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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gender bender

Neighborhood-Level LGBT Hate Crimes and Current Illicit Drug Use among Sexual Minority Youth

Dustin Duncan, Mark Hatzenbuehler & Renee Johnson
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Objective: To investigate whether past-30 day illicit drug use among sexual minority youth was more common in neighborhoods with a greater prevalence of hate crimes targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT, or sexual minority) individuals.

Methods: We used a population-based survey of public school youth in Boston, Massachusetts, consisting of 1,292 9th-12th grade students from the 2008 Boston Youth Survey Geospatial Dataset (sexual minority n = 108). Data on LGBT hate crimes involving assaults or assaults and battery between 2005 and 2008 were obtained from the Boston Police Department and linked to youths’ residential address. Youth reported past-30 day use of marijuana and other illicit drugs. Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests and corresponding p-values were computed to assess differences in substance use by neighborhood-level LGBT assault hate crime rate among sexual minority youth (n = 103).

Results: The LGBT assault hate crime rate in the neighborhoods of sexual minority youth who reported current marijuana use was 23.7 per 100,000, compared to 12.9 per 100,000 for sexual minority youth who reported no marijuana use (p = 0.04). No associations between LGBT assault hate crimes and marijuana use among heterosexual youth (p > 0.05) or between sexual minority marijuana use and overall neighborhood-level violent and property crimes (p > 0.05) were detected, providing evidence for result specificity.

Conclusions: We found a significantly greater prevalence of marijuana use among sexual minority youth in neighborhoods with a higher prevalence of LGBT assault hate crimes. These results suggest that neighborhood context (i.e., LGBT hate crimes) may contribute to sexual orientation disparities in marijuana use.

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Is Rising Obesity Causing a Secular (Age-Independent) Decline in Testosterone among American Men?

Allan Mazur, Ronny Westerman & Ulrich Mueller
PLoS ONE, October 2013

Abstract:
The testosterone of men in industrial societies peaks in their twenties and tends to decline with increasing age. Apart from this individual-level decline, there have been reports of a secular (age-independent population-level) decline in testosterone among American and Scandinavian men during the past few decades, possibly an indication of declining male reproductive health. It has been suggested that both declines in testosterone (individual-level and population-level) are due to increasing male obesity because men in industrial society tend to add body fat as they age, and overall rates of obesity are increasing. Using an unusually large and lengthy longitudinal dataset (991 US Air Force veterans examined in six cycles over 20 years), we investigate the relationship of obesity to individual and population-level declines in testosterone. Over twenty years of study, longitudinal decline in mean testosterone was at least twice what would be expected from cross-sectional estimates of the aging decline. Men who put on weight intensified their testosterone decline, some greatly so, but even among those who held their weight constant or lost weight during the study, mean testosterone declined 117 ng/dl (19%) over 20 years. We have not identified the reason for secular decline in testosterone, but we exclude increasing obesity as a sufficient or primary explanation, and we deny the supposition that men who avoid excessive weight will maintain their youthful levels of testosterone.

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When Do Legislators Defy Popular Sovereignty? Testing Theories of Minority Representation Using DOMA

Benjamin Bishin & Charles Anthony Smith
Political Research Quarterly, December 2013, Pages 794-803

Abstract:
What explains the behavior of legislators on bills that restrict the rights of marginalized minorities? Studies of representation typically focus on factors like party or public opinion but seldom account for theories of minority representation like electoral capture or subconstituency politics. One reason for this is that data allowing for the comparison of these theories are seldom available for U.S. House districts. We overcome this hurdle by implementing multilevel regression with post-stratification to estimate opinion on gay marriage during the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act vote. We show that subconstituency politics explains legislators’ behavior better than electoral capture, party, or public opinion.

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Masculine Men Articulate Less Clearly

Vera Kempe, David Puts & Rodrigo Cárdenas
Human Nature, December 2013, Pages 461-475

Abstract:
In previous research, acoustic characteristics of the male voice have been shown to signal various aspects of mate quality and threat potential. But the human voice is also a medium of linguistic communication. The present study explores whether physical and vocal indicators of male mate quality and threat potential are linked to effective communicative behaviors such as vowel differentiation and use of more salient phonetic variants of consonants. We show that physical and vocal indicators of male threat potential, height and formant position, are negatively linked to vowel space size, and that height and levels of circulating testosterone are negatively linked to the use of the aspirated variant of the alveolar stop consonant /t/. Thus, taller, more masculine men display less clarity in their speech and prefer phonetic variants that may be associated with masculine attributes such as toughness. These findings suggest that vocal signals of men’s mate quality and/or dominance are not confined to the realm of voice acoustics but extend to other aspects of communicative behavior, even if this means a trade-off with speech patterns that are considered communicatively advantageous, such as clarity and indexical cues to higher social class.

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Shape Differences Between the Faces of Homosexual and Heterosexual Men

Jaroslava Varella Valentova et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have shown that homosexual men differ from heterosexual men in several somatic traits and lay people accurately attribute sexual orientation based on facial images. Thus, we may predict that morphological differences between faces of homosexual and heterosexual individuals can cue to sexual orientation. The main aim of this study was to test for possible differences in facial shape between heterosexual and homosexual men. Further, we tested whether self-reported sexual orientation correlated with sexual orientation and masculinity–femininity attributed from facial images by independent raters. In Study 1, we used geometric morphometrics to test for differences in facial shape between homosexual and heterosexual men. The analysis revealed significant shape differences in faces of heterosexual and homosexual men. Homosexual men showed relatively wider and shorter faces, smaller and shorter noses, and rather massive and more rounded jaws, resulting in a mosaic of both feminine and masculine features. In Study 2, we tested the accuracy of sexual orientation judgment from standardized facial photos which were assessed by 80 independent raters. Binary logistic regression showed no effect of attributed sexual orientation on self-reported sexual orientation. However, homosexual men were rated as more masculine than heterosexual men, which may explain the misjudgment of sexual orientation. Thus, our results showed that differences in facial morphology of homosexual and heterosexual men do not simply mirror variation in femininity, and the stereotypic association of feminine looking men as homosexual may confound judgments of sexual orientation.

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Sexual Orientation, Prejudice, and Segregation

Erik Plug, Dinand Webbink & Nick Martin
Journal of Labor Economics, January 2014, Pages 123-159

Abstract:
This article examines whether gay and lesbian workers sort into tolerant occupations. With information on sexual orientation, prejudice, and occupational choice taken from Australian Twin Registers, we find that gays and lesbians shy away from prejudiced occupations. We show that our segregation results are largely driven by those gay and lesbian workers with disclosed identities and are robust to the inclusion of unobserved factors that are inherited and observed factors that strongly correlate with productive skills and vocational preferences. Our segregation estimates are consistent with prejudice-based theories of employer and employee discrimination against gay and lesbian workers.

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What’s Love Got to Do with It? Sexual Prejudice Predicts Unitization of Men in Same-Sex Romantic Relationships

Taylor Tuscherer & Kurt Hugenberg
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We hypothesized that perceivers high in sexual prejudice would fail to unitize romantically involved men into a single mental representation, instead perceiving the men as separate individuals. Two studies provided support for our hypothesis. In Study 1, sexual prejudice predicted perceptions of compatibility, intimacy, emotional satisfaction, and temporal stability for couples described as same-sex male but not for couples described as opposite sex. In Study 2, participants completed a modified who-said-what task in which men of two different same-sex couples presented facts about their relationships. Those low, versus high, in sexual prejudice committed significantly more within-couple relative to between-couple errors in their ascriptions, indicating that prejudice negatively predicted categorization along the dimension of couple. These results have important implications for how those high in sexual prejudice form impressions of same-sex couples and, ultimately, for how prejudiced attitudes affect mental representations of romantic couples.

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Low 2D:4D Values Are Associated with Video Game Addiction

Johannes Kornhuber et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2013

Abstract:
Androgen-dependent signaling regulates the growth of the fingers on the human hand during embryogenesis. A higher androgen load results in lower 2D:4D (second digit to fourth digit) ratio values. Prenatal androgen exposure also impacts brain development. 2D:4D values are usually lower in males and are viewed as a proxy of male brain organization. Here, we quantified video gaming behavior in young males. We found lower mean 2D:4D values in subjects who were classified according to the CSAS-II as having at-risk/addicted behavior (n = 27) compared with individuals with unproblematic video gaming behavior (n = 27). Thus, prenatal androgen exposure and a hyper-male brain organization, as represented by low 2D:4D values, are associated with problematic video gaming behavior. These results may be used to improve the diagnosis, prediction, and prevention of video game addiction.

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Naturally Designed for Masculinity vs. Femininity? Prenatal Testosterone Predicts Male Consumers' Choices of Gender-Imaged Products

Jaakko Aspara & Bram Van Den Bergh
International Journal of Research in Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we find that a proxy of prenatal testosterone exposure (i.e., digit ratio) is a significant predictor of preferences for products that differ in perceived masculinity vs. femininity. A more masculine (feminine) digit ratio predicts choice of products that have an increasingly masculine (feminine) image. This relationship is statistically significant for male consumers, but not for females.

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Weight Status and Sexual Orientation: Differences by Age and Within Racial and Ethnic Subgroups

Nicholas Deputy & Ulrike Boehmer
American Journal of Public Health, January 2014, Pages 103-109

Objectives: We determined differences in weight at age 18 years and at current age and weight change by sexual orientation within different racial/ethnic populations, stratifying by gender.

Methods: We used 2001–2007 data from the California Health Interview Survey, resulting in an unweighted sample of 120 274 individuals aged 18 to 74 years. Using regression models, we examined overweight status and change in weight by sexual orientation, stratifying by race/ethnicity and gender.

Results: Compared with heterosexual women of the same race/ethnicity, White and African American lesbians and bisexuals had increased likelihood of being overweight at age 18 years and maintaining overweight status during adulthood. Sexual minority status was unrelated to weight among Latinas and inconsistently linked to weight among Asian women compared with heterosexual women of the same race/ethnicity. Sexual minority status was protective against unhealthy weight among White, African American, Asian, and Latino men compared with heterosexual counterparts of the same race/ethnicity. This protective effect was seen after age 18 years except among African American bisexual men.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate a need for age- and culture-sensitive interventions that reduce weight or prevent weight gain in sexual minority women and men.

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Biological Markers of Asexuality: Handedness, Birth Order, and Finger Length Ratios in Self-identified Asexual Men and Women

Morag Yule, Lori Brotto & Boris Gorzalka
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Human asexuality is defined as a lack of sexual attraction to anyone or anything and it has been suggested that it may be best conceptualized as a sexual orientation. Non-right-handedness, fraternal birth order, and finger length ratio (2D:4D) are early neurodevelopmental markers associated with sexual orientation. We conducted an Internet study investigating the relationship between self-identification as asexual, handedness, number of older siblings, and self-measured finger-lengths in comparison to individuals of other sexual orientation groups. A total of 325 asexuals (60 men and 265 women; M age, 24.8 years), 690 heterosexuals (190 men and 500 women; M age, 23.5 years), and 268 non-heterosexuals (homosexual and bisexual; 64 men and 204 women; M age, 29.0 years) completed online questionnaires. Asexual men and women were 2.4 and 2.5 times, respectively, more likely to be non-right-handed than their heterosexual counterparts and there were significant differences between sexual orientation groups in number of older brothers and older sisters, and this depended on handedness. Asexual and non-heterosexual men were more likely to be later-born than heterosexual men, and asexual women were more likely to be earlier-born than non-heterosexual women. We found no significant differences between sexual orientation groups on measurements of 2D:4D ratio. This is one of the first studies to test and provide preliminary empirical support for an underlying neurodevelopmental basis to account for the lack of sexual attraction characteristic of asexuality.

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Expressive Writing to Cope with Hate Speech: Assessing Psychobiological Stress Recovery and Forgiveness Promotion for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Queer Victims of Hate Speech

John Patrick Crowley
Human Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined whether expressive writing could help lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer (LGBQ) hate speech victims increase forgiveness for offenders, and accelerate cortisol recovery following a discussion task in which they recalled the details of their experiences. Participants (N = 46) were assigned to a benefit-finding, traumatic disclosure writing, or control condition. The findings indicate that benefit-finding promoted forgiveness and reduced cortisol values, whereas traumatic disclosure writing only accelerated cortisol recovery. Analyses of the linguistic features of victims' narratives revealed that the amount of emotion-related words related to cortisol recovery, whereas the greater use of cognitive words was related with forgiveness. Implications for theory, methodological comparison, and future research are discussed.

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Queer Women in the Hookup Scene: Beyond the Closet?

Leila Rupp et al.
Gender & Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
The college hookup scene is a profoundly gendered and heteronormative sexual field. Yet the party and bar scene that gives rise to hookups also fosters the practice of women kissing other women in public, generally to the enjoyment of male onlookers, and sometimes facilitates threesomes involving same-sex sexual behavior between women. In this article, we argue that the hookup scene serves as an opportunity structure to explore same-sex attractions and, at least for some women, to later verify bisexual, lesbian, or queer sexual identities. Based on quantitative and qualitative data and combining queer theory and identity theory, we offer a new interpretation of women’s same-sex practices in the hookup culture. Our analysis contributes to gender theory by demonstrating the utility of identity theory for understanding how non-normative gender and sexual identities are negotiated within heteronormatively structured fields.

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Olfactory Performance Is Predicted by Individual Sex-Atypicality, but Not Sexual Orientation

Lenka Nováková, Jaroslava Varella Valentová & Jan Havlíček
PLoS ONE, November 2013

Abstract:
Many previous studies have reported robust sex differences in olfactory perception. However, both men and women can be expected to vary in the degree to which they exhibit olfactory performance considered typical of their own or the opposite sex. Sex-atypicality is often described in terms of childhood gender nonconformity, which, however, is not a perfect correlate of non-heterosexual orientation. Here we explored intrasexual variability in psychophysical olfactory performance in a sample of 156 individuals (83 non-heterosexual) and found the lowest odor identification scores in heterosexual men. However, when childhood gender nonconformity was entered in the model along with sexual orientation, better odor identification scores were exhibited by gender-nonconforming men, and greater olfactory sensitivity by gender-conforming women, irrespective of their sexual orientation. Thus, sex-atypicality, but not sexual orientation predicts olfactory performance, and we propose that this might not be limited to olfaction, but represent a more general phenomenon.

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Menarche and Eating Disorders

Sara Martino & David Lester
Psychological Reports, August 2013, Pages 1329-1331

Abstract:
160 undergraduate women (M age = 20.3, SD = 1.52) were assessed for depression, drug abuse, and eating disorders. The age of menarche was positively correlated with higher scores on a screening measure for eating disorders, a finding opposite to past studies for adolescent girls.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 13, 2013

Big governance

Excessive financial services CEO pay and financial crisis: Evidence from calibration estimation

Nathan Dong
Journal of Empirical Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
The questions of whether there ever existed excessive risk-taking incentives from executive compensation in the financial industry, and whether top executives of financial services firms actually responded to such excessive incentives that eventually led to the crisis remain unanswered. The prior research has attempted to answer the second question, however, with conflicting evidence and without a clear definition of excessive. To answer the first question, this paper uses a numerical calibration approach to estimate the optimal level of CEO pay and derive the excessive compensation which in turn provides excessive risk-taking incentives. We then examine the extent of excessive compensation in the financial industry relative to the non-financial industries during the 2000s and whether there were changes in compensation practices between the post Sarbanes-Oxley period and the prior crisis period. We find mixed evidence in favor of the presence of higher excessive pay in the financial industry, and the CEO compensation practices remained largely unchanged over time. In addition, the relation between excessive pay and excessive risk-taking in the financial industry is somewhat weak, suggesting that CEO compensation might not be a major cause for the crisis in 2008.

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Director Gender and Mergers and Acquisitions

Maurice Levi, Kai Li & Feng Zhang
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does director gender influence CEO empire building? Does it affect the bid premium paid for target firms? Less overconfident female directors less overestimate merger gains. As a result, firms with female directors are less likely to make acquisitions and if they do, pay lower bid premia. Using acquisition bids by S&P 1500 companies during 1997-2009 we find that each additional female director is associated with 7.6 percent fewer bids, and each additional female director on a bidder board reduces the bid premium paid by 15.4 percent. Our findings support the notion that female directors help create shareholder value through their influence on acquisition decisions. We also discuss other possible interpretations of our findings.

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Beauty is Wealth: CEO Appearance and Shareholder Value

Joseph Taylor Halford & Scott Hsu
University of Wisconsin Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
This paper examines whether and how the appearance of chief executives officers (CEOs) affects shareholder value. We obtain a Facial Attractiveness Index of 677 CEOs from the S&P 500 companies based on their facial geometry. CEOs with a higher Facial Attractiveness Index are associated with better stock returns around their first days on the job and higher acquirer returns upon acquisition announcements. To mitigate endogeneity concerns, we compare stock returns surrounding CEO television news events with stock returns surrounding a matched sample of news article events. CEOs’ Facial Attractiveness Index positively affects the stock returns on the television news date, but not around the news article date. The findings suggest that CEO appearance matters for shareholder value and provide an explanation why more attractive CEOs receive “beauty premiums” in their compensation.

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Independent director incentives: Where do talented directors spend their limited time and energy?

Ronald Masulis & Shawn Mobbs
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study reputation incentives in the director labor market and find that directors with multiple directorships distribute their effort unequally based on the directorship’s relative prestige. When directors experience an exogenous increase in a directorship’s relative ranking, their board attendance rate increases and subsequent firm performance improves. Also, directors are less willing to relinquish their relatively more prestigious directorships, even when firm performance declines. Finally, forced Chief Executive Officer departure sensitivity to poor performance rises when a larger fraction of independent directors view the board as relatively more prestigious. We conclude that director reputation is a powerful incentive for independent directors.

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CEO Compensation and Future Shareholder Returns: Evidence from the London Stock Exchange

Nikolaos Balafas & Chris Florackis
Journal of Empirical Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the ex-post consequences of CEO compensation for shareholder value. The main objective is to explore whether companies that pay their CEO excessive fees (in comparison to those of peer firms in the same industry and size group) generate superior future returns and better operating performance. Our analysis, which separately considers the cash-based and incentive/equity-based components of CEO compensation, is based on a large sample of UK-listed companies over the period 1998–2010. We find that CEO incentive pay is negatively associated with short-term subsequent returns. Interestingly, firms that pay their CEOs at the bottom of the incentive-pay distribution earn positive abnormal returns and, also, significantly outperform those at the top of the incentive-pay distribution. Further analysis reveals that such outperformance can be largely explained by the excessive exposure of low-incentive-pay firms to idiosyncratic risk. Finally, evidence from panel regressions suggests that, in addition to its negative relationship with returns, incentive pay is also inversely associated with future operating performance.

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Do Women Directors Improve Firm Performance in China?

Yu Liu, Zuobao Wei & Feixue Xie
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the effect of board gender diversity on firm performance in China's listed firms from 1999 to 2011. We document a positive and significant relation between board gender diversity and firm performance. Female executive directors have a stronger positive effect on firm performance than female independent directors, indicating that the executive effect outweighs the monitoring effect. Moreover, boards with three or more female directors have a stronger impact on firm performance than boards with two or fewer female directors, consistent with the critical mass theory. Finally, we find that the impact of female directors on firm performance is significant in legal person-controlled firms but insignificant in state-controlled firms. This paper sheds new light on China's boardroom dynamics. As governments increasingly contemplate board gender diversity policies, our study offers useful empirical guidance to Chinese regulators on the issue.

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The effect of CEO luck on the informativeness of stock prices: Do lucky CEOs improve stock price informativeness?

Pandej Chintrakarn, Pornsit Jiraporn & Napatsorn Jiraporn
Finance Research Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
CEOs are “lucky” when they are granted stock options on days when the stock price is lowest in the month of the grant, implying opportunistic timing and severe agency problems (Bebchuck, Grinstein, and Peyer, 2010). Using idiosyncratic volatility as our measure of stock price informativeness, we find that lucky CEOs improve the informativeness of stock prices significantly. In particular, CEO luck raises the degree of informativeness by 4.39%. Powerful CEOs who can circumvent governance mechanisms and successfully practice opportunistic timing of options grants are so secured in their positions that they have fewer incentives to conceal information, thereby improving informativeness.

