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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ethnic markets

What's in a Name? Mutual Fund Flows When Managers Have Foreign-Sounding Names

Alok Kumar, Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi & Oliver Spalt
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that name-induced stereotypes affect the investment choices of U.S. mutual fund investors. Managers with foreign-sounding names have about 10% lower annual fund flows, and this effect is stronger among funds with investor clienteles more likely to be suspicious of foreigners. Foreign-named managers experience lower appreciation (greater decline) in flows following good (bad) performance. Following 9/11, flows to funds with managers with Middle-Eastern-sounding names declined abnormally. In an experimental setting in which skill differences are absent, individuals allocate 11% less money to an index fund managed by a foreign-named manager. This gap widens following the Boston marathon bombings.

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The Black-White Wage Gap Among Young Women in 1990 vs. 2011: The Role of Selection and Educational Attainment

James Albrecht, Aico van Vuuren & Susan Vroman
Labour Economics, April 2015, Pages 66–71

Abstract:
In this paper, we compare the black-white median log wage gap for women aged 26–31 in 1990 and 2011. Two stylized facts emerge. First, the pattern of selection in the two years is similar – the gaps observed among women employed in 1990 and 2011 substantially understate the gaps that would have been observed had all 26–31 year-old women been working in those years. Second, both the median log wage gap observed in the data and the selection-corrected gap increased substantially between the two years, a fact that can be mostly attributed to changes in the distributions of educational attainment among young black and white women.

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Bank Deregulation and Racial Inequality in America

Ross Levine, Yona Rubinstein & Alexey Levkov
Critical Finance Review, 2014, Pages 1-48

Abstract:
We use the cross-state, cross-time variation in bank deregulation across the U.S. states to assess how improvements in banking systems affected the labor market opportunities of black workers. Bank deregulation from the 1970s through the 1990s improved bank efficiency, lowered entry barriers facing nonfinancial firms, and intensified competition for labor throughout the economy. Consistent with Becker's (1957) theory of racial discrimination, we find that in economies where employers have sufficiently strong racial biases, deregulation-induced improvements in the banking system boosted black workers' relative wages by facilitating the entry of new firms and reducing the manifestation of racial prejudices in labor markets.

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Criminal stigma, race, and ethnicity: The consequences of imprisonment for employment

Scott Decker et al.
Journal of Criminal Justice, March–April 2015, Pages 108–121

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the role of race/ethnicity and prior prison sentences on employment opportunities. Secondarily, we compare the impact of applying for jobs (in-person and online), and the role of education in securing employment. This work was conducted in a large southwestern city (Phoenix AZ) with high rates of imprisonment for blacks and Hispanics.

Methods: First, an audit test involving matched pairs of males within race/ethnicity categories (black, Hispanic, white) who applied for jobs in-person was conducted. More than 500 jobs were applied for by the audit testers. Second, a correspondence test was conducted using three pairs of résumés matched within race/ethnicity. In the correspondence test, over 3,000 jobs were applied for online. Each test used random assignment. Because of its importance for entry level employment, a separate analysis of food service jobs applied for online was conducted.

Results: Both sets of analyses were completed using cross-classified random effects (CCRE) models. Contrary to expectations, neither race/ethnicity nor prior prison record affected outcomes in the online application process. In contrast, both race/ethnicity and prison record had significant effects in the in-person audit analysis. The effect of a prison record was particularly strong for blacks.

Conclusions: Race/ethnicity and prior prison sentence remain important impediments to success in gaining employment. These results are particularly strong for in-person job applications and are somewhat smaller for online job applications.

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Accounting for the Gap: A Firm Study Manipulating Organizational Accountability and Transparency in Pay Decisions

Emilio Castilla
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Great progress has been made in documenting how employer practices may shape workplace inequality. Less research attention, however, has been given to investigating which organizational strategies are effective at addressing gender and racial inequality in labor markets. Using a unique field study design, this article identifies and tests, for the first time, whether accountability and transparency in pay decisions — two popular organizational initiatives discussed among scholars and practitioners — may reduce the pay gap by employee gender, race, and foreign nationality. Through a longitudinal analysis of a large private company, I study the performance-based reward decisions concerning almost 9,000 employees before and after high-level management adopted a set of organizational procedures, introducing accountability and transparency into the company’s performance-reward system. Before such procedures were introduced, there was an observed gap in the distribution of performance-based rewards where women, ethnic minorities, and non-U.S.-born employees received lower monetary rewards compared with U.S.-born white men having the same performance evaluation scores and working in the same job and work unit with the same manager and the same human capital characteristics. Analyses of the company’s employee performance-reward data after the adoption of accountability and transparency procedures show a reduction in this pay gap. I conclude by discussing the implications of this study for future research about employer strategies targeting workplace inequality and diversity.

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Is There A Taste For Racial Discrimination Among Employers?

Alex Bryson & Arnaud Chevalier
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on employers’ hiring discrimination is limited by the unlawfulness of such activity. Consequently, researchers have focused on the intention to hire. Instead, we rely on a virtual labour market, the Fantasy Football Premier League, where employers can freely exercise their taste for racial discrimination in terms of hiring and firing. The setting allows us to eliminate co-worker, consumer-based and statistical discrimination as potential sources of discrimination, thus isolating the effect of taste-based discrimination. We find no evidence of racial discrimination, either in initial hiring or through the season, in a context where employers are fully aware of current and prospective workers’ productivity.

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Walk the Walk but Don't Talk the Talk: The Strategic Use of Color-Blind Ideology in an Interracial Social Movement Organization

Angie Beeman
Sociological Forum, March 2015, Pages 127–147

Abstract:
In this study, I examine the strategies interracial organizations use in the twenty-first century, where color-blind ideology dominates. Much theoretical work on racism examines how it has evolved during different historical periods, but this work does not address how these changing forms of racism affect social movement organizations, particularly those on the left. While the literature on color-blind ideology has examined how it is expressed by African Americans and European Americans separately, my work investigates how color-blind ideology operates when European Americans and people of color are working together in the same organizational setting. Studies of social movements have examined how organizational culture affects strategies but have neglected how external racist culture and color-blind ideology impacts organizational strategies. Findings from 3 years of ethnographic data collected on an interracial social movement organization and its corresponding coalition suggest that activists in interracial organizations use racism evasiveness strategically to maintain solidarity. I conceptualize racism evasiveness as the action resulting from color-blind ideology within a larger system of racism. While activists perceive advantages to these strategies, there are also long-term negative consequences. Without explicitly naming and addressing racism, progressive organizations may be limited in their ability to challenge systemic racism.

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Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment

John Nunley et al.
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present experimental evidence from a correspondence test of racial discrimination in the labor market for recent college graduates. We find strong evidence of differential treatment by race: black applicants receive approximately 14% fewer interview requests than their otherwise identical white counterparts. The racial gap in employment opportunities is larger when comparisons are made between job seekers with credentials that proxy for expected productivity and/or match quality. Moreover, the racial discrimination detected is driven by greater discrimination in jobs that require customer interaction. Various tests for the type of discrimination tend to support taste-based discrimination, but we are unable to rule out risk aversion on the part of employers as a possible explanation.

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Pocketbook Prejudice? Exploring Economic Determinants of Prejudice Toward Chinese

Laura Silver
International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Spring 2015, Pages 71-89

Abstract:
This article examines causes for prejudice toward Chinese, focusing on whether economic attitudes — both sociotropic and personal — affect prejudice. Using a nationally representative sample of American workers, I find prejudice toward Chinese is related in part to personal economic interest. This finding contrasts with other studies of prejudice that have focused on sociotropic explanations. Leveraging a comparison with prejudice toward Canadians, I argue that this may be in part because of how the media frame China.

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Understanding Diversity: The Importance of Social Acceptance

Jacqueline Chen & David Hamilton
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2015, Pages 586-598

Abstract:
Two studies investigated how people define and perceive diversity in the historically majority-group dominated contexts of business and academia. We hypothesized that individuals construe diversity as both the numeric representation of racial minorities and the social acceptance of racial minorities within a group. In Study 1, undergraduates’ (especially minorities’) perceptions of campus diversity were predicted by perceived social acceptance on a college campus, above and beyond perceived minority representation. Study 2 showed that increases in a company’s representation and social acceptance independently led to increases in perceived diversity of the company among Whites. Among non-Whites, representation and social acceptance only increased perceived diversity of the company when both qualities were high. Together these findings demonstrate the importance of both representation and social acceptance to the achievement of diversity in groups and that perceiver race influences the relative importance of these two components of diversity.

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Are companies beholden to bias? The impact of leader race on consumer purchasing behavior

Derek Avery et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given that racial stereotypes often influence leader appraisals, many businesses assume consumers will respond unfavorably to Black leaders. Recent research, however, suggests observers may suppress negative stereotypes of Black leaders when they head high-performing organizations. We integrate theory on implicit leadership and motivated social cognition to better understand how leader stereotype application and suppression influence consumer purchasing behavior. Across archival studies, a classroom exercise, and an experiment, we found that customers (real and prospective) appraised Black leaders less favorably than White leaders, resulting in lower patronage only when motivated to view leaders stereotypically. Namely, significant consumer bias against companies with Black leaders emerged only when organizational failure was accompanied by (a) unfamiliarity with the leader(s) in question, (b) greater societal acceptance of racist behavior (i.e., in the past), or (c) high consumer desire to bask-in-reflected-glory of an organization.

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Being part of diversity. The effects of an all-inclusive multicultural diversity approach on majority members’ perceived inclusion and support for organizational diversity efforts

Wiebren Jansen, Sabine Otten & Karen van der Zee
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two experiments we tested how explicitly including the cultural majority group in an organization’s diversity approach (all-inclusive multiculturalism) affects the extent to which majority members feel included in the organization and support organizational diversity efforts. In Study 1 we focused on prospective employees. We found that an all-inclusive diversity approach, compared with the “standard” multicultural approach in which the majority group is not explicitly made part of organizational diversity, led to higher levels of anticipated inclusion for those with a high need to belong. In Study 2 we turned to sitting organizational members. Here, we again found that an all-inclusive multicultural approach increased perceptions of inclusion, but now the effect was present regardless of individual levels of need to belong. Perceived inclusion, in turn, was positively related to majority members’ support for organizational diversity efforts. Together, these findings underline the effectiveness of an all-inclusive multicultural approach towards diversity.

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Who Should We Help? An Experimental Test of Discrimination in the British Welfare State

Robert Ford
Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
The impact of immigration and rising ethnic diversity on support for the welfare state has been the subject of intense debate. Previous European research has found little evidence for an aggregate impact of diversity on support for welfare, but has not tested for discrimination between claimants at the individual level. This article presents two survey experiments which demonstrate that, in the ethnically diverse, high immigration British context, white majority respondents favour co-ethnic welfare claimants over foreign-born or ethnically different claimants. Both race and migrant status trigger discrimination, and the impact of these is cumulative, so a foreign-born Muslim claimant suffers a ‘double disadvantage’. Three mechanisms contribute to discrimination. Ethnocentrism reduces willingness to support minority welfare claimants, but not co-ethnic claimants. Economic insecurity increases support for co-ethnic welfare claimants, but not minority claimants. The perception that welfare claimants are generally undeserving of help has a larger negative impact on minority claimants than on co-ethnic claimants.

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Pigmentocracies: Educational Inequality, Skin Color and Census Ethnoracial Identification in Eight Latin American Countries

Edward Telles, René Flores & Fernando Urrea-Giraldo
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, June 2015, Pages 39–58

Abstract:
For the first time, most Latin American censuses ask respondents to self-identify by race or ethnicity allowing researchers to examine long-ignored ethnoracial inequalities. However, reliance on census ethnoracial categories could poorly capture the manifestation(s) of race that lead to inequality in the region, because of classificatory ambiguity and within-category racial or color heterogeneity. To overcome this, we modeled the relation of both interviewer-rated skin color and census ethnoracial categories with educational inequality using innovative data from the 2010 America's Barometer from the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) and 2010 surveys from the Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA) for eight Latin American countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru). We found that darker skin color was negatively and consistently related to schooling in all countries, with and without extensive controls. Indigenous and black self-identification was also negatively related to schooling, though not always at a statistically significant and robust level like skin color. In contrast, results for self-identified mulattos, mestizos and whites were inconsistent and often counter to the expected racial hierarchy, suggesting that skin color measures often capture racial inequalities that census measures miss.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Following the rules

What Is the Optimal Speed Limit on Freeways?

Arthur van Benthem
Journal of Public Economics, April 2015, Pages 44–62

Abstract:
When choosing his speed, a driver faces a trade-off between private benefits (time savings) and private costs (fuel cost and own damage and injury). Driving faster also has external costs (pollution, adverse health impacts and injury to other drivers). This paper uses large-scale speed limit increases in the western United States in 1987 and 1996 to address three related questions. First, do the social benefits of raising speed limits exceed the social costs? Second, do the private benefits of driving faster exceed the private costs? Third, what is the optimal speed limit? I find that a 10 mph speed limit increase on highways leads to a 3-4 mph increase in travel speed, 9-15% more accidents, 34-60% more fatal accidents, and elevated pollutant concentrations of 14-24% (carbon monoxide), 8-15% (nitrogen oxides), 1-11% (ozone) and 9% higher fetal death rates around the affected freeways. Using these estimates, I find that the social costs of speed limit increases are two to seven times larger than the social benefits. In contrast, many individual drivers would enjoy a net private benefit from driving faster. Privately, a value of a statistical life (VSL) of $6.0 million or less justifies driving faster, but the social planner’s VSL could be at most $0.9-$2.0 million to justify higher speed limits. I conclude that the optimal speed limit was lower, but not much lower, than 55 mph.

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Is Regulation to Blame for the Decline in American Entrepreneurship?

Nathan Goldschlag & Alex Tabarrok
George Mason University Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Mounting evidence suggests that economic dynamism and entrepreneurial activity are declining in the United States. Over the past thirty years, the annual number of new business startups and the pace of job reallocation have declined significantly. A variety of causes for these trends have been suggested, including an increasing ability of firms to respond to idiosyncratic shocks, technology induced changes in the costs of hiring and training, and increasing regulation. This research combines data from the Statistics of U.S. Businesses, which contains measures of the decline in economic dynamism, with RegData, a novel dataset leveraging the textual content of the Code of Federal Regulations. RegData contains annual industry level measures of the stringency of regulation. By combining these data, we are able to estimate the extent to which changes in the level of federal regulation can explain decreasing entrepreneurial activity and dynamism. We find that Federal regulation has had little to no effect on declining dynamism.

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Industrial Concentration under the Rule of Reason

Sam Peltzman
Journal of Law and Economics, August 2014, Pages S101-S120

Abstract:
Robert Bork thought that antitrust restrictions on horizontal mergers should be confined to already highly concentrated markets. Actual policy, which had been much more restrictive, adopted Bork’s recommendation in the early 1980s. This paper examines the connection between this policy shift and concentration in the manufacturing sector. I find that concentration, which had been unchanged on average for all of the 20th century, began rising at the same time that merger policy changed. Concentration has increased steadily over the entire post-Bork period. The increase has been especially pronounced in consumer goods industries, which were already becoming more concentrated in the pre-Bork era. I find little difference in the underlying trends between already highly concentrated industries and the rest of manufacturing. Neither slowing growth in domestic manufacturing nor growing imports seem sufficient to explain the increased concentration.

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Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing

Maury Gittleman, Mark Klee & Morris Kleiner
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Recent assessments of occupational licensing have shown varying effects of the institution on labor market outcomes. This study revisits the relationship between occupational licensing and labor market outcomes by analyzing a new topical module to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Relative to previously available data, the topical module offers more detailed information on occupational licensing from government, with larger sample sizes and access to richer sets of person-level characteristics. We exploit this larger and more detailed data set to examine the labor market outcomes of occupational licensing and how workers obtain these licenses from government. More specifically, we analyze whether there is evidence of a licensing wage premium, and how this premium varies with aspects of the regulatory regime such as the requirements to obtain a license or certification and the level of government oversight. After controlling for observable heterogeneity, including occupational status, we find that those with a license earn higher pay, are more likely to be employed, and have a higher probability of retirement and pension plan offers.

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Unaffordable housing and local employment growth: Evidence from California municipalities

Ritashree Chakrabarti & Junfu Zhang
Urban Studies, May 2015, Pages 1134-1151

Abstract:
It is widely believed that unaffordable housing could drive businesses away and thus impede job growth. However, there is little evidence to support this view. This paper presents a simple model to clarify how housing affordability is linked to employment growth and why unaffordable housing could negatively affect employment growth. The paper then investigates this effect empirically using data on California municipalities. For various reasons, a simple correlation between unaffordable housing and employment growth cannot be interpreted as causal. Several empirical strategies are employed to identify the causal effect of unaffordable housing on employment growth. The estimation results provide consistent evidence that unaffordable housing indeed slows local employment growth.

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Impact of a Letter-Grade Program on Restaurant Sanitary Conditions and Diner Behavior in New York City

Melissa Wong et al.
American Journal of Public Health, March 2015, Pages e81-e87

Objectives: We evaluated the impact of the New York City restaurant letter-grading program on restaurant hygiene, food safety practices, and public awareness.

