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Friday, January 30, 2015

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Who “They” Are Matters: Immigrant Stereotypes and Assessments of the Impact of Immigration

Jeffrey Timberlake et al.
Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the relationship between stereotypes of immigrants and assessments of the impact of immigration on U.S. society. Our analysis exploits a split-ballot survey of registered voters in Ohio, who were asked to evaluate both the characteristics of one of four randomly assigned immigrant groups and perceived impacts of immigration. We find that associations between impact assessments and stereotypes of Middle Eastern, Asian, and European immigrants are weak and fully attenuated by control covariates. By contrast, this relationship for Latin American immigrants is strong and robust to controls, particularly in the areas of unemployment, schools, and crime. Our findings suggest that public views of the impacts of immigration are strongly connected to beliefs about the traits of Latin American immigrants in particular.

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Unauthorized Immigration and Electoral Outcomes

Nicole Baerg, Julie Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli
Federal Reserve Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Using a unique methodology for identifying undocumented workers across counties in the state of Georgia in the United States, we find a negative relationship between the share of unauthorized workers and the share of votes going to the Democrats in elections. Furthermore, we show that this effect is more pronounced for the presence of unauthorized immigrants than Hispanics; is stronger in counties with higher median household income; and is substantively larger in U.S. Congressional elections than Gubernatorial or Senatorial elections. We discuss which political economy theories are most consistent with this set of findings.

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Recent Immigration to Canada and the United States: A Mixed Tale of Relative Selection

Neeraj Kaushal & Yao Lu
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using large-scale census data and adjusting for sending-country fixed effect to account for changing composition of immigrants, we study relative immigrant selection to Canada and the U.S. during 1990–2006, a period characterized by diverging immigration policies in the two countries. Results show a gradual change in selection patterns in educational attainment and host-country language proficiency in favor of Canada as its post-1990 immigration policy allocated more points to the human capital of new entrants. Specifically, in 1990, new immigrants in Canada were less likely to have a B.A. degree than those in the U.S.; they were also less likely to have a high-school or lower education. By 2006, Canada surpassed the U.S. in drawing highly educated immigrants, while continuing to attract fewer low-educated immigrants. Canada also improved its edge over the U.S. in terms of host-country language proficiency of new immigrants. Entry-level earnings, however, do not reflect the same trend: Recent immigrants to Canada have experienced a wage disadvantage compared to recent immigrants to the U.S., as well as Canadian natives. One plausible explanation is that while the Canadian points system has successfully attracted more educated immigrants, it may not be effective in capturing productivity-related traits that are not easily measurable.

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Illegal Immigration, State Law, and Deterrence

Mark Hoekstra & Sandra Orozco-Aleman
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
A critical immigration policy question is whether state and federal policy can deter undocumented workers from entering the U.S. We examine whether Arizona SB 1070, arguably the most restrictive and controversial state immigration law ever passed, deterred entry into Arizona. We do so by exploiting a unique data set from a survey of undocumented workers passing through Mexican border towns on their way to the U.S. Results indicate the bill’s passage reduced the flow of undocumented immigrants into Arizona by 30 to 70 percent, suggesting that undocumented workers from Mexico are responsive to changes in state immigration policy. In contrast, we find no evidence that the law induced undocumented immigrants already in Arizona to return to Mexico.

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Contextualizing Intergroup Contact: Do Political Party Cues Enhance Contact Effects?

Kim Mannemar Sønderskov & Jens Peter Frølund Thomsen
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines intergroup contact effects in different political contexts. We expand on previous efforts of social psychologists by incorporating the messages of political parties as a contextual trigger of group membership awareness in contact situations. We argue that the focus among political parties on us-them categorizations heightens the awareness of group memberships. This focus in turn enhances the positive intergroup contact effect by stimulating majority members to perceive contacted persons as prototypical outgroup members. A multilevel analysis of 22 countries and almost 37,000 individuals confirms that the ability of intergroup contact to reduce antiforeigner sentiment increases when political parties focus intensively on immigration issues and cultural differences. Specifically, both workplace contact and interethnic friendship become more effective in reducing antiforeigner sentiment when intergroup relations are politicized. These findings demonstrate the need for widening the scope of the intergroup contact theory in order to cover macro-political conditions.

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Explaining Undocumented Migration to the U.S.

Douglas Massey, Jorge Durand & Karen Pren
International Migration Review, Winter 2014, Pages 1028–1061

Abstract:
Using data from the Mexican Migration Project and the Latin American Migration Project, we find that undocumented migration from Mexico reflects U.S. labor demand and access to migrant networks and is little affected by border enforcement, which instead sharply reduces the odds of return movement. Undocumented migration from Central America follows primarily from political violence associated with the U.S. intervention of the 1980s, and return migration has always been unlikely. Mass undocumented migration from Mexico appears to have ended because of demographic changes there, but undocumented migration from Central America can be expected to grow slowly through processes of family reunification.

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Blocked Acculturation: Cultural Heterodoxy among Europe’s Immigrants

Andreas Wimmer & Thomas Soehl
American Journal of Sociology, July 2014, Pages 146-186

Abstract:
Which immigrant groups differ most from the cultural values held by mainstream society and why? The authors explore this question using data from the European Social Survey on the values held by almost 100,000 individuals associated with 305 immigrant groups and the native majorities of 23 countries. They test whether distant linguistic or religious origins (including in Islam), value differences that immigrants “import” from their home countries, the maintenance of transnational ties and thus diasporic cultures, or legal and social disadvantage in the country of settlement shape acculturation processes. They find that only legally or socially disadvantaged groups differ from mainstream values in significant ways. For first generation immigrants, this is because the values of their countries of origin diverge more from those of natives. Among children of disadvantaged immigrants, however, value heterodoxy emerges because acculturation processes are blocked and the values of the parent generation partially maintained. From the second generation onward, therefore, cultural values are endogenous to the formation and dissolution of social boundaries, rather than shaping these as an exogenous force.

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Open Trade, Closed Borders: Immigration in the Era of Globalization

Margaret Peters
World Politics, January 2015, Pages 114-154

Abstract:
This article argues that trade and immigration policy cannot be studied as separate policies but that instead scholars must take an integrated view of them. Trade and immigration policy are substitutes. The choice of trade policy affects immigration policy in labor-scarce countries through its effects on firms. Closure to trade increases the average firm-level demand for immigration, leading to immigration openness, and free trade decreases the average firm-level demand, leading to restricted immigration. To test this argument, the author develops a new data set on the immigration policies of nineteen states from the late eighteenth century through the early twenty-first century. This is one of a few data sets on immigration policy and, importantly, covers the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. The data show that indeed, trade policy has the hypothesized effect on immigration: immigration policy cannot be fully understood without examining trade policy. This article, therefore, suggests that trade and immigration policies, and other foreign economic policies, should be examined in light of each other.

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Has Opposition to Immigration Increased in the U.S. after the Economic Crisis? An Experimental Approach

Mathew Creighton, Amaney Jamal & Natalia Malancu
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We employ two population-level experiments to accurately measure opposition to immigration before and after the economic crisis of 2008. Our design explicitly addresses social desirability bias, which is the tendency to give responses that are seen favorably by others and can lead to substantial underreporting of opposition to immigration. We find that overt opposition to immigration, expressed as support for a closed border, increases slightly after the crisis. However, once we account for social desirability bias, no significant increase remains. We conclude that the observed increase in anti-immigration sentiment in the post-crisis U.S. is attributable to greater expression of opposition rather than any underlying change in attitudes.

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Symptoms of anxiety on both sides of the US–Mexico border: The role of immigration

Guilherme Borges et al.
Journal of Psychiatric Research, February 2015, Pages 46–51

Abstract:
Home to about 15 million people, the US–Mexico border area has suffered stresses from increased border security efforts and a costly drug war in Mexico. Whether immigration patterns add to increasing levels of anxiety for the Mexican population and the Mexican-origin individuals living in the US–Mexico border and near the border is unknown. We used the US–Mexico Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions (UMSARC), a cross-sectional survey (2011–2013) of individuals living in border and non-border cities of the US (n = 2336) and Mexico (n = 2460). In Mexico respondents were asked if they ever migrated to the US or have a family member living in the US (328) or not (2124), while in the US respondents were asked if they were born in Mexico (697), born in the US with no US-born parents (second generation, 702) or born in the US with at least one US-born parent (third generation, 932). The prevalence and risk factors for symptoms of anxiety using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (>=10) were obtained. Mexicans with no migrant experience had a prevalence of anxiety and adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) within the last month of 6.7% (PR = reference), followed by Mexicans with migration experience of 13.1% (PR = 1.8), Mexican-born respondents living in the US of 17.3% (PR = 2.6), US born Mexican-Americans of 2nd generation of 18.6% (PR = 3.3) and finally US born 3rd + generation of 25.9% (PR = 3.8). Results help to identify regions and migration patterns at high risk for anxiety and may help to unravel causal mechanisms that underlie this risk.

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Border Effects on DSM-5 Alcohol Use Disorders on Both Sides of the U.S.-Mexico Border

Cheryl Cherpitel et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Little epidemiological evidence exists on alcohol use and related problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, although the borderlands have been the focus of recent media attention related to the escalating drug/violence “epidemic”. In the present study, the relationship of proximity of living at the border and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is analyzed from the U.S.-Mexico Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions (UMSARC).

Methods: Household surveys were conducted on 2,336 Mexican Americans in Texas (771 in a non-border city and 1,565 from three border cities located in the three poorest counties in the U.S.) and 2,460 Mexicans from the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas in Mexico (811 in a non-border city and 1,649 from three cities which are sister cities to the Texas border sites).

Results: Among current drinkers, prevalence of AUD was marginally greater (p < 0.10) at the U.S. border compared to the non-border, but the opposite was true in Mexico (p < 0.001), and these trends continued on both sides across volume and 5+ drinking days. Prevalence was greater in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo relative to their respective sister city counterparts on the same side. Border effects appeared greater for males than females in the U.S. and the opposite in Mexico.

Conclusion: The data suggest that border proximity may affect AUD in both the U.S. and Mexico, but in the opposite direction, and may be related to the relative perceived or actual stress of living in the respective communities.

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Trends in the Returns to Social Assimilation: Earnings Premiums Among U.S. Immigrants that Marry Natives

Delia Furtado & Tao Song
University of Connecticut Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Previous studies show that immigrants married to natives earn higher wages than immigrants married to other immigrants. Using data from the 1980-2000 U.S. censuses and the 2005-2010 American Community Surveys, we show that these wage premiums have increased over time. Our evidence suggests that the trends cannot be explained by changes in the attributes of immigrants that tend to marry natives but are instead most likely a result of increasing returns to the characteristics of immigrants married to natives. Because immigrants married to natives tend to have more schooling, part of the increasing premium can be explained by increases in the returns to a college education. However, we find increasing intermarriage premiums even when allowing the returns to schooling as well as English-speaking ability to vary over time. We believe these patterns are driven by changes in technology and globalization which have made communication and management skills more valuable in the U.S. labor market.

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Diverging Fortunes? Economic Well-Being of Latinos and African Americans in New Rural Destinations

Martha Crowley, Daniel Lichter & Richard Turner
Social Science Research, May 2015, Pages 77–92

Abstract
The geographic diffusion of Latinos from immigrant gateways to newly-emerging rural destinations is one of the most significant recent trends in U.S. population redistribution. Yet, few studies have explored how Latinos have fared in new destinations, and even fewer have examined economic implications for other minority workers and their families. We use county-level data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census and the 2006-2010 American Community Survey to compare the changing economic circumstances (e.g., employment and unemployment, poverty, income, and homeownership) of Latinos and African Americans in new Latino boomtowns. We also evaluate the comparative economic trajectories of Latinos in new destinations and established gateways. During the 1990s, new rural destinations provided clear economic benefits to Latinos, even surpassing African Americans on some economic indicators. The 2000s, however, ushered in higher rates of Latino poverty; the economic circumstances of Latinos also deteriorated most rapidly in new destinations. By 2010, individual and family poverty rates in new destinations were significantly higher among Latinos than African Americans, despite higher labor force participation and lower levels of unemployment. Difference-in-difference models demonstrate that in both the 1990s and 2000s, economic trajectories of African Americans in new Latino destinations largely mirrored those observed in places without large Latino influxes. Any economic benefits for Latinos in new rural destinations thus have not come at the expense of African Americans.

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The Impact of Temporary Protected Status on Immigrants' Labor Market Outcomes

Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny
Federal Reserve Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
The United States currently provides Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to more than 300,000 immigrants from selected countries. TPS is typically granted if dangerous conditions prevail in the home country due to armed conflict or a natural disaster. Individuals with TPS cannot be deported and are allowed to stay and work in the United States temporarily. Despite the increased use of TPS in recent years, little is known about how TPS affects labor market outcomes for beneficiaries, most of whom are unauthorized prior to receiving TPS. This study examines how migrants from El Salvador who are likely to have received TPS fare in the labor market compared with other migrants. The results suggest that TPS eligibility leads to higher employment rates among women and higher earnings among men. The results have implications for recent programs that allow some unauthorized immigrants to receive temporary permission to remain and work in the United States.

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Racial Discrimination, Multiple Group Identities, and Civic Beliefs Among Immigrant Adolescents

Wing Yi Chan & Robert Latzman
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study tested the independent and interactive effects of multiple group identities (i.e., American and ethnic) and racial discrimination on civic beliefs among immigrant adolescents. Seventy-seven participants completed a questionnaire during after-school programs. Ethnic identity was positively associated with civic beliefs whereas racial discrimination was negatively related to civic beliefs, and racial discrimination moderated the relationships between multiple group identities and civic beliefs. Our findings highlight the importance of studying structural and individual factors jointly in the investigation of civic beliefs among immigrant adolescents.

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The Impact of Local Immigration Enforcement Policies on the Health of Immigrant Hispanics/Latinos in the United States

Scott Rhodes et al.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2015, Pages 329-337

Objectives: We sought to understand how local immigration enforcement policies affect the utilization of health services among immigrant Hispanics/Latinos in North Carolina.

Methods: In 2012, we analyzed vital records data to determine whether local implementation of section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Secure Communities program, which authorizes local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws, affected the prenatal care utilization of Hispanics/Latinas. We also conducted 6 focus groups and 17 interviews with Hispanic/Latino persons across North Carolina to explore the impact of immigration policies on their utilization of health services.

Results: We found no significant differences in utilization of prenatal care before and after implementation of section 287(g), but we did find that, in individual-level analysis, Hispanic/Latina mothers sought prenatal care later and had inadequate care when compared with non-Hispanic/Latina mothers. Participants reported profound mistrust of health services, avoiding health services, and sacrificing their health and the health of their family members.

Conclusions: Fear of immigration enforcement policies is generalized across counties. Interventions are needed to increase immigrant Hispanics/Latinos’ understanding of their rights and eligibility to utilize health services. Policy-level initiatives are also needed (e.g., driver’s licenses) to help undocumented persons access and utilize these services.

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The impact of the assimilation of migrants on the well-being of native inhabitants: A theory

Oded Stark
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a theory that systematically and causally links the well-being of native inhabitants with variation in the extent of assimilation of migrants. Recent empirical findings are yielded as predictions of the theory.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Someone's responsible

Harmful situations, impure people: An attribution asymmetry across moral domains

Alek Chakroff & Liane Young
Cognition, March 2015, Pages 30–37

Abstract:
People make inferences about the actions of others, assessing whether an act is best explained by person-based versus situation-based accounts. Here we examine people’s explanations for norm violations in different domains: harmful acts (e.g., assault) and impure acts (e.g., incest). Across four studies, we find evidence for an attribution asymmetry: people endorse more person-based attributions for impure versus harmful acts. This attribution asymmetry is partly explained by the abnormality of impure versus harmful acts, but not by differences in the moral wrongness or the statistical frequency of these acts. Finally, this asymmetry persists even when the situational factors that lead an agent to act impurely are stipulated. These results suggest that, relative to harmful acts, impure acts are linked to person-based attributions.

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Priming social affiliation promotes morality – Regardless of religion

Nicholas Thomson
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2015, Pages 195–200

Abstract:
Whilst prior studies have shown religious priming spurs prosocial behavior, there is little evidence this is unique to religion. It could be that priming any social affiliation encourages prosocial behavior simply by representing, belonging, and being responsible to a group, as opposed to acting as an individual. The current study aims to test if priming social affiliation is associated with greater moral self-perception. Using a large sample (N = 801), this study included an experimental manipulation to tease out if the previously-demonstrated priming effects that increase morality may be unique to religious affiliation or are general to any meaningful social affiliation. Results showed priming social affiliation had a unique influence on morality. This priming effect was not different for those with a religious affiliation when compared to people with a non-religious affiliation. Religious affiliates may see themselves as more moral, and priming their religious affiliation did indeed induce greater morality, but this was also true for other social affiliations. Therefore, religion is not fundamental to moral priming, and it is likely to be the perceived benefits of being in a group that enhances prosociality. We discussed implications of belonging to a social group on morality and prosociality.

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Monetizing illness: The influence of disability assistance priming on how we evaluate the health symptoms of others

Rourke O'Brien
Social Science & Medicine, March 2015, Pages 31–35

Abstract:
For low-income families in the United States disability assistance has emerged as a critical income support program in the post-welfare reform era. This article explores how this monetization of illness — tying receipt of government assistance to a physical or mental condition — influences how individuals evaluate the severity of another individual's health symptoms. Using data collected through a nationally representative survey experiment of adults in the United States (n = 1005) in May 2013, I find that respondents who are primed to consider the existence of disability assistance are less likely to rate the symptoms described in a hypothetical vignette as severe relative to the control group. I find evidence that this effect holds for both physical (back pain) and mental (depression) conditions for adults and behavioral conditions (ADHD) in children. Moreover, respondents in the experimental group were more likely to blame the individual for her health condition and this measure was found to partially mediate the effect of the disability assistance prime. These findings have important implications for researchers, policymakers and medical practitioners by illustrating how premising state assistance on a health condition may in turn shape how individuals evaluate the health symptoms of others.

