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Friday, May 22, 2015

Outsiders

Are Immigrants a Shot in the Arm for the Local Economy?

Gihoon Hong & John McLaren
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Most research on the effects of immigration focuses on the effects of immigrants as adding to the supply of labor. By contrast, this paper studies the effects of immigrants on local labor demand, due to the increase in consumer demand for local services created by immigrants. This effect can attenuate downward pressure from immigrants on non-immigrants' wages, and also benefit non-immigrants by increasing the variety of local services available. For this reason, immigrants can raise native workers' real wages, and each immigrant could create more than one job. Using US Census data from 1980 to 2000, we find considerable evidence for these effects: Each immigrant creates 1.2 local jobs for local workers, most of them going to native workers, and 62% of these jobs are in non-traded services. Immigrants appear to raise local non-tradables sector wages and to attract native-born workers from elsewhere in the country. Overall, it appears that local workers benefit from the arrival of more immigrants.

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Foreign-born Peers and Academic Performance

Dylan Conger
Demography, April 2015, Pages 569-592

Abstract:
The academic performance of foreign-born youth in the United States is well studied, yet little is known about whether and how foreign-born students influence their classmates. In this article, I develop a set of expectations regarding the potential consequences of immigrant integration across schools, with a distinction between the effects of sharing schools with immigrants who are designated as English language learners (ELL) and those who are not. I then use administrative data on multiple cohorts of Florida public high school students to estimate the effect of immigrant shares on immigrant and native-born students' academic performance. The identification strategy pays careful attention to the selection problem by estimating the effect of foreign-born peers from deviations in the share foreign-born across cohorts of students attending the same school in different years. The assumption underlying this approach is that students choose schools based on the composition of the entire school, not on the composition of each entering cohort. The results of the analysis, which hold under several robustness checks, indicate that foreign-born peers (both those who are ELL and those who are non-ELL) have no effect on their high school classmates' academic performance.

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Falling through the Cracks? Grade Retention and School Dropout among Children of Likely Unauthorized Immigrants

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Mary Lopez
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 598-603

Abstract:
We evaluate how intensified interior immigration enforcement impacts the likelihood that children of unauthorized immigrants will repeat a grade or drop out of school. Using a weighted index of the intensity of interior immigration enforcement at the MSA level, we find that increased enforcement has the largest impact on younger children ages 6 to 13. The estimates, which account for the non-random residential location of children and their families, reveal that increased enforcement raises young children's probability of repeating a grade by 6 percent and their likelihood of dropping out of school by 25.2 percent.

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Does Islam Play a Role in Anti-Immigrant Sentiment? An Experimental Approach

Mathew Creighton & Amaney Jamal
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are Muslim immigrants subjected to targeted opposition (i.e., Islamophobia) on their pathway to US citizenship? Using a list experiment and a representative sample of the US population, we compare explicit and implicit opposition to Muslim and Christian immigrants. We find that Muslim immigrants, relative to Christian immigrants, experience greater explicit resistance. However, when social desirability bias is taken into account via the list experiment, we find that opposition to Christian and Muslim immigrants is the same. The explanation is that respondents conceal a significant amount of opposition to Christian immigrants. Muslim immigrants, on the other hand, are afforded no such protection. We find that religiosity or denomination do not play a significant role in determining implicit or explicit opposition. We conclude that Islamophobia, which is only explicitly expressed, is best understood as reflective of social desirability bias from which Muslim immigrants do not benefit.

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Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime

Scott Baker
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 210-213

Abstract:
I examine the effects that the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which legalized almost 3 million immigrants, had on crime in the United States. I exploit the IRCA's quasi-random timing as well as geographic variation in the intensity of treatment to isolate causal impacts. I find decreases in crime of 3-5 percent, primarily due to decline in property crimes, equivalent to 120,000-180,000 fewer violent and property crimes committed each year due to legalization. I calibrate a labor market model of crime, finding that much of the drop in crime can be explained by greater labor market opportunities among applicants.

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The Long-Run Effect of Mexican Immigration on Crime in US Cities: Evidence from Variation in Mexican Fertility Rates

Aaron Chalfin
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 220-225

Abstract:
Using historical data on the size of state-specific Mexican birth cohorts and geographic migration networks between Mexican states and US metropolitan areas, I construct an instrumental variable that predicts decadal migration from Mexico to the United States. The intuition behind this identification strategy is that larger historical birth cohorts in Mexico yield more potential migrants once each birth cohort reaches prime migration age. I report evidence that Mexican immigration is associated with a decline in property crimes and an increase in aggravated assaults. The available evidence suggests that this is not an artifact of reduced crime reporting among immigrants.

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Identifying the Effect of Immigration on Homicide Rates in U.S. Cities: An Instrumental Variables Approach

Patrick Schnapp
Homicide Studies, May 2015, Pages 103-122

Abstract:
Studies of the effect of immigration on homicide in U.S. cities have reported mostly null or negative results. These studies suffer from a failure to weight by population size and the lack of a credible identification strategy. Using data from the Census and the Uniform Crime Reports, 146 U.S. cities in the year 2000 are analyzed using weighted instrumental variables (IV) regressions to overcome these limitations. Estimates are insignificant, and none suggest a substantial negative effect of immigration on homicide, a finding that is replicated with 1990 data. Model comparisons indicate that conventional specifications exaggerate the beneficial effect of immigration somewhat.

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Foreign and Native Skilled Workers: What Can We Learn from H-1B Lotteries?

Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
In April of 2007 and 2008, the U.S. randomly allocated 65,000 H-1B temporary work permits to foreign-born skilled workers. About 88,000 requests for computer-related H-1B permits were declined in each of those two years. This paper exploits random H-1B variation across U.S. cities to analyze how these supply shocks affected labor market outcomes for computer-related workers. We find that negative H-1B supply shocks are robustly associated with declines in foreign-born computer-related employment, while native-born computer employment either falls or remains constant. Most of the correlation between H-1B supply shocks and foreign employment is due to rationing that varies with a city's initial dependence upon H-1B workers. Variation in random, lottery-driven, unexpected shocks is too small to identify significant effects on foreign employment in the full sample of cities. However, we do find that random rationing affects foreign employment in cities that are highly dependent upon the H-1B program. Altogether, the results support the existence of complementarities between native and foreign-born H-1B computer workers.

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Voting Rights for Whom? Examining the Effects of the Voting Rights Act on Latino Political Incorporation

Melissa Marschall & Amanda Rutherford
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study applies insights from principal-agent models to examine whether and how the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Sections 203 and 4(f)(4), affect Latino representation. Using panel data from 1984–2012, we estimate two-stage models that consider the likelihood and extent of Latino board representation for a sample of 1,661 school districts. In addition, we examine how policy design as well as federal oversight and enforcement shape implementation and compliance with the language assistance provisions. Our findings not only provide the first systemic evidence that the language assistance provisions have a direct effect on Latino representation, but also link the efficacy of the language assistance provisions to the duration and consistency of coverage and the presence of federal elections observers. Overall, our study underscores the continued need for federal government involvement in protecting the voting rights of underrepresented groups, in this case, language minority citizens.

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The Impact of Large-Scale Collective Action on Latino Perceptions of Commonality and Competition with African Americans

Michael Jones-Correa, Sophia Wallace & Chris Zepeda-Millán
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of protests on Latinos' perceptions of commonality and competition with African Americans. We hypothesize that the reinforcement and politicization of in-group identities leads to greater identification and sense of commonality with other marginalized racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: This study utilizes geocoded Latino National Survey data combined with an expanded protest event data set to estimate the effect of temporal and spatial proximity to immigrant rights protests on Latinos' perceptions of commonality and competition with African Americans using ordered logistic regression models.

Results: The findings suggest that respondents' proximity to marches had a positive impact on Latino perceptions of commonality with African Americans. The results also show that proximity to protests did not lead to an increase in feelings of competition with African Americans except in the case of electoral representation.