Methods: We analyzed data from 43 448 restaurants inspected between 2007 and 2013 to measure changes in inspection score and violation citations since program launch in July 2010. We used binomial regression to assess probability of scoring 0 to 13 points (A-range score). Two population-based random-digit-dial telephone surveys assessed public perceptions of the program.

Results: After we controlled for repeated restaurant observations, season of inspection, and chain restaurant status, the probability of scoring 0 to 13 points on an unannounced inspection increased 35% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 31%, 40%) 3 years after compared with 3 years before grading. There were notable improvements in compliance with some specific requirements, including having a certified kitchen manager on site and being pest-free. More than 91% (95% CI = 88%, 94%) of New Yorkers approved of the program and 88% (95% CI = 85%, 92%) considered grades in dining decisions in 2012.

Conclusions: Restaurant letter grading in New York City has resulted in improved sanitary conditions on unannounced inspection, suggesting that the program is an effective regulatory tool.

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Characteristics of Bitcoin users: An analysis of Google search data

Aaron Yelowitz & Matthew Wilson
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
The anonymity of Bitcoin prevents analysis of its users. We collect Google Trends data to examine determinants of interest in Bitcoin. Based on anecdotal evidence regarding Bitcoin users, we construct proxies for four possible clientele: computer programming enthusiasts, speculative investors, Libertarians and criminals. Computer programming and illegal activity search terms are positively correlated with Bitcoin interest, while Libertarian and investment terms are not.

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Does State Antitrust Enforcement Drive Establishment Exit?

Robert Feinberg, Thomas Husted & Florian Szücs
Journal of Competition Law & Economics, March 2015, Pages 85-106

Abstract:
While studies have examined motivations for businesses to exit and relocate in response to tax and regulatory policies at the state level, no previous work has considered whether U.S. state antitrust enforcement may have similar effects. The results of this article suggest that state-level antitrust (even when coordinated with the federal government) plays a fairly minor role in the exit decision of firms. Where it does play a role, the type of enforcement — anti-cartel vs. other measures — seems to determine the direction of impact. The economic significance of these effects is quite small, however, suggesting that state antitrust authorities need not worry about impacts on the broader economy in their enforcement decisions. Their focus should simply be on the merits of the particular case.

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Regulating Innovation with Uncertain Quality: Information, Risk, and Access in Medical Devices

Matthew Grennan & Robert Town
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
This paper examines optimal regulatory testing requirements when new product quality is uncertain but market participants may learn over time. We develop a model capturing the regulator's tradeoff between consumer risk exposure and access to innovation. Using new data and exogenous variation between EU and US medical device regulatory rules, we document patterns consistent with our model and estimate its parameters. We find: without information from regulatory testing, risk shuts down the market; US policy is close to the one that maximizes a measure of welfare derived from our theoretical model and our empirical estimates; EU surplus could increase 20 percent with more pre-market testing; and “post-market surveillance” could increase surplus 24 percent.

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Vertical Separation Increases Gasoline Prices

Nathan Wilson
Economic Inquiry, April 2015, Pages 1380–1391

Abstract:
I examine the relationship between vertical separation and gasoline stations' prices and sales. The endogeneity of stations' organizational forms is addressed using both panel methods and an instrumental variables strategy. Controlling for the endogeneity of form, I find that vertical separation raises margins by 25%–45% but does not have a statistically significant impact on output. I interpret these results as suggesting that vertical separation induces local agents to exert effort in ways that increase consumers' demand.

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Can state law combat exclusionary zoning? Evidence from Massachusetts

Lynn Fisher & Nicholas Marantz
Urban Studies, May 2015, Pages 1071-1089

Abstract:
This paper empirically analyses a Massachusetts law (Chapter 40B) allowing developers of income-restricted housing to appeal local land-use decisions to a state administrative body. Based on a unique dataset, we assess whether Chapter 40B was more likely to be used by developers in municipalities that place stronger restrictions on development. We find that the use of Chapter 40B to overcome regulatory barriers depends on the type of project. For rental development, developers were more likely to use the law in municipalities that were relatively accessible to jobs and that placed relatively stringent zoning restrictions on multifamily development. The use of Chapter 40B for condominium development was more likely in larger, less well-located municipalities with relatively stringent wetlands regulations.

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Time Is Money: An Empirical Examination of the Effects of Regulatory Delay on Residential Subdivision Development

Douglas Wrenn & Elena Irwin
Regional Science and Urban Economics, March 2015, Pages 25–36

Abstract:
Variation in regulatory costs over time and across different types of investment projects creates risk for developers who hold land. These so-called implicit costs, which arise as a result of regulatory delay in the land development process, are hypothesized to be potentially large, but empirical evidence of their influence on development outcomes is limited. Using a unique micro-level data set on parcel-level subdivision development that includes data on the timing of subdivision approvals, we test the effects of implicit costs that arise as a result of increased subdivision approval times on the timing and pattern of residential subdivision development. Consistent with theory, we find that these regulation-induced implicit costs reduce the probability of subdivision development on any given parcel. In addition, we find that systematic variation in regulation-induced implicit costs across space has reduced development in more heavily regulated urbanized areas intended for development and intensified development in less regulated exurban areas located farther away. The results provide a new explanation of scattered, low-density urban development as the result of optimal land development with multiple development options and heterogeneous regulatory costs.

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The Impact of a Multiple Listing Service

Lingxiao Li & Abdullah Yavas
Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article offers a theoretical investigation of the impact of a multiple listing service (MLS) and its optimal size. We study a principal-agent model of real estate brokerage with multiple agents, where the entry of new agents imposes externalities on the other agents. We solve simultaneously for the equilibrium and socially efficient levels of agents’ effort choices, the size of the MLS and the commission rate. Introducing an MLS reduces the number of agents, increases agents’ effort levels and improves total surplus. Current commission rates of 5–7% appear much higher than the competitive commission rate, leading to too many agents, too much effort by agents and a lower overall surplus. We also find that giving a greater portion of the commission to the selling agent increases effort levels, reduces the number of agents and improves total surplus.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One giant leap for womankind

Gender Segregation in Occupations: The Role of Tipping and Social Interactions

Jessica Pan
Journal of Labor Economics, April 2015, Pages 365-408

Abstract:
This paper documents that the dynamics of occupational segregation are highly nonlinear and exhibit tipping patterns. Occupations experience discontinuous declines in net male employment growth at tipping points ranging from 25% to 45% (from 13% to 30%) female in white-collar (blue-collar) occupations from 1940 to 1990. These patterns appear consistent with a Schelling (1971) social interaction model where tipping results from male preferences toward the fraction female in their occupation. Supporting the model’s predictions, evidence from the General Social Survey indicates that tipping points are lower in regions where males hold more sexist attitudes toward the appropriate role of women.

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Affirmative Action and Stereotype Threat

Anat Bracha, Alma Cohen & Lynn Conell-Price
Harvard Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
This paper provides experimental evidence on the effect of affirmative action (AA). In particular, we investigate whether affirmative action has a ”stereotype threat effect” – that is, whether AA cues a negative stereotype that leads individuals to conform to the stereotype and adversely affects their performance. Stereotype threat has been shown in the literature to be potentially significant for individuals who identify strongly with the domain of the stereotype and who engage in complex stereotype-relevant tasks. We therefore explore this question in the context of gender-based AA for a complex math task. In this context, the stereotype is most relevant for women with high math ability, and the stereotype threat effects can be expected to work in the opposite direction to AA’s competition effect that encourages women to compete. We find that, consistent with the presence of a stereotype threat, AA has an overall negative effect on the performance of high-ability women performing complex math tasks.

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Unanticipated Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Program

Tirthatanmoy Das & Solomon Polachek
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the effect of California paid family leave (CPFL) on young women's labor force participation and unemployment, relative to men and older women. CPFL enables workers to take at most 6 weeks of paid leave over a 12-month period in order to bond with new born or adopted children, or to care for sick family members or ailing parents. The policy benefits women, especially young women, as they are more prone to take such a leave. However, the effect of the policy on overall labor market outcomes is less clear. We apply difference-in-difference techniques to identify the effects of the CPFL legislation on young women's labor force participation and unemployment. We find that the labor force participation rate, the unemployment rate, and the duration of unemployment among young women rose in California compared to men (particularly young men) and older women in California, and to other young women, men, and older women in states that did not adopt PFL. The latter two findings regarding higher young women's unemployment and unemployment duration are unanticipated effects of the CPFL program. We utilize robustness checks as well as unique placebo tests to validate these results.

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Do Men and Women Respond Differently to Competition? Evidence from a Major Education Reform

Louis-Philippe Morin
Journal of Labor Economics, April 2015, Pages 443-491

Abstract:
This paper provides new evidence of gender differences in response to increased competition, focusing on important life tasks performed in a regular social environment. The analysis takes advantage of a major education reform in Ontario that exogenously increased competition for university grades. Comparing students prereform and postreform using rich administrative data, I find that male average grades and the proportion of male students graduating “on time” increased relative to females. Further, the evidence indicates that these changes were due to increased relative effort rather than self-selection. The findings have implications for the delivery of education and incentive provision more generally.

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Gender and Dynamic Agency: Theory and Evidence on the Compensation of Top Executives

Stefania Albanesi, Claudia Olivetti & Maria Jose Prados
University of Southern California Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
We document three new facts about gender differences in executive compensation. First, female executives receive lower share of incentive pay in total compensation relative to males. This difference accounts for 93% of the gender gap in total pay. Second, the compensation of female executives displays lower pay-performance sensitivity. A $1 million dollar increase in firm value generates a $17,150 increase in firm specific wealth for male executives and a $1,670 increase for females. Third, female executives are more exposed to bad firm performance and less exposed to good firm performance relative to male executives. We find no link between firm performance and the gender of top executives. We discuss evidence on differences in preferences and the cost of managerial effort by gender and examine the resulting predictions for the structure of compensation. We consider two paradigms for the pay-setting process, the efficient contracting model and the “managerial power” or skimming view. The efficient contracting model can explain the first two facts. Only the skimming view is consistent with the third fact. This suggests that the gender differentials in executive compensation may be inefficient.

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Gender Biases in (Inter) Action: The Role of Interviewers’ and Applicants’ Implicit and Explicit Stereotypes in Predicting Women’s Job Interview Outcomes

Ioana Latu, Marianne Schmid Mast & Tracie Stewart
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although explicit stereotypes of women in the workplace have become increasingly positive, negative stereotypes persist at an implicit level, with women being more likely associated with incompetent — and men with competent — managerial traits. Drawing upon work on self-fulfilling prophecies and interracial interactions, we investigated whether and how implicit and explicit gender stereotypes held by both male interviewers and female applicants predicted women’s interview outcomes. Thirty male interviewers conducted mock job interviews with 30 female applicants. Before the interview, we measured interviewers’ and applicants’ implicit and explicit gender stereotypes. The interviewers’ and applicants’ implicit stereotypes independently predicted external evaluations of the performance of female applicants. Whereas female applicants’ higher implicit stereotypes directly predicted lower performance, male interviewers’ implicit stereotypes indirectly impaired female applicants’ performance through lower evaluations by the interviewer and lower self-evaluations by the applicant. Moreover, having an interviewer who was at the same time high in implicit and low in explicit stereotypes predicted the lowest performance of female applicants. Our findings highlight the importance of taking into account both implicit and explicit gender stereotypes in mixed-gender interactions and point to ways to reduce the negative effects of gender stereotypes in job interviews.

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Do Women Suffer from Network Closure? The Moderating Effect of Social Capital on Gender Inequality in a Project-Based Labor Market, 1929 to 2010

Mark Lutter
American Sociological Review, April 2015, Pages 329-358

Abstract:
That social capital matters is an established fact in the social sciences. Less clear, however, is how different forms of social capital affect gender disadvantages in career advancement. Focusing on a project-based type of labor market, namely the U.S. film industry, this study argues that women suffer a “closure penalty” and face severe career disadvantages when collaborating in cohesive teams. At the same time, gender disadvantages are reduced for women who build social capital in open networks with higher degrees of diversity and information flow. Using large-scale longitudinal data on career profiles of about one million performances by 97,657 film actors in 369,099 film productions between the years 1929 and 2010, I analyze career survival models and interaction effects between gender and different measures of social capital and information openness. Findings reveal that female actors have a higher risk of career failure than do their male colleagues when affiliated in cohesive networks, but women have better survival chances when embedded in open, diverse structures. This study contributes to the understanding of how and what type of social capital can be either a beneficial resource for otherwise disadvantaged groups or a constraining mechanism that intensifies gender differences in career advancement.

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When Judging Is Power: A Gender Perspective on the French and American Judiciaries

Adélaïde Remiche
Journal of Law and Courts, Spring 2015, Pages 95-114

Abstract:
This article examines the feminization of the judiciary in France and in the United States through the prism of the “imagined judge,” that is, the judge as he or she is represented in a specific legal culture. The French imagined judge is a knowledgeable automaton mechanically applying the law entirely created by the parliament, while his or her American counterpart is a decision maker well equipped to solve social problems. Interpreting the gender composition of the judiciary through the intellectual device of the imagined judge leads to a crucial observation: there is a correlation between the conceptualization of the imagined judge as a being exercising power, as in the United States, and the continued underrepresentation of women on the bench. From this observation comes an important hypothesis: the conceptualization of judging as an act of power works to keep women off the bench.

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Estimating Gender Differences in Access to Jobs

Laurent Gobillon, Dominique Meurs & Sébastien Roux
Journal of Labor Economics, April 2015, Pages 317-363

Abstract:
This paper proposes a new measure of gender differences in access to jobs based on a job assignment model. This measure is the probability ratio of getting a job for a female and a male at each rank of the wage ladder. We derive a nonparametric estimator of this access measure and estimate it for French full-time executives aged 40–45 in the private sector. Our results show that the gender difference in the probability of getting a job increases along the wage ladder from 9% to 50%. Females thus have a significantly lower access to high-paid jobs than to low-paid jobs.

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Gender Congruence and Work Effort in Manager–Employee Relationships

John Marvel
Public Administration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article uses data on public school teachers and principals to examine whether teachers who share the gender of their principal work more overtime hours than teachers who do not. Findings show that gender congruence is associated with overtime hours for female teachers but not for male teachers. This result holds between schools and within schools: female teachers with female principals work more overtime hours than female teachers with male principals, and female teachers with female principals work more overtime hours than male teachers who work in the same school, for the same female principal. In light of multiple competing explanations for this finding, the author explores why gender congruence matters for female teachers but not for male teachers.

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Geography and Gender: Variation in the Gender Earnings Ratio Across U.S. States

Saul Hoffman
Social Science Quarterly, March 2015, Pages 235–250

Objectives: The gender earnings ratio for year-round full-time (YRFT) workers varies substantially across U.S. states, with a range of 24 percentage points. I examine the sources of this variation to assess to what extent it reflects compositional differences by gender that vary across state and/or nonneutral effects of state of residence on gender earnings.

Methods: Using CPS data, I estimate earnings models for men and women that incorporate state fixed effects in addition to standard human capital and demographic variables. I use those estimates to compute unadjusted and regression-adjusted estimates of the impact of state residence on the gender earnings ratio.

Results: I find that nonneutral gender-specific state effects on earnings exist even after controlling for other determinants of earnings and that state of residence appears, therefore, to have a genuine effect on the gender earnings ratio. I also find that states with particularly low overall gender earnings ratios have consistently low ratios even within quite detailed education and occupation categories.

Conclusions: Variation in the gender earnings ratio for YRFT workers across states is not simply a result of compositional differences. It is unclear, however, what policy instruments or other factors account for these differences.

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How Do Stereotypes Influence Choice?

Anne-Sophie Chaxel
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the study reported here, I tracked one process through which stereotypes affect choice. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) and a measurement of predecisional information distortion were used to assess the influence of the association between male gender and career on the evaluation of information related to the job performance of stereotypical targets (male) and nonstereotypical targets (female). When the IAT revealed a strong association between male gender and career and the installed leader in the choice process was a stereotypical target, decision makers supported the leader with more proleader distortion; when the IAT revealed a strong association between male gender and career and the installed leader in the choice process was a nonstereotypical target, decision makers supported the trailer with less antitrailer distortion. A stronger association between male gender and career therefore resulted in an upward shift of the evaluation related to the stereotypical target (both as a trailer and a leader), which subsequently biased choice.

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Unbuttoned: The Interaction Between Provocativeness of Female Work Attire and Occupational Status

Neil Howlett et al.
Sex Roles, February 2015, Pages 105-116

Abstract:
Gender-biased standards in United Kingdom (UK) workplaces continue to exist. Women experience gender discrimination in judgements of competence, even by other women. Clothing cues can subtly influence professional perceptions of women. The aim of this study was to investigate how minor manipulations to female office clothing affect the judgements of competence of them by other UK females and to examine whether such effects differ with occupational status. One group of female university students (n = 54) and one group of employed females (n = 90), all from London and the East of England, rated images of faceless female targets, on a global competence measure derived from six competence ratings (of intelligence, confidence, trustworthiness, responsibility, authority, and organisation). The dress style was conservative but varied slightly by skirt length and the number of buttons unfastened on a blouse. The female targets were ascribed different occupational roles, varying by status (high – senior manager, or low - receptionist). Participants viewed the images for a maximum of 5 s before rating them. Overall participants rated the senior manager less favourably when her clothing was more provocative, but more favourably when dressed more conservatively (longer skirt, buttoned up blouse). This interaction between clothing and status was not present for the receptionist. Employed participants also rated females lower than did student participants. We conclude that even subtle changes to clothing style can contribute towards negative impressions of the competence of women who hold higher status positions in a UK cultural context.

