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Friday, November 8, 2013

Up to no good

The Unintended Consequences of Being Stopped or Arrested: An Exploration of the Labeling Mechanisms through Which Police Contact Leads to Subsequent Delinquency

Stephanie Ann Wiley, Lee Ann Slocum & Finn-Aage Esbensen
Criminology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much debate has taken place regarding the merits of aggressive policing strategies such as "stop, question, and frisk." Labeling theory suggests that police contact may actually increase delinquency because youth who are stopped or arrested are excluded from conventional opportunities, adopt a deviant identity, and spend time with delinquent peers. But, few studies have examined the mechanisms through which police contact potentially enhances offending. The current study uses four waves of longitudinal data collected from middle-school students (N = 2,127) in seven cities to examine the deviance amplification process. Outcomes are compared for youth with no police contact, those who were stopped by police, and those who were arrested. We use propensity score matching to control for preexisting differences among the three groups. Our findings indicate that compared with those with no contact, youth who are stopped or arrested report higher levels of future delinquency and that social bonds, deviant identity formation, and delinquent peers partially mediate the relationship between police contact and later offending. These findings suggest that programs targeted at reducing the negative consequences of police contact (i.e., poor academic achievement, deviant identity formation, and delinquent peer associations) might reduce the occurrence of secondary deviance.

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The Effects of Private Prison Confinement on Offender Recidivism: Evidence From Minnesota

Grant Duwe & Valerie Clark
Criminal Justice Review, September 2013, Pages 375-394

Abstract:
Evidence has been mixed as to whether private prisons are more effective than state-operated facilities in reducing recidivism. This study analyzes whether private prison confinement in Minnesota has had an impact on recidivism by examining 3,532 offenders released from prison between 2007 and 2009. Propensity score matching was used to individually match a comparison group of 1,766 inmates who had only been confined in state-run facilities with 1,766 offenders who had served time in a private prison facility. Using multiple measures of recidivism and private prison confinement, 20 Cox regression models were estimated. The results showed that offenders who had been incarcerated in a private prison had a greater hazard of recidivism in all 20 models, and the recidivism risk was significantly greater in 8 of the models. The evidence presented in this study suggests that private prisons are not more effective in reducing recidivism, which may be attributable to fewer visitation and rehabilitative programming opportunities for offenders incarcerated at private facilities.

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Does Morality Condition the Deterrent Effect of Perceived Certainty Among Incarcerated Felons?

Alex Piquero et al.
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Deterrence researchers have long considered the extent to which perceived certainty and severity inhibit offending. More recently, scholars have encouraged more specific investigations about the conditions under which sanction threats may deter offending. This study contributes to and extends this line of research by exploring whether morality conditions this relationship among a large sample of incarcerated felons. Results show that while certainty and morality are independently associated with a lower likelihood of offending, perceived certainty relates to offending only among those persons with high - but not low - moral beliefs.

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Gender Differences in Recidivism Rates for Juvenile Justice Youth: The Impact of Sexual Abuse

Selby Conrad et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Young female offenders represent a growing number of young offenders. Studies have shown that youth in the juvenile justice system, particularly young females, report higher rates of lifetime sexual abuse than their nonoffending peers. The aim of this study was to examine gender differences in risk factors for recidivism, including a history of sexual abuse, among a juvenile court clinic sample. Findings suggest that, even after accounting for previously identified risk factors for recidivism such as prior legal involvement and conduct problems, a history of sexual abuse is the most salient predictor of recidivism for young female offenders, but not for males. The development of gender-responsive interventions to reduce juvenile recidivism and continued legal involvement into adulthood may be warranted.

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Do Female Officers Improve Law Enforcement Quality? Effects on Crime Reporting and Domestic Violence Escalation

Amalia Miller & Carmit Segal
University of Virginia Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We study the impact of the integration of women in US policing between the late 1970s and early 1990s on violent crime reporting and domestic violence escalation. Along these two key dimensions, we find that female officers improved police quality. Using crime victimization data, we find that as female representation increases among officers in an area, violent crimes against women in that area, and especially domestic violence, are reported to the police at significantly higher rates. There are no such effects for violent crimes against men or from increases in the female share among civilian police employees. Furthermore, we find evidence that female officers help prevent the escalation of domestic violence. Increases in female officer representation are followed by significant declines in intimate partner homicide rates and in rates of repeated domestic abuse. These effects are all consistent between fixed effects models with controls for economic and policy variables and instrumental variables models that focus exclusively on increases in female police employment driven by externally imposed affirmative action plans.

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How Much Do the Crimes Committed by Released Inmates Cost?

Michael Ostermann & Joel Caplan
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
The goal of this study is to explore the monetary costs of crimes committed by former inmates as they attempt to transition back into their communities. We use data gathered from New Jersey prison releases from 2005 to 2007 (n = 31,831) for our explorations. In addition to describing local-, county-, and state-level costs of crimes, we construct a series of regression models to predict costs using several predictors of recidivism. Results indicate that age, minority status, area-level deprivation, and whether the inmate was released to parole supervision were statistically significant predictors of costs in expected directions. However, strongly established predictors of recidivism such as criminal history and policy-relevant predictors such as time served are not significant predictors of postrelease costs of crimes. Our discussion presents a simple cost-benefit analysis according to two distinct policy approaches: (a) targeting evidence-based correctional principles toward high-risk former inmates and (b) incapacitating high-risk former inmates.

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Casinos, Casino Size, and Crime: A Panel Data Analysis of Michigan Counties

Gregory Falls
Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Growth in legal gaming in the United States over the past quarter century or so is well-documented. One important factor fueling this growth was the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, which permitted Native American tribes to establish, under agreements or "compacts" with the states in which they are located, casinos offering what is known as Class III gaming: slot machines, blackjack, roulette, and other games. Since the passage of the Act, there have been 21 Native American casinos established in Michigan. Also, three non-Native American casinos opened in Detroit in 1999 and 2000. This growth in the number of casinos has sparked a wide-ranging debate over the social and economic impacts of casino development. The purpose of this research is to focus on the crime issue in the broader casino debate. We investigate the impact of these Michigan casinos on the rates of burglary, robbery, larceny and motor vehicle theft (property crimes) in casino host counties as well as in nearby counties. We employ a panel data set with annual observations on all 83 Michigan counties for the period 1994-2010. The dataset includes crime rates taken from the FBI crime data series, variables for the presence of a casino in a county or in a nearby county, the scale of a casino's operations as measured by revenues, and a variety of control variables suggested by the broader literature investigating the factors that determine crime rates generally. Our results suggest that in most cases the property crime rates studied are not affected by the presence or size of a casino in a county or in a nearby county. The largest such impact, which is negative, is for motor vehicle theft. The size of a casino does have a small positive effect on the motor vehicle theft rate.

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The Returns to Criminal Capital

Thomas Loughran et al.
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Human capital theory posits that individuals increase their labor market returns through investments in education and training. This concept has been studied extensively across several disciplines. An analog concept of criminal capital, the focus of some speculation and limited empirical study, remains considerably less developed theoretically and methodologically. This article offers a formal theoretical model of criminal capital indicators and tests for greater illegal wage returns using a sample of serious adolescent offenders, many of whom participate in illegal income-generating activities. Our results reveal that, consistent with human capital theory, important illegal wage premiums are associated with investments in criminal capital, notably an increasing but declining marginal return to experience and a premium for specialization. Furthermore, as in studies of legal labor markets, we find strong evidence that, if left unaccounted for, nonrandom sample selection causes severe bias in models of illegal wages. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these results, along with directions for future research.

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Policing Convenience Store Crime: Lessons from the Glendale, Arizona Smart Policing Initiative

Michael White & Charles Katz
Police Quarterly, September 2013, Pages 305-322

Abstract:
The Glendale, Arizona Police Department received funding in 2009 through the Bureau of Justice Assistance's Smart Policing Initiative (SPI). The Glendale team employed problem-oriented policing to address crime and disorder at convenience stores throughout the city. The SPI team's analysis demonstrated that crime was disproportionately occurring at Circle K stores and that store management practices were largely responsible for the crime problem. The Glendale SPI team developed a multipronged response that included intervention with Circle K leadership and the implementation of prevention and suppression strategies. Results indicate that crime dropped significantly at the SPI target stores (42%) from the year preceding the intervention to the year after. This decline is inconsistent with crime patterns witnessed at the remaining convenience stores in the city of Glendale. The article concludes with a discussion of how police departments can successfully engage with private sector corporations on issues of crime, disorder, and community safety.

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The Impact of School Resource Officer Interaction on Students' Feelings About School and School Police

Matthew Theriot
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
School resource officer (SRO) programs that place sworn law enforcement officers at schools are a popular violence prevention strategy. Despite widespread implementation, little is known about the impact of interacting with these officers on students' attitudes about SROs and feelings of school connectedness. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of SRO interaction on the attitudes and feelings of 1,956 middle and high school students at 12 schools in one school district. Multivariate analyses showed that more SRO interactions increased students' positive attitudes about SROs yet decreased school connectedness. Overall, the results suggested a complex relationship between SRO interactions, students' attitudes, and experiences with school violence. The implications of these results and strategies for how officers can contribute to a positive school environment are discussed.

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Dark Knights Rising: The Aurora Theater and Newtown School Massacres and Shareholder Wealth

Benjamin Cross & Stephen Pruitt
Journal of Criminal Justice, November-December 2013, Pages 452-457

Purpose: This study analyzes the stock price impact of the Aurora theater and Newtown (Sandy Hook) school massacres on both domestic (US) and foreign theater operators and US gun manufacturers in an effort to document the economic effects of these tragedies.

Methods: The well-established "event study" methodology from the fields of economics and finance is employed to assess the impact of the shootings on the affected companies after controlling for risk and overall market movements.

Results: The Aurora theater shooting resulted in striking declines for Cinemark (the targeted theater) as well as major US competitors, but had no impact on overseas theater chains. Smith & Wesson (maker of the gun used in Aurora) showed no response, whereas Ruger (a competitor) exhibited large gains. Both Smith & Wesson and Ruger plunged after the Newtown shooting, although neither made the weapons used in the shooting.

Conclusions: Contrary to prior research on workplace homicides, the results show that random mass shootings have profound effects on targeted companies. In addition, the results suggest the presence of a very strong "contagion effect" (where negative events affecting one company impact others in the same industry). The negative responses of both publicly-traded US firearms manufacturers to the Newtown shooting suggests a "sea-change" in the debate over gun ownership in the US.

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Versatile Delinquents or Specialized Pirates? A Comparison of Correlates of Illegal Downloading and Traditional Juvenile Crime

Mikko Aaltonen & Venla Salmi
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, forthcoming

Abstract:
While illegal downloading of copyrighted content from the Internet is a very common form of law-breaking, it has attracted relatively little attention among criminologists. Using the Finnish Self-Report Delinquency Survey 2012 (n = 4,855), the current study analyses the overlap between traditional juvenile crime and intensity of illegal downloading, and examines the determinants of illegal downloading in light of control theories. Despite the fact that the majority of youths download, the intensity of downloading has a strong positive association with other forms of delinquency. Measures of self-control and parental social control emerge as significant predictors of frequent downloading.

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Operation LASER and the Effectiveness of Hotspot Patrol: A Panel Analysis

Craig Uchida & Marc Swatt
Police Quarterly, September 2013, Pages 287-304

Abstract:
Operation LASER (Los Angeles' Strategic Extraction and Restoration program) is a program conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department Newton Division to reduce gun violence as part of the Smart Policing Initiative. There are two components to this operation: a chronic offender component and a chronic location component. In the current study, the effectiveness of Operation LASER was assessed at the reporting district (RD) level using a panel design. Initial results indicated that there was a significant reduction in gun crime in RDs in Newton compared to RDs from other divisions. The treatment effect was decomposed into RDs that received both the chronic offender and chronic location components and that received only the chronic offender component. Results suggested that the reduction in gun crime was only observed in those RDs receiving both the chronic offender and location components. Implications of the current study for policy are then discussed.

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Far-Right Lone Wolf Homicides in the United States

Jeff Gruenewald, Steven Chermak & Joshua Freilich
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, forthcoming

Abstract:
Little is known about the nature of far-right lone wolf terrorism and how this form of violence varies across different types of suspects. Relying on data from the Extremist Crime Database (ECDB), we comparatively examine characteristics of far-right homicides in the United States perpetrated by suspects with no evident affiliations with domestic terrorist organizations. Surprisingly, we found that this form of lone wolf terrorism has generally not increased during the past decade. We also found important differences, such as in suspects' mental health, in statuses of homicide offenders who operate alone compared to those who associate or act with others.

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Stalking: Does it Leave a Psychological Footprint?

Timothy Diette et al.
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: This article offers new evidence on whether stalking damages the mental health of female victims. This study advances the literature by accounting for age of initial stalking victimization, mental health status prior to being stalked, and exposure to other forms of traumatic victimization.

Methods: Using logistical analysis, we utilize data drawn from three large national data sets.

Results: We find that being the victim of stalking as a young adult, ages 18-45, significantly increases the odds of initial onset of psychological distress; however, this is not the case for victims ages 12-17.

Conclusions: Stalking has emerged as a deeply disturbing public issue because of its prevalence and the fear it creates in victims. Unfortunately, little is known about the psychological consequences of being stalked because the emerging literature typically is based on small, nonrandom samples. Our findings highlight the benefits of reducing stalking and the importance of supporting victims.

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First Impressions are More Important than Early Intervention Qualifying Broken Windows Theory in the Lab

Christoph Engel et al.
International Review of Law and Economics, March 2014, Pages 126-136

Abstract:
Broken Windows: the metaphor has changed New York and Los Angeles. Yet it is far from undisputed whether the broken windows policy was causal for reducing crime. The scope of the theory is not confined to crime. The theory claims that crime is inextricably linked to social order more generally. In a series of lab experiments we put two components of this more general theory to the test. We show that first impressions and early punishment of antisocial behaviour are independently and jointly causal for cooperativeness. The effect of good first impressions and of early vigilance cannot be explained with, but adds to, participants' initial level of benevolence. Mere impression management is not strong enough to maintain cooperation. Cooperation stabilizes if good first impressions are combined with some risk of sanctions. Yet if we control for first impressions, early vigilance only has a small effect. The effect vanishes over time.

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A randomized experiment of a prisoner reentry program: Updated results from an evaluation of the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP)

Grant Duwe
Criminal Justice Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a randomized experimental design, this study evaluated the effectiveness of the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP), a prisoner reentry pilot project implemented in 2008. In an effort to reduce recidivism, MCORP attempted to increase offender access to community services and programming by producing greater case management collaboration between caseworkers in prison and supervision agents in the community. Results from Cox regression models showed that MCORP significantly reduced four of the five recidivism measures examined, although the size of the reduction in hazard ratios was relatively modest (20-25%). The findings further suggested that MCORP reduced costs. Sensitivity analyses showed, however, that the cost avoidance estimates were not robust across all assumptions that were examined.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Heavy burden

Obesity prevalence among youth investigated for maltreatment in the United States

Jesse Helton & Janet Liechty
Child Abuse & Neglect, forthcoming

Abstract:
The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence and correlates of obesity among youth investigated for maltreatment in the United States. Participants were drawn from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II, a national probability study of 5,873 children aged birth to 17 years under investigation for maltreatment in 2008. From child weight reported by caregivers, we estimated obesity (weight-for-age ≥95th percentile) prevalence among children aged 2 through 17 (n = 2,948). Sex-specific logistic regression models by developmental age were used to identify obesity risk factors, including child age, race/ethnicity, and maltreatment type. Obesity prevalence was 25.4% and was higher among boys than girls (30.0% vs. 20.8%). African American adolescent boys had a lower risk for obesity than white boys (OR = 0.28, 95% CI [0.08, 0.94]). Compared with girls aged 2–5 with a neglect allegation, girls with a sexual abuse allegation were at greater risk for obesity (OR = 3.54, 95% CI [1.01, 12.41]). Compared with adolescent boys with a neglect allegation, boys with a physical abuse allegation had a lower risk for obesity (OR = 0.24, 95% CI [0.06, 0.99]). Adolescent girls with a prior family history of investigation were at greater risk for obesity than those without a history of investigation (OR = 3.97, 95% CI [1.58, 10.02]). Youth investigated for maltreatment have high obesity rates compared with national peers. Opportunities to modify and evaluate related child welfare policies and health care practices should be pursued.

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Determinants of state laws addressing obesity

Michael Marlow
Applied Economics Letters, Winter 2014, Pages 84-89

Abstract:
Little is known about why some states enact more laws addressing obesity than others. This study examines what factors influence the enactment of laws using a data set of the 90 laws enacted over 2001–2010 in 30 states. Odds of enacting laws are mostly unrelated to state variation in education, population density, income, political party structure and obesity prevalence. Factors that significantly influence number of laws include education, black and Hispanic percentages of population and age. Examination of categories of laws indicates cases where political party structure and obesity prevalence influence cumulative numbers of laws, but often in conflicting directions. The negative but weak (p = 0.054) effect of obesity prevalence on the cumulative number of all laws also suggests that state governments that enact most laws are those with relatively low obesity prevalence. This study indicates opportunities for future research to examine which laws addressing obesity are most effective among the diverse experiments taking place across the states.

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Adult obesity prevalence and state policymaking in the United States: Is problem severity associated with more policies?

Sabrina Jones Niggel et al.
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explores the relationship between adult obesity prevalence and obesity-related state policymaking in the United States. We examine whether 2009 obesity prevalence and the change in prevalence between 2000 and 2009 are associated with obesity-related state laws and regulations introduced or enacted between 2009 and 2011. Policies that exclusively target youth are eliminated from our analysis. Adult obesity prevalence increased in all 50 states over the decade studied, with a slight decrease in Washington, DC. Increases in prevalence are significantly associated with fewer policies in the South and Midwest Census regions and the East North Central and South Atlantic Census divisions. Findings suggest the need for greater advocacy and an opportunity for obesity to rise on state policy agendas.

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A Wallet Full of Calories: The Effect of Financial Dissatisfaction on the Desire for Food Energy

Barbara Briers & Sandra Laporte
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study shows that people experiencing financial dissatisfaction may choose and consume food for its energy value. Because money and food are closely related, exchangeable resources, financially dissatisfied people may be motivated to replenish their need for financial resources by consuming caloric resources or food energy. Five experiments provide support for this hypothesis across various measures of caloric desire and actual eating behavior. The findings have notable implications for marketing and public policy. Whereas marketing researchers have increasingly investigated the interplay of taste and health considerations in food consumption, this research demonstrates the importance of investigating food energy considerations.

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Slim by Design: Serving Healthy Foods First in Buffet Lines Improves Overall Meal Selection

Brian Wansink & Andrew Hanks
PLoS ONE, October 2013

Objective: Each day, tens of millions of restaurant goers, conference attendees, college students, military personnel, and school children serve themselves at buffets – many being all-you-can-eat buffets. Knowing how the food order at a buffet triggers what a person selects could be useful in guiding diners to make healthier selections.

Method: The breakfast food selections of 124 health conference attendees were tallied at two separate seven-item buffet lines (which included cheesy eggs, potatoes, bacon, cinnamon rolls, low-fat granola, low-fat yogurt, and fruit). The food order between the two lines was reversed (least healthy to most healthy, and vise-versa). Participants were randomly assigned to choose their meal from one line or the other, and researchers recorded what participants selected.

Results: With buffet foods, the first ones seen are the ones most selected. Over 75% of diners selected the first food they saw, and the first three foods a person encountered in the buffet comprised 66% of all the foods they took. Serving the less healthy foods first led diners to take 31% more total food items (p<0.001). Indeed, diners in this line more frequently chose less healthy foods in combinations, such as cheesy eggs and bacon (r = 0.47; p<0.001) or cheesy eggs and fried potatoes (r =0.37; p<0.001). This co-selection of healthier foods was less common.

Conclusions: Three words summarize these results: First foods most. What ends up on a buffet diner’s plate is dramatically determined by the presentation order of food. Rearranging food order from healthiest to least healthy can nudge unknowing or even resistant diners toward a healthier meal, helping make them slim by design. Health-conscious diners, can proactively start at the healthier end of the line, and this same basic principle of “first foods most” may be relevant in other contexts – such as when serving or passing food at family dinners.

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How Images of Other Consumers Influence Subsequent Taste Perceptions

Morgan Poor, Adam Duhachek & Shanker Krishnan
Journal of Marketing, November 2013, Pages 124-139

Abstract:
Images of food are seemingly everywhere, and yet the influence that such images have on important consumer outcomes is not well understood. The authors propose that the effect that image exposure has on taste perceptions largely depends on the interaction between the type of food (healthy vs. unhealthy) and whether the image shows the food alone (food image) or the food being consumed by a person (consummatory image). Specifically, the authors show that exposure to consummatory images of unhealthy (vs. healthy) foods increases taste perceptions relative to food images. To explain this effect, the authors argue that seeing an image of someone else indulging in an unhealthy food serves as social proof of the appropriateness and acceptability of indulgent consumption. As such, images of consumers eating act as a justification agent for real consumers, thereby reducing the conflict associated with the subsequent indulgent consumption experience and, in effect, increasing taste perceptions. The authors test this effect across five studies and eliminate rival explanations pertaining to emotional contagion, goal contagion, and source attractiveness.

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Athlete Endorsements in Food Marketing

Marie Bragg et al.
Pediatrics, November 2013, Pages 805-810

Objective: This study quantified professional athletes’ endorsement of food and beverages, evaluated the nutritional quality of endorsed products, and determined the number of television commercial exposures of athlete-endorsement commercials for children, adolescents, and adults.