Conclusions: Examining temporal and spatial effects of protests improves our understanding of how protests can influence public opinion and how protests can influence identities and group relations.

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Ethnic Complementarities after the Opening of China: How Chinese Graduate Students Affected the Productivity of Their Advisors

George Borjas, Kirk Doran & Ying Shen
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
The largest and most important flow of scientific talent in the world is the migration of international students to the doctoral programs offered by universities in industrialized countries. This paper uses the opening of China in 1978 to estimate the causal effect of this flow on the productivity of their professors in mathematics departments across the United States. Our identification strategy relies on both the suddenness of the opening of China and on a key feature of scientific production: intra-ethnic collaboration. The new Chinese students were more likely to be mentored by American professors with Chinese heritage. The increased access that the Chinese-American advisors had to a new pool of considerable talent led to a substantial increase in their productivity. Despite these sizable intra-ethnic knowledge spillovers, the relatively fixed size of doctoral mathematics programs (and the resulting crowdout of American students) implied that comparable non-Chinese advisors experienced a decline in the number of students they mentored and a concurrent decline in their research productivity. In fact, the productivity gains accruing to Chinese-American advisors were almost exactly offset by the losses suffered by the non-Chinese advisors. Finally, it is unlikely that the gains from the supply shock will be more evident in the next generation, as the Chinese students begin to contribute to mathematical knowledge. The rate of publication and the quality of the output of the Chinese students is comparable to that of the American students in their cohort.

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Does immigration impact institutions?

J.R. Clark et al.
Public Choice, June 2015, Pages 321-335

Abstract:
The economics literature generally finds a positive, but small, gain in income to native-born populations from immigrants and potentially large gains in world incomes. But immigrants can also impact a recipient nation's institutions. A growing empirical literature supports the importance of strong private property rights, a rule of law, and an environment of economic freedom for promoting long-run prosperity. But little is known about how immigration impacts these institutions. This paper empirically examines how immigration impacts a nation's policies and institutions. We find no evidence of negative and some evidence of positive impacts in institutional quality as a result of immigration.

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The Effect of Rainfall on Migration from Mexico to the U.S.

Gerónimo Barrios Puente, Francisco Perez & Robert Gitter
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been very little work on the impact of rainfall on migration from Mexico or even elsewhere. We use satellite data from NASA to examine the effect of the lagged level of rainfall relative to an area's historical average, on migration from small Mexican communities to the U.S. Controlling for the level of education, proportion married, and historic migration levels, we find higher levels of rainfall significantly reduce Mexican migration to the U.S. and a 20 percentage point higher than normal level of rainfall leads to a predicted 10.3 percent decrease in migration.

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Do Immigrants Work in Worse Jobs than U.S. Natives? Evidence from California

Madeline Zavodny
Industrial Relations, April 2015, Pages 276–293

Abstract:
In the debate over immigration reform, a common assertion is that immigrants take jobs that U.S. natives do not want. Using data from the 2000 Census merged with O*NET data on occupation characteristics, I show that the jobs held by immigrants are more physically arduous than the jobs held by U.S. natives. However, data from the California Work and Health Survey on self-reported physical job demands indicate that immigrants do not perceive their jobs as requiring more physical effort than U.S. natives. Immigrants thus have worse jobs than natives but do not view them as such.

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Trust and Trustworthiness of Immigrants and Native-Born Americans

James Cox & Wafa Hakim Orman
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, August 2015, Pages 1–8

Abstract:
Trust and trustworthiness are crucial to amelioration of social dilemmas. Distrust and malevolence aggravate social dilemmas. We use an experimental moonlighting game with a sample of the U.S. population, oversampling immigrants, to observe interactions between immigrants and native-born Americans in a social dilemma situation that can elicit both benevolent and malevolent actions. We survey participants in order to relate outcomes in the moonlighting game to demographic characteristics and traditional, survey-based measures of trust and trustworthiness and show that they are strongly correlated. Overall, we find that immigrants are as trusting as native-born U.S. citizens when they interact with native-born citizens but do not trust other immigrants. Immigrants appear to be less trustworthy overall but this finding disappears when we control for demographic variables. Women and older people are less likely to trust but no more or less trustworthy. Highly religious immigrants are less trusting and less trustworthy than both other immigrants and native-born Americans.

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The Mexican Dream? The effect of return migrants on hometown development

Benjamin James Waddell & Matías Fontenla
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mexican migrants are returning to their homeland at record rates. Along with material goods, these former migrants may bring with them new ways of thinking about the world and envisioning the future. Still, relatively little is known about the degree to which former migrants affect the wellbeing of their local communities over time. This study evaluates the effect of return migrants on health, education, income, and political participation in Guanajuato, Mexico during the period 2000–2010. The findings imply that returnees may have positive effects within local economies, improving not only income, but also education, healthcare, electoral participation, and overall wellbeing. The results of this study have important implications for policy makers operating within emigration-prone regions of the world.

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Bilingualism and Status Attainment among Latinos

Jennifer Lee & Sarah Hatteberg
Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research demonstrates that bilingualism is associated with positive educational outcomes. Less is known, however, about its influence on status attainment in young adulthood. In this study, we utilize data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 2000 to examine the influence of bilingualism during adolescence on educational attainment, occupation, and income among Latinos. We find that compared with English dominance, biliteracy is positively associated with high school completion and occupational prestige among Latina women and that oral and passive bilingualism are negatively associated with high school completion among Latino men. We suggest these differences reflect the gendered experiences of language. Spanish-speaking men may be stigmatized, whereas biliterate women may gain valuable skills that are rewarded in school and in the labor market.

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Birthing, Nativity, and Maternal Depression: Australia and the U.S.

Melissa Martinson & Marta Tienda
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study analyzes two birth cohort surveys, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, to examine variation in maternal depression by nativity, duration of residence, age at migration, and English proficiency in Australia and the U.S. Both countries have long immigrant traditions and a common language. The results demonstrate that U.S. immigrant mothers are significantly less depressed than native-born mothers, but maternal depression does not differ by nativity in Australia. Moreover, the association between duration of residence and maternal depression is not linear: Recent arrivals and long-term residents exhibit the highest depression levels. Lack of English proficiency exacerbates maternal depression in Australia, but protects against depression in the U.S. Differences in immigration regimes and welfare systems likely contribute to the differing salience of nativity for maternal depression.

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Marginal and happy? The need for uniqueness predicts the adjustment of marginal immigrants

Régine Debrosse, Roxane de la Sablonnière & Maya Rossignac-Milon
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marginalization is often presented as the strategy associated with the worst adjustment for immigrants. This study identifies a critical variable that buffers marginal immigrants from the negative effects of marginalization on adjustment: The need for uniqueness. In three studies, we surveyed immigrants recruited on university campuses (n = 119, n = 116) and in the field (n = 61). Among marginal immigrants, a higher need for uniqueness predicted higher self-esteem (Study 1), affect (Study 2), and life satisfaction (Study 3), and marginally higher happiness (Study 2) and self-esteem (Study 3). No relationship between the need for uniqueness and adjustment was found among non-marginal immigrants. The adaptive value of the need for uniqueness for marginal immigrants is discussed.

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Does Anti-Hispanic Bias Motivate Opposition to Non-English Languages?

Heeju Shin, David Leal & Christopher Ellison
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contemporary political debates about language policy in the United States focus on three primary policy issues: bilingual education in public schools, English-only legislation, and the access of non-English speaking citizens to political rights. Using the "Multi-Ethnic United States" module from the 2000 General Social Survey (GSS), this article tests multiple attitudinal, behavioral, demographic, and contextual hypotheses for how Anglos and African Americans view bilingual policy issues. We examine the role of linguistic contact, self-interest, group threat, and discriminatory views of Latinos, finding that the latter — as measured by the "Three Ds" (Derogation, Disrespect, and Distance) — are the strongest predictors of attitudes toward bilingualism. Distance (social distance from Latinos) is consistently significant, disrespect (doubts about Latino contributions to the United States) is mostly significant, and derogation (Latino stereotypes) is occasionally significant. Also, political ideology and knowledge of a non-English language play important roles in the formation of favorable bilingualism opinions. However, the self-interest and group threat variables were largely insignificant. Taken together, these findings indicate the importance of understanding how policy views may be structured by opinions about out-group individuals and cultures. Language can serve as a proxy for immigrants themselves, as negative attitudes toward Latinos are associated with negative attitudes toward bilingualism.

