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Friday, April 29, 2016

Election daze

The Mythical Swing Voter

Andrew Gelman et al.

Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Spring 2016, Pages 103-130

Abstract:
Most surveys conducted during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign showed large swings in support for the Democratic and Republican candidates, especially before and after the first presidential debate. Using a combination of traditional cross-sectional surveys, a unique panel survey (in terms of scale, frequency, and source), and a high response rate panel, we find that daily sample composition varied more in response to campaign events than did vote intentions. Multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) is used to correct for this selection bias. Demographic post-stratification, similar to that used in most academic and media polls, is inadequate, but the addition of attitudinal variables (party identification, ideological self-placement, and past vote) appears to make selection ignorable in our data. We conclude that vote swings in 2012 were mostly sample artifacts and that real swings were quite small. While this account is at odds with most contemporaneous analyses, it better corresponds with our understanding of partisan polarization in modern American politics.

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Political Quid Pro Quo and the Impact of Perceptions of Corruption on Democratic Behavior

Kristin Kelly

Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since its 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, the U.S. Supreme Court has voiced concern with corruption and the appearance of corruption stemming from political quid pro quo arrangements-particularly the deleterious consequences either could have on citizens' democratic behavior. Given the vagueness in the Court's definition of the “appearance of corruption,” campaign finance cases since Buckley have relied on survey data to measure perceptions of corruption. These data indicate high levels of perceived governmental corruption among the public but are silent on the question of whether these perceptions influence behavior. This study investigates the actual impact that perceptions of corruption have on individuals' levels of political participation. Adapting the socioeconomic status model developed most fully by Verba and Nie (1972), I estimate extended beta-binomial regressions using maximum likelihood techniques on data from the 2009 University of Texas Money in Politics survey and the 2012 American National Election Studies Time Series survey. The results indicate that individuals who perceive higher levels of corruption participate more in politics, on average, than those who perceive lower levels of corruption. This suggests that at least a few of the assumptions underlying the Court's rationale for upholding contribution limits in Buckley should be revisited, and that the Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission may not negatively impact participation as suggested by critics.

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The Power of an Hour: Effects of Candidate Time Expenditure in State Legislative Elections

Michael Miller

Legislative Studies Quarterly, May 2016, Pages 327-359

Abstract:
Using survey data from more than 500 legislative candidates in 17 states during the 2008 election, I examine whether state house candidates who devote more time to their campaign win a larger share of the major-party vote. Consistent with previous work studying campaign spending in state legislative elections, I find a positive and significant association between campaign time and vote percentage for challengers - but not incumbents - in incumbent-contested elections.

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Economic Performance and Presidential Trait Evaluations: A Longitudinal Analysis

Lisa Argyle et al.

Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Presidential traits (i.e. morality, intelligence, leadership) have generally been assumed to be idiosyncratic personal characteristics of the individual and are treated as exogenous from other political and economic factors. Prior literature has shown that presidential characteristics and economic performance are important elements of vote choice and approval. Using ANES data from 1984-2008, we demonstrate an important link between these factors, showing that objective and subjective indicators of economic performance are significant predictors of trait evaluations. Specifically, evaluations of the incumbent president at election time are directly related to changes in economic performance earlier in the year. The effects of economic performance are not isolated to retrospective policy evaluations, but also influence the overall evaluation of the president as a person.

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Conditioned by Race: How Race and Religion Intersect to Affect Candidate Evaluations

Bryan McLaughlin & Bailey Thompson

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
While it is becoming increasingly clear that religious cues influence voter evaluations in the United States, work examining religious cues has largely overlooked the conditioning role of race. We employed a 2 × 2 (White candidate vs. Black candidate) × (racial cues vs. no racial cues) online experiment with a national sample (N = 397; 56% white, 46% black) where participants were exposed to a fictitious congressional candidate's webpage. Results show that White participants expected the religious candidate to be more conservative, regardless of race, while Black participants did not perceive a difference in ideology between the religious and non-religious Black candidates. Additionally, when it comes to candidate favorability, religious cues matter more to White participants, while racial cues are most important to Black participants. These findings provide evidence that religious and racial cues activate different assumptions among White and Black citizens.

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Time Discounting in Political Behavior: Delayed Gratification Predicts Turnout and Donations

Jerome Pablo Schafer

Yale Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Recent Get-out-the-Vote experiments suggest that political participation involves delayed gratification. The transaction costs of voting are immediate. Its expressive benefits, however, are realized after the election, when others ask. In this article, I draw on a vast literature in psychology and economics to propose a model and a measure of how voters discount future pay-offs. The ability to delay gratification moderates the effects of political stimuli with deferred rewards such as the social norm to vote and the instrumental benefits of donating to a campaign. Therefore, less patient individuals are less willing to participate in politics, and to pretend that they do. In the empirical analysis, I use multiple incentivized measures from a representative US panel (N=1,820). I demonstrate that monetary discount rates provide reliable elicitations of time preferences, and show that they predict self-reported turnout and donor status. I suspend alternative explanations focusing on resources and risk.

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Why Aren't There More Republican Women in Congress? Gender, Partisanship, and Fundraising Support in the 2010 and 2012 Elections

Karin Kitchens & Michele Swers

Politics & Gender, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research indicates that fundraising is not an impediment to women candidates because women raise just as much money as men after accounting for seat status. However, previous research focuses solely on general election candidates. By examining both primary and general election candidates, we find both gender and partisan differences in fundraising. While incumbency, competitiveness, and candidate quality predict fundraising in the general election, we show that Democratic women raise more money than their male counterparts in the primary election. However, Republican women do not enjoy greater fundraising success compared with their male counterparts, and in limited cases, being a Republican woman can be an obstacle to fundraising in the primary election.

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Coethnic Endorsements, Out-Group Candidate Preferences, and Perceptions in Local Elections

Andrea Benjamin

Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Black and Latino voters support coethnic candidates at high rates in local elections. What is less clear is how Black and Latino voters respond to out-group candidates when they do not have the option to support a coethnic candidate. I posit that when race and ethnicity become salient in a campaign, endorsements from Black and Latino leaders and organizations increase support of out-group candidates among Blacks and Latinos. I find that this hypothesis is strongly supported among Blacks. However, the same is not true for Latinos, most likely because of the political heterogeneity of the group. Using data from a survey experiment, I show that Black endorsements of minority out-group candidates are persuasive for Blacks, while comparable endorsements from Latinos are not as influential among Latinos.

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The Dynamic Election: Patterns of Early Voting Across Time, State, Party, and Age

Ashok Vivekinan et al.

Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The nature of turnout has changed in the United States: a shift in state policies has transformed a singular Election Day into a multi-week voting period. During the 2012 election, we assembled daily snapshots of early voting records across the U.S. We observe where and when individuals with key demographic characteristics voted. By measuring the timing of voting by demographic subgroups within small geographic areas, we assess how the early voting period may differentially affect various politically relevant subsets of the electorate. We find that partisans and older voters disproportionately take advantage of early voting, and that political independents and younger individuals who vote early do so much later in the early-voting window. We discuss policy implications, and we also conduct an exploratory analysis of the relationship between early vote timing and campaign events.

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Potential follow-up increases private contributions to public goods

Todd Rogers, John Ternovski & Erez Yoeli

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
People contribute more to public goods when their contributions are made more observable to others. We report an intervention that subtly increases the observability of public goods contributions when people are solicited privately and impersonally (e.g., mail, email, social media). This intervention is tested in a large-scale field experiment (n = 770,946) in which people are encouraged to vote through get-out-the-vote letters. We vary whether the letters include the message, “We may call you after the election to ask about your voting experience.” Increasing the perceived observability of whether people vote by including that message increased the impact of the get-out-the-vote letters by more than the entire effect of a typical get-out-the-vote letter. This technique for increasing perceived observability can be replicated whenever public goods solicitations are made in private.

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Electoral Competition and Gender Differences in Political Careers

Olle Folke & Johanna Rickne

Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Spring 2016, Pages 59-102

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the role of competition between political parties for the promotion and turnover of social minorities in party organizations. We collect extensive and reliable panel data for the career trajectories of all Swedish politicians in 290 municipal councils over 20 years (N=35,000). We argue that political competition pushes local parties to promote the best individual, which in turn improves gender equality at the top. This finds strong support in the empirical analysis. Heightened competition is associated with smaller gender gaps in re-election, retention on the electoral ballot, and promotions to top positions. An extended analysis shows that variation in the qualifications and family structures of male and female politicians cannot account for these results. As a more plausible mechanism, the analysis suggests that parties have nomination processes that are less centralized and more focused on competence as a selection criteria when competition is fierce.

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Complex Contagion of Campaign Donations

Vincent Traag

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Money is central in US politics, and most campaign contributions stem from a tiny, wealthy elite. Like other political acts, campaign donations are known to be socially contagious. We study how campaign donations diffuse through a network of more than 50000 elites and examine how connectivity among previous donors reinforces contagion. We find that the diffusion of donations is driven by independent reinforcement contagion: people are more likely to donate when exposed to donors from different social groups than when they are exposed to equally many donors from the same group. Counter-intuitively, being exposed to one side may increase donations to the other side. Although the effect is weak, simultaneous cross-cutting exposure makes donation somewhat less likely. Finally, the independence of donors in the beginning of a campaign predicts the amount of money that is raised throughout a campaign. We theorize that people infer population-wide estimates from their local observations, with elites assessing the viability of candidates, possibly opposing candidates in response to local support. Our findings suggest that theories of complex contagions need refinement and that political campaigns should target multiple communities.

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Ballot Position, Choice Fatigue, and Voter Behaviour

Ned Augenblick & Scott Nicholson

Review of Economic Studies, April 2016, Pages 460-480

Abstract:
In this article, we examine the effect of “choice fatigue” on decision making. We exploit a natural experiment in which voters face the same contest at different ballot positions due to differences in the number of local issues on their ballot. Facing more decisions before a given contest significantly increases the tendency to abstain or rely on decision shortcuts, such as voting for the status quo or the first-listed candidate. We estimate that, without choice fatigue, abstentions would decrease by 8%, and 6% of the propositions in our data set would have passed rather than failed.

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Get Out the (Costly) Vote: Institutional Design for Greater Participation

Dino Gerardi et al.

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine two commonly discussed institutions inducing turnout: abstention penalties (used in 32 countries) and lotteries rewarding one randomly chosen participant (as proposed on the 2006 Arizona ballot). We analyze a benchmark model in which voters vary in their information quality and participation is costly. We illustrate that both institutions can improve collective outcomes, though lotteries are a more effective instrument asymptotically. Experimentally, we provide strong evidence for selective participation: lab voters participate more when better informed or when institutionally induced. Lotteries fare better than fines, suggesting that they may be a useful alternative to commonly used compulsory voting schemes.

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From Posting to Voting: The Effects of Political Competition on Online Political Engagement

Jaime Settle et al.

Political Science Research and Methods, May 2016, Pages 361-378

Abstract:
How does living in a battleground state during a presidential election affect an individual’s political engagement? We utilize a unique collection of 113 million Facebook status updates to compare users’ political discussion during the 2008 election. “Battleground” state users are significantly more likely to discuss politics in the campaign season than are users in uncompetitive “blackout” states. Posting a political status update - a form of day-to-day engagement with politics - mediates ∼20 percent of the relationship between exposure to political competition and self-reported voter turnout. This paper is among the first to use a massive quantity of social media data to explain the microfoundations of how people think, feel, and act on a daily basis in response to their political environment.

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Compulsory Voting and Dissatisfaction with Democracy

Shane Singh

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Compulsory voting is often linked to pro-democracy orientations in the public. However, there is reason to question the strength and universality of this link. Engaging research on the effects of coercion and punishment, this article argues that forced participation inflates the tendency of those with negative orientations towards democracy to see the democratic system as illegitimate, and to be dissatisfied with democracy. The study finds support for these expectations in analyses of three separate cross-national surveys and a natural experiment. Compulsory voting heightens dissatisfaction with democracy within key segments of the population.

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Can Credit Rating Agencies Affect Election Outcomes?

Igor Cunha, Miguel Ferreira & Rui Silva

London Business School Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We show that credit rating agencies can have a significant effect on election outcomes in the United States. Specifically, we find that incumbent politicians receive significantly more votes in upgraded municipalities relative to non-upgraded municipalities. This incumbent effect is due to an expansion of local governments’ debt capacity that allows them to increase spending. The effects are stronger among democratic incumbents. We identify these effects by exploiting the exogenous variation in municipal bond ratings due to Moody’s recalibration of its scale in 2010.

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Compulsory Voting Can Increase Political Inequality: Evidence from Brazil

Gabriel Cepaluni & Daniel Hidalgo

Political Analysis, Spring 2016, Pages 273-280

Abstract:
One of the most robust findings on political institutions is that compulsory voting (CV) reduces the participation gap between poorer and wealthier voters. We present evidence that in Brazil, the largest country to use such a rule, CV increases inequality in turnout. We use individual-level data on 140 million Brazilian citizens and two age-based discontinuities to estimate the heterogeneous effects of CV by educational achievement, a strong proxy for socioeconomic status. Evidence from both thresholds shows that the causal effect of CV on turnout among the more educated is at least twice the size of the effect among those with less education. To explain this result, which is the opposite of what is predicted by the existing literature, we argue that nonmonetary penalties for abstention primarily affect middle- and upper-class voters and thus increase their turnout disproportionately. Survey evidence from a national sample provides evidence for the mechanism. Our results show that studies of CV should consider nonmonetary sanctions, as their effects can reverse standard predictions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, April 28, 2016

For the love of God

Congregational Diversity and Attendance in a Mainline Protestant Denomination

Kevin Dougherty, Brandon Martinez & Gerardo Martí

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2015, Pages 668–683

Abstract:
One of the surprising oversights of existing research on racially/ethnically diverse congregations is the inattention to how racial composition relates to patterns of attendance. Is diversity associated with attendance growth, stability, or decline? A popular assumption from the Church Growth Movement is that cultural homogeneity is a foundation for growth, but recent research challenges this long-standing belief. We test these competing views with longitudinal data from over 10,000 congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We examine the relationship between changes in racial/ethnic diversity and changes in average weekly attendance over a 19-year time period (1993–2012). In spite of the ELCA's denominational push for racial diversity in its local churches, our analysis finds increasing racial diversity associated with decreasing average attendance, most notably during the 1990s. To conclude, we discuss the implications of our findings for congregations and denominations.

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Religious Origins of Democracy & Dictatorship

Theocharis Grigoriadis

Journal of Policy Modeling, forthcoming

Abstract:
Weber considered the Protestant work ethic the foundation of modern capitalism. I extend Weber's theory by arguing that states with predominantly Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Muslim populations have had a stronger inclination toward underdevelopment and dictatorship than states with Protestant or Jewish majorities. This is the case because their respective religious collectives (monastery, tariqa) promote the hierarchical provision of common goods at the expense of market incentives. I define the aforementioned three religions as collectivist, in contrast to Protestantism and Judaism, which I define as individualist. I provide a historical overview that designates the Jewish kibbutz as the collective of democracy and the Eastern Orthodox monastery as the collective of dictatorship. Focusing on collectivist economies, I find that modernization, as a credible commitment to the improved future provision of public goods, occurs when the threat of a radical government is imminent and when the leader has high extraction of rents from the economy. The emergence of radical governments is more likely in collectivist than in individualist economies. Historical illustrations from collectivist economies include the Russian Revolution, the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and the postwar welfare state in Western Europe.

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Pre-Reformation Roots of the Protestant Ethic

Thomas Barnebeck Andersen et al.

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We hypothesize that cultural appreciation of hard work and thrift, the Protestant ethic according to Max Weber, had a pre-Reformation origin: the Catholic Order of Cistercians. In support, we document an impact from the Order on growth within the epicenter of the industrial revolution; English counties that were more exposed to Cistercian monasteries experienced faster productivity growth from the 13th century onwards. Consistent with a cultural influence, this impact is also found after the monasteries were dissolved in the 1530s. Moreover, the values emphasized by Weber are relatively more pervasive in European regions where Cistercian monasteries were located historically.

