and substantially higher increases in concentrated markets.

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

The Effect of Public Insurance Coverage for Childless Adults on Labor Supply

Laura Dague, Thomas DeLeire & Lindsey Leininger
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
This study provides plausibly causal estimates of the effect of public insurance coverage on the employment of non-elderly, non-disabled adults without dependent children (“childless adults”). We use regression discontinuity and propensity score matching difference-in-differences methods to take advantage of the sudden imposition of an enrollment cap, comparing the labor supply of enrollees to eligible applicants on a waitlist. We find enrollment into public insurance leads to sizable and statistically meaningful reductions in employment up to at least 9 quarters later, with an estimated size of from 2 to 10 percentage points depending upon the model used.

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

Payment Systems in the Healthcare Industry: An Experimental Study of Physician Incentives

Ellen Green
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Policy makers and the healthcare industry have proposed changes to physician payment structures as a way to improve the quality of health care and reduce costs. Several of these proposals require healthcare providers to employ a value-based purchasing program (also known as pay-for-performance [P4P]). However, the way in which existing payment structures impact physician behavior is unclear and therefore, predicting how well P4P will perform is difficult. To understand the impact physician payment structures have on physician behavior, I approximate the physician-patient relationship in a real-effort laboratory experiment. I study several prominent physician payment structures including fee-for-service, capitation, salary, and P4P. I find that physicians are intrinsically motivated to provide high quality care and relying exclusively on extrinsic incentives to motivate physicians is detrimental to the quality of care and costly for the healthcare industry.

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

Malpractice Law, Physicians’ Financial Incentives, and Medical Treatment: How Do They Interact?

Ity Shurtz
Journal of Law and Economics, February 2014, Pages 1-29

Abstract:
The effects of malpractice law and financial incentives on physicians are typically studied independently. This paper shows that to make both positive and normative statements about medical malpractice liability, one must consider physicians’ legal and financial incentives jointly. I develop a simple model to show that when treatment is unprofitable at the margin, mitigation of liability lowers treatment levels; conversely, when treatment is profitable, mitigation of liability raises them. Motivated by this simple theoretical framework, I analyze the impact of a tort reform in Texas that mitigated malpractice liability. Consistent with the theory, the rate of cesarean sections among commercially insured mothers, for whom the procedure is considered profitable, increased by 2 percentage points relative to the rate of cesarean sections among mothers covered by Medicaid, for whom the procedure is thought to be unprofitable.

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

Do the Poor Benefit from More Generous Medicaid Physician Payments?

Alice Chen
University of Chicago Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines how changes in Medicaid physician payments affect provision of care to both Medicaid patients and the uninsured. I find that payment increases generate an increase in supply of care to Medicaid patients but a more than offsetting decrease in supply to the uninsured. Using survey data, I additionally show that physicians encourage their uninsured patients to enroll in Medicaid. Finally, I demonstrate that when Medicaid eligibility is high, physicians are less likely to substitute between caring for Medicaid patients and treating the uninsured. Because higher eligibility magnifies the Medicaid supply response to a payment change, my results suggest that payment increases should be coupled with eligibility expansions in order to improve access to care among the poor.

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

Effects of Cuts in Medicaid on Dental-Related Visits and Costs at a Safety-Net Hospital

Martha Neely et al.
American Journal of Public Health, June 2014, Pages e13-e16

Abstract:
We used data from Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts, to determine whether dental-related emergency department (ED) visits and costs increased when Medicaid coverage for adult dental care was reduced in July 2010. In this retrospective study of existing data, we examined the safety-net hospital’s dental-related ED visits and costs for 3 years before and 2 years after Massachusetts Health Care Reform. Dental-related ED visits increased 2% the first and 14% the second year after Medicaid cuts. Percentage increases were highest among older adults, minorities, and persons receiving charity care, Medicaid, and Medicare.

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

The Association Between Community-level Insurance Coverage and Emergency Department Use

Laurence Baker & Renee Hsia
Medical Care, June 2014, Pages 535-540

Background: Emergency departments (EDs) nationwide are key entry points into the health care system, and their use may reflect changes in access and need in their communities. However, no studies to date have empirically and longitudinally studied how changes in a community’s level of insurance coverage, a key determinant of access, affect ED utilization.