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Economic individualism and punitive attitudes: A cross-national analysis

Ryan Kornhauser
Punishment & Society, January 2015, Pages 27-53

Abstract:
This article examines the effect of economic individualism – a belief that individuals can and should be responsible for their own economic welfare – on punitive attitudes in the English-speaking western world. Using existing survey data from the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK and New Zealand, the relationship between both normative and descriptive economic individualism and support for stiffer sentences and the death penalty is empirically assessed. Relatively consistently, a positive and significant relationship exists between both measures of economic individualism and both measures of punitiveness. This article suggests possible causal and non-causal reasons for this finding, as well as implications for future research.

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An Unscathed Past in the Face of Death: Mortality Salience Reduces Individuals’ Regrets

Selma Carolin Rudert et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 34–41

Abstract:
Folk wisdom and popular literature hold that, in the face of death, individuals tend to regret things in their lives that they have done or failed to do. Terror Management Theory (TMT), in contrast, allows for the prediction that individuals who are confronted with death try to minimize the experience of regret in order to retain a positive self-esteem. Three experiments put these competing perspectives to the test. Drawing on TMT, we hypothesized and found that participants primed with their own death regret fewer things than control-group participants. This pattern of results cannot be attributed to differing types of regrets (Study 1). Furthermore, we provide evidence suggesting that the effect is not purely a product of cognitive mechanisms such as differing levels of construal (Study 2), cognitive contrast, or deficits (Study 3). Rather, the reported results are best explained in terms of a motivational coping mechanism: When death is salient, individuals strive to bolster as well as protect their self-esteem and accordingly try to minimize the experience of regret. The results add to our conceptual understanding of regret and TMT, and suggest that a multitude of lifestyle guidebooks need updating.

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Gender differences in honesty: Groups versus individuals

Gerd Muehlheusser, Andreas Roider & Niklas Wallmeier
Economics Letters, March 2015, Pages 25–29

Abstract:
Extending the die rolling experiment of Fischbacher and Föllmi-Heusi (2013), we compare gender effects with respect to unethical behavior by individuals and by two-person groups. In contrast to individual decisions, gender matters strongly under group decisions. We find more lying in male groups and mixed groups than in female groups.

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The self in moral judgement: How self-affirmation affects the moral condemnation of harmless sexual taboo violations

Marlon Mooijman & Wilco Van Dijk
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
People frequently condemn harmless sexual taboo behaviours. Based on self-affirmation theory, we predicted that providing an opportunity to self-affirm decreases the tendency to morally condemn harmless sexual taboos. In Experiment 1, we found evidence that self-affirmation decreases the moral condemnation of harmless sexual taboos and ruled out that this was due to a decrease in how disgusting participants considered taboo acts. In Experiment 2, we replicated this effect and demonstrated the mediating role of self-directed threat emotions. These results demonstrate that the tendency to morally condemn harmless sexual taboos arises in part from the need to protect self-integrity. We discuss the implications for the role of the self and emotions in moral judgements and interventions aimed at increasing the acceptability of harmless sexual taboos.

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The effect of specific and general rules on ethical decisions

Laetitia Mulder, Jennifer Jordan & Floor Rink
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 115–129

Abstract:
We examined the effects of specific and general rules on ethical decisions and demonstrated, across five studies, that specifically-framed rules elicited ethical decisions more strongly than generally-framed rules. The effectiveness of specific rules was explained by reductions in people’s moral rationalizations. Alternative explanations that people feared being caught and punished or that people perceive no clear connection between general rules and the ethical decision, were ruled out. General rules exerted some effect on ethical decisions. In fact, whereas specific rules failed to affect ethical decisions that did not explicitly correspond with the rule, the effect of the general rule depended less on the type of behavior a person encountered. Our findings further suggest that combining a specific with a general rule provided no additive advantage, as people may interpret the general rule in light of the specific rule. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

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Testing the Prosocial Effectiveness of the Prototypical Moral Emotions: Elevation Increases Benevolent Behaviors and Outrage Increases Justice Behaviors

Julie Van de Vyver & Dominic Abrams
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 23–33

Abstract:
How can we overcome apathy and instigate a desire to help others? This research tests and compares the prosocial effects of two of the most prototypical emotions on a range of prosocial intentions and behaviors. Emotion-inducing videos were used to instigate states of moral elevation (felt when witnessing a moral virtue) and/or moral outrage (felt when witnessing a moral transgression). Although elevation and outrage derive from opposing appraisals, separate strands of research show that they both instigate a desire to help others. The current research tests the appraisal tendency framework to explore whether elevation and outrage increase prosociality across moral domains or whether their prosocial effects are domain specific. Results of Experiment 1 showed that elevation, but not outrage, increased donations to charity (i.e., benevolence domain). Experiment 2 showed that outrage, but not elevation, increased prosocial political action intentions (i.e., justice domain). Experiment 3 showed that outrage, but not elevation, increased compensation in a third-party bystander game (i.e., justice domain). This research shows that although elevation and outrage both inspire a desire to help others, they affect distinct types of prosocial behaviors, offering support for the appraisal tendency framework. Applied and theoretical implications are discussed.

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Can We Regulate 'Good' People? An Exploratory Study of Subtle Conflicts of Interest Situations

Yuval Feldman & Eliran Halali
Harvard Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
The growing recognition of the notion of ‘good people’ suggests that many ethically relevant behaviors that were previously assumed to be choice-based, conscious, and deliberate decisions, are in many cases the product of automatic processes that prevent people from recognizing the wrongfulness of their behavior – an idea dubbed by several leading scholars as an ethical blind spot. With the rise of the focus of good people in psychology and management, the lack of discussion the implications of this growing literature to law and regulation is quite puzzling. The main question, this study will be attempt to explore is what are the implications of this literature to legal policy making. We examined experimentally the efficacy of deterrence- and morality-based interventions in preventing people who are in subtle conflict of interest from favoring their self-interest over their professional integrity and to behave objectively. Results demonstrate that the manipulated conflict was likely to “corrupt” people. Furthermore, explicit mechanisms (both deterrence- and morality-based) had a much larger constraining effect overall on participants’ judgment than did implicit measures, with no differences between deterrence and morality. The findings demonstrate how little is needed to create a risk to the integrity of individuals, but they also suggest that a modest explicit intervention can easily remedy much of the wrongdoing.

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If Torture is Wrong, What About 24?: Torture and the Hollywood Effect

Erin Kearns & Joseph Young
American University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Since the shock of Abu Ghraib, scholars and policymakers have engaged in vigorous debate over both the efficacy and morality of torture. Research on torture has focused on a wide range of attitudes about torture, the use of torture, what constitutes torture, why torture persists, and the efficacy of using torture. These studies have generally examined participants’ attitudes but have neglected to assess behaviors in line with stated beliefs. We offer a novel design to address this gap by examining how perceived efficacy of torture impacts the support for torture and ultimately behaviors consistent with these beliefs. Using a mixed within-subjects and between-subjects design, we presented participants with dramatic depictions showing torture as either effective in eliciting information from a detainee, ineffective in this regard, or a neutral condition where torture is not used. We found that dramatic depictions of torture as being effective increased both stated level of support for torture and behavioral commitment to this belief. Interestingly, there was no difference in level of behavioral commitment between participants who saw dramatic depictions of torture, regardless of whether or not it was effective, which may indicate people are more likely to support aggression after seeing violence.

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Shared Perceptions: Morality Is Embedded in Social Contexts

Nate Carnes, Brian Lickel & Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Morality helps make social life possible, but social life is embedded in many social contexts. Research on morality has generally neglected this and instead has emphasized people’s general beliefs. We therefore investigated the extent to which different moral principles are perceived as embedded in social contexts. We conducted two studies investigating how diverse social contexts influence beliefs about the operative moral principles in distinct group types. Study 1 examined these perceptions using a within-subjects design, whereas Study 2 utilized a between-subjects design. We found a high degree of consensus among raters concerning the operative moral principles in groups, and each group type was characterized by a qualitatively distinct pattern of applicable moral principles. Political orientation, a focus of past research on morality, had a small influence on beliefs about operative moral principles. The implications of these findings for our understanding of morality and its functional role in groups are discussed.

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Forgiveness is not always divine: When expressing forgiveness makes others avoid you

Gabrielle Adams et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 130–141

Abstract:
Organizational scholars have recently become interested in forgiveness as a way to resolve workplace conflicts and repair relationships. We question the assumption that forgiveness always has these relational benefits. In three studies we investigated participants’ responses to people who expressed forgiveness of them versus those who did not. We found that when the ostensible transgressor did not believe he or she had committed a wrongdoing, expressing forgiveness damaged the relationship relative to a control condition. This effect occurred when participants were made to believe that a real person had forgiven them (Studies 1 and 2) and when they imagined a co-worker had forgiven them (Study 3). Furthermore, in the absence of wrongdoing, participants’ perceptions of the forgiver as self-righteous mediated the effect of forgiveness on avoidance of forgivers (Studies 2 and 3). We discuss implications for conflict management.

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Are corporations people too? The neural correlates of moral judgments about companies and individuals

Mark Plitt, Ricky Savjani & David Eagleman
Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
To investigate whether the legal concept of “corporate personhood” mirrors an inherent similarity in the neural processing of the actions of corporations and people, we measured brain responses to vignettes about corporations and people while participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging. We found that anti-social actions of corporations elicited more intense negative emotions and that pro-social actions of people elicited more intense positive emotions. However, the networks underlying the moral decisions about corporations and people are strikingly similar, including regions of the canonical theory of mind network. In analyzing the activity in these networks, we found differences in the emotional processing of these two types of vignettes: neutral actions of corporations showed neural correlates that more closely resembled negative actions than positive actions. Collectively, these findings indicate that our brains understand and analyze the actions of corporations and people very similarly, with a small emotional bias against corporations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Weather forecast

Does the Environment Still Matter? Daily Temperature and Income in the United States

Tatyana Deryugina & Solomon Hsiang
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
It is widely hypothesized that incomes in wealthy countries are insulated from environmental conditions because individuals have the resources needed to adapt to their environment. We test this idea in the wealthiest economy in human history. Using within-county variation in weather, we estimate the effect of daily temperature on annual income in United States counties over a 40-year period. We find that this single environmental parameter continues to play a large role in overall economic performance: productivity of individual days declines roughly 1.7% for each 1°C (1.8°F) increase in daily average temperature above 15°C (59°F). A weekday above 30°C (86°F) costs an average county $20 per person. Hot weekends have little effect. These estimates are net of many forms of adaptation, such as factor reallocation, defensive investments, transfers, and price changes. Because the effect of temperature has not changed since 1969, we infer that recent uptake or innovation in adaptation measures have been limited. The non-linearity of the effect on different components of income suggest that temperature matters because it reduces the productivity of the economy's basic elements, such as workers and crops. If counties could choose daily temperatures to maximize output, rather than accepting their geographically-determined endowment, we estimate that annual income growth would rise by 1.7 percentage points. Applying our estimates to a distribution of "business as usual" climate change projections indicates that warmer daily temperatures will lower annual growth by 0.06-0.16 percentage points in the United States unless populations engage in new forms of adaptation.

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Who Loses Under Power Plant Cap-and-Trade Programs?

Mark Curtis
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
This paper tests how a major cap-and-trade program, known as the NOx Budget Trading Program (NBP), impacted labor markets in the regions where it was implemented. The cap-and-trade program dramatically decreased levels of NOx emissions and added substantial costs to energy producers. Using a triple-differences approach that takes advantage of the geographic and time variation of the program as well as variation in industry energy-intensity levels, I examine how employment dynamics changed in manufacturing industries whose production process requires high levels of energy. After accounting for a variety of flexible state, county and industry trends, I find that employment in the manufacturing sector dropped by 1.3% as a result of the NBP. Young workers experienced the largest employment declines and earnings of newly hired workers fell after the regulation began. Employment declines are shown to have occurred primarily through decreased hiring rates rather than increased separation rates, thus mitigating the impact on incumbent workers.

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Temperature impacts on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy

Frances Moore & Delavane Diaz
Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Integrated assessment models compare the costs of greenhouse gas mitigation with damages from climate change to evaluate the social welfare implications of climate policy proposals and inform optimal emissions reduction trajectories. However, these models have been criticized for lacking a strong empirical basis for their damage functions, which do little to alter assumptions of sustained gross domestic product (GDP) growth, even under extreme temperature scenarios. We implement empirical estimates of temperature effects on GDP growth rates in the DICE model through two pathways, total factor productivity growth and capital depreciation. This damage specification, even under optimistic adaptation assumptions, substantially slows GDP growth in poor regions but has more modest effects in rich countries. Optimal climate policy in this model stabilizes global temperature change below 2 °C by eliminating emissions in the near future and implies a social cost of carbon several times larger than previous estimates. A sensitivity analysis shows that the magnitude of climate change impacts on economic growth, the rate of adaptation, and the dynamic interaction between damages and GDP are three critical uncertainties requiring further research. In particular, optimal mitigation rates are much lower if countries become less sensitive to climate change impacts as they develop, making this a major source of uncertainty and an important subject for future research.

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Optimal Learning on Climate Change: Why Climate Skeptics Should Reduce Emissions

Sweder van Wijnbergeny & Tim Willemsz
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, March 2015, Pages 17–33

Abstract:
Climate skeptics typically argue that the possibility that global warming is exogenous implies that we should not take additional action towards reducing emissions until we know what drives warming. This paper however shows that even climate skeptics have an incentive to reduce emissions: such a directional change generates information on the causes of global warming. Since the optimal policy depends upon these causes, they are valuable to know. Although increasing emissions would also generate information, that option is inferior due its irreversibility. We show that optimality can even imply that climate skeptics should actually argue for lower emissions than believers.

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Transition to Clean Technology

Daron Acemoglu et al.
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
We develop a microeconomic model of endogenous growth where clean and dirty technologies compete in production and innovation — in the sense that research can be directed to either clean or dirty technologies. If dirty technologies are more advanced to start with, the potential transition to clean technology can be difficult both because clean research must climb several rungs to catch up with dirty technology and because this gap discourages research effort directed towards clean technologies. Carbon taxes and research subsidies may nonetheless encourage production and innovation in clean technologies, though the transition will typically be slow. We characterize certain general properties of the transition path from dirty to clean technology. We then estimate the model using a combination of regression analysis on the relationship between R&D and patents, and simulated method of moments using microdata on employment, production, R&D, firm growth, entry and exit from the US energy sector. The model's quantitative implications match a range of moments not targeted in the estimation quite well. We then characterize the optimal policy path implied by the model and our estimates. Optimal policy makes heavy use of research subsidies as well as carbon taxes. We use the model to evaluate the welfare consequences of a range of alternative policies.

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From the extreme to the mean: Acceleration and tipping points of coastal inundation from sea level rise

William Sweet & Joseph Park
Earth's Future, December 2014, Pages 579–600

Abstract:
Relative sea level rise (RSLR) has driven large increases in annual water level exceedances (duration and frequency) above minor (nuisance level) coastal flooding elevation thresholds established by the National Weather Service (NWS) at U.S. tide gauges over the last half-century. For threshold levels below 0.5 m above high tide, the rates of annual exceedances are accelerating along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, primarily from evolution of tidal water level distributions to higher elevations impinging on the flood threshold. These accelerations are quantified in terms of the local RSLR rate and tidal range through multiple regression analysis. Along the U.S. West Coast, annual exceedance rates are linearly increasing, complicated by sharp punctuations in RSLR anomalies during El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases, and we account for annual exceedance variability along the U.S. West and East Coasts from ENSO forcing. Projections of annual exceedances above local NWS nuisance levels at U.S. tide gauges are estimated by shifting probability estimates of daily maximum water levels over a contemporary 5-year period following probabilistic RSLR projections of Kopp et al. (2014) for representative concentration pathways (RCP) 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5. We suggest a tipping point for coastal inundation (30 days/per year with a threshold exceedance) based on the evolution of exceedance probabilities. Under forcing associated with the local-median projections of RSLR, the majority of locations surpass the tipping point over the next several decades regardless of specific RCP.

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Evidence for a wavier jet stream in response to rapid Arctic warming

Jennifer Francis & Stephen Vavrus
Environmental Research Letters, January 2015

Abstract:
New metrics and evidence are presented that support a linkage between rapid Arctic warming, relative to Northern hemisphere mid-latitudes, and more frequent high-amplitude (wavy) jet-stream configurations that favor persistent weather patterns. We find robust relationships among seasonal and regional patterns of weaker poleward thickness gradients, weaker zonal upper-level winds, and a more meridional flow direction. These results suggest that as the Arctic continues to warm faster than elsewhere in response to rising greenhouse-gas concentrations, the frequency of extreme weather events caused by persistent jet-stream patterns will increase.

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Dramatically increasing chance of extremely hot summers since the 2003 European heatwave

Nikolaos Christidis, Gareth Jones & Peter Stott
Nature Climate Change, January 2015, Pages 46–50

Abstract:
Socio-economic stress from the unequivocal warming of the global climate system could be mostly felt by societies through weather and climate extremes. The vulnerability of European citizens was made evident during the summer heatwave of 2003 when the heat-related death toll ran into tens of thousands. Human influence at least doubled the chances of the event according to the first formal event attribution study, which also made the ominous forecast that severe heatwaves could become commonplace by the 2040s. Here we investigate how the likelihood of having another extremely hot summer in one of the worst affected parts of Europe has changed ten years after the original study was published, given an observed summer temperature increase of 0.81 K since then. Our analysis benefits from the availability of new observations and data from several new models. Using a previously employed temperature threshold to define extremely hot summers, we find that events that would occur twice a century in the early 2000s are now expected to occur twice a decade. For the more extreme threshold observed in 2003, the return time reduces from thousands of years in the late twentieth century to about a hundred years in little over a decade.

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Inferring Carbon Abatement Costs in Electricity Markets: A Revealed Preference Approach using the Shale Revolution

Joseph Cullen & Erin Mansur
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines how much carbon emissions from the electricity industry would decrease in response to a carbon price. We show how both carbon prices and cheap natural gas reduce, in a nearly identical manner, the historic cost advantage of coal-fired power plants. The shale revolution has resulted in unprecedented variation in natural gas prices that we use to estimate the short-run price elasticity of abatement. Our estimates imply that a price of $10 ($60) per ton of carbon dioxide would reduce emissions by 4% (10%). Furthermore, carbon prices are much more effective at reducing emissions when natural gas prices are low. In contrast, modest carbon prices have negligible effects when gas prices are at levels seen prior to the shale revolution.