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The Protestant Reading Ethic and Variation in Its Effects

James Mosher

Sociological Forum, forthcoming

Abstract:
Max Weber's thesis that a “Protestant ethic” in a subset of Protestant sects created a “spirit of capitalism” is often interpreted as an explanation for the increase in economic growth in the Protestant parts of the West before and during the industrial revolution. One alternative pathway through which Protestantism might have contributed to high economic performance is that it was Protestantism's promotion of literacy that led to higher economic growth and not behavioral changes due to a Protestant ethic as suggested by Weber. To evaluate the “Protestant reading ethic” thesis, this study examines historical events for the period from 1500 up to the 1800s in nine countries. The study also explores available cross-national quantitative data on economic development and literacy for the same period. The qualitative and quantitative evidence supports the overall thesis that Protestantism promoted literacy and rises in literacy likely contributed to the economic development. The evidence also suggests that the impact of Protestantism on literacy varied depending on what actions were taken by Protestant states and Protestant national churches to promote literacy.

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Hell to pay: Religion and punitive ideology among the American public

Joseph Baker & Alexis Booth

Punishment & Society, April 2016, Pages 151-176

Abstract:
Historically, religious frameworks — particularly conceptions of evil — have been tied to attitudes about criminal behavior and its corresponding punishment, yet views of transcendent evil have not been explored in the empirical literature on religion and punitive ideology. We examine whether and how different aspects of religiosity shape punitive attitudes, using a national sample of Americans. For both general punitiveness and views of capital punishment, belief in the existence and power of transcendent religious evil (e.g. Satan and hell) is strongly associated with greater punitiveness, while higher levels of religious practice (service attendance, prayer, and reading sacred scriptures) reduces punitiveness. The effects of other aspects of religiosity on punitiveness such as self-identified fundamentalism, scriptural literalism, and images of God are rendered spurious by accounting for perceptions of evil. We discuss these findings in light of cultural and comparative approaches to penology, arguing for the inclusion of conceptions of the “transgressive” sacred in studies of, and theories about, penal populism.

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Using the Qur’ān to Empower Arab Women? Theory and Experimental Evidence From Egypt

Tarek Masoud, Amaney Jamal & Elizabeth Nugent

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of scholarship on the political and economic subordination of women in the Muslim world has argued that widespread patriarchal attitudes toward women’s roles in public life can be ameliorated by offering progressive reinterpretations of Islamic scriptures. In this article, we explore this hypothesis with a large-scale survey experiment conducted among adult Egyptians in late 2013. In the study, a subset of respondents were exposed to an argument in favor of women’s political equality that was grounded in the Qur’ān, Islam’s holiest text. We found that this group was significantly more willing to express approval of female political leadership than those exposed to a non-religious argument in favor of women’s eligibility for political leadership. A further analysis of conditional treatment effects suggests that the religious justification for female political leadership was more likely to elicit agreement among less educated and less pious respondents, and when delivered by women and targeted at men. Our findings suggest that Islamic discourse, so often used to justify the political exclusion of women, can also be used to help empower them.

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Sacred violence or strategic faith? Disentangling the relationship between religion and violence in armed conflict

Matthew Isaacs

Journal of Peace Research, March 2016, Pages 211-225

Abstract:
Why are religious conflicts more violent than non-religious conflicts? Research has argued that religion pushes partisans toward violence. However, existing research suffers from widespread problems of measurement validity and fails to confront the possibility of endogeneity in the relationship between religion and violence. This article develops a more precise measure of the relevance of religion to conflict based on the use of religious rhetoric by political organizations. With this approach in mind, this article disentangles the causal sequence linking religious rhetoric and violence using annually coded data on the rhetoric of 495 organizations worldwide from 1970 through 2012. The analysis finds a strong general correlation between religious rhetoric and violence. However, past use of religious rhetoric does not increase the likelihood that an organization will participate in violence or the overall intensity of conflict. On the contrary, previous participation in violence makes an organization more likely to adopt religious rhetoric for mobilization. Indeed, religious rhetoric becomes more likely as violence increases in intensity and conflict continues for longer periods of time. These findings suggest that violent actors adopt religious rhetoric to solve the logistical challenges associated with violence, including access to mobilizing resources and recruitment and retention of members. This article contributes to the study of religious conflict by providing evidence of endogeneity in the relationship between religion and violence and highlighting the need for temporally sensitive measures of religious mobilization.

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War, Worries, and Religiousness

Hongfei Du & Peilian Chi

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Terror management theory posits that death-related threats increase people’s investment in religious activity, dedication, and belief. Given that war usually results in deaths, the authors hypothesized that war, as a death-related threat, would be associated with greater religiousness. The present research assessed this hypothesis with a large worldwide sample (N = 86,272). Using the Global Peace Index and World Value Survey, the authors found that people were more religious (i.e., religious practice, religious identity, and belief in God) when their countries and districts suffered from more wars/conflicts. The positive relationship between war and religiousness was partially explained by worries about war. That is, people in countries with existing war/conflict experienced higher levels of worries about war and, in turn, showed increased religiousness.

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The Evolution of Gods’ Minds in the Tyva Republic

Benjamin Grant Purzycki

Current Anthropology, forthcoming

Abstract:
As appeals to what gods know and care about often motivate and rationalize human behavior, understanding shared models of gods’ minds is crucial for understanding religion’s contributions to human sociality. If religious systems function to minimize the effects of social and ecological problems, then models of gods’ concerns should coevolve with these problems. The present work assesses this prediction using data collected in the Tyva Republic. After briefly introducing the social and ecological history of ritual cairn piety in Inner Asia, I examine explicit representational models of morality, virtue, and gods’ concerns in Tyva. I show that (a) there is very little conceptual overlap between Tyvans’ models of morality and virtue and the things about which spirits care, (b) Tyvan spirit masters are primarily concerned with ritual and breaches of resource maintenance, and (c) among the emerging, salient factors that anger spirit masters are alcohol abuse and littering, very recent social problems in the region. This report provides support for the hypothesis that representational models of gods’ minds will evolve in accordance with ever-shifting local problems and offers the first formal treatment of empirically determining what constitutes a “moralistic” deity among living people.

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Health and Well-Being Among the Non-religious: Atheists, Agnostics, and No Preference Compared with Religious Group Members

David Hayward et al.

Journal of Religion and Health, June 2016, Pages 1024-1037

Abstract:
Although recent research suggests that the proportion of the US population identifying as non-religious has been rapidly expanding over the course of the last decade, relatively little research has examined the implications of this development for health and well-being. This study uses data from a large representative survey study of religion and health in the adult US population (N = 3010) to examine group differences among religious group members (N = 2401) and three categories of non-religious individuals: atheists (N = 83), agnostics (N = 189), and those stating no religious preference (N = 329). MANCOVA was used to analyze group differences on five outcome dimensions, incorporating 27 outcome variables. Religious non-affiliates did not differ overall from affiliates in terms of physical health outcomes (although atheists and agnostics did have better health on some individual measures including BMI, number of chronic conditions, and physical limitations), but had worse positive psychological functioning characteristics, social support relationships, and health behaviors. On dimensions related to psychological well-being, atheists and agnostics tended to have worse outcomes than either those with religious affiliation or those with no religious preference. If current trends in the religious composition of the population continue, these results have implications for its future healthcare needs.

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Religious Pluralism and Civic Rights in a “Muslim Nation”: An Analysis of Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants with Christians

Craig Considine

Religions, February 2016

Abstract:
This article examines the roles that religious pluralism and civic rights played in Prophet Muhammad’s vision of a “Muslim nation”. I demonstrate how Muhammad desired a pluralistic society in which citizenship and equal rights were granted to all people regardless of religious beliefs and practices. The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of his time are used as a framework for analysis. These documents have received little attention in our time, but their messages are crucial in light of current debates about Muslim-Christian relations. The article campaigns for reviving the egalitarian spirit of the Covenants by refocusing our understanding of the ummah as a site for religious freedom and civil rights. Ultimately, I argue that the Covenants of Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of his time can be used to develop a stronger narrative of democratic partnership between Muslims and Christians in the “Islamic world” and beyond.

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Human Capital and the Supply of Religion

Joseph Engelberg et al.

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the role of labor inputs in religious attendance using data on Oklahoma Methodist congregations during 1961-2003. Pastors play a significant role in church growth: replacing a 25th percentile pastor with a 75th percentile one increases annual attendance growth by three percent. A pastor's performance in his first church (largely the result of random assignment) predicts future performance, suggesting a causal effect of pastors on growth. The deployment of pastors by the church indicates efficient use of labor: low-performing pastors are more likely to be rotated or exit the sample, and high-performing pastors are moved to larger congregations.

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Mixed Reactions: How Religious Motivation Explains Responses to Religious Rhetoric in Politics

Jay Jennings

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article hypothesizes that religious motivation can explain varied responses to the political use of religious rhetoric. Religious motivation — religion’s place in an individual’s life — is an important determinant of individual behavior and attitude formation, and variation in religious motivation can explain why some religious citizens are attracted to candidates using religious appeals while others are clearly not. Using a survey experiment, this article tests the effect of Judeo-Christian religious language and attempts to isolate differences among the religious in how they respond to religious rhetoric in the American political environment. The goal of this article then becomes twofold. First, it introduces a measure of religious motivation and demonstrates that it is a unique measure of individual difference with independent effects beyond traditional measures of religiosity, personality, and conservatism. The second goal is to demonstrate that religious motivation can explain variance in reactions to religious rhetoric within a campaign environment. Religious individuals respond differently to religious appeals, with some evaluating candidates higher when religious words were used while others rated candidates lower. The types of religious motivation (extrinsic, intrinsic, and quest) are shown to be much better predictors of responses to religious rhetoric than traditional measures of religiosity.

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Does a Nation's Religious Composition Affect Generalized Trust? The Role of Religious Heterogeneity and the Percent Religious

Daniel Olson & Miao Li

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2015, Pages 756–773

Abstract:
Is religion more of an integrative or a divisive force in contemporary societies? We use multilevel analyses of World Values Survey data from 77,409 individuals in 69 countries to examine how both the percent of the population that is religious and the religious heterogeneity of a country are related to generalized social trust, the willingness of individuals to trust “most people.” When we first examine the main effects of the percent religious and religious heterogeneity we find no evidence that either variable is related to trust in the ways predicted by major theories. However, the combination of these two variables has a huge negative relationship with trust. Countries that are both highly religious and religiously heterogeneous (diverse) have, on average, levels of trust that are only half the average levels of countries with other combinations of these two variables. The results have important implications for understanding the role of religion in modern societies.

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Atheists and Agnostics Are More Reflective than Religious Believers: Four Empirical Studies and a Meta-Analysis

Gordon Pennycook et al.

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Individual differences in the mere willingness to think analytically has been shown to predict religious disbelief. Recently, however, it has been argued that analytic thinkers are not actually less religious; rather, the putative association may be a result of religiosity typically being measured after analytic thinking (an order effect). In light of this possibility, we report four studies in which a negative correlation between religious belief and performance on analytic thinking measures is found when religious belief is measured in a separate session. We also performed a meta-analysis on all previously published studies on the topic along with our four new studies (N = 15,078, k = 31), focusing specifically on the association between performance on the Cognitive Reflection Test (the most widely used individual difference measure of analytic thinking) and religious belief. This meta-analysis revealed an overall negative correlation (r) of -.18, 95% CI [-.21, -.16]. Although this correlation is modest, self-identified atheists (N = 133) scored 18.7% higher than religiously affiliated individuals (N = 597) on a composite measure of analytic thinking administered across our four new studies (d = .72). Our results indicate that the association between analytic thinking and religious disbelief is not caused by a simple order effect. There is good evidence that atheists and agnostics are more reflective than religious believers.

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Making and Unmaking Prejudice: Religious Affiliation Mitigates the Impact of Mortality Salience on Out-Group Attitudes

Anna-Kaisa Newheiser et al.

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2015, Pages 774–791

Abstract:
Research inspired by terror management theory has established that being reminded of the inevitability of death (i.e., “mortality salience”) leads people to express more negative attitudes toward out-groups. We examined the hypothesis that being affiliated with a religion may buffer individuals against this negative impact of mortality salience. Two studies, conducted in two cultures that differ in their emphasis on religiosity (the United Kingdom and Italy), supported this hypothesis. Specifically, we found that mortality salience resulted in more negative out-group attitudes only among participants not affiliated with any religion. Further, this buffering effect of religious affiliation was not moderated by participants’ specific religious orientations or by their levels of social dominance orientation. In addition, the buffering effect did not hold when prejudice against the target out-group was not proscribed by religious authorities. Implications for research on religion, prejudice, and terror management are discussed.

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On God-Belief and Feeling Clean: Daily Experiences Are Related to Feeling Clean, Particularly for Those High in God-Belief

Adam Fetterman

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work has shown robust associations between morality and cleanliness. However, it is not known whether this association is equally consequential for everyone. I predicted that individuals high (vs. low) in God-belief would be more likely to draw upon feelings of cleanliness to represent their moral concerns. To test this hypothesis, I used a 2-week daily sampling protocol. In an initial session, I measured participants’ (N = 135) level of God-belief. I then measured participants’ levels of daily cleanliness, neuroticism, impulsivity, and prosocial behaviors every evening. Daily feelings of cleanliness predicted lower levels of neuroticism but only for those high in God-belief. Daily impulsive behaviors predicted lower feelings of cleanliness, and daily prosocial behaviors predicted higher feelings of cleanliness. God-belief moderated these effects such that they were stronger for those higher, than lower, in God-belief. In closing, I discuss potential reasons for these moderation effects and other theoretical considerations.

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The Exit-Voice Choice: Religious Cleavages, Public Aid, and America's Private Schools

Ursula Hackett

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
In America's culture wars denominations increasingly ally with one another despite differences in theology, church organization, and membership. But these developments are not reflected in America's private K-12 school system or in patterns of public aid for children who attend them where divisions between religious traditions remain stark. I demonstrate, by means of an analysis of critical junctures in American political development supported by statistical analysis, that Catholics who desire a religious education for their children have historically tended to exit for the parochial sector while Evangelicals having similar desires lobbied for reform of the public school system. These differential group responses stem from differing conceptions of identity and belonging, theological understanding, and institutional structure. In American education policy, differences between religious groups are surprisingly tenacious.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seasoning

Recent improvement and projected worsening of weather in the United States

Patrick Egan & Megan Mullin

Nature, 21 April 2016, Pages 357–360

Abstract:
As climate change unfolds, weather systems in the United States have been shifting in patterns that vary across regions and seasons. Climate science research typically assesses these changes by examining individual weather indicators, such as temperature or precipitation, in isolation, and averaging their values across the spatial surface. As a result, little is known about population exposure to changes in weather and how people experience and evaluate these changes considered together. Here we show that in the United States from 1974 to 2013, the weather conditions experienced by the vast majority of the population improved. Using previous research on how weather affects local population growth to develop an index of people’s weather preferences, we find that 80% of Americans live in counties that are experiencing more pleasant weather than they did four decades ago. Virtually all Americans are now experiencing the much milder winters that they typically prefer, and these mild winters have not been offset by markedly more uncomfortable summers or other negative changes. Climate change models predict that this trend is temporary, however, because US summers will eventually warm more than winters. Under a scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions proceed at an unabated rate (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5), we estimate that 88% of the US public will experience weather at the end of the century that is less preferable than weather in the recent past. Our results have implications for the public’s understanding of the climate change problem, which is shaped in part by experiences with local weather. Whereas weather patterns in recent decades have served as a poor source of motivation for Americans to demand a policy response to climate change, public concern may rise once people’s everyday experiences of climate change effects start to become less pleasant.

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Climate change and interpersonal violence: A “global” estimate and regional inequities

Dennis Mares & Kenneth Moffett

Climatic Change, March 2016, Pages 297-310

Abstract:
This study estimates the predicted impact of climate change on levels of violence in a sample of 57 countries. We sample western and non-western countries and perform a multilevel ARFIMA regression to examine if warmer temperatures are associated with higher levels of homicide. Our results indicate that each degree Celsius increase in annual temperatures is associated with a nearly 6 % average increase in homicides. Regional variation in this predicted effect is detected, for example, with no apparent effects in former Soviet countries and far stronger effects found in Africa. Such variation indicates that climate change may acutely increase violence in areas that already are affected by higher levels of homicides and other social dislocations.