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Are incentives without expertise sufficient? Evidence from Fortune 500 firms

Emilie Feldman & Cynthia Montgomery
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Agency theory predicts that incentives will align agents’ interests with those of principals. However, the resource–based view suggests that to be effective, the incentive to deliver must be paired with the ability to deliver. Using Fortune 500 boards as an empirical context, this study shows that the presence of directors who lack top–level experience but own large shareholdings is negatively associated with firm value, an effect that increases in the number of such directors. Firm value rises after such directors depart from boards, with the greatest increases occurring when many of these directors leave. While agency theory highlights the importance of the right incentives being in place, this research suggests that doing so can be ineffective if the right resources are not also in place.

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CEO Stock Ownership Policies - Rhetoric and Reality

Nitzan Shilon
Harvard Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
This paper is the first academic endeavor to analyze the efficacy and transparency of current stock ownership policies (SOPs) in U.S. public firms. SOPs generally require managers to hold some of their firms’ stock for the long term. Firms universally adopted these policies following the 2008 financial crisis and cite them more than any other policy as a key element in their mitigation of risk. However, my analysis of the current SOPs of S&P 500 CEOs disputes what firms claim about their SOPs. First, I find that these policies are extremely ineffective because the way they function generally allows CEOs to immediately unload virtually all the stock they own. Second, I show that firms camouflage this weakness in their public filings. I explain why my findings are troubling, and I propose a regulatory reform to make SOPs transparent in order to improve the content of these policies.

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Knowledge, Compensation, and Firm Value: An Empirical Analysis of Firm Communication

Feng Li et al.
Stanford Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
Modern theories of the firm suggest that identifying the location of knowledge within an organization is the key to understanding the organization’s decision-making processes. We hypothesize that external communication patterns reveal the underlying knowledge dispersion within the management team. Using a large database of firm conference call transcripts, we find evidence to support our hypothesis. CEOs speak less in settings where they are unlikely to be fully informed and these CEOs also receive a smaller proportion of total management team compensation. Firms that do not adhere to the above communication-pay pattern have a lower industry-adjusted Tobin’s Q. These findings are consistent with modern theories of the firm.

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Market Forces and CEO Pay: Shocks to CEO Demand Induced by IPO Waves

Jordan Nickerson
University of Texas Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
I develop a simple competitive equilibrium model and derive predictions regarding the change in wages when an inelastic supply of CEO labor cannot match an increase in demand. The model predicts that CEO pay-size elasticity increases when more firms compete for a fixed supply of managers. I then empirically test this prediction using industry-level IPO waves as a proxy for increased competition among firms for CEOs. Consistent with the model, I find that pay-size elasticity increases by 5.9% following a one standard deviation increase in an industry’s IPO activity. This effect is stronger in industries which require more specialized skills and prior industry experience, which have less sales overlap from other industries, and have less correlated returns with other industries. I also find that increased IPO activity leads to a greater likelihood of executive transitions between firms. Finally, I find indirect evidence that IPO activity draws down the talent pool of an industry, leading to an increase in the likelihood of a firm hiring an industry outsider following CEO turnover. Overall, the findings indicate that market forces play a key role in the determination of CEO pay.

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Antitakeover Provisions, Managerial Entrenchment and Firm Innovation

Atreya Chakraborty, Zaur Rzakhanov & Shahbaz Sheikh
Journal of Economics and Business, March–April 2014, Pages 30–43

Abstract:
We explore the relation between antitakeover provisions (i.e. managerial entrenchment) and firm performance in innovation. Empirical results indicate that an increase in antitakeover provisions is negatively related to number of patents and number of citations to patents. Thus managers who are protected from takeover market perform worse on innovation. However, the negative relation between antitakeover provisions and firm innovation holds only for low-tech firms. For high-tech firms, this relation is not statistically significant. One possible explanation is that high-tech firms have to innovate continuously to survive in the long run. The competitive pressure to innovate or perish dissipates the negative effect of managerial entrenchment on firm innovation. Overall, our results support the agency based explanation of the relation between antitakeover provisions and firm performance in innovation.

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Director Networks and Takeovers

Luc Renneboog & Yang Zhao
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the impact of corporate networks on the takeover process. We find that better connected companies are more active bidders. When a bidder and a target have one or more directors in common, the probability that the takeover transaction will be successfully completed augments, and the duration of the negotiations is shorter. Connected targets more frequently accept offers that involve equity. Directors of the target firm (who are not interlocked) have a better chance to be invited to the board of the combined firm in connected M&As. While connections have a clear impact on the takeover strategy and process, we do not find evidence that the market acknowledges connections between bidders and targets as the announcement returns are not statistically different from those bidders and targets which are ex ante not connected.

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The Influence of Capital Structure on Strategic Human Capital: Evidence From U.S. and Canadian Firms

Xiangmin Liu et al.
Journal of Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Strategic human capital research has emphasized the importance of human capital as a resource for sustained competitive advantage, but firm investments in this intangible asset vary considerably. This article examines whether and how external pressures on firms from capital markets influence their human capital strategy. These pressures have increased over the past three decades due to banking deregulation, technological innovation, and the rise of institutional investors and new financial intermediaries. Against this backdrop, this study examines whether a firm’s capital structure as measured by share turnover, shareholder concentration, and financial leverage is associated with firm investment in strategic human capital. Based on survey and objective financial data from 221 establishments in the United States and Canada, our analysis indicates that firms with greater share turnover, higher shareholder concentration, and higher levels of financial leverage are less likely to invest in human resource systems that create strategic human capital. Differences in national financial systems also lead to differential effects for U.S. and Canadian firms.

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Competition for Talent Under Performance Manipulation: CEOs on Steroids

Ivan Marinovic & Paul Povel
Stanford Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We study how competition for talent affects CEO compensation, taking into consideration that CEO decisions are not contractible, CEO skills or talent are not observable, and CEOs can manipulate performance as measured by outsiders. Firms compete to appoint a CEO by offering contracts that generate large rents for the CEO. However, the incentive problems restrict how such rents can be created. We derive the equilibrium compensation contract offered by the firms, and we describe how the outcome is affected. Competition for talent leads to excessively high-powered performance compensation. Competition for talent can thus explain the increase in pay-performance sensitivity over the last few decades, and the extremely high-powered compensation packages observed in some markets. Given the high-powered incentive compensation, CEOs exert inefficiently high levels of effort and also distort the performance measure excessively. If the cost of manipulating performance is low, competition for talent may reduce the overall surplus, compared with a setup in which one firm negotiates with one potential CEO (and the firm extracts the rents). We discuss possible remedies, including regulatory limits to incentive compensation.

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Communication and Decision-Making in Corporate Boards

Nadya Malenko
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Time constraints, managerial power, and reputational concerns can impede board communication. This paper develops a model where board decisions depend on directors' effort in communicating their information to others. I show that directors communicate more effectively when pressure for conformity is stronger — that is, when directors are more reluctant to disagree with each other. Hence, open ballot voting can be optimal, even though it induces directors to disregard their information and conform their votes to others. I also show that communication can be more efficient when directors' preferences are more diverse. The analysis has implications for executive sessions, transparency, and committees.

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Golden Parachutes and the Wealth of Shareholders

Lucian Bebchuk, Alma Cohen & Charles Wang
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Golden parachutes (GPs) have attracted substantial attention from investors and public officials for more than two decades. We find that GPs are associated with higher expected acquisition premiums and that this association is at least partly due to the effect of GPs on executive incentives. However, we also find that firms that adopt GPs experience negative abnormal stock returns both during and subsequent to the period surrounding their adoption. This finding raises the possibility that even though GPs facilitate some value-increasing acquisitions, they do have, on average, an overall negative effect on shareholder wealth; this effect could be due to GPs weakening the force of the market for control and thereby increasing managerial slack, and/or to GPs making it attractive for executives to go along with some value-decreasing acquisitions that do not serve shareholders’ long-term interests. Our findings have significant implications for ongoing debates on GPs and suggest the need for additional work identifying the types of GPs that drive the identified correlation between GPs and reduced shareholder value.

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CEO pay and voting dissent before and after the crisis

Ian Gregory-Smith, Steve Thompson & Peter Wright
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Say on pay - that is empowering shareholders to vote on the remuneration arrangements of their firm's senior executives - has become an international policy response to the perceived explosion in rewards for top management. In this paper we examine the operation of say in pay in the UK, the country which pioneered its adoption, using the population of non-investment trust companies in the FTSE 350 over the period 2003-2012. We find executive remuneration and dissent on the remuneration committee report are positively correlated. However, the magnitude of this effect is small.We find that dissent plays a role in moderating future executive compensation levels, although this effect is restricted to levels of dissent above 10%, and primarily acting upon the higher quantiles of rewards. We find no evidence of an increased restraining effect of dissent on pay following the onset of the financial crisis.

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Board Expertise: Do Directors from Related Industries Help Bridge the Information Gap?

Nishant Dass et al.
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We analyze the role of “directors from related industries” (DRIs) on a firm's board. DRIs are officers and/or directors of companies in the upstream/downstream industries of the firm. DRIs are more likely when the information gap vis-à-vis related industries is more severe or the firm has greater market power. DRIs have a significant impact on firm value/performance, especially when information problems are worse. Furthermore, DRIs help firms handle industry shocks and shorten their cash conversion cycles. Overall, our evidence suggests that firms choose DRIs when the adverse effects due to conflicts of interest are dominated by the benefits due to DRIs' information and expertise.

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Options, Option Repricing in Managerial Compensation: Their Effects on Corporate Investment Risk

Nengjiu Ju, Hayne Leland & Lemma Senbet
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
While stock options are commonly used in managerial compensation to provide desirable incentives, they can create adverse incentives to distort the choice of investment risk. Relative to the risk level that maximizes firm value, call options in a compensation contract can induce too much or too little corporate risk-taking, depending on managerial risk aversion and the underlying investment technology. We show that inclusion of lookback call options in compensation packages has desirable countervailing effects on managerial choice of corporate risk policies and can induce risk policies that increase shareholder wealth. We argue that lookback call options are analogous to the observed practice of option repricing.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Club for growth

Gifts of Mars: Warfare and Europe's Early Rise to Riches

Nico Voigtländer & Voth Hans-Joachim
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2013, Pages 165-186

Abstract:
Western Europe surged ahead of the rest of the world long before technological growth became rapid. Europe in 1500 already had incomes twice as high on a per capita basis as Africa, and one-third greater than most of Asia. In this essay, we explain how Europe's tumultuous politics and deadly penchant for warfare translated into a sustained advantage in per capita incomes. We argue that Europe's rise to riches was driven by the nature of its politics after 1350 -- it was a highly fragmented continent characterized by constant warfare and major religious strife. No other continent in recorded history fought so frequently, for such long periods, killing such a high proportion of its population. When it comes to destroying human life, the atomic bomb and machine guns may be highly efficient, but nothing rivaled the impact of early modern Europe's armies spreading hunger and disease. War therefore helped Europe's precocious rise to riches because the survivors had more land per head available for cultivation. Our interpretation involves a feedback loop from higher incomes to more war and higher land-labor ratios, a loop set in motion by the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century.

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Trade, Institutions, and Ethnic Tolerance: Evidence from South Asia

Saumitra Jha
American Political Science Review, November 2013, Pages 806-832

Abstract:
I provide evidence that the degree to which medieval Hindus and Muslims could provide complementary, nonreplicable services and a mechanism to share the gains from exchange has resulted in a sustained legacy of ethnic tolerance in South Asian towns. Due to Muslim-specific advantages in Indian Ocean shipping, interethnic complementarities were strongest in medieval trading ports, leading to the development of institutional mechanisms that further supported interethnic exchange. Using novel town-level data spanning South Asia's medieval and colonial history, I find that medieval ports, despite being more ethnically mixed, were five times less prone to Hindu-Muslim riots between 1850 and 1950, two centuries after Europeans disrupted Muslim overseas trade dominance, and remained half as prone between 1950 and 1995. Household-level evidence suggests that these differences reflect local institutions that emerged to support interethnic medieval trade, continue to influence modern occupational choices and organizations, and substitute for State political incentives in supporting interethnic trust.

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Military Conflict and the Economic Rise of Urban Europe

Mark Dincecco & Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato
University of Michigan Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We present new city-level evidence about the military origins of Europe's economic "backbone," the prosperous urban belt that runs from the Low Countries to northern Italy. Military conflict was a defining feature of pre-industrial Europe. The destructive effects of conflict were worse in the countryside, leading rural inhabitants to relocate behind urban fortifications. Conflict-related city population growth in turn had long-run economic consequences. Using GIS software, we construct a novel conflict exposure measure that computes city distances from nearly 300 major conflicts from 1000 to 1799. We find a significant, positive, and robust relationship between conflict exposure and historical city population growth. Next, we use luminosity data to construct a novel measure of current city-level economic activity. We show evidence that the economic legacy of historical conflict exposure endures to the present day.

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Inclusive Institutions and Long-Run Misallocation

Oded Galor, Kaivan Munshi & Nicholas Wilson
Brown University Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This research advances the hypothesis that resource abundant economies characterized by a socially cohesive workforce and network externalities triggered the emergence of efficiency-enhancing inclusive institutions designed to restrict mobility and to enhance the attachment of community members to the local labor market. However, the persistence of these institutions, and the inter-generational transmission of their value, ultimately resulted in the misallocation of talents across occupations and a reduction in the long-run level of income per capita in the economy as a whole. Exploiting variation in resource intensity across the American Midwest during its initial development, the empirical analysis establishes that higher initial resource-intensity in 1860 is indeed associated with greater community participation over the subsequent 150 years, and reduced mobility and labor misallocation in the contemporary period.

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A Story of Large Landowners and Math Skills: Inequality and Human Capital Formation in Long-Run Development, 1820-2000

Joerg Baten & Dácil Juif
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We create a new dataset to test the influence of land inequality on long-run human capital formation in a global cross-country study and assess the importance of land inequality relative to income inequality. Our results show that early land inequality has a detrimental influence on math and science skills even a century later. We find that this influence is causal, using an instrumental variable (IV) approach with geological, climatic and other variables that are intrinsically exogenous. A second major contribution of our study is our assessment of the persistence of numerical cognitive skills, which are an important component of modern human capital measures. Early numeracy around 1820 is estimated using the age-heaping strategy. We argue that countries with early investments in numerical education entered a path-dependency of human capital-intensive industries, including skill-intensive agriculture and services. The combined long-run effects of land inequality and human capital path-dependence are assessed for the first time in this article.

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Globalization, Democracy and Development

Jorge Braga de Macedo et al.
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This paper addresses the interactions between globalization, the quality of democracy, and economic convergence using simultaneous estimation techniques. To reflect process, we use multi-dimensional, de facto, and continuous measures of democracy and globalization. To reflect context, as defined by space (geography) and time (history), we control for the distance to the income frontier. Using this measure of development, we extend the test for the two-way relationship between democracy and globalization put forward by Eichengreen and Leblang (2008) for the period 1870-2000. Focusing on the more recent wave of globalization (1970-2005), we find a two-way relationship between democracy and globalization and also significant two-way relationships with development. In the restricted sample of non-OECD countries, however, democracy hurts development.

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Is trust the missing root of institutions, education, and development?

Christian Bjørnskov & Pierre-Guillaume Méon
Public Choice, December 2013, Pages 641-669

Abstract:
We report evidence that trust is the missing root relating education, institutions, and economic development. We observe that more trust both increases education and improves legal and bureaucratic institutions, which in turn spurs economic development. We substantiate this intuition with a series of regressions that provide evidence that trust determines both education and the quality of institutions, and that education and institutions in turn affect GDP per capita.

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Growth in Per Capita GDP in the West Bank and Gaza 1950–2005

Andrew Schein
Middle Eastern Studies, November/December 2013, Pages 973-989

Abstract:
This paper examines the growth of per capita GDP in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBG) from 1950 to 2005. Data from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics and the World Bank is integrated with Angus Maddison's estimates of per capita GDP of the WBG and Israel to produce new estimates of per capita GDP for the WBG from 1950–2005 in 1990 international dollars. With these new estimates, it is possible to compare the growth in WBG from an international perspective. One finding is that from 1968 to 1999 the economic growth in WBG was the tenth highest in the world.

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Human Capital and Fertility in Chinese Clans Before Modern Growth

Carol Shiue
NBER Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
This paper studies the pre-industrial origins of modern-day fertility decline. The setting is in Anhwei Province, China over the 13th to 19th centuries, a period well before the onset of China’s demographic transition and industrialization. There are four main results. First, we observe non-Malthusian effects in which high income households had relatively fewer children. Second, higher income households had relatively more educated sons, consistent with their greater ability to support major educational investments. Third, those households that invested in education had fewer children, suggesting that households producing educated children were reallocating resources away from child quantity and towards child quality. Fourth, over time, demand for human capital fell significantly. The most plausible reason is the declining returns to educational investments. The findings point to a role for demography in explaining China’s failure to industrialize early on.

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Is the Demographic Dividend an Education Dividend?

Jesús Crespo Cuaresma, Wolfgang Lutz & Warren Sanderson
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
The effect of changes in age structure on economic growth has been widely studied in the demography and population economics literature. The beneficial effect of changes in age structure after a decrease in fertility has become known as the “demographic dividend.” In this article, we reassess the empirical evidence on the associations among economic growth, changes in age structure, labor force participation, and educational attainment. Using a global panel of countries, we find that after the effect of human capital dynamics is controlled for, no evidence exists that changes in age structure affect labor productivity. Our results imply that improvements in educational attainment are the key to explaining productivity and income growth and that a substantial portion of the demographic dividend is an education dividend.

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The Long-run Macroeconomic Impacts of Fuel Subsidies

Michael Plante
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many developing and emerging market countries have subsidies on fuel products. Using a small open economy model with a non-traded sector, I show how these subsidies impact the steady state levels of macroeconomic aggregates such as consumption, labor supply, and aggregate welfare. These subsidies can lead to crowding out of non-oil consumption, inefficient inter-sectoral allocations of labor, and other distortions in macroeconomic variables. Across steady states, aggregate welfare is reduced by these subsidies. This result holds for a country with no oil production and for a net exporter of oil. The distortions in relative prices introduced by the subsidy create most of the welfare losses. How the subsidy is financed is of secondary importance. Aggregate welfare is significantly higher if the subsidies are replaced by lump sum transfers of equal value.

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School, what is it good for? Useful Human Capital and the History of Public Education in Central Europe

Tomas Cvrcek & Miroslav Zajicek
NBER Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
The rise of education has featured prominently in the debate on the sources of modern long-term economic growth. Existing accounts stress the positive role of public education and the importance of political support for its provision. We argue that such an explanation for the spread of schooling is probably a poor fit for many nations’ schooling histories and provide an example, using detailed data on schooling supply from the Habsburg Empire. We show that while economic development made schooling more affordable and widespread, the politics of demand for schools was not motivated by expectations of economic development but by the ongoing conflict between nationalities within the Empire. We find that public schools offered practically zero return education on the margin, yet they did enjoy significant political and financial support from local political elites, if they taught in the “right” language of instruction. Our results suggest that, for some countries at least, the main link, historically, went from economic development to public schooling, not the other way round.

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The Formative Years of the Modern Corporation: The Dutch East India Company VOC, 1602–1623

Oscar Gelderblom, Abe de Jong & Joost Jonker
Journal of Economic History, December 2013, Pages 1050-1076

Abstract:
With their legal personhood, permanent capital, transferable shares, separation of ownership and management, and limited liability, the Dutch and English colonial trading companies VOC and EIC are considered institutional breakthroughs. We analyze the VOC's business operations and financial policy and show that its novel corporate form owed less to foresight than to piecemeal engineering to remedy design flaws. The crucial feature of managerial limited liability was not, as previously thought, integral to that design, but emerged only after protracted experiments with various solutions to the company's financial bottlenecks. Legal form followed economic function, not the other way around.

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Russia's Fiscal Gap

Eugene Goryunov et al.
NBER Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
Every country faces what economists call an intertemporal (across time) budget constraint, which requires that its government’s future expenditures, including the servicing of its outstanding official debt, be covered by its government’s future receipts when measured in present value. The difference between the present value of a country’s future expenditures and its future receipts is called its fiscal gap. This study estimates Russia’s 2013 fiscal gap at 890 trillion rubles or $28 trillion. This longterm budget shortfall is 8.4 percent of the present value of projected GDP. Consequently, eliminating Russia’s fiscal gap on a smooth basis requires fiscal tightening by 8.4 percent of each future year’s projected GDP. One means of doing this is to immediately and permanently raise all Russian taxes by 29 percent. Another is to immediately and permanently cut all spending, apart from servicing outstanding debt, by 22.4 percent. How can a country with vast energy resources and foreign reserves and other financial assets that exceed its official debt still have very major fiscal problems? The answer is that the Russia’s energy resources are finite, whereas its expenditure needs are not. Moreover, Russia is aging and facing massive obligations from its pension system and other age related expenditures.