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Social Distrust and Immigrant Access to Welfare Programs in the American States

Adam Butz & Jason Kehrberg
Politics & Policy, April 2015, Pages 256–286

Abstract:
Social trust ameliorates collective action problems by allowing multicultural societies to adopt more inclusive and equitable public policies directed toward newly arriving immigrants. However, existing research warns that increasing ethnic diversity from immigrant populations can undermine levels of social trust, hindering mass support for redistributive policies that empower low-income minority populations. This article examines the relationship between U.S. state-level social trust and immigrant access to social welfare programs using multilevel regression with post-stratification to estimate state-level attitudes of distrust. Distrust is found to be associated with reduced immigrant access to redistributive social programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid. Interestingly, patterns of distrust and strict immigrant welfare exclusion are more pronounced among low immigrant Southern states, while high immigrant states exhibit relatively inclusive and accommodative policies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Qualified minorities

Priming White identity elicits stereotype boost for biracial Black-White individuals

Sarah Gaither et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychological threat experienced by students of negatively stereotyped groups impairs test performance. However, stereotype boost can also occur if a positively stereotyped identity is made salient. Biracial individuals, whose racial identities may be associated with both negative and positive testing abilities, have not been examined in this context. Sixty-four biracial Black-White individuals wrote about either their Black or White identity or a neutral topic and completed a verbal Graduate Record Examination (GRE) examination described as diagnostic of their abilities. White-primed participants performed significantly better than both Black-primed and control participants. Thus, biracial Black-White individuals experience stereotype boost only when their White identity is made salient.

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Two Strikes: Race and the Disciplining of Young Students

Jason Okonofua & Jennifer Eberhardt
Psychological Science, May 2015, Pages 617-624

Abstract:
There are large racial disparities in school discipline in the United States, which, for Black students, not only contribute to school failure but also can lay a path toward incarceration. Although the disparities have been well documented, the psychological mechanisms underlying them are unclear. In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that such disparities are, in part, driven by racial stereotypes that can lead teachers to escalate their negative responses to Black students over the course of multiple interpersonal (e.g., teacher-to-student) encounters. More generally, we argue that race not only can influence how perceivers interpret a specific behavior, but also can enhance perceivers' detection of behavioral patterns across time. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical benefits of employing this novel approach to stereotyping across a range of real-world settings.

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Academic Undermatching of High-Achieving Minority Students: Evidence from Race-Neutral and Holistic Admissions Policies

Sandra Black, Kalena Cortes & Jane Arnold Lincove
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 604-610

Abstract:
College is a pathway to social mobility in the United States. Yet too often high-achieving students from low-income and minorities families fail to apply to selective postsecondary institutions. Our study examines the extent to which academic undermatching occurs among high-achieving minority students by analyzing the application choices of students who undergo two distinct admissions policies. We find that minority students eligible for automatic admissions and those who undergo holistic admissions are both less likely to apply to elite flagship universities than white students, despite being equally qualified based on high school performance. Instead, minorities often opt for lower tier universities.

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Race, Self-Selection, and the Job Search Process

Devah Pager & David Pedulla
American Journal of Sociology, January 2015, Pages 1005-1054

Abstract:
While existing research has documented persistent barriers facing African-American job seekers, far less research has questioned how job seekers respond to this reality. Do minorities self-select into particular segments of the labor market to avoid discrimination? Such questions have remained unanswered due to the lack of data available on the positions to which job seekers apply. Drawing on two original data sets with application-specific information, we find little evidence that blacks target or avoid particular job types. Rather, blacks cast a wider net in their search than similarly situated whites, including a greater range of occupational categories and characteristics in their pool of job applications. Additionally, we show that perceptions of discrimination are associated with increased search breadth, suggesting that broad search among African-Americans represents an adaptation to labor market discrimination. Together these findings provide novel evidence on the role of race and self-selection in the job search process.

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"Two souls, two thoughts," two self-schemas: Double consciousness can have positive academic consequences for African Americans

Tiffany Brannon, Hazel Rose Markus & Valerie Jones Taylor
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 586-609

Abstract:
African Americans can experience a double consciousness - the two-ness of being an American and an African American. The present research hypothesized that: (a) double consciousness can function as 2 self-schemas - an independent self-schema tied to mainstream American culture and an interdependent self-schema tied to African American culture, and (b) U.S. educational settings can leverage an interdependent self-schema associated with African American culture through inclusive multicultural practices to facilitate positive academic consequences. First, a pilot experiment and Studies 1 and 2 provided evidence that double consciousness can be conceptualized as 2 self-schemas. That is, African Americans shifted their behavior (e.g., cooperation) in schema-relevant ways from more independent when primed with mainstream American culture to more interdependent when primed with African American culture. Then, Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated that incorporating African American culture within a university setting enhanced African Americans' persistence and performance on academic-relevant tasks. Finally, using the Gates Millennium Scholars dataset (Cohort 1), Study 5 conceptually replicated Studies 3 and 4 and provided support for one process that underlies the observed positive academic consequences. Specifically, Study 5 provided evidence that engagement with African American culture (e.g., involvement with cultural events/groups) on college campuses makes an interdependent self-schema more salient that increases African American students' sense of academic fit and identification, and, in turn, enhances academic performance (self-reported grades) and persistence (advanced degree enrollment in a long-term follow-up). The discussion examines double consciousness as a basic psychological phenomenon and suggests the intra- and intergroup benefits of inclusive multicultural settings.

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Skin Shade Stratification and the Psychological Cost of Unemployment: Is there a Gradient for Black Females?

Timothy Diette et al.
Review of Black Political Economy, June 2015, Pages 155-177

Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to formally evaluate whether the deleterious impact of unemployment on mental health increases as skin shade darkens for black women in the U.S. Using data drawn from the National Survey of American Life, we find strong evidence of a gradient on depression between skin shade and unemployment for black women. These findings are consistent with the premises of the emerging field of stratification economics. Moreover, the findings are robust to various definitions of skin shade. Unemployed black women with darker complexions are significantly more likely to suffer their first onset of depression than unemployed black females with lighter skin shade. While in some cases, lighter skinned black women appeared not to suffer adverse effects of unemployment compared to their employed counterparts, persons with dark complexions did not enjoy the same degree of protection from poor mental health.

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The Impact of Economic Freedom on the Black/White Income Gap

Gary Hoover, Ryan Compton & Daniel Giedeman
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 587-592

Abstract:
Using state-level data from 1980-2010 we examine whether economic freedom, as measured by the Economic Freedom of North America Index, has had any impact in increasing or decreasing the ratio of median income for black households to the median income of white households. To our knowledge, there has been no research on racial income disparities and the role that economic freedom might have in alleviating or exacerbating the problem. We find evidence that economic freedom is associated with an increase in the racial income gap.

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Will you value me and do I value you? The effect of phenotypic racial stereotypicality on organizational evaluations

Kimberly Barsamian Kahn et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 130-138

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether within-group differences in phenotypic racial stereotypicality (i.e., extent to which individuals possess physical features typical of their racial group) of ingroup members serve as social identity contingency cues for Blacks evaluating organizations. It is hypothesized that Blacks draw information about whether their social identity would be valued based on the represented phenotypic racial stereotypicality of Black organization members. Participants viewed organizations that included high phenotypically stereotypic (HPS) Black (e.g., darker skin tones, broader facial features), low phenotypically stereotypic (LPS) Black, or only White employees. Results confirmed that Black, but not White, evaluators reported more diversity, salary, desire to work, and social identity-related trust toward the HPS, compared to LPS and White, organizations. The relationships between phenotypic racial stereotypicality condition on organizational attractiveness and diversity perceptions were mediated by identity-related trust. Results suggest considering diversity at both the group level and within group level to achieve broader benefits.