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The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C

Christophe McGlade & Paul Ekins
Nature, 8 January 2015, Pages 187–190

Abstract:
Policy makers have generally agreed that the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2 °C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times. It has been estimated that to have at least a 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2 °C throughout the twenty-first century, the cumulative carbon emissions between 2011 and 2050 need to be limited to around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2). However, the greenhouse gas emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves are around three times higher than this, and so the unabated use of all current fossil fuel reserves is incompatible with a warming limit of 2 °C. Here we use a single integrated assessment model that contains estimates of the quantities, locations and nature of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves and resources, and which is shown to be consistent with a wide variety of modelling approaches with different assumptions, to explore the implications of this emissions limit for fossil fuel production in different regions. Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2 °C. We show that development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C. Our results show that policy makers’ instincts to exploit rapidly and completely their territorial fossil fuels are, in aggregate, inconsistent with their commitments to this temperature limit. Implementation of this policy commitment would also render unnecessary continued substantial expenditure on fossil fuel exploration, because any new discoveries could not lead to increased aggregate production.

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The Effect of Framing and Normative Messages in Building Support for Climate Policies

Mark Hurlstone et al.
PLoS ONE, December 2014

Abstract:
Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are required to mitigate climate change. However, there is low willingness amongst the public to prioritise climate policies for reducing emissions. Here we show that the extent to which Australians are prepared to reduce their country's CO2 emissions is greater when the costs to future national income are framed as a “foregone-gain” — incomes rise in the future but not by as much as in the absence of emission cuts — rather than as a “loss” — incomes decrease relative to the baseline expected future levels (Studies 1 & 2). The provision of a normative message identifying Australia as one of the world's largest CO2 emitters did not increase the amount by which individuals were prepared to reduce emissions (Study 1), whereas a normative message revealing the emission policy preferences of other Australians did (Study 2). The results suggest that framing the costs of reducing emissions as a smaller increase in future income and communicating normative information about others' emission policy preferences are effective methods for leveraging public support for emission cuts.

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Global Sea Ice Coverage from Satellite Data: Annual Cycle and 35-Yr Trends

Claire Parkinson
Journal of Climate, December 2014, Pages 9377–9382

Abstract:
Well-established satellite-derived Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extents are combined to create the global picture of sea ice extents and their changes over the 35-yr period 1979–2013. Results yield a global annual sea ice cycle more in line with the high-amplitude Antarctic annual cycle than the lower-amplitude Arctic annual cycle but trends more in line with the high-magnitude negative Arctic trends than the lower-magnitude positive Antarctic trends. Globally, monthly sea ice extent reaches a minimum in February and a maximum generally in October or November. All 12 months show negative trends over the 35-yr period, with the largest magnitude monthly trend being the September trend, at −68 200 ± 10 500 km2 yr−1 (−2.62% ± 0.40% decade−1), and the yearly average trend being −35 000 ± 5900 km2 yr−1 (−1.47% ± 0.25% decade−1).

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Probabilistic reanalysis of twentieth-century sea-level rise

Carling Hay et al.
Nature, 22 January 2015, Pages 481–484

Abstract:
Estimating and accounting for twentieth-century global mean sea-level (GMSL) rise is critical to characterizing current and future human-induced sea-level change. Several previous analyses of tide gauge records — employing different methods to accommodate the spatial sparsity and temporal incompleteness of the data and to constrain the geometry of long-term sea-level change — have concluded that GMSL rose over the twentieth century at a mean rate of 1.6 to 1.9 millimetres per year. Efforts to account for this rate by summing estimates of individual contributions from glacier and ice-sheet mass loss, ocean thermal expansion, and changes in land water storage fall significantly short in the period before 1990. The failure to close the budget of GMSL during this period has led to suggestions that several contributions may have been systematically underestimated. However, the extent to which the limitations of tide gauge analyses have affected estimates of the GMSL rate of change is unclear. Here we revisit estimates of twentieth-century GMSL rise using probabilistic techniques and find a rate of GMSL rise from 1901 to 1990 of 1.2 ± 0.2 millimetres per year (90% confidence interval). Based on individual contributions tabulated in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this estimate closes the twentieth-century sea-level budget. Our analysis, which combines tide gauge records with physics-based and model-derived geometries of the various contributing signals, also indicates that GMSL rose at a rate of 3.0 ± 0.7 millimetres per year between 1993 and 2010, consistent with prior estimates from tide gauge records. The increase in rate relative to the 1901–90 trend is accordingly larger than previously thought; this revision may affect some projections of future sea-level rise.

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Twentieth-century shifts in forest structure in California: Denser forests, smaller trees, and increased dominance of oaks

Patrick McIntyre et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
We document changes in forest structure between historical (1930s) and contemporary (2000s) surveys of California vegetation through comparisons of tree abundance and size across the state and within several ecoregions. Across California, tree density in forested regions increased by 30% between the two time periods, whereas forest biomass in the same regions declined, as indicated by a 19% reduction in basal area. These changes reflect a demographic shift in forest structure: larger trees (>61 cm diameter at breast height) have declined, whereas smaller trees (<30 cm) have increased. Large tree declines were found in all surveyed regions of California, whereas small tree increases were found in every region except the south and central coast. Large tree declines were more severe in areas experiencing greater increases in climatic water deficit since the 1930s, based on a hydrologic model of water balance for historical climates through the 20th century. Forest composition in California in the last century has also shifted toward increased dominance by oaks relative to pines, a pattern consistent with warming and increased water stress, and also with paleohistoric shifts in vegetation in California over the last 150,000 y.

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Exploring the impact of permitting and local regulatory processes on residential solar prices in the United States

Jesse Burkhardt et al.
Energy Policy, March 2015, Pages 102–112

Abstract:
This article statistically isolates the impacts of city-level permitting and other local regulatory processes on residential PV prices in the United States. We combine data from two “scoring” mechanisms that independently capture local regulatory process efficiency with the largest dataset of installed PV prices in the United States. We find that variations in local permitting procedures can lead to differences in average residential PV prices of approximately $0.18/W between the jurisdictions with the least-favorable and most-favorable permitting procedures. Between jurisdictions with scores across the middle 90% of the range (i.e., 5th percentile to 95th percentile), the difference is $0.14/W, equivalent to a $700 (2.2%) difference in system costs for a typical 5-kW residential PV installation. When considering variations not only in permitting practices, but also in other local regulatory procedures, price differences grow to $0.64–$0.93/W between the least-favorable and most-favorable jurisdictions. Between jurisdictions with scores across the middle 90% of the range, the difference is equivalent to a price impact of at least $2500 (8%) for a typical 5-kW residential PV installation. These results highlight the magnitude of cost reduction that might be expected from streamlining local regulatory regimes.

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The American public’s preference for preparation for the possible effects of global warming: Impact of communication strategies

Bo MacInnis et al.
Climatic Change, January 2015, Pages 17-33

Abstract:
Experiments embedded in surveys of nationally representative samples of American adults assessed whether attitudes toward preparation for the possible effects of global warming varied depending on who endorsed such efforts, the stated purpose of preparation, the consequences of global warming targeted in a preparation message, and the words used to describe preparation and its alternative. Collapsing across all experiments, most (74 %) Americans preferred preparing for possible consequences of global warming. The experimental manipulations produced statistically significant variation in this percentage, but in ways inconsistent with a series of perspectives that yield predictions about this variation. Preference for preparation was not greater when it was described using more familiar or simpler terms (preference for preparation was greatest when it was described as to “increase preparedness” and least when described as “increase resilience”), when efforts were said to be focused on people’s health rather than on people and the environment generally or on coastal ecosystems in particular, or when preparation was endorsed by more generally trusted groups (preference for preparation was highest when no one explicitly endorsed it or when endorsed by government officials or university researchers and declined when religious leaders or business leaders endorsed it). Thus, these experiments illustrate the value of empirical testing to gauge the impact of variation in descriptions of policy options in this arena and illustrate how communication approaches may have influenced public opinion in the past.

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Natural Hazards and Residential Mobility: General Patterns and Racially Unequal Outcomes in the United States

James Elliott
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study conducts a nationwide, locally comparative analysis of the extent to which natural hazards contribute to residential mobility in the United States and how this influence varies for racial and ethnic minorities. Analyses combine census data on households with data from thousands of recorded natural hazards during the late 1990s. Findings affirm that natural hazards are common throughout the country; that associated property damage correlates positively with increases in residential mobility for all groups; that these increases are particularly noticeable among racial and ethnic minorities because of preexisting inequalities in mobility; and that areas with more costly damage tend to pull as well as push migrants, especially Latinos and Asians. Implications for existing theory, methods, and policy are discussed.

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Achieving California's 80% greenhouse gas reduction target in 2050: Technology, policy and scenario analysis using CA-TIMES energy economic systems model

Christopher Yang et al.
Energy Policy, February 2015, Pages 118–130

Abstract:
The CA-TIMES optimization model of the California Energy System (v1.5) is used to understand how California can meet the 2050 targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (80% below 1990 levels). This model represents energy supply and demand sectors in California and simulates the technology and resource requirements needed to meet projected energy service demands. The model includes assumptions on policy constraints, as well as technology and resource costs and availability. Multiple scenarios are developed to analyze the changes and investments in low-carbon electricity generation, alternative fuels and advanced vehicles in transportation, resource utilization, and efficiency improvements across many sectors. Results show that major energy transformations are needed but that achieving the 80% reduction goal for California is possible at reasonable average carbon reduction cost ($9 to $124/tonne CO2e at 4% discount rate) relative to a baseline scenario. Availability of low-carbon resources such as nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), biofuels, wind and solar generation, and demand reduction all serve to lower the mitigation costs, but CCS is a key technology for achieving the lowest mitigation costs.

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Modeling very large-fire occurrences over the continental United States from weather and climate forcing

R. Barbero et al.
Environmental Research Letters, December 2014

Abstract:
Very large-fires (VLFs) have widespread impacts on ecosystems, air quality, fire suppression resources, and in many regions account for a majority of total area burned. Empirical generalized linear models of the largest fires (>5000 ha) across the contiguous United States (US) were developed at ~60 km spatial and weekly temporal resolutions using solely atmospheric predictors. Climate−fire relationships on interannual timescales were evident, with wetter conditions than normal in the previous growing season enhancing VLFs probability in rangeland systems and with concurrent long-term drought enhancing VLFs probability in forested systems. Information at sub-seasonal timescales further refined these relationships, with short-term fire weather being a significant predictor in rangelands and fire danger indices linked to dead fuel moisture being a significant predictor in forested lands. Models demonstrated agreement in capturing the observed spatial and temporal variability including the interannual variability of VLF occurrences within most ecoregions. Furthermore the model captured the observed increase in VLF occurrences across parts of the southwestern and southeastern US from 1984 to 2010 suggesting that, irrespective of changes in fuels and land management, climatic factors have become more favorable for VLF occurrence over the past three decades in some regions. Our modeling framework provides a basis for simulations of future VLF occurrences from climate projections.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Followers

Does Church Attendance Cause People to Vote? Using Blue Laws’ Repeal to Estimate the Effect of Religiosity on Voter Turnout

Alan Gerber, Jonathan Gruber & Daniel Hungerman
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Regular church attendance is strongly associated with a higher probability of voting. It is an open question as to whether this association, which has been confirmed in numerous surveys, is causal. The repeal of the laws restricting Sunday retail activity (‘blue laws’) is used to measure the effects of church-going on political participation. Blue laws’ repeal caused a 5 percent decrease in church attendance. Its effect on political participation was measured and it was found that, following the repeal, turnout fell by approximately 1 percentage point. This decline in turnout is consistent with the large effect of church attendance on turnout reported in the literature, and suggests that church attendance may have a significant causal effect on voter turnout.

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Ensuring Liberties: Understanding State Restrictions on Religious Freedoms

Roger Finke & Robert Martin
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2014, Pages 687–705

Abstract:
Promises of religious freedoms have become the standard in national constitutions. Yet, despite these assurances, religious freedoms are routinely denied. Combining new data collections with expanded theoretical explanations, this research explores how dimensions of governance and measures of the religious economy contribute to government restrictions on religion. Consistent with recent work on the judicialization of politics, we find that the absence of an independent judiciary is an important predictor of government restrictions on religious freedoms, whereas free elections and government effectiveness are insignificant in our full models. Consistent with the religious economy theory, we find that social restrictions and government favoritism toward a religion(s) are persistent predictors of the government's restrictions. Although the proportion of the population Muslim holds a strong bivariate association with government restrictions (r = .57), the relationship is reduced to insignificance in our full models. We briefly discuss the implications of these findings.

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Female Labor Force Participation Rate, Islam, and Arab Culture in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Andrey Korotayev, Leonid Issaev & Alisa Shishkina
Cross-Cultural Research, February 2015, Pages 3-19

Abstract:
Burton and Reitz suggested that Islam should tend to decrease the levels of female labor force participation rate, because “societies that seclude their women by means of purdah or similar customs will have lower rates of female participation in activities outside of the immediate household.” Our cross-cultural tests have supported this hypothesis. However, a closer analysis shows that a high correlation is predicted mostly by the “Arab factor,” rather than by the precisely Islamic one, as a country’s belonging to the Arab world turns out to be a much stronger predictor of very low female labor participation rates than the percentage of Muslims in its population. These relationships hold even after controlling for other factors known to be related to female labor participation. This suggests that the anomalously low level of female labor participation observed in the Near and Middle East might be connected with certain elements of Arab culture that are not directly connected with Islam.

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Patriarchy versus Islam: Gender and Religion in Economic Growth

Elissa Braunstein
Feminist Economics, Fall 2014, Pages 58-86

Abstract:
This contribution evaluates whether affiliation with Islam is a theoretically and statistically robust proxy for patriarchal preferences when studying the relationship between gender inequality and economic growth. A cross-country endogenous growth analysis shows that direct measures of patriarchal institutions dominate a variety of religious affiliation variables and model specifications in explaining country growth rates, and that using religious affiliation, particularly Islam, as a control for culture produces misleading conclusions. This result is robust to the inclusion of measures of gender inequality in education and income, indicating that establishing and maintaining patriarchal institutions (a process this study calls “patriarchal rent-seeking”) exact economic growth costs over and above those measured by standard gender inequality variables. One of the key contributions of this study is to draw on unique institutional data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Gender, Institutions and Development (GID) database to better understand the gendered dynamics of growth.

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Religiosity and reactions to terrorism

Amy Adamczyk & Gary LaFree
Social Science Research, May 2015, Pages 17–29

Abstract:
Although many of the world’s most serious outbreaks of conflict and violence center on religion, social science research has had relatively little to say about religion’s unique role in shaping individuals’ attitudes about these events. In this paper we investigate whether Americans’ religious beliefs play a central role in shaping attitudes toward the continuing threat of terrorism and their willingness to assist officials in countering these perceived threats. Our analysis of an original data collection of almost 1,600 Americans shows that more religious respondents are more likely to express concerns about terrorism. However, this relationship is mediated by their level of conservatism. We also find that more religious respondents are more likely to claim that they will assist government officials in countering terrorism. This relationship remained even after accounting for conservatism, and people’s general willingness to help police solve crimes like breaking and entering.

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Which Societies Provide a Strong Religious Socialization Context? Explanations Beyond the Effects of National Religiosity

Tim Müller, Nan Dirk De Graaf & Peter Schmidt
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2014, Pages 739–759

Abstract:
Religious socialization occurs within the immediate family as well as in the broader social context. Previous research has shown that parents’ religiosity matters less for the transmission of religious beliefs in devout than in secular nations, implying smaller costs of religious socialization. In this article we test which other societal factors affect the transmission of religious beliefs: anti-religious policies in formerly socialist countries, economic development, and income inequality. Our results indicate that societies with high levels of income inequality seem to provide the most favorable context for religious socialization. Individuals develop strong religious beliefs even if they only received little religious socialization within the family. Formerly socialist nations increased socialization costs through the overall suppression of religious practice. Economic development has no impact on socialization effects, suggesting that inequality is a more important driver of religious change than previously thought.

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Ritual circumcision and risk of autism spectrum disorder in 0- to 9-year-old boys: National cohort study in Denmark

Morten Frisch & Jacob Simonsen
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: Based on converging observations in animal, clinical and ecological studies, we hypothesised a possible impact of ritual circumcision on the subsequent risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young boys.

Participants: A total of 342,877 boys born between 1994 and 2003 and followed in the age span 0–9 years between 1994 and 2013.

Main outcome measures: Information about cohort members’ ritual circumcisions, confounders and ASD outcomes, as well as two supplementary outcomes, hyperkinetic disorder and asthma, was obtained from national registers. Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) associated with foreskin status were obtained using Cox proportional hazards regression analyses.

Results: With a total of 4986 ASD cases, our study showed that regardless of cultural background circumcised boys were more likely than intact boys to develop ASD before age 10 years (HR = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.11–1.93). Risk was particularly high for infantile autism before age five years (HR = 2.06; 95% CI: 1.36–3.13). Circumcised boys in non-Muslim families were also more likely to develop hyperkinetic disorder (HR = 1.81; 95% CI: 1.11–2.96). Associations with asthma were consistently inconspicuous (HR = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.84–1.10).

Conclusions: We confirmed our hypothesis that boys who undergo ritual circumcision may run a greater risk of developing ASD. This finding, and the unexpected observation of an increased risk of hyperactivity disorder among circumcised boys in non-Muslim families, need attention, particularly because data limitations most likely rendered our HR estimates conservative. Considering the widespread practice of non-therapeutic circumcision in infancy and childhood around the world, confirmatory studies should be given priority.