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Economic Integration in China: Politics and Culture

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, Alexander Libman & Xiaofan Yu
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The aim of the paper is to explicitly disentangle the role of political and cultural boundaries as factors of fragmentation of economies within large countries. On the one hand, local protectionism plays a substantial role in many federations and decentralized states. On the other hand, if the country exhibits high level of cultural heterogeneity, it may also contribute to the economic fragmentation; however, this topic has received significantly less attention in the literature. This paper looks at the case of China and proxies the cultural heterogeneity by the heterogeneity of local dialects. It shows that the effect of politics clearly dominates that of culture: while provincial borders seem to have a strong influence disrupting economic ties, economic linkages across provinces, even if the regions fall into the same linguistic zone, are rather weak and, on the contrary, linguistic differences within provinces do not prevent economic integration. For some language zones we do, however, find a stronger effect on economic integration.

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Malaria and Early African Development: Evidence from the Sickle Cell Trait

Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & David Weil
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We examine the effect of malaria on economic development in Africa over the very long run. Using data on the prevalence of the mutation that causes sickle cell disease we measure the impact of malaria on mortality in Africa prior to the period in which formal data were collected. Our estimate is that in the more afflicted regions, malaria lowered the probability of surviving to adulthood by about ten percentage points, which is roughly twice the current burden of the disease. The reduction in malaria mortality has been roughly equal to the reduction in other causes of mortality. We then ask whether the estimated burden of malaria had an effect on economic development in the period before European contact. Examining both mortality and morbidity, we do not find evidence that the impact of malaria would have been very significant. These model-based findings are corroborated by a more statistically-based approach, which shows little evidence of a negative relationship between malaria ecology and population density or other measures of development, using data measured at the level ethnic groups.

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Who bribes in public contracting and why: Worldwide evidence from firms

Anna D’Souza & Daniel Kaufmann
Economics of Governance, November 2013, Pages 333-367

Abstract:
We study procurement bribery utilizing survey data from 11,000 enterprises in 125 countries. About one-third of managers report that firms like theirs bribe to secure a public contract, paying about 8 % of the contract value. Econometric estimations suggest that national governance factors, such as democratic accountability, press freedom, and rule of law, are associated with lower bribery. Larger and foreign-owned firms are less likely to bribe than smaller domestic ones. But among bribers, foreign and domestic firms pay similar amounts. Multinational firms appear sensitive to reputational risks in their home countries, but partially adapt to their host country environments.

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Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain? The Effects of IMF Economic Reform Programs on Public Health Performance

Matthew Hoddie & Caroline Hartzell
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: In this study, we evaluate the effects of the International Monetary Fund's structural adjustment programs (SAPs) on the public health performance of countries. We test the claim made by proponents of SAPs that although these programs may produce short-term hardship for the countries adopting them, they will generate positive developmental effects in the long term.

Methods: Our study draws on a global data set and employs a model that takes into account the potential for selection bias in the adoption of SAPs by states.

Results: The central finding of the article is that SAPs in the short term raise the exposure of populations to conditions that increase incidences of disability and death. Contrary to the assertions made by the advocates of SAPs, we also find evidence that these programs have attenuated but still harmful effect on public health performance in the long term.

Conclusions: This study highlights the negative influences of SAPs on public health and suggests that a need exists to reevaluate the claims that have been made regarding the developmental effects of these programs.

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Does development reduce fatalities from natural disasters? New evidence for floods

Susana Ferreira, Kirk Hamilton & Jeffrey Vincent
Environment and Development Economics, December 2013, Pages 649-679

Abstract:
We analyze the impact of development on flood fatalities using a new data set of 2,171 large floods in 92 countries between 1985 and 2008. Our results challenge the conventional wisdom that development results in fewer fatalities during natural disasters. Results indicating that higher income and better governance reduce fatalities during flood events do not hold up when unobserved country heterogeneity and within-country correlation of standard errors are taken into account. We find that income does have a significant, indirect effect on flood fatalities by affecting flood frequency and flood magnitude, but this effect is nonmonotonic, with net reductions in fatalities occurring only in lower income countries. We find little evidence that improved governance affects flood fatalities either directly or indirectly.

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Does foreign aid reduce tax revenue? Further evidence

John Thornton
Applied Economics, Winter 2014, Pages 359-373

Abstract:
A common criticism of foreign aid is that it reduces domestic tax effort. Empirical research on the issue has been hampered by the failure to tackle endogeneity issues effectively. We use measures of geographical and cultural distance to donor countries as instrumental variables to uncover the causal effect of aid on tax revenue in a panel of 93 countries. The tax to GDP ratio is found to decrease following aid inflows. This reduction in tax effort is statistically and economically significant; a one SD increase in aid causes a 0.52 percentage point drop in the tax-to-GDP ratio. The results indicate that the effect is driven by unconditional grants, whereas aid given as loans induces recipient governments to improve their tax effort. Our results are robust to changes in the sample and the use of a nearest neighbour matching technique to account for nonrandom assignment of aid. Our identification strategy is sharpened by the use of a difference-in-difference estimation strategy that leverages a natural experiment in which aid flows exogenously increased for some countries following the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

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Digging in the dirt? Extractive industry FDI and corruption

Ivar Kolstad & Arne Wiig
Economics of Governance, November 2013, Pages 369-383

Abstract:
Does corruption attract or deter foreign investment in the extractive sectors? This article presents an econometric analysis of extractive industry foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to 81 countries in the period 1996–2009. The results suggest that increased corruption within a country is associated with increased extractive industry FDI, but at a diminishing rate as corruption increases grow larger. For realistic changes in corruption, however, more corruption is associated with more extractive industry investment.

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Breaking the resource curse: Transparency in the natural resource sector and the extractive industries transparency initiative

Caitlin Corrigan
Resources Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article critically examines the impact, up until 2009, of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI is an international policy intervention that aims to mitigate the negative effects of resource abundance by promoting the transparency of resource revenues and accountability of the governments of resource rich states. Its effectiveness can be assessed by examining two outcomes that are suggested to be negatively affected by resource abundance: economic development and quality of governance. Through a panel study, including approximately 200 countries, the influence of the EITI in these two areas is examined. Results suggest that the negative effect of resource abundance on GDP per capita, the capacity of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and the level of rule of law is mitigated in EITI countries. However, the EITI has little effect on level of democracy, political stability and corruption. The study concludes that there are some early indications that the EITI has been successful in protecting some nations from selected elements of the resource curse. This is encouraging given the relatively short time period since the founding of the EITI, however the mixed results suggest that a similar study should be repeated in 5 to 10 years when EITI policies have had enough time to fully take effect.

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Money for nothing: How firms have financed R&D-projects since the Industrial Revolution

Gerben Bakker
Research Policy, December 2013, Pages 1793–1814

Abstract:
We investigate the long-run historical pattern of R&D-outlays by reviewing aggregate growth rates and historical cases of particular R&D projects, following the historical-institutional approach of Chandler (1962), North (1981) and Williamson (1985). We find that even the earliest R&D-projects used non-insignificant cash outlays and that until the 1970s aggregate R&D outlays grew far faster than GDP, despite five well-known challenges that implied that R&D could only be financed with cash, for which no perfect market existed: the presence of sunk costs, real uncertainty, long time lags, adverse selection, and moral hazard. We then review a wide variety of organisational forms and institutional instruments that firms historically have used to overcome these financing obstacles, and without which the enormous growth of R&D outlays since the nineteenth century would not have been possible.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Degrees of freedom

Daily Online Testing in Large Classes: Boosting College Performance while Reducing Achievement Gaps

James Pennebaker, Samuel Gosling & Jason Ferrell
PLoS ONE, November 2013

Abstract:
An in-class computer-based system, that included daily online testing, was introduced to two large university classes. We examined subsequent improvements in academic performance and reductions in the achievement gaps between lower- and upper-middle class students in academic performance. Students (N = 901) brought laptop computers to classes and took daily quizzes that provided immediate and personalized feedback. Student performance was compared with the same data for traditional classes taught previously by the same instructors (N = 935). Exam performance was approximately half a letter grade above previous semesters, based on comparisons of identical questions asked from earlier years. Students in the experimental classes performed better in other classes, both in the semester they took the course and in subsequent semester classes. The new system resulted in a 50% reduction in the achievement gap as measured by grades among students of different social classes. These findings suggest that frequent consequential quizzing should be used routinely in large lecture courses to improve performance in class and in other concurrent and subsequent courses.

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Evaluating Education Programs That Have Lotteried Admission and Selective Attrition

John Engberg et al.
Journal of Labor Economics, January 2014, Pages 27-63

Abstract:
We study the effectiveness of magnet programs in an urban district that ration excess demand by admission lotteries. Differential attrition arises since students who lose the lottery are more likely to pursue options outside the school district than students who win the lottery. When students leave the district, important outcome variables are often not observed. The treatment effects are not point-identified. We exploit known quantiles of the outcome distribution to construct informative bounds on treatment effects. We find that magnet programs improve behavioral outcomes but have no significant effect on achievement.

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The Effect of Income on Educational Attainment: Evidence from State Earned Income Tax Credit Expansions

Katherine Michelmore
Cornell Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
As of the early 2000s, the gap in college enrollment between children growing up in the highest income quartile and the lowest income quartile was over 50 percentage points (Bailey and Dynarski 2011). There is much debate in the literature about what role household income plays in producing this gap. A major impediment in studying this question is the lack of plausibly exogenous variation in income. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one potential source of exogenous variation in household income that may increase educational attainment among low-income youth. Using variation in state EITC benefit generosity, I use a difference-in-difference framework to analyze how an increase in household income affects the educational attainment of children from low socioeconomic status households. Conservative estimates suggest that following an increase in the maximum EITC by $1,000, 18-23 year olds growing up in likely EITC- eligible households are 1 percentage point more likely to have ever enrolled in college and 0.3 percentage points more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree. These results are concentrated among individuals who were younger than 12 at the time of state EITC implementation, suggesting that the EITC increases educational attainment primarily by providing extra income to households with young children. I find no effect of EITC expansions on older children, for whom the EITC acts as a form of financial aid.

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Does it pay to pay teachers more? Evidence from Texas

Matthew Hendricks
Journal of Public Economics, January 2014, Pages 50–63

Abstract:
This study presents robust evidence on the relationship between teacher pay and turnover using detailed panel data from Texas. While controlling for changes in district and local labor market characteristics, I estimate an overall turnover elasticity of -1.4 and show that the effect is largest for inexperienced teachers, declines with experience, and disappears around 19 years of experience. Combining these results with what we know about the relationship between teacher value-added and experience, I show that paying teachers more improves student achievement through higher retention rates. The results also suggest that adopting a flat salary schedule may be a cheap way to improve student performance. I find no evidence that pay effects vary by the teacher’s gender or subject taught.

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Do College-Preparatory Programs Improve Long-Term Outcomes?

Kirabo Jackson
Economic Inquiry, January 2014, Pages 72–99

Abstract:
This paper presents an analysis of the longer-run effects of a college-preparatory program implemented in inner-city schools that provided teacher training in addition to payments to 11th- and 12th-grade students and their teachers for passing scores on Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Affected students passed more AP exams, were more likely to remain in college beyond their first and second years, and earned higher wages. Effects are particularly pronounced for Hispanic students who experienced a 2.5-percentage-point increase in college degree attainment and an 11% increase in earnings. While the study is based on nonexperimental variation, the results are robust across a variety of specifications, and most plausible sources of bias are ruled out. The results provide credible evidence that implementing high-quality college-preparatory programs in existing urban schools can improve the long-run educational and labor-market outcomes of disadvantaged youth.

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Teachers’ Support of Students’ Vocabulary Learning During Literacy Instruction in High Poverty Elementary Schools

Joanne Carlisle, Ben Kelcey & Dan Berebitsky
American Educational Research Journal, December 2013, Pages 1360-1391

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine third-grade teachers’ support for students’ vocabulary learning in high poverty schools characterized by underachievement in reading. We examined the prevalence and nature of discourse actions teachers used to support vocabulary learning in different literacy lessons (e.g., phonics); these actions varied in the cognitive demands placed on the students. Results showed that teachers rarely engaged students in cognitively challenging work on word meanings. Various lesson features and student and teacher characteristics were associated with teachers’ support for students’ vocabulary learning (e.g., teachers’ knowledge about reading). A major finding was that the extent of teachers’ support of their students’ vocabulary learning was significantly related to gains in reading comprehension across the year.

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Learning from the Test: Raising Selective College Enrollment by Providing Information

Sarena Goodman
Federal Reserve Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
In the last decade, five U.S. states adopted mandates requiring high school juniors to take a college entrance exam. In the two earliest-adopting states, nearly half of all students were induced into testing, and 40-45% of them earned scores high enough to qualify for selective schools. Selective college enrollment rose by 20% following implementation of the mandates, with no effect on overall attendance. I conclude that a large number of high-ability students appear to dramatically underestimate their candidacy for selective colleges. Policies aimed at reducing this information shortage are likely to increase human capital investment for a substantial number of students.

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The Potential of Urban Boarding Schools for the Poor: Evidence from SEED

Vilsa Curto & Roland Fryer
Journal of Labor Economics, January 2014, Pages 65-93

Abstract:
The SEED schools, which combine a “No Excuses” charter model with a 5-day-a-week boarding program, are America’s only urban public boarding schools for the poor. We provide the first causal estimate of the impact of attending SEED schools on academic achievement, with the goal of understanding whether changing a student’s environment is an effective strategy to increase achievement among the poor. Using admission lotteries, we show that attending a SEED school increases achievement by 0.211 standard deviation in reading and 0.229 standard deviation in math per year. However, subgroup analyses show that the effects may be driven by female students.

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Advancing Academic Achievement Through Career Relevance in the Middle Grades: A Longitudinal Evaluation of CareerStart

Michael Woolley et al.
American Educational Research Journal, December 2013, Pages 1309-1335

Abstract:
Research and theory suggest that students learn more effectively when they perceive course content as relevant to their futures. The current research assessed the impact of CareerStart, a middle grades instructional strategy designed to advance the occupational relevance of what students are being taught in the core subjects — math, science, language arts, and social studies. CareerStart was introduced randomly in 7 of 14 middle schools in a diverse district with 3,295 students followed for 3 years. The analyses examined impact on end-of-grade test scores on math and reading exams. Findings confirm a significant treatment effect for math performance but no effect for reading performance.

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From Birth to School: Early Childhood Initiatives and Third-Grade Outcomes in North Carolina

Helen Ladd, Clara Muschkin & Kenneth Dodge
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Winter 2014, Pages 162–187

Abstract:
This study examines the community-wide effects of two statewide early childhood policy initiatives in North Carolina. One initiative provides funding to improve the quality of child care services at the county level for all children between the ages of 0 to 5, and the other provides funding for preschool slots for disadvantaged four-year-olds. Differences across counties in the timing of the rollout and in the magnitude of the state financial investments per child provide the variation in programs needed to estimate their effects on schooling outcomes in third grade. We find robust positive effects of each program on third-grade test scores in both reading and math. These effects can best be explained by a combination of direct benefits for participants and spillover benefits for others. Our preferred models suggest that the combined average effects on test scores of investments in both programs at 2009 funding levels are equivalent to two to four months of instruction in grade 3.

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A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Graduation Standards and Their Impact on Students’ Academic Trajectories

Tom Ahn
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2006, North Carolina put in place high school exit standards requiring students to pass a series of high-stakes exams across several years. I use a regression discontinuity (RD) approach to analyze whether passing or failing one of these exams (Algebra I) impacts a student's decision between choosing a more rigorous college-preparatory math curriculum and an easier ‘career’ track math curriculum. I find a 5 percentage point gap in the probability of selecting the rigorous curriculum between 9th grade students who just passed and those who just failed the exam. RD results across two years (one year in which the graduation standards were not in place) suggests that the discontinuity arose due to fewer students opting into the college track as a result of the exam results.

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The Labor-Market Returns to Community College Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates

Christopher Jepsen, Kenneth Troske & Paul Coomes
Journal of Labor Economics, January 2014, Pages 95-121

Abstract:
This article provides one of the first rigorous estimations of the labor-market returns to community college certificates and diplomas, as well as estimations of the returns to the more commonly studied associate’s degrees. Using administrative data from Kentucky, we estimate panel-data models that control for differences among students in precollege earnings and educational aspirations. Associate’s degrees and diplomas have quarterly earnings returns of nearly $2,400 for women and $1,500 for men, compared with much smaller returns for certificates. There is substantial heterogeneity in returns across fields of study. Degrees, diplomas, and — for women — certificates correspond with higher levels of employment.

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Effect of Retention in First Grade on Parents’ Educational Expectations and Children’s Academic Outcomes

Jan Hughes, Oi-Man Kwok & Myung Hee Im
American Educational Research Journal, December 2013, Pages 1336-1359

Abstract:
The effect of retention in first grade (Year 1) on parents’ educational expectations was tested in a sample of 530 ethnically diverse and academically at risk children. Participants attended one of three school districts in Texas. Of the 530 children, 118 were retained in first grade. Retention had a negative effect on parent expectations in Year 2, which was maintained in Year 3. Year 2 parent expectations partially mediated the effect of retention in first grade on Year 3 reading and math achievement and child academic self-efficacy. All effects controlled for Year 1 measures of the outcome. Results were similar across gender, economic adversity, and ethnicity. Implications for minimizing the negative effect of retention on parents’ expectations are suggested.

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Centralized Governance and Student Outcomes: Excellence, Equity, and Academic Achievement in the U.S. States

Paul Manna
Policy Studies Journal, November 2013, Pages 683–706

Abstract:
Are states with more centralized approaches to education governance more likely to have higher student achievement and lower achievement gaps between poor and nonpoor students? This article addresses that question by theorizing about the effects of political, administrative, and fiscal centralization on student outcomes. It tests competing hypotheses about the degree to which centralization across these three dimensions is associated with the promotion of academic excellence (higher achievement) and equity (narrower achievement gaps). The results demonstrate the virtue of studying academic performance through the lens of governance and more distal system-level variables rather than, as has been common in the literature, more narrow policy-oriented measures. The findings show that strong relationships exist between student outcomes and the degree of political centralization and administrative centralization in a state, yet there are no apparent associations with fiscal centralization. The results also illustrate that governing arrangements are not consistently related to the advancement of excellence and equity. In terms of administrative centralization, specifically, apparent trade-offs may exist.

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The effect of abolishing university tuition costs: Evidence from Ireland

Kevin Denny
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
University tuition fees for undergraduates were abolished in Ireland in 1996. This paper examines the effect of this reform on the socio-economic gradient to determine whether the reform was successful in achieving its objective of promoting educational equality that is improving the chances of low socio-economic status (SES) students progressing to university. It finds that the reform clearly did not have that effect. The results are consistent with recent findings for the UK which show that the socio-economic gradient in second level attainment largely explain the socio-economic gradient in higher education participation.

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Better Luck Next Time: Learning Through Retaking

Verónica Frisancho et al.
NBER Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
In this paper we provide some evidence that repeat taking of competitive exams may reduce the impact of background disadvantages on educational outcomes. Using administrative data on the university entrance exam in Turkey we estimate cumulative learning between the first and the nth attempt while controlling for selection into retaking in terms of observed and unobserved characteristics. We find large learning gains measured in terms of improvements in the exam scores, especially among less advantaged students.

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Working (and studying) day and night: Heterogeneous effects of working on the academic performance of full-time and part-time students

Rajeev Darolia
Economics of Education Review, February 2014, Pages 38–50

Abstract:
A growing number of students are working while in college and to a greater extent. Using nationally representative data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, I analyze the effect of working on grades and credit completion for undergraduate students in the United States. Strategies to identify the causal relationship between working and academic performance include student-level fixed effects to control for permanent, unobserved characteristics that may affect both work and study intensity, and system GMM models to account for potentially endogenous relationships between working and academic performance that vary over time. I examine the consequences of working for heterogeneous subgroups, with a particular focus on differences between full-time and part-time students. I find no evidence that students’ grades are harmed by marginal work hours, but that full-time students complete fewer credits per term when increasing work.