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The bachelor’s to Ph.D. STEM pipeline no longer leaks more women than men: A 30-year analysis

David Miller & Jonathan Wai
Frontiers in Psychology, February 2015

Abstract:
For decades, research and public discourse about gender and science have often assumed that women are more likely than men to “leak” from the science pipeline at multiple points after entering college. We used retrospective longitudinal methods to investigate how accurately this “leaky pipeline” metaphor has described the bachelor’s to Ph.D. transition in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in the U.S. since the 1970s. Among STEM bachelor’s degree earners in the 1970s and 1980s, women were less likely than men to later earn a STEM Ph.D. However, this gender difference closed in the 1990s. Qualitatively similar trends were found across STEM disciplines. The leaky pipeline metaphor therefore partially explains historical gender differences in the U.S., but no longer describes current gender differences in the bachelor’s to Ph.D. transition in STEM. The results help constrain theories about women’s underrepresentation in STEM. Overall, these results point to the need to understand gender differences at the bachelor’s level and below to understand women’s representation in STEM at the Ph.D. level and above. Consistent with trends at the bachelor’s level, women’s representation at the Ph.D. level has been recently declining for the first time in over 40 years.

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The gender wage gap among PhDs in the UK

Ute Schulze
Cambridge Journal of Economics, March 2015, Pages 599-629

Abstract:
This article analyses the gender wage gap (GWG) among PhD graduates in the UK 42 months after their graduation in 2004–5. We find a sizeable overall GWG of 19 log percentage points, which is explained by a large wage premium for men outside academia compared to women and men in academia. The GWG in academia is small in comparison. Whilst the GWG outside academia is very high six months after graduation and remains largely unaltered, the GWG inside academia doubles in the following three years. The Oaxaca decomposition suggests that for this relatively homogeneous group the GWG cannot be explained by differences in endowments (university and employment characteristics). We find stark differences in wage patterns between the fields of study and a strongly increasing coefficient effect for higher quantiles.

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The Effect of Stereotype Threat on Performance of a Rhythmic Motor Skill

Meghan Huber et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many studies using cognitive tasks have found that stereotype threat, or concern about confirming a negative stereotype about one’s group, debilitates performance. The few studies that documented similar effects on sensorimotor performance have used only relatively coarse measures to quantify performance. This study tested the effect of stereotype threat on a rhythmic ball bouncing task, where previous analyses of the task dynamics afforded more detailed quantification of the effect of threat on motor control. In this task, novices hit the ball with positive racket acceleration, indicative of unstable performance. With practice, they learn to stabilize error by changing their ball-racket impact from positive to negative acceleration. Results showed that for novices, stereotype threat potentiated hitting the ball with positive racket acceleration, leading to poorer performance of stigmatized females. However, when the threat manipulation was delivered after having acquired some skill, reflected by negative racket acceleration, the stigmatized females performed better. These findings are consistent with the mere effort account that argues that stereotype threat potentiates the most likely response on the given task. The study also demonstrates the value of identifying the control mechanisms through which stereotype threat has its effects on outcome measures.

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Engineering Exchanges: Daily Social Identity Threat Predicts Burnout Among Female Engineers

William Hall, Toni Schmader & Elizabeth Croft
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Efforts to promote women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) require a clearer understanding of the experience of social identity threat outside academic contexts. Although social identity threat has been widely studied among students, very little research has examined how the phenomenon occurs naturalistically among working professionals in ways that could undermine productivity and well-being. The present research employed daily diary methodology to examine conversations with colleagues as triggers of social identity threat among a sample of 44 male and 52 female working engineers. Results of multilevel modeling revealed that (1) women (but not men) reported greater daily experiences of social identity threat on days when their conversations with male (but not female) colleagues cued feelings of incompetence and a lack of acceptance, and (2) these daily fluctuations of social identity threat predicted daily levels of mental exhaustion and psychological burnout. The implications for social identity threat in working professionals are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 23, 2015

You will be assimilated

Identity loan: The moral economy of migrant document exchange in California's Central Valley

Sarah Horton
American Ethnologist, February 2015, Pages 55–67

Abstract:
“Identity loan” is common among U.S. farmworkers. In contrast to “identity theft,” it is a voluntary exchange in which citizens and legal permanent residents lend unauthorized migrants their identity documents so that the latter may obtain a job. Drawing on nine months of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with 45 migrant farmworkers in California's Central Valley, I show that federal and state policies have encouraged identity loan as a mode of reciprocal gift-giving in resource- and document-poor migrant communities. Document exchange benefits “identity donors” by increasing their unemployment payments and directly depositing deductions from unauthorized migrants’ wages into their Social Security accounts. While many scholars theorize that unauthorized status serves as a hidden subsidy for the state, this study illuminates the microprocesses through which ordinary citizens and residents agentively vie to divert this “profit reserve” into their own pockets.

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Immigration and the Human Capital of Natives

Peter McHenry
Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2015, Pages 34-71

Abstract:
Large low-skilled immigration flows influence both the distribution of local school resources and also local relative wages, which exert counterbalancing pressures on the local return to schooling. I use the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS:88) and U.S. Census data to show that low-skilled immigration to an area induces local natives to improve their performance in school, attain more years of schooling, and take jobs that involve communication-intensive tasks for which they (native English speakers) have a comparative advantage. These results point out mechanisms that mitigate the potentially negative effect of immigration on natives’ wages.

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Hispanic Older Adult Mortality in the United States: New Estimates and an Assessment of Factors Shaping the Hispanic Paradox

Joseph Lariscy, Robert Hummer & Mark Hayward
Demography, February 2015, Pages 1-14

Abstract:
Hispanics make up a rapidly growing proportion of the U.S. older adult population, so a firm grasp of their mortality patterns is paramount for identifying racial/ethnic differences in life chances in the population as a whole. Documentation of Hispanic mortality is also essential for assessing whether the Hispanic paradox — the similarity in death rates between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites despite Hispanics’ socioeconomic disadvantage — characterizes all adult Hispanics or just some age, gender, nativity, or national-origin subgroups. We estimate age-/sex- and cause-specific mortality rate ratios and life expectancy for foreign-born and U.S.-born Hispanics, foreign-born and U.S.-born Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic blacks, and non-Hispanic whites ages 65 and older using the 1989–2006 National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality Files. Results affirm that Hispanic mortality estimates are favorable relative to those of blacks and whites, but particularly so for foreign-born Hispanics and smoking-related causes. However, if not for Hispanics’ socioeconomic disadvantage, their mortality levels would be even more favorable.

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Relational skill assets and anti-immigrant sentiments

Naeyun Lee & Cheol-Sung Lee
Social Science Research, July 2015, Pages 270–289

Abstract:
This study introduces the role of relational skill assets in accounting for attitudes toward immigrants. Drawing upon stratification researchers’ notion of “non-cognitive skills,” we build a theoretical framework highlighting the role of occupational skill requirements in explaining anti-immigrant sentiment. Then, utilizing two occupation-specific measures, interpersonal skill requirement and instrumental skill requirement, we construct an explanatory factor, relational skill specificity. We test its effect on anti-immigrant attitudes as well as on the concentration of foreign-born workers in occupations, using the 2004 national identity module of General Social Survey. The findings confirm our argument that workers with a higher possession of interpersonal skill assets relative to instrumental skill assets are exposed to less intense competitions with immigrants, and are therefore less likely to express anti-immigrant sentiments. Our findings suggest that occupational-level relational skill assets based on sociocultural differences play an important role in shaping native workers’ attitudes’ toward immigrants.

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Do Concerns About Labor Market Competition Shape Attitudes Toward Immigration? New Evidence

Jens Hainmueller, Michael Hiscox & Yotam Margalit
Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are concerns about labor market competition a powerful source of anti-immigrant sentiment? Several prominent studies have examined survey data on voters and concluded that fears about the negative effects of immigration on wages and employment play a major role generating anti-immigrant attitudes. We examine new data from a targeted survey of U.S. employees in 12 different industries. In contrast with previous studies, the findings indicate that fears about labor market competition do not appear to have substantial effects on attitudes toward immigration, and preferences with regard to immigration policy, among this large and diverse set of voters.

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Duration of US residence and suicidality among racial/ethnic minority immigrants

Monique Brown, Steven Cohen & Briana Mezuk
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, February 2015, Pages 257-267

Purpose: The immigration experience embodies a range of factors including different cultural norms and expectations, which may be particularly important for groups who become racial/ethnic minorities when they migrate to the US. However, little is known about the correlates of mental health indicators among these groups. The primary and secondary aims were to determine the association between duration of US residence and suicidality, and 12-month mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, respectively, among racial/ethnic minority immigrants.

Methods: Data were obtained from the National Survey of American Life and the National Latino and Asian American Survey. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between duration of US residence, and suicidality and 12-month psychopathology.

Results: Among Afro-Caribbeans, there was a modest positive association between duration of US residence and 12-month psychopathology (P linear trend = 0.016). Among Asians there was a modest positive association between duration of US residence and suicidal ideation and attempts (P linear trend = 0.018, 0.063, respectively). Among Latinos, there was a positive association between duration of US residence, and suicidal ideation, attempts and 12-month psychopathology (P linear trend = 0.001, 0.012, 0.002, respectively). Latinos who had been in the US for >20 years had 2.6 times greater likelihood of suicidal ideation relative to those who had been in the US for <5 years (95 % CI 1.01–6.78).

Conclusions: The association between duration of US residence and suicidality and psychopathology varies across racial/ethnic minority groups. The results for Latino immigrants are broadly consistent with the goal-striving or acculturation stress hypothesis.

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Beyond “White by Law”: Explaining the Gulf in Citizenship Acquisition between Mexican and European Immigrants, 1930

Cybelle Fox & Irene Bloemraad
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Between 1790 and 1952, naturalization was reserved primarily for “free white persons.” Asian immigrants were deemed non-white and racially ineligible for citizenship by legislation and the courts. European immigrants and, importantly, Mexican immigrants were considered white by law and eligible for naturalization. Yet, few Mexicans acquired US citizenship. By 1930, only 9 percent of Mexican men had naturalized, compared to 60 percent of southern and eastern Europeans and 80 percent of northern and western Europeans. If Mexicans were legally white, why did they rarely acquire citizenship in the early decades of the 20th century? We go beyond analyses focused on formal law or individual-level determinants to underscore the importance of region and non-white social status in influencing naturalization. Using 1930 US Census microfile data, we find that while individual characteristics (e.g., length of residence and literacy) explain some of the gulf in citizenship, the context of reception mattered nearly as much. Even if Mexicans were “white by law,” they were often judged non-white in practice, which significantly decreased their likelihood of naturalizing. Moreover, the more welcoming political and social climate of the Northeast and Midwest, where most European migrants lived, facilitated their acquisition of American citizenship.

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Behavioral Functioning among Mexican-origin Children: Does Parental Legal Status Matter?

Nancy Landale et al.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, March 2015, Pages 2-18

Abstract:
Using data on 2,535 children included in the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, we investigate how the legal status of immigrant parents shapes their children’s behavioral functioning. Variation in internalizing and externalizing problems among Mexican youth with undocumented mothers, documented or naturalized citizen mothers, and U.S.-born mothers is analyzed using a comparative framework that contrasts their experience with that of other ethnoracial groups. Our findings reinforce the importance of differentiating children of immigrants by parental legal status in studying health and well-being. Children of undocumented Mexican migrants have significantly higher risks of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems than their counterparts with documented or naturalized citizen mothers. Regression results are inconsistent with simple explanations that emphasize group differences in socioeconomic status, maternal mental health, or family routines.

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Hispanic Immigration and Black Violence at the Macro-Level: Examining the Conditioning Effect of Victim Race/Ethnicity

Casey Harris, Jeff Gruenewald & Noah Painter-Davis
Sociological Forum, March 2015, Pages 62–82

Abstract:
Much attention has been devoted to the relationship between Hispanic immigration and violent offending at the macro-level, including how it varies across racial and ethnic groups. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to the conditioning effect of the race/ethnicity of the victim, or how Hispanic immigration is associated with crime by one racial/ethnic group against members of the same or different groups. Using National Incident-Based Reporting System offending estimates and American Community Survey data, we examine the association between Hispanic immigration and black intra- and intergroup (black-on-white and black-on-Hispanic) homicide, robbery, and serious index violence in over 350 U.S. communities. We employ advanced imputation methods to address missing data that have constrained much prior research, as well as utilize crime measures adjusted for the likelihood of random contact between groups. Findings suggest that (1) Hispanic immigration has a positive association with black violence on the whole, but that (2) this association is conditioned by the race/ethnicity of the victim. Our results reinforce the importance of distinguishing across offender–victim dyads in research on the immigration–crime nexus, particularly in light of competing theoretical expectations. Directions for future research and policy are discussed.

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Immigrants and Mortgage Delinquency

Zhenguo Lin, Yingchun Liu & Jia Xie
Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article studies the effect of immigrant status on mortgage delinquency. Due to their different social and economic background, immigrant households may not integrate well into the host society, and therefore are more likely to be delinquent on mortgages than otherwise identical native-born households. We test this hypothesis by comparing the mortgage delinquency rate between immigrant and native-born households in the 2009 PSID (Panel Study of Income Dynamics) data, in which all the immigrant households have been in the United States for more than 10 years. We find that, after controlling for observables, those relatively recent immigrants who have been in the United States for 10 to 20 years have a higher mortgage delinquency rate than native-born, while immigrants who have resided in the United States for more than 20 years are no different from native-borns. In addition, there is no evidence that the second generation of immigrants is more likely to be delinquent than the third-or-higher generations. Our results are robust to potential sample-selection bias and functional misspecifications.

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Does neighbourhood composition modify the association between acculturation and unhealthy dietary behaviours?

Donglan Zhang et al.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Objective: Studies have shown that immigrants’ acculturation is associated with numerous unhealthy behaviours. Yet, the role of environmental factors in modifying the effect of acculturation on health behaviours has received little attention. This study aims to create a more nuanced understanding of the health effects of acculturation by examining how neighbourhood immigrant composition modifies the association between individuals’ eating patterns and acculturation.

Methods: Cross-sectional Data from Los Angeles County Health Survey 2007 adult sample were linked to data on retail food establishments and US Census 2000 neighbourhood characteristics. Acculturation was measured by language spoken at home and years stayed in the US. Eating fast food more than once per week and eating zero serving of fruit or vegetables during the previous day were used as proxy indicators for unhealthy dietary behaviour. Multilevel logistic regression models were performed in the full sample and in the sample with only Latino adults.

Results: Immigrants’ lack of acculturation and living in a neighbourhood with a high percentage immigrants were associated with healthier dietary behaviour. We also identified that lack of acculturation conveyed a significantly stronger protective effect on regular fast-food consumption for immigrants living in neighbourhoods with higher percentage immigrants (OR: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.12 to 0.93).

Conclusions: Among immigrants in Los Angeles County, living in a neighbourhood with a high density of other immigrants attenuates the negative effects of acculturation on healthy eating behaviours. Healthy eating promotion efforts should build on this protective effect in outreach to acculturating immigrant communities.

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Hispanics at the Starting Line: Poverty among Newborn Infants in Established Gateways and New Destinations

Daniel Lichter, Scott Sanders & Kenneth Johnson
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
High rates of Hispanic fertility raise an important question: Do Hispanic newborn babies start life's race behind the starting line, poor and disadvantaged? To address this question, we link the newborn infants identified with the new fertility question in the 2006–2010 American Community Survey (ACS) to the poverty status of mothers. Our results document the disproportionately large share (40 percent) of Hispanic babies who are born into poverty. The prospect of poverty is especially high in new Hispanic destinations, especially those in rural areas. For Hispanic newborn babies, poverty cannot be reduced to supply-side explanations that emphasize maladaptive behavioral decision-making of parents, that is, nonmarital or teen childbearing, low educational attainment, acquisition of English language skills, or other dimensions of human capital. Hispanics in new destinations often start well behind the starting line — in poverty and with limited opportunities for upward mobility and an inadequate welfare safety net. The recent concentration of Hispanic poverty in new immigrant destinations portends continuing intergenerational inequality as today's newborn infants make their way to productive adult roles.

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Americana or Latina? Gender and identity acquisition among Hispanics in the United States

Heather Silber Mohamed
Politics, Groups and Identities, Winter 2015, Pages 40-58

Abstract:
Existing literature demonstrates that Hispanic men and women incorporate into the USA differently. Research also finds that Latinas participate politically in greater numbers than Latino men on a range of indicators, including voting, naturalization, and citizenship acquisition. Using data from the 2006 Latino National Survey, I extend this line of scholarship to study gendered differences in Latino self-perception. My results demonstrate that despite higher levels of participation in the USA, Latinas are less likely to identify as American than Latino men. Moreover, while these ideas are not mutually exclusive, Latino men express a greater desire to blend into the USA, while Latinas are more likely to want to maintain a distinct Hispanic culture. However, consistent with intersectionality theory, which emphasizes the interaction between race/ethnicity, gender, and class, these differences disappear once a certain socioeconomic status is reached. I also demonstrate a stronger relationship between an American identity and political participation for Latino men than for Latinas. Overall, these findings underscore the importance of including gender as both a dependent and an independent variable in future studies of identity.