Objective: To determine the effects of changes in a community’s rate of insurance coverage on its population’s ED use.

Methods: We conducted a longitudinal analysis of all California counties between 2005 and 2010 using comprehensive ED visit data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Using Poisson regression with county and year fixed effects, we determined how changes in the rate of insurance coverage within a given county affect ED visits per 1000 residents.

Results: We found that changes in the rate of insurance coverage within a county had a slight but significant inverse relationship with ED visits per 1000 residents for both adults and children. For example, if a county’s rate of insurance coverage among adults jumped from the 10th (73.22%) to the 90th percentile (84.93%), an estimated 2 fewer ED visits would occur per 1000 adult residents.

Conclusions: As the rate of insurance coverage increased within California counties, overall ED utilization declined only slightly. Thus, expanding insurance coverage may not lead to significant decreases in overall ED use.

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

Long-Term Impact of Medicare Payment Reductions on Patient Outcomes

Vivian Wu & Yu-Chu Shen
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the long-term impact of Medicare payment reductions on patient outcomes for Medicare acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients.

Data Sources: Analysis of secondary data compiled from 100 percent Medicare Provider Analysis and Review between 1995 and 2005, Medicare hospital cost reports, Inpatient Prospective Payment System Payment Impact Files, American Hospital Association annual surveys, InterStudy, Area Resource Files, and County Business Patterns.

Study Design: We used a natural experiment — the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 — as an instrument to predict cumulative Medicare revenue loss due solely to the BBA, and basing on the predicted loss categorized hospitals into small, moderate, or large payment-cut groups and followed Medicare AMI patient outcomes in these hospitals over an 11-year panel between 1995 and 2005.

Principal Findings: We found that while Medicare AMI mortality trends remained similar across hospitals between pre-BBA and initial-BBA periods, hospitals facing large payment cuts saw smaller improvement in mortality rates relative to that of hospitals facing small cuts in the post-BBA period. Part of the relatively higher AMI mortalities among large-cut hospitals might be related to reductions in staffing levels and operating costs, and a small part might be due to patient selection.

Conclusions: We found evidence that hospitals facing large Medicare payment cuts as a result of BBA of 1997 were associated with deteriorating patient outcomes in the long run. Medicare payment reductions may have an unintended consequence of widening the gap in quality across hospitals.

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

Switching To Less Expensive Blindness Drug Could Save Medicare Part B $18 Billion Over A Ten-Year Period

David Hutton et al.
Health Affairs, June 2014, Pages 931-939

Abstract:
The biologic drugs bevacizumab and ranibizumab have revolutionized treatment of diabetic macular edema and neovascular age-related macular degeneration, leading causes of blindness. Ophthalmologic use of these drugs has increased and now accounts for roughly one-sixth of the Medicare Part B drug budget. The two drugs have similar efficacy and potentially minor differences in adverse-event rates; however, at $2,023 per dose, ranibizumab costs forty times more than bevacizumab. Using modeling methods, we predict ten-year (2010–20) population-level costs and health benefits of using bevacizumab and ranibizumab. Our results show that if all patients were treated with the less expensive bevacizumab instead of current usage patterns, savings would amount to $18 billion for Medicare Part B and nearly $5 billion for patients. With an additional $6 billion savings in other health care expenses, the total savings would be almost $29 billion. Altering patterns of use with these therapies by encouraging bevacizumab use and hastening approval of biosimilar therapies would dramatically reduce spending without substantially affecting patient outcomes.

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

Dominated Choices and Medicare Advantage Enrollment

Christopher Afendulis, Anna Sinaiko & Richard Frank
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Research in behavioral economics suggests that certain circumstances, such as large numbers of complex options or revisiting prior choices, can lead to decision errors. This paper explores the enrollment decisions of Medicare beneficiaries in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. During the time period we study (2007-2010), private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans offered enhanced benefits beyond those of traditional Medicare (TM) without any restrictions on physician networks or additional cost, making TM a dominated choice relative to PFFS. Yet more than three quarters of Medicare beneficiaries remained in TM during our study period. We explore two possible explanations for this behavior: status quo bias and choice overload. Our results suggest that status quo bias plays an important role; the rate of MA enrollment was significantly higher among new Medicare beneficiaries than among incumbents. Our results also provide some evidence of choice overload; while the MA enrollment rate did not decline with an increase in the number of plans, among incumbent beneficiaries it failed to increase. Our results illustrate the importance of the choice environment that is in place when enrollees first enter the Medicare program.