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Statistical Discrimination and the Implication of Employer-Employee Racial Matches

Yariv Fadlon
Journal of Labor Research, June 2015, Pages 232-248

Abstract:
In this paper, I test the empirical validity of a statistical discrimination model that incorporates employer's race. I argue that if an employer statistically discriminates less against an employee that shares the same race (matched) than an employee who does not share the same race (mismatched), then the correlation between the employee's wage and his skill level (AFQT) is stronger for a matched employee than for a mismatched employee. Using data from the NLSY97, which includes information about the racial background of employees and their supervisors, I find evidence that is consistent with a statistical discrimination model for young male employees.

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Capturing the cardiac effects of racial discrimination: Do the effects "keep going"?

Lori Hoggard et al.
International Journal of Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Racial discrimination negatively impacts cardiac functioning, but few studies examine the more distal cardiac effects of racial discrimination experiences. The present study examined the momentary and prolonged impact of lab-based intergroup and intragroup racial discrimination on heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate (HR) in a sample (N = 42) of African American (AA) women across two days. On day one, the women were exposed to simulated racial discrimination from either a European American (EA) or AA confederate in the lab. On day two, the women returned to the lab for additional physiological recording and debriefing. Women insulted by the EA confederate exhibited lower HRV on day one and marginally lower HRV on day two. These women also exhibited marginally higher HR on day two. The HRV and HR effects on day two were not mediated by differences in perseveration about the stressor. The findings indicate that racial discrimination - particularly intergroup racial discrimination - may have both momentary and prolonged effects on cardiac activity in AAs.

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Stereotype validation: The effects of activating negative stereotypes after intellectual performance

Jason Clark et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 531-552

Abstract:
With regard to intellectual performance, a large body of research has shown that stigmatized group members may perform more poorly when negative, self-relevant stereotypes become activated prior to a task. However, no research to date has identified the potential ramifications of stereotype activation that happens after - rather than before - a person has finished performing. Six studies examined how postperformance stereotype salience may increase the certainty individuals have in evaluations of their own performance. In the current research, the accessibility of gender or racial stereotypes was manipulated after participants completed either a difficult math test (Studies 1-5) or a test of child-care knowledge (Study 6). Consistent with predictions, stereotype activation was found to increase the certainty that women (Studies 1, 2, 4, and 5), African Americans (Study 3), and men (Study 6) had toward negative evaluations of their own test performance. These effects emerged when performance-related perceptions were stereotype consistent rather than inconsistent (Studies 1-6) and were found to be most pronounced among those who were highly identified with the stereotyped group (Study 5). Furthermore, greater certainty - triggered by negative stereotypes - predicted lowered domain-relevant beliefs (Studies 1, 2, 3, and 6) and differential exposure to domain-relevant stimuli (Studies 4 and 5).

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Race, Friends, and College Readiness: Evidence from the High School Longitudinal Study

Steven Elias Alvarado & Brian An
Race and Social Problems, June 2015, Pages 150-167

Abstract:
Close friends are likely to transmit influence on students' educational attitudes and decisions that are independent of students' own background abilities and motivations. However, previous research suggests that close friends may have uneven effects on educational outcomes by race and ethnicity. We analyze the impact of close friends who are college bound on students' college readiness using new and restricted panel data from the High School Longitudinal Study (2009-2011). Descriptive analyses suggest that having a college-bound friend is positively associated with college readiness and that these impacts are felt by racial and ethnic subgroups in separate and unique ways. Results from propensity score models suggest that while having a college-bound friend generally yields positive effects on all students, it has a more consistent effect on white students' college readiness compared with Asians, blacks, and Latinos. A formal sensitivity analysis suggests that these treatment effects are robust to the confounding influence of an unobserved confounder.

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Dynamics of the Black-White Gap in Academic Achievement

Ian McDonough
Economics of Education Review, August 2015, Pages 17-33

Abstract:
The black-white test score gap remains a measurable phenomenon in the United States. Up to this point the literature has primarily focused on the black-white achievement gap without taking into account the underlying mobility patterns of individual students as they progress from one grade to the next. However, the degree to which policy makers and educators should be concerned about the black-white test score gap should be tied to how mobile the two groups of students are through the distribution of test scores from one grade to the next. In this paper I apply two nonparametric estimators of distributional mobility to data on test scores and track black-white differences in mobility across the entire distribution of achievement. When compared to whites, blacks tend to be less upwardly mobile and more downwardly mobile for both math and reading. This pattern is particularly prominent for reading in the very early years of schooling.

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Antiegalitarians for affirmative action? When social dominance orientation is positively related to support for egalitarian social policies

Geoffrey Ho & Miguel Unzueta
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has found that people high in social dominance orientation (i.e., antiegalitarians) generally oppose affirmative action policies. We propose that antiegalitarians may be less opposed to strong affirmative action policies because such policies may be perceived to ultimately strengthen racial hierarchies. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that antiegalitarian individuals are less opposed to affirmative action policies, as compared to egalitarian individuals, when such policies strongly weigh minority status in selection decisions. Study 3 provides evidence that antiegalitarians lessen their opposition to strong policies only when such policies are believed to enhance racial hierarchies through the recruitment of minorities that remain at the bottom of organizational hierarchies. Theoretical, political, and organizational implications are discussed.

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Hispanics' SAT Scores: The Influences of Level of Parental Education, Performance-Avoidance Goals, and Knowledge About Learning

Brenda Hannon
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, May 2015, Pages 204-222

Abstract:
This study uncovers which learning (epistemic belief of learning), socioeconomic background (level of parental education, family income) or social-personality factors (performance-avoidance goals, test anxiety) mitigate the ethnic gap in SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) scores. Measures assessing achievement motivation, test anxiety, socioeconomic family background, and epistemic belief of learning were administered to 143 European American and 62 Hispanic students. ANCOVA revealed that the measures of epistemic belief of learning, performance-avoidance goals, and level of parental education each had a unique influence on combined SAT (SAT-V + SAT-M), SAT-V (verbal SAT), and SAT-M (math SAT) scores. Indeed, the statistical removal of these influences resulted in the elimination of 55% to 75% of the effect attributed to ethnic differences in SAT performance. Moreover, even when gender differences were controlled, ANCOVA revealed the same results. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that multiple factors influence ethnic differences in SAT performance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

At the margin

Changes in Safety Net Use during the Great Recession

Patricia Anderson, Kristin Butcher & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 161-165

Abstract:
We examine how participation in social safety net programs differs by income-to-poverty levels, and how that relationship changed after the Great Recession. We define income-to-poverty based on the average of 2 years of merged CPS data, and investigate program participation among households with income less than 300 percent of poverty. We find changes in both the level and distribution of safety-net program participation during the Great Recession, with SNAP expanding most at the bottom, the EITC expanding most in the middle, and UI expanding most at the top of the income ranges that we investigate; TANF did not expand.

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Housing Policy and Urban Inequality: Did the Transformation of Assisted Housing Reduce Poverty Concentration?

Ann Owens
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Poverty concentration reflects long-standing inequalities between neighborhoods in the United States. As the poverty concentration paradigm gained traction among policymakers and social scientists, assisted housing policy was overhauled. New assisted housing programs introduced since 1970 have dramatically reduced the geographic concentration of assisted housing units, changing the residential location of many low-income residents. Was this intervention in the housing market enough to reduce poverty concentration? Using national longitudinal data, I find that the deconcentration of assisted housing from 1977 to 2008 only modestly reduced poverty concentration in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The results are driven by the deconcentration of assisted housing after 2000, when policies had a greater focus on dispersal of assisted housing to low-poverty neighborhoods. My results suggest that even a substantial shift in housing policy cannot make great strides in deconcentrating poverty given the existing landscape of durable urban inequality. Assisted housing policy exists alongside many other structural forces that cluster poor residents in neighborhoods, and these factors may limit its ability to reduce poverty concentration. Moreover, new housing programs rely on the private market to determine the location of assisted units, and the enduring place hierarchy among neighborhoods may influence both where assisted housing is located and its effect on the residential choices of non-assisted residents in ways that undermine poverty deconcentration.