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Network structure and influence of the climate change counter-movement

Justin Farrell

Nature Climate Change, April 2016, Pages 370–374

Abstract:
Anthropogenic climate change represents a global threat to human well-being and ecosystem functioning. Yet despite its importance for science and policy, our understanding of the causes of widespread uncertainty and doubt found among the general public remains limited. The political and social processes driving such doubt and uncertainty are difficult to rigorously analyse, and research has tended to focus on the individual-level, rather than the larger institutions and social networks that produce and disseminate contrarian information. This study presents a new approach by using network science to uncover the institutional and corporate structure of the climate change counter-movement, and machine-learning text analysis to show its influence in the news media and bureaucratic politics. The data include a new social network of all known organizations and individuals promoting contrarian viewpoints, as well as the entirety of all written and verbal texts about climate change from 1993–2013 from every organization, three major news outlets, all US presidents, and every occurrence on the floor of the US Congress. Using network and computational text analysis, I find that the organizational power within the contrarian network, and the magnitude of semantic similarity, are both predicted by ties to elite corporate benefactors.

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The role of race and ethnicity in climate change polarization: Evidence from a U.S. national survey experiment

Jonathon Schuldt & Adam Pearson

Climatic Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests that public divides on climate change may often be rooted in identity processes, driven in part by a motivation to associate with others with similar political and ideological views. In a large split-ballot national survey experiment of 2041 U.S. adults, we explored the role of a non-partisan identity — racial/ethnic majority and minority status — in climate change opinion, in addition to respondents’ political orientation (i.e., ideology and party affiliation). Specifically, we examined respondents’ climate beliefs and policy support, identification with groups that support environmental causes (“environmentalists”), and the sensitivity of these beliefs to other factors known to predict issue polarization (political orientation and issue framing). Results revealed that across all opinion metrics, non-Whites’ views were less politically polarized than those of Whites and were unaffected by exposure to different ways of framing the issue (as “global warming” versus “climate change”). Moreover, non-Whites were reliably less likely to self-identify as environmentalists compared to Whites, despite expressing existence beliefs and support for regulating greenhouse gases at levels comparable to Whites. These findings suggest that racial and ethnic identities can shape core climate change beliefs in previously overlooked ways. We consider implications for public outreach and climate science advocacy.

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Historically hottest summers projected to be the norm for more than half of the world's population within 20 years

Brigitte Mueller, Xuebin Zhang & Francis Zwiers

Environmental Research Letters, April 2016

Abstract:
We project that within the next two decades, half of the world's population will regularly (every second summer on average) experience regional summer mean temperatures that exceed those of the historically hottest summer, even under the moderate RCP4.5 emissions pathway. This frequency threshold for hot temperatures over land, which have adverse effects on human health, society and economy, might be broached in little more than a decade under the RCP8.5 emissions pathway. These hot summer frequency projections are based on adjusted RCP4.5 and 8.5 temperature projections, where the adjustments are performed with scaling factors determined by regularized optimal fingerprinting analyzes that compare historical model simulations with observations over the period 1950-2012. A temperature reconstruction technique is then used to simulate a multitude of possible past and future temperature evolutions, from which the probability of a hot summer is determined for each region, with a hot summer being defined as the historically warmest summer on record in that region. Probabilities with and without external forcing show that hot summers are now about ten times more likely (fraction of attributable risk 0.9) in many regions of the world than they would have been in the absence of past greenhouse gas increases. The adjusted future projections suggest that the Mediterranean, Sahara, large parts of Asia and the Western US and Canada will be among the first regions for which hot summers will become the norm (i.e. occur on average every other year), and that this will occur within the next 1-2 decades.

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Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: Evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming could be dangerous

James Hansen et al.

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 22 March 2016, Pages 3761-3812

Abstract:
We use numerical climate simulations, paleoclimate data, and modern observations to study the effect of growing ice melt from Antarctica and Greenland. Meltwater tends to stabilize the ocean column, inducing amplifying feedbacks that increase subsurface ocean warming and ice shelf melting. Cold meltwater and induced dynamical effects cause ocean surface cooling in the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic, thus increasing Earth's energy imbalance and heat flux into most of the global ocean's surface. Southern Ocean surface cooling, while lower latitudes are warming, increases precipitation on the Southern Ocean, increasing ocean stratification, slowing deepwater formation, and increasing ice sheet mass loss. These feedbacks make ice sheets in contact with the ocean vulnerable to accelerating disintegration. We hypothesize that ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as exponential than by a more linear response. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield multi-meter sea level rise in about 50, 100 or 200 years. Recent ice melt doubling times are near the lower end of the 10–40-year range, but the record is too short to confirm the nature of the response. The feedbacks, including subsurface ocean warming, help explain paleoclimate data and point to a dominant Southern Ocean role in controlling atmospheric CO2, which in turn exercised tight control on global temperature and sea level. The millennial (500–2000-year) timescale of deep-ocean ventilation affects the timescale for natural CO2 change and thus the timescale for paleo-global climate, ice sheet, and sea level changes, but this paleo-millennial timescale should not be misinterpreted as the timescale for ice sheet response to a rapid, large, human-made climate forcing. These climate feedbacks aid interpretation of events late in the prior interglacial, when sea level rose to +6–9 m with evidence of extreme storms while Earth was less than 1 °C warmer than today. Ice melt cooling of the North Atlantic and Southern oceans increases atmospheric temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, thus driving more powerful storms. The modeling, paleoclimate evidence, and ongoing observations together imply that 2 °C global warming above the preindustrial level could be dangerous. Continued high fossil fuel emissions this century are predicted to yield (1) cooling of the Southern Ocean, especially in the Western Hemisphere; (2) slowing of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation, warming of the ice shelves, and growing ice sheet mass loss; (3) slowdown and eventual shutdown of the Atlantic overturning circulation with cooling of the North Atlantic region; (4) increasingly powerful storms; and (5) nonlinearly growing sea level rise, reaching several meters over a timescale of 50–150 years. These predictions, especially the cooling in the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic with markedly reduced warming or even cooling in Europe, differ fundamentally from existing climate change assessments. We discuss observations and modeling studies needed to refute or clarify these assertions.

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Shipwreck rates reveal Caribbean tropical cyclone response to past radiative forcing

Valerie Trouet, Grant Harley & Marta Domínguez-Delmás

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 22 March 2016, Pages 3169–3174

Abstract:
Assessing the impact of future climate change on North Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) activity is of crucial societal importance, but the limited quantity and quality of observational records interferes with the skill of future TC projections. In particular, North Atlantic TC response to radiative forcing is poorly understood and creates the dominant source of uncertainty for twenty-first-century projections. Here, we study TC variability in the Caribbean during the Maunder Minimum (MM; 1645–1715 CE), a period defined by the most severe reduction in solar irradiance in documented history (1610–present). For this purpose, we combine a documentary time series of Spanish shipwrecks in the Caribbean (1495–1825 CE) with a tree-growth suppression chronology from the Florida Keys (1707–2009 CE). We find a 75% reduction in decadal-scale Caribbean TC activity during the MM, which suggests modulation of the influence of reduced solar irradiance by the cumulative effect of cool North Atlantic sea surface temperatures, El Niño–like conditions, and a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Our results emphasize the need to enhance our understanding of the response of these oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns to radiative forcing and climate change to improve the skill of future TC projections.

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More extreme precipitation in the world’s dry and wet regions

Markus Donat et al.

Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Intensification of the hydrological cycle is expected to accompany a warming climate. It has been suggested that changes in the spatial distribution of precipitation will amplify differences between dry and wet regions, but this has been disputed for changes over land. Furthermore, precipitation changes may differ not only between regions but also between different aspects of precipitation, such as totals and extremes. Here we investigate changes in these two aspects in the world’s dry and wet regions using observations and global climate models. Despite uncertainties in total precipitation changes, extreme daily precipitation averaged over both dry and wet regimes shows robust increases in both observations and climate models over the past six decades. Climate projections for the rest of the century show continued intensification of daily precipitation extremes. Increases in total and extreme precipitation in dry regions are linearly related to the model-specific global temperature change, so that the spread in projected global warming partly explains the spread in precipitation intensification in these regions by the late twenty-first century. This intensification has implications for the risk of flooding as the climate warms, particularly for the world’s dry regions.

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How will climate change affect wildland fire severity in the western US?

Sean Parks et al.

Environmental Research Letters, March 2016

Abstract:
Fire regime characteristics in North America are expected to change over the next several decades as a result of anthropogenic climate change. Although some fire regime characteristics (e.g., area burned and fire season length) are relatively well-studied in the context of a changing climate, fire severity has received less attention. In this study, we used observed data from 1984 to 2012 for the western United States (US) to build a statistical model of fire severity as a function of climate. We then applied this model to several (n = 20) climate change projections representing mid-century (2040–2069) conditions under the RCP 8.5 scenario. Model predictions suggest widespread reduction in fire severity for large portions of the western US. However, our model implicitly incorporates climate-induced changes in vegetation type, fuel load, and fire frequency. As such, our predictions are best interpreted as a potential reduction in fire severity, a potential that may not be realized due human-induced disequilibrium between plant communities and climate. Consequently, to realize the reductions in fire severity predicted in this study, land managers in the western US could facilitate the transition of plant communities towards a state of equilibrium with the emerging climate through means such as active restoration treatments (e.g., mechanical thinning and prescribed fire) and passive restoration strategies like managed natural fire (under suitable weather conditions). Resisting changes in vegetation composition and fuel load via activities such as aggressive fire suppression will amplify disequilibrium conditions and will likely result in increased fire severity in future decades because fuel loads will increase as the climate warms and fire danger becomes more extreme. The results of our study provide insights to the pros and cons of resisting or facilitating change in vegetation composition and fuel load in the context of a changing climate.

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Risk of multiple interacting tipping points should encourage rapid CO2 emission reduction

Yongyang Cai, Timothy Lenton & Thomas Lontzek

Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evidence suggests that several elements of the climate system could be tipped into a different state by global warming, causing irreversible economic damages. To address their policy implications, we incorporated five interacting climate tipping points into a stochastic-dynamic integrated assessment model, calibrating their likelihoods and interactions on results from an existing expert elicitation. Here we show that combining realistic assumptions about policymakers’ preferences under uncertainty, with the prospect of multiple future interacting climate tipping points, increases the present social cost of carbon in the model nearly eightfold from US$15 per tCO2 to US$116 per tCO2. Furthermore, passing some tipping points increases the likelihood of other tipping points occurring to such an extent that it abruptly increases the social cost of carbon. The corresponding optimal policy involves an immediate, massive effort to control CO2 emissions, which are stopped by mid-century, leading to climate stabilization at <1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

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Potential stabilizing points to mitigate tipping point interactions in Earth's climate

Cedric Gaucherel & Vincent Moron

International Journal of Climatology, forthcoming

Abstract:
‘Tipping points’ (TPs) are thresholds of potentially disproportionate changes in the Earth's climate system associated with future global warming and are considered today as a ‘hot’ topic in environmental sciences. In this study, TP interactions are analysed from an integrated and conceptual point of view using two qualitative Boolean models built on graph grammars. They allow an accurate study of the node TP interactions previously identified by expert elicitation and take into account a range of various large-scale climate processes potentially able to trigger, alone or jointly, instability in the global climate. Our findings show that, contrary to commonly held beliefs, far from causing runaway changes in the Earth's climate, such as self-acceleration due to additive positive feedbacks, successive perturbations might actually lead to its stabilization. A more comprehensive model defined TPs as interactions between nine (non-exhaustive) large-scale subsystems of the Earth's climate, highlighting the enhanced sensitivity to the triggering of the disintegration of the west Antarctic ice sheet. We are claiming that today, it is extremely difficult to guess the fate of the global climate system as TP sensitivity depends strongly on the definition of the model. Finally, we demonstrate the stronger effect of decreasing rules (i.e. mitigating connected TPs) over other rule types, thus suggesting the critical role of possible ‘stabilizing points’ that are yet to be identified and studied.

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Climate change and the Ethiopian economy: A CGE analysis

Zenebe Gebreegziabher et al.

Environment and Development Economics, April 2016, Pages 205-225

Abstract:
The paper analyzes the economic impacts of climate change-induced fluctuations on the performance of Ethiopia's agriculture, using a countrywide computable general equilibrium (CGE) model. We model the impacts on agriculture using a Ricardian model, where current agricultural production is modelled as a function of temperature and precipitation, among other things, and where future agriculture is assumed to follow the same climate function. The effect of overall climate change is projected to be relatively benign until approximately 2030, but will become considerably worse thereafter. Our simulation results indicate that, over a 50-year period, the projected reduction in agricultural productivity may lead to reductions in average income of some 20 per cent compared with the outcome that would have prevailed in the absence of climate change. This indicates that adaptation policies – both government planned and those that ease autonomous adaptation by farmers – will be crucial for Ethiopia's future development.

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Projections of future floods and hydrological droughts in Europe under a +2°C global warming

Philippe Roudier et al.

Climatic Change, March 2016, Pages 341-355

Abstract:
We present an assessment of the impacts of a +2°C global warming on extreme floods and hydrological droughts (1 in 10 and 1 in 100 year events) in Europe using eleven bias-corrected climate model simulations from CORDEX Europe and three hydrological models. The results show quite contrasted results between northern and southern Europe. Flood magnitudes are expected to increase significantly south of 60oN, except for some regions (Bulgaria, Poland, south of Spain) where the results are not significant. The sign of these changes are particularly robust in large parts of Romania, Ukraine, Germany, France and North of Spain. North of this line, floods are projected to decrease in most of Finland, NW Russia and North of Sweden, with the exception of southern Sweden and some coastal areas in Norway where floods may increase. The results concerning extreme droughts are less robust, especially for drought duration where the spread of the results among the members is quite high in some areas. Anyway, drought magnitude and duration may increase in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, the Balkans, south of the UK and Ireland. Despite some remarkable differences among the hydrological models’ structure and calibration, the results are quite similar from one hydrological model to another. Finally, an analysis of floods and droughts together shows that the impact of a +2°C global warming will be most extreme for France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Albania. These results are particularly robust in southern France and northern Spain.

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Anthropogenic carbon release rate unprecedented during the past 66 million years

Richard Zeebe, Andy Ridgwell & James Zachos

Nature Geoscience, April 2016, Pages 325–329

Abstract:
Carbon release rates from anthropogenic sources reached a record high of ~10 Pg C yr−1 in 2014. Geologic analogues from past transient climate changes could provide invaluable constraints on the response of the climate system to such perturbations, but only if the associated carbon release rates can be reliably reconstructed. The Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is known at present to have the highest carbon release rates of the past 66 million years, but robust estimates of the initial rate and onset duration are hindered by uncertainties in age models. Here we introduce a new method to extract rates of change from a sedimentary record based on the relative timing of climate and carbon cycle changes, without the need for an age model. We apply this method to stable carbon and oxygen isotope records from the New Jersey shelf using time-series analysis and carbon cycle–climate modelling. We calculate that the initial carbon release during the onset of the PETM occurred over at least 4,000 years. This constrains the maximum sustained PETM carbon release rate to less than 1.1 Pg C yr−1. We conclude that, given currently available records, the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years. We suggest that such a ‘no-analogue’ state represents a fundamental challenge in constraining future climate projections. Also, future ecosystem disruptions are likely to exceed the relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM.

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Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise

Robert DeConto & David Pollard

Nature, 31 March 2016, Pages 591–597

Abstract:
Polar temperatures over the last several million years have, at times, been slightly warmer than today, yet global mean sea level has been 6–9 metres higher as recently as the Last Interglacial (130,000 to 115,000 years ago) and possibly higher during the Pliocene epoch (about three million years ago). In both cases the Antarctic ice sheet has been implicated as the primary contributor, hinting at its future vulnerability. Here we use a model coupling ice sheet and climate dynamics — including previously underappreciated processes linking atmospheric warming with hydrofracturing of buttressing ice shelves and structural collapse of marine-terminating ice cliffs — that is calibrated against Pliocene and Last Interglacial sea-level estimates and applied to future greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated. In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years.