Methods: One hundred professional athletes were selected on the basis of Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2010 Power 100 rankings, which ranks athletes according to their endorsement value and prominence in their sport. Endorsement information was gathered from the Power 100 list and the advertisement database AdScope. Endorsements were sorted into 11 endorsement categories (eg, food/beverages, sports apparel). The nutritional quality of the foods featured in athlete-endorsement advertisements was assessed by using a Nutrient Profiling Index, whereas beverages were evaluated on the basis of the percentage of calories from added sugar. Marketing data were collected from AdScope and Nielsen.

Results: Of 512 brands endorsed by 100 different athletes, sporting goods/apparel represented the largest category (28.3%), followed by food/beverages (23.8%) and consumer goods (10.9%). Professional athletes in this sample were associated with 44 different food or beverage brands during 2010. Seventy-nine percent of the 62 food products in athlete-endorsed advertisements were energy-dense and nutrient-poor, and 93.4% of the 46 advertised beverages had 100% of calories from added sugar. Peyton Manning (professional American football player) and LeBron James (professional basketball player) had the most endorsements for energy-dense, nutrient-poor products. Adolescents saw the most television commercials that featured athlete endorsements of food.

Conclusions: Youth are exposed to professional athlete endorsements of food products that are energy-dense and nutrient-poor.

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Fitness vs. Fatness on All-cause Mortality: A Meta-Analysis

Vaughn Barry et al.
Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to quantify the joint association of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and weight status on mortality from all causes using meta-analytical methodology. Studies were included if they were (1) prospective, (2) objectively measured CRF and body mass index (BMI), and (3) jointly assessed CRF and BMI with all-cause mortality. Ten articles were included in the final analysis. Pooled hazard ratios were assessed for each comparison group (i.e. normal weight-unfit, overweight-unfit and -fit, and obese-unfit and -fit) using a random-effects model. Compared to normal weight-fit individuals, unfit individuals had twice the risk of mortality regardless of BMI. Overweight and obese-fit individuals had similar mortality risks as normal weight-fit individuals. Furthermore, the obesity paradox may not influence fit individuals. Researchers, clinicians, and public health officials should focus on physical activity and fitness-based interventions rather than weight-loss driven approaches to reduce mortality risk.

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The Poverty Effects of a ‘Fat-Tax’ in Ireland

David Madden
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
To combat growing levels of obesity, health-related taxes have been suggested with taxes on foods high in fat or sugar. Such taxes have been criticised on the basis of their regressivity and potentially adverse impact upon poverty. This paper analyses the effect of such taxes on a range of poverty measures and also examines the effect of a revenue-neutral tax subsidy mixed with a tax on unhealthy food combined with a subsidy on more healthy food. Using Irish expenditure data, the results indicate that taxes on high fat/sugar goods on their own will be regressive but that a tax-subsidy combination can be broadly neutral with respect to poverty.

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Effect of Carbonation on Brain Processing of Sweet Stimuli in Humans

Francesco Di Salle et al.
Gastroenterology, September 2013, Pages 537-539

Abstract:
Little is known about how CO2 affects neural processing of taste. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the effects of carbonation on brain processing of sweet stimuli, which has relevance to studies of food selection and satiety. The presence of carbonation produced an overall decrease in the neural processing of sweetness-related signals, especially from sucrose. CO2 reduced the neural processing of sucrose more than that of artificial sweeteners. These findings might be relevant to dietary interventions that include noncaloric beverages, whereas the combination of CO2 and sucrose might increase consumption of sucrose.

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The Bright Side of Stress-Induced Eating: Eating More When Stressed but Less When Pleased

Gudrun Sproesser, Harald Schupp & Britta Renner
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that approximately 40% to 50% of the population increase food consumption under stressful conditions. The prevailing view is that eating in response to stress is a type of maladaptive self-regulation. Past research has concentrated mainly on the negative effects of social stress on eating. We propose that positive social experiences may also modulate eating behavior. In the present study, participants were assigned to social-exclusion, neutral, and social-inclusion conditions. In a subsequent bogus taste test, the amount of ice cream eaten and habitual stress-related eating were measured. After being socially excluded, people who habitually eat more in response to stress (stress hyperphagics) ate significantly more than people who habitually eat less in response to stress (stress hypophagics). Conversely, after being socially included, stress hyperphagics ate significantly less than stress hypophagics. The present findings provide the first evidence for complementary adjustments of food consumption across positive and negative situations. Implications of these findings for the relationship of stress and body weight are discussed.

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Relationship of Soft Drink Consumption to Global Overweight, Obesity, and Diabetes: A Cross-National Analysis of 75 Countries

Sanjay Basu et al.
American Journal of Public Health, November 2013, Pages 2071-2077

Objectives: We estimated the relationship between soft drink consumption and obesity and diabetes worldwide.

Methods: We used multivariate linear regression to estimate the association between soft drink consumption and overweight, obesity, and diabetes prevalence in 75 countries, controlling for other foods (cereals, meats, fruits and vegetables, oils, and total calories), income, urbanization, and aging. Data were obtained from the Euromonitor Global Market Information Database, the World Health Organization, and the International Diabetes Federation. Bottled water consumption, which increased with per-capita income in parallel to soft drink consumption, served as a natural control group.

Results: Soft drink consumption increased globally from 9.5 gallons per person per year in 1997 to 11.4 gallons in 2010. A 1% rise in soft drink consumption was associated with an additional 4.8 overweight adults per 100 (adjusted B; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.1, 6.5), 2.3 obese adults per 100 (95% CI = 1.1, 3.5), and 0.3 adults with diabetes per 100 (95% CI = 0.1, 0.8). These findings remained robust in low- and middle-income countries.

Conclusions: Soft drink consumption is significantly linked to overweight, obesity, and diabetes worldwide, including in low- and middle-income countries.

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Personality Disorders and Body Weight

Johanna Catherine Maclean et al.
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the impact of Axis II personality disorders (PDs) on body weight. PDs are psychiatric conditions that develop early in life from a mixture of genetics and environment, are persistent, and lead to substantial dysfunction for the affected individual. The defining characteristics of PDs conceptually link them with body weight, but the direction of the relationship likely varies across PD type. To investigate these links, we analyze data from Wave II of the National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions. We measure body weight with the body mass index (BMI) and a dichotomous indicator for obesity (BMI ≥ 30). We find that women with PDs have significantly higher BMI and are more likely to be obese than otherwise similar women. We find few statistically significant or economically meaningful effects for men. Paranoid, schizotypal, and avoidant PDs demonstrate the strongest adverse impacts on women's body weight while dependent PD may be protective against elevated body weight among men. Findings from unconditional quantile regressions demonstrate a positive gradient between PDs and BMI in that the effects are greater for higher BMI respondents.

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Abdominal obesity and chronic stress interact to predict blunted cardiovascular reactivity

Kulwinder Singh & Biing-Jiun Shen
International Journal of Psychophysiology, October 2013, Pages 73–79

Abstract:
Abdominal obesity and chronic stress have independent effects on cardiac autonomic regulation, and may also interact to influence cardiovascular reactivity. In addition to main effects, we hypothesized that abdominal obesity and chronic stress would interact and predict blunted cardiovascular reactivity. One hundred and twenty-two undergraduate students engaged in two stressful laboratory tasks while cardiovascular activity was assessed. Results indicated that higher abdominal obesity significantly predicted blunted systolic blood pressure (SBP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) change, while chronic stress was not directly associated with any measure of cardiovascular reactivity. Furthermore, there was a significant interaction between abdominal obesity and chronic stress on SBP and MAP change such that among participants with higher chronic stress, higher abdominal obesity was significantly associated with reduced SBP and MAP reactivity. In addition, body-mass index (BMI), a measure of overall obesity, also had both main and interaction effects with chronic stress to predict blunted cardiovascular reactivity. These results suggest that abdominally obese individuals may incur difficulty in mounting appropriately-sized cardiovascular responses during acute stress, particularly when under high levels of chronic stress.

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Blunted cortisol response to stress is associated with higher body mass index in low-income preschool-aged children

Alison Miller et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, November 2013, Pages 2611–2617

Abstract:
No known studies have tested the hypothesis that a blunted pattern of cortisol reactivity to stress, which is often found following exposure to chronic life stressors, is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI) in very young children. Low-income children (n = 218, mean age 56.6 (range: 38.1–78.5; SD 7.0) months, 49.1% male, 56.4% white, 16.1% black, 11.5% Hispanic/Latino) participated in a series of behavioral tasks designed to elicit stress. Cortisol was sampled in saliva 5 times during the protocol, and area under the curve (AUC), representing total cortisol output during stress elicitation, was calculated. Children were weighed and height measured and body mass index (BMI) z-score was calculated. Linear regression was used to evaluate the association between cortisol AUC and BMI z-score, controlling for child age, sex, and race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic white vs. not); primary caregiver weight status (overweight, defined as BMI ≥ 25 vs. not); and family income-to-needs ratio. Mean child BMI z-score was 0.88 (SD = 1.03). Mean cortisol AUC was 6.11 μg/dL/min (SD = 10.44). In the fully adjusted model, for each 1-standard deviation unit decrease in cortisol AUC, the child's BMI z-score increased by 0.17 (SE 0.07) standard deviation units (p < 0.02). A blunted cortisol response to stress, as is often seen following chronic stress exposure, is associated with increased BMI z-score in very young children. Further work is needed to understand how associations between stress, cortisol, and elevated body mass index may develop very early in the lifespan.

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Sugar as Part of a Balanced Breakfast? What Cereal Advertisements Teach Children About Healthy Eating

Megan LoDolce, Jennifer Harris & Marlene Schwartz
Journal of Health Communication, November 2013, Pages 1293-1309

Abstract:
Marketing that targets children with energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods is a likely contributor to the childhood obesity crisis. High-sugar ready-to-eat cereals are the packaged food most frequently promoted in child-targeted food advertising on television. The authors combined content analysis of product nutritional quality and messages presented in cereal television advertisements with syndicated data on exposure to those ads. The analysis quantifies children's exposure to specific products and messages that appear in advertisements and compares it with adult exposure. Children viewed 1.7 ads per day for ready-to-eat cereals, and 87% of those ads promoted high-sugar products; adults viewed half as many ads, and ads viewed were equally likely to promote high- and low-sugar cereals. In addition, the messages presented in high-sugar ads viewed by children were significantly more likely to convey unrealistic and contradictory messages about cereal attributes and healthy eating. For example, 91% of high-sugar cereal ads viewed by children ascribed extraordinary powers to these products, and 67% portrayed healthy and unhealthy eating behaviors. Given children's vulnerability to the influence of advertising, the emotional and mixed messages used to promote high-sugar cereals are confusing and potentially misleading.

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Body size and time-to-pregnancy in black women

Lauren Wise, Julie Palmer & Lynn Rosenberg
Human Reproduction, October 2013, Pages 2856-2864

Study question: Are overall and central obesity associated with reduced fecundability in US black women?

Summary answer: Overall and central obesity — based on self-reported measures of body mass index (BMI, kg/m2), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio — were independent risk factors for subfertility in our cohort.

Study design, size, duration: Data were derived from the Black Women's Health Study, a prospective cohort study. During 1995–2011, there were 2239 planned pregnancy attempts reported by 1697 women, resulting in 2022 births. Cohort retention was greater than 80%.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: Eligible women were aged 21–40 years and reported at least one planned pregnancy attempt during 1995–2011. Height and weight were reported in 1995, with weight updated every two years; waist and hip circumferences were reported in 1995 and updated in 2003. A validation study within the cohort showed high correlations between self-reported and technician-measured weight (r = 0.97), height (r = 0.93), waist circumference (r = 0.75) and hip circumference (r = 0.74). In 2011, TTP was reported in months. Proportional probabilities regression models were used to estimate fecundability ratios (FRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for covariates.

Main results and the role of change: High BMI was associated with delayed conception: relative to BMI 18.5–24.9, FRs for BMI categories of <18.5, 25.0–29.9, 30.0–34.9 and ≥35.0 were 0.92 (CI: 0.64–1.32), 0.93 (CI: 0.84–1.03), 0.92 (CI: 0.79–1.06) and 0.73 (CI: 0.61–0.87), respectively. Associations were stronger among nulliparous women (P-interaction = 0.003). After controlling for BMI, reduced fecundability was observed among women with large waist circumferences (≥33 versus <26 inches: FR = 0.73, CI: 0.60–0.88) and large waist-to-hip ratios (≥0.85 versus <0.71: FR = 0.83, CI: 0.71–0.97).

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Changes in the Energy and Sodium Content of Main Entrées in US Chain Restaurants from 2010 to 2011

Helen Wu & Roland Sturm
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, forthcoming

Objectives: To track changes in the energy and sodium content of US chain restaurant main entrées between spring 2010 (when the Affordable Care Act was passed, which included a federal menu labeling requirement) and spring 2011.

Design: Nutrition information was collected from top US chain restaurants' websites, comprising 213 unique brands. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis evaluated change across main entrées overall and compared entrées that were added, removed, and unchanged. Tests of means and proportions were conducted for individual restaurant brands to see how many made significant changes. Separate analyses were conducted for children's menus.

Results: Mean energy and sodium did not change significantly overall, although mean sodium was 70 mg lower across all restaurants in added vs removed menu items at the 75th percentile. Changes were specific to restaurant brands or service model: family-style restaurants reduced sodium among higher-sodium entrées at the 75th percentile, but not on average, and entrées still far exceeded recommended limits. Fast-food restaurants decreased mean energy in children's menu entrées by 40 kcal. A few individual restaurant brands made significant changes in energy or sodium, but the vast majority did not, and not all changes were in the healthier direction. Among those brands that did change, there were slightly more brands that reduced energy and sodium compared with those that increased it.

Conclusions: Industry marketing and pledges may create a misleading perception that restaurant menus are becoming substantially healthier, but both healthy and unhealthy menu changes can occur simultaneously. Our study found no meaningful changes overall across a 1-year time period. Longer-term studies are needed to track changes over time, particularly after the federal menu labeling law is implemented.

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Obesity, Labeling, and Psychological Distress in Late-Childhood and Adolescent Black and White Girls: The Distal Effects of Stigma

Sarah Mustillo, Kristen Budd & Kimber Hendrix
Social Psychology Quarterly, September 2013, Pages 268-289

Abstract:
The stigma of childhood obesity has the potential to affect psychological development during the early life course, but few studies examine whether experiencing stigma in childhood and adolescence has lasting ramifications for mental health during the transition to adulthood. Integrating modified labeling theory with a life course perspective, this study examined how obesity at different ages affects psychological distress in late adolescence using longitudinal data on black and white girls. We tested whether parent or friend labeling mediates this relationship and whether distal effects on psychological distress are further mediated through proximal distress using data from the National Growth and Health Study (n = 2,379). Findings showed significant proximal and distal effects of obesity on psychological distress through both parent and friend labeling among white girls. Distal effects on psychological distress were also mediated by proximal psychological distress. Among black girls, there were no distal effects, suggesting weight-based stigma is more consequential for white girls compared to black girls.

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Implications of fast food restaurant concentration for preschool-aged childhood obesity

Christopher Newman, Elizabeth Howlett & Scot Burton
Journal of Business Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this research, the authors examine the effects on preschool-aged childhood obesity rates associated with the direct and moderating influence of fast food restaurant density levels, consumer poverty, and urbanization. Results show that higher levels of fast food restaurant saturation are associated with increased levels of childhood obesity in both urban and poor areas, with the largest negative effect of fast food availability on obesity occurring in more economically disadvantaged, urban areas. Findings highlight why the societal impacts of targeting vulnerable populations through corporate location selection strategies should be fully considered in social marketing initiatives, especially given that unhealthy products with long term health risks are increasingly accessible.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Banana republic

Climato-economic habitats support patterns of human needs, stresses, and freedoms

Evert Van de Vliert
Behavioral and Brain Sciences, October 2013, Pages 465-480

Abstract:
This paper examines why fundamental freedoms are so unevenly distributed across the earth. Climato-economic theorizing proposes that humans adapt needs, stresses, and choices of goals, means, and outcomes to the livability of their habitat. The evolutionary process at work is one of collectively meeting climatic demands of cold winters or hot summers by using monetary resources. Freedom is expected to be lowest in poor populations threatened by demanding thermal climates, intermediate in populations comforted by undemanding temperate climates irrespective of income per head, and highest in rich populations challenged by demanding thermal climates. This core hypothesis is supported with new survey data across 85 countries and 15 Chinese provinces and with a reinterpretative review of results of prior studies comprising 174 countries and the 50 states in the United States. Empirical support covers freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of expression and participation, freedom from discrimination, and freedom to develop and realize one's human potential. Applying the theory to projections of temperature and income for 104 countries by 2112 forecasts that (a) poor populations in Asia, perhaps except Afghans and Pakistanis, will move up the international ladder of freedom, (b) poor populations in Africa will lose, rather than gain, relative levels of freedom unless climate protection and poverty reduction prevent this from happening, and (c) several rich populations will be challenged to defend current levels of freedom against worsening climato-economic livability.

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Fight the Youth: Youth Bulges and State Repression

Ragnhild Nordås & Christian Davenport
American Journal of Political Science, October 2013, Pages 926–940

Abstract:
It is generally acknowledged that large youth cohorts or “youth bulges” make countries more susceptible to antistate political violence. Thus, we assume that governments are forewarned about the political demographic threat that a youth bulge represents to the status quo and will attempt to preempt behavioral challenges by engaging in repression. A statistical analysis of the relationship between youth bulges and state repression from 1976 to 2000 confirms our expectation. Controlling for factors known to be associated with coercive state action, we find that governments facing a youth bulge are more repressive than other states. This relationship holds when controlling for, and running interactions with, levels of actual protest behavior. Youth bulges and other elements that may matter for preemptive state strategies should therefore be included in future empirical models of state repression.

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Why the Modest Harvest?

Jason Brownlee, Tarek Masoud & Andrew Reynolds
Journal of Democracy, October 2013, Pages 29-44

Abstract:
The Arab Spring startled all Arab autocrats but toppled few of them. We find there were no structural preconditions for popular uprisings, but two variables conditioned whether domestic opposition would succeed. First, oil wealth gave rulers the resources to preempt or repress dissent. Second, a precedent of hereditary succession signaled the loyalty of the coercive apparatus to the ruler. Consequently, mass revolts deposed incumbents in only the three non-oil rich, non-hereditary regimes of Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen. Where oil rents or hereditary rule prevailed, regimes violently suppressed peaceful protests (Bahrain, Syria) and only lost power through foreign-imposed regime change (Libya).

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American Federalism: How Well Does It Support Lady Liberty?

Richard Wagner
George Mason University Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Democratic governments can be either national or federal in form. Whether the form of democracy matters, how it matters if, indeed, it does matter, and for whom it might matter are the types of questions this paper explores. Federalism is generally described as a pro-liberty form of government. Yet it is surely reasonable to wonder how the presence of two sources of political power within the same territory can be more favorable to liberty than when there is but a single source. It turns out that the pro-liberty quality of federalism is a possible but not a necessary feature of federalism. This essay explores this two-edged quality of federalism to discern more clearly the relation between federalism and liberty.

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Is Vote-buying Effective? Evidence from a Field Experiment in West Africa

Pedro Vicente
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Vote-buying, i.e., cash-for-votes, happens frequently in many parts of the world. However, in the presence of secret ballots, there is no obvious way to enforce vote transactions. To infer effects of vote-buying on electoral behaviour, we designed and conducted a randomized field experiment during an election in Sao Tome and Principe. We follow a voter education campaign against vote-buying, using panel-survey measurements as well as disaggregated electoral results. Results show that the campaign reduced the influence of money offered on voting, decreased voter turnout, and favoured the incumbent. This evidence suggests that vote-buying increases participation and counteracts the incumbency advantage.

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Democracy in microstates: Why smallness does not produce a democratic political system

Wouter Veenendaal
Democratization, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent decades, several scholars have pointed to a statistical correlation between population size and democracy. Whereas these studies have thus far failed to provide a satisfactory explanation of this link, more case-oriented and qualitative publications have primarily highlighted the democracy-undermining effects of smallness. According to such studies, the proclivity of microstates to democratic rule should be explained on the basis of other factors, which coincide with smallness. In the current article, the nature and quality of politics and democracy in the four microstates of San Marino, St Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, and Palau is analysed on the basis of interviews with local respondents. The results indicate that microstate politics is characterized by a disparity between formally democratic institutions and a more antidemocratic political reality, and that size therefore does not directly generate a democratic political system. Instead, for the four analysed microstates the variables of colonial history, geographical location, and international relations appear to have greater explanatory value. Precisely because microstate politics is all about interpersonal relations and informal dynamics, this article contends that qualitative research is the preferable approach for studying politics and democracy in microstates.

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Governing religion: The long-term effects of sacred financing

Bo Rothstein & Rasmus Broms
Journal of Institutional Economics, December 2013, Pages 469-490

Abstract:
The absence of democracy in the Arab–Muslim world is a ‘striking anomaly’ for democratization scholars. This cannot be seen as caused by religion as such, as there are now several democratic Muslim-majority states. Popular explanations such as values, culture, economic development, natural resources, or colonial legacy have been refuted. Based on Ostrom's approach regarding local groups’ ability to establish institutions for ‘governing the commons’, we present a novel explanation for this puzzle, based on historical variations in institutions for financing religion. In Northwestern Europe, religion and secular services managed by local religious institutions have been financed ‘from below’, creating local systems for semi-democratic representation, transparency, and accountability. In the Arab–Muslim region, religion and local secular services have been financed ‘from above’, by private foundations lacking systems for representation and accountability. It is thus not religion, but how religion has been financed, that explains lacking successful democratization in the Arab–Muslim world.

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Democracy and the Quality of the State

Francis Fukuyama
Journal of Democracy, October 2013, Pages 5-16

Abstract:
Why is it that some countries have been able to develop high-quality state administrations that deliver services to their populations with relative efficiency, while others are plagued by corruption, bloated or red-tape-ridden bureaucracies, and incompetence? And what is the relationship between the effectiveness of a state and democracy? Are the two mutually supportive, or is there a tension between good public administration and broad political participation? The experiences of the United States, Greece, and Italy suggest that the process of political development democratic expansion of the franchise, when it takes place in advance of state modernization, can lead to widespread clientelism. Conversely, authoritarian states that develop modern bureaucracies early on are often in a happier position once they democratize, since their states tend to be inoculated from the dangers of political colonization.