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Examining the U.S. Labor Market Performance of Immigrant Workers in the Presence of Network Effects

Gihoon Hong
Journal of Labor Research, March 2015, Pages 9-26

Abstract:
Networks are thought to have an important impact on individuals’ access to labor markets. Yet, it is a challenging task to identify network effects because the functioning of networks relies heavily on unobservables that may be correlated with other productivity-related characteristics. In this study, we quantify the importance of networks as a determinant of workers’ labor market outcomes. Using variation in the distance to the nearest Mexican rail lines in the past as a source of identification, we find that the size of the network is positively related to current wages and to the probability of being a documented immigrant.

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Welfare states and immigrant poverty: Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom in comparative perspective

Christel Kesler
Acta Sociologica, February 2015, Pages 39-61

Abstract:
This article examines immigrant poverty across three institutionally distinct European states: Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Focusing on 33 immigrant groups and controlling for sending country in addition to human capital and family characteristics, the analysis explores host country variation in (1) immigrant/native-born poverty gaps and (2) the underlying poverty levels at which these gaps occur. Findings reveal the largest poverty gaps in Sweden and demonstrate that this is due to immigrants’ comparatively severe labor market disadvantages. However, underlying poverty levels are also lowest in Sweden because of a two-pronged policy strategy of enabling work (particularly among women, immigrant and native-born alike) and reducing poverty through income support. Thus, immigrants in Sweden live at lower levels of poverty than their immigrant counterparts elsewhere, despite facing higher levels of inequality vis-à-vis native-born Swedes. The conclusion considers implications of poverty gaps and poverty levels, especially for the children of immigrants.

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Migration and welfare state spending

Stuart Soroka et al.
European Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Is international migration a threat to the redistributive programmes of destination countries? Existing work is divided. This paper examines the manner and extent to which increases in immigration are related to welfare state retrenchment, drawing on data from 1970 to 2007. The paper makes three contributions: (1) it explores the impact of changes in immigration on social welfare policy over both the short and medium term; (2) it examines the possibility that immigration matters for spending not just directly, but indirectly, through changes in demographics and/or the labour force; and (3) by disaggregating data on social expenditure into subdomains (including unemployment, pensions, and the like), it tests the impact of immigration on different elements of the welfare state. Results suggest that increased immigration is indeed associated with smaller increases in spending. The major pathway is through impact on female labour force participation. The policy domains most affected are ones subject to moral hazard, or at least to rhetoric about moral hazard.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sixth sense

The Cold Heart: Reminders of Money Cause Feelings of Physical Coldness

Leonie Reutner, Jochim Hansen & Rainer Greifeneder
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mere reminders of money have been shown to cause socially “cold” behavior. Recent research suggests that the metaphor of “social coldness” is bodily grounded and thus linked to actual sensations of physical coldness. We therefore hypothesized that reminding individuals of money causes them to feel physically colder. This hypothesis was put to test in two studies, drawing on predictions from psychophysiological thermal perception. In Study 1, individuals who had been reminded of money perceived the air in the room as colder compared to a control group (an assimilation effect). Contrarily, in Study 2, they perceived water (a medium that was only momentarily experienced) as warmer compared to individuals not reminded of money (a contrast effect). Together these findings demonstrate that reminders of money cause sensations of actual physical coldness and add to the literature of both the psychological effects of money and human thermal perception.

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Beating Their Chests: University Students With ADHD Demonstrate Greater Attentional Abilities on an Inattentional Blindness Paradigm

Ephraim Grossman et al.
Neuropsychology, forthcoming

Objective: Adults diagnosed with attentional deficit disorder (ADHD) are easily distracted in many tasks. Yet ADHD performance on inattentional blindness (IB) tasks has not been examined. Such investigation may aid in discriminating between 3 ADHD models: the neurological model, the perceptual load theory, and the “hunter versus farmer” hypothesis.

Method: Distractibility was assessed in ADHD and non-ADHD college students using the MOXO task that involves detection of a single attended stimulus that repeatedly appears in the same place and in the well-known IB “gorilla” video which involves tracking of a stimulus moving at a fast pace in a dynamic, complex manner.

Results: ADHD college students showed increased distractibility in the MOXO task. By contrast, they performed better than controls in the attended channel of the IB task, while they were also better at noticing the unattended stimuli and thus exhibiting little-to-no inattentional blindness.

Conclusions: As no attentional tradeoffs were evident in the IB task, it appears that the results are most consistent with the “hunter versus farmer” hypothesis, which postulates that ADHD individuals have an alternative cognitive style which is less equipped to deal with detection of repeated stimuli while comprising advantages in the tracking of stimuli moving in a fast dynamic manner.

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The Sound of Intellect: Speech Reveals a Thoughtful Mind, Increasing a Job Candidate’s Appeal

Juliana Schroeder & Nicholas Epley
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A person’s mental capacities, such as intellect, cannot be observed directly and so are instead inferred from indirect cues. We predicted that a person’s intellect would be conveyed most strongly through a cue closely tied to actual thinking: his or her voice. Hypothetical employers (Experiments 1-3b) and professional recruiters (Experiment 4) watched, listened, or read job candidates’ pitches about why they should be hired. Evaluators rated the candidates as more competent, thoughtful, and intelligent when they heard the pitch than when they read it and, as a result, liked the candidate more and were more interested in hiring the candidate. Adding voice to written pitches, by having trained actors (Experiment 3a) or untrained adults (Experiment 3b) read them, replicated these results. Adding visual cues through video did not influence evaluations beyond the candidate's voice. When conveying one’s intellect, it is important for one's voice, quite literally, to be heard.

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Science fiction reduces the eeriness of android robots: A field experiment

Martina Mara & Markus Appel
Computers in Human Behavior, July 2015, Pages 156–162

Abstract:
As suggested by the uncanny valley hypothesis, robots that resemble humans likely elicit feelings of eeriness. Based on the psychological model of meaning maintenance, we expected that the uncanny valley experience could be mitigated through a fictional story, due to the meaning-generating function of narratives. A field experiment was conducted, in which 75 participants interacted with the humanlike robot Telenoid. Prior to the interaction, they either read a short story, a non-narrative leaflet about the robot, or they received no preliminary information. Eeriness ratings were significantly lower in the science fiction condition than in both other conditions. This effect was mediated by higher perceived human-likeness of the robot. Our findings suggest that science fiction may provide meaning for otherwise unsettling future technologies.

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Your kid could not have done that: Even untutored observers can discern intentionality and structure in abstract expressionist art

Leslie Snapper et al.
Cognition, April 2015, Pages 154–165

Abstract:
Can people with no special knowledge about art detect the skill, intentionality, and expressed meanings in non-representational art? Hawley-Dolan and Winner (2011) showed participants without training in art images of abstract expressionist paintings paired with superficially similar works by children or animals and asked them which they preferred and which was a better work of art. Participants selected the works by artists in response to both questions at a rate above chance. In Study 1, we used the same image pairs but asked a more direct question: which painting is by the artist rather than the child or animal? Individuals with no familiarity with abstract expressionism correctly identified the artists’ works at a rate significantly above chance. In Study 2 participants saw each image singly and were asked whether it was by an artist or a child or animal. Participants unfamiliar with abstract expressionism again correctly identified the source of the works at a rate above chance. Study 3 demonstrated that this discrimination is made on the basis of perceived intentionality and perceived structure. People see more than they think they do in abstract art. These findings tell us something about the nature of non-figurative art. They also tell us something about the human tendency to ferret out intentionality.

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The Apple of the mind's eye: Everyday attention, metamemory, and reconstructive memory for the Apple logo

Adam Blake, Meenely Nazarian & Alan Castel
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People are regularly bombarded with logos in an attempt to improve brand recognition, and logos are often designed with the central purpose of memorability. The ubiquitous Apple logo is a simple design and is often referred to as one of the most recognizable logos in the world. The present study examined recall and recognition for this simple and pervasive logo and to what degree metamemory (confidence judgements) match memory performance. Participants showed surprisingly poor memory for the details of the logo as measured through recall (drawings) and forced-choice recognition. Only 1 participant out of 85 correctly recalled the Apple logo, and fewer than half of all participants correctly identified the logo. Importantly, participants indicated higher levels of confidence for both recall and recognition, and this overconfidence was reduced if participants made the judgements after, rather than before, drawing the logo. The general findings did not differ between Apple and PC users. The results provide novel support for theories of attentional saturation, inattentional amnesia, and reconstructive memory; additionally they show how an availability heuristic can lead to overconfidence in memory for logos.

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The Sweet Taste of Gratitude: Feeling Grateful Increases Choice and Consumption of Sweets

Ann Schlosser
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gratitude is a positive emotion experienced when a positive outcome is attributed to others. Though often regarded as a virtuous emotion, I argue that gratitude may have sweet side effects. Specifically, because gratitude involves acknowledging benefits received from the kind (or metaphorically sweet) actions of another, individuals may infer that they must be deserving of sweetness. As a result, they prefer foods with congruent — or sweet rather than nonsweet — tastes. If gratitude causes individuals to prefer sweets because they infer that they must be deserving of sweetness,, then the effect should be strongest among those most likely to infer from a sweet act that they deserve sweetness, such as those who are psychologically connected to others (i.e., primed with interdependence or shared attributes). The results of six studies support these predictions. In particular, individuals selected more sweets and fewer non-sweet foods when primed to feel grateful than proud, a positive emotion experienced by attributing a positive outcome to the self. Furthermore, moderation and mediation support the cognition of deserving sweetness as the underlying mechanism.

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I think therefore I am: Rest-related prefrontal cortex neural activity is involved in generating the sense of self

M. Gruberger et al.
Consciousness and Cognition, May 2015, Pages 414–421

Abstract:
The sense of self has always been a major focus in the psychophysical debate. It has been argued that this complex ongoing internal sense cannot be explained by any physical measure and therefore substantiates a mind-body differentiation. Recently, however, neuro-imaging studies have associated self-referential spontaneous thought, a core-element of the ongoing sense of self, with synchronous neural activations during rest in the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC), as well as the medial and lateral parietal cortices. By applying deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over human PFC before rest, we disrupted activity in this neural circuitry thereby inducing reports of lowered self-awareness and strong feelings of dissociation. This effect was not found with standard or sham TMS, or when stimulation was followed by a task instead of rest. These findings demonstrate for the first time a critical, causal role of intact rest-related PFC activity patterns in enabling integrated, enduring, self-referential mental processing.

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The Long and Winding Road to Uncertainty: The Link between Spatial Distance and Feelings of Uncertainty

Tina Glaser, Joshua Lewandowski & Jessica Düsing
PLoS ONE, March 2015

Abstract:
Construal Level Theory (CLT) defines psychological distance as any object, event, or person that cannot be experienced by the self in the here and now. The goal of the present research was to demonstrate that feelings of uncertainty are closely linked to the concept of psychological distance. Two experiments tested the assumption that spatial distance and uncertainty are bidirectionally related. In the first experiment, we show that perceived spatial distance leads to a feeling of uncertainty. The second experiment revealed that a feeling of uncertainty leads to a perception of greater distance. By demonstrating that distance is closely tied to uncertainty, the present research extends previous research on both distance and uncertainty by incorporating previously unexplained findings within CLT. Implications of these findings such as the role of uncertainty within CLT are discussed.

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Breakdown of the brain’s functional network modularity with awareness

Douglass Godwin, Robert Barry & René Marois
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Neurobiological theories of awareness propose divergent accounts of the spatial extent of brain changes that support conscious perception. Whereas focal theories posit mostly local regional changes, global theories propose that awareness emerges from the propagation of neural signals across a broad extent of sensory and association cortex. Here we tested the scalar extent of brain changes associated with awareness using graph theoretical analysis applied to functional connectivity data acquired at ultra-high field while subjects performed a simple masked target detection task. We found that awareness of a visual target is associated with a degradation of the modularity of the brain’s functional networks brought about by an increase in intermodular functional connectivity. These results provide compelling evidence that awareness is associated with truly global changes in the brain’s functional connectivity.

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Decreased interoceptive accuracy following social exclusion

Caroline Durlik & Manos Tsakiris
International Journal of Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The need for social affiliation is one of the most important and fundamental human needs. Unsurprisingly, humans display strong negative reactions to social exclusion. In the present study, we investigated the effect of social exclusion on interoceptive accuracy – accuracy in detecting signals arising inside the body – measured with a heartbeat perception task. We manipulated exclusion using Cyberball, a widely used paradigm of a virtual ball-tossing game, with half of the participants being included during the game and the other half of participants being ostracized during the game. Our results indicated that heartbeat perception accuracy decreased in the excluded, but not in the included participants. We discuss these results in the context of the social and physical pain overlap, as well as in relation to internally versus externally oriented attention.

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Red, Purple and Pink: The Colors of Diffusion on Pinterest

Saeideh Bakhshi
PLoS ONE, February 2015

Abstract:
Many lab studies have shown that colors can evoke powerful emotions and impact human behavior. Might these phenomena drive how we act online? A key research challenge for image-sharing communities is uncovering the mechanisms by which content spreads through the community. In this paper, we investigate whether there is link between color and diffusion. Drawing on a corpus of one million images crawled from Pinterest, we find that color significantly impacts the diffusion of images and adoption of content on image sharing communities such as Pinterest, even after partially controlling for network structure and activity. Specifically, Red, Purple and pink seem to promote diffusion, while Green, Blue, Black and Yellow suppress it. To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate how colors relate to online user behavior. In addition to contributing to the research conversation surrounding diffusion, these findings suggest future work using sophisticated computer vision techniques. We conclude with a discussion on the theoretical, practical and design implications suggested by this work — e.g. design of engaging image filters.

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The Uncanny Valley: The Effects of Rotoscope Animation on Motivational Processing of Depression Drug Messages

Russell Clayton & Glenn Leshner
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Winter 2015, Pages 57-75

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to investigate how rotoscope animation affects cognitive and emotional processing of depression drug ads. A 2 (animation) × 2 (position of tone) × 4 (message) experiment was conducted. Participants (N = 100) viewed 4, 90-s messages. STRTs (secondary task reaction times) and self-report of emotional responses were collected. Participants also completed an audio recognition task following each message. Among the key findings from this study were that participants in the animated condition showed signs of cognitive withdrawal and descent into a defensive cascade reflective of increasingly fast STRTs and poor encoding of drug side effects.

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Epigenetic modification of the oxytocin receptor gene influences the perception of anger and fear in the human brain

Meghan Puglia et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 March 2015, Pages 3308–3313

Abstract:
In humans, the neuropeptide oxytocin plays a critical role in social and emotional behavior. The actions of this molecule are dependent on a protein that acts as its receptor, which is encoded by the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). DNA methylation of OXTR, an epigenetic modification, directly influences gene transcription and is variable in humans. However, the impact of this variability on specific social behaviors is unknown. We hypothesized that variability in OXTR methylation impacts social perceptual processes often linked with oxytocin, such as perception of facial emotions. Using an imaging epigenetic approach, we established a relationship between OXTR methylation and neural activity in response to emotional face processing. Specifically, high levels of OXTR methylation were associated with greater amounts of activity in regions associated with face and emotion processing including amygdala, fusiform, and insula. Importantly, we found that these higher levels of OXTR methylation were also associated with decreased functional coupling of amygdala with regions involved in affect appraisal and emotion regulation. These data indicate that the human endogenous oxytocin system is involved in attenuation of the fear response, corroborating research implicating intranasal oxytocin in the same processes. Our findings highlight the importance of including epigenetic mechanisms in the description of the endogenous oxytocin system and further support a central role for oxytocin in social cognition. This approach linking epigenetic variability with neural endophenotypes may broadly explain individual differences in phenotype including susceptibility or resilience to disease.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Special someone

Historical and experimental evidence of sexual selection for war heroism

Hannes Rusch, Joost Leunissen & Mark van Vugt
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report three studies which test a sexual selection hypothesis for male war heroism. Based on evolutionary theories of mate choice we hypothesize that men signal their fitness through displaying heroism in combat. First, we report the results of an archival study on US-American soldiers who fought in World War II. We compare proxies for reproductive success between a control sample of 449 regular veterans and 123 surviving Medal of Honor recipients of WWII. Results suggest that the heroes sired more offspring than the regular veterans. Supporting a causal link between war heroism and mating success, we then report the results of two experimental studies (N's = 92 and 340). We find evidence that female participants specifically regard men more sexually attractive if they are war heroes. This effect is absent for male participants judging female war heroes, suggesting that bravery in war is a gender specific signal. Finally, we discuss possible implications of our results.