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On the Potential for Abrupt Arctic Winter Sea Ice Loss

S. Bathiany et al.

Journal of Climate, April 2016, Pages 2703–2719

Abstract:
The authors examine the transition from a seasonally ice-covered Arctic to an Arctic Ocean that is sea ice free all year round under increasing atmospheric CO2 levels. It is shown that in comprehensive climate models, such loss of Arctic winter sea ice area is faster than the preceding loss of summer sea ice area for the same rate of warming. In two of the models, several million square kilometers of winter sea ice are lost within only one decade. It is shown that neither surface albedo nor cloud feedbacks can explain the rapid winter ice loss in the climate model MPI-ESM by suppressing both feedbacks in the model. The authors argue that the large sensitivity of winter sea ice area in the models is caused by the asymmetry between melting and freezing: an ice-free summer requires the complete melt of even the thickest sea ice, which is why the perennial ice coverage decreases only gradually as more and more of the thinner ice melts away. In winter, however, sea ice areal coverage remains high as long as sea ice still forms, and then drops to zero wherever the ocean warms sufficiently to no longer form ice during winter. The loss of basinwide Arctic winter sea ice area, however, is still gradual in most models since the threshold mechanism proposed here is reversible and not associated with the existence of multiple steady states. As this occurs in every model analyzed here and is independent of any specific parameterization, it is likely to be relevant in the real world.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Beginning at conception

Changes in Adolescents' Receipt of Sex Education, 2006–2013

Laura Lindberg, Isaac Maddow-Zimet & Heather Boonstra

Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Methods: Using nationally representative data from the 2006–2010 and 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth, we estimated changes over time in adolescents' receipt of sex education from formal sources and from parents and differentials in these trends by adolescents' gender, race/ethnicity, age, and place of residence.

Results: Between 2006–2010 and 2011–2013, there were significant declines in adolescent females' receipt of formal instruction about birth control (70% to 60%), saying no to sex (89% to 82%), sexually transmitted disease (94% to 90%), and HIV/AIDS (89% to 86%). There was a significant decline in males' receipt of instruction about birth control (61% to 55%). Declines were concentrated among adolescents living in nonmetropolitan areas. The proportion of adolescents talking with their parents about sex education topics did not change significantly. Twenty-one percent of females and 35% of males did not receive instruction about methods of birth control from either formal sources or a parent.

Conclusions: Declines in receipt of formal sex education and low rates of parental communication may leave adolescents without instruction, particularly in nonmetropolitan areas. More effort is needed to understand this decline and to explore adolescents' potential other sources of reproductive health information.

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Area-level mortality and morbidity predict ‘abortion proportion’ in England and Wales

Sandra Virgo & Rebecca Sear

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Life history theory predicts that where mortality/morbidity is high, earlier reproduction will be favoured. A key component of reproductive decision-making in high income contexts is induced abortion. Accordingly, relationships between mortality/morbidity and ‘abortion proportion’ (proportion of conceptions ending in abortion) are explored at small-area (‘ward’) level in England and Wales. It is predicted that where mortality/morbidity is high, there will be a lower ‘abortion proportion’ in younger women (< 25 years), adjusting for education, unemployment, income, housing tenure and population density. Results show that this prediction is supported: wards with both shorter life expectancy and a higher proportion of people with a limiting long-standing illness have lower abortion proportions in under 25s. In older age bands, in contrast, elevated mortality and morbidity are mostly associated with a higher ‘abortion proportion’. Further, morbidity appears to have a larger effect than mortality on ‘abortion proportion’ in the under-25 age band, perhaps because a) morbidity is more salient than mortality in high-income contexts, and/or b) young women are influenced by health of potential female alloparents when scheduling fertility.

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Shared risk aversion in spontaneous and induced abortion

Ralph Catalano et al.

Human Reproduction, May 2016, Pages 1113-1119

What is known already: Much literature speculates that natural selection conserved risk aversion because the trait enhanced Darwinian fitness. Risk aversion, moreover, supposedly influences all decisions including those that individuals can and cannot report making. We argue that these circumstances, if real, would manifest in conscious and non-conscious decisions to invest in prospective offspring, and therefore affect incidence of induced and spontaneous abortion over time.

Study design, size, duration: Using data from Denmark, we test the hypothesis that monthly conception cohorts yielding unexpectedly many non-clinically indicated induced abortions also yield unexpectedly many spontaneous abortions. The 180 month test period (January 1995 through December 2009), yielded 1 351 800 gestations including 156 780 spontaneous as well as 233 280 induced abortions 9100 of which were clinically indicated.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: We use Box–Jenkins transfer functions to adjust the incidence of spontaneous and non-clinically indicated induced abortions for autocorrelation (including seasonality), cohort size, and fetal as well as gestational anomalies over the 180-month test period. We use cross-correlation to test our hypothesized association.

Main results and the role of chance: We find a positive association between spontaneous and non-clinically indicated induced abortions. This suggests, consistent with our theory, that mothers of conception cohorts that yielded more spontaneous abortions than expected opted more frequently than expected for non-clinically indicated induced abortion.

Wider implications of the findings: Our findings imply that abortion, intentional or ‘spontaneous,’ follows from a woman's estimate, made consciously or otherwise, of the costs and benefits of extending gestation given characteristics of the prospective offspring, likely environmental circumstances at birth, and maternal resources.

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Spontaneous Pregnancy Loss in Denmark Following Economic Downturns

Tim Bruckner, Laust Mortensen & Ralph Catalano

American Journal of Epidemiology, 15 April 2016, Pages 701-708

Abstract:
An estimated 11%–20% of clinically recognized pregnancies result in spontaneous abortion. The literature finds elevated risk of spontaneous abortion among women who report adverse financial life events. This work suggests that, at the population level, national economic decline — an ambient and plausibly unexpected stressor — will precede an increase in spontaneous abortion. We tested this hypothesis using high-quality information on pregnancy and spontaneous loss for all women in Denmark. We applied time-series methods to monthly counts of clinically detected spontaneous abortions (n = 157,449) and the unemployment rate in Denmark beginning in January 1995 and ending in December 2009. Our statistical methods controlled for temporal patterns in spontaneous abortion (e.g., seasonality, trend) and changes in the population of pregnancies at risk of loss. Unexpected increases in the unemployment rate preceded by 1 month a rise in the number of spontaneous abortions (β = 33.19 losses/month, 95% confidence interval: 8.71, 57.67). An attendant analysis that used consumption of durable household goods as an indicator of financial insecurity supported the inference from our main test. Changes over time in elective abortions and in the cohort composition of high-risk pregnancies did not account for results. It appears that in Denmark, ambient stressors as common as increasing unemployment may precede a population-level increase in spontaneous abortion.

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Women's Knowledge of and Support for Abortion Restrictions in Texas: Findings from a Statewide Representative Survey

Kari White et al.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, forthcoming

Context: States have passed numerous laws restricting abortion, and Texas passed some of the most restrictive legislation between 2011 and 2013. Information about women's awareness of and support for the laws’ provisions could inform future debates regarding abortion legislation.

Methods: Between December 2014 and January 2015, some 779 women aged 18–49 participated in an online, statewide representative survey about recent abortion laws in Texas. Poisson regression analysis was used to assess correlates of support for a law that would make obtaining an abortion more difficult. Women's knowledge of specific abortion restrictions in Texas and reasons for supporting these laws were also assessed.

Results: Overall, 31% of respondents would support a law making it more difficult to obtain an abortion. Foreign-born Latinas were more likely than whites to support such a law (prevalence ratio, 1.5), and conservative Republicans were more likely than moderates and Independents to do so (2.3). Thirty-six percent of respondents were not very aware of recent Texas laws, and 19% had never heard of them. Among women with any awareness of the laws, 19% supported the requirements; 42% of these individuals said this was because such laws would make abortion safer.

Conclusions: Many Texas women of reproductive age are unaware of statewide abortion restrictions, and some support these requirements because of misperceptions about the safety of abortion. Advocates and policymakers should address these knowledge gaps in efforts to protect access to legal abortion.

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Physical and neurobehavioral determinants of reproductive onset and success

Felix Day et al.

Nature Genetics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ages of puberty, first sexual intercourse and first birth signify the onset of reproductive ability, behavior and success, respectively. In a genome-wide association study of 125,667 UK Biobank participants, we identify 38 loci associated (P < 5 × 10−8) with age at first sexual intercourse. These findings were taken forward in 241,910 men and women from Iceland and 20,187 women from the Women's Genome Health Study. Several of the identified loci also exhibit associations (P < 5 × 10−8) with other reproductive and behavioral traits, including age at first birth (variants in or near ESR1 and RBM6–SEMA3F), number of children (CADM2 and ESR1), irritable temperament (MSRA) and risk-taking propensity (CADM2). Mendelian randomization analyses infer causal influences of earlier puberty timing on earlier first sexual intercourse, earlier first birth and lower educational attainment. In turn, likely causal consequences of earlier first sexual intercourse include reproductive, educational, psychiatric and cardiometabolic outcomes.

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Impact of Clinic Closures on Women Obtaining Abortion Services After Implementation of a Restrictive Law in Texas

Caitlin Gerdts et al.

American Journal of Public Health, May 2016, Pages 857-864

Objectives: To evaluate the additional burdens experienced by Texas abortion patients whose nearest in-state clinic was one of more than half of facilities providing abortion that had closed after the introduction of House Bill 2 in 2013.

Methods: In mid-2014, we surveyed Texas-resident women seeking abortions in 10 Texas facilities (n = 398), including both Planned Parenthood–affiliated clinics and independent providers that performed more than 1500 abortions in 2013 and provided procedures up to a gestational age of at least 14 weeks from last menstrual period. We compared indicators of burden for women whose nearest clinic in 2013 closed and those whose nearest clinic remained open.

Results: For women whose nearest clinic closed (38%), the mean one-way distance traveled was 85 miles, compared with 22 miles for women whose nearest clinic remained open (P ≤ .001). After adjustment, more women whose nearest clinic closed traveled more than 50 miles (44% vs 10%), had out-of-pocket expenses greater than $100 (32% vs 20%), had a frustrated demand for medication abortion (37% vs 22%), and reported that it was somewhat or very hard to get to the clinic (36% vs 18%; P < .05).

Conclusions: Clinic closures after House Bill 2 resulted in significant burdens for women able to obtain care.

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What do men want? Re-examining whether men benefit from higher fertility than is optimal for women

Cristina Moya, Kristin Snopkowski & Rebecca Sear

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 19 April 2016

Abstract:
Several empirical observations suggest that when women have more autonomy over their reproductive decisions, fertility is lower. Some evolutionary theorists have interpreted this as evidence for sexual conflicts of interest, arguing that higher fertility is more adaptive for men than women. We suggest the assumptions underlying these arguments are problematic: assuming that women suffer higher costs of reproduction than men neglects the (different) costs of reproduction for men; the assumption that men can repartner is often false. We use simple models to illustrate that (i) men or women can prefer longer interbirth intervals (IBIs), (ii) if men can only partner with wives sequentially they may favour shorter IBIs than women, but such a strategy would only be optimal for a few men who can repartner. This suggests that an evolved universal male preference for higher fertility than women prefer is implausible and is unlikely to fully account for the empirical data. This further implies that if women have more reproductive autonomy, populations should grow, not decline. More precise theoretical explanations with clearly stated assumptions, and data that better address both ultimate fitness consequences and proximate psychological motivations, are needed to understand under which conditions sexual conflict over reproductive timing should arise.

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Association Between High Ambient Temperature and Risk of Stillbirth in California

Rupa Basu, Varada Sarovar & Brian Malig

American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies have linked elevated apparent temperatures with adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm delivery, but other birth outcomes have not been well studied. We examined 8,510 fetal deaths (≥20 weeks’ gestation) to estimate their association with mean apparent temperature, a combination of temperature and humidity, during the warm season in California (May–October) from 1999 to 2009. Mothers whose residential zip codes were within 10 km of a meteorological monitor were included. Meteorological data were provided by the California Irrigation Management Information System, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Climatic Data Center, while the California Department of Public Health provided stillbirth data. Using a time-stratified case-crossover study design, we found a 10.4% change (95% confidence interval: 4.4, 16.8) in risk of stillbirth for every 10°F (5.6°C) increase in apparent temperature (cumulative average of lags 2–6 days). Risk varied by maternal race/ethnicity and was greater for younger mothers, less educated mothers, and male fetuses. The highest risks were observed during gestational weeks 20–25 and 31–33. No associations were found during the cold season (November–April), and the observed associations were independent of air pollutants. This study adds to the growing body of literature identifying pregnant women and their fetuses as subgroups vulnerable to heat exposure.

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Reproductive history and post-reproductive mortality: A sibling comparison analysis using Swedish register data

Kieron Barclay et al.

Social Science & Medicine, April 2016, Pages 82–92

Abstract:
A growing body of evidence suggests that reproductive history influences post-reproductive mortality. A potential explanation for this association is confounding by socioeconomic status in the family of origin, as socioeconomic status is related to both fertility behaviours and to long-term health. We examine the relationship between age at first birth, completed parity, and post-reproductive mortality and address the potential confounding role of family of origin. We use Swedish population register data for men and women born 1932-1960, and examine both all-cause and cause-specific mortality. The contributions of our study are the use of a sibling comparison design that minimizes residual confounding from shared family background characteristics and assessment of cause-specific mortality that can shed light on the mechanisms linking reproductive history to mortality. Our results were entirely consistent with previous research on this topic, with teenage first time parents having higher mortality, and the relationship between parity and mortality following a U-shaped pattern where childless men and women and those with five or more children had the highest mortality. These results indicate that selection into specific fertility behaviours based upon socioeconomic status and experiences within the family of origin does not explain the relationship between reproductive history and post-reproductive mortality. Additional analyses where we adjust for other lifecourse factors such as educational attainment, attained socioeconomic status, and post-reproductive marital history do not change the results. Our results add an important new level of robustness to the findings on reproductive history and mortality by showing that the association is robust to confounding by factors shared by siblings. However it is still uncertain whether reproductive history causally influences health, or whether other confounding factors such as childhood health or risk-taking propensity could explain the association.

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Status competition, inequality, and fertility: Implications for the demographic transition

Mary Shenk, Hillard Kaplan & Paul Hooper

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 19 April 2016

Abstract:
The role that social status plays in small-scale societies suggests that status may be important for understanding the evolution of human fertility decisions, and for understanding how such decisions play out in modern contexts. This paper explores whether modelling competition for status — in the sense of relative rank within a society — can help shed light on fertility decline and the demographic transition. We develop a model of how levels of inequality and status competition affect optimal investment by parents in the embodied capital (health, strength, and skills) and social status of offspring, focusing on feedbacks between individual decisions and socio-ecological conditions. We find that conditions similar to those in demographic transition societies yield increased investment in both embodied capital and social status, generating substantial decreases in fertility, particularly under conditions of high inequality and intense status competition. We suggest that a complete explanation for both fertility variation in small-scale societies and modern fertility decline will take into account the effects of status competition and inequality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, April 25, 2016

Any willing provider

Job Mobility among Parents of Children with Chronic Health Conditions: Early Effects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act

Pinka Chatterji, Peter Brandon & Sara Markowitz

Journal of Health Economics, July 2016, Pages 26–43

Abstract:
We examine the effects of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA) prohibition of preexisting conditions exclusions for children on job mobility among parents. We use a difference-in-difference approach, comparing pre-post policy changes in job mobility among privately-insured parents of children with chronic health conditions vs. privately-insured parents of healthy children. Data come from the 2004 and 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Among married fathers, the policy change is associated with about a 0.7 percentage point, or 35 percent increase, in the likelihood of leaving an employer voluntarily. We find no evidence that the policy change affected job mobility among married and unmarried mothers.

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Selective Hearing: Physician-Ownership and Physicians' Response to New Evidence

David Howard, Guy David & Jason Hockenberry

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Physicians, acting in their role as experts, are often faced with situations where they must trade off personal and patient welfare. Physicians’ incentives vary based on the organizational environment in which they practice. We use the publication of a major clinical trial, which found that a common knee operation does not improve outcomes for patients with osteoarthritis, as an “informational shock” to gauge the impact of physicians’ agency relationships on treatment decisions. Using a 100% sample of procedures in Florida from 1998 to 2010, we find that publication of the trial reduced procedure volume, but the magnitude of the decline was smaller in physician-owned surgery centers. Incentives affected physicians’ reactions to evidence.

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Short-term Outcomes for Medicare Beneficiaries After Low-acuity Visits to Emergency Departments and Clinics

Matthew Niedzwiecki et al.

Medical Care, May 2016, Pages 498–503

Background: There is substantial interest in identifying low-acuity visits to emergency departments (EDs) that could be treated more appropriately in other settings. Systematic differences in illness severity between ED patients and comparable patients elsewhere could make such strategies unsafe, but little evidence exists to guide policy makers.