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Intrayear Household Income Dynamics and Adolescent School Behavior

Lisa Gennetian et al.
Demography, April 2015, Pages 455-483

Abstract:
Economic life for most American households is quite dynamic. Such income instability is an understudied aspect of households' economic contexts that may have distinct consequences for children. We examine the empirical relationship between household income instability, as measured by intrayear income change, and adolescent school behavior outcomes using a nationally representative sample of households with adolescents from the Survey of Income and Program Participation 2004 panel. We find an unfavorable relationship between income instability and adolescent school behaviors after controlling for income level and a large set of child and family characteristics. Income instability is associated with a lower likelihood of adolescents being highly engaged in school across the income spectrum and predicts adolescent expulsions and suspensions, particularly among low-income, older, and racial minority adolescents.

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Social Networks and Personal Bankruptcy

Michelle Miller
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, June 2015, Pages 289–310

Abstract:
This article examines the role of social networks in a household's bankruptcy decision. Social networks may affect a household's bankruptcy decision in many ways: they could provide information about the required paperwork, recommend an attorney, reduce the stigma associated with bankruptcy, or increase awareness of its benefits. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), I exploit county and racial variation to identify network effects. My empirical strategy asks whether being surrounded by others of the same race increases bankruptcy use more for those in racial groups with high filing rates. This methodology allows me to include both county-year and racial-group fixed effects in my regressions. The results strongly confirm the importance of networks in a household's bankruptcy decision.

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The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment

Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren & Lawrence Katz
Harvard Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment offered randomly selected families living in high-poverty housing projects housing vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods. We present new evidence on the impacts of MTO on children's long-term outcomes using administrative data from tax returns. We find that moving to a lower-poverty neighborhood significantly improves college attendance rates and earnings for children who were young (below age 13) when their families moved. These children also live in better neighborhoods themselves as adults and are less likely to become single parents. The treatment effects are substantial: children whose families take up an experimental voucher to move to a lower-poverty area when they are less than 13 years old have an annual income that is $3,477 (31%) higher on average relative to a mean of $11,270 in the control group in their mid-twenties. In contrast, the same moves have, if anything, negative long-term impacts on children who are more than 13 years old when their families move, perhaps because of disruption effects. The gains from moving fall with the age when children move, consistent with recent evidence that the duration of exposure to a better environment during childhood is a key determinant of an individual's long-term outcomes. The findings imply that offering families with young children living in high-poverty housing projects vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods may reduce the intergenerational persistence of poverty and ultimately generate positive returns for taxpayers.

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Living Arrangements, Doubling Up, and the Great Recession: Was This Time Different?

Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 166-170

Abstract:
The Great Recession marks the worst downturn since those of the early 1980s. A large literature considers how the public safety net responded to this shock. We instead consider the responsiveness of one dimension of the private safety net. Families can react to negative shocks by moving in with relatives or downsizing. We use across-state over-time variation to estimate the effects of cycles on living arrangements, paying particular attention to young adults. We find living arrangements are cyclical, but effects are small. Surprisingly given the press attention, we find no evidence that things are different in the Great Recession.

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Association of Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Psychological Distress

Vanessa Oddo & James Mabli
American Journal of Public Health, June 2015, Pages e30-e35

Objectives: We assessed whether households' participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was associated with improvements in well-being, as indicated by lower rates of psychological distress.

Methods: We used longitudinal data for 3146 households in 30 states, collected between October 2011 and September 2012 for the SNAP Food Security survey, the largest longitudinal national survey of SNAP participants to date. Analyses compared households within days of program entry to the same households approximately 6 months later. We measured psychological distress in the past 30 days on a 6-item Kessler screening scale and used multivariable regression to estimate associations between SNAP participation and psychological distress.

Results: A smaller percentage of household heads exhibited psychological distress after 6 months of participation in SNAP than at baseline (15.3% vs 23.2%; difference = −7.9%). In adjusted models, SNAP participation was associated with a decrease in psychological distress (adjusted relative risk = 0.72; 95% confidence interval = 0.66, 0.78).

Conclusions: Continuing support for federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, may reduce the public health burden of mental illness, thus improving well-being among vulnerable populations.

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Welfare use and children's longer-term achievement

Shan-Ying Chu & Hau Chyi
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the effects of mothers' welfare use on children's longer-term performance. To address issues of improper comparison groups and the endogenous nature of welfare participation, we focus on less-educated single mothers and adopt a correction function approach. Data are drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 – Children and Young Adult from 1994 to 2010. Estimation results confirm the positive longer-term effects of mothers' welfare use. On average, a child whose mother used welfare in all 20 quarters after childbirth experiences a 0.56-point increase in their yearly high school grade point average, is 12% more likely to graduate from high school and earns $1112.76 more in the first-observed income than a child whose mother does not.

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The Effects of Location-based Tax Policies on the Distribution of Household Income: Evidence from the Federal Empowerment Zone Program

Lockwood Reynolds & Shawn Rohlin
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Location-based tax policies are redistributive as evidenced by their placement in distressed areas. However, the previous literature has focused on mean effects which can mask important effects that the program has on the distribution of households. Therefore, we extend the literature by studying changes in the entire household income distribution, in the context of the federal Empowerment Zone (EZ) program. We do not find evidence that the impoverished residents benefited from the program. Our findings are consistent with the areas becoming more attractive to high-income households. The improvements in the areas were concentrated in those portions of each zone that were relatively better-off prior to EZ designation. The results confirm the prior literature findings that the areas, on average, became more attractive but also suggest that the benefits of the program likely did not accrue to the lower-income residents of the EZ areas.

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The Success of SNAP (Food Stamps) and the Desirability of Taxing Food

Steven Sheffrin & Anna Johnson
Tulane University Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Most states either totally or partially exclude food at home from the general sales tax. This exclusion generates a debate between tax policy analysts with their emphasis on broad base, low-rate tax systems against the advocates for the poor who argue that the exemption for food is necessary on distributional grounds. States that do tax food at home are often singled out as having particularly regressive and punitive tax systems. What is missing from this debate is a serious discussion of the consequences of non-taxability of benefits under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamps). We present evidence that the SNAP program effectively reaches the vast majority of the poor thus making the taxability of food at home much less important for individuals in lower income tiers. Based on calculations using the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we show that the non-taxability of SNAP benefits reduces the regressivity of the sales tax in states that tax food. Overall, including food at home in the sales tax base with a correspondent adjustment of the overall tax rate would be a beneficial change. The paper concludes with a discussion of the political and economic dimensions which may lead food at home to be excluded from the tax base.

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Vehicle Access and Exposure to Neighborhood Poverty: Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Program

Casey Dawkins, Jae Sik Jeon & Rolf Pendall
Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The geographic determinants of social and economic opportunity have received much scholarly attention. A missing link in this body of research is an emphasis on the range of factors influencing low-income households' exposure to neighborhood poverty over time. This paper examines the dynamics of exposure to neighborhood poverty for Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program participants. Our paper is unique in its emphasis on the role of vehicle access as it shapes exposure to neighborhood poverty. We find that vehicle access is an important factor shaping residential spells and transitions to low-poverty neighborhoods over time. We also find that the combined influence of a geographically-targeted residential mobility requirement and vehicle access substantially elevates a household's likelihood of accessing and staying in a low-poverty neighborhood. These findings suggest that residential mobility programs and similar efforts to spatially deconcentrate poverty should pay particular attention to the transportation needs of low-income households.