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Is Love (Color) Blind? The Economy of Race among Gay and Straight Daters

Jennifer Lundquist & Ken-Hou Lin
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
A drawback to research on interracial couplings is that it almost exclusively studies heterosexual relationships. However, compelling new evidence from analyses using the Census shows that interracial relationships are significantly more common among the gay population. It is unclear how much of this reflects weaker racial preference or more limited dating markets. This paper examines the interactions of white gay and straight online daters who have access to a large market of potential partners by modeling dyadic messaging behaviors. Results show that racial preferences are highly gendered, and do not line up neatly by gay or straight identity. White lesbians and straight men show the weakest same-race preference, followed by gay men, while straight women show the strongest same-race preference. Put differently, minority men are discriminated to a greater degree than minority women in both same-sex and different-sex dating markets. These results suggest that white gay men's higher rates of interracial cohabitation are driven more by constrained dating markets, while lesbians' appear to be driven by more open racial preferences.

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Exploring Perceptions of Slut-Shaming on Facebook: Evidence for a Reverse Sexual Double Standard

Leanna Papp et al.
Gender Issues, March 2015, Pages 57-76

Abstract:
Although there is a widespread belief that women are judged more harshly for sexual activity than men, research on the existence of the sexual double standard has been mixed. We investigated the sexual double standard and "slut-shaming" by asking participants to provide perceptions of both a target of "slut-shaming" and a "shamer." Male and female participants viewed a blinded Facebook conversation in which the male or female target, or "slut," was shamed by either a male or female "shamer." We found evidence for a reverse sexual double standard; male "sluts" were judged more harshly. Furthermore, the "shamer" was negatively evaluated, especially when shaming a woman. Our participants also indicated a belief in a societal sexual double standard. They perceived the "shamer" to be more judgmental and less congratulatory when the "slut" was female. Furthermore, qualitative data indicated that female "sluts" were believed to be labeled as such for lower levels of sexual behavior (e.g., sexy clothing or dancing), than was the case for male "sluts" (e.g., sex with multiple partners). Our data indicate that individual beliefs are changing more quickly than social perceptions.

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Racially and Ethnically Diverse Schools and Adolescent Romantic Relationships

Kate Strully
American Journal of Sociology, November 2014, Pages 750-797

Abstract:
Focusing on romantic relationships, which are often seen as a barometer of social distance, this analysis investigates how adolescents from different racial-ethnic and gender groups respond when they attend diverse schools with many opportunities for inter-racial-ethnic dating. Which groups respond by forming inter-racial-ethnic relationships, and which groups appear to "work around" opportunities for inter-racial-ethnic dating by forming more same-race-ethnicity relationships outside of school boundaries? Most prior studies have analyzed only relationships within schools and, therefore, cannot capture a potentially important way that adolescents express preferences for same-race-ethnicity relationships or work around constraints from other groups' preferences. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I find that, when adolescents are in schools with many opportunities for inter-racial-ethnic dating, black females and white males are most likely to form same-race-ethnicity relationships outside of the school; whereas Hispanic males and females are most likely to date across racial-ethnic boundaries within the school.

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Increased Facial Attractiveness Following Moderate, but not High, Alcohol Consumption

Jana Van Den Abbeele et al.
Alcohol and Alcoholism, forthcoming

Aims: Alcohol consumption is known to be associated with risky sexual behaviours, but this relationship may be complex and bidirectional. We explored whether alcohol consumption leads to the consumer being rated as more attractive than sober individuals.

Methods: Heterosexual social alcohol consumers completed an attractiveness-rating task, in which they were presented with pairs of photographs depicting the same individual, photographed while sober and after having consumed alcohol (either 0.4 or 0.8 g/kg), and required to decide which image was more attractive.

Results: Photographs of individuals who had consumed a low dose of alcohol (equivalent to 250 ml of wine at 14% alcohol by volume for a 70 kg individual) were rated as more attractive than photographs of sober individuals. This was not observed for photographs of individuals who had consumed a high dose of alcohol.

Conclusion: In addition to perceiving others as more attractive, a mildly intoxicated alcohol consumer may also be perceived as more attractive by others. This in turn may play a role in the relationship between alcohol consumption and risky sexual behaviour.

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Female copulatory orgasm and male partner's attractiveness to his partner and other women

Yael Sela et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, June 2015, Pages 152-156

Abstract:
Women's copulatory orgasm may function to retain sperm from men with "good genes", one indicator of which is attractiveness, and one benefit of which is pathogen resistance. Women who perceive their partner to be more (vs. less) attractive are more likely to report orgasm at last copulation. Another benefit of male attractiveness to women is that he may sire offspring that will gain the heritable share of this advantage (i.e., "sexy sons"). Research has not addressed the "Sexy Sons" Hypothesis (e.g., as indicated by women's perception of other women's assessments of their partner's attractiveness) in regards to female copulatory orgasm. We secured self-reports from 439 women in a committed, heterosexual relationship and investigated the relationships between women's orgasm at last copulation and (1) women's assessments of their partner's attractiveness and (2) women's perceptions of other women's assessments of their partner's attractiveness. The results indicate that women mated to more (vs. less) attractive men are more likely to report orgasm at last copulation, and this relationship is mediated by women's perceptions of other women's assessments of their partner's attractiveness. We discuss the mediated relationship, note limitations of the research, and suggest future research directions.

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Age Moderates Contrast Effects in Women's Judgments of Facial Attractiveness

Mary Burleson, Deborah Hall & Sara Gutierres
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Physical attractiveness is an important individual characteristic in most social situations. Contrast effects occur when the perceived attractiveness of an individual is lower in the context of highly attractive others or vice versa. We used mate-selection theory to predict the effects of raters' age and age of rated faces on contrast effects in women's attractiveness judgments. Younger (18-27 years) and older (50+ years) women rated the attractiveness of an average-looking younger or older female or younger or older male target person, after having rated a series of 5 other photos that were either highly attractive or average looking. Strong contrast effects were found for younger women rating images of younger men and women, and for older women rating images of older men, such that the same target face was rated more attractive when the context images were average looking than when they were highly attractive. Weak or nonsignificant contrast effects were found among younger women rating images of older men and older women, and among older women rating images of younger men. Contrary to predictions, no contrast effects were found for older women rating images of either younger or older women. The overall pattern of findings suggests that the salience of physical attractiveness cues may vary functionally between younger and older women and emphasizes the importance of motivational influences on evaluative processes.

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The effect of red on male perceptions of female attractiveness: Moderation by baseline attractiveness of female faces

Steven Young
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has demonstrated the importance of color in a variety of social contexts, including human mating. For example, red increases heterosexual men's feelings of attraction toward women. In the current work, this basic red-attraction link is qualified by the initial attractiveness of female faces. In two experiments, red enhanced men's ratings of female attractiveness, but only for faces pre-rated as attractive; red had no influence on perceptions of initially unattractive faces. Additionally, Experiment 1 manipulated how long participants viewed attractive and unattractive faces as an exploratory test of when color and face features are integrated. The findings show that initial female attractiveness moderates the influence of red on judgments of attractiveness even when the faces are viewed for extremely short exposures. The present findings identify an important boundary condition of the red-attractiveness effect and provide an initial indication of where in the processing stream color impacts social judgments.

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Facial coloration tracks changes in women's estradiol

Benedict Jones et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, June 2015, Pages 29-34

Abstract:
Red facial coloration is an important social cue in many primate species, including humans. In such species, the vasodilatory effects of estradiol may cause red facial coloration to change systematically during females' ovarian cycle. Although increased red facial coloration during estrus has been observed in female mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), evidence linking primate facial color changes directly to changes in measured estradiol is lacking. Addressing this issue, we used a longitudinal design to demonstrate that red facial coloration tracks within-subject changes in women's estradiol, but not within-subject changes in women's progesterone or estradiol-to-progesterone ratio. Moreover, the relationship between estradiol and facial redness was observed in two independent samples of women (N = 50 and N = 65). Our results suggest that changes in facial coloration may provide cues of women's fertility and present the first evidence for a direct link between estradiol and female facial redness in a primate species.

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Where birds flock to get together: The who, what, where, and why of mate searching

Peter Jonason et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, July 2015, Pages 76-84

Abstract:
An understudied area of personality psychology is how personality traits might facilitate structuring of one's environment toward goals like mating. In four studies (N = 1325), we examined (1) self-reports of where individuals go to find long-term and short-term mates, (2) how personality traits are associated with the use of these locations, and (3) how the sexes differ in their selection of mate search locations. Men were more likely than women were to use short-term (e.g., bars) than long-term (e.g., community events) niches, but did not differ in success in those niches and agreed on the nature of those niches. Slow life history traits, conscientiousness and agreeableness, were linked to preferences for long-term niches whereas, fast life history traits, narcissism and dishonesty, were linked to preferences for short-term mating niches.

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Are badges of status adaptive in large complex primate groups?

Cyril Grueter, Karin Isler & Barnaby Dixson
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sexual dimorphism in ornamentation in primates may have been sexually selected as signals of rank and dominance to males or by augmenting attractiveness to females. While male primates display tremendous variation in secondary sexual traits, such as sexual skin, capes of hair, and beards, which are often attributed to sexual selection, their phylogenetic distribution remains to be fully understood. Here we investigate the hypothesis that sexual dimorphism in ornaments is more pronounced in larger more 'anonymous' social organizations where quick reliable assessment of male quality, social status, dominance, and aggressiveness are selective pressures. Multiple regression analyses, including phylogenetic correction, were performed on 154 species representing 45 genera of simian primates. We found a positive relationship between degree of ornamental dimorphism and group size, even after controlling for other independent variables such as habitat type (i.e. openness of terrain) and fission-fusion dynamics. Dimorphism was also significantly associated with social organization, so that males from species with multilevel social organizations had the highest ratings for ornamentation. In sum, our analysis suggests that among primates with larger group sizes and multilevel social organizations, males have more developed visually conspicuous secondary sexual traits. This may reflect selection for amplified signals of individual identity, rank, dominance, or attractiveness in large and complex social organizations wherein social and physical conflict may arise frequently and individual recognition is limited.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 20, 2015

Messy

Public opinion on energy development: The interplay of issue framing, top-of-mind associations, and political ideology

Christopher Clarke et al.
Energy Policy, June 2015, Pages 131–140

Abstract:
In this article, we examine framing effects regarding unconventional oil and gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing (or fracking): an issue involving considerable controversy over potential impacts as well as terminology used to describe it. Specifically, we explore how two commonly used terms to describe this issue – fracking or shale oil or gas development – serve as issue frames and influence public opinion. Extending existing research, we suggest that these frames elicit different top-of-mind associations that reflect positive or negative connotations and resonate with people's political ideology. These associations, in turn, help explain direct and indirect framing effects on support/opposition as well as whether these effects differ by political ideology. Results of a split-ballot, national U.S. survey (n=1000) reveal that people are more supportive of the energy extraction process when it is referred to as shale oil or gas development versus fracking, and this relationship is mediated by greater perceptions of benefit versus risk. Political ideology did not moderate these effects. Further analysis suggests that these findings are partly explained by the tendency to associate fracking more with negative thoughts and impacts and shale oil or gas development more with positive thoughts and impacts. However, these associations also did not vary by political ideology. We discuss implications for communicating risk regarding energy development.

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Evaluating Behaviorally-Motivated Policy: Experimental Evidence from the Lightbulb Market

Hunt Allcott & Dmitry Taubinsky
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Imperfect information and inattention to energy costs are important potential motivations for energy efficiency standards and subsidies. We evaluate these motivations in the lightbulb market using a theoretical model and two randomized experiments. We derive welfare effects as functions of reduced-form sufficient statistics capturing economic and psychological parameters, which we estimate using a novel within-subject information disclosure experiment. The main results suggest that moderate subsidies for energy efficient lightbulbs may increase welfare, but informational and attentional biases alone do not justify a ban on incandescent lightbulbs. Our results and techniques generate broader methodological insights into welfare analysis with misoptimizing consumers.

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Acute Air Pollution Exposure and Risk of Suicide Completion

Amanda Bakian et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 1 March 2015, Pages 295-303

Abstract:
Research into environmental factors associated with suicide has historically focused on meteorological variables. Recently, a heightened risk of suicide related to short-term exposure to airborne particulate matter was reported. Here, we examined the associations between short-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide and completed suicide in Salt Lake County, Utah (n = 1,546) from 2000 to 2010. We used a time-stratified case-crossover design to estimate adjusted odds ratios for the relationship between suicide and exposure to air pollutants on the day of the suicide and during the days preceding the suicide. We observed maximum heightened odds of suicide associated with interquartile-range increases in nitrogen dioxide during cumulative lag 3 (average of the 3 days preceding suicide; odds ratio (OR) = 1.20, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.39) and fine particulate matter (diameter ≤2.5 μm) on lag day 2 (day 2 before suicide; OR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.10). Following stratification by season, an increased suicide risk was associated with exposure to nitrogen dioxide during the spring/fall transition period (OR = 1.35, 95% CI: 1.09, 1.66) and fine particulate matter in the spring (OR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.61) during cumulative lag 3. Findings of positive associations between air pollution and suicide appear to be consistent across study locations with vastly different meteorological, geographical, and cultural characteristics.

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Drilling Like There’s No Tomorrow: Bankruptcy, Insurance, and Environmental Risk

Judson Boomhower
University of California Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
When liability is limited by bankruptcy, theory says that firms will take excessive environmental and public health risks. In the long run, this “judgment-proof problem” may increase the share of small producers, even when there are economies of scale. I use quasi-experimental variation in liability exposure to measure the effects of bankruptcy protection on industry structure and environmental outcomes in oil and gas extraction. Using firm-level data on the universe of Texas oil and gas producers, I examine the introduction of an insurance mandate that reduced firms’ ability to avoid liability through bankruptcy. The policy was introduced via a quasi-randomized rollout, which allows me to cleanly identify its effects on industry structure. The insurance requirement pushed about 6% of producers out of the market immediately. The exiting firms were primarily small and were more likely to have poor environmental records. Among firms that remained in business, the bond requirement reduced oil production among the smallest 80% of firms by about 4% on average, which is consistent with increased internalization of environmental costs. Production by the largest 20% of firms, which account for the majority of total production, was unaffected. Finally, environmental outcomes, including those related to groundwater contamination, also improved sharply. These results suggest that incomplete internalization of environmental and safety costs due to bankruptcy protection is an important determinant of industry structure and safety effort in hazardous industries, with significant welfare consequences.

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Public Transit Bus Procurement: The Role of Energy Prices, Regulation and Federal Subsidies

Shanjun Li, Matthew Kahn & Jerry Nickelsburg
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The U.S. public transit system represents a multi-billion dollar industry that provides essential transit services to millions of urban residents. We study the market for new transit buses that features a set of non-profit transit agencies purchasing buses primarily from a few domestic bus makers. In contrast with private passenger vehicles, the fuel economy of public buses has not improved during the last thirty years and is irresponsive to fuel price changes. To understand these findings, we build a model of bus fleet management decisions of public transit agencies that yields testable hypotheses. Our empirical analysis of bus fleet turnover and capital investment highlights the role of energy prices, environmental regulations, and the “Buy America” mandate associated with receiving federal funding to purchase public transit buses.

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An eco-label effect in the built environment: Performance and comfort effects of labeling a light source environmentally friendly

Patrik Sörqvist et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2015, Pages 123–127

Abstract:
People tend to idealize eco-labeled products, but can eco-labeling have consequences for performance? To address this question, 48 university students were asked to undertake a color discrimination task adjacent to a desktop lamp that was either labeled “environmentally friendly” or “conventional” (although they were identical). The light of the lamp labeled “environmentally friendly” was rated as more comfortable. Notably, task performance was also better when the lamp was labeled “environmentally friendly”. Individual differences in environmental concern, but not pro-environmental consumer behavior and social desirability indexes, were related to the magnitude of the eco-label effect on performance. Whilst some previous studies have shown similar placebo-like effects of eco-labels on subjective ratings, this is the first study to show an eco-label effect for artifacts in the built environment on performance, and the first study to relate this effect to environmental concern. Psychological mechanisms that may underpin the eco-label effects are discussed.

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While Visitors Conserve, Residents Splurge: Patterns and Changes in Energy Consumption, 1997-2007

Iman Nasseri, Djeto Assané & Denise Eby Konan
Energy Economics, May 2015, Pages 282–292

Abstract:
This study analyzes changes in energy consumption in Hawai‘i between 1997 and 2007 using input-output analysis. Residents increase their energy use by 33% in electricity and 18% in fuel, largely due to direct consumption. In contrast, visitors contract energy demand by 9% and 4% in electricity and fuel, respectively. The findings are robust at per-capita levels. Key drivers are the significant drops in energy intensity of primarily three industries: air transportation, hotels, and restaurants. Further analysis decomposes the change to evaluate the underlying factors.