Objective: To compare illness severity between patients visiting EDs and outpatient clinics, by comparing short-term mortality and hospitalization, controlling for patient demographics, comorbidity, and visit acuity.

Subjects: Nationally representative 20% sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries discharged home from ED or clinic visit in 2011, and enrolled continuously for 1 year before the visit.

Measures: All-cause mortality and hospitalization in the 8, 15, and 30 days after discharge home from ED or clinic visits.

Results: After risk-adjusting for patient demographic, comorbidity, disability, and dual-eligibility status, as well as visit acuity as measured by a commonly used algorithm, we found that ED patients were more likely to die (risk-adjusted odds ratio=2.75; 95% confidence interval, 2.56–2.96) or be hospitalized (odds ratio=1.97; 95% confidence interval, 1.95–2.00) after discharge than clinic patients. Differences in short-term outcomes were observed even when comparing patients with the same discharge diagnoses after risk adjustment.

Conclusions: Patients presenting to EDs have worse risk-adjusted short-term outcomes than those presenting to outpatient clinics, even after controlling for acuity level of visit or discharge diagnosis. Existing measures of acuity using administrative data may not adequately capture severity of illness, making judgments of the appropriate setting for care difficult.

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Health insurance as a productive factor

Allan Dizioli & Roberto Pinheiro

Labour Economics, June 2016, Pages 1–24

Abstract:
In this paper, we present a less-explored channel through which health insurance impacts productivity: by offering health insurance, employers reduce the expected time workers spend out of work in sick days. Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), we show that a worker with health coverage misses on average 76.54% fewer workdays than uninsured workers, after controlling for endogeneity. We develop a model that embodies this impact of health coverage in productivity. In our model, health insurance reduces the probability that a healthy worker gets sick, missing workdays, and it increases the probability that a sick worker recovers and returns to work. In our model, firms that offer health insurance are larger and pay higher wages in equilibrium, a pattern observed in the data. We calibrated the model using US data for 2004 and show the impact of increases in health costs, as well as of changes in tax benefits of health insurance expenses, on labor force health coverage and productivity.

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The Effect of Expanding Medicaid Eligibility on Supplemental Security Income Program Participation

Marguerite Burns & Laura Dague

University of Wisconsin Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Low-income adults without dependent children have historically had few paths to obtain public health insurance unless they qualified for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cash benefits because of a disability. However, in states that expand their Medicaid programs, childless adults may obtain Medicaid without undergoing an intensive SSI disability review process and with substantially higher income and assets than the SSI program allows. This expanded availability of Medicaid coverage, independent of SSI participation, creates an opportunity to increase earnings and savings without jeopardizing health insurance coverage. In this paper, we use the natural experiments created by state decisions to expand Medicaid to nondisabled, nonelderly adults without dependent children to study the effect of decoupling Medicaid eligibility and cash assistance using a difference-in-differences study design. We collected data on the income eligibility limits, enrollment caps, and coverage characteristics of state Medicaid expansions to childless adults from 2001-2013. We combine these data with the nationally representative American Community Survey to estimate the effects of state expansion on SSI participation. We find relative declines in SSI participation caused by Medicaid expansions of 0.17 percentage points, a 7% relative decrease; this finding suggests the potential for small but important efficiency gains from separating SSI and Medicaid eligibility.

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The Effect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansions on Financial Well-Being

Luojia Hu et al.

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
We examine the effect of the Medicaid expansions under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on financial outcomes using credit report data for a large sample of individuals. We employ the synthetic control method (Abadie et al., 2010) to compare individuals living in states that expanded Medicaid to those that did not. We find that the Medicaid expansions significantly reduced the number of unpaid bills and the amount of debt sent to third-party collection agencies among those residing in zip codes with the highest share of low income, uninsured individuals. Our estimates imply a reduction in collection balances of around $600 to $1,000 among those who gain Medicaid coverage due to the ACA. Our findings suggest that the ACA Medicaid expansions had important financial impacts beyond health care use.

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Does Churning in Medicaid Affect Health Care Use?

Eric Roberts, Craig Evan Pollack

Medical Care, May 2016, Pages 483–489

Data: Longitudinal data from 6 panels of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Methods: We used differences-in-differences regression to compare health care use when adults reenrolled in Medicaid following a loss of coverage, to utilization in a control group of continuously enrolled adults.

Results: During the study period, 264 adults churned into and out of Medicaid and 627 had continuous coverage. Churning adults had an average of approximately 0.05 Medicaid-covered office-based visits per month 4 months before reenrolling in Medicaid, significantly below the rate of approximately 0.20 visits in the control group. Visits to office-based providers did not reach the control group rate until several months after churning adults had resumed Medicaid coverage. Our comparisons found no evidence of significantly elevated ED and inpatient admission rates in the churning group following reenrollment.

Conclusions: Adults who lose Medicaid tend to defer their use of office-based care to periods when they are insured. Although this suggests that enrollment disruptions lead to suboptimal timing of care, we do not find evidence that adults reenroll in Medicaid with elevated acute care needs.

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The Price Effects of Cross-Market Hospital Mergers

Leemore Dafny, Kate Ho & Robin Lee

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
So-called "horizontal mergers" of hospitals in the same geographic market have garnered significant attention from researchers and regulators alike. However, much of the recent hospital industry consolidation spans multiple markets serving distinct patient populations. We show that such combinations can reduce competition among the merging providers for inclusion in insurers' networks of providers, leading to higher prices. The result derives from the presence of "common customers” (i.e. purchasers of insurance plans) who value both providers, as well as (one or more) "common insurers" with which price and network status is negotiated. We test our theoretical predictions using two samples of cross-market hospital mergers, focusing exclusively on hospitals that are bystanders rather than the likely drivers of the transactions in order to address concerns about the endogeneity of merger activity. We find that hospitals gaining system members in-state (but not in the same geographic market) experience price increases of 6-10 percent relative to control hospitals, while hospitals gaining system members out-of-state exhibit no statistically significant changes in price. The former group are likelier to share common customers and insurers. This effect remains sizeable even when the merging parties are located further than 90 minutes apart. The results suggest that cross-market, within-state hospital mergers appear to increase hospital systems' leverage when bargaining with insurers.

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Health insurance and the demand for medical care: Instrumental variable estimates using health insurer claims data

Abe Dunn

Journal of Health Economics, July 2016, Pages 74–88

Abstract:
This paper takes a different approach to estimating demand for medical care that uses the negotiated prices between insurers and providers as an instrument. The instrument is viewed as a textbook “cost shifting” instrument that impacts plan offerings, but is unobserved by consumers. The paper finds a price elasticity of demand of around −0.20, matching the elasticity found in the RAND Health Insurance Experiment. The paper also studies within-market variation in demand for prescription drugs and other medical care services and obtains comparable price elasticity estimates.

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Cost Analysis of the STONE Randomized Trial: Can Health Care Costs be Reduced One Test at a Time?

Joy Melnikow

Medical Care, April 2016, Pages 337–342

Objective: To compare costs of care for patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with suspected kidney stones randomized to 1 of 3 initial imaging tests.

Research Design: Patients were randomized to point-of-care ultrasound (POC US, least costly), radiology ultrasound (RAD US), or computed tomography (CT, most costly). Subsequent testing and treatment were the choice of the treating physician.

Subjects: A total of 2759 patients at 15 EDs were randomized to POC US (n=908), RAD US, (n=893), or CT (n=958). Mean age was 40.4 years; 51.8% were male.

Measures: All medical care documented in the trial database in the 7 days following enrollment was abstracted and coded to estimate costs using national average 2012 Medicare reimbursements. Costs for initial ED care and total 7-day costs were compared using nonparametric bootstrap to account for clustering of patients within medical centers.

Results: Initial ED visit costs were modestly lower for patients assigned to RAD US: $423 ($411, $434) compared with patients assigned to CT: $448 ($438, $459) (P<0.0001). Total costs were not significantly different between groups: $1014 ($912, $1129) for POC US, $970 ($878, $1078) for RAD US, and $959 ($870, $1044) for CT. Hospital admissions contributed over 50% of total costs, though only 11% of patients were admitted. Mean total costs (and admission rates) varied substantially by site from $749 to $1239.

Conclusions: Assignment to a less costly test had no impact on overall health care costs for ED patients. System-level interventions addressing variation in admission rates from the ED might have greater impact on costs.

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Teaching Hospitals and the Disconnect Between Technology Adoption and Comparative Effectiveness Research: The Case of the Surgical Robot

Danil Makarov et al.

Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The surgical robot, a costly technology for treatment of prostate cancer with equivocal marginal benefit, rapidly diffused into clinical practice. We sought to evaluate the role of teaching in the early adoption phase of the surgical robot. Teaching hospitals were the primary early adopters: data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project showed that surgical robots were acquired by 45.5% of major teaching, 18.0% of minor teaching and 8.0% of non-teaching hospitals during the early adoption phase. However, teaching hospital faculty produced little comparative effectiveness research: By 2008, only 24 published studies compared robotic prostatectomy outcomes to those of conventional techniques. Just ten of these studies (41.7%) were more than minimally powered, and only six (25%) involved cross-institutional collaborations. In adopting the surgical robot, teaching hospitals fulfilled their mission to innovate, but failed to generate corresponding scientific evidence.

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Early Performance of Accountable Care Organizations in Medicare

Michael McWilliams et al.

New England Journal of Medicine, forthcoming

Background: In the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), accountable care organizations (ACOs) have financial incentives to lower spending and improve quality. We used quasi-experimental methods to assess the early performance of MSSP ACOs.

Methods: Using Medicare claims from 2009 through 2013 and a difference-in-differences design, we compared changes in spending and in performance on quality measures from before the start of ACO contracts to after the start of the contracts between beneficiaries served by the 220 ACOs entering the MSSP in mid-2012 (2012 ACO cohort) or January 2013 (2013 ACO cohort) and those served by non-ACO providers (control group), with adjustment for geographic area and beneficiary characteristics. We analyzed the 2012 and 2013 ACO cohorts separately because entry time could reflect the capacity of an ACO to achieve savings. We compared ACO savings according to organizational structure, baseline spending, and concurrent ACO contracting with commercial insurers.

Results: Adjusted Medicare spending and spending trends were similar in the ACO cohorts and the control group during the precontract period. In 2013, the differential change (i.e., the between-group difference in the change from the precontract period) in total adjusted annual spending was −$144 per beneficiary in the 2012 ACO cohort as compared with the control group (P=0.02), consistent with a 1.4% savings, but only −$3 per beneficiary in the 2013 ACO cohort as compared with the control group (P=0.96). Estimated savings were consistently greater in independent primary care groups than in hospital-integrated groups among 2012 and 2013 MSSP entrants (P=0.005 for interaction). MSSP contracts were associated with improved performance on some quality measures and unchanged performance on others.

Conclusions: The first full year of MSSP contracts was associated with early reductions in Medicare spending among 2012 entrants but not among 2013 entrants. Savings were greater in independent primary care groups than in hospital-integrated groups.

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Past the Point of Speeding Up: The Negative Effects of Workload Saturation on Efficiency and Patient Severity

Jillian Berry Jaeker & Anita Tucker

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Service organizations face a trade-off between high utilization and responsiveness. High utilization can improve financial performance, but causes congestion, which increases throughput time. Employees may manage this trade-off by reducing processing times during periods of high workload, resulting in an inverted U-shaped relationship between utilization and throughput time. Using two years of inpatient data from 203 California hospitals, we find evidence that patient length of stay (LOS) increases as occupancy increases, until a tipping point, after which patients are discharged early to alleviate congestion. More interestingly, we find a second tipping point — at 93% occupancy — beyond which additional occupancy leads to a longer LOS. These results are indicative of a workload-related “saturation effect” where employees can no longer overcome high workload by speeding up. Our data suggest that the saturation effect is due to an increase in the workload requirements of the remaining patients. Collectively, we find that the underlying relationship between occupancy and LOS is N-shaped. Consequently, managers who seek cost efficiencies via a strategy of high utilization in tandem with speeding up may find that their strategy backfires because there is a point at which employees are no longer able to compensate for a high workload by working harder, and throughput time counterproductively increases. We perform a counterfactual analysis and find that an alternate strategy of employing flexible labor when faced with high occupancy levels might be a more productive approach, and could save the hospitals in our sample up to $138 million over 23 months.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Buddies

Social Class and Social Worlds: Income Predicts the Frequency and Nature of Social Contact

Emily Bianchi & Kathleen Vohs

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does access to money predict social behavior? Past work has shown that money fosters self-sufficiency and reduces interest in others. Building on this work, we tested whether income predicts the frequency and type of social interactions. Two studies using large, nationally representative samples of Americans (N = 118,026) and different measures of social contact showed that higher household income was associated with less time spent socializing with others (Studies 1 and 2) and more time spent alone (Study 2). Income also predicted the nature of social contact. People with higher incomes spent less time with their families and neighbors and spent more time with their friends. These findings suggest that income is associated with how and with whom people spend their time.

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The Rural–Urban Difference in Interpersonal Regret

Asuka Komiya, Shigehiro Oishi & Minha Lee

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2016, Pages 513-525

Abstract:
The present research examined rural–urban differences in interpersonal regret. In Study 1, participants who grew up in rural areas reported stronger interpersonal regret than those who grew up in large cities. In Study 2, we conducted an experiment and found that participants who were assigned to imagine a rural life reported greater interpersonal regret than those who were assigned to imagine an urban life. Moreover, this rural–urban difference was mediated by the degree to which participants wrote about informal social control such as gossip and reputation concerns. Finally, in Study 3, we used the pictorial eye manipulation, which evokes a concern for informal social control, and found that participants from large cities who were exposed to the eyes reported more intense interpersonal regret than those who were not exposed to the eyes. Together, these studies demonstrate that informal social control is a key to understanding rural–urban differences in interpersonal regret.

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The Dynamics of Social Support Inequality: Maintenance Gaps by Socioeconomic Status and Race?

Markus Schafer & Nicholas Vargas

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
A vast literature demonstrates how personal networks mirror and reproduce broader patterns of social inequality. The availability of key resources through informal mechanisms is an important way that high-status Americans retain a host of social advantages. Largely absent from this account of social capital inequality, however, is an explicit temporal dimension. The current article addresses that gap by targeting the dynamic nature of personal networks. Specifically, we consider whether race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES) are associated with how US adults’ resource-providing ties persist or vanish between two time points. Using panel data from the Portraits of American Life Study, we find that non-Whites and lower-SES Americans tend to receive useful advice and practical help from fewer close ties than do White and higher-SES adults, while Black Americans are especially likely to receive financial assistance from their network members. Models fail to indicate that non-Whites lose these resourceful ties at a disproportionate rate over time. On the other hand, we find that income has a robust association with the ability to retain ties initially providing advice and help. We interpret the latter findings as a temporal manifestation of network-based inequality. The maintenance gap between higher- and lower-SES Americans, we argue, can reinforce other social capital disparities by shaping dependable access to important resources and by altering their ability to effectively mobilize resources. Network maintenance is a concept that could be useful to researchers studying how social capital matters for a variety of instrumental and expressive outcomes.

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“Selfie-ists” or “Narci-selfiers”?: A cross-lagged panel analysis of selfie taking and narcissism

Daniel Halpern, Sebastián Valenzuela & James Katz

Personality and Individual Differences, July 2016, Pages 98–101

Abstract:
We examine the widely popular social phenomenon of “selfies” (self-portraits uploaded and shared in social media) in terms of the observed positive relationship between this individualistic form of social media usage and narcissism. We conducted a cross-lagged analysis of a two-wave, representative panel survey to understand whether narcissists take selfies as an outlet for maintaining their positive self-views (the self-selection hypothesis), or if by taking selfies' users would increase their level of narcissism (the media effect hypothesis). The findings, however, are consistent with both hypotheses, suggesting a self-reinforcement effect: whereas narcissist individuals take selfies more frequently over time, this increase in selfie production raises subsequent levels of narcissism.

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Face and Emotion Expression Processing and the Serotonin Transporter Polymorphism 5-HTTLPR/rs22531

Andrea Hildebrandt et al.