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Linguistic behavior and religious activity

Wendy Baker-Smemoe & David Bowie
Language & Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies have found that Mormons and non-Mormons in Utah exhibit significant linguistic differences. We break this down further by investigating whether there are also differences between Mormons who actively participate in the religion and those who do not, and find significant differences with a medium or larger effect size between the groups for multiple variables. We conclude that when investigating the linguistic correlates of religious affiliation in a community, it is vital to elicit not just respondents' religious affiliations, but also their level of participation within that religion.

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Vowel patterning of Mormons in Southern Alberta, Canada

Nicole Rosen & Crystal Skriver
Language & Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the patterning of /æ/ in the English of Southern Alberta, Canada, with particular attention paid to differences between the general population and Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). Expanding on work by Meechan (1999) and Sykes (2010), who examine /aw/ and /ai/ diphthongs among the LDS population, we first show that /æ/ is significantly raised before /g/ among speakers in Southern Alberta. We then show that Mormons in the region do not display as strong raising in this linguistic environment. We attribute this to the strong social network of the Mormons in rural Southern Alberta which has a conservative influence on the /æ/ in the English of Mormon church members in the region. We further show that young Mormon women are the most divergent from their other Southern Alberta counterparts, which may be an indication of them being more conservative than other groups, contra many studies showing that women are innovators in sociophonetic change (for example Eckert 1989; Labov, 1990; Wolfram and Schilling-Estes, 1998), or it may be an indicator that these young Mormon women are innovators of a different pattern.

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Social Context and College Completion in the United States: The Role of Congregational Biblical Literalism

Samuel Stroope, Aaron Franzen & Jeremy Uecker
Sociological Perspectives, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has documented the influence of religion on a variety of stratification processes. Largely absent from this research, however, are explicit examinations of the role religious contexts play in educational outcomes. In this study, we focus on the congregation-level prevalence of a salient religious belief: biblical literalism. Using national multilevel data (U.S. Congregational Life Survey [USCLS]; N = 92,344), we examine whether individuals’ likelihood of completing college is dependent on the percentage of fellow congregation members who are biblical literalists. We find that college completion is tied to congregational literalism in important ways. Net of individual biblical literalism and other controls, congregational literalism decreases the likelihood of completing college. In addition, while congregational biblical literalism decreases the likelihood of college completion for both biblical literalists and non-literalists, the relationship is strongest for non-literalists such that in highly literalist congregations, nonliteralists’ likelihood of college completion more closely resembles that of literalists.

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Unilateral Divorce for Women and Labor Supply in the Middle East and North Africa: The Effect of Khul Reform

Lena Hassani-Nezhad & Anna Sjögren
Feminist Economics, Fall 2014, Pages 113-137

Abstract:
This contribution investigates whether the introduction of Khul, Islamic unilateral divorce rights for women, helps to explain recent dramatic increases in women's labor supply in Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries over the 1980–2008 period. It shows, using data for eighteen countries, that Khul reform increased the labor force participation of women relative to men. Furthermore, we find evidence that the effect of Khul is larger for younger women (ages 24–34) compared to older women (ages 35–55). Younger women increased their labor force participation by 6 percent, which accounts for about 10 percent of the increase in their labor force participation from 1980 to 2008.

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Without God, Everything Is Permitted? The Reciprocal Influence of Religious and Meta-Ethical Beliefs

Onurcan Yilmaz & Hasan Bahçekapili
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The relation between religious and moral thought has been difficult to unravel because of the multifaceted nature of both religion and morality. We chose to study the belief dimension of religion and the meta-ethics dimension of morality and investigated the relation between God-related thoughts and objectivist/subjectivist morality in three studies. We expected a reciprocal relation between the idea of God and objective morality since God is one prominent way through which objective moral truths could be grounded and thus the lack of such objective truths might imply the absence of God who could set such truths. Study 1 revealed negative correlations between moral subjectivism and several measures of religious belief. Study 2 showed that people adopt moral objectivism more and moral subjectivism less after being implicitly primed with religious words in a sentence unscrambling task. Study 3 showed that people express less confidence about the existence of God after reading a persuasive text about the subjective nature of moral truths. Taken together, the results demonstrate that religious and meta-ethical beliefs are indeed related and can reciprocally influence each other.

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Labor Market Effects of Intrauterine Exposure to Nutritional Deficiency: Evidence from Administrative Data on Muslim Immigrants in Denmark

Marie Louise Schultz-Nielsen, Erdal Tekin & Jane Greve
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines whether nutritional disruptions experienced during the stage of fetal development impair an individual’s labor market productivity later in life. We consider intrauterine exposure to the month of Ramadan as a natural experiment that might cause shocks to the inflow of nutrients essential for fetal development. Specifically, we use administrative data from Denmark to investigate the impact of exposure to Ramadan in utero on labor market outcomes of adult Muslim males, including employment status, annual salary, hourly wage rate, and hours of work. Our findings indicate that potential exposure to nutritional disruptions during a critical stage of fetal development has scarring effects on the fetus expressed as poor labor market outcomes later in life. Specifically, exposure to Ramadan in the 7th month of gestation results in a lower likelihood of employment, a lower salary, and reduced labor supply, but not necessarily a lower wage rate. We also document suggestive evidence that these results may partially be driven by increased disability and to a lesser extent by poor educational attainment among those who were exposed to Ramadan during this particular period in utero.

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Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the American South

Philipp Ager, Casper Worm Hansen & Lars Lønstrup
University of Copenhagen Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We examine the effect of increased demand for social insurance on church membership. Our empirical strategy exploits the differential impact of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 across counties to identify a shock to the demand for social insurance. We find that flooded counties experienced a significant increase in church membership. Consistent with economic theories about determinants of membership of religious organizations, our result suggests that local churches provided ex-post insurance for the needy and in return gained new members.

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Family-firm risk-taking: Does religion matter?

Fuxiu Jiang et al.
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that family firms with religious founders have less risk than other family firms. Using a sample of 4,159 family firms in China, we find firms founded by religious entrepreneurs have lower leverage and less investment in fixed and intangible assets compared to firms founded by nonreligious entrepreneurs. These findings are consistent with our proposition. However, these findings primarily hold for entrepreneurs who adhere to Western religions but not to Eastern religions. As such, our paper makes important contributions to the literature on family-firms and their risk-taking and the literature on the relation between religion and risk aversion.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, January 26, 2015

Court order

Do Legal Origins Affect Cross-Country Incarceration Rates?

Daniel D'Amico & Claudia Williamson
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prison populations vary tremendously across countries. This paper investigates the potential relationship between incarceration rates and legal origins in a large cross-section of countries. We argue that legal origins alter the relative costs associated with imprisonment as a means for social control. Using panel data from 2001 to 2011, we find countries with civil legal origins have lower prison populations. Our empirical results are highly robust after controlling for crime rates, criminal justice resources, economic factors, political institutions, and social factors. In addition, our results do not appear to be driven by the variation in criminalized activities. To explain these results, we conjecture that imprisonment is a lower cost mechanism for enforcing social order in common law countries. In civil law countries, bureaucratic infrastructures allow for methods such as day-fines, community service, seizure of property, and probation as more affordable alternatives to imprisonment.

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Executive Power and Judicial Deference: Judicial Decision Making on Executive Power Challenges in the American States

Gbemende Johnson
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Judicial intervention is often required to define the boundaries of executive power. Although many separation of powers analyses examine the interaction of courts and legislatures, few examine how the design of executive and judicial institutions affect judicial decision making in cases involving challenges to executive power in the U.S. context. I argue that the degree of judicial institutional vulnerability to executive retaliation will have a significant impact on judicial making. Using an original dataset of cases involving executive power challenges in the American states between 1980 and 2010, I find that courts are more likely to uphold executive power in environments where the threat of institutional retaliation from the executive is high. The results of this analysis indicate that the strength of judicial checks against executive power depends on broader relations of institutional authority, not just on constitutional doctrine or culture.

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From the Shadows Into the Light: How Pretrial Publicity and Deliberation Affect Mock Jurors' Decisions, Impressions, and Memory

Christine Ruva & Christina Guenther
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This 2-part study explored how exposure to negative pretrial publicity (Neg-PTP) influences the jury process, as well as possible mechanisms responsible for its biasing effects on decisions. Study Part A explored how PTP and jury deliberations affect juror/jury verdicts, memory, and impressions of the defendant and attorneys. One week before viewing a criminal trial mock-jurors (N = 320 university students) were exposed to Neg-PTP or unrelated crime stories (No-PTP). Two days later deliberating jurors came to a group decision, whereas nondeliberating jurors completed an unrelated task before making an individual decision. Neg-PTP jurors were more likely to vote guilty, make memory errors, and rate the defendant lower in credibility. Deliberation reduced Neg-PTP jurors' memory accuracy and No-PTP jurors' guilty verdicts (leniency bias). Jurors' memory and ratings of the defendant and prosecuting attorney significantly mediated the effect of PTP on guilt ratings. Study Part B content analyzed 30 mock-jury deliberations and explored how PTP influenced deliberations and ultimately jury decisions. Neg-PTP juries were more likely than No-PTP juries to discuss ambiguous trial evidence in a proprosecution manner and less likely to discuss judicial instructions and lack of evidence. All Neg-PTP juries mentioned PTP, after instructed otherwise, and rarely corrected jury members who mentioned PTP. Discussion of ambiguous trial evidence in a proprosecution manner and lack of evidence significantly mediated the effect of PTP on jury-level guilt ratings. Together the findings suggest that judicial admonishments and deliberations may not be sufficient to reduce PTP bias, because of memory errors, biased impressions, and predecisional distortion.

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We Are the World: The U.S. Supreme Court's Use of Foreign Sources of Law

Ryan Black, Ryan Owens & Jennifer Brookhart
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The United States Supreme Court recently employed foreign legal sources to interpret U.S. law, provoking widespread political and legal controversy. Scholars have yet to examine systematically the conditions under which justices cite foreign law, however. Applying theoretical approaches from international relations and judicial politics scholarship, we search every Supreme Court opinion between 1953 and 2009 for references to foreign law. Justices strategically reference foreign law to prop up their most controversial opinions. They also borrow law from countries whose domestic political institutions are viewed as legitimate; and, surprisingly, conservatives are as likely as liberals to cite foreign law. These findings add important information to the discussion over citing foreign law, and highlight how geopolitical context influences domestic legal policy.

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Ideological Polarization on the Supreme Court: Trends in the Court's Institutional Environment and Across Regimes, 1937-2008

Donald Michael Gooch
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Judicial polarization is an important but underexplored aspect of judicial behavior. This analysis uses a gamut of measures to assess polarization on the Supreme Court across chief justice and jurisprudential regimes. I examine individual justice polarization and ideological extremity over full tenures on the Court and also how Court polarization is responsive to polarization in coordinate institutions. I find mixed evidence of greater polarization in the abortion rights regime. I find strong evidence of increasing Court polarization concomitant with congressional and presidential polarization since the 1950s across chief justice regimes. Court polarization is responsive to polarization in coordinate institutions. I do not find that individual justices become more polarized over time. Justices shift ideologically over their careers, and this shift is on average to the Left. These findings are robust across multiple specifications of the models and multiple alternative measurements, controlling for other factors which might influence polarization.

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Judicial Disharmony: A Study of Dissent

Anthony Niblett & Albert Yoon
International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
While it is well documented that judges at times disagree on case outcomes, less understood is the process by which they justify their divergence. In this article, we empirically examine how judges differ in their view of the relevant law to a case. We create a unique dataset looking at the universe of published opinions in federal appellate court cases from the United States between 2001 and 2005 that include a dissenting opinion. We find that judges who disagree on the outcome of a case disagree as to which binding precedents apply. Authoring judges gravitate toward precedents that are ideologically similar to their own preferences. Precedents cited only by the majority are strongly ideologically correlated with the majority author's preferences; precedents cited only by the dissenting judge are ideologically similar to her preferences. Precedents cited by both the majority and dissent (i.e., precedent that both judges agree are relevant to the case before them) are not ideologically correlated with either judge. Our findings provide strong evidence that judicial differences over case outcomes do not reflect judges' divergent interpretations of the same precedent, but gravitation towards largely different precedent.

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Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Boys' Probability of Arrest and Court Actions in 1980 and 2000: The Disproportionate Impact of "Getting Tough" on Crime

Tia Stevens & Merry Morash
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, January 2015, Pages 77-95

Abstract:
This study was designed to examine whether the shift in juvenile justice policy toward punitive sanctioning disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic minority boys. Using a nationally representative sample derived from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth 1979 and 1997 (NLSY79, NLSY97), this study examines 1980-2000 differences in contact with the justice system, controlling for self-reported delinquency. Results confirmed that boys in 2000 were significantly more likely than those in 1980 to report being charged with a crime. Once charged, they were less likely to be diverted and more likely to be convicted and placed in a correctional institution. Consideration of interaction effects revealed these effects were magnified for Black and Hispanic males. These findings provide evidence of a general trend toward more punitive treatment of boys in the juvenile justice system, especially racial and ethnic minority boys.

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The Impact of Ethnicity, Immigration Status and SES on Juror Decision Making

Russ Espinoza et al.
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of this research was to examine how ethnicity, immigration status and socioeconomic status (SES) may contribute to juror bias. Three-hundred and twenty European-American venire persons were assigned to one of eight criminal court trial transcript conditions that varied defendant ethnicity (Mexican or Canadian), immigrant status (undocumented or documented) and SES (low or high). Dependent measures were verdict, sentencing, culpability, and trait attributions. Results indicated the low SES undocumented Mexican defendant was found guilty more often, given a more severe sentence, thought to be more culpable, and rated lower on a number of trait measures compared with all other conditions. Subtle bias theories, such as aversive racism, appear to best explain the biases in juror decisions.

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Incentives to Invest in Litigation and the Superiority of the Class Action

David Rosenberg & Kathryn Spier
Journal of Legal Analysis, Winter 2014, Pages 305-365

Abstract:
We formally demonstrate the general case for class action in a rent-seeking contest model, explaining why separate action adjudication is biased in the defendant's favor and collective adjudication is bias free. Separate action bias arises from the defendant's investment advantage in capitalizing on centralized control over the aggregate (classwide) stake in the common question defense, while the plaintiff, with only an individual recovery at stake, spends much less. Class action eliminates bias by enabling both parties to make their best case through centralized optimal classwide investments. Our social benefit-cost analysis shows that class action surpasses alternative methods for achieving bias-free adjudication.

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Source Cues and Public Support for the Supreme Court

Tom Clark & Jonathan Kastellec
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is well known that the public often relies on cues or heuristics when forming opinions. At the same time, leading theories of opinion formation about the Supreme Court see such support as relatively fixed. Using a series of survey experiments, we find source cues significantly influence the public's support for the Court, including the extent to which individuals believe the Court should be independent from the elected branches. Specifically, we find partisan source cues play a significant role in shaping public opinion regarding life tenure for the justices and the extent to which the Court should have the final say in constitutional matters - individuals are less likely to support court-curbing measures when informed that elites from the opposite party have proposed them than when such measures are endorsed by either a neutral source or members of their own party. We also find a strong connection between specific support for particular decisions and the degree to which people believe the Court should be free from external influence, as individuals are more likely to say the justices should be influenced by demonstrators when the side they favor is the one doing the demonstrating. These results have important implications for understanding the extent to which politicians can shape the public's overall support for the Court, as well as for assessing the degree to which the public views the Court as a "political" institution.

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Why Judges Always Vote

Tonja Jacobi & Eugene Kontorovich
International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper provides the first account of the practice of universal voting on the Supreme Court - that is, why justices never abstain, unlike voters in other committee contexts. Full participation among justices is explained using models of spatial competition, showing that two features particular to the Court encourage full participation. First, the doctrine of stare decisis makes the resolution of future cases in part dependent on the resolution of present ones. This raises the cost of abstention, particularly to risk-averse justices. Second, the so-called narrowest grounds or Marks doctrine enforces the logic of the median voter theorem in cases presenting more than two options. This makes voting by otherwise indifferent or alienated justices rational, where it otherwise would not be. Although these explanations may not exhaust the multi-causal factors behind the robust phenomenon of zero abstention, they are the first attempt to rigorously analyze how two unique institutional judicial rules mitigate the incentive to abstain.

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Amicus Coalition Heterogeneity and Signaling Credibility in Supreme Court Agenda Setting

Greg Goelzhauser & Nicole Vouvalis
Publius, Winter 2015, Pages 99-116

Abstract:
What makes lobbying coalitions successful? We contend that greater preference heterogeneity among members of a lobbying coalition enhances the credibility of its signals to a target audience. To test this theory, we analyze the relationship between the preference heterogeneity of state amicus coalitions at the agenda setting stage and the probability of the U.S. Supreme Court granting review in state-filed cases. The results suggest that petitions are more likely to be granted as the preference heterogeneity among members of amicus coalitions increases. Our theoretical and empirical approaches are easily adapted to the study of lobbying influence in other institutional contexts.

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The effect of judicial independence on entrepreneurship in the US states

John Dove
Economic Systems, forthcoming

Abstract:
The relationship between institutional quality, entrepreneurship, and economic growth has been well documented within the literature. However, much less work has been done regarding judicial independence and how this affects, specifically, entrepreneurial activity. Therefore, this paper attempts to fill that gap by exploiting the differences in judicial independence that exist between the US states and empirically evaluating how this affects entrepreneurship. Overall, the results suggest that the method of selecting and retaining justices of both courts of last resort and intermediate appellate courts has a significant and direct effect on entrepreneurial activity, though the latter result is somewhat less robust. The presence of judicial nominating and retention commissions also has a significant and direct effect. Further, although somewhat weaker, the method of selecting the chief justice of a state court of last resort would also appear to have an impact on entrepreneurship. These results are robust to a number of specifications.

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Cigarette cravings impair mock jurors' recall of trial evidence

Daniel Zuj, Matthew Palmer & Eva Kemps
Psychology, Crime & Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has demonstrated that cravings for substances, such as cigarettes and food, impair performance on basic cognitive tasks. This experiment examined whether these effects translate to impaired cognition on an important task in an applied setting: jury duty. Forty-six smokers were randomly allocated to a high-craving or control condition of an in-vivo procedure designed to invoke cigarette cravings. Participants were then asked to act as mock-jurors, and read a written legal transcript based on evidence presented in an actual civil case. Later, participants were tested on their recall and recognition of information from the transcript. Participants in the high-craving condition recalled fewer correct facts from the transcript than participants in the control condition, but cravings did not significantly affect the recognition of trial information. These results are consistent with cognitive models of cravings, highlight the importance of providing jurors with sufficient breaks, and suggest that cravings may impair cognition in a variety of important applied settings.