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

The Effect of Medicaid Premiums on Enrollment: A Regression Discontinuity Approach

Laura Dague
Journal of Health Economics, September 2014, Pages 1–12

Abstract:
This paper estimates the effect that premiums in Medicaid have on the length of enrollment of program beneficiaries. Whether and how low income-families will participate in the exchanges and in states’ Medicaid programs depends crucially on the structure and amounts of the premiums they will face. I take advantage of discontinuities in the structure of Wisconsin's Medicaid program to identify the effects of premiums on enrollment for low-income families. I use a three year administrative panel of enrollment data to estimate these effects. I find an increase in the premium from zero to ten dollars per month results in 1.4 fewer months enrolled and reduces the probability of remaining enrolled for a full year by 12 percentage points, but other discrete changes in premium amounts do not affect enrollment or have a much smaller effect. I find no evidence of program enrollees intentionally decreasing labor supply in order to avoid the premiums.

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

Electronic Discovery and the Adoption of Information Technology

Amalia Miller & Catherine Tucker
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, May 2014, Pages 217-243

Abstract:
After firms adopt electronic information and communication technologies, their decision-making leaves a trail of electronic information that may be more extensive and accessible than a paper trail. We ask how the expected costs of litigation affect decisions to adopt technologies, such as electronic medical records (EMRs), which leave more of an electronic trail. EMRs allow hospitals to document electronically both patient symptoms and health providers’ reactions to those symptoms and may improve the quality of care that makes the net impact of their adoption on expected litigation costs ambiguous. This article studies the impact of state rules that facilitate the use of electronic records in court. We find evidence that hospitals are one-third less likely to adopt EMRs after these rules are enacted.

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

A Simple Change To The Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program Could Save $5 Billion

Yuting Zhang, Chao Zhou & Seo Hyon Baik
Health Affairs, June 2014, Pages 940-945

Abstract:
Medicare Part D provides a subsidy to beneficiaries with incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Enrollees with the low-income subsidy accounted for 75 percent of the $60 billion in total federal Part D spending in 2013. The government randomly assigns any new beneficiary who automatically qualifies for the subsidy, or who successfully applies for it without indicating a preferred plan, to a stand-alone Part D plan whose premium is equal to or below the average premium for the basic Part D benefit in the region. We used an intelligent reassignment algorithm and 2008–09 Part D drug use and spending data to match enrollees to available plans according to their medication needs. We found that such a reassignment approach could have saved the federal government over $5 billion in 2009, for mean government savings of $710 (median: $368) per enrollee with a low-income subsidy. Implementing that simple change to reassign beneficiaries would have also lowered the proportion of prescriptions that required utilization review from 29 percent to 20 percent, and the proportion of prescriptions with quantity limits from 27 percent to 19 percent.

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

Cutting Medicare Hospital Prices Leads to a Spillover Reduction in Hospital Discharges for the Nonelderly

Chapin White
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To measure spillover effects of Medicare inpatient hospital prices on the nonelderly (under age 65).

Primary Data Sources: Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases (10 states, 1995–2009) and Medicare Hospital Cost Reports.

Study Design: Outcomes include nonelderly discharges, length of stay and case mix, staffed hospital bed-days, and the share of discharges and days provided to the elderly. We use metropolitan statistical areas as our markets. We use descriptive analyses comparing 1995 and 2009 and panel data fixed-effects regressions. We instrument for Medicare prices using accumulated changes in the Medicare payment formula.

Principal Findings: Medicare price reductions are strongly associated with reductions in nonelderly discharges and hospital capacity. A 10-percent reduction in the Medicare price is estimated to reduce discharges among the nonelderly by about 5 percent. Changes in the Medicare price are not associated with changes in the share of inpatient hospital care provided to the elderly versus nonelderly.

Conclusions: Medicare price reductions appear to broadly constrain hospital operations, with significant reductions in utilization among the nonelderly. The slow Medicare price growth under the Affordable Care Act may result in a spillover slowdown in hospital utilization and spending among the nonelderly.