Genes, Brain and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Face cognition, including face identity and facial expression processing, is a crucial component of socio-emotional abilities, characterizing humans as highest developed social beings. However, for these trait domains molecular genetic studies investigating gene-behavior associations based on well-founded phenotype definitions are still rare. We examined the relationship between 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 polymorphisms – related to serotonin-reuptake – and the ability to perceive and recognize faces and emotional expressions in human faces. For this aim we conducted structural equation modeling on data from 230 young adults, obtained by using a comprehensive, multivariate task battery with maximal effort tasks. By additionally modeling fluid intelligence and immediate and delayed memory factors, we aimed to address the discriminant relationships of the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 polymorphisms with socio-emotional abilities. We found a robust association between the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 polymorphism and facial emotion perception. Carriers of two long (L) alleles outperformed carriers of one or two S alleles. Weaker associations were present for face identity perception and memory for emotional facial expressions. There was no association between the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 polymorphism and non-social abilities, demonstrating discriminant validity of the relationships. We discuss the implications and possible neural mechanisms underlying these novel findings.

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Camouflaged attention: Covert attention is critical to social communication in natural settings

Kaitlin Laidlaw, Austin Rothwell & Alan Kingstone

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The evolution of the human eye's unique high contrast morphology allows people to communicate with a simple look. Yet overt looking is not always preferred in social situations. Do covert shifts in attention – those that occur without a concomitant shift of the eyes or head – support this need? In the present field study, we discretely recorded pedestrians' looks to a confederate who performed an action - raising his hand to the side of his head and saying ‘Hey’ into a phone (private action), or raising his hand to the side of his head in greeting (i.e. a static wave) and saying ‘Hey’ (public action). Critically, pedestrians were not looking at the confederate at the start of the action. Despite this, pedestrians looked more in response to the public action (wave) than private action (phone). We argue that the observed difference in looking responses must be due to pedestrians first attending to the confederate covertly in order to assess the intention of his action, and only signaling this attention with a look when socially appropriate (e.g. to respond to a public action). Though the functional utility of covert attention has rarely been considered outside of controlled laboratory tasks, these results provide the first demonstration that covert attention plays a critical role in guiding appropriate social looking behaviour.

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Mortality salience increases language style matching and well-being

Cathy Cox & Mike Kersten

Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research examined whether people imitate the language style of others (i.e., the use of function words) as a form of liking when mortality concerns are salient. In Study 1, participants answered questions about death or public speaking and then engaged in an instant messaging conversation with a confederate. In Study 2, participant pairs verbally discussed a news article about increasing homicide rates or the rise in academic pressure. Next, everyone completed measures of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and relationship need satisfaction. The results revealed that, in comparison to the control conditions, participants exhibited greater language style matching (LSM) following reminders of death (Studies 1 & 2). Further, mediational analyses showed that higher LSM after mortality salience was associated with better psychological and social well-being (Study 2). Although the threat of death has been shown to make people more hostile and disparaging toward dissimilar others, the present work suggests that individuals, even strangers, may feel closer through language coordination following thoughts of mortality.

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Forgive and Forget, or Forgive and Regret? Whether Forgiveness Leads to Less or More Offending Depends on Offender Agreeableness

James McNulty & Michelle Russell

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, May 2016, Pages 616-631

Abstract:
How does forgiveness predict the likelihood of reoffending? One survey study, one experiment, one 4-year longitudinal study, and one 2-week diary study examined the implications of forgiveness for reoffending in relationships. In all four studies, agreeableness interacted with partner forgiveness to predict subsequent offending; partner forgiveness was negatively associated with subsequent offending among more agreeable people but positively associated with subsequent offending among less agreeable people. Furthermore, Study 4 demonstrated a unique mechanism of each simple effect; relatively agreeable people engaged in fewer transgressions against more forgiving partners because they felt obligated to refrain from transgressing against such partners whereas relatively disagreeable people engaged in more transgressions against more forgiving partners because they perceived those partners were less easily angered. These studies indicate that completely understanding the intrapersonal and interpersonal consequences of forgiveness requires recognizing the dyadic nature of forgiveness and attending to qualities of the offender.

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Ask and You Shall (Not) Receive: Close Friends Prioritize Relational Signaling Over Recipient Preferences in Their Gift Choices

Morgan Ward & Susan Broniarczyk

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gift givers balance their goal to please recipients with gifts that match recipients' preferences against their goal to signal relational closeness with gifts that demonstrate their knowledge of the recipient. Five studies in a gift registry context show that when close (vs. distant) givers receive attribution for the gifts they choose, they are more likely to diverge from the registry to choose items that signal their close relationships. We find that close givers' divergence from the registry is not the result of their altruistic search for a “better” gift, but a strategic effort to express relational signals, as it occurs only when they will receive attribution for their choice. We show that close givers reconcile their goal conflict by engaging in motivated reasoning, which results in their perceptual distortion of the gift options in favor of relationally signaling gifts. Ironically, distant givers are more likely to choose gifts from the registry, resulting in the selection of items that better match recipients' preferences.

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The extended ‘chilling’ effect of Facebook: The cold reality of ubiquitous social networking

Ben Marder et al.

Computers in Human Behavior, July 2016, Pages 582–592

Abstract:
Prior research has established the phenomenon of the ‘Chilling Effect’ where people constrain the self they present online due to peer-to-peer surveillance on Social Network Sites (SNS). However currently uninvestigated is the possibility that the threat of such surveillance on these sites might constrain the self presented offline in ‘reality’, known here as ‘the extended chilling effect’. The purpose of this study is to examine the existence of this ‘extended chilling effect’. Drawing on theories of self-awareness and self-presentation, the impact of surveillance in SNS is theorized to lead to an awareness of online audiences in offline domains, stimulating a self-comparison process that results in impression management. A mixed methods study of semi-structured interviews (n = 28) and a 2 × 2 between-subjects experiment (n = 80), provides support for offline impression management in order to avoid an undesired image being projected to online audiences. The novel finding that the chilling effect has extended highlights the potential dangers of online peer-to-peer surveillance for autonomy and freedom of expression in our offline lives.

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Interactive Effects Between Extraversion and Oxytocin Administration: Implications for Positive Social Processes

Lauren Human, Katherine Thorson & Wendy Berry Mendes

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Intranasal administration of the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) appears to have positive social consequences, but these effects are often highly context- and person-specific. The present research examined whether the core personality trait of extraversion may be one important person-specific factor that plays a role in these associations. Across two double-blind randomized placebo-controlled studies (total ns: Study 1 = 121; Study 2 = 112), we observed significant interactions between OT administration and extraversion predicting prosocial outcomes. For individuals low in extraversion, OT administration relative to placebo led to greater perceived social connection and prosocial tendencies (Study 1) and more positive behavioral responses to help and greater trust of an interaction partner (Study 2). In contrast, OT administration was not beneficial for individuals high in extraversion. Overall, these findings contribute to growing evidence that OT administration has complex, person-specific effects on social behavior, indicating that extraversion plays an important role in these associations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Conscious of it

Political conservatism predicts asymmetries in emotional scene memory

Mark Mills et al.

Behavioural Brain Research, 1 June 2016, Pages 84–90

Abstract:
Variation in political ideology has been linked to differences in attention to and processing of emotional stimuli, with stronger responses to negative versus positive stimuli (negativity bias) the more politically conservative one is. As memory is enhanced by attention, such findings predict that memory for negative versus positive stimuli should similarly be enhanced the more conservative one is. The present study tests this prediction by having participants study 120 positive, negative, and neutral scenes in preparation for a subsequent memory test. On the memory test, the same 120 scenes were presented along with 120 new scenes and participants were to respond whether a scene was old or new. Results on the memory test showed that negative scenes were more likely to be remembered than positive scenes, though, this was true only for political conservatives. That is, a larger negativity bias was found the more conservative one was. The effect was sizeable, explaining 45% of the variance across subjects in the effect of emotion. These findings demonstrate that the relationship between political ideology and asymmetries in emotion processing extend to memory and, furthermore, suggest that exploring the extent to which subject variation in interactions among emotion, attention, and memory is predicted by conservatism may provide new insights into theories of political ideology.

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Effects of Culture and the Urban Environment on the Development of the Ebbinghaus Illusion

Andrew Bremner et al.

Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
The development of visual context effects in the Ebbinghaus illusion in the United Kingdom and in remote and urban Namibians (UN) was investigated (N = 336). Remote traditional Himba children showed no illusion up until 9–10 years, whereas UK children showed a robust illusion from 7 to 8 years of age. Greater illusion in UK than in traditional Himba children was stable from 9 to 10 years to adulthood. A lesser illusion was seen in remote traditional Himba children than in UN children growing up in the nearest town to the traditional Himba villages across age groups. We conclude that cross-cultural differences in perceptual biases to process visual context emerge in early childhood and are influenced by the urban environment.

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Disgust and Fear Lower Olfactory Threshold

Kai Qin Chan et al.

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Odors provide information regarding the chemical properties of potential environment hazards. Some of this information may be disgust-related (e.g., organic decay), whereas other information may be fear-related (e.g., smoke). Many studies have focused on how disgust and fear, as prototypical avoidant emotions, facilitate the detection of possible threats, but these studies have typically confined to the visual modality. Here, we examine how disgust and fear influence olfactory detection at a particular level — the level at which a subliminal olfactory stimulus crosses into conscious perception, also known as a detection threshold. Here, using psychophysical methods that allow us to test perceptual capabilities directly, we show that one way that disgust (Experiments 1–3) and fear (Experiment 3) facilitate detection is by lowering the amount of physical input that is needed to trigger a conscious experience of that input. This effect is particularly strong among individuals with high disgust sensitivity (Experiments 2–3). Our research suggests that a fundamental way in which avoidant emotions foster threat detection is through lowering perceptual thresholds.

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The sound of distance

Cristina Rabaglia et al.

Cognition, July 2016, Pages 141–149

Abstract:
Human languages may be more than completely arbitrary symbolic systems. A growing literature supports sound symbolism, or the existence of consistent, intuitive relationships between speech sounds and specific concepts. Prior work establishes that these sound-to-meaning mappings can shape language-related judgments and decisions, but do their effects generalize beyond merely the linguistic and truly color how we navigate our environment? We examine this possibility, relating a predominant sound symbolic distinction (vowel frontness) to a novel associate (spatial proximity) in five studies. We show that changing one vowel in a label can influence estimations of distance, impacting judgment, perception, and action. The results (1) provide the first experimental support for a relationship between vowels and spatial distance and (2) demonstrate that sound-to-meaning mappings have outcomes that extend beyond just language and can – through a single sound – influence how we perceive and behave toward objects in the world.

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A preliminary study on how hypohydration affects pain perception

Tracey Bear et al.

Psychophysiology, May 2016, Pages 605–610

Abstract:
Chronic pain is a prevalent health issue with one in five people suffering from some form of chronic pain, with loss of productivity and medical costs of chronic pain considerable. However, the treatment of pain can be difficult, as pain perception is complex and can be affected by factors other than tissue damage. This study investigated the effect of hypohydration (mild, voluntary dehydration from ∼24 h of limiting fluid intake, mimicking someone drinking less than usual) on a person's pain perception. Seventeen healthy males (age 27 ± 5 years) visited the laboratory on three occasions, once as a familiarization and then twice again while either euhydrated (urine specific gravity: 1.008 ± 0.005) or hypohydrated (urine specific gravity: 1.024 ± 0.003, and −1.4 ± 0.9% body mass). Each visit, they performed a cold pressor test, where their feet were placed in cold water (0–3°C) for a maximum of 4 min. Measures of hydration status, pain sensitivity, pain threshold, and catastrophization were taken. We found that hypohydration predicted increased pain sensitivity (β = 0.43), trait pain catastrophizing, and baseline pain sensitivity (β = 0.37 and 0.47, respectively). These results are consistent with previous research, and suggest that a person's hydration status may be an important factor in their perception of acute pain.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, April 22, 2016

Stay awhile

Why Border Enforcement Backfired

Douglas Massey, Karen Pren & Jorge Durand

American Journal of Sociology, March 2016, Pages 1557-1600

Abstract:
In this article the authors undertake a systematic analysis of why border enforcement backfired as a strategy of immigration control in the United States. They argue theoretically that border enforcement emerged as a policy response to a moral panic about the perceived threat of Latino immigration to the United States propounded by self-interested bureaucrats, politicians, and pundits who sought to mobilize political and material resources for their own benefit. The end result was a self-perpetuating cycle of rising enforcement and increased apprehensions that resulted in the militarization of the border in a way that was disconnected from the actual size of the undocumented flow. Using an instrumental variable approach, the authors show how border militarization affected the behavior of unauthorized migrants and border outcomes to transform undocumented Mexican migration from a circular flow of male workers going to three states into an 11 million person population of settled families living in 50 states.

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The Labor Supply of Undocumented Immigrants

George Borjas

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 11.4 million undocumented persons reside in the United States. Congress and President Obama are considering a number of proposals to regularize the status of the undocumented population and provide a "path to citizenship." Any future change in the immigration status of this group is bound to have significant effects on the labor market, on the number of persons that qualify for various government-provided benefits, on the timing of retirement, on the size of the population receiving Social Security benefits, and on the funding of almost all of these government programs. This paper provides a comprehensive empirical study of the labor supply behavior of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Using newly developed methods that attempt to identify undocumented status for foreign-born persons sampled in the Current Population Surveys, the empirical analysis documents a number of findings, including the fact that the work propensity of undocumented men is much larger than that of other groups in the population; that this gap has grown over the past two decades; and that the labor supply elasticity of undocumented men is very close to zero, suggesting that their labor supply is almost perfectly inelastic.

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On Normative Effects of Immigration Law

Emily Ryo

University of Southern California Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Can laws shape and mold our attitudes, values, and social norms, and if so, how do immigration laws affect our attitudes or views toward minority groups? I explore these questions through a randomized laboratory experiment that examines whether and to what extent short-term exposures to anti-immigration and pro-immigration laws affect people's implicit and explicit attitudes toward Latinos. My analysis shows that exposure to an anti-immigration law is associated with increased perceptions among study participants that Latinos are unintelligent and law-breaking. In contrast, I find no evidence that exposure to pro-immigration laws promoted positive attitudes toward Latinos. Taken together, these results suggest that exposure to anti-immigration laws can easily trigger negative racial attitudes, but fostering positive racial attitudes through pro-immigration laws might be substantially more difficult. I argue that a fuller appreciation of the impacts of immigration laws requires an understanding of their normative effects. I conclude by discussing the directions for future research on law, racial attitudes, and intergroup relations, and the policy implications of my findings.

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The Acceleration of Immigrant Unhealthy Assimilation

Osea Giuntella & Luca Stella

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is well known that immigrants tend to be healthier than US natives and that this advantage erodes with time spent in the USA. However, we know less about the heterogeneity of these trajectories among arrival cohorts. Recent studies have shown that later arrival cohorts of immigrants have lower entry wages and experience less economic assimilation. In this paper, we investigate whether similar cohort effects can be observed in the weight assimilation of immigrants in the USA. Focusing on obesity, we show that more recent immigrant cohorts arrive with higher obesity rates and experience a faster 'unhealthy assimilation' in terms of weight gain.

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The Welfare Impact of Global Migration in OECD Countries

Amandine Aubry, Michał Burzyński & Frédéric Docquier

Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper quantifies the effect of global migration on the welfare of non-migrant OECD citizens. We develop an integrated, multi-country model that accounts for the interactions between the labor market, fiscal, and market size effects of migration, as well as for trade relations between countries. The model is calibrated to match the economic and demographic characteristics of the 34 OECD countries and the rest of the world, as well as trade flows between them in the year 2010. We show that recent migration flows have been beneficial for 69 percent of the non-migrant OECD population, and for 83 percent of non-migrant citizens of the 22 richest OECD countries. Winners are mainly residing in traditional immigration countries; their gains are substantial and are essentially due to the entry of immigrants from non OECD countries. Although labor market and fiscal effects are non-negligible in some countries, the greatest source of gain comes from the market size effect, i.e. the change in the variety of goods available to consumers.

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Emergency Department Use Among Hispanic Adults: The Role of Acculturation

Lindsay Allen & Janet Cummings

Medical Care, May 2016, Pages 449-456

Objectives: We provide the first known examination of differences in nonurgent and urgent emergency department (ED) usage between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white individuals, with varying levels of acculturation.

Materials and Methods: We pooled cross-sectional data for Hispanic and non-Hispanic white adults (ages 18-64) from the 2011 to 2013 National Health Interview Surveys. Using logistic regression models, we examined differences in past-year ED use, urgent ED use, and nonurgent ED use by acculturation level, which we measure by combining information on respondents' citizenship status, birthplace, and length of stay (immigrants <5, 5-10, >10 y in the United States; naturalized citizens; US born).