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Returns to MBA Quality: Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Returns to Peers, Faculty, and Institution Quality

Wayne Grove & Andrew Hussey
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large literature has focused on estimating the returns to schooling and has typically done so by incorporating institutional heterogeneity in quality along merely one dimension (such as average SAT scores). Using longitudinal survey data of registrants for the GMAT exam and school level information from other sources, we create, in the context of graduate management education, multiple indices of school quality, and estimate the effect of these quality measures on multiple indicators of career success. In particular, we create quality measures of MBA programs based on: (1) institutional and curricular factors, (2) characteristics of the student body, and (3) characteristics of the faculty. We create aggregate quality indices by combining individual proxies using factor analysis. We also extend the literature by considering the effects of quality on both earnings and non-monetary outcomes, namely attainment of managerial goals relative to initial individual expectations, self-assessed skill gains, and various measures of job satisfaction. We include several unique individual control variables, and further control for unobserved heterogeneity through the use of instrumental variables and individual fixed effects. Results indicate that the quality of peers matters most for earnings, especially for OLS estimates. When individual fixed effects are included, estimates of quality premiums diminish somewhat, emphasizing the importance of controlling for selection into programs of varying quality. School quality is also an important predictor of several non-pecuniary outcomes.

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The Missing Link: Estimating the Impact of Incentives on Teacher Effort and Instructional Effectiveness Using Teacher Accountability Legislation Data

Tom Ahn
Journal of Human Capital, Fall 2013, Pages 230-273

Abstract:
Teacher effort, a critical component of education production, has been understudied in the literature because of measurement difficulties. I use a principal-agent model, North Carolina data, and the state’s accountability system that awards cash for school-level academic growth to distill effort from teacher absence and capture its effect. I find low effort at low and high probabilities of bonus receipt, high effort when the bonus outcome is in doubt, and free-ridership. Teachers respond to incentives, and effort affects achievement. Policy simulations with individual-level incentives eliminate free-rider effects but reduce effort by pushing teachers into the tails of the probability of bonus receipt distribution.

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The impact of teachers’ expectations on students’ educational opportunities in the life course: An empirical test of a subjective expected utility explanation

Dominik Becker
Rationality and Society, November 2013, Pages 422-469

Abstract:
The objective of this paper is to integrate the idea of Pygmalion or self-fulfilling prophecy research into the subjective expected utility framework of inequality in educational opportunities. The theoretical section develops a formal model about the impact of teachers’ expectations on students’ educational transitions in sense of a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the empirical section, I test this model to predict both students’ educational success (in terms of high school graduations) and their university transitions. Analyses control for selection bias and unobserved heterogeneity by means of a bivariate probit model. I find that even net of both students’ performance and motivation, teachers’ expectations show significant effects on students’ educational success (Abitur), but not on their university transitions. This finding is stable against several robustness checks.

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Value-added models and the measurement of teacher productivity

Tim Sass, Anastasia Semykina & Douglas Harris
Economics of Education Review, February 2014, Pages 9–23

Abstract:
Research on teacher productivity, as well as recently developed accountability systems for teachers, relies on “value-added” models to estimate the impact of teachers on student performance. We consider six value-added models that encompass most commonly estimated specifications. We test many of the central assumptions required to derive each of the value-added models from an underlying structural cumulative achievement model and reject nearly all of them. While some of the six popular models produce similar estimates, other specifications yield estimates of teacher productivity and other key parameters that are considerably different.

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The Co-Twin Methodology and Returns to Schooling - Testing a Critical Assumption

Örjan Sandewall, David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson
Labour Economics, January 2014, Pages 1–10

Abstract:
Twins-based estimates of the return to schooling have featured prominently in the economics of education literature. Their unbiasedness hinges critically on the assumption that within-pair variation in schooling is explained by factors unrelated to wage earning ability. This paper develops a framework for testing this assumption and shows, in a large sample of monozygotic twins, that the twins-based estimated return to schooling falls if adolescent IQ test scores are included in the wage equation. Using birth weight as an alternative proxy for ability yields qualitatively similar results. Our results thus cast doubt on the validity of twins-based estimates.

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Strategic Involuntary Teacher Transfers and Teacher Performance: Examining Equity and Efficiency

Jason Grissom, Susanna Loeb & Nathaniel Nakashima
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Winter 2014, Pages 112–140

Abstract:
Despite claims that school districts need flexibility in teacher assignment to allocate teachers more equitably across schools and improve district performance, the power to involuntarily transfer teachers across schools remains hotly contested. Little research has examined involuntary teacher transfer policies or their effects on schools, teachers, or students. This article uses administrative data from Miami-Dade County Public Schools to investigate the implementation and effects of the district's involuntary transfer policy, including which schools transferred and received teachers, which teachers were transferred, what kinds of teachers replaced them in their former schools, and how their performance — as measured by their work absences and value-added in math and reading — compared before and after the transfer. We find that, under the policy, principals in the lowest performing schools identified relatively low-performing teachers for transfer who, based on observable characteristics, would have been unlikely to leave on their own. Consistent with an equity improvement, we find that involuntarily transferred teachers were systematically moved to higher performing schools and generally were outperformed by the teachers who replaced them. Efficiency impacts are mixed; although transferred teachers had nearly two fewer absences per year in their new positions, transferred teachers continued to have low value-added in their new schools.

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Retained Students and Classmates’ Absences in Urban Schools

Michael Gottfried
American Educational Research Journal, December 2013, Pages 1392-1423

Abstract:
Research in grade retention has predominantly focused on the effect of this practice on the retained student. This study contributes to the limited body of research examining the effect of retained classmates on the outcomes of other students in the same classroom. Using a longitudinal data set of all elementary school students in a large urban school district, this study evaluates how the percentage of retained classmates affects other students’ absence patterns, both unexcused and excused. Focusing on absences as an outcome is key, as they signal educational disengagement and highly correlate with schooling and lifelong success. Based on quasi-experimental methods, the results indicate that a greater percentage of retained classmates increases other students’ absences. The effect is only present on unexcused absences, not excused absences, hence signaling an increase in disengagement in other students. Individual- and classroom-level moderating effects are evaluated, and policy implications for classroom assignment are discussed.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ecin.12040/abstract

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Girls rule, boys drool

The Chastain Effect: Using Title IX to Measure the Causal Effect of Participating in High School Sports on Adult Women's Social Lives

Phoebe Clarke & Ian Ayres
Journal of Socio-Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many studies have sought to estimate the effects of participating in sports on ex-athletes’ adult lives. This paper contributes to the existing literature in two ways. First, it adopts an instrumental-variables method pioneered by Betsey Stevenson (2010) in which variation in rates of boys’ athletic participation across states before the passage of Title IX is used to instrument for changes in girls’ athletic participation following its passage, thereby avoiding selection bias and allowing for causal estimates. Second, it looks at the effect of participating in sports not on economic, but on social outcomes. In particular, we find that a ten percentage-point increase in state-level female sports participation generates a five to six percentage-point rise in the rate of female secularism, a five percentage-point increase in the proportion of women who are mothers, and a six percentage-point rise in the proportion of mothers who, at the time that they are interviewed, are single mothers. While our results appear to paint a picture of independence from potentially patriarchal institutions (church and marriage), further research is necessary to understand whether our results can be attributed to a single story such as this one or whether they are the products of multiple causal mechanisms.

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Do Female Politicians Empower Women to Vote or Run for Office? A Regression Discontinuity Approach

David Broockman
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Persistent gender gaps in political officeholding and mass political participation jeopardize women’s equal representation in government. This paper brings new evidence to the longstanding hypotheses that the presence of additional female candidates and officeholders helps address these gaps by empowering other women to vote or run for office themselves. With a regression discontinuity approach and data on 3,813 US state legislative elections where a woman opposed a man, I find that the election of additional women in competitive US state legislative elections has no discernible causal effects on other women’s political participation at the mass or elite levels. These estimates are precise enough to rule out even substantively small effects. These estimates stand in stark contrast to a number of similar findings from India, suggesting that although electing the first women in a society can have these empowering effects, remaining barriers to women’s inclusion in American democracy go beyond what further increases in female officeholding can themselves erode.

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Age at Menarche and Choice of College Major: Implications for STEM Majors

Anna Brenner-Shuman & Warren Waren
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, February-April 2013, Pages 28-34

Abstract:
Even though boys and girls in childhood perform similarly in math and spatial thinking, after puberty fewer young women pursue majors that emphasize abilities such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in college. If postpubertal feminization contributes to a lower likelihood of choosing STEM majors, then young women who enter puberty early should be the least likely to pursue those majors later in their education. In this study, we investigate the association between age at menarche and the choice of STEM major. We surveyed 150 undergraduate women from a variety of majors in a large, public university and created logistic regression models to estimate their likelihood of choosing a STEM major. We found that early-maturing girls are less likely to enter STEM majors. We posit that the earlier a young woman enters puberty, the earlier and more extensively she is affected by the “leaky pipeline.”

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Creating, Closing, and Reversing the Gender Gap in Test Performance: How Selection Policies Trigger Social Identity Threat or Safety Among Women and Men

Frédérique Autin, Nyla Branscombe & Jean-Claude Croizet
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate how selection policies — the rules defining access to a valued position — can act as situational cues signaling social identity threat or safety among women and men. College students took a logic test ostensibly determining their assignment to a position of leader or subordinate for a subsequent task. Study 1 showed that when only the test score determined the selection, women experienced more identity threat and performed worse than men. When the policy allowed the selection of women at a lower level of performance than men to promote diversity, men’s performance decreased compared to the merit condition, falling to the level of women’s performance and thus closing the gender gap. Study 2 replicated these findings and established that the meaning derived from selection practices affects candidates’ performance. A third policy that also preferentially selected women, but to correct for unequal treatment based on gender, leads to a reversed gender gap (i.e., women outperformed men). These findings suggest that structural features of test settings including selection practices can constrain individuals’ potential access to opportunities.

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The Ironic Costs of Performing Well: Grades Differentially Predict Male and Female Dropout From Engineering

Nicole Kronberger & Ilona Horwath
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, November/December 2013, Pages 534-546

Abstract:
Stereotype threat may not only affect academic performance and persistence but also the relationship between the two variables. An analysis of the trajectories of 2,397 individuals who began majors in engineering shows a gender gap in graduation rates for those with high and average GPAs. Survey data (N = 455) furthermore highlight that good grades, while reducing academic self-doubt, ironically accentuate female students' social discomfort, and that after dropout, women are more likely than men to show signs of disidentification. For a minority that is met with negative competence expectations, good intellectual performance is no guarantee for persistence.

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Sex bias in evaluating nontraditional job applicants: Reactions to women and men's interrupted college attendance

May Ling Halim & Madeline Heilman
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, November 2013, Pages 2330–2340

Abstract:
Two studies indicated that being a nontraditional job applicant due to voluntary interruption of college attendance had detrimental consequences for employment evaluation. These negative reactions were more severe for women than for men. Women with interrupted attendance received the most negative responses (Studies 1 and 2). Choosing to interrupt college attendance increased perceived instability and also positively affected perceived flexibility, and these characterizations were related to evaluative outcomes (Study 2). Moreover, both instability and flexibility characterizations contributed to the gender-discrepant consequences of interrupted college attendance. Female applicants were rated more negatively on flexibility characterizations than were male applicants. Furthermore, although there were no gender differences in ratings of instability, instability ratings were found to negatively impact evaluations of female applicants, but not male applicants.

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Pathways to Science and Engineering Bachelor Degrees for Men and Women

Joscha Legewie & Thomas DiPrete
Sociological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the striking reversal of the gender gap in educational attainment and the near gender parity in math performance, women pursue science and engineering (S/E) degrees at much lower rates than their male peers do. Current efforts to increase the number of women in these fields and close the gender gap focus on different life-course periods but lack a clear understanding of the importance of these periods and how orientations towards S/E fields develop over time. In this paper, we examine the gendered pathways to a S/E bachelor degree from middle school to high school and college based on a representative sample from the 1973-1974 birth cohort. Using a counterfactual decomposition analysis, we determine the relative importance of these different life-course periods and thereby inform the direction of future research and policy. Our findings confirm previous research that highlights the importance of early encouragement for gender differences in S/E degrees. But our findings also attest to the crucial role of the high school years as a decisive period for the gender gap while challenging the focus on college in research and policy. Indeed, if female high school seniors had the same orientation towards and preparation for S/E fields as their male peers, the gender gap in S/E degrees would be closed by as much as 82%.

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Teachers’ Perceptions of Students’ Mathematics Proficiency May Exacerbate Early Gender Gaps in Achievement

Joseph Robinson-Cimpian et al.
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
A recent wave of research suggests that teachers overrate the performance of girls relative to boys and hold more positive attitudes toward girls’ mathematics abilities. However, these prior estimates of teachers’ supposed female bias are potentially misleading because these estimates (and teachers themselves) confound achievement with teachers’ perceptions of behavior and effort. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999 (ECLS-K), Study 1 demonstrates that teachers actually rate boys’ mathematics proficiency higher than that of girls when conditioning on both teachers’ ratings of behavior and approaches to learning as well as past and current test scores. In other words, on average girls are only perceived to be as mathematically competent as similarly achieving boys when the girls are also seen as working harder, behaving better, and being more eager to learn. Study 2 uses mediation analysis with an instrumental-variables approach, as well as a matching strategy, to explore the extent to which this conditional underrating of girls may explain the widening gender gap in mathematics in early elementary school. We find robust evidence suggesting that underrating girls’ mathematics proficiency accounts for a substantial portion of the development of the mathematics achievement gap between similarly performing and behaving boys and girls in the early grades.

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Gender peer effects in university: Evidence from a randomized experiment

Hessel Oosterbeek & Reyn van Ewijk
Economics of Education Review, February 2014, Pages 51–63

Abstract:
Recent studies for primary and secondary education find positive effects of the share of females in the classroom on achievement of males and females. This study examines whether these results can be extrapolated to higher education. We conduct an experiment in which the shares of females in workgroups for first year students in economics and business are manipulated and students are randomly assigned to these groups. Males tend to postpone, but not abandon, their dropout decision when surrounded by more females and perform worse on courses with high math content. There is also a modest reduction in absenteeism early in the year. Overall, however, we find no substantial gender peer effects on achievement. This in spite of the fact that according to students’ perceptions, both their own, and their peers’ behavior are influenced by the share of females.

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Is School Feminine? Implicit Gender Stereotyping of School as a Predictor of Academic Achievement

Anke Heyder & Ursula Kessels
Sex Roles, December 2013, Pages 605-617

Abstract:
One cause proposed for boys’ relatively lower academic achievement is a “feminisation” of schools that might result in a lack of fit between boys’ self-concept and academic engagement. Research so far has investigated math-male and language-female stereotypes, but no school-female stereotypes. Our study tested for implicit gender stereotyping of school and its impact on boys’ achievement in N = 122 ninth-graders from a large city in Western Germany using the Go/No-go Association Task (GNAT). Gender role self-concept and grades in math (representing an academic domain stereotyped as male) and German (domain stereotyped as female) were assessed using written questionnaires. It was found that, overall, students associated school more strongly with female than with male, and that this association of school with female was related to boys’ academic achievement. The more strongly boys associated school with female and the more they ascribed negative masculine traits to themselves, the lower their grades in German were. Boys’ academic achievement in math was unrelated to the extent to which they perceived school as feminine and themselves as masculine. Girls’ grades in both German and math were unrelated to their gender stereotyping of school. These findings emphasize the importance of fit between a student’s gender, gender role self-concept and gender stereotyping of school for academic achievement. Strategies to improve this fit are discussed.

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From Bench to Board: Gender Differences in University Scientists' Participation in Corporate Scientific Advisory Boards

Waverly Ding, Fiona Murray & Toby Stuart
Academy of Management Journal, October 2013, Pages 1443-1464

Abstract:
This article examines the gender difference in the likelihood that male and female academic scientists will join corporate scientific advisory boards (SABs). We assess (i) demand-side theories that relate the gap in scientists' rate of joining SABs to the opportunity structure of SAB invitations, and (ii) supply-side explanations that attribute that gap to scientists' preferences for work of this type. We statistically examine the demand- and supply-side perspectives in a national sample of 6,000 life scientists whose careers span more than 30 years. Holding constant professional achievement, network ties, employer characteristics, and research foci, male scientists are almost twice as likely as females to serve on the SABs of biotechnology companies. We do not find evidence in our data supporting a choice-based explanation for the gender gap. Instead, demand-side theoretical perspectives focusing on gender-stereotyped perceptions and the unequal opportunities embedded in social networks appear to explain some of the gap.

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Appointments, Pay and Performance in UK boardrooms by Gender

Ian Gregory-Smith, Brian Main & Charles O'Reilly
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses UK data to examine issues regarding the scarcity of women in boardroom positions. The paper examines appointments, pay and any associated productivity effects deriving from increased diversity. Evidence of gender-bias in the appointment of women as non-executive directors is found together with mixed evidence of discrimination in wages or fees paid. However, the paper finds no support for the argument that gender diverse boards enhance corporate performance. Proposals in favour of greater board diversity may be best structured around the moral value of diversity, rather than with reference to an expectation of improved company performance.

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Gender-Heterogeneous Working Groups Produce Higher Quality Science

Lesley Campbell et al.
PLoS ONE, October 2013

Abstract:
Here we present the first empirical evidence to support the hypothesis that a gender-heterogeneous problem-solving team generally produced journal articles perceived to be higher quality by peers than a team comprised of highly-performing individuals of the same gender. Although women were historically underrepresented as principal investigators of working groups, their frequency as PIs at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis is now comparable to the national frequencies in biology and they are now equally qualified, in terms of their impact on the accumulation of ecological knowledge (as measured by the h-index). While women continue to be underrepresented as working group participants, peer-reviewed publications with gender-heterogeneous authorship teams received 34% more citations than publications produced by gender-uniform authorship teams. This suggests that peers citing these publications perceive publications that also happen to have gender-heterogeneous authorship teams as higher quality than publications with gender uniform authorship teams. Promoting diversity not only promotes representation and fairness but may lead to higher quality science.

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Strategy Training Eliminates Sex Differences in Spatial Problem Solving in a STEM Domain

Mike Stieff et al.
Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Poor spatial ability can limit success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Many initiatives aim to increase STEM achievement and degree attainment through selective recruitment of high-spatial students or targeted training to improve spatial ability. The current study examines an alternative approach to increasing achievement that includes problem-solving strategy training. In this study, we examined how training in multiple problem-solving strategies affects science achievement and its relations to sex and spatial ability. We compared 3 interventions that trained either mental imagery strategies, analytic problem-solving strategies, or their combination in the context of a college chemistry course. As predicted, students adopted more analytic strategies after analytic training, and women used significantly more analytic strategies than men after instruction. Training in the combined use of mental imagery and analytic strategies eliminated sex differences in achievement, but training in a single type of strategy resulted in a male achievement advantage. Our work demonstrates that achievement is dependent not only on spatial ability but also on strategy choice, and that strategy training offers a viable route to improving the performance of female students.

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Hierarchical Structure and Gender Dissimilarity in American Legal Labor Markets

Ronit Dinovitzer & John Hagan
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on inequality in the legal profession underemphasizes the macro-level factors that structure legal work. This paper introduces two measures that characterize local legal labor markets. The index of gender dissimilarity is the proportion of women required to move into the private law firm sector from the public sector to create gender balance. The index of hierarchical market structure is defined by a concentration of elite law graduates, highly leveraged law firms, lucrative billings, and corporate clients. Women's salaries increase more rapidly than men's in these markets, yet men continue to out-earn women. Furthermore, HLM models indicate that in labor markets with greater gender dissimilarity, women's wages are significantly depressed. We explain this in terms of mechanisms of opportunity hoarding and exploitation (Tilly 1998).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, December 9, 2013

Copay

Dispelling An Urban Legend: Frequent Emergency Department Users Have Substantial Burden Of Disease

John Billings & Maria Raven
Health Affairs, December 2013, Pages 2099-2108

Abstract:
Urban legend has often characterized frequent emergency department (ED) patients as mentally ill substance users who are a costly drain on the health care system and who contribute to ED overcrowding because of unnecessary visits for conditions that could be treated more efficiently elsewhere. This study of Medicaid ED users in New York City shows that behavioral health conditions are responsible for a small share of ED visits by frequent users, and that ED use accounts for a small portion of these patients' total Medicaid costs. Frequent ED users have a substantial burden of disease, and they have high rates of primary and specialty care use. They also have linkages to outpatient care that are comparable to those of other ED patients. It is possible to use predictive modeling to identify who will become a repeat ED user and thus to help target interventions. However, policy makers should view reducing frequent ED use as only one element of more-comprehensive intervention strategies for frequent health system users.