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Economic Conditions and SSI Applications

Austin Nichols, Lucie Schmidt & Purvi Sevak
University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides federally-funded income support for individuals with disabilities, and has become one of the most important means-tested transfer programs in the United States. Previous studies have examined the effects of economic conditions on growth in disability caseloads, but most focus on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Most work on SSI dates from before welfare reform, which had both direct and indirect effects on the composition of the population at risk for SSI participation. In this paper we examine the relationship between SSI application risk and economic conditions between 1996 and 2010, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) linked to the Social Security Administration's 831 file, which includes monthly data on SSI (and SSDI) application and receipt. Results from hazard models suggest that higher state unemployment rates have a large, positive effect on the risk of SSI application among jobless individuals, and our evidence suggests that female potential applicants may be more responsive to local economic conditions than men. State-level TANF policies have no effect on SSI application risk but state fiscal distress significantly increases application risk. Given the continued growth of the SSI program, understanding these relationships is increasingly important and policy-relevant.

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Given Time It Worked: Positive Outcomes From a SSDI Benefit Offset Pilot After the Initial Evaluation Period

Barry Delin, Ellie Hartman & Christopher Sell
Journal of Disability Policy Studies, June 2015, Pages 54-64

Abstract:
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Employment Pilot in Wisconsin was one of four Social Security Administration authorized pilots to test a cash benefit offset feature for the SSDI program. Those allowed to use the offset only lost US$1 of their SSDI cash benefit for every US$2 earned when their monthly earnings reached the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level after completing the Trial Work Period (TWP). Over the first two years following pilot enrollment, no statistically significant differences were observed in employment outcomes between the treatment and control groups. However, after these first two years, outcome trends diverged, ultimately leading to the treatment group exhibiting better outcomes. The differences between treatment and control participants were conditioned on whether participants completed their TWP by the end of 2008. Subsequently, there were statistically significant differences between outcome trends for the two groups of TWP completers. There were virtually no differences between the outcome trends for the groups with no TWP completers. These results are consistent with an interpretation that the cash benefit offset, given adequate time, can be an effective work incentive.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's your life

Social Cultivation of Vaccine Refusal and Delay among Waldorf (Steiner) School Parents

Elisa Sobo
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
U.S. media reports suggest that vastly disproportionate numbers of un- and under-vaccinated children attend Waldorf (private alternative) schools. After confirming this statistically, I analyzed qualitative and quantitative vaccination-related data provided by parents from a well-established U.S. Waldorf school. In Europe, Waldorf-related non-vaccination is associated with anthroposophy (a worldview foundational to Waldorf education) - but that was not the case here. Nor was simple ignorance to blame: Parents were highly educated and dedicated to self-education regarding child health. They saw vaccination as variously unnecessary, toxic, developmentally inappropriate, and profit driven. Some vaccine caution likely predated matriculation, but notable post-enrollment refusal increases provided evidence of the socially cultivated nature of vaccine refusal in the Waldorf school setting. Vaccine caution was nourished and intensified by an institutionalized emphasis on alternative information and by school community norms lauding vaccine refusal and masking uptake. Implications for intervention are explored.

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Offsetting or Enhancing Behavior: An Empirical Analysis of Motorcycle Helmet Safety Legislation

Jonathan Lee
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study uses state-level panel data from a 33-year period to test the hypotheses of offsetting and enhancing behavior with regards to motorcycle helmet legislation. Results presented in this article find no evidence of offsetting behavior and are consistent with the presence of enhancing behavior. State motorcycle helmet laws are estimated to reduce motorcycle crashes by 18.4% to 31.9%. In the absence of any behavioral adaptations among motorcyclists mandatory helmet laws are not expected to have any significant impact on motorcycle crash rates. The estimated motorcycle crash reductions do not appear to be driven by omitted variable bias or nonclassical measurement error in reported crashes. Overall, the results strongly suggest that mandatory helmet laws yield significant changes in motorcycle mobility in the form of reduced risk taking and/or decreased utilization.

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The Consequences of Job Displacement for Health: Moderating Influences of Economic Conditions and Educational Attainment

Jessica Pearlman
Social Science Research, July 2015, Pages 570-587

Abstract:
This paper will examine the impact of worker displacement on health in the United States from 1975-2004, especially the extent to which the impact of displacement on health varies according to the economic conditions in the year of displacement and the education level of the displaced worker. Findings from ordered probit and fixed effects models suggest that the negative impact of displacement on health is exacerbated by a higher unemployment rate at the time of displacement and for displaced workers with a college degree.

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The Long-Term Impact of an Early Career Recession on Health and Health-Related Behaviors

Naijia Guo & Rong Hai
University of Chicago Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Using data from the restricted-access National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, we estimate the long-term impact of an early career recession on various health outcomes and health-related behaviors up to age 30 for males and females by education groups. The early career recession is measured by the unemployment rate of the graduation state in the year when the individual enters the labor market upon receiving the highest degree. Because the timing of labor market entry could potentially be affected by economic conditions, we instrument the unemployment rate when entering labor market using the state unemployment rates at age 18 and age 22. Our main findings are that first, an early career recession has an adverse impact on health outcomes and health-related behaviors in general, and second, these adverse effects are especially pronounced among lower educated individuals. In particular, an early career recession increases the probability of bad health status for high school graduates, but has no effect on college graduates; it also leads to more depression for high school graduates than college graduates among males. We also find that a higher unemployment rate at early career significantly increases adverse health behaviors such as smoking, heavy drinking, and illicit drug use among high school graduates, but there is no statistically significant impact on college graduates. In addition, different gender-education groups respond differently in time use, such as time spent on exercise, sleep, and watching TV. An early career recession also reduces daily fruit intake for all males and unskilled females.

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Four Ways Life Extension will Change Our Relationship with Death

John Davis
Bioethics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Discussions of life extension ethics have focused mainly on whether an extended life would be desirable to have, and on the social consequences of widely available life extension. I want to explore a different range of issues: four ways in which the advent of life extension will change our relationship with death, not only for those who live extended lives, but also for those who cannot or choose not to. Although I believe that, on balance, the reasons in favor of developing life extension outweigh the reasons against doing so (something I won't argue for here), most of these changes probably count as reasons against doing so. First, the advent of life extension will alter the human condition for those who live extended lives, and not merely by postponing death. Second, it will make death worse for those who lack access to life extension, even if those people live just as long as they do now. Third, for those who have access to life extension but prefer to live a normal lifespan because they think that has advantages, the advent of life extension will somewhat reduce some of those advantages, even if they never use life extension. Fourth, refusing life extension turns out to be a form of suicide, and this will force those who have access to life extension but turn it down to choose between an extended life they don't want and a form of suicide they may (probably mistakenly) consider immoral.

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The Role of Education in Explaining Racial/Ethnic Allostatic Load Differentials in the United States

Jeffrey Howard & Johnelle Sparks
Biodemography and Social Biology, Spring 2015, Pages 18-39

Abstract:
This study expands on earlier findings of racial/ethnic and education-allostatic load associations by assessing whether racial/ethnic differences in allostatic load persist across all levels of educational attainment. This study used data from four recent waves of the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES). Results from this study suggest that allostatic load differs significantly by race/ethnicity and educational attainment overall, but that the race/ethnicity association is not consistent across education level. Analysis of interactions and education-stratified models suggest that allostatic load levels do not differ by race/ethnicity for individuals with low education; rather, the largest allostatic load differentials for Mexican Americans (p < .01) and non-Hispanic blacks (p < .001) are observed for individuals with a college degree or more. These findings add to the growing evidence that differences in socioeconomic opportunities by race/ethnicity are likely a consequence of differential returns to education, which contribute to higher stress burdens among minorities compared to non-Hispanic whites.