Results: Overall, 17.8% of Hispanic individuals and 18.5% of non-Hispanic white individuals use the ED annually. Compared with US-born non-Hispanic white individuals, the least acculturated Hispanic individuals are 14.4% points (P<0.001) less likely to use the ED for any reason, 9.8% points (P<0.001) less likely to use it for a nonurgent reason, and 5.3% points (P<0.01) less likely to use it for an urgent reason.

Conclusions: Contrary to popular perception, the least acculturated Hispanic individuals are the least likely to use the ED. As acculturation level rises, so does one's likelihood of using the ED, particularly for nonurgent visits.

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Advancing Executive Branch Immigration Policy Through the Attorney General's Review Authority

Alberto Gonzales & Patrick Glen

Iowa Law Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prospects for comprehensive immigration reform look dim in light of past failures to enact legislation, such as the DREAM Act, and a continued period of divided government placing a skeptical Republican Congress in opposition to a sympathetic Democratic President. With legislative fixes for the United States' immigration system unlikely in the near future, the Obama Administration will continue to press its immigration agenda via executive order and enforcement memorandum. Such initiatives do provide real short-term benefits, but they are by nature temporary and lack the ability to provide any permanent status to their beneficiaries. Importantly, however, they are not the only tools that the executive branch wields if it is intent on implementing certain reforms even in the face of a divided Congress. This Article focuses on a little used mechanism, Attorney General referral and review, which could play an efficacious role in the executive branch's development and implementation of its immigration policy. This procedure permits the Attorney General to adjudicate individual immigration cases and thereby provide a definitive interpretation of law or institute new policy-based prescriptions to guide immigration officials in the future. Although used only four times by the Obama Administration, and sparingly in prior administrations, the history of its invocation establishes it as a powerful tool through which the executive branch can assert its prerogatives in the immigration field. Structurally, this Article presents both a historical overview of the referral authority and a doctrinal assessment of its prior use by modern Attorneys General. It also refutes common, but fundamentally misplaced, criticisms of the authority, including the purported lack of due process attendant upon referral. Finally, it concludes by considering certain proposals for reform that could make the authority a more robust avenue for executive branch immigration policy.

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The Neighborhood Context of Latino Threat

Matthew Hall & Maria Krysan

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, the size of the Latino immigrant population has swelled in communities throughout the United States. For decades, social scientists have studied how social context, particularly a minority group's relative size, affects the sentiments of the dominant group. Using a random sample survey of five communities in suburban Chicago, the authors examine the impact of Latino population concentration on native-born white residents' subjective perceptions of threat from Latino immigrants at two micro-level geographies: the immediate block and the surrounding blocks. After controlling for Latino population size in surrounding blocks, percentage Latino in the immediate block does not influence perceptions of threat from Latino immigrants. The effect of surrounding blocks' population size is consistent with group threat theories for white residents: the larger the Latino population, the greater the perceived threat.

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Health Implications of an Immigration Raid: Findings from a Latino Community in the Midwestern United States

William Lopez et al.

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, forthcoming

Abstract:
Immigration raids exemplify the reach of immigration law enforcement into the lives of Latino community members, yet little research characterizes the health effects of these raids. We examined the health implications of an immigration raid that resulted in multiple arrests and deportations and occurred midway through a community survey of a Latino population. We used linear regression following principal axis factoring to examine the influence of raid timing on immigration enforcement stress and self-rated health. We controlled for age, sex, relationship status, years in the county in which the raid occurred, children in the home, and nativity. 325 participants completed the survey before the raid and 151 after. Completing the survey after the raid was associated with higher levels of immigration enforcement stress and lower self-rated health scores. Findings indicate the negative impact of immigration raids on Latino communities. Immigration discussions should include holistic assessments of health.

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The International Consequences of American National Origins Quotas: The Australian Case

David Atkinson

Journal of American Studies, May 2016, Pages 377-396

Abstract:
This article examines Australian responses to the imposition of stringent national origins quotas in the United States during the 1920s. Following the introduction of the American quota system, many Australians worried that large numbers of undesirable southern and eastern European migrants would make their way toward Australian ports. Widespread calls for preemptive restrictions forced the Australian government to finally implement a range of measures designed to limit immigration from Italy, Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Malta. More broadly, this article argues that American quotas often inadvertently engendered a wide range of indirect and unintentional consequences around the world that scholars of migration and American foreign relations might explore in greater depth. It concludes by suggesting some opportunities for individual and collaborative research into the international effects of the United States' notorious national origins quota system.

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Public or Private? The Influence of Immigration on Native Schooling Choices in the United States

Thomas Murray

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines whether rising enrollments of foreign-born students in U.S. public schools caused a movement among native children from public schools to private schools, something the literature has labeled native flight to private school. Using data from the National Center of Educational Statistics School District Demographic System, estimates of native flight are constructed using enrollment data on native and foreign-born, school-age children from 1990, 2000, and 2010. Concern regarding omitted variables bias necessitates the use of an instrumental variables technique. An instrument for the foreign-born enrollment is created using information about the ethnic composition of school districts in 1980 to predict the enrollment patterns of foreign-born students in later years. Two-stage least squares estimates confirm the presence of native flight. Flight to private school among white native students is occurring in smaller school districts in non-traditional immigrant receiving states, while flight among native minorities and Hispanics is located in school districts that reside in traditional immigrant receiving states.

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Locus of Control and Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom

Allison Harell, Stuart Soroka & Shanto Iyengar

Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data collected in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, this article examines the determinants of attitudes toward immigrants. In particular, we draw on the literature in social psychology to explore the role of locus of control in promoting more ethnocentric and restrictive attitudes towards immigration. We conceptualize control at three levels: (1) perceptions of individual locus of control (i.e., feeling that one can control one's own circumstances), (2) perceptions of societal control (i.e., feeling that one's country has control over immigration), and (3) perceptions of an outgroup's locus of control (i.e., feeling that an outgroup's social circumstances are attributable to dispositional rather than external factors). Results show that all three measures of control are important predictors of negative attitudes toward immigrants: Those who feel in control (personally or as a society) are less hostile towards immigrants, while those who attribute negative outcomes to immigrants' predispositions are also more hostile. Results also suggest that measures of control are related to, but distinct from, both partisanship and racial prejudice.

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Language Use and Violence: Assessing the Relationship Between Linguistic Context and Macrolevel Violence

Ben Feldmeyer, Casey Harris & Daniel Lai

Sociological Forum, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have produced a sizable body of research assessing the macrolevel links between immigration and crime. However, researchers have given far less attention to related questions about the effects of language use on aggregate levels of violence. The current study addresses this gap in research by exploring the ways that patterns of language use - specifically, language heterogeneity and Spanish-language concentration - are related to year 2010 serious violent crime rates for nearly 2,900 census places across the United States. Results of our analysis reveal that linguistic heterogeneity is associated with increased violence and that this relationship is stronger in disadvantaged contexts. In contrast, Spanish-language concentration appears to be protective against violence and mitigates the violence-generating effects of structural disadvantage, net of immigration and other macrostructural characteristics. Implications of these findings for research on immigration, communities and crime, and related theoretical perspectives on immigrant revitalization and macrostructural theories of crime are discussed.

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It is Hard to Swim Upstream: Dietary Acculturation Among Mexican-Origin Children

Jennifer Van Hook et al.

Population Research and Policy Review, April 2016, Pages 177-196

Abstract:
Health and immigration researchers often implicate dietary acculturation in explanations of Mexican children of immigrants' weight gain after moving to the U.S., but rarely explore how diet is shaped by immigrants' structural incorporation. We used data from the 1999/00-2009/10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess how indicators of Mexican-origin children's acculturation and structural incorporation influence two outcomes: how healthy and how "Americanized" children's diets are. Indicators of acculturation were strongly associated with more Americanized and less healthy diets. However, structural incorporation indicators were mostly unrelated to diet outcomes net of acculturation. An exception was that parental education was positively associated with consuming a healthy diet. Finally, children of natives consumed more Americanized, unhealthy diets than children of immigrants and these differences were largely explained by differences in the acculturation. Children of natives would have consumed an even less healthy diet were it not for their higher levels of parental education. Overall, the results suggest that the process of adapting to the U.S. life style is associated with the loss of cultural culinary preferences and less healthy eating behaviors despite improvements in socioeconomic status.

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Accent, Gender, and Perceived Competence

Larry Nelson, Margaret Signorella & Karin Botti

Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, May 2016, Pages 166-185

Abstract:
Those who use non-indigenous accented speech often experience prejudice and discrimination, and in the United States, those speaking with Spanish accents are likely to be impacted. In research on speaker perceptions by type of accent, however, the gender of the speaker or of the perceiver has received less attention. In the present study, the impact of accent (North American- vs. Spanish-accented English), gender of speaker, and gender of rater on perceptions of competence were investigated in a sample of U.S. undergraduates. Participants heard a recording by either a male or female speaker who spoke in English with either a North American or Spanish accent. As hypothesized, Spanish-accented speakers were more likely to be judged negatively, female speakers were more likely to receive negative assessments, and male participants were more likely to show bias related to accent. The neglect of gender in the study of accent bias is discussed.

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News Translators: Latino Immigrant Youth, Social Media, and Citizenship Training

Regina Marchi

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article discusses how low-income Latino immigrant youth use the Internet for newsgathering. Contrary to previous assumptions about the digital divide, the youth almost universally owned cell phones and got most of their news online, although poverty affected the quality of their connectivity. However, a generational digital divide was evident, in which Internet-savvy youth had access to timelier and more diverse news than their parents. In a reversal of typical parent-child roles, the youth were "news translators" for their parents, explaining U.S. news stories and their implications. Moreover, in seeking, critiquing, creating, and posting content online, the youth gained participatory and deliberative skills useful for civic engagement in a democracy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The choice is yours

Social-Class Differences in Consumer Choices: Working-Class Individuals Are More Sensitive to Choices of Others Than Middle-Class Individuals

Jinkyung Na et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2016, Pages 430-443

Abstract:
The present research shows that, when making choices, working-class Americans are more affected by others' opinions than middle-class Americans due to differences in independent versus interdependent self-construal. Experiment 1 revealed that when working-class Americans made decisions to buy products, they were more influenced by the choices of others than middle-class Americans. In contrast, middle-class Americans were more likely to misremember others' choices to be consistent with their own choices. In other words, working-class Americans adjusted their choices to the preference of others, whereas middle-class Americans distorted others' preferences to fit their choices. Supporting our prediction that this social-class effect is closely linked to the independent versus interdependent self-construal, we showed that the differences in self-construal across cultures qualified the social-class effects on choices (Experiment 2). Moreover, when we experimentally manipulated self-construal in Experiment 3, we found that it mediated the corresponding changes in choices regardless of social class.

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Going All In: Unfavorable Sex Ratios Attenuate Choice Diversification

Joshua Ackerman, Jon Maner & Stephanie Carpenter

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
When faced with risky decisions, people typically choose to diversify their choices by allocating resources across a variety of options and thus avoid putting "all their eggs in one basket." The current research revealed that this tendency is reversed when people face an important cue to mating-related risk: skew in the operational sex ratio, or the ratio of men to women in the local environment. Counter to the typical strategy of choice diversification, findings from four studies demonstrated that the presence of romantically unfavorable sex ratios (those featuring more same-sex than opposite-sex individuals) led heterosexual people to diversify financial resources less and instead concentrate investment in high-risk/high-return options when making lottery, stock-pool, retirement-account, and research-funding decisions. These studies shed light on a key process by which people manage risks to mating success implied by unfavorable interpersonal environments. These choice patterns have important implications for mating behavior as well as other everyday forms of decision making.

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Reappraising Stress Arousal Improves Performance and Reduces Evaluation Anxiety in Classroom Exam Situations

Jeremy Jamieson et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
For students to thrive in the U.S. educational system, they must successfully cope with omnipresent demands of exams. Nearly all students experience testing situations as stressful, and signs of stress (e.g., racing heart) are typically perceived negatively. This research tested the efficacy of a psychosituational intervention targeting cognitive appraisals of stress to improve classroom exam performance. Ninety-three students (across five semesters) enrolled in a community college developmental mathematics course were randomly assigned to stress reappraisal or placebo control conditions. Reappraisal instructions educated students about the adaptive benefits of stress arousal, whereas placebo materials instructed students to ignore stress. Reappraisal students reported less math evaluation anxiety and exhibited improved math exam performance relative to controls. Mediation analysis indicated reappraisal improved performance by increasing students' perceptions of their ability to cope with the stressful testing situation (resource appraisals). Implications for theory development and policy are discussed.

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The good and bad of ambivalence: Desiring ambivalence under outcome uncertainty

Taly Reich & Christian Wheeler

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2016, Pages 493-508

Abstract:
Decades of past research point to the downside of evaluative inconsistency (i.e., ambivalence), suggesting that it is an unpleasant state that can result in negative affect. Consequently, people are often motivated to resolve their ambivalence in various ways. We propose that people sometimes desire to be ambivalent as a means of strategic self-protection. Across employment, educational and consumer choice settings, we demonstrate that when people are uncertain they can obtain a desired target, they will cultivate ambivalence in order to protect their feelings in the event that they fail to get what they want. Specifically, we show that people consciously desire to cultivate ambivalence as a way to emotionally hedge and that they seek out and process information in ways to deliberately cultivate ambivalence. We find that people are most likely to generate ambivalence when they are most uncertain that they can obtain their desired target. Depending on the outcome, this cultivated ambivalence can either be useful (when the desired target is not obtained) or backfire (when the desired target is obtained).

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Social Networks and Housing Markets

Michael Bailey et al.

NYU Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We document that the recent house price experiences within an individual's social network affect her perceptions of the attractiveness of property investments, and through this channel have large effects on her housing market activity. Our data combine anonymized social network information from Facebook with housing transaction data and a survey. We first show that in the survey, individuals whose geographically-distant friends experienced larger recent house price increases consider local property a more attractive investment, with bigger effects for individuals who regularly discuss such investments with their friends. Based on these findings, we introduce a new and scalable methodology to document large effects of perceptions about the attractiveness of property investments on individual and aggregate housing market outcomes. This methodology exploits plausibly-exogenous variation in the recent house price experiences of individuals' geographically-distant friends as shifters of those individuals' local housing market perceptions. Individuals whose friends experienced a 5 percentage points larger house price increase over the previous 24 months (i) are 3.1 percentage points more likely to transition from renting to owning over a two-year period, (ii) buy a 1.7 percent larger house, and (iii) pay 3.3 percent more for a given house. Similarly, when homeowners' friends experience less positive house price changes, these homeowners are more likely to become renters, and more likely to sell their property at a lower price. A lower dispersion of friends' house price experiences has a similarly positive effect on housing market investments as higher average experiences. We also find that, at the county level, the across-population mean and dispersion of friends' house price experiences affect aggregate house prices and trading volume.

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Do as I say, not as I do: Choice-advice differences in decisions to learn information

Rachel Barkan, Shai Danziger & Yaniv Shani

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, May 2016, Pages 57-66

Abstract:
We find that people choose to learn interesting but useless information, yet advise others to resist this temptation. By contrast, when the information is boring but important people recommend others to learn it, but are less likely to learn it themselves. In five experiments participants were randomly assigned the role of chooser or adviser. Experiment 1a showed choosers paid real money for useless information, whereas advisers recommended others to resist the temptation. Experiment 1b showed this choice-advice difference persisted when participants introspected on their decisions in a hypothetical setting. Using an introspection task, Experiment 2 demonstrated choosers' decisions relied more heavily on curiosity, whereas advisers' recommendations relied on the value of the information. Next, we examined the case where information is boring but important. In a hypothetical setting, Experiment 3a revealed the vast majority of advisers recommended to learn the important information, whereas choosers were less enthusiastic about the boring information. Finally, Experiment 3b demonstrated the majority of choosers chose not to pay actual money to learn the important information, whereas the majority of advisers recommended paying to learn it. We conclude by offering ways to utilize curiosity to encourage people to learn important information.