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Environmental regulation and competitiveness: Empirical evidence on the Porter Hypothesis from European manufacturing sectors

Yana Rubashkina, Marzio Galeotti & Elena Verdolini
Energy Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the “weak” and “strong” versions of Porter Hypothesis (PH) focusing on the manufacturing sectors of 17 European countries between 1997 and 2009. The hypothesis that well-crafted and well-enforced regulation would benefit both the environment and the firm was originally proposed by Porter (1991) and Porter and van der Linde (1995). To date, the literature has analyzed the impact of environmental regulation on innovation and on productivity mostly in separate analyses and focusing on the USA. The few existing contributions on Europe study the effect of environmental regulation either on green innovation or on performance indicators such as exports. We instead look at overall innovation and productivity impacts. First, focusing on overall innovative activity allows us to account for potential opportunity costs of induced innovations. Second, productivity impacts are arguably the most relevant indicators for the “strong” PH. As a proxy of environmental policy stringency we use pollution abatement and control expenditures (PACE), one of the few sectoral level indicators available. We remedy upon its main drawback, namely potential endogeneity, by adopting an instrumental variable estimation approach. We find evidence of a positive impact of environmental regulation on the output of innovation activity, as proxied by patents, thus providing support in favor of the “weak” PH. This result is in line with most of the literature. On the other front, we find no evidence in favor of the “strong” PH, as productivity appears to be unaffected by the degree of pollution control and abatement efforts.

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Association of Improved Air Quality with Lung Development in Children

James Gauderman et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 5 March 2015, Pages 905-913

Background: Air-pollution levels have been trending downward progressively over the past several decades in southern California, as a result of the implementation of air quality–control policies. We assessed whether long-term reductions in pollution were associated with improvements in respiratory health among children.

Methods: As part of the Children’s Health Study, we measured lung function annually in 2120 children from three separate cohorts corresponding to three separate calendar periods: 1994–1998, 1997–2001, and 2007–2011. Mean ages of the children within each cohort were 11 years at the beginning of the period and 15 years at the end. Linear-regression models were used to examine the relationship between declining pollution levels over time and lung-function development from 11 to 15 years of age, measured as the increases in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) during that period (referred to as 4-year growth in FEV1 and FVC).

Results: Over the 13 years spanned by the three cohorts, improvements in 4-year growth of both FEV1 and FVC were associated with declining levels of nitrogen dioxide (P<0.001 for FEV1 and FVC) and of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 μm (P= 0.008 for FEV1 and P<0.001 for FVC) and less than 10 μm (P<0.001 for FEV1 and FVC). These associations persisted after adjustment for several potential confounders. Significant improvements in lung-function development were observed in both boys and girls and in children with asthma and children without asthma. The proportions of children with clinically low FEV1 (defined as <80% of the predicted value) at 15 years of age declined significantly, from 7.9% to 6.3% to 3.6% across the three periods, as the air quality improved (P=0.001).

Conclusions: We found that long-term improvements in air quality were associated with statistically and clinically significant positive effects on lung-function growth in children.

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Do environmental right-to-know laws affect markets? Capitalization of information in the toxic release inventory

Ralph Mastromonaco
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates how information contained in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program, one of the largest environmental right-to-know programs, affects prices in the housing market. I use a strengthening of the reporting requirements for the chemical lead in 2001 as exogenous variation to test for housing price changes near existing firms who must now report. Using a difference-in-differences specification, I find that listing an existing firm in the Toxic Release Inventory lowers housing prices up to 11% within approximately 1 mile. The results suggest that housing market participants do capitalize into prices at least some information conveyed by the TRI program.

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Power to Choose? An Analysis of Consumer Inertia in the Residential Electricity Market

Ali Hortaçsu, Seyed Ali Madanizadeh & Steven Puller
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Many jurisdictions around the world have deregulated utilities and opened retail markets to competition. However, inertial decisionmaking can diminish consumer benefits of retail competition. Using household-level data from the Texas residential electricity market, we document evidence of consumer inertia. We estimate an econometric model of retail choice to measure two sources of inertia: (1) search frictions/inattention, and (2) a brand advantage that consumers afford the incumbent. We find that households rarely search for alternative retailers, and when they do search, households attach a brand advantage to the incumbent. Counterfactual experiments show that low-cost information interventions can notably increase consumer surplus.

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Empirical Tests of the Pollution Haven Hypothesis When Environmental Regulation is Endogenous

Daniel Millimet & Jayjit Roy
Journal of Applied Econometrics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The pollution haven hypothesis (PHH) posits that production within polluting industries will shift to locations with lax environmental regulation. While straightforward, the existing empirical literature is inconclusive owing to two shortcomings. First, unobserved heterogeneity and measurement error are typically ignored due to the lack of a credible, traditional instrumental variable for regulation. Second, geographic spillovers have not been adequately incorporated into tests of the PHH. We overcome these issues utilizing two novel identification strategies within a model incorporating spillovers. Using US state-level data, own environmental regulation negatively impacts inbound foreign direct investment. Moreover, endogeneity is both statistically and economically relevant.

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Coercive vs. Cooperative Enforcement: Effect of Enforcement Approach on Environmental Management

Dietrich Earnhart & Robert Glicksman
International Review of Law and Economics, June 2015, Pages 135–146

Abstract:
A spirited debate explores the comparative merits of two different approaches to the enforcement of regulatory law: the coercive approach, which emphasizes the deterrence of noncompliance through inflexibly imposed sanctions, and the cooperative approach, which emphasizes the inducement of compliance through flexibility and assistance. Both scholarly and policymaking communities are interested in this topic of enforcement approach within the realms of finance, tax compliance, occupational safety, food and drug safety, consumer product safety, and environmental protection. To inform this debate, our study explores enforcement of environmental protection laws where the debate has been especially spirited yet lacking in much empirical evidence. Specifically our study empirically analyzes the effects of these two approaches on environmental management practices linked to compliance with wastewater discharge limits imposed on chemical manufacturing facilities. For this analysis, we view the enforcement approach as representing a relationship between a regulator and a regulated entity that is measured in multiple dimensions so that we are able to explore the extent of cooperation or coercion. The empirical results reveal that a more cooperative relationship induces better environmental management.

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Revealing Climate Change Opinions Through Investment Behavior: Evidence from Fukushima

Zhen Lei & Anastasia Shcherbakova
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, March 2015, Pages 92–108

Abstract:
In this study we present a novel research approach to obtaining behavior-based evidence of regional climate change attitudes, using the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant incident as a natural experiment. Our approach allows us to produce the first non-survey-based empirical evidence of a trans-Atlantic divide in public opinion on the environment and climate change that investors assign to fossil-based and renewable energy. This value is based on the perceived potential of these fuel types to substitute for nuclear generation in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis. We carry out an event study to examine differences in abnormal returns of global coal and renewable energy companies on European and American stock exchanges. We find that investors trading on U.S. markets exhibit a significantly more favorable perception of coal stock profitability, while investors trading on European exchanges display a more favorable perception about profitability of renewable energy stocks.

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The effect of urbanisation on the climatology of thunderstorm initiation

Alex Haberlie, Walker Ashley & Thomas Pingel
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study assesses the impact of urban land use on the climatological distribution of thunderstorm initiation occurrences in the humid subtropical region of the southeast United States, which includes the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area. Initially, an automated technique is developed to extract the locations of isolated convective initiation (ICI) events from 17 years (1997–2013) of composite reflectivity radar data for the study area. Nearly 26 000 ICI points were detected during 85 warm-season months, providing the foundation for first long-term, systematic assessment of the influence of urban land use on thunderstorm development. Results reveal that ICI events occur more often over the urban area compared to its surrounding rural counterparts, confirming that anthropogenic-induced changes in land cover in moist tropical environments lead to more initiation events, resulting thunderstorms and affiliated hazards over the developed area. The ICI risk for Atlanta is greatest during the late afternoon and early evening in July and August in synoptically benign conditions. Greater ICI counts downwind of Atlanta suggest that prevailing wind direction also influences the location of these events. Moreover, ICI occurrences over the city were significantly higher on weekdays compared to weekend days — a result that was not apparent in a rural control region located west of the city. This suggests that the weekly commuting cycle and associated aerosol levels of Atlanta may amplify ICI rates. The investigation provides a methodological framework for future studies that examine the effect of land use, land cover, and terrain discontinuities on the spatio-temporal character of ICI events.

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Central American biomass burning smoke can increase tornado severity in the U.S.

P.E. Saide et al.
Geophysical Research Letters, 16 February 2015, Pages 956–965

Abstract:
Tornadoes in the Southeast and Central U.S. are episodically accompanied by smoke from biomass burning in Central America. Analysis of the 27 April 2011 historical tornado outbreak shows that adding smoke to an environment already conducive to severe thunderstorm development can increase the likelihood of significant tornado occurrence. Numerical experiments indicate that the presence of smoke during this event leads to optical thickening of shallow clouds while soot within the smoke enhances the capping inversion through radiation absorption. The smoke effects are consistent with measurements of clouds and radiation before and during the outbreak. These effects result in lower cloud bases and stronger low-level wind shear in the warm sector of the extratropical cyclone generating the outbreak; two indicators of higher probability of tornadogenesis and tornado intensity and longevity. These mechanisms may contribute to tornado modulation by aerosols, highlighting the need to consider aerosol feedbacks in numerical severe weather forecasting.

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Stock market and deterrence effect: A mid-run analysis of major environmental and non-environmental accidents

Cécile Carpentier & Jean-Marc Suret
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, May 2015, Pages 1–18

Abstract:
We analyze the stock market reaction to 161 major environmental and non-environmental accidents, reported on the front page of the New York Times for half a century. To determine if the market induces a real deterrence effect, we extend the event windows up to one year. On average, the market reacts negatively and enduringly to the announcement of an accident. However, this average effect is largely driven by the airline industry and by government interventions. The estimated average abnormal return following environmental accidents does not differ from zero after one year. This does not exclude, in severe events affecting large firms, huge losses in equity value, but the significant negative cumulative abnormal returns estimated immediately after an environmental accident in previous studies do not persist. Our results suggest that in a market driven by institutional investors, the deterrence effect is likely to be weak.

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Top carnivores increase their kill rates on prey as a response to human-induced fear

Justine Smith, Yiwei Wang & Christopher Wilmers
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 March 2015

Abstract:
The fear induced by predators on their prey is well known to cause behavioural adjustments by prey that can ripple through food webs. Little is known, however, about the analogous impacts of humans as perceived top predators on the foraging behaviour of carnivores. Here, we investigate the influence of human-induced fear on puma foraging behaviour using location and prey consumption data from 30 tagged individuals living along a gradient of human development. We observed strong behavioural responses by female pumas to human development, whereby their fidelity to kill sites and overall consumption time of prey declined with increasing housing density by 36 and 42%, respectively. Females responded to this decline in prey consumption time by increasing the number of deer they killed in high housing density areas by 36% over what they killed in areas with little residential development. The loss of food from declines in prey consumption time paired with increases in energetic costs associated with killing more prey may have consequences for puma populations, particularly with regard to reproductive success. In addition, greater carcass availability is likely to alter community dynamics by augmenting food resources for scavengers. In light of the extensive and growing impact of habitat modification, our study emphasizes that knowledge of the indirect effects of human activity on animal behaviour is a necessary component in understanding anthropogenic impacts on community dynamics and food web function.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Grace

Anticipating Divine Protection? Reminders of God Can Increase Nonmoral Risk Taking

Daniella Kupor, Kristin Laurin & Jonathan Levav
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Religiosity and participation in religious activities have been linked with decreased risky behavior. In the current research, we hypothesized that exposure to the concept of God can actually increase people’s willingness to engage in certain types of risks. Across seven studies, reminders of God increased risk taking in nonmoral domains. This effect was mediated by the perceived danger of a risky option and emerged more strongly among individuals who perceive God as a reliable source of safety and protection than among those who do not. Moreover, in an eighth study, when participants were first reminded of God and then took a risk that produced negative consequences (i.e., when divine protection failed to materialize), participants reported feeling more negatively toward God than did participants in the same situation who were not first reminded of God. This research contributes to an understanding of the divergent effects that distinct components of religion can exert on behavior.

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Religion priming and an oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism interact to affect self-control in a social context

Joni Sasaki, Taraneh Mojaverian & Heejung Kim
Development and Psychopathology, February 2015, Pages 97-109

Abstract:
Using a genetic moderation approach, this study examines how an experimental prime of religion impacts self-control in a social context, and whether this effect differs depending on the genotype of an oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism (rs53576). People with different genotypes of OXTR seem to have different genetic orientations toward sociality, which may have consequences for the way they respond to religious cues in the environment. In order to determine whether the influence of religion priming on self-control is socially motivated, we examine whether this effect is stronger for people who have OXTR genotypes that should be linked to greater rather than less social sensitivity (i.e., GG vs. AA/AG genotypes). The results showed that experimentally priming religion increased self-control behaviors for people with GG genotypes more so than people with AA/AG genotypes. Furthermore, this Gene × Religion interaction emerged in a social context, when people were interacting face to face with another person. This research integrates genetic moderation and social psychological approaches to address a novel question about religion's influence on self-control behavior, which has implications for coping with distress and psychopathology. These findings also highlight the importance of the social context for understanding genetic moderation of psychological effects.

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Latino Religious Affiliation and Ethnic Identity

Jonathan Calvillo & Stanley Bailey
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2015, Pages 57–78

Abstract:
Despite the pervasiveness of Catholicism among Latinos, studies reveal an increasing shift toward Protestantism. Examining the relationship between religion and ethnicity, we explore homeland language use as a core ethnic marker using a survey from the Pew Hispanic Center. Results reveal that Catholic Latinos are significantly more likely to use Spanish at home, even after controlling for other key variables. In response, we posit that Latino Catholicism and Protestantism entail significantly different religiosities in both home and host countries that impact Latino ethnic identification and its markers such as language use. Catholicism displays a higher level of inculturation in the sending country and greater overt institutional acceptance of ethnic culture in host countries. Protestantism in Latin America breaks with localized religiosity and traditions, and U.S. Protestant congregations may de-emphasize ethnic culture in their theologies and worship. Hence, Latino Catholicism acts as a bridge to homelands and reinforces ethnic salience, thereby supporting continued Spanish use at home. In contrast, Protestants embrace a reorienting religiosity that often presides over ethnic identification, decreasing the salience of homeland cultural markers.

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Broad supernatural punishment but not moralizing high gods precede the evolution of political complexity in Austronesia

Joseph Watts et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 April 2015

Abstract:
Supernatural belief presents an explanatory challenge to evolutionary theorists — it is both costly and prevalent. One influential functional explanation claims that the imagined threat of supernatural punishment can suppress selfishness and enhance cooperation. Specifically, morally concerned supreme deities or ‘moralizing high gods' have been argued to reduce free-riding in large social groups, enabling believers to build the kind of complex societies that define modern humanity. Previous cross-cultural studies claiming to support the MHG hypothesis rely on correlational analyses only and do not correct for the statistical non-independence of sampled cultures. Here we use a Bayesian phylogenetic approach with a sample of 96 Austronesian cultures to test the MHG hypothesis as well as an alternative supernatural punishment hypothesis that allows punishment by a broad range of moralizing agents. We find evidence that broad supernatural punishment drives political complexity, whereas MHGs follow political complexity. We suggest that the concept of MHGs diffused as part of a suite of traits arising from cultural exchange between complex societies. Our results show the power of phylogenetic methods to address long-standing debates about the origins and functions of religion in human society.

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Separation of church and space: Religious influences on public support for U.S. space exploration policy

Joshua Ambrosius
Space Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite growing interest in the relationship between religion and outer space, the influence of religion on space policy attitudes remains a mostly unexplored topic. This study fills this research gap by treating space exploration as a policy issue for examination by religion and politics theory. It uses data from the General Social Survey and three Pew surveys to construct several logistic regression models. Space policy support, the dependent variable, is operationalized in seven ways as the antecedents of policy views (i.e., space knowledge and interest), actual policy/funding views, and policy expectations. Religion, the key independent variable, is operationalized as belonging (tradition), behavior (church attendance), beliefs, and salience. In addition, one survey permits the identification of the nature of science messages espoused by clergy. The findings reveal that Evangelical Protestants in the U.S. are the least supportive of space policy. However, evidence shows that pro-science messages from the pulpit can change Evangelicals' perceptions of space exploration. The article concludes with calls for increased, concerted outreach to Evangelicals and other religious publics by the space community. These efforts are essential if the American republic will pursue greater space exploration in the near future. Ultimately, religions must ensure their survival by embracing space.

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Religiously Traditional, Unusually Supportive? Examining Who Gives, Helps, and Advises in Americans’ Close Networks

Markus Schafer
Social Currents, March 2015, Pages 81-104

Abstract:
A large literature is currently contesting the impact of religion on prosocial behavior. As a window into this discussion, I examine the close social networks of American adults and consider whether religious traditionalists are more likely than other network members to supply several basic forms of social support. Analysis of the Portraits of American Life Survey reveals three main findings. First, a majority of Americans — religious or not — count at least one perceived religious traditionalist among their close network ties. Second, American adults are more likely to receive advice, practical help, and money from ties identified as religious traditionalists than from other types of ties, a pattern that held among both kin and nonkin network ties. Finally, although perceived traditionalist network members appear especially inclined to assist highly religious people, they nevertheless offer social support to Americans across a broad spectrum of religiosity. Beyond its relevance for debates on religion and community life, this study also proposes a novel strategy to assess prosocial behavior. Asking people to recount the deeds of their network members can reduce certain self-reporting biases common to survey research and helps locate prosocial activity in concrete and meaningful social relationships.