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Emotion, Authority, and Death: (Raced) Negotiations in Mock Capital Jury Deliberations

Mona Lynch & Craig Haney
Law & Social Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article explores the role of emotion in the capital penalty-phase jury deliberations process. It is based on the qualitative analysis of data from ninety video-recorded four to seven person simulated jury deliberations that examined the influence of race on death sentencing outcomes. The analysis explores when and how emotions are expressed, integrated into the jury's sentencing process, and deployed in penalty-phase decision making. The findings offer critical new insights into the role that emotion plays in influencing these legal judgments by revealing how jurors strategically and explicitly employ emotion in the course of deliberation, both to support their own positions and neutralize or rebut the opposing positions of others. The findings also shed light on the various ways that white male capital jurors utilize a panoply of powerful emotion-based tactics to sway others to their position in a manner that often contributes to racially biased outcomes.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sad

The Price of Abundance: How a Wealth of Experiences Impoverishes Savoring

Jordi Quoidbach et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated the long-standing — yet previously untested — idea that an abundance of desirable life experiences may undermine people’s ability to savor simpler pleasures. In Study 1, we found that the more countries individuals had visited, the less inclined they were to savor a future trip to a pleasant but ordinary destination. In Study 2, we conducted a field experiment at a popular tourist attraction, where we manipulated participants’ perceptions of their own experiential backgrounds; when participants were led to feel well-traveled, they devoted significantly less time to their visit compared with individuals who were led to feel less worldly. We replicate these findings in Study 3 and found evidence that the observed effect could not be easily explained by other mechanisms. Being a world traveler — or just feeling like one — may undermine the proclivity to savor visits to enjoyable but unextraordinary destinations by endowing individuals with a sense of abundance.

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Mental simulation and meaning in life

Adam Waytz, Hal Hershfield & Diana Tamir
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, February 2015, Pages 336-355

Abstract:
Mental simulation, the process of self-projection into alternate temporal, spatial, social, or hypothetical realities is a distinctively human capacity. Numerous lines of research also suggest that the tendency for mental simulation is associated with enhanced meaning. The present research tests this association specifically examining the relationship between two forms of simulation (temporal and spatial) and meaning in life. Study 1 uses neuroimaging to demonstrate that enhanced connectivity in the medial temporal lobe network, a subnetwork of the brain’s default network implicated in prospection and retrospection, correlates with self-reported meaning in life. Study 2 demonstrates that experimentally inducing people to think about the past or future versus the present enhances self-reported meaning in life, through the generation of more meaningful events. Study 3 demonstrates that experimentally inducing people to think specifically versus generally about the past or future enhances self-reported meaning in life. Study 4 turns to spatial simulation to demonstrate that experimentally inducing people to think specifically about an alternate spatial location (from the present location) increases meaning derived from this simulation compared to thinking generally about another location or specifically about one’s present location. Study 5 demonstrates that experimentally inducing people to think about an alternate spatial location versus one’s present location enhances meaning in life, through meaning derived from this simulation. Study 6 demonstrates that simply asking people to imagine completing a measure of meaning in life in an alternate location compared with asking them to do so in their present location enhances reports of meaning. This research sheds light on an important determinant of meaning in life and suggests that undirected mental simulation benefits psychological well-being.

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Geographically varying associations between personality and life satisfaction in the London metropolitan area

Markus Jokela et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 20 January 2015, Pages 725–730

Abstract:
Residential location is thought to influence people’s well-being, but different individuals may value residential areas differently. We examined how life satisfaction and personality traits are geographically distributed within the UK London metropolitan area, and how the strength of associations between personality traits and life satisfaction vary by residential location (i.e., personality–neighborhood interactions). Residential area was recorded at the level of postal districts (216 districts, n = 56,019 participants). Results indicated that the strength of associations between personality traits and life satisfaction depended on neighborhood characteristics. Higher openness to experience was more positively associated with life satisfaction in postal districts characterized by higher average openness to experience, population density, and ethnic diversity. Higher agreeableness and conscientiousness were more strongly associated with life satisfaction in postal districts with lower overall levels of life satisfaction. The associations of extraversion and emotional stability were not modified by neighborhood characteristics. These findings suggest that people’s life satisfaction depends, in part, on the interaction between individual personality and particular features of the places they live.

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The Extended iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion, and Physiology

Russell Clayton, Glenn Leshner & Anthony Almond
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study uniquely examined the effects on self, cognition, anxiety, and physiology when iPhone users are unable to answer their iPhone while performing cognitive tasks. A 2 x 2 within-subjects experiment was conducted. Participants (N = 40 iPhone users) completed 2 word search puzzles. Among the key findings from this study were that when iPhone users were unable to answer their ringing iPhone during a word search puzzle, heart rate and blood pressure increased, self-reported feelings of anxiety and unpleasantness increased, and self-reported extended self and cognition decreased. These findings suggest that negative psychological and physiological outcomes are associated with iPhone separation and the inability to answer one's ringing iPhone during cognitive tasks. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Career Effects of Mental Health

Barbara Biasi, Michael Dahl & Petra Moser
Stanford Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Case studies of successful entrepreneurs who are bipolar suggest a positive link between bipolar disorder and entrepreneurship. To investigate this link, we examine detailed individual-level registry data for Denmark, including information on medical prescriptions, for more than 4 million individuals. These data indicate that individuals who are at risk of bipolar disorder are significantly less likely to be self-employed compared with their siblings. They also earn much less than their siblings, and are substantially less likely to enter the top percentiles of the wage distribution. Clinical studies suggest that lithium is an effective treatment to reduce suicide risks in bipolar patients. We exploit the introduction of lithium in Denmark in 1976 to compare changes for bipolar individuals who had access to lithium when they turned 20 with changes for other bipolar individuals who did not have access. With access to lithium, average wages for bipolar individuals increase, and they become more likely to enter the top percentiles of the wage distribution.

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Valuing Happiness Is Associated With Bipolar Disorder

Brett Ford, Iris Mauss & June Gruber
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although people who experience happiness tend to have better psychological health, people who value happiness to an extreme tend to have worse psychological health, including more depression. We propose that the extreme valuing of happiness may be a general risk factor for mood disturbances, both depressive and manic. To test this hypothesis, we examined the relationship between the extreme valuing of happiness and risk for, diagnosis of, and illness course for bipolar disorder (BD). Supporting our hypothesis, the extreme valuing of happiness was associated with a measure of increased risk for developing BD (Studies 1 and 2), increased likelihood of past diagnosis of BD (Studies 2 and 3), and worse prospective illness course in BD (Study 3), even when controlling for current mood symptoms (Studies 1–3). These findings indicate that the extreme valuing of happiness is associated with and even predicts BD. Taken together with previous evidence, these findings suggest that the extreme valuing of happiness is a general risk factor for mood disturbances. More broadly, what emotions people strive to feel may play a critical role in psychological health.

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Your Friends Know How Long You Will Live: A 75-Year Study of Peer-Rated Personality Traits

Joshua Jackson et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although self-rated personality traits predict mortality risk, no study has examined whether one’s friends can perceive personality characteristics that predict one’s mortality risk. Moreover, it is unclear whether observers’ reports (compared with self-reports) provide better or unique information concerning the personal characteristics that result in longer and healthier lives. To test whether friends’ reports of personality predict mortality risk, we used data from a 75-year longitudinal study (the Kelly/Connolly Longitudinal Study on Personality and Aging). In that study, 600 participants were observed beginning in 1935 through 1938, when they were in their mid-20s, and continuing through 2013. Male participants seen by their friends as more conscientious and open lived longer, whereas friend-rated emotional stability and agreeableness were protective for women. Friends’ ratings were better predictors of longevity than were self-reports of personality, in part because friends’ ratings could be aggregated to provide a more reliable assessment. Our findings demonstrate the utility of observers’ reports in the study of health and provide insights concerning the pathways by which personality traits influence health.

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The bright side of brooding: State orientation increases positive emotions about positive outcomes

Marijke van Putten
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has by and large shown the negative effects of state orientation, that brooding over past events (i.e., state orientation) leads to more negative emotions and less well-being than quickly getting over past events (i.e., action orientation). However, this past research has primarily focused on how people cope with negative events and bad outcomes. The present research focuses on how people cope with positive events with good outcomes. Study 1 found that state-oriented people felt better after a windfall than action-oriented people. Study 2 found that state-oriented people felt not only worse when things turned out bad but also better when things turned out well than action-oriented people. Study 3 replicated the positive effect of state orientation on positive emotions with an experimental induction of action vs. state orientation. These results show that in positive situations state orientation can have emotional benefits – in other words, they show the bright side of brooding.

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This too shall pass: Temporal distance and the regulation of emotional distress

Emma Bruehlman-Senecal & Ozlem Ayduk
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, February 2015, Pages 356-375

Abstract:
Does the temporal perspective people adopt when reflecting on negative events influence how they respond emotionally to these events? If so, through what cognitive pathway(s) does it have this effect? Seven studies explored these questions. Studies 1a, 1b, and 2 tested our basic hypothesis that adopting a distant-future perspective on recent stressors (relative to a near-future or control perspective) reduces emotional distress, examining 4 potential mediators of this effect. Study 3 built upon the prior studies by investigating whether their findings apply to a new domain and affect longer-term outcomes. Studies 4–6 centered on a key cognitive mechanism that helped to account for the distress-reducing properties of temporal distancing across our first 4 studies — impermanence focus. Studies 4 and 5 examined whether individual differences in impermanence focus predicted emotional reactions to negative events in a manner similar to adopting a distant-future perspective. They also explored the implications of impermanence focus for broader academic (Study 4) and psychological (Study 5) functioning. Finally, Study 6 manipulated impermanence focus to test whether it affected emotional reactions to stressors in a manner parallel to adopting a distant-future perspective. Together, these findings demonstrate that temporal distancing plays an important role in emotional coping with negative events, and that it does so by directing individuals’ attention to the impermanent aspects of these events.

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Sense of Coherence and 22-year all-cause mortality in adult men

Galit Geulayov et al.
Journal of Psychosomatic Research, forthcoming

Background: Sense of coherence (SOC) is a central construct in Antonovsky’s salutogenic theory, which focuses on people’s health-promoting and health-protecting characteristics. We examined prospectively the association of SOC with all-cause mortality during 22 years (1989–2011).

Methods: The data of 585 men from the Israel longitudinal study of Glucose Intolerance, Obesity, and Hypertension (The Israel GOH) comprised the analytic sample. Participants were 48–67 years old at study entry (1989). Information on sociodemographic, medical history and health-related risk factors were obtained at baseline through a face-to-face interview. Participants completed Antonovsky’s 29-item SOC scale. Information on all-cause mortality was obtained from the Israeli Mortality Register (1989 through 2011). We evaluated the effect of SOC on time-to-death using multiple Cox proportional hazard regression.

Results: Controlling for sociodemographic, smoking status and morbidities, there was strong evidence of an association between SOC and 22-year all-cause mortality [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 0.992, 95% CI 0.986-0.998 per unit]. Strong SOC was associated with a 35% reduction in all-cause mortality relative to weak SOC (aHR = 0.653, 95% CI 0.454-0.939). There was no convincing evidence of a survival advantage for individuals with intermediate level of SOC relative to persons reporting weak SOC (aHR = 0.821, 95% CI 0.595-1.134).

Conclusions: Our study provides strong evidence of an association between SOC and mortality, above and beyond potential confounding factors and established risk factors. Considerable more research is needed on the role of SOC in health and survival and the potential pathways linking SOC and health.

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The Impact of Anticipating Positive Events on Responses to Stress

Samuel Monfort, Hannah Stroup & Christian Waugh
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 11–22

Abstract:
The few studies examining the impact of positive emotions on discrete stressors suggest that positive emotions improve stress responding. We hypothesized that merely anticipating a positive event would be sufficient to harness these benefits. In Study 1, we found that the anticipation of funny (relative to unfunny) cartoons increased positive emotions immediately following the offset of a social stressor. In Study 2, we found that the post-stress mood elevation was greater when anticipating a positive event than when having experienced the same positive event prior to the stressor, but that both positive emotion groups reported more adaptive thoughts during the stressor itself compared to participants receiving a neutral emotion induction. In Study 3, we found that this boost in post-stress positive emotion predicts decreases in concurrent negative emotion. In sum, these findings suggest that anticipating a positive event is uniquely able to induce positive emotions both during and after stress, and that this boost subserves improved coping and recovery.

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Enhancing cognitive and social–emotional development through a simple-to-administer mindfulness-based school program for elementary school children: A randomized controlled trial

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl et al.
Developmental Psychology, January 2015, Pages 52-66

Abstract:
The authors hypothesized that a social and emotional learning (SEL) program involving mindfulness and caring for others, designed for elementary school students, would enhance cognitive control, reduce stress, promote well-being and prosociality, and produce positive school outcomes. To test this hypothesis, 4 classes of combined 4th and 5th graders (N = 99) were randomly assigned to receive the SEL with mindfulness program versus a regular social responsibility program. Measures assessed executive functions (EFs), stress physiology via salivary cortisol, well-being (self-reports), prosociality and peer acceptance (peer reports), and math grades. Relative to children in the social responsibility program, children who received the SEL program with mindfulness (a) improved more in their cognitive control and stress physiology; (b) reported greater empathy, perspective-taking, emotional control, optimism, school self-concept, and mindfulness, (c) showed greater decreases in self-reported symptoms of depression and peer-rated aggression, (d) were rated by peers as more prosocial, and (e) increased in peer acceptance (or sociometric popularity). The results of this investigation suggest the promise of this SEL intervention and address a lacuna in the scientific literature — identifying strategies not only to ameliorate children’s problems but also to cultivate their well-being and thriving. Directions for future research are discussed.

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Effects of chronic interpersonal stress exposure on depressive symptoms are moderated by genetic variation at IL6 and IL1β in youth

Margaret Tartter et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Aims: Close to one third of patients with major depression show increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are in turn associated with risk for inflammatory disease. Genetic variants that enhance immune reactivity may thus enhance inflammatory and depressive reactions to stress. The aim of the present study was to investigate a trio of functional SNPs in the promoter regions of IL6 (-174G>C, rs1800795), IL1β (-511C>T, rs16944), and TNF (-308G>A, rs1800629) as moderators of the relationship between chronic stress exposure and elevations in depressive symptoms.

Methods: Participants were 444 Australian youth (mean age = 20.12) whose exposure to chronic stress in the past 6 months was assessed using the semi-structured UCLA Life Stress Interview, and who completed the Beck Depression Inventory II at ages 15 and 20. Between ages 22 and 25, all participants in the selected sample provided blood samples for genotyping.

Results: In line with a hypothesized moderation effect, -174G allele carriers at IL6 had fewer depressive symptoms following interpersonal stress, relative to C/C homozygotes with equal interpersonal stress exposure. However, IL6 genotype did not moderate the effects of non-interpersonal stress exposure (i.e., financial, work and health-related difficulties) on depression. Also in line with hypotheses, the -511C allele in IL1β, previously associated with higher IL-1β expression, was associated with more severe depression following chronic interpersonal stress exposure, relative to T/T homozygotes. Again, the moderating effect was specific to interpersonal stressors and did not generalize to non-interpersonal stress. TNF was not a moderator of the effects of either interpersonal or non-interpersonal stress on later depression outcomes.

Conclusion: Findings were consistent with the hypothesis that pro-inflammatory genetic variation increases the risk of stress-induced depression. The present results provide evidence of a genetic mechanism contributing to individual differences in depressive symptomatology following interpersonal stress exposure.

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‘It’s up to you’: Experimentally manipulated autonomy support for prosocial behavior improves well-being in two cultures over six weeks

Katherine Nelson et al.
Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated a strong link between prosocial behavior – particularly autonomous prosocial behavior – and well-being. Little is known, however, about whether and how autonomy might be boosted in the context of everyday kindnesses. We tested the effect of supporting students’ autonomy on well-being gains from practicing acts of kindness in a six-week randomized experimental study in the United States and South Korea. As predicted, performing kind acts while receiving autonomy support led to greater improvements in well-being than performing kind acts without autonomy support or engaging in comparison activities (i.e. focusing on one’s academic work, with or without autonomy support). Notably, these well-being improvements were mediated by feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The current study is one of the first to demonstrate the causal effect of autonomous prosocial behavior on well-being, as well as the psychological mechanism (i.e. need satisfaction) explaining this effect.

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Positive Affect and Markers of Inflammation: Discrete Positive Emotions Predict Lower Levels of Inflammatory Cytokines

Jennifer Stellar et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Negative emotions are reliably associated with poorer health (e.g., Kiecolt-Glaser, McGuire, Robles, & Glaser, 2002), but only recently has research begun to acknowledge the important role of positive emotions for our physical health (Fredrickson, 2003). We examine the link between dispositional positive affect and one potential biological pathway between positive emotions and health — proinflammatory cytokines, specifically levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6). We hypothesized that greater trait positive affect would be associated with lower levels of IL-6 in a healthy sample. We found support for this hypothesis across two studies. We also explored the relationship between discrete positive emotions and IL-6 levels, finding that awe, measured in two different ways, was the strongest predictor of lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines. These effects held when controlling for relevant personality and health variables. This work suggests a potential biological pathway between positive emotions and health through proinflammatory cytokines.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The blue and the pink

Grit, Guts, and Vanilla Beans: Godly Masculinity in the Ex-Gay Movement

Lynne Gerber
Gender & Society, February 2015, Pages 26-50

Abstract:
Ex-gay ministries, like many evangelical groups, advocate traditional gender ideologies. But their discourses and practices generate masculine ideals that are quite distinct from hegemonic ones. I argue that rather than simply reproducing hegemonic masculinity, ex-gay ministries attempt to realize godly masculinity, an ideal that differs significantly from hegemonic masculinity and is explicitly critical of it. I discuss three aspects of the godly masculine ideal — de-emphasizing heterosexual conquest, inclusive masculinity, and homo-intimacy — that work to subvert hegemonic masculinity and allow ministry members to critique it while still advocating for innate gender distinction and hierarchy. I conclude by arguing that gender theorists need to be more precise in distinguishing conservative religious masculinities from hegemonic ones.