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Does International Election Observation Deter and Detect Fraud? Evidence from Russia

Max Bader & Hans Schmeets
Representation, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is widely taken for granted that international election observation deters and detects election fraud, but little evidence exists that supports this conventional wisdom. This article employs a unique dataset on the 2011 and 2012 election observation missions by the OSCE to the legislative and presidential elections in Russia, to assess the claim that international election observation deters and detects fraud. The findings suggest that observers may have deterred fraud to some degree during the observation of counting procedures but less so, if at all, during the observation of voting procedures, and that observers probably did not detect fraud to any significant degree during both voting and counting observations.

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Do Good Institutions Make Citizens Happy, or Do Happy Citizens Build Better Institutions?

Martin Rode
Journal of Happiness Studies, October 2013, Pages 1479-1505

Abstract:
Recent empirical investigations show that ‘good institutions’, in the form of democracy and economic freedom, are related to elevated scores of subjective well-being across countries. Most of these studies automatically assume that causality runs from formal institutions to happiness. None the less, an inverse relationship is also feasible and only a few authors have specifically analyzed this possibility. Furthermore, not much is known about the individual aspects of institutions that are valued by citizens, and how these preferences might change with the level of economic development. This paper contributes to closing these gaps, conducting ordinary least squares- and instrumental variable analysis as an empirical strategy. Results show that citizens in developing countries value the procedural aspects of democracy, access to sound money, and free trade, while citizens in developed countries only seem to value a comparatively well-functioning legal system and higher security of property rights. Findings indicate the existence of a causal channel from economic freedom to well-being, but can’t exclude a long run effect of intrinsic happiness on economic freedom through social capital.

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Climate Change and Civil Unrest: The Impact of Rapid-onset Disasters

Peter Nardulli, Buddy Peyton & Joseph Bajjalieh
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the destabilizing impact of rapid-onset, climate-related disasters. It uses a sample of storms and floods in conjunction with two intensity measures of civil unrest to examine two perspectives on human reactions to disasters (conflictual, cooperative). It also uses insights from the contentious politics literature to understand how emotions posited by the conflictual perspective are transformed into destabilizing acts. While the data show that mean levels of unrest are higher in the wake of disasters, the means poorly reflect the data: the vast majority of episodes do not show higher levels of unrest. Moreover, even when higher levels of unrest emerge, they are not a simple reflection of disaster's human impact; this underscores the importance of the transformational process. Thus, a preliminary model of political violence is investigated; it employs impact, process and institutional variables and it explains three-quarters of the variance in the intensity of violence.

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China's Strategic Censorship

Peter Lorentzen
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
While it is often assumed that authoritarian regimes inevitably fear and restrict media independence, permitting watchdog journalism can actually help such regimes maintain power by improving governance. Yet such a strategy risks facilitating a coordinated uprising if discontent is revealed to be widespread. A formal model shows that under some conditions, a regime optimally permits investigative reporting on lower-level officialdom, adjusting how much reporting is allowed depending on the level of underlying social tensions. This strategy yields many of the benefits of free media without risking overthrow. An extension shows why an increase in uncontrollable information, such as from the Internet, may result in a reduction in media freedom. The model sheds light on important aspects of China's media policy and its evolution and on authoritarian media control more broadly.

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Primetime Dispute Resolution: Reality TV Mediation Shows in China's “Harmonious Society”

Colin Hawes & Shuyu Kong
Law & Society Review, December 2013, Pages 739–770

Abstract:
Through a case study of reality TV mediation shows, this article joins the debate about the recent promotion of formal and informal mediation by the Chinese government, what some scholars have called a “turn against law” (Minzner 2011). We identify three converging reasons for the sudden popularity of mediation shows on Chinese primetime television: (1) the desire of TV producers to commercially exploit interpersonal conflicts without fanning the flames of social instability; (2) the demands of official censors for TV programming promoting a “harmonious society”; and (3) the requirement for courts and other government institutions to publicly demonstrate their support for mediation as the most “appropriate” method for resolving interpersonal and neighborhood disputes. Cases drawn from two top-rated mediation shows demonstrate how they privilege morality and “human feeling” (ganqing) over narrow application of the law. Such shows could be viewed merely as a form of propaganda, what Nader has called a “harmony ideology” — an attempt by the government to suppress the legitimate expression of social conflict. Yet while recognizing that further political, social, and legal reforms are necessary to address the root causes of social conflict in China, we conclude that TV mediation shows can help to educate viewers about the benefits and drawbacks of mediation for resolving certain narrow kinds of domestic and neighborhood disputes.

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Basic Personal Values Underlie and Give Coherence to Political Values: A Cross National Study in 15 Countries

Shalom Schwartz et al.
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do the political values of the general public form a coherent system? What might be the source of coherence? We view political values as expressions, in the political domain, of more basic personal values. Basic personal values (e.g., security, achievement, benevolence, hedonism) are organized on a circular continuum that reflects their conflicting and compatible motivations. We theorize that this circular motivational structure also gives coherence to political values. We assess this theorizing with data from 15 countries, using eight core political values (e.g., free enterprise, law and order) and ten basic personal values. We specify the underlying basic values expected to promote or oppose each political value. We offer different hypotheses for the 12 non-communist and three post-communist countries studied, where the political context suggests different meanings of a basic or political value. Correlation and regression analyses support almost all hypotheses. Moreover, basic values account for substantially more variance in political values than age, gender, education, and income. Multidimensional scaling analyses demonstrate graphically how the circular motivational continuum of basic personal values structures relations among core political values. This study strengthens the assumption that individual differences in basic personal values play a critical role in political thought.

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Revolt on the Nile: Economic Shocks, Religion, and Political Power

Eric Chaney
Econometrica, September 2013, Pages 2033–2053

Abstract:
Using centuries of Nile flood data, I document that during deviant Nile floods, Egypt's highest-ranking religious authority was less likely to be replaced and relative allocations to religious structures increased. These findings are consistent with historical evidence that Nile shocks increased this authority's political influence by raising the probability he could coordinate a revolt. I find that the available data provide support for this interpretation and weigh against some of the most plausible alternatives. For example, I show that while Nile shocks increased historical references to social unrest, deviant floods did not increase a proxy for popular religiosity. Together, the results suggest an increase in the political power of religious leaders during periods of economic downturn.

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Growth-friendly dictatorships

Giacomo De Luca, Anastasia Litina & Petros Sekeris
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research argues that in highly unequal societies, a rent-seeking and self-maximizing dictator may be supported by a fraction of the population, despite the absence of special benefits to these societal groups. Importantly, it is the stakes of the dictator in the economy, in the form of capital ownership, that drive the support of individuals. In highly unequal societies ruled by a capital-rich dictator endowed with the power to tax and appropriate at will, the elites will support dictatorial policies given that they can generate higher growth rates than the ones obtained under democracy. This support arises unconditionally to special benefits to the elites and despite the total absence of checks and balances on the dictator.

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Relational Repression in China: Using Social Ties to Demobilize Protesters

Yanhua Deng & Kevin O'Brien
China Quarterly, September 2013, Pages 533-552

Abstract:
Chinese local officials frequently employ relational repression to demobilize protesters. When popular action occurs, they investigate activists' social ties, locate individuals who might be willing to help stop the protest, assemble a work team and dispatch it to conduct thought work. Work team members are then expected to use their personal influence to persuade relatives, friends and fellow townspeople to stand down. Those who fail are subject to punishment, including suspension of salary, removal from office and prosecution. Relational repression sometimes works. When local authorities have considerable say over work team members and bonds with protesters are strong, relational repression can help demobilize protesters and halt popular action. Even if relational repression does not end a protest entirely, it can limit its length and scope by reducing tension at times of high strain and providing a channel for negotiation. Often, however, as in a 2005 environmental protest in Zhejiang, insufficiently tight ties and limited concern about consequences creates a commitment deficit, partly because thought workers recognize their ineffectiveness with many protesters and partly because they anticipate little or no punishment for failing to demobilize anyone other than a close relative. The practice and effectiveness of relational, “soft” repression in China casts light on how social ties can demobilize as well as mobilize contention and ways in which state and social power can be combined to serve state ends.

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Hunting corrupt officials online: The human flesh search engine and the search for justice in China

Li Gao & James Stanyer
Information, Communication & Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
While there is growing research on online politics in China some political uses of the Internet have tended to be overlooked. The focus of this article is on an emerging phenomenon in Chinese cyberspace, the human flesh search engine (HFSE), a term first used by the Chinese media to refer to the practice of online searching for people or ‘human hunting’. While existing examinations have focused on breaches of individual privacy by these so-called online ‘vigilantes’ this study focuses on the ability of HFSE to reveal norm transgressions by public officials and lead to their removal. In order to give readers a comprehensive overview of what an HFSE is, the first section of this article provides basic information about it. In the second part, 20 well-documented HFSE examples are listed to show their varying aims and then HFSEs which focus on local governments and officials are shown to highlight the political dimensions of HFSE. In the third section, four case studies of government/official-focused HFSE are explored in detail to show political HFSEs' internal processes and underlying mechanisms.

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Macroeconomic Consequences Of Terrorism In Pakistan

Zahra Malik & Khalid Zaman
Journal of Policy Modeling, November–December 2013, Pages 1103–1123

Abstract:
The objective of the study examines the macroeconomic consequences of terrorism in Pakistan. The study evaluates the short- and long-run relationship between terrorism and economic factors over a period of 1975 to 2011. Both objectives have been achieved with the sophisticated econometrics techniques including cointegration theory, Granger causality test and variance decomposition, etc. The result reveals that macroeconomic factors i.e., population growth, price level, poverty and political instability cause the terrorism incidence in Pakistan. However, income inequality, unemployment and trade openness have no long-run relationship with the terrorism incidence in Pakistan. The study may conclude that, for some how, Pakistan's macroeconomic indicators have significant long-run equilibrium with terrorism incidence. The result of Granger causality indicates that except unemployment, all other macroeconomic indicators have unidirectional causality with terrorism incidence. Unemployment has a bi-directional causality with the terrorism incidence in Pakistan. The results of variance decomposition indicate that there exists statistically significant cointegration among macroeconomic factors and terrorism incidence in Pakistan. Among macroeconomic factors, changes in price level exert the largest influence on terrorism in Pakistan. Contrary, the influence of poverty seems relatively the least contribution level for changes in terrorism incidence in Pakistan.

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Does national pride from international sporting success contribute to well-being? An international investigation

Tim Pawlowski, Paul Downward & Simona Rasciute
Sport Management Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The sports industry is viewed as being of growing economic significance, reflected in its promotion in public policy. One specific aspect of this policy is to argue that investment in international sporting success creates pride from sporting success, which contributes to subjective well-being (SWB). However, though it has been argued that indicators of sporting success, such as the number of medals won at major sports events like the Olympics, act as a proxy for pride from sporting success, there have not been any direct tests of this hypothesis. Controlling for the impact of physical activity, attendance at sports events and other standard covariates, this paper addresses this hypothesis by focusing on a variable which directly measures pride felt from sporting success (Pride) by individuals. Because of the possibility that a latent characteristic such as nationalism, or overall national pride, might be linked to both Pride and SWB, i.e. an endogeneity problem is present, an instrumental variable technique is employed. The findings do not support the hypothesis that pride following from sporting success can contribute distinctly to SWB. Moreover, the hosting of events may be more important than success at them, a point suggested by the positive association between attendance at sporting events and SWB. As such the goals of public sector investment in both hosting major sports events as well as investment in sports development to achieve international sporting success are shown to be more distinct than implied in much of the policy announcements and require more careful scrutiny.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Proliferation security

What Happens the Morning After? The Costs and Benefits of Expanding Access to Emergency Contraception

Tal Gross, Jeanne Lafortune & Corinne Low
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Emergency contraception (EC) can prevent pregnancy after sex, but only if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. Over the past 15 years, access to EC has been expanded at both the state and federal level. This paper studies the impact of those policies. We find that expanded access to EC has had no statistically significant effect on birth or abortion rates. Expansions of access, however, have changed the venue in which the drug is obtained, shifting its provision from hospital emergency departments to pharmacies. We find evidence that this shift may have led to a decrease in reports of sexual assault.

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Who Seeks Abortions at or After 20 Weeks?

Diana Greene Foster & Katrina Kimport
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, forthcoming

Context: Recent years have seen the introduction of state bills seeking to ban abortions after 20 weeks, but little empirical data exist on who is affected when such bans become law.

Methods: As part of a larger study, 272 women who received an abortion at or after 20 weeks’ gestation and 169 who received first-trimester abortions at 16 facilities across the country in 2008–2010 were interviewed one week after the procedure. Mixed effect logistic regression analyses were used to determine the characteristics associated with later abortion (i.e., at 20 weeks or later). Causes of delay in obtaining abortion were assessed in open- and closed-ended questions; profiles of women who received later abortions were identified through factor analysis.

Results: Women aged 20–24 were more likely than those aged 25–34 to have a later abortion (odds ratio, 2.7), and women who discovered their pregnancy before eight weeks’ gestation were less likely than others to do so (0.1). Later abortion recipients experienced logistical delays (e.g., difficulty finding a provider and raising funds for the procedure and travel costs), which compounded other delays in receiving care. Most women seeking later abortion fit at least one of five profiles: They were raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, had trouble deciding and then had access problems, or were young and nulliparous.

Conclusion: Bans on abortion after 20 weeks will disproportionately affect young women and women with limited financial resources.

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Is There A Case for a "Second Demographic Transition"? Three Distinctive Features of the Post-1960 U.S. Fertility Decline

Martha Bailey, Melanie Guldi & Brad Hershbein
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Dramatic fertility swings over the last 100 years have been the subject of large literatures in demography and economics. Recent research has claimed that the post-1960 fertility decline is exceptional enough to constitute a “Second Demographic Transition.” The empirical case for a Second Demographic Transition, however, rests largely on comparisons of the post-1960 period with the baby boom era, which was itself exceptional in many ways. Our analysis of the U.S. instead compares the fertility decline in the 1960s and 1970s to the earlier twentieth century fertility decline, especially the 1920s and 1930s. Our findings affirm that both periods experienced similar declines in fertility rates and that the affected cohorts averaged the same number of children born over their lifetimes. In contrast to conventional wisdom, the mean age of household formation (by marriage or non-marital cohabitation) and first birth are almost identical for women reaching childbearing age in the 1920s and 1930s and today. Three features, however, distinguish the post-1960 period: (1) the convergence in the distribution of completed childbearing around a two-child mode and a decrease in childlessness; (2) the decoupling of marriage and motherhood; and (3) a transformation in the relationship between the educational attainment of mothers and childbearing outcomes. These three features of the twentieth century fertility decline have implications for children’s opportunities, children’s educational achievement, and widening inequality in U.S. labor markets.

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War Finance and the Baby Boom

Kai Zhao
Review of Economic Dynamics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, I extend the Barro–Becker model of endogenous fertility to incorporate specific fiscal policies and use it to study the effects of the fiscal policy changes following WWII on fertility in the United States. The US government went through large changes in fiscal policy after the beginning of WWII. The marginal income tax rate for an average American jumped from 4% on average before 1940 to approximately 25% during the war and stayed around 20% afterwards. The government debt-GDP ratio jumped from approximately 30% on average before WWII to 108% in 1946 and then dropped gradually in the following two decades to about 30% again at the end of 1960s. I find that the dramatic increase in the marginal income tax rate was an important cause of the postwar baby boom in the US because it lowered the after-tax wage and thus the opportunity cost of child-rearing. I also find that the differential change in taxes by income was an important reason why the baby boom was more pronounced among richer households (as documented by Jones and Tertilt (2008)). Furthermore, I argue that the governmentʼs debt policy may also matter for understanding fertility choices because government debt implies a tax burden on children in the future and thus affects their utility, which is a key determinant of current fertility choice in the Barro–Becker model. The results of a computational experiment show that the US governmentʼs postwar debt policy also contributed to the baby boom, but its quantitative importance is relatively small.

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House Prices and Birth Rates: The Impact of the Real Estate Market on the Decision to Have a Baby

Lisa Dettling & Melissa Kearney
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This project investigates how changes in Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)-level house prices affect household fertility decisions. Recognizing that housing is a major cost associated with child rearing, and assuming that children are normal goods, we hypothesize that an increase in house prices will have a negative price effect on current period fertility. This applies to both potential first-time homeowners and current homeowners who might upgrade to a bigger house with the addition of a child. On the other hand, for current homeowners, an increase in MSA-level house prices will increase home equity, leading to a positive effect on birth rates. Our results suggest that indeed, short-term increases in house prices lead to a decline in births among non-owners and a net increase among owners. The estimates imply that a $10,000 increase leads to a 5 percent increase in fertility rates among owners and a 2.4 percent decrease among non-owners. At the mean U.S. home ownership rate, these estimates imply that the net effect of a $10,000 increase in house prices is a 0.8 percent increase in current period fertility rates. Given underlying differences in home ownership rates, the predicted net effect of house price changes varies across demographic groups. In addition, we find that changes in house prices exert a larger effect on current period birth rates than do changes in unemployment rates.

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Receiving versus being denied an abortion and subsequent drug use

Sarah Roberts, Corinne Rocca & Diana Greene Foster
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Some research finds that women receiving abortions are at increased risk of subsequent drug use and drug use disorders. This literature is rife with methodological problems, particularly inappropriate comparison groups.

Methods: This study used data from the Turnaway Study, a prospective, longitudinal study of women who sought abortions at 30 sites across the U.S. Participants included women presenting just prior to an abortion facility's gestational age limit who received abortions (Near Limit Abortion Group, n = 452), just beyond the gestational limit who were denied abortions (Turnaways, n = 231), and who received first trimester abortions (First Trimester Abortion Group, n = 273). This study examined the relationship between receiving versus being denied an abortion and subsequent drug use over two years. Trajectories of drug use were compared using multivariate mixed effects regression.

Results: Any drug use, frequency of drug use, and marijuana use did not change over time among women in any group. There were no differential changes over time in any drug use, frequency of drug use, or marijuana use between groups. However, Turnaways who ultimately gave birth increased use of drugs other than marijuana compared to women in the Near Limit Abortion Group (p = .041), who did not increase use.

Conclusion: Women receiving abortions did not increase drug use over two years or have higher levels of drug use than women denied abortions. Assertions that abortion leads women to use drugs to cope with the stress of abortion are not supported.

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Perceptions of susceptibility to pregnancy among U.S. women obtaining abortions

Lori Frohwirth, Ann Moore & Renata Maniaci
Social Science & Medicine, December 2013, Pages 18–26

Abstract:
More than half (52%) of unintended pregnancies in the United States occur among the 10.7% of women using no contraceptive method. We interviewed a sample of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. in 2008 (n=49) and explored their attitudes towards and beliefs about their risk of pregnancy. We found that most respondents perceived themselves to have a low likelihood of becoming pregnant at the time that the index pregnancy occurred. Respondents’ reasons for this perceived low likelihood fell into four categories: perceived invulnerability to pregnancy without contraceptive use, perceptions of subfecundity, self-described inattention to the possibility of conception and perceived protection from their current use of contraception (although the majority in this subgroup were using contraception inconsistently or incorrectly). About half of the women discussed more than one reason when explaining why they perceived themselves to have a low risk of pregnancy at that time. We propose a modified Health Belief Model to account for women’s low perceived susceptibility to pregnancy based on our results. Further research is needed to quantify the proportion of women who are at risk of pregnancy who do not believe they are at risk and their reasons why, so as to be able to better address women’s misconceptions about fecundity and conception with the goal of preventing unintended pregnancy.

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Fifty Years of Family Planning: New Evidence on the Long-Run Effects of Increasing Access to Contraception

Martha Bailey
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This paper assembles new evidence on some of the longer-term consequences of U.S. family planning policies, defined in this paper as those increasing legal or financial access to modern contraceptives. The analysis leverages two large policy changes that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s: first, the interaction of the birth control pill’s introduction with Comstock-era restrictions on the sale of contraceptives and the repeal of these laws after Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965; and second, the expansion of federal funding for local family planning programs from 1964 to 1973. Building on previous research that demonstrates both policies’ effects on fertility rates, I find suggestive evidence that individuals’ access to contraceptives increased their children’s college completion, labor force participation, wages, and family incomes decades later.

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Can You Buy Sperm Donor Identification? An Experiment

Glenn Cohen & Travis Coan
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2013, Pages 715–740

Abstract:
In the United States, most sperm donations are anonymous. By contrast, many developed nations require sperm donors to be identified, typically requiring new sperm (and egg) donors to put identifying information into a registry that is made available to a donor-conceived child once he or she reaches the age of 18. Recently, advocates have pressed U.S. states to adopt these registries as well, and state legislatures have indicated openness to the idea. This study relies on a self-selected convenience sample to experimentally examine the economic implications of adopting a mandatory sperm donor identification regime in the United States. Our results support the hypothesis that subjects in the treatment (nonanonymity) condition need to be paid significantly more, on average, to donate their sperm. When restricting our attention to only those subjects who would ever actually consider donating sperm, we find that individuals in the control condition are willing to accept an average of $43 to donate, while individuals in the treatment group are willing to accept an average of $74. These estimates suggest that it would cost roughly $31 per sperm donation, at least in our sample, to require donors to be identified. This price differential roughly corresponds to that of a major U.S. sperm bank that operates both anonymous and identity release programs in terms of what it pays donors.