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Outreach and Exclusion: Jewish Denominational Marketing in the Early 20th Century

Rachel Ellis
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2015, Pages 38–56

Abstract:
How do religious denominations select potential adherents? Previous literature indicates that market niches direct this decision, yet few studies examine how religious groups determine their niche. Analyzing annual reports and periodicals of Reform and Conservative Jewish organizations from 1910 to 1955, I find that the two denominations responded differently to the mass influx of Jewish immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Compared to the Conservative organization, which openly welcomed new immigrants, the Reform organization actively chose not to recruit them. Reform statements make it clear that this decision was a result of how working-class, Eastern European immigrants threatened their American-centered organizational identity. This finding suggests that religious institutions carefully consider their organizational identity based on nativity, ethnicity, and social class when determining whom to include in their market niche.

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The rule of law and constitutionalism in Muslim countries

Jerg Gutmann & Stefan Voigt
Public Choice, March 2015, Pages 351-380

Abstract:
Recently, several Muslim countries have ratified new constitutions. In this paper, we ask two questions: first, whether Muslim influence has a discernible impact on the content of such constitutions and, second, whether it has an impact on constitutional reality. More precisely, we are interested in the consequences of Islam for institutions securing the rule of law, while taking competing socioeconomic, geographic, and historical explanations explicitly into account. To this end, we construct a new Islamic State Index to measure the influence that Islam has on a society and its political and legal system. We find that Muslim influence is in conflict with the independence of the judiciary and nondiscriminatory legal institutions with respect to gender. Yet, parliamentary power as well as the protection of property rights and religious minorities are not significantly more constrained in Islamic states after we control for alternative explanations. Competing explanations such as the size of oil rents fare rather poorly in explaining differences in important aspects of the rule of law.

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The holy day effect

Mohamad Al-Ississ
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use Muslim holy days to investigate the underlying mechanism behind the holiday effect. Muslim holy days are exceptionally conducive to isolating the holy day effect. The study documents a positive change in stock returns during Ramadan. The significance and magnitude of the effect is consistent with the heterogeneity of worship intensity during Ramadan. Five possible causal channels are explored. We find support for a change in the composition of traded stocks according to their riskiness on holy days. Additionally, the mood channel is supported through documenting a negative effect on Ashoura linked to the proportion of Shia in a country.

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Death awareness and body–self dualism: A why and how of afterlife belief

Nathan Heflick et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Belief in life after death offers potential comfort in the face of inevitable death. However, afterlife belief likely requires not only an awareness of death but also body–self dualism — the perception that the self (e.g., the mind) is distinct from the physical, undeniably mortal, body. In turn, we hypothesized that mortality salience (MS) should heighten afterlife belief only when dualism is facilitated. Study 1 found that MS increased belief for people high, relative to low, in trait mind–body dualism. In Study 2, MS only increased belief when people first wrote about their thoughts and personality, which a pilot study confirmed facilitated dualistic belief, relative to thinking about the physical self. Study 3 used the brain–computer interface technology to induce a dualistic experience: MS increased belief when participants accurately “typed” without the use of their external body (i.e., no hands). Together, these findings support the position that mortality awareness and body–self dualism constitute a “why” and “how” of afterlife belief.

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State Regulation of Religion and the Quality of Governance

Rollin Tusalem
Politics & Policy, February 2015, Pages 94–141

Abstract:
The effect of state regulation of religion on governance has been explored theoretically by scholars, but it has not been tested empirically across nation states. The theory posits that secular states are more likely to benefit from better governance because of the absence of clerical involvement in politics, paving the way for the expansion of civil society and the passage of progressive political, economic, and social reforms. Using a unique dataset of more than 100 nation states, I find that countries with higher levels of state intervention on religion are more likely to suffer from inferior governance as reflected by higher levels of corruption and political instability and lower levels of rule of law entrenchment, bureaucratic effectiveness, and regulatory quality. Furthermore, states wherein there is no distinct separation between church and state are more likely to have lower levels of political openness and accountability.

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United by Faith? Race/Ethnicity, Congregational Diversity, and Explanations of Racial Inequality

Ryon Cobb, Samuel Perry & Kevin Dougherty
Sociology of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the extent to which the racial composition of a congregation moderates explanations for Black/White inequality among White, Black, and Hispanic congregants. Using nationally representative data from General Social Surveys and National Congregations Studies, we find that religiously affiliated Blacks and Hispanics tend to hold different racial attitudes than religiously affiliated Whites, but these differences largely disappear inside multiracial congregations. Importantly, we find that attending a multiracial congregation is unassociated with Whites' explanations for racial inequality, and Blacks who attend multiracial congregations are actually less likely to affirm structural explanations for Black/White inequality than Blacks in nonmultiracial congregations or Whites in multiracial congregations. We find little evidence that multiracial congregations promote progressive racial views among attendees of any race or ethnicity. Rather, our findings suggest that multiracial congregations (1) leave dominant White racial frames unchallenged, potentially influencing minority attendees to embrace such frames and/or (2) attract racial minorities who are more likely to embrace those frames in the first place.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Chain of command

The Inscrutable Intentions of Great Powers

Sebastian Rosato
International Security, Winter 2014/2015, Pages 48-88

Abstract:
Can great powers reach confident conclusions about the intentions of their peers? Many scholars argue that they can. One set of arguments holds that states can deduce others’ current intentions from certain domestic characteristics such as their foreign policy goals, ideology, or regime type. Another focuses on behavior and maintains that states can infer current intentions by examining their counterparts’ arms policies, membership in international institutions, or past actions in the security realm. A final set of arguments explains why intentions are unlikely to change and thus why current designs are good predictors of future plans. On careful review, these optimistic claims are unpersuasive. Great powers cannot confidently assess the current intentions of others based on the latter’s domestic characteristics or behavior, and they are even less sure when it comes to estimating their peers’ future intentions. These findings have important implications for theory and policy. Theoretically, they strengthen structural realism against competing approaches. As for the real world, they suggest that the United States and China are on a collision course if the latter continues to rise and becomes a peer competitor.

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Race, Paternalism, and Foreign Aid: Evidence from U.S. Public Opinion

Andy Baker
American Political Science Review, February 2015, Pages 93-109

Abstract:
Virtually all previous studies of domestic economic redistribution find white Americans to be less enthusiastic about welfare for black recipients than for white recipients. When it comes to foreign aid and international redistribution across racial lines, I argue that prejudice manifests not in an uncharitable, resentful way but in a paternalistic way because intergroup contact is minimal and because of how the media portray black foreigners. Using two survey experiments, I show that white Americans are more favorable toward aid when cued to think of foreign poor of African descent than when cued to think of those of East European descent. This relationship is due not to the greater perceived need of black foreigners but to an underlying racial paternalism that sees them as lacking in human agency. The findings confirm accusations of aid skeptics and hold implications for understanding the roots of paternalistic practices in the foreign aid regime.

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The ‘‘Star Wars’’ Murders: Revisiting a Cold Case from the Cold War

Marian Leighton
International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Spring 2015, Pages 290–318

"During the 1980s more than two dozen computer scientists, engineers, software designers, and highly-skilled technicians representing the cream of Great Britain's crop of missile defense experts died in mysterious and often gruesome ways. Coincidence might account for the timing and circumstances of these deaths, except for one caveat: Virtually all of the victims participated in the European counterpart to U.S. President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)...But these serial deaths have garnered almost no public attention throughout the years...The passage of nearly 30 years has yielded no resolution to one of the most intriguing unsolved cases of the Cold War or even an official British acknowledgement of possible serial homicides. Irrefutable evidence is still lacking...Intelligence gleaned from the Stasi files, declassified Soviet documents, and confessions of former terrorists lend credence to the hypothesis that the 'Star Wars' victims may have been pawns in a Soviet proxy war using terrorists and Stasi operatives to subvert SDI."

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Perceptions of a Changing World Induce Hope and Promote Peace in Intractable Conflicts

Smadar Cohen-Chen, Richard Crisp & Eran Halperin
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2015, Pages 498-512

Abstract:
The importance of hope in promoting conciliatory attitudes has been asserted in the field of conflict resolution. However, little is known about conditions inducing hope, especially in intractable conflicts, where reference to the outgroup may backfire. In the current research, five studies yielded convergent support for the hypothesis that hope for peace stems from a general perception of the world as changing. In Study 1, coders observed associations between belief in a changing world, hope regarding peace, and support for concessions. Study 2 revealed the hypothesized relations using self-reported measures. Studies 3 and 4 established causality by instilling a perception of the world as changing (vs. unchanging) using narrative and drawing manipulations. Study 5 compared the changing world message with a control condition during conflict escalation. Across studies, although the specific context was not referred to, the belief in a changing world increased support for concessions through hope for peace.

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The Impact of China on Cybersecurity: Fiction and Friction

Jon Lindsay
International Security, Winter 2014/2015, Pages 7-47

Abstract:
Exaggerated fears about the paralysis of digital infrastructure and the loss of competitive advantage contribute to a spiral of mistrust in U.S.-China relations. In every category of putative Chinese cyber threat, there are also considerable Chinese vulnerabilities and Western advantages. China has inadvertently degraded the economic efficiency of its networks and exposed them to foreign infiltration by prioritizing political information control over technical cyber defense. Although China also actively infiltrates foreign targets, its ability to absorb stolen data is questionable, especially at the most competitive end of the value chain, where the United States dominates. Similarly, China’s military cyber capacity cannot live up to its aggressive doctrinal aspirations, even as its efforts to guide national information technology development create vulnerabilities that more experienced U.S. cyber operators can attack. Outmatched by the West, China is resorting to a strategy of international institutional reform, but it benefits too much from multistakeholder governance to pose a credible alternative. A cyber version of the stability-instability paradox constrains the intensity of cyber interaction in the U.S.-China relationship — and in international relations more broadly — even as lesser irritants continue to proliferate.

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WMD, WMD, WMD: Securitisation through ritualised incantation of ambiguous phrases

Ido Oren & Ty Solomon
Review of International Studies, April 2015, Pages 313-336

Abstract:
We seek to reinvigorate and clarify the Copenhagen School's insight that 'security' is not 'a sign that refers to something more real; the utterance ['security'] itself is the act'. We conceptualise the utterances of securitising actors as consisting not in arguments so much as in repetitive spouting of ambiguous phrases (WMD, rogue states, ethnic cleansing). We further propose that audience acceptance consists not in persuasion so much as in joining the securitising actors in a ritualised chanting of the securitising phrase. Rather than being performed to, the audience participates in the performance in the manner in which a crowd at a rock concert sings along with the artists. We illustrate our argument with a discussion of how the ritualised chanting of the phrase ‘weapons of mass destruction’ during the run-up to the Iraq War ultimately produced the grave Iraqi threat that it purportedly described.

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Anti-Americanism and Anti-Interventionism in Arabic Twitter Discourses

Amaney Jamal et al.
Perspectives on Politics, March 2015, Pages 55-73

Abstract:
Systematic investigation of attitudes expressed in Arabic on Twitter towards the United States and Iran during 2012–13 shows how the analysis of social media can illuminate the politics of contemporary political discourses and generates an informative analysis of anti-Americanism in the Middle East. We not only analyze overall attitudes, but using a novel events-based analytical strategy, we examine reactions to specific events, including the removal of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, the Innocence of Muslims video, and reactions to possible U.S. intervention in Syria. We also examine the Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013, in which the United States suffered damage from human beings, and Hurricane Sandy, in which it suffered damage from nature. Our findings reinforce evidence from polling that anti-Americanism is pervasive and intense, but they also suggest that this animus is directed less toward American society than toward the impingement of the United States on other countries. Arabic Twitter discourses about Iran are at least as negative as discourses about the United States, and less ambivalent. Anti-Americanism may be a specific manifestation of a more general phenomenon: resentment toward powerful countries perceived as interfering in national and regional affairs.

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Offshoring the Army: Migrant Workers and the U.S. Military

Darryl Li
UCLA Law Review, January 2015, Pages 124-174

Abstract:
Long-running debates over military privatization overlook one important fact: The U.S. military’s post-2001 contractor workforce is composed largely of migrants imported from impoverished countries. This Article argues that these Third Country National (TCN) workers — so called because they are neither American nor local — are bereft of the effective protections of American law, local regimes, or their home governments; moreover, their vulnerability is a feature, not a flaw, in how the U.S. projects global power today. TCN workers are an offshore captive labor force whose use allows the government to keep politically sensitive troop numbers and casualty figures artificially low while reducing dependence on local populations with suspect loyalties. Legislation to combat human trafficking has done little to remedy exploitation and abuse of TCN workers because of jurisdictional hurdles and the lack of robust labor rights protections. Substantive reform efforts should address the deeper issue at stake, namely that the government uses TCN workers to carry out a core state function — namely, the use of force — without a clear relationship of responsibility to them. Unlike with soldiers, the labor of TCN workers is not valorized as sacrifice and unlike mercenaries selling their services to the highest bidder, they are frequently indebted to the point of indenture.

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The Rhetoric of Appeasement: Hitler's Legitimation and British Foreign Policy, 1938–39

Stacie Goddard
Security Studies, Winter 2015, Pages 95-130

Abstract:
Few grand strategies have been more scrutinized than Britain's decision to appease Nazi Germany. From 1933 to 1938, Britain eschewed confrontation and attempted to settle German demands. However in the five months following the negotiations at Munich, the British abandoned appeasement and embraced a policy of confronting the German state. The roots of both appeasement and confrontation can be found in Germany's legitimation strategies. Until the Munich crisis, Adolf Hitler justified Germany's aims with appeals to collective security, equality, and self-determination — norms central to the European system established by the Treaty of Versailles. After Munich, in contrast, German politicians abandoned these legitimation strategies, arguing instead that expansion was justified as a matter of German might, and not international rights. As Britain came to see German demands as illegitimate, so too did they decide this revisionist state was insatiable, impervious to negotiation, and responsive only to the language of force.

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When states appease: British appeasement in the 1930s

Peter Trubowitz & Peter Harris
Review of International Studies, April 2015, Pages 289-311

Abstract:
When do states appease their foes? In this article, we argue that governments are most likely to favour appeasing a foreign threat when their top leaders are severely cross–pressured: when the demands for increased security conflict sharply with their domestic political priorities. We develop the deductive argument through a detailed analysis of British appeasement in the 1930s. We show that Neville Chamberlain grappled with a classic dilemma of statecraft: how to reduce the risk of German expansionism while facing acute partisan and electoral incentives to invest resources at home. For Chamberlain, appeasement was a means to reconcile the demands for increased security with what he and his co-partisans were trying to achieve domestically. We conclude by discussing implications of the analysis for theorising about appeasement and about how leaders make grand strategy more generally.

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Winter-safe Deterrence: The Risk of Nuclear Winter and Its Challenge to Deterrence

Seth Baum
Contemporary Security Policy, Spring 2015, Pages 123-148

Abstract:
A new line of nuclear winter research shows that even small, regional nuclear wars could have catastrophic global consequences. However, major disarmament to avoid nuclear winter goes against the reasons nuclear weapon states have for keeping their weapons in the first place, in particular deterrence. To reconcile these conflicting aims, this paper develops the concept of winter-safe deterrence, defined as military force capable of meeting the deterrence goals of today's nuclear weapon states without risking catastrophic nuclear winter. This paper analyses nuclear winter risk, finding a winter-safe limit of about 50 nuclear weapons total worldwide. This paper then evaluates a variety of candidate weapons for winter-safe deterrence. Non-contagious biological weapons (such as anthrax or ricin), neutron bombs detonated at altitude, and nuclear electromagnetic weapons show the most promise. Each weapon has downsides, and the paper's analysis is only tentative, but winter-safe deterrence does appear both feasible and desirable given the urgency of nuclear winter risk.

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Is There an Oil Weapon?: Security Implications of Changes in the Structure of the International Oil Market

Llewelyn Hughes & Austin Long
International Security, Winter 2014/2015, Pages 152-189

Abstract:
What is the relationship between oil and coercion? For decades states have worried that their dependence on oil gives producers a potential lever of coercion. The size, integration, and sophistication of the current oil market, however, are thought to have greatly attenuated, if not eliminated, the coercive potential of oil. The best way to analyze the current global oil market is by viewing it as a series of distinct market segments, from upstream production to midstream transport to downstream refining, with the potential for coercion varying across them. Oil-producing states do not have the greatest coercive potential in the international oil market. Instead, the United States remains the dominant presence, though its dominance has shifted from production — where it resided prior to World War II — to the maritime environment. These findings are significant for scholars’ and policymakers’ understanding of the relationship between oil and coercion. More generally, they suggest that studies of the potential for states to coerce others using economic instruments should take into account differences in the structure of markets for different goods.