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Health Insurance Coverage Predicts Lower Childbearing Among Near-Poor Adolescents

Jacqueline Miller, Deborah Graefe & Gordon De Jong
Journal of Adolescent Health, December 2013, Pages 749-755

Purpose: The impact of health insurance on adolescent childbearing takes on increased salience in the context of the ongoing United States health care debate. Health insurance coverage is important for accessing health care services, including reproductive health services, yet prior research has not examined the association between insurance coverage and childbearing. Consequently, the role of insurance in the prevention of adolescent childbearing has been unclear.

Methods: Using three panels (2001, 2004, and 2008) of the nationally representative Survey of Income and Program Participation data, hierarchical multilevel logistic regression models test the association between pre-pregnancy health insurance coverage and childbearing for a sample of 7,263 unmarried adolescent women (aged 16-19 years), controlling for known correlates of adolescent childbearing. Analyses examine variations in the association based on family income.

Results: The odds of reporting childbearing were almost twice as great for adolescents who were uninsured compared with those who were insured before a pregnancy occurred. Interaction models demonstrate this effect for near-poor adolescents (who are less likely to have health insurance coverage) compared with poor and more advantaged adolescents.

Conclusions: The findings of the current nationally representative study suggest that health insurance coverage is associated with a lower probability of childbearing for near-poor adolescents. Future research should examine potential mechanisms through which insurance coverage influences adolescent childbearing.

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The Effect of Health Insurance on Near-Elderly Health and Mortality

Bernard Black et al.
Northwestern University Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We use the best available longitudinal dataset, the Health and Retirement Survey, and a battery of causal inference methods to provide both central estimates and bounds on the effect of health insurance on health and mortality among the near elderly (initial age 50-61) over an 18-year period. Those uninsured in 1992 consume fewer healthcare services, but are not less healthy and, in our central estimates, do not die sooner than their insured counterparts. We discuss why a zero average effect of uninsurance on mortality and health is plausible, some selection effects that might explain our full results, and methodological concerns with prior studies.

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The Effects of Price Transparency Regulation on Prices in the Healthcare Industry

Hans Bonde Christensen, Eric Floyd & Mark Maffett
University of Chicago Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Policymakers have enacted price transparency regulations in over thirty states during the past decade as an attempt to control rising healthcare costs. This paper provides empirical evidence on the effects of these regulations. Using micro data on actual healthcare purchases, and exploiting both between- and within-state variation to address endogeneity concerns, we find that price transparency regulations reduce the price charged for common, uncomplicated, elective procedures by an average of approximately 7%. Further evidence indicates that the reduction in charge prices is concentrated where competition among providers is most intense and that this reduction is attributable to a decline in the prices charged by the highest priced providers. Among insured patients, reductions in payments are concentrated among the most price sensitive patients, as captured by patients' coinsurance. We also find that insured patients that change providers are more likely to switch to a lower cost provider subsequent to regulation. Overall, our evidence indicates that price transparency regulation leads to a reduction in healthcare prices for patients with incentives to consider costs.

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Competitive bidding in Medicare Advantage: Effect of benchmark changes on plan bids

Zirui Song, Mary Beth Landrum & Michael Chernew
Journal of Health Economics, December 2013, Pages 1301-1312

Abstract:
Bidding has been proposed to replace or complement the administered prices that Medicare pays to hospitals and health plans. In 2006, the Medicare Advantage program implemented a competitive bidding system to determine plan payments. In perfectly competitive models, plans bid their costs and thus bids are insensitive to the benchmark. Under many other models of competition, bids respond to changes in the benchmark. We conceptualize the bidding system and use an instrumental variable approach to study the effect of benchmark changes on bids. We use 2006-2010 plan payment data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published county benchmarks, actual realized fee-for-service costs, and Medicare Advantage enrollment. We find that a $1 increase in the benchmark leads to about a $0.53 increase in bids, suggesting that plans in the Medicare Advantage market have meaningful market power.

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Giving EMS Flexibility In Transporting Low-Acuity Patients Could Generate Substantial Medicare Savings

Abby Alpert et al.
Health Affairs, December 2013, Pages 2142-2148

Abstract:
Some Medicare beneficiaries who place 911 calls to request an ambulance might safely be cared for in settings other than the emergency department (ED) at lower cost. Using 2005-09 Medicare claims data and a validated algorithm, we estimated that 12.9-16.2 percent of Medicare-covered 911 emergency medical services (EMS) transports involved conditions that were probably nonemergent or primary care treatable. Among beneficiaries not admitted to the hospital, about 34.5 percent had a low-acuity diagnosis that might have been managed outside the ED. Annual Medicare EMS and ED payments for these patients were approximately $1 billion per year. If Medicare had the flexibility to reimburse EMS for managing selected 911 calls in ways other than transport to an ED, we estimate that the federal government could save $283-$560 million or more per year, while improving the continuity of patient care. If private insurance companies followed suit, overall societal savings could be twice as large.

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Health Information Exchange, System Size and Information Silos

Amalia Miller & Catherine Tucker
Journal of Health Economics, January 2014, Pages 28-42

Abstract:
There are many technology platforms that bring benefits only when users share data. In healthcare, this is a key policy issue, because of the potential cost savings and quality improvements from 'big data' in the form of sharing electronic patient data across medical providers. Indeed, one criterion used for federal subsidies for healthcare information technology is whether the software has the capability to share data. We find empirically that larger hospital systems are more likely to exchange electronic patient information internally, but are less likely to exchange patient information externally with other hospitals. This pattern is driven by instances where there may be a commercial cost to sharing data with other hospitals. Our results suggest that the common strategy of using 'marquee' large users to kick-start a platform technology has an important drawback of potentially creating information silos. This suggests that federal subsidies for health data technologies based on 'meaningful use' criteria, that are based simply on the capability to share data rather than actual sharing of data, may be misplaced.

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Use of Intensive Care Services and Associated Hospital Mortality After Massachusetts Healthcare Reform

Sarah Lyon et al.
Critical Care Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: To use the natural experiment of health insurance reform in Massachusetts to study the impact of increased insurance coverage on ICU utilization and mortality.

Setting: Massachusetts and four states (New York, Washington, Nebraska, and North Carolina) that did not enact reform.

Patients: All nonpregnant nonelderly adults (age 18-64 yr) admitted to nonfederal acute care hospitals in one of the five states of interest were eligible, excluding patients who were not residents of a respective state at the time of admission.

Measurements: We used a difference-in-differences approach to compare trends in ICU admissions and outcomes of in-hospital mortality and discharge destination for ICU patients.

Main Result: Healthcare reform in Massachusetts was associated with a decrease in ICU patients without insurance from 9.3% to 5.1%. There were no significant changes in adjusted ICU admission rates, mortality, or discharge destination. In a sensitivity analysis excluding a state that enacted Medicaid reform prior to the study period, our difference-in-differences analysis demonstrated a significant increase in mortality of 0.38% per year (95% CI, 0.12-0.64%) in Massachusetts, attributable to a greater per-year decrease in mortality postreform in comparison states (-0.37%; 95% CI, -0.52% to -0.21%) compared with Massachusetts (0.01%; 95% CI, -0.20% to 0.11%).

Conclusion: Massachusetts healthcare reform increased the number of ICU patients with insurance but was not associated with significant changes in ICU use or discharge destination among ICU patients. Reform was also not associated with changed in-hospital mortality for ICU patients; however, this association was dependent on the comparison states chosen in the analysis.

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Physicians' Perceptions of Autonomy across Practice Types: Is Autonomy in Solo Practice a Myth?

Katherine Lin
Social Science & Medicine, January 2014, Pages 21-29

Abstract:
Physicians in the United States are now less likely to practice in smaller, more traditional, solo practices, and more likely to practice in larger group practices. Though older theory predicts conflict between bureaucracy and professional autonomy, studies have shown that professions in general, and physicians in particular, have adapted to organizational constraints. However, much work remains in clarifying the nature of this relationship and how exactly physicians have adapted to various organizational settings. To this end, the present study examines physicians' autonomy experiences in different decision types between organization sizes. Specifically, I ask: In what kinds of decisions do doctors perceive autonomous control? How does this vary by organizational size? Using stacked "spell" data constructed from the Community Tracking Study (CTS) Physician Survey (1996-2005) (n=16,519) I examine how physicians' perceptions of autonomy vary between solo/two physician practices, small group practices with three to ten physicians, and large practices with ten or more physicians, in two kinds of decisions: logistic-based and knowledge-based decisions. Capitalizing on the longitudinal nature of the data I estimate how changes in practice size are associated with perceptions of autonomy, accounting for previous reports of autonomy. I also test whether managed care involvement, practice ownership, and salaried employment help explain part of this relationship. I find that while physicians practicing in larger group practices reported lower levels of autonomy in logistic-based decisions, physicians in solo/two physician practices reported lower levels of autonomy in knowledge-based decisions. Managed care involvement and ownership explain some, but not all, of the associations. These findings suggest that professional adaptation to various organizational settings can lead to varying levels of perceived autonomy across different kinds of decisions.

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Pharmaceutical advertising and Medicare Part D

Darius Lakdawalla, Neeraj Sood & Qian Gu
Journal of Health Economics, December 2013, Pages 1356-1367

Abstract:
We explore how and to what extent prescription drug insurance expansions affect incentives for pharmaceutical advertising. When insurance expansions make markets more profitable, firms respond by boosting advertising. Theory suggests this effect will be magnified in the least competitive drug classes, where firms internalize a larger share of the benefits from advertising. Empirically, we find that the implementation of Part D coincides with a 14-19% increase in total advertising expenditures. This effect is indeed concentrated in the least competitive drug classes. The additional advertising raised utilization among non-elderly patients outside the Part D program by about 3.6%. This is roughly half of the direct utilization effect of Part D on elderly beneficiaries. The results suggest the presence of considerable spillover effects from publicly subsidized prescription drug insurance on the utilization and welfare of consumers outside the program.

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The Impact of Insurance Status on the Outcomes after Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Pui Man Rosalind Lai et al.
PLoS ONE, October 2013

Abstract:
Investigation into the association of insurance status with the outcomes of patients undergoing neurosurgical intervention has been limited: this is the first nationwide study to analyze the impact of primary payer on the outcomes of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage who underwent endovascular coiling or microsurgical clipping. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2001-2010) was utilized to identify patients; those with both an ICD-9 diagnosis codes for subarachnoid hemorrhage and a procedure code for aneurysm repair (either via an endovascular or surgical approach) were included. Hierarchical multivariate regression analyses were utilized to evaluate the impact of primary payer on in-hospital mortality, hospital discharge disposition, and length of hospital stay with hospital as the random effects variable. Models were adjusted for patient age, sex, race, comorbidities, socioeconomic status, hospital region, location (urban versus rural), and teaching status, procedural volume, year of admission, and the proportion of patients who underwent ventriculostomy. Subsequent models were also adjusted for time to aneurysm repair and time to ventriculostomy; subgroup analyses evaluated for those who underwent endovascular and surgical procedures separately. 15,557 hospitalizations were included. In the initial model, the adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality were higher for Medicare (OR 1.23, p<0.001), Medicaid (OR 1.23, p<0.001), and uninsured patients (OR 1.49, p<0.001) compared to those with private insurance. After also adjusting for timing of intervention, Medicaid and uninsured patients had a reduced odds of non-routine discharge (OR 0.75, p<0.001 and OR 0.42, p<0.001) despite longer hospital stays (by 8.35 days, p<0.001 and 2.45 days, p = 0.005). Variations in outcomes by primary payer-including in-hospital post-procedural mortality-were more pronounced for patients of all insurance types who underwent microsurgical clipping. The observed differences by primary payer are likely multifactorial, attributable to varied socioeconomic factors and the complexities of the American healthcare delivery system.

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Effects of Physician-Directed Pharmaceutical Promotion on Prescription Behaviors: Longitudinal Evidence

Anusua Datta & Dhaval Dave
NBER Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
Spending on prescription drugs (Rx) represents one of the fastest growing components of U.S. healthcare spending, and has coincided with an expansion of pharmaceutical promotional spending. Most (83%) of Rx promotion is directed at physicians in the form of visits by pharmaceutical representatives (known as detailing) and drug samples provided to physicians' offices. Such promotion has come under increased public scrutiny, with critics contending that physician-directed promotion may play a role in raising healthcare costs and may unduly affect physicians' prescribing habits towards more expensive, and possibly less cost-effective, drugs. In this study, we bring longitudinal evidence to bear upon the question of how detailing impacts physicians' prescribing behaviors. Specifically, we examine prescriptions and promotion for a particular drug class based on a nationally-representative sample of 150,000 physicians spanning 24 months. The use of longitudinal physician-level data allows us to tackle some of the empirical concerns in the extant literature, virtually all of which has relied on aggregate national data. We estimate fixed-effects specifications that bypass stable unobserved physician-specific heterogeneity and address potential targeting bias. In addition, we also assess differential effects at both the extensive and intensive margins of prescribing behaviors, and differential effects across physician- and market-level characteristics, questions which have not been explored in prior work. The estimates suggest that detailing has a significant and positive effect on the number of new scripts written for the detailed drug, with an elasticity magnitude of 0.06. This effect is substantially smaller than those in the literature based on aggregate information, suggesting that most of the observed relationship between physician-directed promotion and drug sales is driven by selection bias. Qualitatively consistent with the literature, we find that detailing impacts selective brand-specific demand but does not have any substantial effects on class-level demand. Results also indicate that most of the detailing response may operate at the extensive margin; detailing affects the probability of prescribing the drug more than it affects the number of prescriptions conditional on any prescribing. We draw some implications from these estimates with respect to effects on healthcare costs and public health.

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Are Physicians' Prescribing Decisions Sensitive to Drug Prices? Evidence from a Free-Antibiotics Program

Shanjun Li & Ramanan Laxminarayan
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether patient-level factors, in particular cost considerations, affect the physicians' prescribing decisions. In the context of a natural experiment, we examine the effect of the first US commercial free-antibiotics program on retail antibiotic sales. We find an overall increase in antibiotic prescriptions under the program and substitutions to covered antibiotics from not-covered antibiotics. The shift away from not-covered antibiotics, particularly from those without covered equivalents, indicates a change in the physicians' prescribing decisions. We locate stronger program effects in low-income areas. Our findings, robust to a variety of specifications, are in contrast with previous literature.

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The effect of entry regulation in the health care sector: The case of home health

Daniel Polsky et al.
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The consequences of government regulation in the post-acute care sector are not well understood. We examine the effect of entry regulation on quality of care in home health care by analyzing the universe of hospital discharges during 2006 for publicly insured beneficiaries (about 4.5 million) and subsequent home health admissions to determine whether there is a significant difference in home health utilization, hospital readmission rates, and health care expenditures in states with and without Certificate of Need laws (CON) regulating entry. We identify these effects by looking across regulated and nonregulated states within Hospital Referral Regions, which characterize well-defined health care markets and frequently cross state boundaries. We find that CON states use home health less frequently, but system-wide rehospitalization rates, overall Medicare expenditures, and home health practice patterns are similar. Removing CON for home health would have negligible system-wide effects on health care costs and quality.

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Health Care Utilization Patterns of Homeless Individuals in Boston: Preparing for Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act

Monica Bharel et al.
American Journal of Public Health, December 2013, Pages S311-S317

Objectives: We studied 6494 Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) patients to understand the disease burden and health care utilization patterns for a group of insured homeless individuals.

Methods: We studied merged BHCHP data and MassHealth eligibility, claims, and encounter data from 2010. MassHealth claims and encounter data provided a comprehensive history of health care utilization and expenditures, as well as associated diagnoses, in both general medical and behavioral health services sectors and across a broad range of health care settings.

Results: The burden of disease was high, with the majority of patients experiencing mental illness, substance use disorders, and a number of medical diseases. Hospitalization and emergency room use were frequent and total expenditures were 3.8 times the rate of an average Medicaid recipient.

Conclusions: The Affordable Care Act provides a framework for reforming the health care system to improve the coordination of care and outcomes for vulnerable populations. However, improved health care coverage alone may not be enough. Health care must be integrated with other resources to address the complex challenges presented by inadequate housing, hunger, and unsafe environments.

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Who funds their health savings account and why?

Song Chen, Anthony Lo Sasso & Aneesh Nandam
International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, December 2013, Pages 219-232

Abstract:
Health savings account (HSA) enrollment has increased markedly in the last several years, but little is known about the factors affecting account funding decisions. We use a unique data set containing from a bank that exclusively services HSA funds linked to health status, benefit design, plan coverage, and enrollee characteristics from a very large national health insurance company to examine the factors associated with HSA contribution. We found that even small employer contributions had an apparently large effect on the decision to open an account: the account-opening rate was 50 % higher when employers contributed to the account. Conditional on opening an HSA, employee contributions were negatively associated with the amount of employer contribution, contributions rose with age, income, education, and health care need.

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Mortality among High Risk Patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction Admitted to U.S. Teaching-Intensive Hospitals in July: A Retrospective Observational Study

Anupam Jena, Eric Sun & John Romley
Circulation, forthcoming

Background: Studies of whether inpatient mortality in U.S. teaching hospitals rises in July as a result of organizational disruption and relative inexperience of new physicians ('July effect') find small and mixed results, perhaps because study populations primarily include low-risk inpatients whose mortality outcomes are unlikely to exhibit a July effect.

Methods and Results: Using the U.S. Nationwide Inpatient sample, we estimated difference-in-difference models of mortality, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) rates, and bleeding complication rates, for high and low risk patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) admitted to 98 teaching-intensive and 1353 non-teaching-intensive hospitals during May and July 2002 to 2008. Among patients in the top quartile of predicted AMI mortality (high risk), adjusted mortality was lower in May than July in teaching-intensive hospitals (18.8% in May, 22.7% in July, p<0.01), but similar in non-teaching-intensive hospitals (22.5% in May, 22.8% in July, p=0.70). Among patients in the lowest three quartiles of predicted AMI mortality (low risk), adjusted mortality was similar in May and July in both teaching-intensive hospitals (2.1% in May, 1.9% in July, p=0.45) and non-teaching-intensive hospitals (2.7% in May, 2.8% in July, p=0.21). Differences in PCI and bleeding complication rates could not explain the observed July mortality effect among high risk patients.

Conclusions: High risk AMI patients experience similar mortality in teaching- and non-teaching-intensive hospitals in July, but lower mortality in teaching-intensive hospitals in May. Low risk patients experience no such "July effect" in teaching-intensive hospitals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Give in

Too Impatient to Smell the Roses: Exposure to Fast Food Impedes Happiness

Julian House, Sanford DeVoe & Chen-Bo Zhong
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We tested whether exposure to the ultimate symbols of an impatience culture — fast food —undermines people’s ability to experience happiness from savoring pleasurable experiences. Study 1 found that the concentration of fast-food restaurants in individuals’ neighborhoods predicted their tendencies to savor. Study 2 revealed that exposure to fast-food primes impeded participants’ ability to derive happiness from pictures of natural beauty. Study 3 showed that priming fast food undermined positive emotional responses to a beautiful melody by inducing greater impatience, measured by both subjective perception of time passage and self-reports of impatience experienced during the music. Together, these studies show that as pervasive symbols of impatience, fast food can inhibit savoring, producing negative consequences for how we experience pleasurable events.

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Environmental Disorder Leads to Self-Regulatory Failure

Boyoun (Grace) Chae & Rui (Juliet) Zhu
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the influence of environmental orderliness on consumers’ self-regulation. It is proposed that a disorganized environment threatens the individual’s sense of personal control. Because experiencing this control threat depletes resources, individuals exposed to a disorganized (vs. organized) environment are more likely to exhibit self-regulatory failure in subsequent tasks. The results from four studies provide support for this hypothesis. Further, they offer evidence of the underlying process by demonstrating that a perceived threat to control mediates the effect of environmental orderliness on self-regulation, and that providing individuals with an opportunity to recoup their resources mitigates this effect. This research has crucial practical implications concerning public health and consumer well-being.

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Do natural landscapes reduce future discounting in humans?

Arianne van der Wal et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 December 2013

Abstract:
An important barrier to enduring behavioural change is the human tendency to discount the future. Drawing on evolutionary theories of life history and biophilia, this study investigates whether exposure to natural versus urban landscapes affects people's temporal discount rates. The results of three studies, two laboratory experiments and a field study reveal that individual discount rates are systematically lower after people have been exposed to scenes of natural environments as opposed to urban environments. Further, this effect is owing to people placing more value on the future after nature exposure. The finding that nature exposure reduces future discounting — as opposed to exposure to urban environments — conveys important implications for a range of personal and collective outcomes including healthy lifestyles, sustainable resource use and population growth.