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

Measuring the Hospital Length of Stay/Readmission Cost Trade-Off under a Bundled Payment Mechanism

Kathleen Carey
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
If patients are discharged from the hospital prematurely, many may need to return within a short period of time. This paper investigates the relationship between length of stay and readmission within 30 days of discharge from an acute care hospitalization. It applies a two-part model to data on Medicare patients treated for heart attack in New York state hospitals during 2008 to obtain the expected cost of readmission associated with length of stay. The expected cost of a readmission is compared with the marginal cost of an additional day in the initial stay to examine the cost trade-off between an extra day of care and the expected cost of readmission. The cost of an additional day of stay was offset by expected cost savings from an avoided readmission in the range of 15% to 65%. Results have implications for payment reform based on bundled payment reimbursement mechanisms.

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

Physician Payment Reform and Hospital Referrals

Kate Ho & Ariel Pakes
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 200-205

Abstract:
Commercial health insurers in California use provider capitation payments to different extents. These are similar to arrangements introduced by the recent health reforms to give physicians incentives to control costs. In a previous paper we showed that patients whose insurers used capitation incentives traveled further to access lower-priced, similar-quality hospitals than other same-severity patients. This paper predicts the implied effects of a move to widespread capitation. We show that, if the introduction of capitation prompted low-capitation insurers to act like high-capitation insurers, this would generate a 4–5 percent cost saving with some reduction in patient convenience but no reduction in quality.

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

Measuring Low-Value Care in Medicare

Aaron Schwartz et al.
JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Objectives: To develop claims-based measures of low-value services, examine service use (and associated spending) detected by these measures in Medicare, and determine whether patterns of use are related across different types of low-value services.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Drawing from evidence-based lists of services that provide minimal clinical benefit, we developed 26 claims-based measures of low-value services. Using 2009 claims for 1 360 908 Medicare beneficiaries, we assessed the proportion of beneficiaries receiving these services, mean per-beneficiary service use, and the proportion of total spending devoted to these services. We compared the amount of use and spending detected by versions of these measures with different sensitivity and specificity. We also estimated correlations between use of different services within geographic areas, adjusting for beneficiaries’ sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.

Results: Services detected by more sensitive versions of measures affected 42% of beneficiaries and constituted 2.7% of overall annual spending. Services detected by more specific versions of measures affected 25% of beneficiaries and constituted 0.6% of overall spending. In adjusted analyses, low-value spending detected in geographic regions at the 5th percentile of the regional distribution of low-value spending ($227 per beneficiary) exceeded the difference in detected low-value spending between regions at the 5th and 95th percentiles ($189 per beneficiary). Adjusted regional use was positively correlated among 5 of 6 categories of low-value services (mean r for pairwise, between-category correlations, 0.33; range, 0.14-0.54; P ≤ .01).

Conclusions and Relevance: Services detected by a limited number of measures of low-value care constituted modest proportions of overall spending but affected substantial proportions of beneficiaries and may be reflective of overuse more broadly. Performance of claims-based measures in supporting targeted payment or coverage policies to reduce overuse may depend heavily on how the measures are defined.

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

Doctors with borders: Occupational licensing as an implicit barrier to high skill migration

Brenton Peterson, Sonal Pandya & David Leblang
Public Choice, July 2014, Pages 45-63

Abstract:
Research on the political economy of immigration overlooks the specificity of human capital in skilled occupations and its implications for immigration preferences and policymaking. Conclusions that skilled Americans are unconcerned about labor market competition from skilled migrants build on a simple dichotomy between high and low skill migrants. In this article we show that natives turn to occupational licensing regulations as occupation-specific protectionist barriers to skilled migrant labor competition. In practice, high skill natives face labor market competition only from those high-skill migrants who share their occupation-specific skills. Licensure regulations ostensibly serve the public interest by certifying competence, but they can simultaneously be formidable barriers to entry by skilled migrants. From a collective action perspective, skilled natives can more easily secure sub-national, occupation-specific policies than influence national immigration policy. We exploit the unique structure of the American medical profession that allows us to distinguish between public interest and protectionist motives for migrant physician licensure regulations. We show that over the 1973–2010 period states with greater physician control over licensure requirements imposed more stringent requirements for migrant physician licensure and, as a consequence, received fewer new migrant physicians. By our estimates over a third of all US states could reduce their physician shortages by at least 10 percent within 5 years just by equalizing migrant and native licensure requirements. This article advances research on the political economy of immigration and highlights an overlooked dimension of international economic integration: regulatory rent-seeking as a barrier to the cross-national mobility of human capital, and the public policy implications of such barriers.