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Upset Over Sexual versus Emotional Infidelity Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Adults

David Frederick & Melissa Fales
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
One hypothesis derived from evolutionary perspectives is that men are more upset than women by sexual infidelity and women are more upset than men by emotional infidelity. The proposed explanation is that men, in contrast to women, face the risk of unwittingly investing in genetically unrelated offspring. Most studies, however, have relied on small college or community samples of heterosexual participants. We examined upset over sexual versus emotional jealousy among 63,894 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual participants. Participants imagined which would upset them more: their partners having sex with someone else (but not falling in love with them) or their partners falling in love with someone else (but not having sex with them). Consistent with this evolutionary perspective, heterosexual men were more likely than heterosexual women to be upset by sexual infidelity (54 vs. 35 %) and less likely than heterosexual women to be upset by emotional infidelity (46 vs. 65 %). This gender difference emerged across age groups, income levels, history of being cheated on, history of being unfaithful, relationship type, and length. The gender difference, however, was limited to heterosexual participants. Bisexual men and women did not differ significantly from each other in upset over sexual infidelity (30 vs. 27 %), regardless of whether they were currently dating a man (35 vs. 29 %) or woman (28 vs. 20 %). Gay men and lesbian women also did not differ (32 vs. 34 %). The findings present strong evidence that a gender difference exists in a broad sample of U.S. adults, but only among heterosexuals.

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Penalized or Privileged? Sexual Identity, Gender, and Postsecondary Educational Attainment

Leigh Fine
American Journal of Education, February 2015, Pages 271-297

Abstract:
Prior literature on educational attainment indicates that there is both a female advantage and an LGB bonus: women are more likely to have earned bachelor’s degrees than men, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) persons are more likely to have earned a bachelor’s degree than heterosexuals. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, I run logistic regressions on respondents’ likelihood of having a bachelor’s degree as a function of both gender and sexuality. I find that the female advantage and LGB bonus do not hold for sexual minority women, who are the gender and sexuality group least likely to have completed college.

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Postnatal Penile Growth Concurrent with Mini-Puberty Predicts Later Sex-typed Play Behavior: Evidence for Neurobehavioral Effects of the Postnatal Androgen Surge in Typically Developing Boys

Vickie Pasterski et al.
Hormones and Behavior, March 2015, Pages 98–105

Abstract:
The masculinizing effects of prenatal androgens on human neurobehavioral development are well established. Also, the early postnatal surge of androgens in male infants, or mini-puberty, has been well documented and is known to influence physiological development, including penile growth. However, neurobehavioral effects of androgen exposure during mini-puberty are largely unknown. The main aim of the current study was to evaluate possible neurobehavioral consequences of mini-puberty by relating penile growth in the early postnatal period to subsequent behavior. Using multiple linear regression, we demonstrated that penile growth between birth and three months postnatal, concurrent with mini-puberty, significantly predicted increased masculine/decreased feminine behavior assessed using the Pre-School Activities Inventory (PSAI) in 81 healthy boys at 3 to 4 years of age. When we controlled for other potential influences on masculine/feminine behavior and/or penile growth, including variance in androgen exposure prenatally and body growth postnatally, the predictive value of penile growth in the early postnatal period persisted. More specifically, prenatal androgen exposure, reflected in the measurement of anogenital distance (AGD), and early postnatal androgen exposure, reflected in penile growth from birth to 3 months, were significant predictors of increased masculine/decreased feminine behavior, with each accounting for unique variance. Our findings suggest that independent associations of PSAI with AGD at birth and with penile growth during mini-puberty reflect prenatal and early postnatal androgen exposures respectively. Thus, we provide a novel and readily available approach for assessing effects of early androgen exposures, as well as novel evidence that early postnatal androgen exposure influences human neurobehavioral development.

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Mortality Risks Among Persons Reporting Same-Sex Sexual Partners: Evidence From the 2008 General Social Survey—National Death Index Data Set

Susan Cochran & Vickie Mays
American Journal of Public Health, February 2015, Pages 358-364

Objectives: We investigated the possibility that men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with women (WSW) may be at higher risk for early mortality associated with suicide and other sexual orientation–associated health risks.

Methods: We used data from the 1988–2002 General Social Surveys, with respondents followed up for mortality status as of December 31, 2008. The surveys included 17 886 persons aged 18 years or older, who reported at least 1 lifetime sexual partner. Of these, 853 reported any same-sex partners; 17 033 reported only different-sex partners. Using gender-stratified analyses, we compared these 2 groups for all-cause mortality and HIV-, suicide-, and breast cancer–related mortality.

Results: The WSW evidenced greater risk for suicide mortality than presumptively heterosexual women, but there was no evidence of similar sexual orientation–associated risk among men. All-cause mortality did not appear to differ by sexual orientation among either women or men. HIV-related deaths were not elevated among MSM or breast cancer deaths among WSW.

Conclusions: The elevated suicide mortality risk observed among WSW partially confirms public health concerns that sexual minorities experience greater burden from suicide-related mortality.

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Does It Get Better? A Longitudinal Analysis of Psychological Distress and Victimization in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth

Michelle Birkett, Michael Newcomb & Brian Mustanski
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: The mental health and victimization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth have garnered media attention with the “It Gets Better Project.” Despite this popular interest, there is an absence of empirical evidence evaluating a possible developmental trajectory in LGBTQ distress and the factors that might influence distress over time.

Methods: This study used an accelerated longitudinal design and multilevel modeling to examine a racially/ethnically diverse analytic sample of 231 LGBTQ adolescents aged 16–20 years at baseline, across six time points, and over 3.5 years.

Results: Results indicated that both psychological distress and victimization decreased across adolescence and into early adulthood. Furthermore, time-lagged analyses and mediation analyses suggested that distress was related to prior experiences of victimization, with greater victimization leading to greater distress. Support received from parents, peers, and significant others was negatively correlated with psychological distress in the cross-sectional model but did not reach significance in the time-lagged model.

Conclusions: Analyses suggest that psychological distress might “get better” when adolescents encounter less victimization and adds to a growing literature indicating that early experiences of stress impact the mental health of LGBTQ youth.

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Sex hormones in early infancy seem to predict aspects of later language development

Gesa Schaadt, Volker Hesse & Angela Friederici
Brain and Language, February 2015, Pages 70–76

Abstract:
Sex differences in the development of cognitive behavior such as language have long been of great research interest. Lately, researchers have started to associate language function and brain differences with diverse sex hormones (e.g., testosterone/estradiol). However, results concerning the impact of early postnatal sex hormone concentration on the child’s later language development are rare. Here, we analyze the impact of testosterone and estradiol in girls and boys as well as their neurophysiological phonemic discrimination at age 5 months on language development at age 4 years. Interestingly, we found strong positive estradiol and negative testosterone impact on later language performance at age 4 years, which was true for both girls and boys. These results demonstrate that postnatal sex hormone surge might be viewed as one factor determining later language development, independent of gender.

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Exploring Discrimination and Mental Health Disparities Faced By Black Sexual Minority Women Using a Minority Stress Framework

Sarah Calabrese et al.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Black sexual minority women are triply marginalized due to their race, gender, and sexual orientation. We compared three dimensions of discrimination — frequency (regularity of occurrences), scope (number of types of discriminatory acts experienced), and number of bases (number of social statuses to which discrimination was attributed) — and self-reported mental health (depressive symptoms, psychological well-being, and social well-being) between 64 Black sexual minority women and each of two groups sharing two of three marginalized statuses: (a) 67 White sexual minority women and (b) 67 Black sexual minority men. Black sexual minority women reported greater discrimination frequency, scope, and number of bases and poorer psychological and social well-being than White sexual minority women and more discrimination bases, a higher level of depressive symptoms, and poorer social well-being than Black sexual minority men. We then tested and contrasted dimensions of discrimination as mediators between social status (race or gender) and mental health outcomes. Discrimination frequency and scope mediated the association between race and mental health, with a stronger effect via frequency among sexual minority women. Number of discrimination bases mediated the association between gender and mental health among Black sexual minorities. Future research and clinical practice would benefit from considering Black sexual minority women’s mental health in a multidimensional minority stress context.

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Dating preferences among self-identified gay men of Asian descent in the United States

Eric Nehl et al.
Asian American Journal of Psychology, December 2014, Pages 335-343

Abstract:
Little is known about the dating preferences of Asian American gay men. To conceptualize the dating preferences among these men, the impact domains model (IDM) was used to investigate if nativity and/or acculturation might explain dating preferences. Previous studies have pointed out the problematic nature of a racist cultural stereotype that Asian American gay men prefer white partners (Choi, Yep, & Kumekawa, 1998; Han, 2008). The current findings do not support that Asian American gay men prefer white partners. In our sample, 17.1% preferred dating white men and over 20% preferred Asian men. Over 60% had no clear racial/ethnic dating preference. Multivariate analyses indicated that those reporting higher ethnic acculturation (p < .001) and were U.S.-born (p < .01) were more likely to prefer dating Asian men. In contrast, those younger (p < .001) and living on the East Coast (p < .01) were more likely to prefer dating white men. Limitations of the study include a self-report cross-sectional design with purposive recruitment to study HIV/STIs and sexual health rather than dating preferences. Additionally, the data set included only a coastal classification (East vs. West Coast) and an acculturation scale which included cultural identity, language, and competence. The complex effect of nativity and acculturation on dating preference warrants further investigation. The IDM may be useful to guide future studies of partner preference among Asian MSM. Researchers in future studies should pay attention to identifying the key behavioral, social, and affective beliefs that underlie partner preference and examine actual dating practices.

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Reducing Stigma Toward the Transgender Community: An Evaluation of a Humanizing and Perspective-Taking Intervention

Tanya Tompkins et al.
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Efforts to understand ways to reduce stigma toward the transgender (TG) community, a group which typically engenders a disproportionate share of prejudice and discrimination, is paramount. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a humanizing approach that incorporates vicarious contact and perspective taking in reducing stigma toward TG individuals. One hundred (53 women, 45 men, 1 TG, 1 gender-queer) undergraduates were randomly assigned into 1 of 2 groups. Those in the humanizing condition viewed a documentary depicting a child who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM–IV–TR) criteria for gender identity disorder (GID) and engaged in a perspective-taking writing assignment. Those in the diagnosis-centered, education-only condition were presented with diagnostic criteria for GID, viewed a videotaped interview of an expert describing GID, and engaged in a brief writing task. Both groups provided basic demographic information and completed measures of transprejudice and social distance at pretest and again following the intervention. Participants in the humanizing condition evidenced less transprejudice and a greater desire for social contact following the intervention, whereas those in the education-only condition showed no significant change in desired social distance but increased transprejudice across time. Although prior contact and gender were associated with transprejudice and social distance in expected ways, neither moderated intervention effects. Results support the importance of contact and perspective-taking in reducing stigma, adding to a growing body of literature which suggests that positive results extend to vicarious contact through media depictions of “others.” Results suggest caution in educating audiences about TG solely through a psychopathology lens.

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Queer Identity Management and Political Self-Expression on Social Networking Sites: A Co-Cultural Approach to the Spiral of Silence

Jesse Fox & Katie Warber
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social networking sites can facilitate self-expression, but for some, that freedom is constrained. This study investigated factors that influence LGBT+ individuals' identity management and political expression on social media. We interviewed 52 participants aged 18 to 53 around the 2012 U.S. election. Using co-cultural theory, we investigated communicative practices employed by queer-identified individuals on Facebook. Participants whose LGBT+ identity was not known by the social network (i.e., those who were still in the closet) revealed a spiral of silence, wherein they were silenced by the perceived heteronormative majority. Participants whose identity was known (i.e., those who were out) revealed a spiral of silencing as they used the site's affordances to empower their vocal minority and silence the dominant group.

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Young gay men’s sexism predict their male facial masculinity preference in China

Lijun Zheng & Yong Zheng
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2015, Pages 183–186

Abstract:
Previous studies have indicated that sexism is related to romantic partner preference in heterosexual men and women. We examined the association between sexism and preference for male facial masculinity among 185 gay men in China. Hostile sexism (HS; hostility toward women who oppose traditional roles) was positively correlated with facial masculinity preference. Protective paternalism, a component of benevolent sexism (BS; ideation of women who conform to traditional gender roles) was negatively correlated with facial masculinity preference. These findings indicated that sexism was related to male facial masculinity preferences in gay men. Thus, regardless of sexual orientation, men high on HS tend to prefer sex-typicality in potential partners.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, January 23, 2015

Official act

Which government officials leak unauthorized information to the press in Washington?

Kara Alaimo
Journal of Public Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
Every modern president of the United States has been bedeviled by unauthorized leaks of government information to the press. Who is responsible for such leaks? Presidents of the United States have accused civil servants of attempting to undermine them. However, journalists have suggested that the presidents' own political appointees leak more. Using interviews conducted in 2013 with both presidential political appointees and civil servants who worked in public affairs for the U.S. Treasury Department during the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as interviews with reporters with whom the Treasury officials interacted frequently, this case study finds that political appointees and civil servants leak unauthorized information that does not serve the president's interests to the press with roughly the same frequency. The findings shed light on behavior that is typically shrouded in secrecy and call into question the effort by modern U.S. presidents to gain greater control of the federal government by hiring record numbers of political appointees.

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Government Preferences and SEC Enforcement

Jonas Heese
Harvard Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
I examine whether political pressure by the government as a response to voters' general interest in protecting employment is reflected in the enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Using labor intensity as a measure for a firm's contribution to employment, I find that labor-intensive firms are less likely to be subject to an SEC enforcement action. Next, I show that labor-intensive firms are less likely to face an SEC enforcement action in presidential election years if they are located in politically important states. I also find evidence of a lower likelihood of SEC enforcement for labor-intensive firms that are headquartered in districts of senior congressmen that serve on committees that oversee the SEC. All of these results hold after controlling for firms' accounting quality and two alternative explanations for firms' favorable treatment by the SEC, i.e., firms' location and political contributions. These findings suggest that voters' interests drive political pressure on SEC enforcement - independent of firms' lobbying for their special interests.

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Explaining Explanations: How Legislators Explain their Policy Positions and How Citizens React

Christian Grose, Neil Malhotra & Robert Parks Van Houweling
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Legislators claim that how they explain their votes matters as much as or more than the roll calls themselves. However, few studies have systematically examined legislators' explanations and citizen attitudes in response to these explanations. We theorize that legislators strategically tailor explanations to constituents in order to compensate for policy choices that are incongruent with constituent preferences, and to reinforce policy choices that are congruent. We conduct a within-subjects field experiment using U.S. senators as subjects to test this hypothesis. We then conduct a between-subjects survey experiment of ordinary people to see how they react to the explanatory strategies used by senators in the field experiment. We find that most senators tailor their explanations to their audiences, and that these tailored explanations are effective at currying support - especially among people who disagree with the legislators' roll-call positions.

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When Talk Isn't Cheap: The Corporate Value of Political Rhetoric

Art Durnev, Larry Fauver & Nandini Gupta
University of Iowa Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Does political rhetoric matter for firms and investors? We conduct a textual analysis of all 388 gubernatorial "State of the state" speeches given between 2002 and 2010 across U.S. states, to examine this question. Political speeches may reduce policy uncertainty (Pastor and Veronesi, 2012), reflect the politician's views regarding the economic future of the state, and contain new information regarding future policies that affect the business environment. Using data on 5,721 firms matched based on their location of their headquarters and main operations, we conduct an event study examining the market reaction to the tone of the State of the state addresses. To examine whether the information has a long-run impact on firms, we also consider changes in firms' investment and employment decisions. Controlling for speech length, firm, and state-level characteristics, the results show a statistically significant and positive association between the level of optimism expressed in a Governor's speech, and the abnormal returns of firms headquartered in that Governor's state. We also find that a more optimistic speech is associated with a statistically significant increase in investment and employment, relative to firm size, whereas a more pessimistic speech is associated with a decline in investment and employment for firms located in that state. To identify the impact of the speech on firms, we show that the results are robust to identifying the geographic focus of firms' operations, using a matched sample of firms located in neighboring states as a control group, and instrumental variables. To identify channels by which the content of the speech may have an impact, we show that firms that obtain state-government contracts, and those that are more dependent on skilled human capital and therefore education spending, significantly increase investments if the budget-related and education-related parts of the speech are more optimistic. We also find that political rhetoric is most informative during uncertain economic conditions, when government policy has had a greater impact. Lastly, we show that institutional characteristics, such as term limits and state-level transparency, affect the response of firms to the speech.

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A Replication of "The Political Determinants of Federal Expenditure at the State Level" (Public Choice, 2005)

Stratford Douglas & Robert Reed
Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article replicates and analyzes a study by Hoover and Pecorino (H&P) on federal spending in US states. H&P followed on pathbreaking research by Atlas et al. in which evidence was claimed in favor of the "small state effect"; namely, that since every state is represented by two senators, small states have a disproportionate influence on federal spending relative to their population size. Using H&P's data, we both replicate their results and demonstrate strong support for the small-state effect when we formally test their predictions. The contribution of this study is that we demonstrate that this empirical support vanishes when we (i) employ cluster robust standard errors rather than conventional ordinary least squares (OLS) standard errors and (ii) include a variable for population growth as suggested in a recent study by Larcinese, Rizzo, and Testa. We conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis of a "small-state effect."

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You Get What You Want: A Note on the Economics of Bad News

Jill McCluskey, Johan Swinnen & Thijs Vandemoortele
Information Economics and Policy, March 2015, Pages 1-5

Abstract:
We develop a simple theoretical model that explains the slant towards negative coverage in news media. In a framework where news is informative and consumers are risk averse, diminishing marginal utility implies that information about a negative income shock is more valuable than information about a positive shock, which leads to disproportionate reporting of bad news.