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In fatal pursuit of immortal fame: Peer competition and early mortality of music composers

Karol Jan Borowiecki & Georgios Kavetsos
Social Science & Medicine, June 2015, Pages 30-42

Abstract:
We investigate the impact of peer competition on longevity using a unique historical data set of 144 prominent music composers born in the 19th century. We approximate for peer competition measuring (a) the number or (b) the share of composers located in the same area and time, (c) the time spent in one of the main cities for classical music, and (d) the quality of fellow composers. These measures suggest that composers' longevity is reduced, if they located in agglomerations with a larger group of peers or of a higher quality. The point estimates imply that, all else equal, a one percent increase in the number of composers reduces composer longevity by ∼7.2 weeks. Our analysis showed that the utilized concentration measures are stronger than the personal factors in determining longevity, indicating that individuals' backgrounds have minimal impact on mitigating the effect of experienced peer pressure. The negative externality of peer competition is experienced in all cities, fairly independent of their population size. Our results are reaffirmed using an instrumental variable approach and are consistent throughout a range of robustness tests. In addition to the widely known economic benefits associated with competition, these findings suggest that significant negative welfare externalities exist as well.

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Polling Places, Pharmacies, and Public Health: Vote & Vax 2012

Douglas Shenson et al.
American Journal of Public Health, June 2015, Pages e12-e15

Abstract:
US national elections, which draw sizable numbers of older voters, take place during flu-shot season and represent an untapped opportunity for large-scale delivery of vaccinations. In 2012, Vote & Vax deployed a total of 1585 clinics in 48 states; Washington, DC; Guam; Puerto Rico; and the US Virgin Islands. Approximately 934 clinics were located in pharmacies, and 651 were near polling places. Polling place clinics delivered significantly more vaccines than did pharmacies (5710 vs 3669). The delivery of vaccines was estimated at 9379, and approximately 45% of the recipients identified their race/ethnicity as African American or Hispanic. More than half of the White Vote & Vax recipients and more than two thirds of the non-White recipients were not regular flu shot recipients.

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Texting and Driving: Can it be Explained by the General Theory of Crime?

Phillip Neil Quisenberry
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2015, Pages 303-316

Abstract:
There has been quite a bit of media attention devoted recently to the topic of distracted driving generally, and texting and driving specifically. Recent studies by scholars, as well as the Department of Transportation, have continued to demonstrate the dangers of texting while driving. Previous studies have found that texting while driving reduces reaction and control times even more than drinking and driving. At least one study found that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash relative to non-distracted drivers. Tougher laws may be alluring as a deterrent to this behavior, but according to the data in this study, 96 % of respondents knew it was against the law but continued to text and drive anyway. This finding casts doubt on the effectiveness of any new distracted driving laws. The general theory of crime (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990) posits that levels of self-control are tied to deviant behaviors such as texting while driving. Other studies have also found that levels of self-control were significantly tied to other dangerous driving behaviors such as driving while drinking and driving without using a seatbelt. The findings in this study add support to the general theory of crime by demonstrating that, among college students in this sample, higher self-control significantly reduces the amount of texting while driving.

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Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs

Julio Elias, Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 361-365

Abstract:
Are attitudes about morally controversial (and often prohibited) market transactions affected by information about their costs and benefits? We address this question for the case of payments for human organs. We find in a survey experiment with US residents (N=3,417) that providing information on the potential efficiency benefits of a regulated price mechanism for organs significantly increased support for payments from a baseline of 52 percent to 71 percent. The survey was devised to minimize social desirability biases in responses, and additional analyses validate the interpretation that subjects were reflecting on the case-specific details provided, rather than just reacting to any information.

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ACA Provisions Associated With Increase In Percentage Of Young Adult Women Initiating And Completing The HPV Vaccine

Brandy Lipton & Sandra Decker
Health Affairs, May 2015, Pages 757-764

Abstract:
Affordable Care Act provisions implemented in 2010 required insurance plans to offer dependent coverage to people ages 19-25 and to provide targeted preventive services with zero cost sharing. These provisions both increased the percentage of young adults with any source of health insurance coverage and improved the generosity of coverage. We examined how these provisions affected use of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which is among the most expensive of recommended vaccines, among young adult women. Using 2008-12 data from the National Health Interview Survey, we estimated that the 2010 policy implementation increased the likelihood of HPV vaccine initiation and completion by 7.7 and 5.8 percentage points, respectively, for women ages 19-25 relative to a control group of women age 18 or 26. These estimates translate to approximately 1.1 million young women initiating and 854,000 young women completing the vaccine series.

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Comparison of asthma prevalence among African American teenage youth attending public high schools in rural Georgia and urban Detroit

Dennis Ownby et al.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, forthcoming

Objective: We sought to compare the prevalence of asthma among AA youth in rural Georgia and urban Detroit, Michigan.

Methods: The prevalence of asthma was compared in population-based samples of 7297 youth attending Detroit public high schools and in 2523 youth attending public high schools in rural Georgia. Current asthma was defined as a physician diagnosis and symptoms in the previous 12 months. Undiagnosed asthma was defined as multiple respiratory symptoms in the previous 12 months without a physician diagnosis.

Results: In Detroit, 6994 (95.8%) youth were AA compared with 1514 (60.0%) in Georgia. Average population density in high school postal codes was 5628 people/mile2 in Detroit and 45.1 people/mile2 in Georgia. The percentages of poverty and of students qualifying for free or reduced lunches were similar in both areas. The prevalence of current diagnosed asthma among AA youth in Detroit and Georgia was similar: 15.0% (95% CI, 14.1-15.8) and 13.7% (95% CI, 12.0-17.1) (P = .22), respectively. The prevalence of undiagnosed asthma in AA youth was 8.0% in Detroit and 7.5% in Georgia (P = .56). Asthma symptoms were reported more frequently among those with diagnosed asthma in Detroit, whereas those with undiagnosed asthma in Georgia reported more symptoms.

Conclusions: Among AA youth living in similar socioeconomic circumstances, asthma prevalence is as high in rural Georgia as it is in urban Detroit, suggesting that urban residence is not an asthma risk factor.

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Can Private Money Buy Public Science? Disease Group Lobbying and Federal Funding for Biomedical Research

Deepak Hegde & Bhaven Sampat
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Private interest groups lobby politicians to influence public policy. However, little is known about how lobbying influences the policy decisions made by federal agencies. We study this through examining lobbying by advocacy groups associated with rare diseases for funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world's largest funder of biomedical research. Disease group lobbying for NIH funding has been controversial, with critics alleging that it distorts public funding toward research on diseases backed by powerful groups. Our data reveal that lobbying is associated with higher political support, in the form of congressional "soft earmarks" for the diseases. Lobbying increases with disease burden and is more likely to be associated with changes in NIH funding for diseases with higher scientific opportunity, suggesting that it may have a useful informational role. Only special grant mechanisms that steer funding toward particular diseases, which comprise less than a third of the NIH's grants, are related to earmarks. Thus, our results suggest that lobbying by private groups influences federal funding for biomedical research. However, the channels of political influence are subtle, affect a small portion of funding, and may not necessarily have a distortive effect on public science.

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Internal migration, area effects and health: Does where you move to impact upon your health?

Mark Green et al.
Social Science & Medicine, July 2015, Pages 27-34

Abstract:
Evidence surrounding the importance of neighbourhood on health has been mostly restricted to observational data analyses. However, observational data are often the only source of information available to test this association and can fail to accurately draw out casual effects. This study employs a pseudo-experimental design to provide a novel test for the evidence of neighbourhood effects on health, using migration as a mechanism for assessing the role of neighbourhood. Coarsened exact matching was employed on the British Household Panel Survey (2006-2008) to analyse the association between migration (by area type, measured using a classification of mortality patterns) and health. Although an overall significant positive association between migration and health was observed, once the effect was disaggregated by location and destination it disappeared. Rather, evidence of health selective migration was found whereby individuals of poorer health migrated to areas that displayed poorer health and social characteristics (and vice versa). Migration is an important process that through the social sorting of individuals in terms of their health, contributes to the growing polarisation and inequality in health patterns. The study helps to build upon previous research through providing a new and stronger form of analysis that reduces the influence of bias on results. Incorporating this under-utilised methodology and research design in future studies could help develop public health and geographical research.