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Democracy and Multilateralism: The Case of Vote Buying in the UN General Assembly

David Carter & Randall Stone
International Organization, Winter 2015, Pages 1-33

Abstract:
Democracies are more supportive of US positions on important votes in the UN General Assembly than of nondemocracies. Is this because democracies share common perspectives, or does this pattern reflect coercion? Since 1985, US law has stipulated that the US State Department identify important votes and that aid disbursements reflect voting decisions. To unravel these alternative explanations, we introduce a strategic statistical model that allows us to estimate voting preferences, vulnerability to influence, and credibility of linkage, which are theoretical quantities of interest that are not directly observable. The results reject the hypothesis of shared democratic values: poor democracies have voting preferences that are more oppositional to US positions than autocracies, and they are more willing than autocracies to take symbolic stands that may cost them foreign aid. Democracies support US positions, however, because US aid linkages are more credible when directed toward democratic countries. Splitting the sample into Cold War and post–Cold War segments, we find that the end of the Cold War changed the way US linkage strategies treated allies and left- and right-leaning governments, but the effects of democracy remained constant.

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Has Successful Terror Gone to Ground?

Arnold Barnett
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article considers all 87 attacks worldwide against air and rail transport systems that killed at least two passengers over the 30-year period of 1982–2011. The data offer strong and statistically significant evidence that successful acts of terror have “gone to ground” in recent years: attacks against aviation were concentrated early in the three decades studied whereas those against rail were concentrated later. Recent data are used to make estimates of absolute and comparative risk for frequent flyers and subway/rail commuters. Point estimates in the “status quo” case imply that mortality risk from successful acts of terror was very low on both modes of transportation and that, whereas risk per trip is higher for air travelers than subway/rail commuters, the rail commuters experience greater risk per year than the frequent flyers.

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If It Leads, It Bleeds (and If It Bleeds, It Leads): Media Coverage and Fatalities in Militarized Interstate Disputes

Ross Miller & Karen Albert
Political Communication, Winter 2015, Pages 61-82

Abstract:
We analyze New York Times coverage of international events and offer what is perhaps the first test for the reciprocal effects of media coverage and fatalities in militarized interstate disputes. Our results suggest that once disputes go public, the probability of fatalities rises dramatically. Simply stated, if it leads, it bleeds. We also find qualified support for the well-known “if it bleeds, it leads” hypothesis, and relatively robust evidence of the effects of distance and news bureaus on media coverage of international crises.

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Pakistani Political Communication and Public Opinion on US Drone Attacks

Christine Fair, Karl Kaltenthaler & William Miller
Journal of Strategic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom holds that Pakistanis are overwhelmingly opposed to American drone strikes in their country’s tribal areas and that this opposition is driven by mass media coverage of the loss of life and property the strikes purportedly cause. Using an approach based in the literature in political communication and public opinion, we argue this conventional wisdom is largely inaccurate. Instead, we contend that awareness of drone strikes will be limited because Pakistan is a poor country with low educational attainment, high rates of illiteracy and persistent infrastructure problems that limit access to mass media. Moreover, because of these same country characteristics, Pakistanis’ beliefs about drone strikes will be shaped primarily by informal, face-to-face political communication, rather than through more formal media sources. We test this argument using data that we collected by fielding a 7,656 respondent, nationally-representative survey carried out in Pakistan in 2013. The results of the statistical analysis support our arguments.

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“Tossing a Match into Dry Hay”: Nuclear Weapons and the Crisis in U.S.-Canadian Relations, 1962–1963

Michael Stevenson
Journal of Cold War Studies, Fall 2014, Pages 5-34

Abstract:
Newly declassified archival sources allow a reassessment of U.S.-Canadian diplomacy during the final months of John Diefenbaker's government concerning Canada's prospective acquisition of nuclear weapons in the wake of the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Scholars have traditionally argued that Canadian proposals for U.S. nuclear warheads to be supplied to Canada after the outbreak of an international emergency were unworkable. Diefenbaker has been deemed primarily responsible for his government's collapse after personally fumbling the bilateral nuclear weapons talks. Drawing on previously unavailable primary documents, this article shows that the U.S. decision to reject Ottawa's proposals was rooted in political, not military, imperatives. The article also demonstrates that U.S. officials waged a concerted campaign to undermine the Canadian government, most notably through the State Department's unprecedented public rebuke of Diefenbaker's nuclear weapons policy in late-January 1963.

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Who but a Woman? The Transnational Diffusion of Anti-Communism among Conservative Women in Brazil, Chile and the United States during the Cold War

Margaret Power
Journal of Latin American Studies, February 2015, Pages 93-119

Abstract:
This article examines transnational connections among anti-communist women in Brazil, Chile and the United States from the 1960s to the 1980s. It explores the political beliefs and networks upon which these women drew and built in order to promote their role in the overthrow of João Goulart and Salvador Allende and to encourage other women across the Americas to join them in the fight against communism. This paper shows that these women reversed the flow of ideas, served as models for each other and for anti-communist women, and built gendered transnational networks of female anti-communist activists.

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Self-Containment: Achieving Peace in Anarchic Settings

Antonis Adam & Petros Sekeris
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
In anarchic settings, potential rivals can be dragged into arms races degenerating in open wars out of mutual suspicion. We propose a novel commitment device for contestants to avoid both arming and fighting. We assume that the military decides the armament levels of a country, while the civilian decides whether to attack a rival country. When these decision-making bodies perfectly communicate, the decision makers are unable to credibly communicate to their foe their willingness not to arm and not to attack, thus implying that war ensues. With imperfect information, however, peace may ensue as countries credibly signal to their rival a more peaceful stance since contestants are more reluctant to enter in an armed confrontation with a potentially understaffed army. Using data on the 1975 to 2001 period, we provide supportive evidence that in countries where the head of the state or the defense minister are military officers, and are therefore better informed of their armies’ fighting preparedness, the likelihood of observing an international conflict is higher.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Good call

Seeing the Other Side: Perspective Taking and the Moderation of Extremity

Hannah Tuller et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 18–23

Abstract:
Recognizing the reasonableness of others’ positions is important for conflict reduction, but is notoriously hard. We tested a perspective-taking approach to decreasing attitude entrenchment. Participants were held accountable in a task in which they wrote about a controversial issue from the perspective of a partner with an opposing viewpoint. This approach was effective at changing views on controversial issues -- in Study 1 on weight discrimination, an issue participants were unlikely to have thought much about, and in Study 2 on abortion, where beliefs tend to be more deeply held. Studies 3 and 4 showed this change only took place under conditions where participants met the individual with an opposing view in person, and where that individual would see the perspective-taking effort. These results suggest that it is possible to reduce attitude entrenchment by encouraging people to think about the opposing perspective of another as long as there is real contact and accountability.

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Equality bias impairs collective decision-making across cultures

Ali Mahmoodi et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
We tend to think that everyone deserves an equal say in a debate. This seemingly innocuous assumption can be damaging when we make decisions together as part of a group. To make optimal decisions, group members should weight their differing opinions according to how competent they are relative to one another; whenever they differ in competence, an equal weighting is suboptimal. Here, we asked how people deal with individual differences in competence in the context of a collective perceptual decision-making task. We developed a metric for estimating how participants weight their partner’s opinion relative to their own and compared this weighting to an optimal benchmark. Replicated across three countries (Denmark, Iran, and China), we show that participants assigned nearly equal weights to each other’s opinions regardless of true differences in their competence — even when informed by explicit feedback about their competence gap or under monetary incentives to maximize collective accuracy. This equality bias, whereby people behave as if they are as good or as bad as their partner, is particularly costly for a group when a competence gap separates its members.

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Wisdom in the Military Context

Hannes Zacher et al.
Military Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
On the basis of the Berlin wisdom paradigm, we define wisdom in the military context as expert knowledge and judgment concerning in extremis military operations. We measured wisdom in the military context by asking participants to give advice to an inexperienced officer facing an in extremis operation; subsequently, we coded their responses. Data were provided by 74 senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs) in the U.S. defense forces. In support of convergent validity, wisdom in the military context was positively related to general objective wisdom and general self-assessed wisdom. Relationships of wisdom in the military context and general objective wisdom with Big Five personality characteristics were nonsignificant, whereas general self-assessed wisdom was positively related to extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience, and it was negatively related to neuroticism. The findings provide initial support for the validity of the new wisdom in the military context measure. We discuss several implications for future research and practice regarding wisdom in the military context.

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The mnemonic muse: Nostalgia fosters creativity through openness to experience

Wijnand van Tilburg, Constantine Sedikides & Tim Wildschut
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 1–7

Abstract:
We proposed and tested the hypothesis that nostalgia fosters creativity. In Experiments 1 and 2, we examined whether nostalgia increases creativity. Nostalgia, relative to control, sparked creative prose in a writing task. We proceeded to test the mediating role of openness to experience. As hypothesized, openness to experience emerged as a plausible mediator of nostalgia's positive influence on creativity in Experiment 3. Finally, in Experiment 4, nostalgia, mediated by openness, boosted creativity above and beyond positive affect. The findings showcase the relevance of nostalgic reverie for the present and future, and establish nostalgia as a force of creative endeavors.

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The Sunk-Cost Fallacy in the National Football League: Salary Cap Value and Playing Time

Quinn Keefer
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The National Football League (NFL) draft is used to examine the presence of the sunk-cost fallacy in teams’ playing time decisions. In the NFL, salary cap value represents a significant sunk cost to teams. We use the structure of the NFL draft to conduct a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. Optimal bandwidth local linear results suggest a 10% increase in salary cap value yields an additional 2.7 games started, for players selected near the cutoff between the first two rounds. Despite being no more productive, the first round selections receive a compensation premium, which leads to them starting significantly more games.

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Using EEG to predict consumers' future choices

Ariel Telpaz, Ryan Webb & Dino Levy
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is now established that neural imaging technology can predict preferences over consumer products. However the applicability of this method to consumer marketing research remains in question, partly because of the expense required. In this article, we demonstrate that neural measurements made with a relatively low-cost and widely available measurement method — Electroencephalogram (EEG) — can predict future choices over consumer products. In our experiment, subjects viewed individual consumer products in isolation, without making any actual choices, while we measured their neural activity with EEG. After these measurements were taken, subjects then made choices between pairs of the same products. We find that neural activity measured from a mid-frontal electrode displays an increase in the N200 component and a weaker theta band power that correlates with a more preferred good. Using state-of-the-art techniques for relating neural measurements to choice prediction, we demonstrate that these measures predict subsequent choices. Moreover, the accuracy of prediction depends on both the ordinal and cardinal distance of the EEG data: the larger the difference in EEG activity between two goods, the better the predictive accuracy.

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The Effect of Providing Peer Information on Retirement Savings Decisions

John Beshears et al.
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a field experiment in a 401(k) plan, we measure the effect of disseminating information about peer behavior on savings. Low-saving employees received simplified plan enrollment or contribution increase forms. A randomized subset of forms stated the fraction of age-matched coworkers participating in the plan or age-matched participants contributing at least 6% of pay to the plan. We document an oppositional reaction: the presence of peer information decreased the savings of nonparticipants who were ineligible for 401(k) automatic enrollment, and higher observed peer savings rates also decreased savings. Discouragement from upward social comparisons seems to drive this reaction.

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Imperfect Recall: The Impact of Composite Spending Information Disclosure on Credit Card Spending

Amit Poddar, Cameron Ellis & Timucin Ozcan
Journal of Consumer Policy, March 2015, Pages 93-104

Abstract:
In the past 30 years, consumer credit card debt has expanded tremendously. We know that consumers willingly pay more for the same product when using credit cards versus cash, contrary to the classical rational agent model. Research suggests that it happens due to three imperfections in the classical model: imperfect self-knowledge, imperfect willpower, and imperfect recall. Traditional solutions to credit abuse address the first two imperfections; we examine the third. We propose reminding consumers, on every receipt, how much they have spent cumulatively. We test the effect of this proposal on spending via a controlled experiment. We find that printing this additional information on credit card receipts leads to a significant 9.6% reduction in overall spending compared to the status quo. We discuss the public policy implications of this finding as well as implementation issues.

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The brain in your pocket: Evidence that Smartphones are used to supplant thinking

Nathaniel Barr et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, July 2015, Pages 473–480

Abstract:
With the advent of Smartphone technology, access to the internet and its associated knowledge base is at one’s fingertips. What consequences does this have for human cognition? We frame Smartphone use as an instantiation of the extended mind — the notion that our cognition goes beyond our brains — and in so doing, characterize a modern form of cognitive miserliness. Specifically, that people typically forego effortful analytic thinking in lieu of fast and easy intuition suggests that individuals may allow their Smartphones to do their thinking for them. Our account predicts that individuals who are relatively less willing and/or able to engage effortful reasoning processes may compensate by relying on the internet through their Smartphones. Across three studies, we find that those who think more intuitively and less analytically when given reasoning problems were more likely to rely on their Smartphones (i.e., extended mind) for information in their everyday lives. There was no such association with the amount of time using the Smartphone for social media and entertainment purposes, nor did boredom proneness qualify any of our results. These findings demonstrate that people may offload thinking to technology, which in turn demands that psychological science understand the meshing of mind and media to adequately characterize human experience and cognition in the modern era.

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Scarcity Frames Value

Anuj Shah, Eldar Shafir & Sendhil Mullainathan
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economic models of decision making assume that people have a stable way of thinking about value. In contrast, psychology has shown that people’s preferences are often malleable and influenced by normatively irrelevant contextual features. Whereas economics derives its predictions from the assumption that people navigate a world of scarce resources, recent psychological work has shown that people often do not attend to scarcity. In this article, we show that when scarcity does influence cognition, it renders people less susceptible to classic context effects. Under conditions of scarcity, people focus on pressing needs and recognize the trade-offs that must be made against those needs. Those trade-offs frame perception more consistently than irrelevant contextual cues, which exert less influence. The results suggest that scarcity can align certain behaviors more closely with traditional economic predictions.

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Field Experiments on the Anchoring of Economic Valuations

Jonathan Alevy, Craig Landry & John List
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
A pillar of behavioral research is that preferences are constructed during the process of choice. A prominent finding is that uninformative numerical “anchors” influence judgment and valuation. It remains unclear whether such processes influence market equilibria. We conduct two experiments that extend the study of anchoring to field settings. The first experiment produces evidence that some consumers' valuations can be anchored in novel situations; there is no evidence that experienced agents are influenced by anchors. The second experiment finds that anchors have only transient effects on market outcomes that converge to equilibrium predictions after a few market periods.

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The excess choice effect: The role of outcome valence and counterfactual thinking

Rebecca Hafner, Mathew White & Simon Handley
British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contrary to economic theory, psychological research has demonstrated increased choice can undermine satisfaction. When and why this ‘excess choice effect’ (ECE) occurs remains unclear. Building on theories of counterfactual thinking we argue the ECE is more likely to occur when people experience counterfactual thought or emotion and that a key trigger is a negative versus positive task outcome. Participants either selected a drink (Experiment 1) or chocolate (Experiment 2) from a limited (6) versus extensive (24) selection (Experiment 1) or were given no choice versus extensive (24) choice (Experiment 2). In both experiments, however, the choice was illusory: Half the participants tasted a ‘good’ flavour, half a ‘bad’ flavour. As predicted, extensive choice was only detrimental to satisfaction when participants tasted the ‘bad’ drink or chocolate, and this was mediated by the experience of counterfactual thought (Experiment 1) or emotion (Experiment 2). When outcomes were positive, participants were similarly satisfied with limited versus extensive and no choice versus extensive choice. Implications for our theoretical understanding of the ECE and for the construction of choice architectures aimed at promoting individual satisfaction and well-being are discussed.

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Physiological Correlates of Choice-Induced Dissonance: An Exploration of HPA-Axis Responses

Sasha Kimel, Nestor Lopez-Duran & Shinobu Kitayama
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
Choice can produce a negatively arousing cognitive conflict (called dissonance), which is thought to motivate the chooser to spread their preferences for the relevant options (called Spreading of Alternatives, or SA). The current work aimed to determine the relationship between HPA-axis activity and both choice-induced dissonance and its reduction (i.e. SA) among individuals with varying cultural backgrounds. European–Americans and Asians made a choice between two equally attractive CDs either in the presence of a cue indicative of social eyes (i.e. public-choice condition) or in the absence thereof (i.e. private-choice condition). As predicted, European–Americans and Asians showed a reliable SA primarily in the private and public choice conditions, respectively. Importantly, a sharp decline of salivary cortisol was observed over the span of 30 min, and, moreover, this decline was reliably predicted by the magnitude of SA regardless of either culture or the choice being private vs. public. These results suggest that although choice-induced dissonance is too weak to elicit an HPA-axis stress response, SA is associated with variability in the decline of salivary cortisol during the laboratory task.

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Two Languages, Two Minds: Flexible Cognitive Processing Driven by Language of Operation

Panos Athanasopoulos et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People make sense of objects and events around them by classifying them into identifiable categories. The extent to which language affects this process has been the focus of a long-standing debate: Do different languages cause their speakers to behave differently? Here, we show that fluent German-English bilinguals categorize motion events according to the grammatical constraints of the language in which they operate. First, as predicted from cross-linguistic differences in motion encoding, bilingual participants functioning in a German testing context prefer to match events on the basis of motion completion to a greater extent than do bilingual participants in an English context. Second, when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in English, their categorization behavior is congruent with that predicted for German; when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in German, their categorization becomes congruent with that predicted for English. These findings show that language effects on cognition are context-bound and transient, revealing unprecedented levels of malleability in human cognition.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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