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The Educational Consequences of Teen Childbearing

Jennifer Kane et al.
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
A huge literature shows that teen mothers face a variety of detriments across the life course, including truncated educational attainment. To what extent is this association causal? The estimated effects of teen motherhood on schooling vary widely, ranging from no discernible difference to 2.6 fewer years among teen mothers. The magnitude of educational consequences is therefore uncertain, despite voluminous policy and prevention efforts that rest on the assumption of a negative and presumably causal effect. This study adjudicates between two potential sources of inconsistency in the literature — methodological differences or cohort differences — by using a single, high-quality data source: namely, The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We replicate analyses across four different statistical strategies: ordinary least squares regression; propensity score matching; and parametric and semiparametric maximum likelihood estimation. Results demonstrate educational consequences of teen childbearing, with estimated effects between 0.7 and 1.9 fewer years of schooling among teen mothers. We select our preferred estimate (0.7), derived from semiparametric maximum likelihood estimation, on the basis of weighing the strengths and limitations of each approach. Based on the range of estimated effects observed in our study, we speculate that variable statistical methods are the likely source of inconsistency in the past. We conclude by discussing implications for future research and policy, and recommend that future studies employ a similar multimethod approach to evaluate findings.

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Low historical rates of cuckoldry in a Western European human population traced by Y-chromosome and genealogical data

M.H.D. Larmuseau et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 December 2013

Abstract:
Recent evidence suggests that seeking out extra-pair paternity (EPP) can be a viable alternative reproductive strategy for both males and females in many pair-bonded species, including humans. Accurate data on EPP rates in humans, however, are scant and mostly restricted to extant populations. Here, we provide the first large-scale, unbiased genetic study of historical EPP rates in a Western European human population based on combining Y-chromosomal data to infer genetic patrilineages with genealogical and surname data, which reflect known historical presumed paternity. Using two independent methods, we estimate that over the last few centuries, EPP rates in Flanders (Belgium) were only around 1–2% per generation. This figure is substantially lower than the 8–30% per generation reported in some behavioural studies on historical EPP rates, but comparable with the rates reported by other genetic studies of contemporary Western European populations. These results suggest that human EPP rates have not changed substantially during the last 400 years in Flanders and imply that legal genealogies rarely differ from the biological ones. This result has significant implications for a diverse set of fields, including human population genetics, historical demography, forensic science and human sociobiology.

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The Marginal Valuation of Fertility

James Holland Jones & Rebecca Bliege Bird 
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Substantial theoretical and empirical evidence demonstrates that fertility entails economic, physiological, and demographic trade-offs. The existence of trade-offs suggests that fitness should be maximized by an intermediate level of fertility, but this hypothesis has not had much support in the human life-history literature. We suggest that the difficulty of finding intermediate optima may be a function of the way fitness is calculated. Evolutionary analyses of human behavior typically use lifetime reproductive success as their fitness criterion. This fitness measure implicitly assumes that women are indifferent to the timing of reproduction and that they are risk-neutral in their reproductive decision-making. In this paper, we offer an alternative, easily-calculated fitness measure that accounts for differences in reproductive timing and yields clear preferences in the face of risky reproductive decision-making. Using historical demographic data from a genealogically-detailed dataset from 19th century Utah, we show that this measure is highly concave with respect to reproductive effort. This result has three major implications: (1) if births are properly timed, a lower-fertility reproductive strategy can have the same fitness as a high-fertility strategy, (2) intermediate optima are far more likely using fitness measures that are strongly concave with respect to effort, (3) we expect mothers to have strong investment preferences with respect to the risk inherent in reproduction.

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Power Outages, Power Externalities, and Baby Booms

Alfredo Burlando
University of Oregon Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
Determining whether power outages have significant fertility effects is an important policy question in developing countries, where blackouts are common and modern forms of family planning scarce. Using birth records from Zanzibar, this paper shows that a 2008 month-long blackout caused a significant increase in the number of births eight to ten months later. The increase is similar across villages that had electricity, regardless of the level of electrification, while villages with no electricity connections saw no changes in birth numbers. The fact that a large fertility increase is observed in communities with very low levels of electricity suggests that the outage affected the fertility of households not connected to the grid through some spillover effect. While it is unclear whether the baby boom is likely to translate to a permanent increase in the population, the paper highlights an important hidden consequence of power instability in developing countries. It also shows evidence that electricity imposes significant externality effects on those rural populations that have little exposure to it.

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Women's Education: Harbinger of Another Spring? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Turkey

Mehmet Alper Dinçer, Neeraj Kaushal & Michael Grossman
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We use the 1997 Education Law in Turkey that increased compulsory formal schooling from five to eight years to study the effect of women’s education on a range of outcomes relating to women’s fertility, their children’s health and measures of empowerment. We apply an instrumental variables methodology and find that a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of ever married women with eight years of schooling lowered number of pregnancies per woman by 0.13 and number of children per women by 0.11. There is also some evidence of a decline in child mortality, caused by mother’s education, but effects turn statistically insignificant in our preferred models. We also find that a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion with eight years of schooling raised the proportion of women using modern family planning methods by eight to nine percent and the proportion of women with knowledge of their ovulation cycle by five to seven percent. However, we find little evidence that schooling changed women’s attitudes towards gender equality.

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Is there a viability–vulnerability tradeoff? Sex differences in fetal programming

Curt Sandman, Laura Glynn & Elysia Poggi Davis
Journal of Psychosomatic Research, October 2013, Pages 327–335

Objective: In this paper we evaluate the evidence for sex differences in fetal programming within the context of the proposed viability–vulnerability tradeoff.

Methods: We briefly review the literature on the factors contributing to primary and secondary sex ratios. Sex differences in fetal programming are assessed by summarizing previously published sex difference findings from our group (6 studies) and also new analyses of previously published findings in which sex differences were not reported (6 studies).

Results: The review and reanalysis of studies from our group are consistent with the overwhelming evidence of increasing risk for viability among males exposed to environmental adversity early in life. New evidence reported here support the argument that females, despite their adaptive agility, also are influenced by exposure to early adversity. Two primary conclusions are (i) female fetal exposure to psychobiological stress selectively influences fear/anxiety, and (ii) the effects of female fetal exposure to stress persist into preadolescence. These persisting effects are reflected in increased levels of anxiety, impaired executive function and neurological markers associated with these behaviors.

Conclusions: A tacit assumption is that females, with their adaptive flexibility early in gestation, escape the consequences of early life exposure to adversity. We argue that the consequences of male exposure to early adversity threaten their viability, effectively culling the weak and the frail and creating a surviving cohort of the fittest. Females adjust to early adversity with a variety of strategies, but their escape from the risk of early mortality and morbidity has a price of increased vulnerability expressed later in development.

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Socioeconomic disparities in access to ART treatment and the differential impact of a policy that increased consumer costs

G.M. Chambers, V.P. Hoang & P.J. Illingworth
Human Reproduction, November 2013, Pages 3111-3117

Study question: What was the impact on access to assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment by different socioeconomic status (SES) groups after the introduction of a policy that increased patient out-of-pocket costs?

Study design, size, duration: Time series analysis of utilization of ART, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and clomiphene citrate by women from varying SES groups before and after the introduction of a change in the level of public funding for ART.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: Women undertaking fertility treatment in Australia between 2007 and 2010.

Main results and the role of chance: Women from higher SES quintiles use more ART treatment than those in lower SES quintiles, which likely reflects a greater ability to pay for treatment and a greater need for ART treatment as indicated by the trend to later childbearing. In 2009, 10.13 and 5.17 fresh ART cycles per 1000 women of reproductive age were performed in women in the highest and lowest SES quintiles respectively. In the 12 months after the introduction of a policy that increased out-of-pocket costs from ∼$1500 Australian dollars (€1000) to ∼$2500 (€1670) for a fresh IVF cycle, there was a 21–25% reduction in fresh ART cycles across all SES quintiles. The absolute reduction in fresh ART cycles in the highest SES quintile was double that in the lowest SES quintile.

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Making Families: Organizational Boundary Work in US Egg and Sperm Donation

Katherine Johnson
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
Egg and sperm donation can create distinct issues for designating family boundaries. These issues come to the forefront as relations between donors, recipients, and donor-conceived children have been shifting from anonymous to more open arrangements in the US and other western countries. In this study, I address US organizational practices and family boundary construction. Fertility clinics, egg donation agencies, and sperm banks are central providers of US gamete donation services. Given the disruptive potential of gamete donation, how do they manage relationships between parties? Through a content analysis of materials from twenty fertility clinics, twenty egg donation agencies, and thirty-one sperm banks, I address three major strategies of organizational boundary work: 1) creating identity categories, 2) managing information, and 3) managing interaction. I ultimately argue that even as many organizations offer opportunities for connections between parties, they exercise social control over donation arrangements through bounded relationships.

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The Lasting Impact of Parental Early Life Malnutrition on Their Offspring: Evidence from the China Great Leap Forward Famine

Seonghoon Kim et al.
World Development, February 2014, Pages 232–242

Abstract:
We investigate whether the effects of parents’ in utero malnutrition extend to the second generation (their children). Specifically, we explore whether the second generation’s level of schooling is negatively impacted by their parents’ malnutrition in utero, using the China Famine as a natural experiment. We find that, the impact of mother’s in utero malnutrition due to the Famine reduced second generation male and female entrance into junior secondary school by about 5–7 percentage points. We measure famine severity with provincial excess death rates instrumented by measures of adverse climate conditions, which corrects for possible biases induced by measurement errors and omitted variables. Our findings indicate the existence of an important second-generation multiplier of policies that support the nutrition of pregnant women and infants in any country where nutritional deficiencies remain today.

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The evolutionary fitness of personality traits in a small-scale subsistence society

Michael Gurven et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The maintenance of personality variation remains an unexplained puzzle in evolutionary biology. Despite evidence among non-humans that personality variation affects fitness, few data exist to assess the personality–fitness relationship in humans. Among Tsimane forager–horticulturalists (n = 632), we test whether personality traits (assessed using a 43-item Big Five Inventory administered orally in native language) predict fertility, offspring survivorship, age of first reproduction, and other fitness correlates (extramarital affairs, conflicts, social visitation, food production, and several health measures). Among men, several personality factors associate with higher fertility, more time spent producing food and social visitation. Among women, the relationship between personality and fitness varies across regions of Tsimane territory. The only case of an intermediate personality level associated with highest fitness was found for Industriousness in men. We find that personality factors positively associated with fitness do not associate with greater health costs, although greater Extraversion and Openness may lead to more conflicts among men. Factor heritability ranges from 60% for Prosociality and Extraversion to 8% for Neuroticism. We interpret our results in light of evolutionary models that explain maintenance of personality variation, including incomplete directional selection, mutation–selection balance, condition-dependent reaction norms and fluctuating selection based on sex or spatial variability in selection pressures.

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The Effects of CenteringPregnancy Group Prenatal Care on Gestational Age, Birth Weight, and Fetal Demise

Emily Tanner-Smith, Katarzyna Steinka-Fry & Mark Lipsey
Maternal and Child Health Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined the effects of CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care versus individually delivered prenatal care on gestational age, birth weight, and fetal demise. We conducted a retrospective chart review and used propensity score matching to form a sample of 6,155 women receiving prenatal care delivered in a group or individual format at five sites in Tennessee. Compared to the matched group of women receiving prenatal care in an individual format, women in CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care had longer weeks of gestation (b = .35, 95 % CI [.29, .41]), higher birth weight in grams (b = 28.6, 95 % CI [4.8, 52.3]), lower odds of very low birth weight (OR = .21, 95 % CI [.06, .70]), and lower odds of fetal demise (OR = .12, 95 % CI [.02, .92]). Results indicated no evidence of differences in the odds of preterm birth or low birth weight for participants in group versus individual prenatal care. CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care had statistically and clinically significant beneficial effects on very low birth weight and fetal demise outcomes relative to traditional individually delivered prenatal care. Group prenatal care had statistically significant beneficial effects on gestational age and birth weight, although the effects were relatively small in clinical magnitude.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fairly elected

Beauty at the Ballot Box: Disease Threats Predict Preferences for Physically Attractive Leaders

Andrew Edward White, Douglas Kenrick & Steven Neuberg
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why does beauty win out at the ballot box? Some researchers have posited that it occurs because people ascribe generally positive characteristics to physically attractive candidates. We propose an alternative explanation — that leadership preferences are related to functional disease-avoidance mechanisms. Because physical attractiveness is a cue to health, people concerned with disease should especially prefer physically attractive leaders. Using real-world voting data and laboratory-based experiments, we found support for this relationship. In congressional districts with elevated disease threats, physically attractive candidates are more likely to be elected (Study 1). Experimentally activating disease concerns leads people to especially value physical attractiveness in leaders (Study 2) and prefer more physically attractive political candidates (Study 3). In a final study, we demonstrated that these findings are related to leadership preferences, specifically, rather than preferences for physically attractive group members more generally (Study 4). Together, these findings highlight the nuanced and functional nature of leadership preferences.

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Do Online Advertisements Increase Political Candidates’ Name Recognition or Favorability? Evidence from Randomized Field Experiments

David Broockman & Donald Green
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Internet advertisements are an increasingly common form of mass communication and present fresh opportunities for understanding enduring questions about political persuasion. However, the effects of online ads on electoral choice have received little scholarly attention. We develop a new field experimental approach for assessing the effects of online advertisements and deploy it in two studies. In each study, candidates for legislative office targeted randomly selected segments of their constituencies for a high volume of Facebook advertising. Recall of the ads, candidate name recognition, and candidate evaluations were measured with ostensibly unrelated telephone surveys after weeklong advertising campaigns. Voters randomly exposed to the ads were in some cases more likely to recall them but no more likely to recognize or positively evaluate the candidates they depicted. From a theoretical standpoint, these findings suggest that even frequent exposure to advertising messages may be insufficient to impart new information or change attitudes.

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Weather, Mood, and Voting: An Experimental Analysis of the Effect of Weather Beyond Turnout

Anna Bassi
University of North Carolina Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
Theoretical and empirical studies show that inclement weather on an election day reduces turnout, potentially swinging the results of the election. Psychology studies, however, show that weather affects individual mood, which -- in turn -- affects individual decision-making activity potentially beyond the simple decision to turn out. This paper evaluates the effect of weather, through its effect on mood, on the way in which voters who do turn out decide to cast their votes. The paper provides experimental evidence of the effect of weather on voting when candidates are perceived as being more or less risky. Findings show that, after controlling for policy preferences, partisanship, and other background variables, bad weather depresses individual mood and risk tolerance, i.e., voters are more likely to vote for the candidate who is perceived to be less risky. This effect is present whether meteorological conditions are measured with objective or subjective measures.

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Presidential Versus Vice Presidential Home State Advantage: A Comparative Analysis of Electoral Significance, Causes, and Processes, 1884-2008

Christopher Devine & Kyle Kopko
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December 2013, Pages 814–838

Abstract:
This article compares the electoral significance, causes, and processes associated with presidential versus vice presidential home state advantages. Our analysis of presidential election returns from 1884 through 2008 demonstrates that presidential candidates generally receive a large, statistically significant home state advantage. However, vice presidential home state advantages are statistically negligible and conditioned on the interactive effect of political experience and state population. Furthermore, the results indicate that the mobilization of new voters primarily accounts for presidential home state advantage, while vice presidential home state advantage is mainly due to the conversion of existing voters. Although home state advantages do occur in presidential elections, according to our analysis, a presidential or vice presidential home state advantage has not changed the outcome of any presidential election since 1884.

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Gender Differences in the Effects of Personality Traits on Voter Turnout

Ching-Hsing Wang
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines whether the Big Five personality traits have different effects on male and female turnout. Previous research has reported an association between personality traits and turnout, but their results have been inconsistent. Nevertheless, there is a solid evidence of gender differences in personality traits and past studies have not taken into consideration the option that personality-turnout relationship might be gender-differentiated. The current study empirically finds that conscientiousness and emotional stability can significantly increase female turnout, but have no effect on male turnout. Furthermore, openness to experience exerts opposite effects on male and female turnout. As openness to experience increases, men become more likely to vote, whereas women become less likely to cast their ballots. However, extraversion and agreeableness are not associated with turnout, regardless of gender. To sum up, this study provides robust evidence that the effects of personality traits on turnout vary by gender and suggests that any future study of the topic must include interaction between gender and personality in order to estimate the effect of personality on turnout in a more accurate manner.

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Viability, Information Seeking, and Vote Choice

Stephen Utych & Cindy Kam
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing research suggests that candidate viability influences strategic voting decisions among citizens. We argue that viability can influence electoral decision making beyond strategic considerations. We analyze original experimental data and novel observational data to examine viability’s impact on vote choice and information seeking. We conduct two mock primary election campaigns within the Dynamic Process Tracing Environment where we experimentally manipulate candidate viability. In both experiments, we find that subjects read more information about viable candidates, report more favorable ratings of viable candidates, and are more likely to vote for viable candidates. We demonstrate the generalizability of these results by assessing the relationship between viability, as measured with Gallup polls, and information seeking using observational data. There, we develop a unique measure of information seeking based on Google searches for the names of political candidates. These observational data reinforce the relationship between viability and information seeking.

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Exploiting Friends-and-Neighbors to Estimate Coattail Effects

Marc Meredith
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Federalist democracies often hold concurrent elections for multiple offices. A potential consequence of simultaneously voting for multiple offices that vary with respect to scope and scale is that the personal appeal of candidates in a high-profile race may affect electoral outcomes in less salient races. In this article I estimate the magnitude of such coattail effects from governors onto other concurrently elected statewide executive officers using a unique dataset of county election returns for all statewide executive office elections in the United States from 1987 to 2010. I exploit the disproportionate support that candidates receive from geographically proximate voters, which is often referred to as the friends-and-neighbors vote, to isolate variation in the personal appeal of candidates. I find that a one-percentage-point increase in the personal vote received by a gubernatorial candidate increases the vote share of their party's secretary of state and attorney general candidates by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points. In contrast, personal votes for a secretary of state or attorney general candidate have no effect on the performance of their party's gubernatorial candidate or other down-ballot candidates.

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Social Pressure, Descriptive Norms, and Voter Mobilization

Costas Panagopoulos, Christopher Larimer & Meghan Condon
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several recent field experimental studies show that social pressure raises the likelihood of turning out to vote in elections. Ratcheting up social pressure to show subjects their own as well as their neighbors’ prior voting history significantly increases the effectiveness of direct mail messages. A key component in stimulating this effect seems to be the presence of individual vote history. When voters are presented with less specific turnout information, such as vote history for the community at-large, the effects on turnout often dissipate. Sensitizing voters to such descriptive norms appears to do little to stimulate participation. To address this contrast, this study presents results from a voter mobilization field experiment conducted in Hawthorne, CA prior to the November 2011 municipal elections. The experiment is a fully crossed 2 × 3 factorial study in which subjects were randomly assigned to one of six conditions, in which they receive no mailing, a mailing with individual vote history only, a mailing with individual vote history and a message emphasizing high (or low) community-level turnout from a previous election, and a mailing emphasizing high (or low) community-level turnout only. County voter files were used to randomly assign voters to treatment and control and to report the effects of each mailing on voter turnout. We find that only messages that included information about subjects’ own voting histories effectively mobilized them to vote.

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How Campaigns Promote the Legitimacy of Elections

Jennifer Wolak
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do people see elections as fair or unfair? In prior accounts, evaluations of the election depend on people’s candidate preferences, where supporters of the winning candidate tend to call the election fair while those on the losing side feel it was unfair. I argue that perceptions of election fairness reflect not just the election outcome, but also the campaign process. Using a set of multilevel models and data from the 1996-2004 American National Election Studies, I explore the consequences of campaign experiences in shaping people’s evaluations of the fairness of a presidential election. I find that as campaign competition increases, people are less likely to translate their feelings about the candidates into their evaluations of the election. Rather than alienating citizens, competitive campaigns mitigate the effects of prior preferences in a way that promotes the legitimacy of elections.

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The Tuesday Advantage of Politicians Endorsed by American Newspapers

Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, October 2013, Pages 865–886

Abstract:
This article documents the electoral advantage of candidates who have a newspaper endorsement published on Election Day compared to other endorsed candidates. I provide evidence that this advantage is not driven by a selection effect, suggesting that it is instead explained by readers deciding how to vote based on endorsements read on Election Day. Moreover, candidates who have a different political orientation from their endorsing newspapers benefit more from this endorsement than other candidates. These results are based on a newly-compiled dataset matching county-level data of 826 endorsed candidates’ election results with newspaper and county characteristics.

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I've Got My Eyes on You: Implicit Social-Pressure Cues and Prosocial Behavior

Costas Panagopoulos
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Explicit social pressure has been shown to be a powerful motivator of prosocial behavior-like voting in elections. In this study, I report the findings of a randomized field experiment designed to study the impact of more subtle, implicit social-pressure treatments. The results of the experiment, conducted in the October 2011 municipal elections in Key West, Florida, demonstrate that even subtle, implicit observability cues can effectively mobilize citizens to vote, perhaps as much as explicit surveillance cues. The findings speak more broadly to our understanding of human decision making, and even evolution, and provide fodder for the claim that humans are evolutionarily programmed to respond to certain stimuli. I interpret the evidence to support the notion that evolutionarily charged impulses, like exposure to images that implicitly signal the potential for surveillance and observability, are sufficient to overcome powerful collective action incentives to free ride.

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Relative Losses and Economic Voting: Sociotropic Considerations or “Keeping up with the Joneses?”

Bryan Dettrey
Politics & Policy, October 2013, Pages 788–806

Abstract:
This article examines how pocketbook and sociotropic economic evaluations jointly affect economic voting behavior for those that have “fallen behind” in their personal financial conditions relative to aggregate economic performance. According to reference-dependent and relative loss theories, those who have fallen behind should be less likely to support the incumbent president. Alternatively, attributing personal financial conditions to the incumbent is cognitively complex and can conflict with core values, and the sociotropic version of voting is typically stronger than the pocketbook version. These approaches are tested, and the results show that the sociotropic version of economic voting predominates even among those who have fallen behind. The results are robust to controls for nongovernmental sources of variation in personal financial conditions. These results have important implications for democratic accountability in an age of economic inequality.