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In government we trust: The role of fiscal decentralization

Jenny Ligthart & Peter van Oudheusden
European Journal of Political Economy, March 2015, Pages 116-128

Abstract:
This paper looks whether fiscal decentralization is associated with trust of citizens in government related institutions. We expect a positive relationship based on the argument of governments' improved responsiveness to preferences of citizens that is perceived to result from more decentralized fiscal systems. Survey data from up to 42 countries over the period 1994-2007 confirm this positive relationship. It is robust to controlling for unobserved country heterogeneity and a wide array of other explanatory variables that are associated with trust in government related institutions. Moreover, we do not find that the positive association with fiscal decentralization extends to other, non-government related institutions.

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Return on Political Investment in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004

Hui Chen, Katherine Gunny & Karthik Ramanna
Harvard Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Prior literature raises a "puzzle" of high rates of return on corporate political investment, but evidence for this puzzle is largely descriptive in nature. We exploit the setting of the American Jobs Creation Act's passage in 2004 to provide more robust estimates of political returns based on instrumentation in a two-stage regression model. We find for the median sample firm that an increase of $1 million in lobbying spending is associated with about $32.35 million in taxes saved. These estimates, while consistent with a high-returns "puzzle," are nearly an order of magnitude lower than those previously reported via descriptive methods.

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Another tool in the party toolbox? Tracing the strategic expansion of committee size in the US House, 1947-2010

Michael Brady & Daniel Lee
Party Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We consider whether the manipulation of committee sizes can serve as a strategic tool of the majority party to further its influence over policy outcomes in the US House. Previous research notes the influence of the majority party's preferences on the composition of committees but takes the size of committees as exogenous. We argue that the determination of sizes is an important first step and potential tool to shape committee composition, given vacancy constraints like the property rights norm. Using assignment and revealed legislator ideology data from the 80th to 111th Congresses, our results support this view of strategic expansion as a majority party strategy particularly for "prestige committees," which are most central to a party's agenda. Expansion indeed results in committees that are ideologically closer to the majority caucus median.

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It's (Change in) the (Future) Economy, Stupid: Economic Indicators, the Media, and Public Opinion

Stuart Soroka, Dominik Stecula & Christopher Wlezien
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economic perceptions affect policy preferences and government support. It thus matters that these perceptions are driven by factors other than the economy, including media coverage. We nevertheless know little about how media reflect economic trends, and whether they influence (or are influenced by) public economic perceptions. This article explores the economy, media, and public opinion, focusing in particular on whether media coverage and the public react to changes in or levels of economic activity, and the past, present, or future economy. Analyses rely on content-analytic data drawn from 30,000 news stories over 30 years in the United States. Results indicate that coverage reflects change in the future economy, and that this both influences and is influenced by public evaluations. These patterns make more understandable the somewhat surprising finding of positive coverage and public assessments in the midst of the Great Recession. They also may help explain previous findings in political behavior.

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Lobbying from Inside the System: Why Local Governments Pay for Representation in the U.S. Congress

Matt Loftis & Jaclyn Kettler
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do cities spend scarce resources lobbying the federal government? The hierarchy of U.S. government provides various pathways for local representation. Nevertheless, cities regularly invest in paid representation. This presents a puzzle for American democracy. Why do cities lobby, and do they lobby strategically? We quantify for the first time the extent of this phenomenon and examine its determinants using new data on 498 cities across forty-five states from 1998 to 2008. We find that economic distress pushes cities to lobby, but does not impact expenditures. Cities in competitive congressional districts, and therefore crucial to national politics, spend more on lobbying.

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Over-Accountability

Jacob Gersen & Matthew Stephenson
Journal of Legal Analysis, Winter 2014, Pages 185-243

Abstract:
Although ensuring the "accountability" of agents to their principals is widely considered a core objective of institutional design, recent work in political economy has identified and elucidated an important class of situations in which effective accountability mechanisms can decrease, rather than increase, an agent's likelihood of acting in her principal's interests. The problem, which we call "over-accountability," is essentially an information problem: sometimes even a fully rational but imperfectly informed principal (e.g., the citizens) will reward "bad" actions rather than "good" actions by an agent (e.g. the President). In these cases, not only do accountability mechanisms fail to remedy the agency problem inherent in representative government, they actually make the problem worse. This Article offers a conceptual and empirical overview of over-accountability problems, and also considers a range of potential solutions. By surveying both the distortions themselves and a range of possible responses, this article aspires to assist both public law scholars and institutional reformers in producing more effective solutions.

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Does remuneration affect the discipline and the selection of politicians? Evidence from pay harmonization in the European Parliament

Thomas Braendle
Public Choice, January 2015, Pages 1-24

Abstract:
We study the harmonization of the base pay for the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Prior to this reform, implemented in 2009, base pay was aligned with that of national parliamentarians, causing large differences in pay between the MEPs representing 27 member states. Based on detailed information on individual MEPs between 2004 and 2011, we find that the reform, which introduced an exceptional base pay increase of 200 % per national delegation on average, has a positive incentive effect on in-office effort proxied by the number of speeches, written declarations and reports drafted. However, more generous remuneration is associated with higher rates of absenteeism. With respect to political selection, we find that higher pay also raises reelection rates. The composition of the pool of MEPs in terms of (ex-ante) quality approximated by formal education, previous political experience in elected office and occupational background is, however, unaffected. If we restrict our attention to newly elected MEPs, a salary increase is related to fewer MEPs with previous political experience at the highest national level.

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Perceived Motives in the Political Arena

David Doherty
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
People care about more than the substance of policy outcomes. They also care about how political decisions are made. In this article, I report findings from national surveys and two survey experiments that shed light on the factors that affect how people attribute motives to politicians. I find that party cues, policy preferences, and other factors affect which motives people see as the most important explanations for a representative's behavior. I also find suggestive evidence that people are not strictly averse to representatives who are motivated by political self-interest. Instead, they appear to be more concerned with the extent to which a representative is motivated by his or her genuinely held preferences and a desire to serve the public. The findings constitute an important step toward understanding how people attribute motives in the political arena and the potential consequences of these judgments about what drives politicians' behavior.

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Political News with a Personal Touch: How Human Interest Framing Indirectly Affects Policy Attitudes

Mark Boukes et al.
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Journalists increasingly use personal exemplars in news stories about political issues. This study experimentally investigated how such human interest framing indirectly affects political attitudes via the way people attribute responsibility of an issue. Results show that exposure to human interest-framed television news increased attribution of responsibility to the government for the portrayed problem, which in turn decreased support for the government to cut public spending on this issue. This article explains how and why these findings are in line with exemplification theory but run counter to findings of studies on episodic framing effects.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Nanny state

Birth order and educational attainment: Evidence from fully adopted sibling groups

Kieron Barclay
Intelligence, January–February 2015, Pages 109–122

Abstract:
This study uses data on fully adopted sibling groups to test whether the explanation for the consistently observed negative effects of birth order are physiological or social in origin. Swedish administrative register data is used to construct full sibling data for cohorts born 1960–1982. Using a within-family comparison approach, I compare adopted siblings of different adopted birth order to one another to see whether birth order amongst adopted children (N = 6968) is associated with educational attainment by age 30, and the likelihood of having entered tertiary education by age 30. These same within-family comparison analyses are also performed on siblings in fully biologically related sibling groups (N = 1,588,401). I find that there is a negative relationship between adopted birth order and both educational attainment and the likelihood of entering tertiary education in fully adopted sibling sets. These findings strongly suggest that differences in educational attainment by birth order are driven by intrafamily social dynamics. I also conduct additional analyses in fully adopted sibling groups where age order and adoption order are reversed to test whether there is evidence for tutoring by siblings. These results do not indicate clear support for any tutoring effect.

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The reward value of infant facial cuteness tracks within-subject changes in women’s salivary testosterone

Amanda Hahn et al.
Hormones and Behavior, January 2015, Pages 54–59

Abstract:
“Baby schema” refers to infant characteristics, such as facial cues, that positively influence cuteness perceptions and trigger caregiving and protective behaviors in adults. Current models of hormonal regulation of parenting behaviors address how hormones may modulate protective behaviors and nurturance, but not how hormones may modulate responses to infant cuteness. To explore this issue, we investigated possible relationships between the reward value of infant facial cuteness and within-woman changes in testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone levels. Multilevel modeling of these data showed that infant cuteness was more rewarding when women’s salivary testosterone levels were high. Moreover, this within-woman effect of testosterone was independent of the possible effects of estradiol and progesterone and was not simply a consequence of changes in women’s cuteness perceptions. These results suggest that testosterone may modulate differential responses to infant facial cuteness, potentially revealing a new route through which testosterone shapes selective allocation of parental resources.

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Predicting Sibling Investment by Perceived Sibling Resemblance

Sigal Tifferet et al.
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using resemblance cues, people can identify highly related kin and treat them preferentially over less related or unrelated individuals, all else being equal. However, differences in degrees of resemblance can occur even within particular kin categories, such as siblings. We hypothesized that the level of perceived resemblance between siblings will predict sibling investment. Eighty Israeli students who had at least 2 full siblings filled out questionnaires regarding the younger sibling who was nearest to them in age. We found that sibling resemblance was positively associated with sibling investment, with emotional closeness serving as a mediator for the relationship between resemblance and investment. The results support the hypothesis that perceived resemblance to a younger sibling predicts investment in that sibling.

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The Role of Parenting in the Prediction of Criminal Involvement: Findings From a Nationally Representative Sample of Youth and a Sample of Adopted Youth

Kevin Beaver et al.
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The role of parenting in the development of criminal behavior has been the source of a vast amount of research, with the majority of studies detecting statistically significant associations between dimensions of parenting and measures of criminal involvement. An emerging group of scholars, however, has drawn attention to the methodological limitations—mainly genetic confounding—of the parental socialization literature. The current study addressed this limitation by analyzing a sample of adoptees to assess the association between 8 parenting measures and 4 criminal justice outcome measures. The results revealed very little evidence of parental socialization effects on criminal behavior before controlling for genetic confounding and no evidence of parental socialization effects on criminal involvement after controlling for genetic confounding.

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Long-term follow-up of a randomized trial of family foundations: Effects on children’s emotional, behavioral, and school adjustment

Mark Feinberg et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, December 2014, Pages 821-831

Abstract:
This study examines long-term effects of a transition to parenthood program, Family Foundations, designed to enhance child outcomes through a strategic focus on supporting the coparenting relationship. Roughly 5 to 7 years after baseline (pregnancy), parent and teacher reports of internalizing and externalizing problems and school adjustment were collected by mail for 98 children born to couples enrolled in the randomized trial. Teachers reported significantly lower levels of internalizing problems among children in the intervention group compared with children in the control group and, consistent with prior findings at age 3, lower levels of externalizing problems for boys in the intervention group. Baseline level of observed couple negative communication moderated intervention effects for parent and teacher report of child adjustment and teacher report of school adjustment and adaptation. Effect sizes ranged from 0.40 to 0.98. Results indicate that relatively brief preventive programs for couples at the transition to parenthood have the capacity to promote long-term positive benefits for children’s adjustment. Although we attended to missing data issues in several ways, high levels of attrition in this long-term follow-up study is a cause for caution.

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Children’s Academic Achievement and Foster Care

Lawrence Berger et al.
Pediatrics, January 2015, Pages e109-e116

Background and objectives: Poor school outcomes for children in out-of-home placement (OHP) raise concerns about the adequacy of child welfare and educational policy for this vulnerable population. We analyzed the relation between OHP and academic achievement, focusing on reading and math achievement in grades 3 through 8.

Methods: Linked administrative data were used for our analytic sample comprising 529 597 child-year observations for 222 049 children who experienced OHP or were in a comparison group. Three models were estimated: a pooled ordinary least squares regression that considered placement status and test scores net of the full set of control variables; an identical model that added the previous year’s test scores as an additional control; and a final model that included child-specific fixed effects.

Results: Children in OHP settings had achievement test scores at least 0.6 SD below average. However, we found similar deficits across children with past, current, and future exposure to OHP and, in our preferred model, OHP (past, current, or future placement) had no statistically discernible relation with either reading or math achievement.

Conclusions: OHP by itself is not significantly related to school achievement; however, evidence reveals consistently low average math and reading achievement among children involved with Child Protective Services.

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Community characteristics, conservative ideology, and child abuse rates

Rebekah Breyer & David MacPhee
Child Abuse & Neglect, forthcoming

Abstract:
Authoritarian ideology, including religious conservativism, endorses obedience to authority and physical punishment of children. Although this association has been studied at the level of the family, little research has been conducted on whether conservativism in the broader community context correlates with the mistreatment of children. The purpose of this study was to determine whether this relation between conservativism and physical punishment of children extends to child abuse rates at the community level. Predictors included county-level religious and political conservativism and demographic variables. Political and religious conservativism covaried, and both were inversely related to child abuse rates. Population density was strongly related to rates of maltreatment and with demographic factors controlled, religious conservativism but not political conservativism continued to predict rates of child abuse. The results suggest that community factors related to social disorganization may be more important than religious or political affiliation in putting children at risk for maltreatment.

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Child maltreatment among civilian parents before, during, and after deployment in United States Air Force families

Randy McCarthy et al.
Psychology of Violence, January 2015, Pages 26-34

Objective: To conduct the first population-based study comparing child maltreatment rates perpetrated by civilian parents in military families before, during, and after combat-related deployments.

Method: The sample included children in United States Air Force families who experienced at least 1 child maltreatment incident perpetrated by their civilian parent and whose active-duty parent experienced at least 1 combat-related deployment between October 1, 2001, and October 31, 2008.

Results: During the study period, 2,442 children were involved in 2,879 substantiated child maltreatment incidents perpetrated by the civilian parent. Rates of child maltreatment by civilian parents increased 52% during deployments compared with before the active-duty parent’s first deployment. The overall postdeployment child maltreatment rate was lower than the predeployment and during-deployment maltreatment rates. The large increase in child maltreatment by the civilian parent during deployment compared with predeployment was largely driven by a 124% increase in child neglect.

Conclusion: During combat-related deployments, children are at heightened risk of child neglect perpetrated by their civilian parent. These results suggest a need for focused maltreatment prevention/intervention efforts during this time of increased risk of children being neglected by their civilian parent.

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Public Child Care and Mothers’ Labor Supply — Evidence from Two Quasi-Experiments

Stefan Bauernschuster & Martin Schlotter
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public child care is expected to assist families in reconciling work with family life. Yet, empirical evidence for the relevance of public child care to maternal employment is inconclusive. We exploit the introduction of a legal claim to a place in kindergarten in Germany, which was contingent on day-of-birth cut-off dates and resulted in a marked increase in kindergarten attendance of three-year olds in the following years. Instrumental variable and difference-in-differences estimations on two individual-level data sets yield positive effects of public child care on maternal employment. A set of placebo treatment tests corroborate the validity of our identification strategies.

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Genotypes do not confer risk for delinquency but rather alter susceptibility to positive and negative environmental factors: Gene-environment interactions of BDNF Val66Met, 5-HTTLPR, and MAOA-uVNTR

Kent Nilsson et al.
International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, forthcoming

Background: Previous evidence of gene-by-environment interactions associated with emotional and behavioral disorders is contradictory. Differences in findings may result from variation in valence and dose of the environmental factor, and/or failure to take account of gene-by-gene interactions. The present study investigated interactions between the brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene (BDNF Val66Met), the serotonin transporter gene linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR), the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA-uVNTR) polymorphisms, family conflict, sexual abuse, the quality of the child–parent relationship, and teenage delinquency.

Methods: In 2006, as part of the Survey of Adolescent Life in Västmanland, Sweden, 1337 high-school students, aged 17–18 years, anonymously completed questionnaires and provided saliva samples for DNA analyses.

Results: Teenage delinquency was associated with two-, three-, and four-way interactions of each of the genotypes and the three environmental factors. Significant four-way interactions were found for BDNF Val66Met×5-HTTLPR×MAOA-uVNTR×family conflicts, and for BDNF Val66Met×5-HTTLPR×MAOA-uVNTR×sexual abuse. Further, the two genotype combinations that differed the most in expression levels (BDNF Val66Met Val, 5-HTTLPR LL, MAOA-uVNTR LL (girls) and L (boys) vs BDNF Val66Met Val/Met, 5-HTTLPR S/LS, MAOA-uVNTR S/SS/LS) in interaction with family conflict and sexual abuse were associated with the highest delinquency scores. The genetic variants previously shown to confer vulnerability for delinquency (BDNF Val66Met Val/Met×5-HTTLPR S×MAOA-uVNTR S) were associated with the lowest delinquency scores in interaction with a positive child–parent relationship.

Conclusions: Functional variants of the MAOA-uVNTR, 5-HTTLPR, and BDNF Val66Met, either alone or in interaction with each other, may be best conceptualized as modifying sensitivity to environmental factors that confer either risk or protection for teenage delinquency.

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Material Parenting: How the Use of Goods in Parenting Fosters Materialism in the Next Generation

Marsha Richins & Lan Nguyen Chaplin
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research introduces the concept of material parenting, in which parents use material goods to express their love or to shape children’s behavior. Despite the common use of material goods for these purposes, possible long term effects of material parenting practices have not been studied. This article addresses this oversight by examining the potential effects of material parenting on the material values of children once they’re grown. This research proposes and tests a material parenting pathway, in which warm and supportive parents provide children with material rewards that in the long run foster materialism in adulthood. An insecurity pathway to materialism, previously proposed in the literature, is also examined. Results from three survey studies provide support for both pathways. Results also suggest that material parenting may influence children’s material values by (possibly unintentionally) encouraging them to use possessions to shape and transform the self.