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Holding the Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym: An Evaluation of Temptation Bundling

Katherine Milkman, Julia Minson & Kevin Volpp
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We introduce and evaluate the effectiveness of temptation bundling — a method for simultaneously tackling two types of self-control problems by harnessing consumption complementarities. We describe a field experiment measuring the impact of bundling instantly gratifying but guilt-inducing “want” experiences (enjoying page-turner audiobooks) with valuable “should” behaviors providing delayed rewards (exercising). We explore whether such bundles increase should behaviors and whether people would pay to create these restrictive bundles. Participants were randomly assigned to a full treatment condition with gym-only access to tempting audio novels, an intermediate treatment involving encouragement to restrict audiobook enjoyment to the gym, or a control condition. Initially, full and intermediate treatment participants visited the gym 51% and 29% more frequently, respectively, than control participants, but treatment effects declined over time (particularly following Thanksgiving). After the study, 61% of participants opted to pay to have gym-only access to iPods containing tempting audiobooks, suggesting demand for this commitment device.

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Effects of anonymous peer observation on adolescents' preference for immediate rewards

Alexander Weigard et al.
Developmental Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests that the presence of peers influences adolescent risk-taking by increasing the perceived reward value of risky decisions. While prior work has involved observation of participants by their friends, the current study examined whether observation by an anonymous peer could elicit similarly increased reward sensitivity. Late adolescent participants completed a delay discounting task either alone or under the belief that performance was being observed from a neighboring room by an unknown viewer of the same gender and age. Even in this limited social context, participants demonstrated a significantly increased preference for smaller, immediate rewards when they believed that they were being watched. This outcome challenges several intuitive accounts of the peer effect on adolescent risk-taking, and indicates that the peer influence on reward sensitivity during late adolescence is not dependent on familiarity with the observer. The findings have both theoretical and practical implications for our understanding of social influences on adolescents' risky behavior.

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Digital Peer Interactions Affect Risk Taking in Young Adults

Ross MacLean et al.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Digital interactions are an increasingly common communication method among young adults, but little is known about whether such remote exchanges influence riskiness. The current study examined whether observing and interacting with, versus simply observing, a digital peer affect risk taking in young adults aged 18–25. Participants who remotely viewed risky behavior by a peer or computer increased risk taking; however, compared to a control condition, only exposure to risk-encouraging messages from a digital peer resulted in sustained risk-taking behavior. These findings suggest that short text-based messages from a risk-encouraging digital peer can influence risk-taking behavior in young adults. Given the rapid proliferation of digital communication among this age group, these results highlight a potentially important source of peer influence on risky behavior.

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Acute exercise facilitates brain function and cognition in children who need it most: An ERP study of individual differences in inhibitory control capacity

Eric Drollette et al.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, January 2014, Pages 53–64

Abstract:
The present study examined the effects of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on aspects of cognitive control in two groups of children categorized by higher- and lower-task performance. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were collected in 40 preadolescent children during a modified flanker task following 20 min of treadmill walking and seated rest on separate occasions. Participants were bifurcated into two groups based on task performance following the resting session. Findings revealed that following exercise, higher-performers maintained accuracy and exhibited no change in P3 amplitude compared to seated rest. Lower-performers demonstrated a differential effect, such that accuracy measures improved, and P3 amplitude increased following exercise. Lastly, both groups displayed smaller N2 amplitude and shorter P3 latency following exercise, suggesting an overall facilitation in response conflict and the speed of stimulus classification. The current findings replicate prior research reporting the beneficial influence of acute aerobic exercise on cognitive performance in children. However, children with lower inhibitory control capacity may benefit the most from single bouts of exercise. These data are among the first to demonstrate the differential effect of physical activity on individuals who vary in inhibitory control, and further support the role of aerobic exercise for brain health during development.

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Competitive Disadvantage Facilitates Risk-Taking

Sandeep Mishra, Pat Barclay & Martin Lalumière
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Risk-sensitivity theory predicts that organisms are more likely to take risks when they are unlikely to achieve their goals through safer, low-risk means. Those who are competitively disadvantaged are less likely to succeed in social competition and should consequently show elevated risk-taking. We experimentally tested this hypothesis by exposing participants to cues of relative competitive disadvantage or relative competitive advantage via feedback from a purported intelligence test. Participants then made a number of high-risk or low-risk economic decisions (Experiment 1). Experiment 2 built on this design by either maintaining or ameliorating cues of relative competitive (dis)advantage. Results indicate that cues of relative competitive disadvantage led to increased risk-taking, and that risk-taking can be reduced when cues of disadvantage are ameliorated. Since risk-taking tends to generalize across domains, these results can potentially apply to a number of problematic risky behaviors.

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Personality and psychographics of three types of gamblers in the United States

Andrew Carver & John McCarty
International Gambling Studies, Fall 2013, Pages 338-355

Abstract:
Using the results of the Experian Marketing Services' Simmons® National Consumer Study (NCS) (N0 = 24,581), this paper studies the characteristics of three types of US. gamblers: regular lottery players (N1 = 1100), heavy casino gamblers (N2 = 636) and online gamblers (N3 = 291). We explore each type of gambler using measures of several personality and psychographic variables: impulsiveness, desire for control, materialism, risk taking, self-centredness, introversion, sensation seeking and financial prudence. We find that while all three groups have elevated levels of impulsiveness and materialism relative to non-gamblers (p < 0.01), most noteworthy are the online gamblers, who have higher levels of risk taking, desire for control, self-centredness and sensation seeking compared to casino gamblers, lottery players and non-gamblers (p < 0.01). This study additionally emphasizes the importance of considering demographics when investigating psychographics, as some of the psychographics related to gambling are conditioned on age. In addition, we find that online gamblers who also engage in other forms of gambling may be distinct from those who do not, suggesting they are not a homogeneous group.

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Impulsivity, Sensation-Seeking, and Part-Time Job Status in Relation to Substance Use and Gambling in Adolescents

Robert Leeman et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: Although impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and part-time employment have each been linked to risky behaviors in adolescents, their inter-relationships are less well-understood. We examined data from adolescents to assess the following predictions: (1) sensation-seeking would relate closely to substance use and gambling; (2) impulsivity would relate closely to alcohol, drug, and gambling problems; and (3) these relationships would be particularly strong among those holding part-time jobs.

Method: High-school students (N = 3,106) were surveyed to provide data on impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and part-time job status. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine relationships with gambling, substance use (i.e., alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana) and related problems.

Results: Both impulsivity and sensation-seeking related significantly to substance use and impulsivity to gambling. Impulsivity had stronger associations with drug and gambling problems than sensation-seeking did. Students with paid part-time jobs were more likely to drink alcohol, binge drink, and use marijuana. Sensation-seeking had a particularly strong relationship to heavy cigarette smoking among students with part-time jobs. Conversely, there was little relationship between part-time job status and smoking among low sensation-seekers.

Conclusions: These findings further support the relevance of sensation-seeking, impulsivity, and part-time job status to risky behaviors among adolescents. Sensation-seeking and impulsivity had unique relationships to risky behaviors, in accordance with theory and prior evidence. Impulsive adolescents may be in particular need for interventions to reduce drug use and gambling. Although part-time jobs can be beneficial, parents and caregivers should be mindful of potential negative ramifications of paid work outside the home.

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Stopping anger and anxiety: Evidence that inhibitory ability predicts negative emotional responding

David Tang & Brandon Schmeichel
Cognition & Emotion, Winter 2014, Pages 132-142

Abstract:
Research has begun to suggest that cognitive ability contributes to emotional processes and responses. The present study sought novel evidence for this hypothesis by examining the relationship between individual differences in the capacity for inhibitory control and responses to a common emotion-induction procedure involving autobiographical memories. Participants first completed a stop-signal task to measure inhibitory control and then underwent an anger, anxiety, or neutral emotion induction. Performance on the stop-signal task predicted emotional responses such that participants with poorer inhibitory control reported larger increases in anger following the anger induction and larger increases in anxiety across emotion induction conditions, relative to better inhibitors. These results suggest that individual differences in cognitive ability may influence the intensity of emotional states induced by common laboratory methods of emotion induction.

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Who Is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences

Daniel Benjamin, Sebastian Brown & Jesse Shapiro
Journal of the European Economic Association, December 2013, Pages 1231–1255

Abstract:
In this paper, we ask whether variation in preference anomalies is related to variation in cognitive ability. Evidence from a new laboratory study of Chilean high-school students with similar schooling backgrounds shows that small-stakes risk aversion and short-run discounting are less common among those with higher standardized test scores. The relationship with test scores survives controls for parental education and wealth. We find some evidence that elementary-school GPA is predictive of preferences measured at the end of high school. Two laboratory interventions provide suggestive evidence of a possible causal impact of cognitive resources on expressed preferences.

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Money Imbued With Essence: How We Preserve, Invest, and Spend Inherited Money

Orit Tykocinski & Thane Pittman
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, November/December 2013, Pages 506-514

Abstract:
The unique nature of inherited money is reflected in financial decisions concerning such bequests. A legacy originates in somber circumstances and bears the distinctive characteristics of the deceased. In four experiments and a survey among inheritors we found that people tended to preserve the inheritance; participants were reluctant to spend the legacy on hedonic goods or risk it by investing in the stock market. Inheritors with a close relationship with the deceased were more likely to seek uses congenial to the personality and the values of the departed. The results are discussed in terms of magical thinking and coping with bereavement.

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Positive affect and self-control: Attention to self-control demands mediates the influence of positive affect on consecutive self-control

Mario Wenzel, Thomas Kubiak & Tamlin Conner
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Positive affect (PA) can either improve or impair self-control performance, depending on whether two tasks are dissimilar, and thus require flexible releasing and switching, or similar, which requires stable maintenance. The present study suggests that this effect is mediated by attentional shifts. The authors found that participants under PA, who performed on two dissimilar tasks and had to switch to a new response dimension, were less attentive to distracting information compared to neutral affect (NE), leading to better performance. In contrast, participants under PA who did not have to switch, were more attentive to distracting information compared to participants under NE. These findings highlight the opposite effects of PA on consecutive self-control.

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Uncovering Curvilinear Relationships Between Conscientiousness and Job Performance: How Theoretically Appropriate Measurement Makes an Empirical Difference

Nathan Carter et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The personality trait of conscientiousness has seen considerable attention from applied psychologists due to its efficacy for predicting job performance across performance dimensions and occupations. However, recent theoretical and empirical developments have questioned the assumption that more conscientiousness always results in better job performance, suggesting a curvilinear link between the 2. Despite these developments, the results of studies directly testing the idea have been mixed. Here, we propose this link has been obscured by another pervasive assumption known as the dominance model of measurement: that higher scores on traditional personality measures always indicate higher levels of conscientiousness. Recent research suggests dominance models show inferior fit to personality test scores as compared to ideal point models that allow for curvilinear relationships between traits and scores. Using data from 2 different samples of job incumbents, we show the rank-order changes that result from using an ideal point model expose a curvilinear link between conscientiousness and job performance 100% of the time, whereas results using dominance models show mixed results, similar to the current state of the literature. Finally, with an independent cross-validation sample, we show that selection based on predicted performance using ideal point scores results in more favorable objective hiring outcomes. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Frenemies

Hormones and social monitoring: Menstrual cycle shifts in progesterone underlie women's sensitivity to social information

Jon Maner & Saul Miller
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, women's bodies prepare themselves for possible pregnancy and this preparation includes a dramatic increase in progesterone. This increase in progesterone may underlie a variety of functionally relevant psychological changes designed to help women overcome challenges historically encountered during pregnancy (e.g., warding off social threats and recruiting allies). This paper reports data supporting the hypothesis that increases in progesterone during the luteal phase underlie heightened levels of social monitoring — that is, heightened sensitivity to social cues indicating the presence of social opportunity or threat. Increases in progesterone during the luteal phase were associated with increased accuracy in decoding facial expressions (Study 1) and increased attention to social stimuli (Study 2). Findings suggest that increases in progesterone during the luteal phase may be linked functionally with low-level perceptual attunements that help women effectively navigate their social world.

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The Company They Keep and Avoid: Social Goal Orientation as a Predictor of Children’s Ethnic Segregation

Travis Wilson, Philip Rodkin & Allison Ryan
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined whether social goal orientation (i.e., demonstration–approach, demonstration–avoid, and social development goals) predicts changes in ethnic segregation among 4th and 5th grade African American and European American children (n = 713, ages 9–11 years) from fall to spring. Segregation measures were (a) same-ethnicity favoritism in friendships, (b) same-ethnicity favoritism in peer group affiliations, and (c) cross-ethnicity dislike. Social goal orientation was asymmetrically associated with ethnic segregation for the 2 groups. Among African Americans, aspiring to achieve high social status predicted increases in same-ethnicity favoritism and cross-ethnicity dislike. Among European Americans, aspiring to achieve high social status predicted decreases in same-ethnicity favoritism.

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Physical Aggression, Spreading of Rumors, and Social Prominence in Early Adolescence: Reciprocal Effects Supporting Gender Similarities?

Jaana Juvonen, Yueyan Wang & Guadalupe Espinoza
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, December 2013, Pages 1801-1810

Abstract:
There is a robust association between aggression and social prominence by early adolescence, yet findings regarding the direction of influence remain inconclusive in light of gender differences across various forms of aggressive behaviors. The current study examined whether physical aggression and spreading of rumors, as two gender-typed aggressive behaviors that differ in overt displays of power, promote and/or maintain socially prominent status for girls and boys during non-transitional grades in middle school. Peer nominations were used to assess physical aggression, spreading of rumors, and “cool” reputation (social prominence) during three time points between the spring of seventh grade and spring of eighth grade. Participants included 1,895 (54 % female) ethnically diverse youth: 47 % Latino, 22 % African-American, 11 % Asian, 10 % White and 10 % Other/Mixed ethnic background. Cross-lagged path analyses were conducted to test the directionality of the effects, and gender moderation was assessed by relying on multi-group analyses. The analyses revealed mainly reciprocal associations for each form of aggression, suggesting that boys, as well as girls, can both gain and maintain their status by spreading rumors about their peers, just as they do by physically fighting and pushing others in urban middle schools. The implications of the findings for interventions are discussed.

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The impact of frequent social Internet consumption: Increased procrastination and lower life satisfaction

Christian Hinsch & Kennon Sheldon
Journal of Consumer Behaviour, November/December 2013, Pages 496–505

Abstract:
Organizations are frequently turning to social Internet applications in an effort to form bonds with consumers. However, little research has addressed the impact of social Internet consumption on the individual. Two studies of regular social Internet consumers (i.e., users of Facebook and socially connected online games) examined the effects of prompted usage reduction or cessation upon participants. In both studies, participants benefitted on average during the reduction/cessation period, reporting increased life satisfaction and decreased procrastination. The Facebooker versus gamer factor had remarkably few effects (i.e., results generalized across these two groups). Implications are discussed for both consumers and organizations involved in social Internet activities.

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The Big Bad Wolf? The relation between the Dark Triad and the interpersonal assessment of vulnerability

Pamela Black, Michael Woodworth & Stephen Porter
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although it is recognized that “dark personalities” engage in a high level of interpersonal manipulation and exploitation, little is known about whether or how they assess a target’s potential vulnerability prior to such behavior. This study examined the relation between the Dark Triad (psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) and strategies used in the assessment of personality and emotional states related to vulnerability in others. Participants (N = 101) were asked to form impressions of stranger “targets” (with either high or low known vulnerability features) describing themselves across thin slice video, audio, or transcript modalities. Results indicated that dark personalities engaged in a relatively superficial interpersonal analysis and exhibited a “negative other” heuristic by which they generally perceived all targets as being weak and vulnerable to victimization. This negative other heuristic led to impairments in their ability to accurately assess certain features of others. We propose that instead of being keen “readers” of others, dark personalities may rely on their own personality and physical features (e.g., charm, good looks) to draw in vulnerable victims or adopt a “quantity over quality” strategy to find victims and then use active manipulation tactics to exploit them.

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Brain Hyperconnectivity in Children with Autism and its Links to Social Deficits

Kaustubh Supekar et al.
Cell Reports, 14 November 2013, Pages 738-747

Abstract:
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting nearly 1 in 88 children, is thought to result from aberrant brain connectivity. Remarkably, there have been no systematic attempts to characterize whole-brain connectivity in children with ASD. Here, we use neuroimaging to show that there are more instances of greater functional connectivity in the brains of children with ASD in comparison to those of typically developing children. Hyperconnectivity in ASD was observed at the whole-brain and subsystems levels, across long- and short-range connections, and was associated with higher levels of fluctuations in regional brain signals. Brain hyperconnectivity predicted symptom severity in ASD, such that children with greater functional connectivity exhibited more severe social deficits. We replicated these findings in two additional independent cohorts, demonstrating again that at earlier ages, the brain of children with ASD is largely functionally hyperconnected in ways that contribute to social dysfunction. Our findings provide unique insights into brain mechanisms underlying childhood autism.

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Oxytocin enhances brain function in children with autism

Ilanit Gordon et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Following intranasal administration of oxytocin (OT), we measured, via functional MRI, changes in brain activity during judgments of socially (Eyes) and nonsocially (Vehicles) meaningful pictures in 17 children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD). OT increased activity in the striatum, the middle frontal gyrus, the medial prefrontal cortex, the right orbitofrontal cortex, and the left superior temporal sulcus. In the striatum, nucleus accumbens, left posterior superior temporal sulcus, and left premotor cortex, OT increased activity during social judgments and decreased activity during nonsocial judgments. Changes in salivary OT concentrations from baseline to 30 min postadministration were positively associated with increased activity in the right amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex during social vs. nonsocial judgments. OT may thus selectively have an impact on salience and hedonic evaluations of socially meaningful stimuli in children with ASD, and thereby facilitate social attunement. These findings further the development of a neurophysiological systems-level understanding of mechanisms by which OT may enhance social functioning in children with ASD.

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Differential effects of the KiVa anti-bullying program on popular and unpopular bullies

Claire Garandeau, Ihno Lee & Christina Salmivalli
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study utilized data from the evaluation of the Finnish KiVa program in testing the prediction that school bullies' high perceived popularity would impede the success of anti-bullying interventions. Multiple-group structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses were conducted on a subsample of 911 third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders identified as perpetrators of bullying. They belonged to 77 Finnish schools, including 39 schools implementing the KiVa program and 38 control schools. Data on peer-reported bullying and perceived popularity were collected before program implementation and one year later. Controlling for sex, age, and initial levels of bullying, KiVa participation resulted in lower rates of bullying (indicated by fewer peer nominations) after one year for bullies of low and medium popularity. However, there was no significant effect for those high in popularity, suggesting that popular bullies are less responsive to anti-bullying interventions than less popular bullies.

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Texting everywhere for everything: Gender and age differences in cell phone etiquette and use

Deborah Kirby Forgays, Ira Hyman & Jessie Schreiber
Computers in Human Behavior, February 2014, Pages 314–321

Abstract:
The majority of research on cell phone use has focused on adolescent and young adult users with less attention on cell phone use by those older than 25 years of age. In this study, adult participants from 18 to 68 years completed a survey about their own use of cell phones and the contexts in which they considered cell phone use appropriate. There were age and gender differences in beliefs about the etiquette as to when cell phone use was appropriate. Older participants and women advocated for more restricted cell phone use in most social situations. Men differed from women in that they viewed cell phone calls as more appropriate in virtually all environments including intimate settings. Across all age groups in all communication settings, cell phones were used to text. The only exception was that romantic partners were more likely to receive a call than a text. In the younger age groups, texting communication is so normative that over 25% had dumped or were dumped by a romantic partner. The preponderance of gender similarities point to cell phone usage as a stable communication vehicle for maintaining social contact.

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The bright side of positive perceptual bias: Children's estimations of network centrality and aggression

Jennifer Watling Neal & Elise Cappella
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explores whether findings linking positive perceptual bias to childhood aggression extend to perceptual bias in network centrality. We present data from nested regression models that examine associations between perceptual bias in network centrality and aggressive behavior in a sample of 421 urban African American second through fourth grade students. Children who overestimated their network centrality compared to peer-reports were less likely to be nominated by peers as overtly or relationally aggressive. Results run counter to threatened egotism theory, and instead support a resource control theory explanation of perceptual bias and aggression. Specifically, aggressive children may strategically limit the number of peers they report “hanging out with” to maintain social status within their peer group. Findings imply that not all forms of positive perceptual bias have a “dark side.”