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What Persuades Voters? A Field Experiment on Political Campaigning

Jared Barton, Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Candidates spend considerable resources campaigning. Prior research indicates campaigning affects voting decisions, but as with advertising generally, what element of campaigning persuades — the content or its delivery method — is not fully understood. Using a field experiment in a 2010 general election for local office, we identify the mechanism behind one campaign method: candidate door-to-door canvassing. We vary both the method of contact and the information conveyed by campaign materials. We find that voters are persuaded by personal contact with the candidate, and that personal contact apparently works by providing a costly signal of quality rather than through social pressure.

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Power through ‘Us’: Leaders’ Use of We-Referencing Language Predicts Election Victory

Niklas Steffens & Alexander Haslam
PLoS ONE, October 2013

Abstract:
Leaders have been observed to use distinct rhetorical strategies, but it is unclear to what extent such strategies are effective. To address this issue we analyzed the official election campaign speeches of successful and unsuccessful Prime Ministerial candidates in all 43 Australian Federal elections since independence from Britain in 1901 and measured candidates' use of personal (‘I’, ‘me’) and collective pronouns (‘we’, ‘us’). Victors used more collective pronouns than their unsuccessful opponents in 80% of all elections. Across all elections, victors made 61% more references to ‘we’ and ‘us’ and used these once every 79 words (vs. every 136 words for losers). Extending social identity theorizing, this research suggests that electoral endorsement is associated with leaders' capacity to engage with, and speak on behalf of, a collective identity that is shared with followers whose support and energies they seek to mobilize.

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Systematically Biased Beliefs about Political Influence: Evidence from the Perceptions of Political Influence on Policy Outcomes Survey

Bryan Caplan et al.
PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2013, Pages 760-767

Abstract:
Many scholars argue that retrospective voting is a powerful information shortcut that offsets widespread voter ignorance. Even deeply ignorant voters, it is claimed, can effectively punish incumbents for bad performance and reward them if things go well. But if voters' understanding of which officials are responsible for which outcomes is systematically biased, retrospective voting becomes an independent source of political failure rather than a cure for it. We design and administer a new survey of the general public and political experts to test for such biases. Our analysis reveals frequent, large, robust biases in voter attributions of responsibility for a variety of political actors and outcomes with a tendency for the public to overestimate influence, although important examples of underestimation also exist.

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Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Eric Posner & Glen Weyl
University of Chicago Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Democratic institutions aggregate preferences poorly. The norm of one-person-one-vote with majority rule treats people fairly by giving everyone an equal chance to influence outcomes, but fails to give proportional weight to people whose interests in a social outcome are stronger than those of other people — a problem that leads to the familiar phenomenon of tyranny of the majority. Various institutions that have been tried or proposed over the years to correct this problem — including supermajority rule, weighted voting, cumulative voting, "mixed constitutions," executive discretion, and judicially protected rights — all badly misfire in various ways, for example, by creating gridlock or corruption. This paper proposes a new form of political decision-making based on the theory of quadratic voting. It explains how quadratic voting solves the preference aggregation problem, giving proper weight to preferences of varying intensity, and how it could be implemented as well as addressing concerns about its consequences for equity.

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The Effects of Social Media on Political Participation and Candidate Image Evaluations in the 2012 Iowa Caucuses

Daniela Dimitrova & Dianne Bystrom
American Behavioral Scientist, November 2013, Pages 1568-1583

Abstract:
Much academic debate has centered on the impact of new technologies on democracy. This study examines the effects of social media on political participation and candidate image evaluations in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. Multivariate analyses show that social media have no effects on likelihood of caucus attendance but influence perceptions of candidate traits among the sample of Iowans drawn here. The study also addresses the role of traditional media as channels for political information during the caucuses.

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Tweeting Conventions: Political journalists' use of Twitter to cover the 2012 presidential campaign

Regina Lawrence et al.
Journalism Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explores the use of Twitter by political reporters and commentators—an understudied population within the rapidly growing literature on digital journalism — covering the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions. In particular, we want to know if and how the “affordances” of Twitter are shaping the traditional norms and routines of US campaign reporting surrounding objectivity, transparency, gatekeeping, and horse race coverage, and whether Twitter is bursting the “bubble” of insider talk among reporters and the campaigns they cover. A sample derived from all tweets by over 400 political journalists reveals a significant amount of opinion expression in reporters' tweets, but little use of Twitter in ways that improve transparency or disrupt journalists' (and campaigns’) role as gatekeepers of campaign news. Overall, particularly when looking at what political journalists retweet and what they link to via Twitter, the campaign “bubble” seems at the moment to have remained largely intact.

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Combining forecasts: An application to elections

Andreas Graefe et al.
International Journal of Forecasting, January–March 2014, Pages 43–54

Abstract:
We summarize the literature on the effectiveness of combining forecasts by assessing the conditions under which combining is most valuable. Using data on the six US presidential elections from 1992 to 2012, we report the reductions in error obtained by averaging forecasts within and across four election forecasting methods: poll projections, expert judgment, quantitative models, and the Iowa Electronic Markets. Across the six elections, the resulting combined forecasts were more accurate than any individual component method, on average. The gains in accuracy from combining increased with the numbers of forecasts used, especially when these forecasts were based on different methods and different data, and in situations involving high levels of uncertainty. Such combining yielded error reductions of between 16% and 59%, compared to the average errors of the individual forecasts. This improvement is substantially greater than the 12% reduction in error that had been reported previously for combining forecasts.

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Mobilizing Latino Voters: The Impact of Language and Co-Ethnic Policy Leadership

Michael Binder et al.
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Building on evidence that Latino voters participate at higher rates when co-ethnic candidates appear on the ballot, we report the results from a field experiment examining whether co-ethnic policy leadership can produce similar mobilization in direct democracy elections. The study features a direct-mail campaign conducted during California’s 2010 statewide primary election aimed at mobilizing Latino voters. The experiment included variation in the language of the message sent to voters and the extent to it emphasized the pivotal role played by a prominent Latino official in placing the policy on the ballot. We find that mobilization messages are most effective when they target voters using their preferred language, at least for English-dominant Latinos. By contrast, our experiment yielded no evidence that co-ethnic policy leadership increased voter turnout, although we do show that female voters participate at higher rates when the mobilization campaign prominently features a high-profile female official. These divergent effects provide lessons for the study of ethnic political participation and for the design of effective mobilization campaigns aimed at boosting Latino turnout.

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Framing Political Messages to Fit the Audience’s Regulatory Orientation: How to Improve the Efficacy of the Same Message Content

Lucia Mannetti et al.
PLoS ONE, October 2013

Abstract:
This research investigates how the impact of persuasive messages in the political domain can be improved when fit is created by subliminally priming recipients’ regulatory focus (either promotion or prevention) and by linguistic framing of the message (either strategic approach framing or strategic avoidance framing). Results of two studies show that regulatory fit: a) increases the impact of a political message favoring nuclear energy on implicit attitudes of the target audience (Study 1); and b) induces a more positive evaluation of, and intentions to vote for, the political candidate who is delivering a message concerning immigration policies (Study 2).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Socializing

What Are We Not Doing When We're Online

Scott Wallsten
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
The Internet has radically transformed the way we live our lives. The net changes in consumer surplus and economic activity, however, are difficult to measure because some online activities, such as obtaining news, are new ways of doing old activities while new activities, like social media, have an opportunity cost in terms of activities crowded out. This paper uses data from the American Time Use Survey from 2003 – 2011 to estimate the crowdout effects of leisure time spent online. That data show that time spent online and the share of the population engaged in online activities has been increasing steadily. I find that, on the margin, each minute of online leisure time is correlated with 0.29 fewer minutes on all other types of leisure, with about half of that coming from time spent watching TV and video, 0.05 minutes from (offline) socializing, 0.04 minutes from relaxing and thinking, and the balance from time spent at parties, attending cultural events, and listening to the radio. Each minute of online leisure is also correlated with 0.27 fewer minutes working, 0.12 fewer minutes sleeping, 0.10 fewer minutes in travel time, 0.07 fewer minutes in household activities, and 0.06 fewer minutes in educational activities.

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The Entourage Effect

Brent McFerran & Jennifer Argo
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Across a series of studies conducted in both the field and the laboratory, the authors demonstrate that the presence of others (i.e., an entourage) alters a VIP’s personal feelings of status. Specifically, the authors show that VIPs feel higher levels of status when they are able to experience preferential treatment with an entourage, even if this results in the rewards associated with the treatment becoming less scarce. We show that the effect is driven by an increase in feelings of connection with one’s guests. Several alternative explanations for the entourage effect are ruled out, and implications for practice are discussed.

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When silence is golden: Ostracism as resource conservation during aversive interactions

Kristin Sommer & Juran Yoon
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, November 2013, Pages 901-919

Abstract:
This investigation examined whether the strain of ignoring another depends on the other’s desirability as a relationship partner. Participants were asked to ignore or converse with highly likeable (polite and egalitarian) or highly unlikeable (rude and bigoted) acquaintance. They then completed a task in which good performance hinged on successful thought regulation. Study 1 revealed that participants performed worse in the self-regulatory task after conversing with (compared to ignoring) the unlikeable person but performed slightly better after conversing with (compared to ignoring) the likeable person. Study 2 replicated this crossover interaction using an alternative measure of self-regulation. The findings suggest that the use of silent treatment may allow one to conserve regulatory resources during aversive social interactions.

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Is Self-Esteem a Cause or Consequence of Social Support? A 4-Year Longitudinal Study

Sarah Marshall et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Considerable research has been devoted to examining the relations between self-esteem and social support. However, the exact nature and direction of these relations are not well understood. Measures of self-esteem, and social support quantity and quality were administered to 961 adolescents across five yearly time points (Mage = 13.41 years). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was utilized to test between a self-esteem antecedent model (self-esteem precedes changes in social support), self-esteem consequence model (social support precedes change in self-esteem), and a reciprocal influence model. Self-esteem reliably predicted increasing levels of social support quality and network size across time. In contrast, the consequence model was not supported. The implications of this for helping adolescents to develop higher quality social support structures are discussed.

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The dark side of Facebook: Semantic representations of status updates predict the Dark Triad of personality

Danilo Garcia & Sverker Sikström
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using Latent Semantic Analysis, we quantified the semantic representations of Facebook status updates of 304 individuals in order to predict self-reported personality. We focused on, besides Neuroticism and Extraversion, the Dark Triad of personality: Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism. The semantic content of Facebook updates predicted Psychopathy and Narcissism. These updates had a more “odd” and negatively valanced content. Furthermore, Neuroticism, number of Facebook friends, and frequency of status updates were predictable from the status updates. Given that Facebook allows individuals to have major control in how they present themselves and draw benefits from these interactions, we conclude that the Dark Triad, involving socially malevolent behavior such as self-promotion, emotional coldness, duplicity, and aggressiveness, is manifested in Facebook status updates.

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Face to Face Versus Facebook: Does Exposure to Social Networking Web Sites Augment or Attenuate Physiological Arousal Among the Socially Anxious?

Shannon Rauch et al.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study tested two competing hypotheses about the effect of Facebook exposure on the physiological arousal level of participants who then encountered the stimulus person in a face-to-face situation. Facebook exposure may attenuate later arousal by providing increased comfort and confidence, but it is also possible that Facebook exposure will augment arousal, particularly among the socially anxious. Participants completed a measure of social anxiety and were exposed to a stimulus person via Facebook, face to face, or both. Galvanic skin response was recorded during the exposures to the stimulus person. Results were consistent with the augmentation hypothesis: a prior exposure on Facebook will lead to increased arousal during a face-to-face encounter, particularly for those high in social anxiety.

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Why do narcissists disregard social-etiquette norms? A test of two explanations for why narcissism relates to offensive-language use

John Milton Adams et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Narcissists often fail to abide by norms for polite social conduct, but why? The current study addressed this issue by exploring reasons why narcissists use more offensive language (i.e., profanity) than non-narcissists. In this study, 602 participants completed a survey in which they responded on a measure of trait narcissism, rated several offensive words on the degree to which the words were attention-grabbing and offensive, and then indicated how frequently they used the words. Consistent with the idea that narcissists use offensive language to gain attention, narcissists were incrementally more likely to use offensive language if they perceived such language to be highly attention-grabbing, and they were also more likely to perceive offensive language as attention-grabbing. Consistent with the idea that narcissists use more offensive language because they are less sensitive to the offensiveness of the language, an additional mediation analysis showed that narcissists perceived offensive language as less offensive than non-narcissists, a perception that, in turn, enhanced use of offensive language. Thus, this study provides evidence for two mechanisms that underlie narcissists’ frequent use of offensive language, and broadly contributes to the understudied issue of why narcissists violate social-etiquette norms.

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MDMA enhances emotional empathy and prosocial behavior

Cédric Hysek et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”) releases serotonin and norepinephrine. MDMA is reported to produce empathogenic and prosocial feelings. It is unknown whether MDMA in fact alters empathic concern and prosocial behavior. We investigated the acute effects of MDMA using the Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET), dynamic Face Emotion Recognition Task (FERT), and Social Value Orientation (SVO) test. We also assessed effects of MDMA on plasma levels of hormones involved in social behavior using a placebo-controlled, double-blind, random-order, cross-over design in 32 healthy volunteers (16 women). MDMA enhanced explicit and implicit emotional empathy in the MET and increased prosocial behavior in the SVO test in men. MDMA did not alter cognitive empathy in the MET but impaired the identification of negative emotions, including fearful, angry, and sad faces, in the FERT, particularly in women. MDMA increased plasma levels of cortisol and prolactin, which are markers of serotonergic and noradrenergic activity, and of oxytocin, which has been associated with prosocial behavior. In summary, MDMA sex-specifically altered the recognition of emotions, emotional empathy, and prosociality. These effects likely enhance sociability when MDMA is used recreationally and may be useful when MDMA is administered in conjunction with psychotherapy in patients with social dysfunction or posttraumatic stress disorder.

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The Effects of Alcohol Expectancy Priming on Group Bonding

Allison Moltisanti et al.
Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to alcohol expectancy theory, drinking-related information is stored in memory and, when cue activated, influences alcohol-related behavior. Priming of alcohol cues and expectancies has been shown to elicit both drinking and nonconsumptive behavior associated with alcohol consumption, such as willingness to meet with a stranger and aggression. These social influence effects have been shown to be moderated by individual differences in alcohol expectancies. In the present study, we tested whether an alcohol prime would facilitate social group bonding even in the absence of consumption, and whether such group bonding would be moderated by individually held social expectancies. One hundred twenty undergraduates (75% female) completed an alcohol expectancy measure prior to participation. Participants were primed with either alcohol or neutral beverage words and completed a collaborative group activity followed by questionnaires measuring perceived group cohesion. Several interactions were found between condition and expectancy reflecting that those in the alcohol prime condition with higher social alcohol expectancies reported greater cohesion on task-related, but not emotion-related, group measures. These findings underscore the complexity of the impact of expectancy and social behavior on drinking: the priming of alcohol expectancies may activate aspects of pro-social behavior, which may influence drinking, which in turn may feedback to positively reinforce social expectancies.

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Laughter with someone else leads to future social rewards: Temporal change using experience sampling methodology

Todd Kashdan et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research suggests that laughter is correlated with resilience and well-being. To date, there is little research on the subsequent social benefits following laughter with another person. We hypothesized that laughing with another person would be associated with greater social rewards in subsequent social interactions. Using a two-week daily diary study with 162 people (68% women), we collected data on 5510 face-to-face social interactions in everyday life. We found that laughing with another person during an interaction predicted greater intimacy, positive emotions, and enjoyment in the subsequent social interaction. There was no evidence for the reverse direction, as intimacy, positive emotions, and enjoyment failed to predict laughter in subsequent social interactions. As for specificity, laughter was associated with subsequent intimacy and positive emotions even after accounting for the variance attributable to enjoyment felt when socializing. As for robustness, laughter with another person had the same effect on subsequent interactions regardless of whether interacting with the same person or a new person. In summary, besides being immediately pleasurable, laughing with social interaction partners influences the likelihood of future social rewards. This study adds to theory and research suggesting that laughing is an important social bonding mechanism.

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Chimps of a feather sit together: Chimpanzee friendships are based on homophily in personality

Jorg Massen & Sonja Koski
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several recent studies show that animal friendships, like human friendships, are durable and have fitness benefits by increasing survival, infant survival, or reproductive success. However, the determinants of especially non-kin friendships are unclear. Human non-kin friendships are partly determined by similarity in personality. We investigated personality similarity of friends in 38 captive chimpanzees. Within-subject comparisons revealed that friends are more similar than non-friends in their Sociability and Boldness. Subsequent analyses, including both kin- and non-kin dyads, revealed higher similarity in Sociability among all individuals who sat in contact more often, while in Boldness and Grooming Equity the positive effect of similarity was only found in non-kin individuals’ contact-sitting. Our results show that similar to humans, chimpanzees’ friendships are related to homophily in certain personality characteristics, particularly those relevant for socio-positive and cooperative behaviour. We suggest that having friends similar to self in personality decreases uncertainty in interactions by promoting reliability especially in cooperative contexts, and is consequently adaptive. Further, we suggest that homophily in human friendships dates back at least to our last common ancestor with chimpanzees.

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Theory of Mind and Empathic Explanations of Machiavellianism: A Neuroscience Perspective

Richard Bagozzi et al.
Journal of Management, November 2013, Pages 1760-1798

Abstract:
We study theory of mind (ToM) and empathic underpinnings of Machiavellianism by use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, where account managers are used as participants in 3 studies. Study 1 finds evidence for activation of the medial prefrontal cortex, left and right temporo-parietal junction, and left and right precuneus regions; all five regions are negatively correlated with Machiavellianism, suggesting that Machiavellians are less facile than non-Machiavellians with ToM skills. Study 2 presents evidence for activation of the left and right pars opercularis, left and right insula, and left precuneus regions; the former four regions of the motor neuron system were positively associated, and the latter negatively associated, with Machiavellianism, implying that Machiavellians resonate more readily with the emotions of others than non-Machiavellians. This is the first study to our knowledge to show a negative correlation between perspective taking and emotional sharing in empathic processes in general and Machiavellianism in particular. Study 3 tests implications of managerial control on both performance and organizational citizenship behaviors, as moderated by Machiavellianism in the field. Our study grounds the functioning of Machiavellianism in organizations in basic neuroscience processes, resolves some long-standing ambiguities with self-report investigations, and points to conditions under which Machiavellianism both inhibits and promotes performance and citizenship behavior.

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Engineering social contagions: Optimal network seeding in the presence of homophily

Sinan Aral, Lev Muchnik & Arun Sundararajan
Network Science, August 2013, Pages 125-153

Abstract:
We use data on a real, large-scale social network of 27 million individuals interacting daily, together with the day-by-day adoption of a new mobile service product, to inform, build, and analyze data-driven simulations of the effectiveness of seeding (network targeting) strategies under different social conditions. Three main results emerge from our simulations. First, failure to consider homophily creates significant overestimation of the effectiveness of seeding strategies, casting doubt on conclusions drawn by simulation studies that do not model homophily. Second, seeding is constrained by the small fraction of potential influencers that exist in the network. We find that seeding more than 0.2% of the population is wasteful because the gain from their adoption is lower than the gain from their natural adoption (without seeding). Third, seeding is more effective in the presence of greater social influence. Stronger peer influence creates a greater than additive effect when combined with seeding. Our findings call into question some conventional wisdom about these strategies and suggest that their overall effectiveness may be overestimated.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Don't tread on me

Bad News, Bad Times, and Violence: The Link Between Economic Distress and Aggression

Christopher Barlett & Craig Anderson
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: The current research applied the general aggression model (GAM) to explain the relation between negative societal changes (e.g., indicators of a poor economy) on aggression-related outcomes. One correlational and one experimental study tested the relationships between these variables as well as possible mediating mechanisms.

Method: In Study 1 (N = 193), participants completed several measures to assess aggression, stress from current economic crises, and trait hostility. In Study 2 (N = 101), participants were randomly assigned to view stressful news videos (clips suggesting the economy is poor) or neutral news videos prior to completing state measures of stress and hostility.

Results: Study 1 found significant positive relations between stress from negative societal changes and aggression, mediated by hostility. Study 2 showed that viewing stressful news videos increased state hostility, which was mediated by state levels of stress.

Conclusions: Overall, results suggest that indicators of poor economic times are related to aggression and hostility. These findings offer theoretical implications for the utility of the GAM in explaining how societal-level shifts in economy-related variables can influence aggression levels at the individual level.

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Social Status Moderates the Relationship Between Facial Structure and Aggression

Stefan Goetz et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of evidence has linked individual differences in facial structure — in particular, the facial width-to-height ratio (FWHR) — to social behaviors, including aggression, cheating, and nonreciprocation of trust. In the research reported here, we extended this work by demonstrating that the association between FWHR and aggression is moderated by subjective and objective measures of social status. In Study 1 (N = 237 college students), FWHR was positively correlated with aggressive behavior, but only among men reporting relatively low social status. In Study 2 (N = 891 professional hockey players), FWHR was positively correlated with penalty minutes, but only among players who earned relatively low salaries. Collectively, these studies provide compelling evidence for the role of social status in moderating the relationship between facial structure and aggression, indicating that FWHR is a robust predictor of aggressive behavior, but only in the context of relatively low social status.