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The Costs of Thinking About Work and Family: Mental Labor, Work–Family Spillover, and Gender Inequality Among Parents in Dual-Earner Families

Shira Offer
Sociological Forum, December 2014, Pages 916–936

Abstract:
One of the aspects unaccounted for in previous assessments of employed parents ‘distribution of time is the mental dimension of tasks and demands. This aspect, referred to as mental labor, is conceptualized as the planning, organization, and management of everyday activities. Using the experience sampling method, a unique form of time diary, and survey data from the 500 Family Study (N = 402 mothers with 16,451 signals and 291 fathers with 11,322 signals), this study examined the prevalence, context, and emotional correlates of mental labor among parents in dual-earner families. Results show that fathers reported thinking more frequently about job-related matters than mothers but these concerns did not spill over into unpaid work. By contrast, mothers’ job-related thoughts tended to spill over into unpaid work and free-time activities. When engaging in mental labor, mothers and fathers were equally likely to think about family matters, but these thoughts were only detrimental to emotional well-being in mothers. Among both mothers and fathers, paid work was relatively insulated from thoughts about family matters. Overall, findings highlight mothers’ double burden and suggest that mental labor may contribute to mothers’ emotional stress and gender inequality among dual-earner families.

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Sleep Deprivation, Low Self-Control, and Delinquency: A Test of the Strength Model of Self-Control

Ryan Meldrum, J.C. Barnes & Carter Hay
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, February 2015, Pages 465-477

Abstract:
Recent work provides evidence that sleep deprivation is positively related to delinquency. In this study, we draw on Baumeister and colleagues’ strength model of self-control to propose an explanation for this association. Specifically, we argue that low self-control is the construct that bridges the relationship between sleep deprivation and delinquency. To test the proposed model, we examine survey data drawn from a longitudinal multi-city cohort study of adolescents who were followed from birth through age 15 (N = 825; 50 % female; 82 % non-Hispanic white, 59 % two-parent nuclear family). The results from regression models using latent factors indicate: sleep deprivation is positively related to low self-control; low self-control is positively related to delinquency; and the relationship between sleep deprivation and delinquency is indirect and operates through low self-control. Impressively, these relationships emerged when accounting for potential background sources of spuriousness, including neighborhood context, depressive symptoms, parenting practices, unstructured socializing with peers, and prior delinquency. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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The Impact of Sleep Duration on Adolescent Development: A Genetically Informed Analysis of Identical Twin Pairs

J.C. Barnes & Ryan Meldrum
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, February 2015, Pages 489-506

Abstract:
Recent work provides evidence that reduced sleep duration has detrimental effects on a range of developmentally related outcomes during adolescence. Yet, the potential confounding influence of genetic and shared environmental effects has not been sufficiently addressed. This study addresses this issue by analyzing cross-sectional data from the twin sub-sample of the first wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health [N ≈ 287 MZ (monozygotic) twin pairs; 50 % male; 22 % Black; mean age = 15.75]. Associations between sleep duration (measured through two different strategies, one tapping number of hours slept at night and the other measuring weeknight bedtimes) and seven outcomes (self-control, depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, body mass index, violent delinquency, non-violent delinquency, and drug use) were estimated. Consistent with prior research, associations between sleep duration and several outcomes were statistically significant when using standard social science analytic methods. Yet, when employing a methodology that accounts for genetic and shared environmental influences, some of these associations were reduced to non-significance. Still, two consistent associations remained in that participants who reported sleeping fewer hours at night (or who reported later bedtimes) exhibited lower levels of self-control and more depressive symptoms. Implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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A pilot study comparing opaque, weighted bottles with conventional, clear bottles for infant feeding

Alison Ventura & Rebecca Pollack Golen
Appetite, February 2015, Pages 178–184

Abstract:
It is hypothesized that the visual and weight cues afforded by bottle-feeding may lead mothers to overfeed in response to the amount of liquid in the bottle. The aim of the present pilot study was to test this hypothesis by comparing mothers' sensitivity and responsiveness to infant cues and infants' intakes when mothers use opaque, weighted bottles (that remove visual and weight cues) compared to conventional, clear bottles to feed their infants. We also tested the hypothesis that mothers' pressuring feeding style would moderate the effect of bottle type. Formula-feeding dyads (N = 25) visited our laboratory on two separate days. Mothers fed their infants from a clear bottle one day and an opaque, weighted bottle on the other; bottle-order was counterbalanced across the two days. Infant intake was assessed by weighing each bottle before and after the feeding. Maternal sensitivity and responsiveness to infant cues was objectively assessed using the Nursing Child Assessment Feeding Scale. Mothers were significantly more responsive to infant cues when they used opaque compared to clear bottles (p = .04). There was also a trend for infants to consume significantly less formula when fed from opaque compared to clear bottles (p = .08). Mothers' pressuring feeding style moderated the effect of bottle type on maternal responsiveness to infant cues (p = .02) and infant intake (p = .03). Specifically, mothers who reported higher levels of pressuring feeding were significantly more responsive to their infants' cues (p = .02) and fed their infants significantly less formula when using opaque versus clear bottles (p = .01); no differences were seen for mothers who reported lower levels of pressuring feeding. This study highlights a simple, yet effective intervention for improving the bottle-feeding practices of mothers who have pressuring feeding styles.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Enough

Higher Income Is Associated With Less Daily Sadness but not More Daily Happiness

Kostadin Kushlev, Elizabeth Dunn & Richard Lucas
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although extensive previous research has explored the relationship between income and happiness, no large-scale research has ever examined the relationship between income and sadness. Yet, happiness and sadness are distinct emotional states, rather than diametric opposites, and past research points to the possibility that wealth may have a greater impact on sadness than happiness. Using data from a diverse cross section of the U.S. population (N = 12,291), we show that higher income is associated with experiencing less daily sadness, but has no bearing on daily happiness. This pattern of findings could not be explained by relevant demographics, stress, and people’s daily time use. Although causality cannot be inferred from this correlational data set, the present findings point to the possibility that money may be a more effective tool for reducing sadness than enhancing happiness.

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Capital Taxation in the 21st Century

Alan Auerbach & Kevin Hassett
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
In his influential book, Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty argues forcefully that rising wealth and wealth inequality is an inherent characteristic of capitalist economies and calls for strong policy responses, in particular a substantial wealth tax implemented globally. This paper takes issue with the facts, logic, and policy conclusions in Piketty’s book, suggesting that the factors needed to support the inexorable rise in capital’s share and concentration are lacking and that among tax policy reforms aimed at dealing with economic inequality a wealth tax finds little support either in Piketty’s own work or elsewhere in the literature.

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The Rise and Decline of General Laws of Capitalism

Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Thomas Piketty’s (2013) book, Capital in the 21st Century, follows in the tradition of the great classical economists, like Marx and Ricardo, in formulating general laws of capitalism to diagnose and predict the dynamics of inequality. We argue that general economic laws are unhelpful as a guide to understand the past or predict the future, because they ignore the central role of political and economic institutions, as well as the endogenous evolution of technology, in shaping the distribution of resources in society. We use regression evidence to show that the main economic force emphasized in Piketty’s book, the gap between the interest rate and the growth rate, does not appear to explain historical patterns of inequality (especially, the share of income accruing to the upper tail of the distribution). We then use the histories of inequality of South Africa and Sweden to illustrate that inequality dynamics cannot be understood without embedding economic factors in the context of economic and political institutions, and also that the focus on the share of top incomes can give a misleading characterization of the true nature of inequality.

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Income Inequality and Political Polarization: Time Series Evidence Over Nine Decades

John Duca & Jason Saving
Review of Income and Wealth, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rising income inequality and political polarization have led some to hypothesize that the two are causally linked. Properly interpreting such correlations is complicated by multiple factors driving these phenomena, potential feedback between inequality and polarization, measurement issues, and the statistical challenges of modeling non-stationary variables. We find that a more precise measure of inequality (the inverted Pareto–Lorenz coefficient) is more consistently and statistically related to polarization in the short and long runs than the less precise top 1 percent share of income. We find bi-directional causality between polarization and inequality, consistent with theoretical conjecture and less formal evidence in previous studies.

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Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962-2013: What Happened over the Great Recession?

Edward Wolff
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Asset prices plunged between 2007 and 2010 but then rebounded from 2010 to 2013. The most telling finding is that median wealth plummeted by 44 percent over years 2007 to 2010, almost double the drop in housing prices. The inequality of net worth, after almost two decades of little movement, was also up sharply. Relative indebtedness expanded, particularly for the middle class, though the proximate causes were declining net worth and income rather than an increase in absolute indebtedness. The sharp fall in median net worth and the rise in overall wealth inequality over these years are traceable primarily to the high leverage of middle class families and the high share of homes in their portfolio. The racial and ethnic disparity in wealth also widened considerably. Households under age 45 saw their relative and absolute wealth declined sharply. Rather remarkably, there was virtually no change in median wealth from 2010 to 2013 despite the rebound in asset prices. The proximate cause was the high dissavings of the middle class, though their debt continued to fall. Wealth inequality and the racial and ethnic wealth gap also remained largely unchanged, though there was some recovery of net worth for young households.

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Religion and inequality: The lasting impact of religious traditions and institutions on welfare state development

Jason Jordan
European Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A strong correlation exists between inequality and religion, such that societies marked by high inequality are more religious than those with more egalitarian income distributions. What explains this correlation? Insecurity theory argues that high inequality generates intense insecurities, leading the poor to seek shelter in religion for both psychological and material comfort. This article develops an alternative perspective that reverses the chain of causality. It argues that religious institutions and movements frequently resist both the centralization of state power and socialist efforts to organize the working class. As a result, powerful religious movements constrain state-led efforts to provide social protection, increasing income inequality. Analysis of the historical record and contemporary data from 19 Western democracies reveals strong evidence that past periods of church-state conflict shaped the size and structure of welfare state institutions and, by extension, contemporary patterns of inequality.

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Does Early-Life Income Inequality Predict Self-Reported Health In Later Life? Evidence from the United States

Dean Lillard et al.
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the association between adult health and the income inequality they experienced as children up to 80 years earlier. Our inequality data track shares of national income held by top percentiles from 1913-2009. We average those data over the same early-life years and merge them to individual data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics data for 1984-2009. Controlling for demographic and economic factors, we find both men and women are statistically more likely to report poorer health if income was more unequally distributed during the first years of their lives. The association is robust to alternative specifications of income inequality and time trends and remains significant even when we control for differences in overall childhood health. Our results constitute prima facie evidence that adults’ health may be adversely affected by the income inequality they experienced as children.

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Innovating to Equality: The Egalitarian Distribution of Welfare from the Rise of Consumer Electronics

Charles Chuan He
University of Arizona Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Consumers have benefited from decades of technological improvement in electronics, yet the distribution of their welfare gains are unexamined, despite interest in other measures of inequality. In this paper, I examine the welfare gains to different income cohorts from the development of multiple categories of electronic products. Income dependent preferences are estimated in a dynamic model of demand. Key utility parameters, unique to income cohort, are identified from moments created using micro-level data containing purchase and demographic information. My results suggest that the benefits from the rise of electronics products may be far more egalitarian than conventional measures of inequality. Welfare gains to consumers in the bottom third of the US income distribution average approximately $1,000, while gains to the top third benefit are about $2,500. This is twice as equal as related measures of consumption inequality.

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Economic Freedom and Growth in U.S. State-Level Market Incomes at the Top and Bottom

Travis Wiseman
Mississippi State University Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
This paper investigates the long-run dynamics of economic freedom and income growth across U.S. states over the period 1979 to 2011. Specifically, I examine how the benefits of economic freedom are spread across society by focusing on market income growth for the top 10% and bottom 90% of the income distribution. Results show that increases in overall freedom are associated with larger total average income growth. Also, when viewed separately, an increase in overall freedom is associated with larger income growth for income earners in the bottom 90% relative to the top 10%. These results hold for several specifications using the underlying components of economic freedom, as well as for specifications focused exclusively on low-income states. Additionally, I control for spatial dependence in both income growth and changes in economic freedom using a spatial panel Durbin model with fixed effects.

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Income Inequality and Homicide in the United States: Consistency Across Different Income Inequality Measures and Disaggregated Homicide Types

Aki Roberts & Dale Willits
Homicide Studies, February 2015, Pages 28-57

Abstract:
Choices of inequality measure and homicide type may account for mixed findings on the income inequality–homicide link. We aim to acquaint criminologists with several income inequality measures beyond the familiar Gini index and apply the different measures to general and specific homicide rates, noting the practical effect of these choices on results. The income inequality measures differ in their fidelity to relative deprivation ideas, but still correlated highly with each other in data from 208 large U.S. cities. Multivariate analysis also found that all measures of income inequality had significant and positive associations with both overall and specific homicide rates.

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Building a More Mobile America — One Income Quintile at a Time

Shai Davidai & Thomas Gilovich
Perspectives on Psychological Science, January 2015, Pages 60-71

Abstract:
A core tenet of the American ethos is that there is considerable economic mobility. Americans seem willing to accept vast financial inequalities as long as they believe that everyone has the opportunity to succeed. We examined whether people’s beliefs about the amount of economic mobility in the contemporary United States conform to reality. We found that (a) people believe there is more upward mobility than downward mobility; (b) people overestimate the amount of upward mobility and underestimate the amount of downward mobility; (c) poorer individuals believe there is more mobility than richer individuals; and (d) political affiliation influences perceptions of economic mobility, with conservatives believing that the economic system is more dynamic — with more people moving both up and down the income distribution — than liberals do. We discuss how these findings can shed light on the intensity and nature of political debate in the United States on economic inequality and opportunity.

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Is income inequality persistent? Evidence using panel stationarity tests, 1870–2011

Rabiul Islam & Jakob Madsen
Economics Letters, February 2015, Pages 17–19

Abstract:
Using data on inequality for 21 OECD countries over the period 1870-2011 this paper tests the Piketty hypothesis that income inequality is likely to grow in the 21st century. It is shown that the null hypothesis of trend stationarity of inequality cannot be rejected at conventional significance levels, suggesting that shocks to income inequality are likely to be temporary.

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The Engagement Gap: Social Mobility and Extracurricular Participation among American Youth

Kaisa Snellman et al.
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2015, Pages 194-207

Abstract:
Participation in extracurricular activities is associated with positive youth outcomes such as higher education attainment and greater future earnings. We present new analyses of four national longitudinal surveys of American high school students that reveal a sharp increase in the class gap in extracurricular involvement. Since the 1970s, upper-middle-class students have become increasingly active in school clubs and sport teams, while participation among working-class students has veered in the opposite direction. These growing gaps have emerged in the wake of rising income inequality, the introduction of “pay to play” programs, and increasing time and money investments by upper-middle-class parents in children’s development. These trends need to be taken into account in any new initiative to monitor mobility. They also present a challenge to the American ideal of equal opportunity insofar as participation in organized activities shapes patterns of social mobility.

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The Informational Content of Surnames, the Evolution of Intergenerational Mobility and Assortative Mating

Maia Güell, José Rodríguez Mora & Christopher Telmer
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose a new methodology for measuring intergenerational mobility in economic well-being. Our method is based on the joint distribution of surnames and economic outcomes. It circumvents the need for intergenerational panel data, a long-standing stumbling block for understanding mobility. It does so by using cross-sectional data alongside a calibrated structural model in order to recover the traditional intergenerational elasticity measures. Our main idea is simple. If ‘inheritance’ is important for economic outcomes, then rare surnames should predict economic outcomes in the cross-section. This is because rare surnames are indicative of familial linkages. If the number of rare surnames is small this approach will not work. However, rare surnames are abundant in the highly-skewed nature of surname distributions from most Western societies. We develop a model that articulates this idea and shows that the more important is inheritance, the more informative will be surnames. This result is robust to a variety of different assumptions about fertility and mating. We apply our method using the 2001 census from Catalonia, a large region of Spain. We use educational attainment as a proxy for overall economic well-being. A calibration exercise results in an estimate of the intergenerational correlation of educational attainment of 0.60. We also find evidence suggesting that mobility has decreased among the different generations of the 20th century. A complementary analysis based on sibling correlations confirms our results and provides a robustness check on our method. Our model and our data allow us to examine one possible explanation for the observed decrease in mobility. We find that the degree of assortative mating has increased over time. Overall, we argue that our method has promise because it can tap the vast mines of census data that are available in a heretofore unexploited manner.

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Beyond Education and Fairness: A Labor Market Taxation Model for the Great Gatsby Curve

Lars Lefgren, Frank McIntyre & David Sims
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Applied researchers have been drawn to models that attribute the demonstrated cross-country differences in intergenerational income transmission to government failures to invest in the human capital of poor children. To highlight another potential mechanism, the disincentive effects of labor market taxation and redistribution, we present a simple model that can explain cross-country differences in intergenerational mobility and other previously observed empirical patterns. Empirical tests using data on income mobility, tax rates, and public expenditures largely support the model predictions. We conclude that the common presumption that intergenerational mobility largely measures fairness or opportunity, and the resultant policy recommendations, are premature.

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Globalization and welfare spending across 21 transitional economies

Ting Jiang
International Journal of Comparative Sociology, October 2014, Pages 429-453

Abstract:
This article explores the impact of globalization on welfare spending in transitional states. Based on World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) cross-country data sets 1990–2005, I test two leading hypotheses: the first of which predicts a negative relationship between global-economic embeddedness and welfare spending, and the second of which predicts a positive relationship between democratization and welfare spending. Using a cross-section time-series analysis, my findings suggest that the experiences of the transitional economies do not confirm either hypothesis. During the 16-year period of analysis, established globalization factors showed conflicting influence on welfare state arrangements. In addition, my analyses demonstrate a positive correlation between the use of IMF credit and welfare spending in transitional states. This finding contradicts the structural adjustment literature, which largely views policy-based conditional lending as a negative influence on receiving countries’ welfare expenditures.

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Single-Variable Threshold Effects in Ordered Response Models with an Application to Estimating the Income-Happiness Gradient

Andrew Hodge & Sriram Shankar
Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This short paper extends well-known threshold models to the ordered response setting. We consider the case where the sample is endogenously split to estimate regime-dependent coefficients for one variable of interest, while keeping the other coefficients and auxiliary parameters constant across the threshold. We use Monte Carlo methods to examine the behaviour of the model. In addition we derive the formulae for the partial effects associated with the model. We apply our threshold model to the relationship between income and self-reported happiness using data drawn from the US General Social Survey. While the findings suggest the presence of a threshold in the income-happiness gradient at approximately $US76,000, no evidence is found in support of a satiation point.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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