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

One Pool to Insure them All?: Age, Risk and the Price(s) of Medical Insurance

Thomas Koch
International Journal of Industrial Organization, July 2014, Pages 1–11

Abstract:
Asymmetric information can lead to adverse selection and market failure. In a dynamic setting, asymmetric information also limits reclassification risk. This certainty offsets the costs of adverse selection. Using a dynamic model of endogenous insurance choice and price calibrated to the U.S. medical insurance market, I find that asymmetric information is Pareto improving when information is fully asymmetric. However, when insurers can discriminate by age group, but not within age groups, the young benefit by paying less for insurance. The insurance market for the near elderly collapses because it is no longer implicitly subsidized by the participation of the young.

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

Will Health Care Reform Reduce Disparities in Insurance Coverage?: Evidence From the Dependent Coverage Mandate

Dan Shane & Padmaja Ayyagari
Medical Care, June 2014, Pages 528-534

Objectives: We used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to assess the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage mandate on disparities in health insurance coverage rates and evaluated whether non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics gained coverage at the same rates as non-Hispanic whites.

Methods: To estimate changes in insurance rates, we employed a difference-in-difference regression approach comparing 7962 young adults aged 19–25 to 9321 adults aged 27–34. Separate regressions were estimated for non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites to understand whether the mandate had differential effects by race/ethnicity. Separate regressions by income level and race/ethnicity were also estimated.

Results: Insurance rates increased by 9.3 percentage points among non-Hispanic whites, 7.2 percentage points among Hispanics, and 9.4 percentage points among non-Hispanic blacks. These changes were not significantly different from each other. Among individuals with income of <133% of the Federal Poverty Level, non-Hispanic whites experienced significantly larger gains, whereas at higher-income levels, non-Hispanic blacks experienced significantly larger gains than other racial/ethnic groups.

Conclusions: The dependent coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act increased insurance rates among all racial and ethnic groups but did not change overall disparities. Disparities may have widened among low-income populations which highlights the importance of Medicaid expansions in reducing disparities. Among higher-income populations, disparities between non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites were reduced.

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

Intended and Unintended Consequences of Minimum Staffing Standards for Nursing Homes

Min Chen & David Grabowski
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Staffing is the dominant input in the production of nursing home services. Because of concerns about understaffing in many US nursing homes, a number of states have adopted minimum staffing standards. Focusing on policy changes in California and Ohio, this paper examined the effects of minimum nursing hours per resident day regulations on nursing home staffing levels and care quality. Panel data analyses of facility-level nursing inputs and quality revealed that minimum staffing standards increased total nursing hours per resident day by 5% on average. However, because the minimum staffing standards treated all direct care staff uniformly and ignored indirect care staff, the regulation had the unintended consequences of both lowering the direct care nursing skill mix (i.e., fewer professional nurses relative to nurse aides) and reducing the absolute level of indirect care staff. Overall, the staffing regulations led to a reduction in severe deficiency citations and improvement in certain health conditions that required intensive nursing care.

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

Does regulating private long-term care facilities lead to better care? A study from Quebec, Canada

Gina Bravo et al.
International Journal for Quality in Health Care, June 2014, Pages 330-336

Participants: Random samples of disabled residents aged 65 years and over. In total, 451 residents from 145 care settings assessed in 1995–2000 were compared with 329 residents from 102 care settings assessed in 2010–12.

Intervention: Regulation introduced by the province in 2005, effective February 2007.

Results: After regulation, fewer small-size facilities were in operation in the private market. Between the two study periods, the proportion of residents with severe disabilities decreased in private facilities whereas it remained >80% in their public counterparts. Meanwhile, quality of care improved significantly in private facilities, while worsening in their public counterparts, even after controlling for confounding.

Conclusions: The private industry now provides better care to its residents. Improvement in care quality likely results in part from the closure of small homes and change in resident case-mix.

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