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Giving peace a chance: Oxytocin increases empathy to pain in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Simone Shamay-Tsoory et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies have argued that empathy to the pain of out-group members is largely diminished by “in-group empathy bias”. Investigating the mechanism underlying the emotional reactions of Jewish Israeli participants towards the pain experienced by Palestinians in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affords a natural experiment that allows us to examine the role of neurohormones in emotion sensitivity across conflicting social groups. In a double-blind placebo-controlled within-subject crossover design, Israeli Jewish participants were asked to report their empathy to the pain of in-group (Jewish), neutral out-group (European), and adversary out-group (Palestinian) members. Oxytocin remarkably increased empathy to the pain of Palestinians, attenuating the effect of in-group empathy bias observed under the placebo condition. This effect, we argue, is driven by the general role of oxytocin in increasing the salience of social agents which, in turn, may interfere with processes pertaining to derogation of out-group members during intractable conflicts.

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The Impact of School Bullying on Racial/Ethnic Achievement

Lisa Williams & Anthony Peguero
Race and Social Problems, December 2013, Pages 296-308

Abstract:
Significant bodies of scholarship have explored family background and its implications for racial/ethnic differences in academic achievement. Much less attention, however, has focused on the ways in which victimization in schools — and bullying in particular — may impact student performance. Drawing on nationally representative data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 and employing multilevel analysis from four racial/ethnic groups (Asian, black, Latino, and white), this study examines: (1) the impact of bullying on achievement and (2) the extent to which high- or low-achieving students are more vulnerable to bullying. Results indicate that bullying is relatively more frequent among blacks who are higher achievers and that bullying has equally detrimental consequences on later achievement for all racial/ethnic groups considered in this study. These findings are discussed relative to prior research on racial/ethnic inequality, education, and victimization, and also public policy efforts to address bullying in schools.

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Extensiveness and persistence of aggressive media exposure as longitudinal risk factors for teen dating violence

Laura Friedlander et al.
Psychology of Violence, October 2013, Pages 310-322

Objective: To determine whether adolescents’ use of aggressive media is a risk for dating violence victimization and perpetration, considering extensiveness across media types (TV, movies, music, magazines, Internet) and persistence over 3 years.

Method: On three occasions, 1 year apart, 238 boys and 246 girls (mean age 15.06 years) with romantic partners completed measures of media aggression, dating violence-tolerant attitudes, and victimization and perpetration of dating violence. Two models were tested: cumulative risk of extensive and persistent use and mediational role of attitudes.

Results: Findings support the cumulative risk of extensive aggressive media usage on dating violence victimization and perpetration across three waves. Violence-tolerant attitudes fully mediated the longitudinal pathway between aggressive media use and perpetration and partially mediated the pathway for victimization.

Conclusion: Findings indicate that aggressive media increases the incidence of dating violence over 3 years and is mediated by its effect on adolescents’ attitudes about violence. Analyzing this effect for victimization and perpetration, the findings demonstrate the widespread effect of the media and have important implications for dating violence theories. The focus of dating violence prevention on youths’ attitudes regarding violence is supported with the recommendation to include media awareness training in the curricula.

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Playing Violent Video Games Increases Intergroup Bias

Tobias Greitemeyer
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown how, why, and for whom violent video game play is related to aggression and aggression-related variables. In contrast, less is known about whether some individuals are more likely than others to be the target of increased aggression after violent video game play. The present research examined the idea that the effects of violent video game play are stronger when the target is a member of an outgroup rather than an ingroup. In fact, a correlational study revealed that violent video game exposure was positively related to ethnocentrism. This relation remained significant when controlling for trait aggression. Providing causal evidence, an experimental study showed that playing a violent video game increased aggressive behavior, and that this effect was more pronounced when the target was an outgroup rather than an ingroup member. Possible mediating mechanisms are discussed.

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Do human females use indirect aggression as an intrasexual competition strategy?

Tracy Vaillancourt
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 5 December 2013

Abstract:
Indirect aggression includes behaviours such as criticizing a competitor's appearance, spreading rumours about a person's sexual behaviour and social exclusion. Human females have a particular proclivity for using indirect aggression, which is typically directed at other females, especially attractive and sexually available females, in the context of intrasexual competition for mates. Indirect aggression is an effective intrasexual competition strategy. It is associated with a diminished willingness to compete on the part of victims and with greater dating and sexual behaviour among those who perpetrate the aggression.

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Signaling Dominance in Online Negotiations: The Role of Affective Tone

Liuba Belkin, Terri Kurtzberg & Charles Naquin
Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, November 2013, Pages 285–304

Abstract:
The present research looks at how people interpret power in negotiations based not just on control over objective resources but also on behavioral expressions of dominance as signaled through affective language in the limited-cues environment of electronically mediated communication. We further explore whether those interpretations of dominance shape negotiation outcomes. The results of an experiment, along with the linguistic analyses of the e-mail messages themselves, indicate that negative affective expressions (anger) online positively influence perceptions of dominance, while displays of positive affect (happiness) can signal the opposite, especially when coupled with low resource power. Moreover, we find that anger displays in e-mails can influence individual gains positively, while perceptions of dominance mediate the relationship between displays of happiness and individual outcomes. Implications are discussed.

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Sex-hormone dependent perception of androstenone suggests its involvement in communicating competition and aggression

Katrin Lübke & Bettina Pause
Physiology & Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Androstenone, a compound of human male body odor, might act as a chemosensory signal communicating dominance or aggressiveness. In order to clarify its communicative significance, the relationship between androstenone perception and the level of circulating steroid hormones was investigated in both men and women. Androstenone perception was assessed within n = 26 men and n = 25 women. Female participants were not currently using hormonal contraception and were in their follicular menstrual cycle phase. Androstenone perception was assessed in terms of olfactory sensitivity, quality judgments, and emotional self-ratings. The perception of isovaleric acid served as a control. Over the course of 2 h five saliva samples were collected, aliquots were mixed and levels of estradiol and testosterone were analyzed via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. In men, higher testosterone levels were associated with lower olfactory sensitivity to androstenone (p = 0.014) and negative feelings when exposed to it (p = 0.047). In women, higher estradiol levels were related to judging androstenone as less pleasant (p = 0.009) and more unpleasant (p = .0036). The perception of isovaleric acid was unrelated to sex-hormone levels. The current results support the notion of androstenone communicating dominance, aggression or competition. Men with higher testosterone levels are more sensitive to androstenone and dislike its odor, possibly indicating that androstenone signals the readiness for competition in men. Similarly, the fact that women with higher estradiol levels dislike androstenone may be due to androstenone being a signal of reduced willingness for social cooperation and an increased likelihood to engage in extramarital sex.

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Digit ratio, emotional intelligence and parenting styles predict female aggression

Emily Sutcliffe Cleveland
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The contributions of digit ratio (2D:4D), emotional intelligence (EI) and parenting styles to social aggression were examined. Females (n = 215 emerging adults) completed 5 aggression measures, an EI measure, 2 parenting measures, and had their hands measured. Aggression correlated with each of the predictors. Left hand 2D:4D, EI, and parental authoritarianism resulted in the most robust model for predicting aggression. Implications are discussed.

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When does Heat Promote Hostility? Person by Situation Interactions Shape the Psychological Effects of Haptic Sensations

Adam Fay & Jon Maner
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current article provides evidence that the psychological consequences of incidental haptic sensations depend on motivations within the perceiver and, consequently, the effects of those sensations are moderated by motivationally relevant aspects of the individual and the immediate social context. Results from two experiments demonstrate that the physical experience of heat promotes hostile social responses, but that the strength of this effect depends on an interaction between factors in the person (level of fear of negative evaluation) and the situation (whether or not someone has just experienced rejection). People primed with heat (compared to neutral temperature) displayed increases in aggressive cognitions (Experiment 1) and aggressive behavior (Experiment 2), but those effects were observed only after rejection (not in a control condition) and only among individuals high in fear of negative evaluation (those who typically respond with agonistic motives following rejection). Findings suggest that motivationally relevant aspects of the person and situation are critical to understanding the priming effects of haptic sensations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, November 1, 2013

Executive branch

Are Red or Blue Companies More Likely to go Green? Politics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Alberta Di Giuli & Leonard Kostovetsky
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the firm-level corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings of Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini, we find that firms score higher on CSR when they have Democratic rather than Republican founders, CEOs, and directors, and when they are headquartered in Democratic rather than Republican-leaning states. Democratic-leaning firms spend $20 million more on CSR than Republican-leaning firms ($80 million more within the sample of S&P 500 firms), or roughly 10% of net income. We find no evidence that firms recover these expenditures through increased sales. Indeed, increases in firm CSR ratings are associated with negative future stock returns and declines in firm ROA, suggesting that any benefits to stakeholders from social responsibility come at the direct expense of firm value.

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Corporate Lobbying and CEO Pay

Hollis Ashbaugh Skaife, David Veenman & Timothy Werner
University of Wisconsin Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This study examines the agency costs of corporate lobbying by exploring the relation between lobbying and excess CEO compensation. We show that CEOs of firms engaged in lobbying earn significantly greater compensation levels compared to CEOs in non-lobbying firms, after controlling for standard economic determinants of pay. The relation between lobbying and CEO pay increases with the intensity of firms' lobbying. Although lobbying is positively associated future sales growth, we find no evidence suggesting it culminates in shareholder wealth creation. Additional tests reveal that for a subset of firms with available data, governance attributes mediate the relation between lobbying and firms' decision to lobby. Lastly, a difference-in-difference, propensity-score matched analysis suggests significant increases in CEO pay levels around firms' initial lobbying engagements. Overall, we conclude that corporate lobbying introduces agency costs borne by shareholders.

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Gaining Access by Doing Good: The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Firm Participation in Public Policymaking

Timothy Werner
University of Texas Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This article explores how organizational commitments to corporate social responsibility (CSR) affect firms' access to public policymakers. I argue that when firms adopt other-regarding or social CSR practices, they enhance their reputations among policymakers, who then view them as more credible representatives of their shared policy goals. Adopting social CSR practices differentiates a firm reputationally and reduces the risk to politicians of being associated with the firm. I hypothesize that (i) as firms engage in social CSR at higher rates, they will be granted greater access; (ii) the access-related benefits of social CSR will be greater when Democratic politicians, who run greater risks in associating with business, have greater power; and (iii) the access-related benefits of social CSR will be greater if they compliment existing political strategies. I test these hypotheses using an 11-year-long panel on congressional appearances, CSR, and political and financial characteristics for the S&P 500 and find support for all three. These findings demonstrate a significant non-financial consequence of CSR, and more broadly, this paper extends existing theory by demonstrating that the strategic utility perspective on corporate social behavior applies to how firms employ CSR proactively to manage their relationships with the state.

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Citizens United, Independent Expenditures, and Agency Costs: Reexamining the Political Economy of State Antitakeover Statutes

Timothy Werner
University of Texas Working Paper, July 2013

Abstract:
We test the agency theory of corporate political activity by examining the association between the legality of independent expenditures and antitakeover lawmaking in the U.S. states. Exploiting changes in state campaign finance law regarding the use of corporate independent expenditures in the pre-Citizens United era, we estimate that a state is more likely to pass antitakeover statutes that entrench management when firms are allowed to make independent expenditures to influence electoral campaigns. We also find that this relationship is conditional on the competitiveness of a state's electoral environment, suggesting that the threat of independent expenditures may move vulnerable legislators' votes on less salient issues, such as corporate governance. These findings are robust to competing public interest and political economy explanations for antitakeover law adoption, and they reveal that allowing independent expenditures may create additional agency costs for owners through public policy. Finally, these results strongly challenge the claim that state-level antitakeover laws are exogenous to firms' activities.

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Fortune Favors the Bold

Costanza Meneghetti & Ryan Williams
University of Arizona Working Paper, March 2013

Abstract:
We investigate whether prestige generated from inclusion in the annual Fortune 500 ranking affects corporate decision making. We find that firms near the 500th spot on the Fortune 500 list are more likely to engage in size/revenue-increasing behavior, potentially in an attempt to join or remain in the list. Specifically, these firms are more likely to make M&A bids, pay higher takeover premiums in these bids, appear to "over-advertise", and are more likely to restate earnings due to revenue recognition problems. Additionally, stock market reactions to bids are worse when bidders are close to Fortune's cutoff. Our results suggest that managers respond to non-monetary incentives such as the prestige associated with the Fortune 500, but such actions adversely affect shareholders.

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Do Managers Do Good with Other People's Money?

Ing-Haw Cheng, Harrison Hong & Kelly Shue
NBER Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
We find support for two key predictions of an agency theory of unproductive corporate social responsibility. First, increasing managerial ownership decreases measures of firm goodness. We use the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut to increase after-tax insider ownership. Firms with moderate levels of insider ownership cut goodness by more than firms with low levels (where the tax cut has no effect) and high levels (where agency is less of an issue). Second, increasing monitoring reduces corporate goodness. A regression discontinuity design of close votes around the 50% cut-off finds that passage of shareholder governance proposals leads to slower growth in goodness.

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License to Ill: The Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility and CEO Moral Identity on Corporate Social Irresponsibility

Margaret Ormiston & Elaine Wong
Personnel Psychology, Winter 2013, Pages 861-893

Abstract:
Although managers and researchers have invested considerable effort into understanding corporate social responsibility (CSR), less is known about corporate social irresponsibility (CSiR). Drawing on strategic leadership and moral licensing research, we address this gap by considering the relationship between CSR and CSiR. We predict that prior CSR is positively associated with subsequent CSiR because the moral credits achieved through CSR enable leaders to engage in less ethical stakeholder treatment. Further, we hypothesize that leaders' moral identity symbolization, or the degree to which being moral is expressed outwardly to the public through actions and behavior, will moderate the CSR-CSiR relationship, such that the relationship will be stronger when CEOs are high on moral identity symbolization rather than low on moral identity symbolization. Through an archival study of 49 Fortune 500 firms, we find support for our hypotheses.

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Narcissus Enters the Courtroom: CEO Narcissism and Fraud

Antoinette Rijsenbilt & Harry Commandeur
Journal of Business Ethics, October 2013, Pages 413-429

Abstract:
This study explores the aspects of the relationship between possible indicators of CEO narcissism and fraud. Highly narcissistic CEOs undertake challenging or bold actions to obtain frequent praise and admiration. The pursuit of narcissistic supply may result in a stronger likelihood of a CEO to undertake bold actions with potential detrimental consequences for the organization. The sample consists of all S&P 500 CEOs from 1992 till 2008 with more than 3 years of tenure. The measurement of CEO narcissism is based on 15 objective indicators and fits the main conceptualization of narcissism. This data collection provides a score for all S&P 500 CEOs according to their narcissistic tendencies. The Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases on the SEC's website are the indicators of managerial fraud. The findings confirm the expected influence of plausible proxies for CEO narcissism on fraud by showing a positive relationship. This confirms the psychologic perspective of CEO narcissism as a potential cause of fraud.

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Minding the Gap: Antecedents and Consequences of Top Management-To-Worker Pay Dispersion

Brian Connelly et al.
Journal of Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Management researchers have long been concerned with the antecedents and consequences of managerial compensation. More recently, scholarly and popular attention has turned to the gap in pay between workers at the highest and lowest levels of the organization, or "pay dispersion." This study investigates the performance implications of pay dispersion on a longitudinal (10-year) sample of publicly traded firms from multiple industries. We combine explanations based on tournament theory and equity theory to develop a model wherein pay dispersion has opposing effects on a firm's short-term performance and their trend in performance over time. We also show that ownership is a key antecedent of pay dispersion. Specifically, transient institutional investors (who have short time horizons and equity stakes in a wide variety of firms) positively influence pay dispersion whereas dedicated institutional investors (who have longer investment time horizons and equity stakes in fewer firms) negatively influence pay dispersion. We discuss the wide-ranging implications of these findings for scholars, managers, and policy makers alike.

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Personally tax aggressive executives and corporate tax sheltering

James Chyz
Journal of Accounting and Economics, November-December 2013, Pages 311-328

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether executives who evidence a propensity for personal tax evasion (suspect executives) are associated with tax sheltering at the firm level. I adapt recent research to identify the presence of these executives and examine associations between suspect executive presence and firm-level measures of tax sheltering. The results indicate that the presence of suspect executives is positively associated with proxies for corporate tax sheltering. In addition, firm-years with suspect executive presence have significantly higher cash tax savings relative to firm-years without suspect executive presence. I also investigate the firm value implications of suspect executive presence and find that increases in tax sheltering are incrementally more valuable for firms that have suspect executives than similar increments made by firms that do not have suspect executives.

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Who Writes the News? Corporate Press Releases During Merger Negotiations

Kenneth Ahern & Denis Sosyura
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Firms have an incentive to manage media coverage to influence their stock price during important corporate events. Using comprehensive data on media coverage and merger negotiations, we find that bidders in stock mergers originate substantially more news stories after the start of merger negotiations, but before the public announcement. This strategy generates a short-lived run-up in bidders' stock prices during the period when the stock exchange ratio is determined, which substantially impacts the takeover price. Our results demonstrate that the timing and content of financial media coverage may be biased by firms seeking to manipulate their stock price.

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When the role fits: How firm status differentials affect corporate takeovers

Rui Shen, Yi Tang & Guoli Chen
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explores the implications of interfirm status differentials for firm behaviors in corporate takeover transactions. We argue that the more the status differential between two firms is aligned with expectations of their roles embedded in the specific economic activity, the easier it is for them to agree on the appropriate means to reach consensus on the transaction. Using the empirical context of the U.S. corporate takeover market, we found that the greater the status differential between an acquirer and a target, the more positively the market reacts to both the acquirer and the target upon the announcement of the acquisition deal, the more likely it is for the deal to be completed, and the more likely the acquirer is to achieve better post-acquisition performance.

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Geography and CEO luck: Where do CEOs tend to be lucky?

Pandej Chintrakarn, Napatsorn Jiraporn & Pornsit Jiraporn
Applied Economics Letters, Winter 2014, Pages 125-128

Abstract:
CEOs are 'lucky' when they receive stock option grants on days when the stock price is the lowest in the month of the grant, implying opportunistic timing (Bebchuk et al., 2010). We extend Bebchuk et al. (2010) by investigating the geographic peer effects of CEO luck. Our evidence shows that a CEO is significantly more likely to be lucky when other CEOs in the surrounding area are not lucky. It appears that a CEO tends to practice opportunistic timing of option grants when such a practice is less prevalent and thus less noticeable in the nearby area, probably in order to avoid detection. We estimate that the marginal geographic effect on a given CEO's luck is 18.36%, which is both statistically and economically significant. Our results suggest that regulators should look for corporate opportunistic behaviour where it is not expected.

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CEO Connectedness and Corporate Frauds

Vikramaditya Khanna, Han Kim & Yao Lu
University of Michigan Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
This paper identifies an important factor magnifying the risk of corporate fraud - the connections CEOs develop with top executives and directors through their appointment decisions during their tenure. A sample of publicly listed firms over the period 1996-2006 reveals that appointment-based CEO connectedness within executive suites and boardrooms increases the likelihood of committing frauds and decreases the likelihood of detection. We identify three channels through which the CEO connectedness decreases expected costs of committing fraud - by helping to conceal frauds, by reducing the likelihood of CEO dismissal upon fraud discovery, and by lowering the coordination costs of carrying out illegal activities. Further, except for audit committee independence, standard monitoring mechanisms do not seem to mitigate the adverse effects on frauds. These findings suggest regulators, investors, and governance specialists should pay particular attention to appointment-based CEO connectedness.

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Narcissistic CEOs and executive compensation

Charles O'Reilly et al.
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Narcissism is characterized by traits such as dominance, self-confidence, a sense of entitlement, grandiosity, and low empathy. There is growing evidence that individuals with these characteristics often emerge as leaders, and that narcissistic CEOs may make more impulsive and risky decisions. We suggest that these tendencies may also affect how compensation is allocated among top management teams. Using employee ratings of personality for the CEOs of 32 prominent high-technology firms, we investigate whether more narcissistic CEOs have compensation packages that are systematically different from their less narcissistic peers, and specifically whether these differences increase the longer the CEO stays with the firm. As predicted, we find that more narcissistic CEOs who have been with their firm longer receive more total direct compensation (salary, bonus, and stock options), have more money in their total shareholdings, and have larger discrepancies between their own (higher) compensation and the other members of their team.

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The Effect of Tougher Enforcement on Foreign Firms: Evidence from the Adelphia Perp Walk

Charles Knoeber & Mark Walker
Journal of Corporate Finance, December 2013, Pages 382-394

Abstract:
The public arrest of Adelphia executives on July 24, 2002 signaled tougher enforcement of laws against corporate crime. On that day and the two following days, foreign firms experienced a cumulative 1.7% decline in value. Relative to domestic firms, the loss was a much larger 4.5%. The expected cost to firms from tougher enforcement suggests three possible reasons. Foreign firms may be targeted more heavily, may face greater penalties, or may find it more costly to react to (deflect) enforcement. We find evidence consistent with foreign firms facing higher costs from tougher enforcement for each of these reasons.

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Nature of the Farm: Revisited

Matthew Elliott & Harvey James
University of Missouri Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
This study empirically examines the effects of farm organization, with particular emphasis on separation of ownership and control, on farmer effort and farm success using a structural equation model and data from the 2005-2010 Agriculture Management Resource Survey. Contrary to expectations of existing theory, the results show that farms in which ownership and control are more separated have a higher probability of farm success, and their operators supply more labor effort, than combined ownership and control farms. The results are robust even when controlling for exogenous uncertainty or asymmetric information. The implications are that the evolution to more separated farm ownership may not be limited by agency costs when there is greater exogenous uncertainty or more asymmetric information in principle-agent relationships.

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Executive Pay Disparity and the Cost of Equity Capital

Zhihong Chen, Yuan Huang & John Wei
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, June 2013, Pages 849-885

Abstract:
Executive pay disparity, as measured by chief executive officer (CEO) pay slice (CPS), is positively associated with the implied cost of equity, even after controlling for other determinants of the cost of equity. The difference in the cost of equity can explain 43% of the difference in the valuation effect attributable to CPS reported by Bebchuk, Cremers, and Peyer (2011). Further analysis shows that the positive association is stronger when agency problems of free cash flow are more severe and when CEO succession planning is more important. Our evidence suggests that a large CPS is associated with CEO entrenchment and high succession risk.