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Enhancing social cognition by training children in emotion understanding: A primary school study

Veronica Ornaghi, Jens Brockmeier & Ilaria Grazzani
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, March 2014, Pages 26–39

Abstract:
We investigated whether training school-age children in emotion understanding had a significant effect on their social cognition. Participants were 110 children (mean age = 7 years 3 months) assigned to training and control conditions. Over a 2-month intervention program, after the reading of illustrated scenarios based on emotional scripts, the training group was engaged in conversations on emotion understanding, whereas the control group was simply asked to produce a drawing about the story. The training group outperformed the control group on emotion comprehension, theory of mind, and empathy, and the positive training outcomes for emotion understanding remained stable over 6 months. Implications of the findings are discussed.

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Increased Neural Response to Peer Rejection associated with Adolescent Depression and Pubertal Development

Jennifer Silk et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sensitivity to social evaluation has been proposed as a potential marker or risk factor for depression, and has also been theorized to increase with pubertal maturation. This study utilized an ecologically valid paradigm to test the hypothesis that adolescents with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) would show altered reactivity to peer rejection and acceptance relative to healthy controls in a network of ventral brain regions implicated in affective processing of social information. 48 adolescents (ages 11-17), including 21 with a current diagnosis of MDD and 27 age- and gender-matched controls, received rigged acceptance and rejection feedback from fictitious peers during a simulated online peer interaction during functional neuroimaging. MDD youth showed increased activation to rejection relative to controls in the bilateral amygdala, subgenual anterior cingulate, left anterior insula, and left nucleus accumbens. MDD and healthy youth did not differ in response to acceptance. Youth more advanced in pubertal maturation also showed increased reactivity to rejection in the bilateral amygdala/parahippocampal gyrus and the caudate/subgenual anterior cingulate, and these effects remained significant when controlling for chronological age. Findings suggest that increased reactivity to peer rejection is a normative developmental process associated with pubertal development, but is particularly enhanced among youth with depression.

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Importance of having agreeable friends in adolescence (especially when you are not)

Jennifer Knack et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the actor–partner interdependence model, we examined whether adolescent's agreeableness, best friend's agreeableness, and the interaction between adolescent-friend agreeableness are important for interpersonal functioning. Adolescents (N = 158) in fifth to eighth grades who were part of best friend pairs completed personality and friendship measures. Adolescents' adjustment and victimization experiences were assessed by peer nominations. For boys, best friend's agreeableness moderated the relationship between the target boy's agreeableness and overt victimization, relational victimization, and externalizing problems. For girls, best friend's agreeableness moderated the relationship between the target girl's agreeableness and internalizing problems and prosocial skills. This study provides an initial glimpse into how traits of friends can influence outcomes beyond what would be expected from adolescents' personality alone.

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There is no sweet escape from social pain: Glucose does not attenuate the effects of ostracism

Holly Miller et al.
Physiology & Behavior, 30 January 2014, Pages 8–14

Abstract:
Ostracism causes social pain and is known to activate regions of the brain that are involved in the representation of physical pain. Previous research has observed that acetominophen (a common pain reliever) can reduce the pain of exclusion. The taste and consumption of glucose can also relieve physical pain, and the purpose of the current study was to examine whether it might also reduce the negative emotional effects of ostracism. In an appropriately powered experiment, participants were given 25 g of glucose or a sucralose placebo before being ostracized while playing Cyberball. Strong effects of ostracism were observed, however, there was no effect of glucose on immediate or delayed self-reported needs or mood. These results are discussed in reference to the possibility that social pain is unlike physical pain since the latter is affected by glucose, which is believed to lessen pain by increasing endogenous opioid activity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 6, 2013

Contempt of court

Judicial Independence: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Scott Graves, Robert Howard & Pamela Corley
Law & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we directly test the presence of judicial independence by examining judicial recess appointees who have later been confirmed by the Senate to full-time Article III judicial positions. Specifically, we compare the votes of recess-appointed courts of appeals judges during their temporary appointment tenure with a similar period following Senate confirmation. We find substantial differences in pre- and postconfirmation voting, suggesting that the structural protections of the Constitution provide judges a certain amount of independence.

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The Effect of Legal Expert Commentary on Lay Judgments of Judicial Decision Making

Dan Simon & Nicholas Scurich
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2013, Pages 797-814

Abstract:
The public's view of the judiciary is a key factor in the legitimacy of any legal system. Ideally, popular judgments of the adjudicative branch would be independent of the outcomes of the decisions it furnishes. In a previous study (Simon & Scurich 2011), we found that lay people's evaluations of the judicial decision-making process were highly contingent on the decision outcomes. Participants gave favorable evaluations of the judges and their decisions when they agreed with the judges' outcomes, but reported negative evaluations when they disagreed with them. These results held true across four different types of judicial reasoning, and despite the fact that all decisions were described as having followed proper procedures and been argued by competent lawyers. That study left open the possibility that the public's judgments might be moderated by professional elites, namely, legal experts. Indeed, in real life, much of the public's information about judicial decisions is derived from legal experts who communicate and comment on them in the media. This study examined the effect of professional commentators on lay people's judgments of judicial decision making. We found that the experts' commentaries do not alter participants' evaluations of the courts' decisions, as the evaluations continue to be influenced strongly by the participants' agreement with the outcomes of the judges' decisions. Moreover, lay people's reactions to the experts follow a similar pattern: the experts are deemed competent and their commentaries are deemed reliable when the participants agree with the outcomes propounded by the experts, but the opposite is true when the participants' preferred outcomes are incongruent with the outcomes endorsed by the experts. These findings suggest that the outcome-dominated judgments of courts cannot easily be tempered by professional elites. This conclusion could also provide some insight into the dynamic process that enables political polarization.

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A Paradox of Bias: Racial Differences in Forensic Psychiatric Diagnosis and Determinations of Criminal Responsibility

Brea Perry, Matthew Neltner & Timothy Allen
Race and Social Problems, December 2013, Pages 239-249

Abstract:
Although there is substantial evidence that African Americans receive unequal treatment in both the healthcare and criminal justice systems, less research has investigated the role of race when these two systems converge. Here, we examine the influence of race on patterns of forensic psychiatric diagnosis and determinations of criminal responsibility in pre-trial correctional facilities (e.g., forensic psychiatric hospitals). Data are from a medical chart review of 129 randomly selected competency evaluations that occurred in a pre-trial correctional psychiatric facility. Consistent with previous research, findings indicate that African Americans are disproportionately diagnosed with highly stigmatized psychotic spectrum disorders relative to whites. In addition, they unexpectedly indicate that African Americans are significantly more likely than whites to be found not criminally responsible by the court-appointed evaluating mental health professional, controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, number of violent and non-violent charges, and other potential confounding variables. Mediation analysis reveals the important and previously undocumented finding that the effect of race on criminal responsibility determinations is fully mediated by differential diagnosis. This suggests that patterns of racial inequality and potential bias in the diagnostic process may confer medical resources and other benefits for African Americans in the context of the criminal justice system.

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Social Organization, Collective Sentiment, and Legal Sanctions in Murder Cases

Eric Baumer & Kimberly Martin
American Journal of Sociology, July 2013, Pages 131-182

Abstract:
The traditional "jurisprudential model" of law views the application of legal sanctions primarily as a function of the facts of the case and the rules that govern the proceedings. Sociology of law scholars have challenged this model on theoretical grounds, arguing persuasively that law is variable and often yields patterns that parallel broader considerations of community social organization and collective sentiment. The authors' analysis yields evidence that the certainty and severity of sanctions for murder cases are heightened where social capital is more plentiful, religious fundamentalist values more prevalent, and support for punitive sanctions is greater. They also find that sentences given to murder defendants are longer in areas in which the public expresses higher levels of fear. Overall, the findings provide provocative evidence that legal outcomes in murder cases are influenced by several features of the social environments in which they are processed.

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Evidence-Based Sentencing and the Scientific Rationalization of Discrimination

Sonja Starr
Stanford Law Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper critiques, on legal and empirical grounds, the growing trend of basing criminal sentences on actuarial recidivism risk prediction instruments that include demographic and socioeconomic variables. I argue that this practice violates the Equal Protection Clause and is bad policy: an explicit embrace of otherwise-condemned discrimination, sanitized by scientific language. To demonstrate that this practice should be subject to heightened constitutional scrutiny, I comprehensively review the relevant case law, much of which has been ignored by existing literature. To demonstrate that it cannot survive that scrutiny and is undesirable policy, I review the empirical evidence underlying the instruments. I show that they provide wildly imprecise individual risk predictions, that there is no compelling evidence that they outperform judges' informal predictions, that less discriminatory alternatives would likely perform as well, and that the instruments do not even address the right question: the effect of a given sentencing decision on recidivism risk. Finally, I also present new, suggestive empirical evidence, based on a randomized experiment using fictional cases, that these instruments should not be expected merely to substitute actuarial predictions for less scientific risk assessments, but instead to increase the weight given to recidivism risk versus other sentencing considerations.

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Prosecutor Elections, Mistakes, and Appeals

Bryan McCannon
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2013, Pages 696-714

Abstract:
Prosecutors under common-law tradition exercise a significant amount of discretion in the criminal justice system. In the United States, the dominant form of accountability is that prosecutors must be reelected by the voters. Recent empirical work illustrates that election concerns open up the potential for distortion in the decision making of prosecutors. Specifically, it has been shown that prosecutors take more cases to trial and plea bargain less when running for reelection. Does this hawkish behavior of prosecutors lead to inaccuracies in the criminal justice system? A panel data set of appellate decisions in western New York is analyzed. It is shown that if the initial felony conviction takes place in the six months prior to a reelection and is appealed, the probability that the appellate court upholds the lower court's decision decreases by 5.1-7.1 percentage points. Additional investigation into the types of mistakes made is done. Thus, the popular election of prosecutors results in inaccurate sentences, wrongful convictions, and, consequently, successful appeals.

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Racial Encroachment and the Formal Control of Space: Minority Group-Threat and Misdemeanor Arrests in Urban Communities

Robert Kane, Joseph Gustafson & Christopher Bruell
Justice Quarterly, November/December 2013, Pages 957-982

Abstract:
The study examined the minority group-threat hypothesis across a metropolitan setting to test whether (1) increases in black and Latino representation in communities were associated with increased misdemeanor arrests and (2) if increases in minority groups in historically white communities were associated with increased police arrests. The study argued that threat trigger variables should be measured in terms of difference scores and weighted by initial dominant group representation. The latter argument is informed by the defended neighborhood perspective and assesses the threat hypotheses in historically white communities. Using negative binomial regression modeling that adjusted for spatial autocorrelation, the study found that net of theoretical controls, increases in percent black population were associated with increased black misdemeanor arrests, but only in historically white census tracts. Increases in Latino representation were associated with increased minority misdemeanor arrests both across all tracts generally, as well as in historically majority white tracts.

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Quantifying Bias in Driving-under-the-Influence Enforcement

Brady Horn, Jill McCluskey & Ron Mittelhammer
Economic Inquiry, January 2014, Pages 269-284

Abstract:
As the marginal suspect and propensity to commit crime are unobserved across racial categories, it is difficult to quantify racial bias with law enforcement outcomes data. We test for racial bias in driving-under-the-influence of alcohol enforcement. The assessment outcome variable, blood alcohol content (BAC), provides information about motorist's choices and allows for a more refined test for racial bias compared with other law enforcement outcome data. We find no evidence of racial bias in the relevant range where our model applies. However, we do find differences in find rates at the lowest levels of BAC, where there should be no impairment.

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Race, Prediction, and Pretrial Detention

Frank McIntyre & Shima Baradaran
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2013, Pages 741-770

Abstract:
This article uses the nationally representative State Court Processing Statistics on felony defendants to analyze how judges decide if defendants should be held pretrial. We find a large (11 percentage points) racial gap in hold rates within a county. Judicial decisions are significantly influenced by the probability that the defendant will be rearrested pretrial for a violent felony. Controlling for this probability causes the racial gap in hold rates to disappear. Bail amounts follow the same pattern. The most plausible sources of bias - mismeasurement of the control probabilities or selection bias - likely either do not matter or cause an upward bias.

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Do You Receive a Lighter Prison Sentence Because You Are a Woman or a White? An Economic Analysis of the Federal Criminal Sentencing Guidelines

Todd Andrew Sorensen, Surpriya Sarnikar & Ronald Oaxaca
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data obtained from the United States Sentencing Commission's records, we examine the extent to which the Federal Criminal Sentencing Guidelines curbed judicial sentencing preferences based on gender, race, and ethnicity. Our structural utility maximization model of judicial sentencing and a new generalized nonlinear decomposition methodology allow us to conduct a counterfactual exercise examining the impact of the guidelines on sentences during our period of study. Our results indicate that under the guidelines, and after controlling for circumstances such as the severity of the offense and past criminal history, judicial preferences strongly favor women while also disadvantaging Black men. In most of our estimates, we find that in the absence of the guidelines, judicial preferences would have increased the unexplained gap. Our findings stand up to a wide variety of robustness checks.

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Who is Better at Defending Criminals? Does Type of Defense Attorney Matter in Terms of Producing Favorable Case Outcomes

Thomas Cohen
Criminal Justice Policy Review, January 2014, Pages 29-58

Abstract:
The role of defense counsel in criminal cases constitutes a topic of substantial importance for judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, scholars, and policymakers. What types of defense counsel (e.g., public defenders, privately retained attorneys, or assigned counsel) represent defendants in criminal cases and how do these defense counsel types perform in terms of securing favorable outcomes for their clients? These and other issues are addressed in this article analyzing felony case-processing data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Specifically, this article examines whether differences in defense counsel representation matter in terms of the probability of conviction and severity of sentence imposed. Results show that private attorneys and public defenders secure similar adjudication and sentencing outcomes for their clients. Defendants with assigned counsel, however, receive less favorable outcomes compared to their counterparts with public defenders. This article concludes by discussing the policy implications of these findings and possible avenues for future research.

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Recent Supreme Court of Canada rulings on criminal defendants' right to counsel

Marc Patry, Steven Smith & Nicole Adams
Psychology, Crime & Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Supreme Court of Canada recently issued a trilogy of decisions pertaining to suspects' right to legal representation. These rulings further a major difference between the US and Canadian law: Canadian criminal suspects have far less access to legal counsel than suspects in the USA. This paper summarizes these decisions and draws comparisons between Canadian and the US criminal procedure with respect to a suspect's rights to legal representation. We present preliminary data on Canadian citizens' misunderstanding of criminal suspects' right to counsel and also Canadian legal professionals' opinions about the right to counsel. We recommend empirical investigation of the hypothesis that Canadian suspects are more likely than the US suspects to make false confessions.

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Sentencing, severity, and social norms: A rank-based model of contextual influence on judgments of crimes and punishments

Silvio Aldrovandi, Alex Wood & Gordon Brown
Acta Psychologica, November 2013, Pages 538-547

Abstract:
Context effects have been shown to bias lay people's evaluations of the severity of crimes and punishments. To investigate the cognitive mechanisms behind these effects, we develop and apply a rank-based social norms approach to judgments of perceived crime seriousness and sentence appropriateness. In Study 1, we find that (a) people believe on average that 84% of people illegally download software more than they do themselves and (b) their judged severity of, and concern about, their own illegal software downloading is predicted not by its amount but by how this amount is believed (typically inaccurately) to rank within a social comparison distribution. Studies 2 and 3 find that the judged appropriateness of a given sentence length is highly dependent on the length of other sentences available in the decision-making context: The same objective sentence was judged as approximately four times stricter when it was the second longest sentence being considered than when it was the fifth longest. It is concluded that the same mechanisms that are used to judge the magnitude of psychophysical stimuli bias judgments about legal matters.

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What is Fair Punishment for Alex or Ahmed? Perspective Taking Increases Racial Bias in Retributive Justice Judgments

Jan-Willem van Prooijen & Jennifer Coffeng
Social Justice Research, December 2013, Pages 383-399

Abstract:
Previous research frequently found that perspective taking may reduce various sorts of racial biases. In the present research, we propose that perspective taking may increase racial bias in the specific context of retributive justice judgments, that is, evaluations of what punishment is considered fair for offenders. In two studies, we manipulated whether or not participants took the perspective of a target offender, who was named either Alex or Ahmed. Results revealed evidence for racial bias under conditions of perspective taking in both studies: Perspective taking increased punishment for Ahmed, but not for Alex, in a theft case (Study 1). Furthermore, perspective taking decreased punishment for Alex, but not for Ahmed, in the case of less severe offense that is less clearly intentional (Study 2). The consequence is similar in both studies: More severe retributive justice judgments for Ahmed than for Alex under conditions of perspective taking.

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Punctuated Equilibrium and the Supreme Court

Rob Robinson
Policy Studies Journal, November 2013, Pages 655-682

Abstract:
In the legislative and executive branches, policy scholars have used punctuated equilibrium (PE) theory to describe and explain patterns of change. However, there has been little examination of how PE might apply to courts and legal policy change. This article addresses that gap by providing evidence that legal policy change - here conceptualized as changes in what precedents the Supreme Court most often cites - is governed by PE theory. After making a prima facie case for the applicability of PE theory to the Court, I leverage network rankings of Supreme Court decisions to create a proxy for legal policy change that improves on existing measures. Using both a stochastic process model and an analysis of the punctuations the measure uncovers, I find strong evidence of PE processes.

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Judicial Ideology and the Selection of Disputes for U.S. Supreme Court Adjudication

Jeff Yates, Damon Cann & Brent Boyea
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2013, Pages 847-865

Abstract:
In political science, the well-known "attitudinal model" of legal decision making dictates that judges' sincere policy preferences drive legal outcomes. In contrast, the celebrated "selection hypothesis" from the law and economics literature suggests that litigants carefully consider factors affecting potential case success (including judicial ideology) and accordingly choose, in the name of efficiency, to settle or not pursue cases in which legal outcomes can be readily predicted. Thus, judges end up adjudicating a nonrandom set of cases that, in the typical situation, should not lend themselves to ideological judicial decision making. From this perspective, the influence of Supreme Court justices' ideological preferences on outcomes could be obviated by the forward-thinking decisions of mindful litigants. We are left with two dominant theories on jurisprudential outcomes that appear to be at odds with each other. We endeavor to address this situation by incorporating litigation case sorting considerations into a basic attitudinal account of Supreme Court justice decision making in environmental cases. Our primary thesis is that the influence of judicial ideology on legal outcomes is conditioned on case sorting decisions (by both litigants and justices) that precede the justices' voting decisions on the merits. We augment our assessment of this thesis by evaluating our basic model on a subset of cases involving the Court's most formidable litigator - the federal government. We find that in both scenarios, the influence of justices' attitudes on their merits voting is indeed conditioned on case sorting. We conclude that the effect of justices' attitudes on Supreme Court policy making likely works in both direct and indirect ways in that their known ideological proclivities may lead to the strategic sorting of cases for Supreme Court adjudication.

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The Use of Gendered Narratives in the Courtroom: Constructing an Identity Worthy of Leniency

M.J. Gathings & Kylie Parrotta
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, December 2013, Pages 668-689

Abstract:
In this article, we investigate interactional processes - the gendered construction and negotiation of creditable identities - that lend themselves to differential sentencing outcomes. Based on observations in two courts in North Carolina, we argue that defense attorneys attempt to construct identities of defendants as worthy of leniency. They do so by developing gendered narratives that cast men as good workers, good providers, and as victims of the actions of others and women as good mothers/caretakers and dependent. These identity talk strategies enable defense attorneys, often with the help of their clients, to negotiate the identity of criminal defendants and mitigate the consequences of being labeled. This creates tangible incentives (i.e., nonactive or lesser sentences) for defendants to cooperate in these gendered performances, but has the unintended consequence of reproducing the hegemonic gender order.

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Interrogations, Confessions, and Guilty Pleas Among Serious Adolescent Offenders

Lindsay Malloy, Elizabeth Shulman & Elizabeth Cauffman
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the present study, we examined (a) the prevalence and characteristics of youths' true and false admissions (confessions and guilty pleas), (b) youths' interrogation experiences with police and lawyers, and (c) whether youths' interrogation experiences serve as situational risk factors for true and false admissions. We interviewed 193 14- to 17-year-old males (M = 16.4) incarcerated for serious crimes. Over 1/3 of the sample (35.2%) claimed to have made a false admission to legal authorities (17.1% false confession; 18.1% false guilty plea), and 2/3 claimed to have made a true admission (28.5% true confession; 37.3% true guilty plea). The majority of youth said that they had experienced high-pressure interrogations (e.g., threats), especially with police officers. Youth who mentioned experiencing "police refusals" (e.g., of a break to rest) were more likely to report having made both true and false confessions to police, whereas only false confessions were associated with claims of long interrogations (>2 hr) and being questioned in the presence of a friend. The number of self-reported high-pressure lawyer tactics was associated with false, but not true, guilty pleas. Results suggest the importance of conducting specialized trainings for those who interrogate youth, recording interrogations, placing limits on lengthy and manipulative techniques, and exploring alternative procedures for questioning juvenile suspects.