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Meaning in life and intuition

Samantha Heintzelman & Laura King

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2016, Pages 477-492

Abstract:
Three correlational studies and 2 experiments examined the association between meaning in life (MIL) and reliance on intuitive information processing. In Studies 1-3 (total N = 5,079), Faith in Intuition (FI) scale and MIL were correlated positively, controlling for religiosity, positive mood, self-esteem, basic need satisfaction, and need for cognition. Two experiments manipulated processing style. In Study 4 (N = 614), participants were randomly assigned to complete the Cognitive Reflection Task (CRT; Fredrick, 2005) either immediately before (reflective/low intuitive mindset condition) or immediately after (control condition) rating MIL. Condition did not affect MIL. However, low MIL rated before the CRT predicted superior performance and greater time spent on the task. The association between reflection and MIL was curvilinear, such that MIL was strongly negatively related to CRT performance particularly at low levels of MIL. In Study 5 (N = 804), intuitive or reflective mindsets were induced and FI and MIL were measured. Induced processing style study did not affect MIL. However, those high in MIL were more responsive to the intuitive mindset induction. The relationship between FI and MIL was curvilinear (in this and the correlational studies), with intuitive processing being strongly positively related to MIL particularly at higher levels of MIL. Although often considered in the context of conscious reflection, MIL shares a positive relationship with reliance on gut feelings, and high MIL may facilitate reliance on those feelings.

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Crowd Wisdom Relies on Agents' Ability in Small Groups with a Voting Aggregation Rule

Marc Keuschnigg & Christian Ganser

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the last decade, interest in the "wisdom of crowds" effect has gained momentum in both organizational research and corporate practice. Crowd wisdom relies on the aggregation of independent judgments. The accuracy of a group's aggregate prediction rises with the number, ability, and diversity of its members. We investigate these variables' relative importance for collective prediction using agent-based simulation. We replicate the "diversity trumps ability" proposition for large groups, showing that samples of heterogeneous agents outperform same-sized homogeneous teams of high ability. In groups smaller than approximately 16 members, however, the effects of group composition depend on the social decision function employed: diversity is key only in continuous estimation tasks (averaging) and much less important in discrete choice tasks (voting), in which agents' individual abilities remain crucial. Thus, strategies to improve collective decision making must adapt to the predictive situation at hand.

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Decision Fatigue, Choosing for Others, and Self-Construal

Evan Polman & Kathleen Vohs

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown that people tend to feel depleted by their decisions. In contrast, we found people report that making decisions for others (vs. the self) is less depleting because it is more enjoyable. Our investigation thus replicated a prior finding (that decision-making is depleting), moderated it by target of decision (self vs. other), and demonstrated mediation (enjoyment). We further measured chronic focus on self or others (self-construal) and established a full process model that marries prior findings with the current ones: Choosing for others is more enjoyable and less depleting to the extent that decision makers are independent, and less enjoyable and more depleting to the extent that decision makers are interdependent. That a mismatch between chronic and state orientation leads to the better outcomes for self-control indicates a special link between self-construal and decision-making.

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Measuring Intuition: Nonconscious Emotional Information Boosts Decision Accuracy and Confidence

Galang Lufityanto, Chris Donkin & Joel Pearson

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The long-held popular notion of intuition has garnered much attention both academically and popularly. Although most people agree that there is such a phenomenon as intuition, involving emotionally charged, rapid, unconscious processes, little compelling evidence supports this notion. Here, we introduce a technique in which subliminal emotional information is presented to subjects while they make fully conscious sensory decisions. Our behavioral and physiological data, along with evidence-accumulator models, show that nonconscious emotional information can boost accuracy and confidence in a concurrent emotion-free decision task, while also speeding up response times. Moreover, these effects were contingent on the specific predictive arrangement of the nonconscious emotional valence and motion direction in the decisional stimulus. A model that simultaneously accumulates evidence from both physiological skin conductance and conscious decisional information provides an accurate description of the data. These findings support the notion that nonconscious emotions can bias concurrent nonemotional behavior - a process of intuition.

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A Flexible Influence of Affective Feelings on Creative and Analytic Performance

Jeffrey Huntsinger & Cara Ray

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Considerable research shows that positive affect improves performance on creative tasks and negative affect improves performance on analytic tasks. The present research entertained the idea that affective feelings have flexible, rather than fixed, effects on cognitive performance. Consistent with the idea that positive and negative affect signal the value of accessible processing inclinations, the influence of affective feelings on performance on analytic or creative tasks was found to be flexibly responsive to the relative accessibility of different styles of processing (i.e., heuristic vs. systematic, global vs. local). When a global processing orientation was accessible happy participants generated more creative uses for a brick (Experiment 1), successfully solved more remote associates and insight problems (Experiment 2) and displayed broader categorization (Experiment 3) than those in sad moods. When a local processing orientation was accessible this pattern reversed. When a heuristic processing style was accessible happy participants were more likely to commit the conjunction fallacy (Experiment 3) and showed less pronounced anchoring effects (Experiment 4) than sad participants. When a systematic processing style was accessible this pattern reversed. Implications of these results for relevant affect-cognition models are discussed.

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When existence is not futile: The influence of mortality salience on the longer-is-better effect

Simon McCabe, Melissa Spina & Jamie Arndt

British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how death reminders impact the valuation of objects of various ages. Building from the existence bias, the longer-is-better effect posits that which exists is good and that which has existed for longer is better. Integrating terror management theory, it was reasoned that mortality reminders fostering a motivation to at least symbolically transcend death would lead participants to evaluate older objects more positively as they signal robustness of existence. Participants were reminded of death (vs. control) and evaluated new, 20-, or 100-year-old objects. Results indicated death reminders resulted in greater valuation of older objects. Findings are discussed with implications for terror management theory, the longer-is-better effect, ageism, materialism, and consumer behaviour.

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A Heart and A Mind: Self-distancing Facilitates the Association Between Heart Rate Variability, and Wise Reasoning

Igor Grossmann, Baljinder Sahdra & Joseph Ciarrochi

Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, April 2016

Abstract:
Cardiac vagal tone (indexed via resting heart rate variability [HRV]) has been previously associated with superior executive functioning. Is HRV related to wiser reasoning and less biased judgments? Here we hypothesize that this will be the case when adopting a self-distanced (as opposed to a self-immersed) perspective, with self-distancing enabling individuals with higher HRV to overcome bias-promoting egocentric impulses and to reason wisely. However, higher HRV may not be associated with greater wisdom when adopting a self-immersed perspective. Participants were randomly assigned to reflect on societal issues from a self-distanced- or self-immersed perspective, with responses coded for reasoning quality. In a separate task, participants read about and evaluated a person performing morally ambiguous actions, with responses coded for dispositional vs. situational attributions. We simultaneously assessed resting cardiac recordings, obtaining six HRV indicators. As hypothesized, in the self-distanced condition, each HRV indicator was positively related to prevalence of wisdom-related reasoning (e.g., prevalence of recognition of limits of one's knowledge, recognition that the world is in flux/change, consideration of others' opinions and search for an integration of these opinions) and to balanced vs. biased attributions (recognition of situational and dispositional factors vs. focus on dispositional factors alone). In contrast, there was no relationship between these variables in the self-immersed condition. We discuss implications for research on psychophysiology, cognition, and wisdom.

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Backward planning: Effects of planning direction on predictions of task completion time

Jessica Wiese, Roger Buehler & Dale Griffin

Judgment and Decision Making, March 2016, Pages 147-167

Abstract:
People frequently underestimate the time needed to complete tasks and we examined a strategy - known as backward planning - that may counteract this optimistic bias. Backward planning involves starting a plan at the end goal and then working through required steps in reverse-chronological order, and is commonly advocated by practitioners as a tool for developing realistic plans and projections. We conducted four experiments to test effects on completion time predictions and related cognitive processes. Participants planned for a task in one of three directions (backward, forward, or unspecified) and predicted when it would be finished. As hypothesized, predicted completion times were longer (Studies 1-4) and thus less biased (Study 4) in the backward condition than in the forward and unspecified conditions. Process measures suggested that backward planning may increase attention to situational factors that delay progress (e.g., obstacles, interruptions, competing demands), elicit novel planning insights, and alter the conceptualization of time.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What the customer wants

Anticipation of Future Variety Reduces Satiation From Current Experiences

Julio Sevilla, Jiao Zhang & Barbara Kahn

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Satiation frequently occurs from repeated consumption of the same items over time. However, results from five experiments show that when people anticipate consuming something different in the future, they satiate at a slower rate in the present. We find the effect in both food and non-food consumption settings using different approaches to measure satiation. This effect is cognitive, specifically, anticipating variety in future consumption generates positive thoughts about that future experience. We find two boundary conditions: the future consumption outcome must (1) be in a related product category and (2) be at least as attractive as the present one. Potential alternative explanations including mere exposure to variety, the future experience being more attractive (rather than just different) than the current one, and perceptions of scarcity associated with the item consumed in the present are ruled out.

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An Empirical Examination of the Development and Impact of Star Power in Major League Baseball

Michael Lewis & Yeujun Yoon

Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the processes by which star power (SP) develops and the impact of SP on both consumer demand and team performance using data from Major League Baseball. First, we examine the dynamics of stardom using data based on player salaries, performance, and award recognition. We find that SP explains additional variance in salaries beyond performance measures. Also, we examine the impact of SP on consumer demand and team success. We find that a team's stock of SP positively influences consumer demand, even after controlling for various factors ranging from team success to ticket prices.

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Halo (Spillover) Effects in Social Media: Do Product Recalls of One Brand Hurt or Help Rival Brands?

Abhishek Borah & Gerard Tellis

Journal of Marketing Research, April 2016, Pages 143-160

Abstract:
Online chatter is important because it is spontaneous, passionate, information rich, granular, and live. Thus, it can forewarn and be diagnostic about potential problems with automobile models, known as nameplates. The authors define "perverse halo" (or negative spillover) as the phenomenon whereby negative chatter about one nameplate increases negative chatter for another nameplate. The authors test the existence of such a perverse halo for 48 nameplates from four different brands during a series of automobile recalls. The analysis is by individual and panel vector autoregressive models. The study finds that perverse halo is extensive. It occurs for nameplates within the same brand across segments and across brands within segments. It is strongest between brands of the same country. Perverse halo is asymmetric, being stronger from a dominant brand to a less dominant brand than vice versa. Apology advertising about recalls has harmful effects on both the recalled brand and its rivals. Furthermore, these halo effects affect downstream performance metrics such as sales and stock market performance. Online chatter amplifies the negative effect of recalls on downstream sales by about 4.5 times.

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Fare Prediction Websites and Transaction Prices: Empirical Evidence from the Airline Industry

Benny Mantin & Eran Rubin

Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The marketing and operations disciplines have increasingly accounted for the presence of strategic consumer behavior. Theory suggests that such behavior exists when consumers are able to consider future distribution of prices, and that this behavior exposes firms to intertemporal competition that results with a downward pressure on prices. However, deriving future distribution of prices is not a trivial task. Online decision support tools that provide consumers with information about future distributions of prices can facilitate strategic consumer behavior. This paper studies whether the availability of such information affects transacted prices by conducting an empirical analysis in the context of the airline industry. Studying the effect at the route level, we find significant price reduction effects as such information becomes available for a route, both in fixed-effects and difference-in-differences estimation models. This effect is consistent across the different fare percentiles and amounts to a reduction of approximately 4%-6% in transactions' prices. Our results lend ample support to the notion that price prediction decision tools make a statistically significant economic impact. Presumably, consumers are able to exploit the information available online and exhibit strategic behavior.

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Mere Measurement "Plus": How Solicitation of Open-Ended Positive Feedback Influences Customer Purchase Behavior

Sterling Bone et al.

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two studies (a longitudinal field experiment with an established B2C national chain, and a field experiment with a B2B software manufacturer), we demonstrate that starting a survey with an open-ended positive solicitation increases customer purchase behavior. Study 1, a longitudinal field experiment, showed that one-year following the completion of a survey that began by asking customers what went well during their purchase experience, customers spent 8.25% more than customers who completed a survey that did not include the positive solicitation. In Study 2, we utilized multiple treatment groups to assess the step-wise gains of solicitation, measurement, and solicitation frame. The results demonstrated (a) a mere solicitation effect, (b) a traditional mere measurement effect, and (c) an additional "mere measurement plus" effect of an open-ended positive solicitation; all effects increased customer spending. Specifically, starting a survey with an open-ended positive solicitation resulted in a 32.88% increase in customer spending relative to a survey with no open-ended positive solicitation. The findings suggest that firms can proactively influence the feedback process. Soliciting open-ended positive feedback can create positively biased memories of an experience; the subsequent expression of those memories in an open-ended feedback format further reinforces them, making them more salient and accessible in guiding future purchase behavior.

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Culling the Herd: Using Real-World Randomized Experiments to Measure Social Bias with Known Costly Goods

Miguel Godinho de Matos et al.

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Peer ratings have become increasingly important sources of product information, particularly in markets for information goods. However, in spite of the increasing prevalence of this information, there are relatively few academic studies that analyze the impact of peer ratings on consumers transacting in "real-world" marketplaces. In this paper, we partner with a major telecommunications company to analyze the impact of peer ratings in a real-world video-on-demand market where consumer participation is organic and where movies are costly and well known to consumers. After experimentally changing the initial conditions of product information displayed to consumers, we find that, consistent with the prior literature, peer ratings influence consumer behavior independently from underlying product quality. However, we also find that, in contrast to the prior literature, there is little evidence of long-term bias as a result of herding effects, at least in our setting. Specifically, when movies are artificially promoted or demoted in peer rating lists, subsequent reviews cause them to return to their true quality position relatively quickly. One explanation for this difference is that consumers in our empirical setting likely had more outside information about the true quality of the products they were evaluating than did consumers in the studies reported in prior literature. Although tentative, this explanation suggests that in real-world marketplaces where consumers have sufficient access to outside information about true product quality, peer ratings may be more robust to herding effects and thus provide more reliable signals of true product quality than previously thought.

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The Cue-of-the-Cloud Effect: When Reminders of Online Information Availability Increase Purchase Intentions and Choice

Rajesh Bhargave, Antonia Mantonakis & Katherine White

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In offline purchasing settings (e.g., retail stores), consumers often encounter reminders that product information can be found on the Internet. The authors refer to a reminder of the availability of online information as a 'cue-of-the-cloud' and explore its unique consequences on offline consumer behavior. This research finds that when consumers are presented with relatively large amounts of information in offline purchasing situations, a cue-of-the-cloud can enhance purchase intentions and choice behaviors. This occurs because the cue increases consumers' confidence in being able to retain and access the information seen in-store, which engenders positive feelings about the decision to purchase. Four studies, including two experiments in real brick-and-mortar field settings, demonstrate the consequence of a cue-of-the-cloud, along with some novel moderators of these effects.

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Copyright Enforcement: Evidence from Two Field Experiments

Hong Luo & Julie Mortimer

Harvard Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Effective dispute resolution is important for reducing private and social costs. We study how resolution responds to changes in price and communication using a new, extensive dataset of copyright infringement incidences by firms. The data cover two field experiments run by a large stock-photography agency. We find that substantially reducing the requested amount generates a small increase in the settlement rate. However, for the same reduced request, a message informing infringers of the price reduction and acknowledging possible unintentionality generates a large increase in settlement; including a deadline further increases the response. The small price effect, compared to the large message effect, can be explained by two countervailing effects of a lower price: an inducement to settle early, but a lower threat of escalation. Furthermore, acknowledging possible unintentionality may encourage settlement due to the typically inadvertent nature of these incidences. The resulting higher settlement rate prevents additional legal action and reduces social costs.

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Mining Brand Perceptions from Twitter Social Networks

Aron Culotta & Jennifer Cutler

Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumer perceptions are important components of brand equity and therefore marketing strategy. Segmenting these perceptions into attributes such as eco-friendliness, nutrition, and luxury enable a fine-grained understanding of the brand's strengths and weaknesses. Traditional approaches towards monitoring such perceptions (e.g., surveys) are costly and time consuming, and their results may quickly become outdated. Extant data mining methods are unsuitable for this goal, and generally require extensive hand-annotated data or context customization, which leads to many of the same limitations as direct elicitation. Here, we investigate a novel, general, and fully automated method for inferring attribute-specific brand perception ratings by mining the brand's social connections on Twitter. Using a set of over 200 brands and three perceptual attributes, we compare the method's automatic ratings estimates with directly-elicited survey data, finding a consistently strong correlation. The approach provides a reliable, flexible, and scalable method for monitoring brand perceptions, and offers a foundation for future advances in understanding brand-consumer social media relationships.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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