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Investment Busts, Reputation, and the Temptation to Blend in with the Crowd

Steven Grenadier, Andrey Malenko & Ilya Strebulaev
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide a real-options model of an industry in which agents time abandonment of their projects in an effort to protect their reputations. Agents delay abandonment attempting to signal quality. When a public common shock forces abandonment of a small fraction of projects irrespective of agents' quality, many agents abandon their projects strategically even if they are unaffected by the shock. Such "blending in with the crowd" effect creates an additional incentive to delay abandonment ahead of the shock, leading to accumulation of "living dead" projects, which further amplifies the shock. The potential for moderate public common shocks often improves agents' values.

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SOX, Corporate Transparency, and the Cost of Debt

Sandro Andrade, Gennaro Bernile & Frederick Hood
Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act on the cost of debt through its effect on the reliability of financial reporting. Using Credit Default Swap (CDS) spreads and a structural CDS pricing model, we calibrate a firm-level corporate opacity parameter in the pre- and post-SOX periods. Our analysis shows that corporate opacity and the cost of debt decrease significantly after SOX. The median firm in our sample experiences an 18 bp reduction on its five-year CDS spread as a result of lower opacity following SOX, amounting to total annual savings of $ 844 million for the 252 firms in our sample. Furthermore, the reduction in opacity tends to be larger for firms that in the pre-SOX period have lower accrual quality, less conservative earnings, lower number of independent directors, lower S&P Transparency and Disclosure ratings, and are more likely to benefit from SOX-compliance according to Chhaochharia and Grinstein's (2007) criteria.

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Auditor Choice in Politically Connected Firms

Omrane Guedhami, Jeffrey Pittman & Walid Saffar
Journal of Accounting Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We extend recent research on the links between political connections and financial reporting by examining the role of auditor choice. Our evidence that public firms with political connections are more likely to appoint a Big Four auditor supports the intuition that insiders in these firms are eager to improve accounting transparency to convince outside investors that they refrain from exploiting their connections to divert corporate resources. In evidence consistent with another prediction, we find that this link is stronger for connected firms with ownership structures conducive to insiders seizing private benefits at the expense of minority investors. We also find that the relation between political connections and auditor choice is stronger for firms operating in countries with relatively poor institutional infrastructure, implying that tough external monitoring by Big Four auditors becomes more valuable for preventing diversion in these situations. Finally, we report that connected firms with Big Four auditors exhibit less earnings management and enjoy greater transparency, higher valuations, and cheaper equity financing.

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CEO Entrenchment and Corporate Hedging: Evidence from the Oil and Gas Industry

Praveen Kumar & Ramon Rabinovitch
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, June 2013, Pages 887-917

Abstract:
Using a unique data set with detailed information on the derivative positions of upstream oil and gas firms during 1996-2008, we find that hedging intensity is positively related to factors that amplify chief executive officer (CEO) entrenchment and free cash flow agency costs. There is also robust evidence that hedging is motivated by the reduction of financial distress and borrowing costs, and that it is influenced by both intrinsic cash flow risk and temporary spikes in commodity price volatility. We present a comprehensive perspective on the determinants of corporate hedging, and the results are consistent with the predictions of the risk management and agency costs literatures.

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Underperformance of Founder-Led Firms: An Examination of Compensation Contracting Theories during the Executive Stock Options Backdating Scandal

Brian Carver, Brandon Cline & Matthew Hoag
Journal of Corporate Finance, December 2013, Pages 294-310

Abstract:
Using the executive stock option (ESO) backdating scandal as a backdrop, this paper examines whether compensation committees can effectively set executive compensation contracts in the presence of a founding CEO. Analyzing a sample of firms accused of backdating ESO grant dates and a control sample of non-backdating firms, we find evidence suggesting that managerial power influences the decision to backdate. Specifically, our analysis indicates the presence of a founder CEO increases the likelihood that ESOs are backdated by 22%. We further find that founder-led firms strongly underperform a matched sample of non-backdating firms. This finding contrasts a number of studies that document superior operating and stock return performance for founder-led firms.

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Peer group ties and executive compensation networks

Matthew Pittinsky & Thomas DiPrete
Social Science Research, November 2013, Pages 1675-1692

Abstract:
Publicly traded firms in the US typically determine C.E.O. compensation by benchmarking the pay of their C.E.O.s against the pay of C.E.O.s in "peer" firms. Consequently, executive compensation is influenced not only by firm-level characteristics, but also by the selection and actions of the firm's immediate peers as well as by the structure of the executive compensation network overall. Analyzing compensation peer group choices made by the same 1183 firms for F.Y. 2007, 2008 and 2009, we find that while the typical compensation peer is similar in size and industry to the firm that chose it, deviations from this norm are common, especially among larger firms, and tend to be towards larger firms with better paid CEOs. Further analysis shows that firms who pay CEOs well relative to the pay that would be predicted from their revenues, return on assets, and industry tend to have greater aspiration bias in their group of named peers.

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CEOs Under Fire: The Effects of Competition from Inside Directors on Forced CEO Turnover and CEO Compensation

Shawn Mobbs
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, June 2013, Pages 669-698

Abstract:
This study examines board monitoring when a credible chief executive officer (CEO) replacement is on the board. Inside directors whose talents are in greater demand externally, as reflected by their holding outside directorships, are more likely to become CEOs, and their presence is associated with greater forced CEO turnover sensitivity to accounting performance and CEO compensation sensitivity to stock performance. These results reveal that certain insiders strengthen board monitoring by serving as a readily available CEO replacement and contradict the presumption that all insiders are under CEO control. Furthermore, the results persist when accounting for the endogenous firm selection of talented inside directors.

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External COO/presidents as expert directors: A new look at the service role of boards

Ryan Krause, Matthew Semadeni & Albert Cannella
Strategic Management Journal, December 2013, Pages 1628-1641

Abstract:
Much of the scholarship on boards of directors has examined either the control (i.e., monitoring) role or the resource dependence role that boards fill. Relatively little has examined the service role, wherein directors provide advice and guidance to management. This study builds on recent work exploring director expertise by asking how operational expertise on boards impacts firm performance. We find that having external COO/presidents on a board of directors positively impacts firm performance when the firm's operational efficiency is declining, but negatively impacts performance when the firm's operational efficiency is improving. We also find that other types of external executives serving as directors exhibit the opposite relationship, suggesting that the value of director expertise is context-dependent. We discuss the implications of these findings for director selection.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hallowed be thy name

Rethinking Religious Gender Differences: The Case of Elite Women

Orestes Hastings & Michael Lindsay
Sociology of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decades of research has suggested that women are much more religious than men. Yet our survey of 107 women and 362 men who are alumni of the White House Fellows program finds that elite women are less likely than elite men to report religion as being important to their lives. When focusing on the fellows who are women, we find that obtaining a graduate degree from a top university, being highly committed to one's work, and being recognized for success are all associated with a lower likelihood of rating religion as important. We elucidate some of these findings with analyses of in-depth interviews. We suggest that aspiring women may not benefit from religion the same way men do and that religion often fails to provide similar levels of support for elite women as for elite men. We conclude by arguing for finer-grained measures of professional accomplishment and social standing to better understand gender differences in religion.

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"Russia's Most Effective Fifth Column": Cold War Perceptions of Un-Americanism in US Churches

Markku Ruotsila
Journal of American Studies, November 2013, Pages 1019-1041

Abstract:
From the very beginning of the Cold War, fundamentalist Christian organizations in the United States were engaged in a strident polemical campaign against the modern ecumenical movement and its American supporters in the major mainline churches. Consistently, this movement and its Social Gospel supporters were perceived as allies or tools of the Soviet Union, or at the very least as unwitting co-conspirators in world revolutionary projects that posed a direct threat to US national security. In the late 1940s and the early 1950s, the American Council of Christian Churches and other key fundamentalist organizations of the era developed a set of key theological arguments about the perceived un-Americanism of said churches and their clergy. Later in the 1950s, the fundamentalists allied with others on the religious and political right to push for a series of Congressional and FBI investigations into perceived subversion as practised by these churches. While ultimately unsuccessful in terms of their originally stated goals, these prolonged fundamentalist campaigns became a crucial site for disseminating the faith-based conceptions of Americanism and un-Americanism that eventually cohered in the contemporary religious right. This paper will investigate the Cold War fundamentalist discourse on un-Americanism and subversion in an effort to illumine the contours of perceived religious otherness in this exceptionally religious nation.

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Religion's Impact on the Divergent Political Attitudes of Evangelical Protestants in the United States and Brazil

Erin McAdams & Justin Earl Lance
Politics and Religion, September 2013, Pages 483-511

Abstract:
In the United States, Evangelical Protestants' political attitudes have been attributed to their conservative theological beliefs. As this religion's membership has increased around the world, other Evangelicals would logically be expected to demonstrate a similar conservatism in their political views. And yet, this anticipated result does not hold. In Brazil, for example, Evangelicals maintain moderate-to-liberal attitudes on several issues. To address this anomaly, this article relies on the Pew Forum's Multi-Country Religion Survey to examine the impact of religion on Evangelicals' ideology as well as attitudes on moral and economic issues in the United States and Brazil. While doctrinal orthodoxy predicts Evangelicals' moral conservatism, neither religious component examined significantly predicts Brazilian Evangelicals' ideology or economic attitudes. Significant differences in Brazilian and American attitudes on these dimensions in general suggest that the political environment plays a much larger role in whether - and how - religion influences these political attitudes.

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Religious Participation, Social Conservatism, and Human Development

Ben Gaskins, Matt Golder & David Siegel
Journal of Politics, October 2013, Pages 1125-1141

Abstract:
What is the relationship between human development, religion, and social conservatism? We present a model in which individuals derive utility from both the secular and religious worlds. Our model is unusual in that it explains both an individual's religious participation and her preferences over social policy at different levels of development. Using data from the pooled World Values Survey, we find that religious participation declines with human development and an individual's ability to earn secular income. We also find that although social conservatism declines with development in absolute terms, religious individuals become more socially conservative relative to the population average. Paradoxically, our results suggest that human development may make it easier for religious individuals to overcome collective action problems and obtain disproportionate political influence, even as their numbers dwindle and society as a whole becomes less socially conservative. Our analysis has important implications for the debate about secularization theory.

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What predicts religiosity? A multinational analysis of reproductive and cooperative morals

Jason Weeden & Robert Kurzban
Evolution and Human Behavior, November 2013, Pages 440-445

Abstract:
Theories of the sources of contemporary individual differences in religiosity have been proposed involving religiosity's role both in (1) enhancing within-group cooperation and (2) supporting high-commitment reproductive strategies. The present study used data from 296,959 individuals in around 90 countries from the World Values Survey/European Values Study to test the relative strength of individual differences in cooperative morals and reproductive morals in predicting individual differences in religiosity. Cooperative morals tended not to predict religiosity either substantially or in a consistent direction across world regions when entered simultaneously with reproductive morals. In contrast, more-restrictive reproductive morals were significant predictors of increased religiosity in every region, with the size of the relationship being small in poorer regions and large in wealthier regions. These findings run counter to the view that religiosity has a fundamental connection with cooperative morals; instead, particularly in developed countries, individuals' relationships with religious groups are more closely aligned with reproductive strategies.

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To Love or Hate Thy Neighbor: The Role of Authoritarianism and Traditionalism in Explaining the Link Between Fundamentalism and Racial Prejudice

Mark Brandt & Christine Reyna
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Fundamentalism is consistently related to racial prejudice (Hall, Matz, & Wood, 2010), yet the mechanisms for this relationship are unclear. We identify two core values of fundamentalism, authoritarianism and traditionalism, that independently contribute to the fundamentalism-racial prejudice relationship. We also contextualize the fundamentalism-racial prejudice relationship by suggesting that fundamentalists may show prejudice based on conceptions of African Americans as violating values but show tolerance when prejudice is less justifiable. These ideas are tested and confirmed using three data sets from the American National Election Studies. Across all three samples, fundamentalism is related to increases in symbolic racism but decreases in negative affect towards African Americans, and these relationships are mediated by both authoritarianism and traditionalism.

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Earthly Reward to the Religious: Religiosity and the Cost of Public and Private Debt

Feng Jiang, Wei Li & Yiming Qian
University of Iowa Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
We examine the relationship between local religiosity and a firm's cost of debt. We document that firms headquartered in counties with high religiosity tend to have higher credit ratings and lower costs of debt. The impact of religiosity is stronger for young and small firms, firms followed by fewer analysts and firms that are not members of the S&P500 index. Moreover, religiosity has additional explanatory power for the cost of bank loans above and beyond its impact through credit rating, whereas its influence on the cost of public bonds is entirely explained by the rating channel. This is consistent with the notion that banks have superior abilities in pricing value-relevant information such as a firm's culture. Finally, we find that firms with high religiosity are less likely to experience rating downgrades, which lends validation to the negative relationship between religiosity and the cost of debt.

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Religious Participation and Economic Conservatism

Ben Gaskins, Matt Golder & David Siegel
American Journal of Political Science, October 2013, Pages 823-840

Abstract:
Why do some individuals engage in more religious activity than others? And how does this religious activity influence their economic attitudes? We present a formal model in which individuals derive utility from both secular and religious sources. Our model, which incorporates both demand-side and supply-side explanations of religion, is unusual in that it endogenizes both an individual's religious participation and her preferences over economic policy. Using data on over 70 countries from the pooled World Values Survey, we find that religious participation declines with societal development, an individual's ability to produce secular goods, and state regulations on religion, but that it increases with inequality. We also find that religious participation increases economic conservatism among the poor but decreases it among the rich. Our analysis has important insights for the debate about secularization theory and challenges conventional wisdom regarding the relationship between religious participation and economic conservatism.

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A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages

Marta Costa et al.
Nature Communications, October 2013

Abstract:
The origins of Ashkenazi Jews remain highly controversial. Like Judaism, mitochondrial DNA is passed along the maternal line. Its variation in the Ashkenazim is highly distinctive, with four major and numerous minor founders. However, due to their rarity in the general population, these founders have been difficult to trace to a source. Here we show that all four major founders, ~40% of Ashkenazi mtDNA variation, have ancestry in prehistoric Europe, rather than the Near East or Caucasus. Furthermore, most of the remaining minor founders share a similar deep European ancestry. Thus the great majority of Ashkenazi maternal lineages were not brought from the Levant, as commonly supposed, nor recruited in the Caucasus, as sometimes suggested, but assimilated within Europe. These results point to a significant role for the conversion of women in the formation of Ashkenazi communities, and provide the foundation for a detailed reconstruction of Ashkenazi genealogical history.

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Religion and Redistributive Voting in Western Europe

Daniel Stegmueller
Journal of Politics, October 2013, Pages 1064-1076

Abstract:
Why some individuals, who would clearly benefit from redistribution, do not vote for parties offering redistributive policies is an old puzzle of redistributive politics. Recent work in political economy offers an explanation based on the interplay between religious identity and party policies. Strategic parties bundle conservative moral policies with anti-redistribution positions inducing individuals with a strong religious identity to vote based on moral rather than economic preferences. I test this theory using microlevel data on individuals' vote choices in 24 recent multiparty elections in 15 Western European countries. I use an integrated model of religion, economic and moral preferences, and vote choice to show that religious individuals possess less liberal economic preferences, which shapes their vote choice against redistributive parties. This holds even for individuals who would clearly benefit from redistribution. Moreover, the redistributive vote of religious individuals is primarily based on economic not moral preferences.

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Victim Gender in News Coverage of the Priest Sex Crisis by the Boston Globe

Mary Marcel
Women's Studies in Communication, Fall 2013, Pages 288-311

Abstract:
Despite its 2002 lawsuit to force the Catholic Church to reveal cover-ups of sexual abuse by priests, prior to 2002 the Boston Globe engaged in a consistently misogynistic and homophobic bias in its reporting on the crisis. Its journalistic choices supported the frame of the Vatican and the influential Archdiocese of Boston: that this universal crisis was a problem only of a few liberal, "gay," American priests. International, national, and Massachusetts reporting by other newspapers included hundreds of stories of bishops' relationships with women; of priests impregnating nuns; of priests raping female novitiates; and of priests serially raping girls as young as four years old. Yet the Boston Globe chose to cover stories almost exclusively involving boy victims. This analysis shows how differently the Globe and other newspapers covered the stories of Father Robert E. Kelley, who admitted to raping more than 100 girls while serving the diocese in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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Reactions of Religious Fundamentalists to Taboo Images and Words

Larry Bates et al.
Psychological Reports, August 2013, Pages 1085-1108

Abstract:
Some view religious fundamentalism as inclusive of fear of the world as a dangerous place. Fundamentalists are known to have extensive taboo lists, but research concerning their reactions to taboo stimuli is sparse. If fear is a basic component of fundamentalism, then reactions to taboo stimuli should be somewhat similar to common fear reactions, including subjective appraisal of discomfort, psychophysiological arousal, cognitive interference, and behavioral avoidance. The current research addressed some of these questions with three studies to examine subjective discomfort to religiously-taboo and religiously-neutral words and photographs (N = 160), physiological arousal to these same photographs (N = 129), and attentional bias on a modified Stroop test of these same words (N = 182). Although subjective appraisals of discomfort to taboo words and photographs among fundamentalists were confirmed, this research did not find that physiological responses or cognitive interference to taboo stimuli were elevated in those scoring high in religious fundamentalism.

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Religious Affiliation and Hiring Discrimination in New England: A Field Experiment

Bradley Wright et al.
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article describes a field experiment in which we sent fictitious resumes to advertised job openings in New England, in the Northeast region of the United States. We randomly altered the resumes to indicate affiliation in one of seven religious groups or a control group. Resumes that mentioned any religious affiliation received about one-quarter fewer phone calls than did the control group but there were no significant difference in e-mails received. Muslim applicants received one-third fewer responses from employers, either as phone calls or e-mails, than did the control group. There was also evidence of discrimination against atheists, Catholics and pagans. These findings are consistent with theoretical models of secularization and cultural distaste theory.

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HPV Vaccine Decision-Making and Acceptance: Does Religion Play a Role?

Rachel Shelton et al.
Journal of Religion and Health, December 2013, Pages 1120-1130

Abstract:
We conducted a web-based survey among 476 white, Black, and Hispanic parents or caregivers with daughter(s) between the ages of 9-17 to better understand how religion influences HPV vaccine acceptance. Catholic parents were more likely than nonaffiliated parents to have already vaccinated their daughters (vs. being undecided) (OR = 3.26, 95% CI = 1.06, 10.06). Parents with frequent attendance at religious services were more likely than parents who do not attend services to have decided against vaccination (vs. being undecided) (OR = 2.92, 95% CI = 1.25, 6.84). Directions for research and implications for interventions are addressed.

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Religious fundamentalism: A conceptual critique

Richard McDonough
Religious Studies, December 2013, Pages 561-579

Abstract:
The article argues that religious fundamentalism, understood, roughly, as the view that people must obey God's commands unconditionally, is conceptually incoherent because such religious fundamentalists inevitably must substitute human judgement for God's judgement. The article argues, first, that fundamentalism, founded upon the normal sort of indirect communications from God, is indefensible. Second, the article considers the crucial case in which God is said to communicate directly to human beings, and argues that the fundamentalist interpretation of such communications is also incoherent, and, on this basis, argues that religious fundamentalism is actually an extreme form of irreligiousness. Finally, the article considers Kierkegaard's prima facie defence of unconditional religious faith, and argues that, despite some similarity with the fundamentalists, Kierkegaard's appreciation of human finitude leads him to a profoundly anti-fundamentalist stance.

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Risk aversion and religion

Charles Noussair et al.
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, October 2013, Pages 165-183

Abstract:
We use a dataset for a demographically representative sample of the Dutch population that contains a revealed preference risk attitude measure, as well as detailed information about participants' religious background, to study three issues. First, we find strong confirmatory evidence that more religious people, as measured by church membership or attendance, are more risk averse with regard to financial risks. Second, we obtain some evidence that Protestants are more risk averse than Catholics in such tasks. Third, our data suggest that the link between risk aversion and religion is driven by social aspects of church membership, rather than by religious beliefs themselves.

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The Domestic Politics of International Religious Defamation

Peter Henne
Politics and Religion, September 2013, Pages 512-537

Abstract:
From 2005 to 2010, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation attempted to ban the defamation of religion internationally through a series of United Nations resolutions. Although many opposed the resolutions for their potential effects on political rights, numerous non-Muslim states supported them. What explains the dynamic of this support, especially the resolutions' religious nature and significant non-Muslim backing? I argue that non-democratic states that restrict religion have an incentive to take action on contentious international issues - such as the religious defamation resolutions - to gain support from religious groups and justify their restrictive policies, even though Muslim religious defamation concerns and developing country solidarity also contributed to support. I demonstrate this through a mixed-method study, with a quantitative analysis of states' votes on the resolutions and case studies of Belarus and Pakistan. The article contributes to the study of religion and politics, as well as studies on the dynamics of United Nations voting.

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Race and the Religious Contexts of Violence: Linking Religion and White, Black, and Latino Violent Crime

Jeffery Ulmer & Casey Harris
Sociological Quarterly, Fall 2013, Pages 610-646

Abstract:
Research has demonstrated that concentrated disadvantage and other measures are strongly associated with aggregate-level rates of violence, including across racial and ethnic groups. Less studied is the impact of cultural factors, including religious contextual measures. The current study addresses several key gaps in prior literature by utilizing race/ethnic-specific arrest data from California, New York, and Texas paired with religious contextual data from the Religious Congregations and Memberships Survey. Results suggest that, net of important controls, (1) religious contextual measures have significant crime-reducing associations with violence; (2) these associations are race/ethnic specific; and (3) religious contextual measures moderate the criminogenic association between disadvantage and violence for blacks. Implications for future research are discussed.