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The Influence of Administrative Law Judge and Political Appointee Decisions on Appellate Courts in National Labor Relations Board Cases

Cole Taratoot
Law & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have long been simultaneously concerned with the factors that influence appellate court decision making and the level of deference that the courts allow for agencies. However, scholars have treated administrative agencies as unitary actors with a single level of decision making, but in reality agency decisions involve input from multiple actors within the agency. I argue that appellate courts rely more heavily on decisions made by actors in the bureaucracy with greater levels of expertise and who are less politically motivated as cues in their decision making. This theory is bolstered by legal precedent in the area of administrative law that suggests courts should more heavily rely on the expert judgment of administrative judges. Thus, as a result of their increased expertise, appearance of political neutrality, and institutional support, courts will be more reliant on decisions issued by administrative law judges (ALJs) than those issued by the political appointees as cues in their decision making. Using over 300 unfair labor practice decisions issued by the federal appeals courts on review of cases from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board), I develop a model of appeals court decision making in unfair labor practice cases as a function of the initial decision of the ALJ, the final order of the political appointees of the NLRB, case characteristics, the ideology of the deciding appeals court panel, Supreme Court influence, and economic factors. Though the ideology of the court plays a role in its decision making, cues from ALJ decision making and that of the Board weigh more heavily in appellate court outcomes. However, cues from ALJ decisions play the most consistent role in appellate court decision making, even in more difficult cases. This has important implications for agency strategy in courts and suggests that future research should consider the influence of lower-level decision making over appellate court decision making in the area of administrative law.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fitting the mold

The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence From Signals of Nonconformity

Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino & Anat Keinan
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how people react to nonconforming behaviors, such as entering a luxury boutique wearing gym clothes rather than an elegant outfit or wearing red sneakers in a professional setting. Nonconforming behaviors, as costly and visible signals, can act as a particular form of conspicuous consumption and lead to positive inferences of status and competence in the eyes of others. A series of studies demonstrates that people confer higher status and competence to nonconforming rather than conforming individuals. These positive inferences derived from signals of nonconformity are mediated by perceived autonomy and moderated by individual differences in need for uniqueness in the observers. An investigation of boundary conditions demonstrates that the positive inferences disappear when the observer is unfamiliar with the environment, when the nonconforming behavior is depicted as unintentional, and in the absence of expected norms and shared standards of formal conduct.

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Choice-Based Discrimination: Labor-Force-Type Discrimination Against Gay Men, the Obese, and Mothers

Tamar Kricheli-Katz
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2013, Pages 670–695

Abstract:
Do perceptions of controllability and choice affect the nature and magnitude of discrimination? Many groups of people, who hold seemingly controllable devalued traits, including gay men, the obese, and mothers, are discriminated against both in the labor force and in other areas of life. In this article, I show that perceptions of choice and controllability generate discrimination against individuals with seemingly controllable stigmatized traits. I use a hiring experiment in a highly controlled setting to assess this argument. The results provide strong evidence for a causal relationship between perceptions of choice and labor-force-type discrimination against gay men, obese men, and mothers. When the traits were presented as voluntary, gay men, obese men, and mothers were penalized when compared to their equally qualified counterparts in terms of hiring, salary recommendations, and competence evaluations.

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Placing Racial Stereotypes in Context: Social Desirability and the Politics of Racial Hostility

Christopher Weber et al.
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research indicates that diversity at the level of larger geographic units (e.g., counties) is linked to white racial hostility. However, research has not addressed whether diverse local contexts may strengthen or weaken the relationship between racial stereotypes and policy attitudes. In a statewide opinion survey, we find that black-white racial diversity at the zip-code level strengthens the connection between racial stereotypes and race-related policy attitudes among whites. Moreover, this effect is most pronounced among low self-monitors, individuals who are relatively immune to the effects of egalitarian social norms likely to develop within a racially diverse local area. We find that this racializing effect is most evident for stereotypes (e.g., African Americans are “violent”) that are “relevant” to a given policy (e.g., capital punishment). Our findings lend nuance to research on the political effects of racial attitudes and confirm the racializing political effects of diverse residential settings on white Americans.

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A Comparison of Skin Tone Discrimination Among African American Men: 1995 and 2003

Ekeoma Uzogara et al.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated perceptions of skin tone discrimination among adult African American men. Research has suggested that through negative African American stereotypes, out-group members (Whites) perceive light-skinned African Americans favorably and dark-skinned African Americans unfavorably. However, it is unclear how treatment by in-group members (other African Americans) uniquely affects men. Using data from the 1995 Detroit Area Study and the 2003 National Survey of American Life, we investigated these relationships among African American men representing a wide range of socioeconomic groups. We found that African American men’s perceptions of out-group and in-group treatment, respectively, were similar across time. Light-skinned men perceived the least out-group discrimination while dark-skinned men perceived the most out-group discrimination. In appraisals of skin tone discrimination from in-group members, medium-skinned men perceived the least discrimination, while both light- and dark-skinned men perceived more in-group discrimination. Additionally, men of lower social economic groups were more affected by skin tone bias than others. Future research should explore the influence of these out- and in-group experiences of skin tone discrimination on social and psychological functioning of African American men.

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The Criminal Justice System and the Racialization of Perceptions

Aliya Saperstein, Andrew Penner & Jessica Kizer
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2014, Pages 104-121

Abstract:
Recent research on how contact with the criminal justice system shapes racial perceptions in the United States has shown that incarceration increases the likelihood that people are racially classified by others as black, and decreases the likelihood that they are classified as white. We extend this work, using longitudinal data with information on whether respondents have been arrested, convicted, or incarcerated, and details about their most recent arrest. This allows us to ask whether any contact with the criminal justice system triggers racialization, or only certain types of contact. Additional racial categories allow us to explore the racialization of crime beyond the black-white divide. Results indicate even one arrest significantly increases the odds of subsequently being classified as black, and decreases the odds of being classified as white or Asian. This implies a broader impact of increased policing and mass incarceration on racialization and stereotyping, with consequences for social interactions, political attitudes, and research on inequality.

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White public regard: Associations among eating disorder symptomatology, guilt, and White guilt in young adult women

Janet Lydecker et al.
Eating Behaviors, January 2014, Pages 76–82

Objective: As a novel investigation of the role of White racial identity, the current study explored the link between White guilt and disordered eating.

Participants: Young adult women (N = 375), 200 of whom self-identified as White.

Methods: Measures assessed disordered eating, trait guilt, White guilt, and affect.

Results: White guilt is interrelated with disordered eating, particularly bulimic symptomatology. Distress tolerance and tendency to experience negative affect moderated the relation between White guilt and several disordered eating variables.

Conclusions: Exploration of White guilt in clinical and research settings can inform understanding and treatment of disordered eating.

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Negative Exposure: Watching Another Woman Subjected to Dominant Male Behavior During a Math Interaction Can Induce Stereotype Threat

Katie Van Loo & Robert Rydell
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examined whether simply watching videos of a man behaving dominantly toward a woman during a math-related interaction hurts women’s math performance. Men and women watched videos of male–female interactions related to math (stereotype-relevant) or studying (stereotype-neutral) in which the male was dominant, the female was dominant, or the two were equally dominant. Women who watched a video of a dominant male in a math interaction showed reduced math performance and had greater worries about confirming negative in-group math stereotypes than when the video showed a studying interaction; however, women who watched a video of a man and woman equal in dominance or a dominant female did not show such performance decrements and worries. These effects did not occur for men. This work suggests that brief video exposure to male dominant behavior aimed at a female in a math context can lead women to experience stereotype threat and underperform.

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The risk of male success and failure: How performance outcomes along with a high-status identity affect gender identification, risk behavior, and self-esteem

Marc-André Reinhard, Simon Schindler & Dagmar Stahlberg
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated that failure on a task may at times increase self-esteem, known as the failure-as-an-asset effect. This effect is observed when high-status group members (e.g., referring to management positions: men) show poor performance in a domain that is seen as a low-status domain — one in which the low-status group (e.g., referring to management positions: women) typically outperforms the high-status group. In line with social identity theory, in this case the poor performance leads high-status group members to a strong identification with the high-status ingroup, resulting in higher state self-esteem. However, social identity theory originally refers not only to self-evaluation, but also to the influence on individual behavior. Building on that, we predicted that if high-status group members show higher ingroup identification after negative individual feedback in a low-status domain, they should also show stronger ingroup prototypical behavior. A great deal of research has indicated that women’s behavior is more risk-averse than is men’s behavior. Thus, men should show riskier behavior after a poor performance on a test in which women outperform men. Two studies support our hypothesis. Men with an alleged individual low performance on a fictitious test reported riskier behavioral intentions (Experiment 1), and actually showed riskier behavior in an investment game (Experiment 2), when men were outperformed by women rather than when women were outperformed by men. The opposite pattern was found for men with an individual positive performance. As predicted, these effects were mediated by men’s gender identification. Practical implications are discussed.

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The effects of system-justifying motives on endorsement of essentialist explanations for gender differences

Victoria Brescoll, Eric Luis Uhlmann & George Newman
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2013, Pages 891-908

Abstract:
People have a fundamental motive to view their social system as just, fair, and good and will engage in a number of strategies to rationalize the status quo (Jost & Banaji, 1994). We propose that one way in which individuals may “justify the system” is through endorsement of essentialist explanations, which attribute group differences to deep, essential causes. We suggest that system-justifying motives lead to greater endorsement of essentialist explanations because those explanations portray group differences as immutable. Study 1 employed an established system threat manipulation. We found that activating system-justifying motives increases both male and female participants’ endorsement of essentialist explanations for gender differences and that this effect is mediated by beliefs in immutability. In Study 2, we used a goal contagion manipulation and found that both male and female participants primed with a system-justifying goal are significantly more likely to agree with essentialist explanations for gender differences. Study 3 demonstrated that providing an opportunity to explicitly reject a system threat (an alternative means of satisfying the goal to defend the system) attenuates system threat effects on endorsement of essentialist explanations, further suggesting that this process is motivated. Finally, Studies 4a and 4b dissociated the type of cause (biological vs. social) from whether group differences are portrayed as mutable versus immutable and found that system threat increases endorsement of immutable explanations, independent of the type of cause.

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Competition in stereotyped domains: Competition, social comparison, and stereotype threat

Katie Van Loo et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, December 2013, Pages 648–660

Abstract:
The current work examines a novel and specific way in which competition can hurt the performance of negatively stereotyped individuals: by evoking stereotype threat. In four experiments, we demonstrate that women's underperformance in math when primed with competition was due to feeling worried about confirming negative stereotypes about women's math ability (i.e., stereotype threat), that the activation of negative performance stereotypes for women primed with competition was due to increased group-level social comparisons (i.e., comparing the self with men and women), and that priming competition led men to perform more poorly than women in a domain where they are negatively stereotyped (i.e., verbal ability). This research suggests that priming people with competition in contexts where they are negatively stereotyped leads to greater social comparison, activation of negative stereotypes, and concern about confirming these stereotypes, thereby decreasing stereotyped individuals' performance in the stereotyped domain.

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Embodying an outgroup: The role of racial bias and the effect of multisensory processing in somatosensory remapping

Chiara Fini et al.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, November 2013

Abstract:
We come to understand other people's physical and mental states by re-mapping their bodily states onto our sensorimotor system. This process, also called somatosensory resonance, is an essential ability for social cognition and is stronger when observing ingroup than outgroup members. Here we investigated, first, whether implicit racial bias constrains somatosensory resonance, and second, whether increasing the ingroup/outgroup perceived physical similarity results in an increase in the somatosensory resonance for outgroup members. We used the Visual Remapping of Touch effect as an index of individuals' ability in resonating with the others, and the Implicit Association Test to measure racial bias. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to detect near-threshold tactile stimuli delivered to their own face while viewing either an ingroup or an outgroup face receiving a similar stimulation. Our results showed that individuals' tactile accuracy when viewing an outgroup face being touched was negatively correlated to their implicit racial bias. In Experiment 2, participants received the interpersonal multisensory stimulation (IMS) while observing an outgroup member. IMS has been found to increase the perceived physical similarity between the observer's and the observed body. We tested whether such increase in ingroup/outgroup perceived physical similarity increased the remapping ability for outgroup members. We found that after sharing IMS experience with an outgroup member, tactile accuracy when viewing touch on outgroup faces increased. Interestingly, participants with stronger implicit bias against the outgroup showed larger positive change in the remapping. We conclude that shared multisensory experiences might represent one key way to improve our ability to resonate with others by overcoming the boundaries between ingroup and outgroup categories.

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Awareness of Implicit Attitudes

Adam Hahn et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on implicit attitudes has raised questions about how well people know their own attitudes. Most research on this question has focused on the correspondence between measures of implicit attitudes and measures of explicit attitudes, with low correspondence interpreted as showing that people have little awareness of their implicit attitudes. We took a different approach and directly asked participants to predict their results on upcoming Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures of implicit attitudes toward 5 social groups. We found that participants were surprisingly accurate in their predictions. Across 4 studies, predictions were accurate regardless of whether implicit attitudes were described as true attitudes or culturally learned associations (Studies 1 and 2), regardless of whether predictions were made as specific response patterns (Study 1) or as conceptual responses (Studies 2–4), and regardless of how much experience or explanation participants received before making their predictions (Study 4). Study 3 further suggested that participants’ predictions reflected unique insight into their own implicit responses, beyond intuitions about how people in general might respond. Prediction accuracy occurred despite generally low correspondence between implicit and explicit measures of attitudes, as found in prior research. Altogether, the research findings cast doubt on the belief that attitudes or evaluations measured by the IAT necessarily reflect unconscious attitudes.

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Fluid Movement and Fluid Social Cognition: Bodily Movement Influences Essentialist Thought

Michael Slepian et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rigid social categorization can lead to negative social consequences such as stereotyping and prejudice. The authors hypothesized that bodily experiences of fluidity would promote fluidity in social-categorical thinking. Across a series of experiments, fluid movements compared with nonfluid movements led to more fluid lay theories of social categories, more fluidity in social categorization, and consequences of fluid social-categorical thinking, decreased stereotype endorsement, and increased concern for social inequalities. The role of sensorimotor states in fluid social cognition, with consequences for social judgment and behavior, is discussed.

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It Pays to Be Herr Kaiser: Germans With Noble-Sounding Surnames More Often Work as Managers Than as Employees

Raphael Silberzahn & Eric Luis Uhlmann
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the field study reported here (N = 222,924), we found that Germans with noble-sounding surnames, such as Kaiser (“emperor”), König (“king”), and Fürst (“prince”), more frequently hold managerial positions than Germans with last names that either refer to common everyday occupations, such as Koch (“cook”), Bauer (“farmer”), and Becker/Bäcker (“baker”), or do not refer to any social role. This phenomenon occurs despite the fact that noble-sounding surnames never indicated that the person actually held a noble title. Because of basic properties of associative cognition, the status linked to a name may spill over to its bearer and influence his or her occupational outcomes.

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Innocuous Ignorance?: Perceptions of the American Jewish Population Size

Daniel Herda
Contemporary Jewry, October 2013, Pages 241-255

Abstract:
The current study examines the extent and correlates of ignorance regarding the size of the American Jewish population. Using the 2000 General Social Survey, I examine how large the non-Jewish respondents perceive the Jewish population to be in both the country as a whole and in their local community. Individuals of all backgrounds are found to express high levels of Jewish population innumeracy, with the vast majority overestimating. I then attempt to understand variation in estimates using hypotheses based on heuristic decision-making. Larger size estimates at the country level are most often associated with media exposure, gender, and education. At the community level, larger estimates are related most strongly to interpersonal contact with Jews. Surprisingly, size estimates are largely unrelated to stereotypes or negative attitudes toward Jews. This unique finding suggests that, contrary to the existing literature, inflated perceptions are not uniformly problematic for intergroup relations. Rather, innumeracy regarding US Jews appears to be largely innocuous and without basis in anti-Semitism.

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Distinct Heritable Influences Underpin In-Group Love and Out-Group Derogation

G.J. Lewis, C. Kandler & R. Riemann
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In-group favoritism has often been conceptualized as the flip side of out-group derogation. Whereas research has dissociated these attitudes at the phenotypic level, it is currently unknown whether such dissociation is also evident at the biological level. Here, using an adult German twin sample, which provided ratings on patriotism, nationalism, and prejudice, we tested whether common or distinct heritable influences best explained variation in in-group love and out-group derogation. Results indicated that independent genetic effects accounted for individual differences in in-group love (i.e., patriotism) and out-group derogation (i.e., prejudice). In addition, we observed that nationalism showed common genetic links to both patriotism and prejudice, albeit through distinct pathways. These findings suggest that in-group sentiment is complex at the genetic level as well as at the behavioral level. Future work is recommended to further delineate the specific biological processes underlying these heritable effects.

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Embodying the Moral Code? Thirty Years of Final Girls in Slasher Films

Angela Weaver et al.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
The slasher film is a subgenre of horror characterized by suspenseful scenes emphasizing victims’ fear of an antagonist and depicting graphic violence. A well-recognized characteristic of the slasher formula is the potential for viewers to quickly predict the fate of each character. Slasher films are thought to include a character known as the Final Girl who, by virtue of her refusal to engage in licentious behavior, is rewarded with survival. Although books and essays have advanced hypotheses regarding the characteristics of the Final Girl, empirical analysis has been lacking. We predicted that Final Girls would be more likely than other female characters to adhere to the traditional sexual script (e.g., less likely to engage in sexual behavior or wear revealing clothing), to exhibit prosocial behavior (i.e., the Just World Theory), and to demonstrate agency (e.g., fight behaviors). A quantitative content analysis of the 10 highest-grossing slasher films of each of the past three decades (i.e., 30 films with 226 primary characters) was performed. Relative to other female characters, Final Girls were more likely to be rated as attractive, were less likely to be shown nude or engaging in significant onscreen sexual behavior, demonstrated more prosocial behaviors as well as more agentic survival-oriented behaviors against the antagonist, and were more likely to demonstrate an androgynous gender role. Exploratory analyses of the characteristics of surviving male characters (Final Boys) are also presented. Implications of these findings for widespread cultural beliefs about women, men, and the traditional sexual script are considered.

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Their pain, our pleasure: Stereotype content and schadenfreude

Mina Cikara & Susan Fiske
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, September 2013, Pages 52–59

Abstract:
People often fail to empathize with others, and sometimes even experience schadenfreude — pleasure at others’ misfortunes. One potent predictor of schadenfreude is envy, which, according to the stereotype content model, is elicited by high-status, competitive targets. Here we review our recent research program investigating the relationships among stereotypes, envy, schadenfreude, and harm. Experiment 1 demonstrates that stereotypes are sufficient to influence affective responses to targets’ misfortunes; participants not only report feeling less negative when misfortunes befall high-status, competitive targets as compared to other targets, they also smile more (assessed with facial EMG). Experiment 2 replicates the self-report findings from Experiment 1 and assesses behavioral tendencies toward envied targets; participants are more willing to endorse harming high-status, competitive targets as compared to other targets. Experiment 3 turns off the schadenfreude response by manipulating status and competition-relevant information regarding envied targets. Finally, Experiment 4 investigates affective and neural markers of intergroup envy and schadenfreude in the context of a long-standing sports rivalry and the extent to which neurophysiological correlates of schadenfreude are related to self-reported likelihood of harming rival team fans. We conclude with implications and future directions.

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Implicit Bias and the Illusion of Conscious Ill Will.

Erin Cooley, Keith Payne & Jean Phillips
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Implicit bias is defined, in part, by a lack of intent. Yet the implicit attitudes literature has made little contact with research on the experience of conscious will, which suggests that the feeling of conscious intent is an inference rather than a direct report of how actions are caused. We tested the hypothesis that inferences about one’s intentions shape whether an automatically activated attitude is endorsed explicitly. In a first study, individuals who perceived their attitudes toward gay men to be intended showed stronger implicit–explicit correspondence. In a second study, we manipulated perceptions of intent. Inferences that implicit bias was intended caused participants to express those biases on an explicit measure. A third study replicated the experimental effects and found that metacognitions of intent were especially influential among individuals who were motivated to be unprejudiced. Results suggest that metacognitive inferences about intent can shape whether automatically activated bias becomes explicitly endorsed prejudice.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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