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Islam, Religiosity, and Immigrant Political Action In Western Europe

Aida Just, Maria Elena Sandovici & Ola Listhaug
Social Science Research, January 2014, Pages 127-144

Abstract:
The issues of migration and immigrant political integration in western democracies have become increasingly intertwined with debates on religion, particularly Islam. To date, however, we have surprisingly little systematic research on how religious beliefs are related to immigrants' political engagement. In this study, we argue that religion has a capacity to mobilize immigrants politically but the strength of this relationship depends on immigrant generation, religiosity, and the type of religion. Using survey data collected as part of the European Social Survey (ESS) 2002-10 in 18 West European democracies, our analyses reveal that religion is indeed linked to political engagement of immigrants in a complex way: while belonging to a religion is generally associated with less political participation, exposure to religious institutions appears to have the opposite effect. Moreover, we find that, compared to foreign-born Muslims, second-generation Muslim immigrants are not only more religious and more politically dissatisfied with their host countries, but also that religiosity is more strongly linked to their political engagement. This relationship, however, is limited to uninstitutionalized political action.

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Praying for outcomes one knows would be bad

T.J. Mawson
Religious Studies, December 2013, Pages 551-560

Abstract:
In this article, I consider what states of knowledge of the value of outcomes are consistent with a classical theist's praying to God that He bring about those outcomes. I proceed from a consideration of the cases which seem least problematic (the theist knows these outcomes to be ones which would be, at least after they've been prayed for, best or at least good), through a consideration of cases where the outcomes prayed for are ones the goodness and badness of which the theist is agnostic about, to consider finally praying for outcomes that the theist knows would be bad at the time he or she is praying for them. I conclude that even prayers of this last sort should, albeit only on rare occasions, be prayed.

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The effect of religious and sexual stigmas on programmers and trust in their work product

Stephen Rice & Jessica Richardson
Social Science Journal, June 2013, Pages 244-251

Abstract:
Research on stigmatized individuals is widespread; however, there are only a few studies on how stigma affects trust in a stigmatized person's work product. In two experiments, participants evaluate a target individual who is described as either Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Atheist-Agnostic or either heterosexual/homosexual/bisexual. Participants are asked to rate how they feel about a target and how trustworthy they feel the target individual's work product is. All religions and sexual orientations except Christian or Jewish heterosexuals are rated less positively and their work products are rated as less trustworthy compared to a neutral control. Results also show that affect plays a strong mediating role in the relationship between stigmatized conditions and trust in work product.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teach to the tested

Small Differences that Matter: Mistakes in Applying to College

Amanda Pallais
NBER Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
This paper estimates the sensitivity of students' college application decisions to a small change in the cost of sending standardized test scores to colleges. Using confidential ACT micro data, I find that when the ACT increased from three to four the number of free score reports that ACT-takers could send, the fraction of test-takers sending four reports rose substantially while the fraction sending three fell by an offsetting amount. Students simultaneously sent their scores to a wider range of colleges. Using micro data from the American Freshman Survey, two identification strategies show that ACT-takers sent more college applications and low-income ACT-takers attended more selective colleges after the cost change. The first strategy compares ACT-takers before and after the cost change, controlling for time trends and covariates, and the second estimates difference-in-difference regressions using SAT-takers as a control group. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that by inducing low-income students to attend more selective colleges, the policy change significantly increased their expected earnings. Because the cost of sending an additional (non-free) ACT score was merely $6 throughout, this sizable behavioral change is surprising and suggests that students may use simple heuristics in making their application decisions. In such a setting, small policy perturbations can have large effects on welfare.

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Are Catholic Primary Schools More Effective Than Public Primary Schools?

Todd Elder & Christopher Jepsen
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper assesses the causal effects of Catholic primary schooling on student outcomes such as test scores, grade retention, and behavior. Catholic school students have substantially better average outcomes than do public school students throughout the primary years, but we present evidence that selection bias is entirely responsible for these advantages. Estimates based on several empirical strategies, including an approach developed by Altonji et al. (2005a) to use selection on observables to assess the bias arising from selection on unobservables, imply that Catholic schools do not appreciably boost test scores. All of the empirical strategies point to sizeable negative effects of Catholic schooling on mathematics achievement. Similarly, we find very little evidence that Catholic schooling improves behavioral and other non-cognitive outcomes once we account for selection on unobservables.

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Is There Empirical Evidence That Charter Schools “Push Out” Low-Performing Students?

Ron Zimmer & Cassandra Guarino
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2013, Pages 461-480

Abstract:
A major concern among opponents to charter schools is whether these schools will serve all students. Some have raised concerns that charter schools will “push out” low-achieving students in hopes of improving the schools’ academic profile while minimizing costs by educating fewer challenging students. In this article, we use data from an anonymous major urban school district to examine whether we see exit patterns consistent with the claim that charter schools are more likely to push out low-achieving students than are traditional public schools (TPSs). Overall, we find no empirical evidence to support the notion of push-out.

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The Medium-Term Impacts of High-Achieving Charter Schools on Non-Test Score Outcomes

Will Dobbie & Roland Fryer
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
High-performing charter schools can significantly increase the test scores of poor urban students. It is unclear whether these test score gains translate into improved outcomes later in life. We estimate the effects of high-performing charter schools on human capital, risky behaviors, and health outcomes using survey data from the Promise Academy in the Harlem Children's Zone. Six years after the random admissions lottery, youth offered admission to the Promise Academy middle school score 0.283 standard deviations higher on a nationally-normed math achievement test and are 14.1 percentage points more likely to enroll in college. Admitted females are 12.1 percentage points less likely to be pregnant in their teens, and males are 4.3 percentage points less likely to be incarcerated. We find little impact of the Promise Academy on self-reported health. We conclude with speculative evidence that high-performing schools may be sufficient to significantly improve human capital and reduce certain risky behaviors among the poor.

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Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT

Thomas Dee & James Wyckoff
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Teachers in the United States are compensated largely on the basis of fixed schedules that reward experience and credentials. However, there is a growing interest in whether performance-based incentives based on rigorous teacher evaluations can improve teacher retention and performance. The evidence available to date has been mixed at best. This study presents novel evidence on this topic based on IMPACT, the controversial teacher-evaluation system introduced in the District of Columbia Public Schools by then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee. IMPACT implemented uniquely high-powered incentives linked to multiple measures of teacher performance (i.e., several structured observational measures as well as test performance). We present regression-discontinuity (RD) estimates that compare the retention and performance outcomes among low-performing teachers whose ratings placed them near the threshold that implied a strong dismissal threat. We also compare outcomes among high-performing teachers whose rating placed them near a threshold that implied an unusually large financial incentive. Our RD results indicate that dismissal threats increased the voluntary attrition of low-performing teachers by 11 percentage points (i.e., more than 50 percent) and improved the performance of teachers who remained by 0.27 of a teacher-level standard deviation. We also find evidence that financial incentives further improved the performance of high-performing teachers (effect size = 0.24).

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Small High Schools and Student Achievement: Lottery-Based Evidence from New York City

Atila Abdulkadiroğlu, Weiwei Hu & Parag Pathak
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
One of the most wide-ranging reforms in public education in the last decade has been the reorganization of large comprehensive high schools into small schools with roughly 100 students per grade. We use assignment lotteries embedded in New York City's high school match to estimate the effects of attendance at a new small high school on student achievement. More than 150 unselective small high schools created between 2002 and 2008 have enhanced autonomy, but operate within-district with traditional public school teachers, principals, and collectively-bargained work rules. Lottery estimates show positive score gains in Mathematics, English, Science, and History, more credit accumulation, and higher graduation rates. Small school attendance causes a substantial increase in college enrollment, with a marked shift to CUNY institutions. Students are also less likely to require remediation in reading and writing when at college. Detailed school surveys indicate that students at small schools are more engaged and closely monitored, despite fewer course offerings and activities. Teachers report greater feedback, increased safety, and improved collaboration. The results show that school size is an important factor in education production and highlight the potential for within-district reform strategies to substantially improve student achievement.

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The impact of federal, state and local taxes on student achievement in public schools: The case of Indiana

Tin-Chun Lin & Amanda Couch
Applied Economics Letters, Winter 2013, Pages 220-223

Abstract:
In this article, data from 286 Indiana school districts during the 2009–2010 school year were used in a case study to investigate whether fiscal funding has a direct effect on education output (i.e. student achievement). Two results were found: (1) while federal taxes are not significantly associated with student achievement in public schools, both state and local taxes are strongly related to student achievement in public schools, implying a direct effect on education output; and (2) state tax funding has a greater impact on education output than local tax funding.

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Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from a Six-Campus Randomized Trial

William Bowen et al.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Online instruction is quickly gaining in importance in U.S. higher education, but little rigorous evidence exists as to its effect on student learning. We measure the effect on learning outcomes of a prototypical interactive learning online statistics course by randomly assigning students on six public university campuses to take the course in a hybrid format (with machine-guided instruction accompanied by one hour of face-to-face instruction each week) or a traditional format (as it is usually offered by their campus, typically with about three hours of face-to-face instruction each week). We find that learning outcomes are essentially the same — that students in the hybrid format are not harmed by this mode of instruction in terms of pass rates, final exam scores, and performance on a standardized assessment of statistical literacy. We also conduct speculative cost simulations and find that adopting hybrid models of instruction in large introductory courses has the potential to significantly reduce instructor compensation costs in the long run.

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The Association Between School-to-Work Programs and School Performance

Erin Welsh et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: The School-to-Work (STW) Opportunities Act was passed to aid students in transitioning from education to employment by offering work-based learning opportunities. In the United States, 72% of high schools offer work-based learning opportunities for credit. This is the first study to describe school performance and school-based behaviors among students enrolled in STW programs and compare them with nonworking and other-working students.

Methods: In 2003, a questionnaire was administered to five school districts and one large urban school in Wisconsin. Between 2008 and 2010, analyses were completed to characterize STW students and compare them with other students.

Results: Of the 6,519 students aged 14–18 years included in the analyses, 461 were involved in an STW program (7%), 3,108 were non-working (48%), and 2,950 were other-working students (45%). Compared with other students, STW students were less likely to have a grade point average >2.0, more likely to have three or more unexcused absences from school, and more likely to spend <1 hour in school-sponsored activities. Holding multiple jobs also negatively affected a student's academic performance.

Conclusions: School-to-Work students reported poorer academic performance and more unhealthy school-related behaviors compared with nonworking students and other-working students. Whereas many factors have a role in why students perform poorly in school, more research on students enrolled in STW programs is needed to understand whether participating has a negative impact on students' academic achievement.

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Teacher Behavior under Performance Pay Incentives

Michael Jones
Economics of Education Review, December 2013, Pages 148–164

Abstract:
Over the last decade many districts implemented performance pay incentives to reward teachers for improving student achievement. Economic theory suggests that these programs could alter teacher work effort, cooperation, and retention. Because teachers can choose to work in a performance pay district that has characteristics correlated with teacher behavior, I use the distance between a teacher's undergraduate institution and the nearest performance pay district as an instrumental variable. Using data from the 2003 and 2007 waves of the Schools and Staffing Survey, I find that teachers respond to performance pay incentives by working fewer hours per week. Performance pay also decreases participation in unpaid cooperative school activities, while there is suggestive evidence that teacher turnover decreases. The treatment effects are heterogeneous; male teachers respond more positively than female teachers. In Florida, which restricts state performance pay funding to individual teachers, I find that work effort and teacher turnover increase.

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Voluntary Disclosure and the Strategic Behavior of Colleges

Michael Conlin, Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Gabrielle Chapman
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, December 2013, Pages 48–64

Abstract:
This paper investigates how outside ranking organizations such as U.S. News and World Report affect colleges’ admission decisions. To do this, we focus on a policy that has received criticism for being motivated by ranking concerns: optional reporting of SAT I scores. This policy allows colleges to report an average SAT I score based on those applicants who chose to submit their scores which may not be reflective of actual student body quality. We use proprietary data from two liberal arts colleges to address how the optional reporting policy affects the colleges’ admission decisions as well as how applicants’ SAT I scores influence their decision to submit these scores to the colleges. The data suggest that college admission departments are behaving strategically by rewarding applicants who do submit their SAT I scores when their scores will raise the college's average SAT I score reported to U.S. News and World Report and rewarding applicants who do not submit when their SAT I scores will lower the college's reported score. The data also suggest that applicants are behaving strategically by choosing not to reveal their SAT I scores if they are below a value one might predict based on their other observable characteristics.

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Merit Aid, Student Mobility, and the Role of College Selectivity

Rajashri Chakrabarti & Joydeep Roy
Federal Reserve Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
In this paper, we investigate the role of college selectivity in mobility decisions (both in-state and out-of-state) of freshmen students following Georgia’s HOPE scholarship program. How did HOPE affect the selectivity of colleges attended by Georgia’s freshmen students? Did it induce Georgia’s freshmen students who would have otherwise attended more selective out-of-state colleges to instead attend less selective in-state ones? Or was there movement to more selective ones, both in-state and out-of-state? Using student residency and enrollment data from IPEDS and selectivity data from Barron’s and Peterson’s, we find that in the aftermath of HOPE, Georgia freshmen attended relatively more selective colleges overall. Disaggregating further, we find that Georgia freshmen attending in-state colleges attended more selective ones. Georgia freshmen attending out-of-state colleges were also more likely to attend more selective colleges, most likely due to an increase in the reservation price to go to out-of-state colleges following HOPE. Our results are robust to a variety of sensitivity checks and have important policy implications. In particular, Peltzman had observed in his classic 1973 paper that in-kind subsidies can induce individuals to invest in less quality-adjusted human capital than they might otherwise. The fact that Georgia freshmen attended relatively more selective colleges in the post-HOPE period allays, to some extent, the concern that state merit aid programs can adversely affect long-term outcomes and human capital formation.

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Evaluation of the College Possible Program: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Christopher Avery
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This paper reports the results of a randomized trial of the College Possible program, which provides two years of college preparatory work for high school juniors and seniors in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The trial involved 238 students, including 134 who were randomly selected for admission to the program. The results indicate that the College Possible program significantly increased both applications and enrollment to both four-year colleges and selective four-year colleges; we estimate that initial enrollment at four-year colleges increased by more than 15 percentage points for program participants, but find little evidence of any effect of the program on ACT performance or college enrollment overall.

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Are Students Dropping Out or Simply Dragging Out the College Experience? Persistence at the Six-Year Mark

Leslie Stratton & James Wetzel
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, October 2013, Pages 1121–1142

Abstract:
Standard analyses of college outcomes look at six-year graduation rates, treating all non-graduates alike as “failures”. However, we find that 36% of non-graduates are still enrolled. Using micro-level data with rich information on demographic and academic background, we employ a multinomial logit model to distinguish among graduates, persisters, and dropouts six years following matriculation. We find that there are significant differences across these populations. Separate evidence indicates that as many as half of those persisting at the six-year mark will graduate within a few years. Thus, six-year graduation rates understate “success,” but future success is not the same for all groups. Holding academic background constant, reported graduation rates are lower for Hispanics because they are taking longer to graduate and lower for first-generation college students because they are dropping out. The most important factor is academic background, suggesting that increased financial aid is unlikely to substantially increase graduation rates.

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Merit Aid and Post-College Retention in the State

David Sjoquist & John Winters
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
One goal of state merit-based financial aid programs is to increase the stock of college-educated labor in the state by retaining college-educated persons in the state after college. However, there has been surprisingly little research on whether state merit aid programs are effective at this goal. This paper investigates the effect of state merit aid programs on the post-college location of 24-30 year olds. We use decennial census and American Community Survey microdata to consider post-college retention effects in the 25 states that implemented merit aid programs between 1991 and 2004. Our preferred specification implies that strong state merit aid programs on average increase the probability that a college attendee lives in his or her birth state during ages 24-30 by 2.76 percentage points. We also estimate the effect for individual states and find meaningful differences across states in the effect of merit aid programs on in-state post-college retention and explore explanations for these differences.

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The Aggregate Effect of School Choice: Evidence from a Two-stage Experiment in India

Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman
NBER Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
We present experimental evidence on the impact of a school choice program in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) that featured a unique two-stage lottery-based allocation of school vouchers that created both a student-level and a market-level experiment. This design allows us to study both the individual and the aggregate effects of school choice (including spillovers). We find that private-school teachers have lower levels of formal education and training than public-school teachers, and are paid much lower salaries. On the other hand, private schools have a longer school day, a longer school year, smaller class sizes, lower teacher absence, higher teaching activity, and better school hygiene. After two and four years of the program, we find no difference between the test scores of lottery winners and losers on math and Telugu (native language). However, private schools spend significantly less instructional time on these subjects, and use the extra time to teach more English, Science, Social Studies, and Hindi. Averaged across all subjects, lottery winners score 0.13σ higher, and students who attend private schools score 0.23σ higher. We find no evidence of spillovers on public-school students who do not apply for the voucher, or on students who start out in private schools to begin with, suggesting that the program had no adverse effects on these groups. Finally, the mean cost per student in the private schools in our sample is less than a third of the cost in public schools. Our results suggest that private schools in this setting deliver (slightly) better test score gains than their public counterparts, and do so at substantially lower costs per student. More generally, our results highlight that ignoring heterogeneity among schools' instructional programs and patterns of time use may lead to incorrect inference on the impact of school choice on learning outcomes.

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Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India

Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman
NBER Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
The large-scale expansion of primary schooling in developing countries has led to the increasing use of non-civil-service contract teachers who are locally-hired from the same village as the school, are not professionally trained, have fixed-term renewable contracts, and are paid much lower salaries than regular civil-service teachers. This has been a controversial policy, but there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of contract teachers in improving student learning. We present experimental evidence on the impact of contract teachers using data from an ‘as is’ expansion of contract-teacher hiring across a representative sample of 100 randomly-selected government-run rural primary schools in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. At the end of two years, students in schools with an extra contract teacher performed significantly better than those in comparison schools by 0.16σ and 0.15σ, in math and language tests respectively. Contract teachers were also much less likely to be absent from school than civil-service teachers (18% vs. 27%). Using the experimental variation in school-level pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) induced by the provision of an extra contract teacher, we estimate that reducing PTR by 10% using a contract teacher would increase test scores by 0.03σ/year. Using high-quality panel data over five years we estimate that the corresponding gain to reducing PTR by 10% using a regular civil-service teacher would be 0.02σ/year. Thus, in addition to finding that contract teachers are effective at improving student learning outcomes, we find that they are no less effective than regular civil-service teachers who are more qualified, better trained, and paid five times higher salaries.

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The Impact of Pre-school on Adolescents’ Outcomes: Evidence from a Recent English Cohort

Patricia Apps, Silvia Mendolia & Ian Walker
Economics of Education Review, December 2013, Pages 183–199

Abstract:
This paper investigates the relationship between attendance at pre-school school and children's outcomes into early adulthood. In particular, we are interested in: child cognitive development at ages 11, 14 and 16; intentions towards tertiary education; economic activity in early adulthood; and a group of non-cognitive outcomes such as risky health behaviour; and personality traits. Using matching methods to control for a very rich set of child and family characteristics, we find evidence that pre-school childcare moderately improves results in cognitive tests at age 11 and 14 and 16. Positive effects are especially noticeable for girls and children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Results for non-cognitive outcomes are weaker: we do not find any significant evidence of improvement in psychological well-being, petty crime involvement, or on almost all health behaviours. While the cognitive effects may well serve to reduce lifecycle inequalities there is no support here for other important social benefits.

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Can Higher-Achieving Peers Explain the Benefits to Attending Selective Schools? Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago

Kirabo Jackson
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using exogenous secondary school assignments to remove self-selection bias to schools and peers within schools, I credibly estimate both (1) the effect of attending schools with higher-achieving peers, and (2) the direct effect of short-run peer quality improvements within schools, on the same population. While students at schools with higher-achieving peers have better academic achievement, within-school short-run increases in peer achievement improve outcomes only at high-achievement schools. Short-run (direct) peer quality accounts for only one tenth of school value-added on average, but at least one-third among the most selective schools. There are large and important differences by gender.

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When Does Inter-School Competition Matter? Evidence from the Chilean “Voucher” System

Francisco Gallego
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, October 2013, Pages 525–562

Abstract:
I investigate the effects of voucher-school competition on educational outcomes. I test whether voucher-school competition (1) improves student outcomes and (2) has stronger effects when public schools face a hard-budget constraint. Since both voucher-school competition and the degree of hardness of the budget constraint for public schools are endogenous to public school quality, I exploit (i) the interaction of the number of Catholic priests in 1950 and the institution of the voucher system in Chile in 1981 as a potentially exogenous determinant of the supply of voucher schools and (ii) a particular feature of the electoral system that affects the identity of the mayors of different counties (who manage public schools) as a source of exogenous variation in the degree of hardness of the public schools’ budget constraints. Using this information, I find that (1) an increase of one standard deviation of the ratio of voucher-to-public schools increases test scores by just around 0.10 standard deviations; and (2) the effects are significantly bigger for public schools facing more binding minimum enrollment levels.

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After-School Tutoring and the Distribution of Student Performance

Min-Hsiung Huang
Comparative Education Review, November 2013, Pages 689-710

Abstract:
As more primary and secondary students worldwide seek after-school tutoring in academic subjects, concerns are being raised about whether after-school tutoring can raise average test scores without widening the variability in student performance, and whether students of certain ability levels may benefit more than others from after-school tutoring. To address these questions, I compared the distributions of student performance across countries with differing levels of participation in after-school tutoring, while controlling for country-level unobserved heterogeneity using a fixed-effects model. Participating in either mathematics or science tutoring after school is found to raise national average performance without widening the dispersion in student performance. In science, low-performing students benefit more from tutoring than do high-performing students. In mathematics, high-performing students benefit more from tutoring than do low-performing students.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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