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Not a Problem: A Downside of Humorous Appeals

Peter McGraw, Julie Schiro & Philip Fernbach
University of Colorado Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Public service announcements (PSAs) are traditionally designed to elicit negative emotions that spur problem-solving behavior. However, in order to improve their reach, some social marketers are forgoing traditional strategy by creating PSAs that are humorous. Because of humor's positivity and association with non-serious situations, we hypothesized that humorous appeals can decrease problem perception and problem-solving behavior. Study 1 examined problem perceptions using matched pairs of humorous and non-humorous PSAs. Respondents judged a social issue as less important to solve after viewing the humorous version of the pair. Study 2 examined problem-solving behavior through a partnership with a non-profit organization seeking to improve young adults' sexual health knowledge. Humorous PSAs were less effective than a non-humorous version at spurring people to search for health information. The inquiry revealed a previously unaddressed tradeoff: using humor to benefit a message's reach creates a potential cost to solving a personal or societal problem.

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The Perils of Marketing Weight-Management Remedies and the Role of Health Literacy

Lisa Bolton, Amit Bhattacharjee & Americus Reed
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Spring 2015, Pages 50-62

Abstract:
This research explores the impact of weight-management remedy marketing on healthy lifestyle behaviors. Three studies demonstrate that exposure to drug (but not supplement) marketing for weight management encourages unhealthy consumer behavior as a result of consumers' reliance on erroneous beliefs about health remedies. The authors explore the possible mitigating role of two dimensions of healthy literacy: nutrition knowledge and remedy knowledge. Whether measured or manipulated, the results show remedy knowledge to be more effective than nutrition knowledge at lessening the effect of weight-management drug marketing on unhealthy behavior. The authors close with a discussion of the theoretical and substantive implications of this research for consumer welfare.

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Trends in U.S. life expectancy gradients: The role of changing educational composition

Arun Hendi
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Background: I examined age patterns and the role of shifting educational distributions in driving trends in educational gradients in life expectancy among non-Hispanic Whites between 1991 and 2005.

Methods: Data were from the 1986-2004 National Health Interview Survey with mortality follow-up through 2006. Life expectancies were computed by sex, period and education. Age decompositions of life expectancy gradients and composition-adjusted life expectancies were computed to account for age patterns and shifting educational distributions.

Results: Life expectancy at age 25 among White men increased for all education groups, decreased among the least-educated White women and increased among White women with college degrees. Much of the decline in measured life expectancy for White women with less than a high school education comes from the 85+ age group. Educational gradients in life expectancy widened for White men and women. One-third of the gradient is due to ages below 50. Approximately 26% (0.7 years) and 87% (0.8 years) of the widening of the gradient in life expectancy between ages 25 and 85 for White women and men is attributable to shifting education distributions. Over half of the decline in temporary life expectancy among the least-educated White women is due to compositional change.

Conclusions: Life expectancy has increased among White men for all education groups and has decreased among White women with less than a high school education, though not to the extent reported in previous studies. The fact that a large proportion of the change in education-specific life expectancy among women is due to the 85+ age group suggests changes in institutionalization may be affecting estimates. Much of the change in education-specific life expectancy and the growth in the educational gradient in life expectancy is due to the shifting distribution of individuals across education categories.

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Attention, Intentions, and Follow-Through in Preventive Health Behavior: Field Experimental Evidence on Flu Vaccination

Erin Todd Bronchetti, David Huffman & Ellen Magenheim
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Preventive health behaviors like flu vaccination have important benefits, but compliance is poor, and the reasons are not fully understood. We conducted a large study across six colleges (N=9,358), with a methodology that offers an unusual opportunity to look at three potential factors: Inattention to information, informed intentions to not comply, and problems following through on intentions. We also tested three interventions in an RCT. We find that inattention to information is not the primary driver of low take-up, while informed decisions to not get the vaccine, but also lack of follow-through, are important factors. A financial intervention increased take-up and had persistent, positive effects on intentions for vaccination in future years. Two low-cost "nudges" did not increase vaccination rates, although the peer endorsement nudge increased exposure to information, especially if aligned with social networks.

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The Weaker Sex? Vulnerable Men, Resilient Women, and Variations in Sex Differences in Mortality since 1900

Mark Cullen et al.
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Sex differences in mortality (SDIM) vary over time and place as a function of social, health, and medical circumstances. The magnitude of these variations, and their response to large socioeconomic changes, suggest that biological differences cannot fully account for sex differences in survival. We document "stylized facts" about SDIM with which any theory will have to contend. We draw on a wide swath of mortality data, including probability of survival to age 70 by county in the United States, the Human Mortality Database data for 18 high-income countries since 1900, and mortality data within and across developing countries over time periods for which reasonably reliable data are available. We show that, in each of the periods of economic development after the onset of demographic and epidemiologic transition, cross-sectional variation in SDIM exhibits a consistent pattern of female resilience to mortality under adversity. Moreover, as societies develop, M/F survival first declines and then increases, a "SDIM transition" embedded within the demographic and epidemiologic transitions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 18, 2015

Shoot first, aim later

Explaining Terrorism: Leadership Deficits and Militant Group Tactics

Max Abrahms & Philip Potter
International Organization, Spring 2015, Pages 311-342

Abstract:
Certain types of militant groups - those suffering from leadership deficits - are more likely to attack civilians. Their leadership deficits exacerbate the principal-agent problem between leaders and foot soldiers, who have stronger incentives to harm civilians. We establish the validity of this proposition with a tripartite research strategy that balances generalizability and identification. First, we demonstrate in a sample of militant organizations operating in the Middle East and North Africa that those lacking centralized leadership are prone to targeting civilians. Second, we show that when the leaderships of militant groups are degraded from drone strikes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal regions, the selectivity of organizational violence plummets. Third, we elucidate the mechanism with a detailed case study of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Palestinian group that turned to terrorism during the Second Intifada because pressure on leadership allowed low-level members to act on their preexisting incentives to attack civilians. These findings indicate that a lack of principal control is an important, underappreciated cause of militant group violence against civilians.

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Revisiting Reputation: How Past Actions Matter in International Politics

Alex Weisiger & Keren Yarhi-Milo
International Organization, Spring 2015, Pages 473-495

Abstract:
Policy-makers and political scientists have long believed that states must make policy with an eye to maintaining a good reputation, especially a good reputation for resolve. Recent work, however, has argued that reputations for resolve do not form, and hence that past actions do not influence observers' behavior in subsequent interactions. This conclusion is theoretically problematic and unsupported by the evidence offered by reputation critics. In particular, juxtaposing reputation for resolve to power and interests is misleading when past actions influence observers' beliefs about interests, while the common approach of looking at crisis decision making misses the impact of reputation on general deterrence. We thus derive hypotheses about conflict onset from both the arguments of reputation critics and the logic of more standard reputation arguments, which we put to statistical test. We find that past action is closely connected to subsequent dispute initiation and that the effects of reputation generalize beyond the immediate circumstances of the past dispute. Although reputation is not all-important, leaders are well advised to consider the reputational implications of policy decisions in international conflict.

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Nation-Building through War

Nicholas Sambanis, Stergios Skaperdas & William Wohlforth
American Political Science Review, May 2015, Pages 279-296

Abstract:
How do the outcomes of international wars affect domestic social change? In turn, how do changing patterns of social identification and domestic conflict affect a nation's military capability? We propose a "second image reversed" theory of war that links structural variables, power politics, and the individuals that constitute states. Drawing on experimental results in social psychology, we recapture a lost building block of the classical realist theory of statecraft: the connections between the outcomes of international wars, patterns of social identification and domestic conflict, and the nation's future war-fighting capability. When interstate war can significantly increase a state's international status, peace is less likely to prevail in equilibrium because, by winning a war and raising the nation's status, leaders induce individuals to identify nationally, thereby reducing internal conflict by increasing investments in state capacity. In certain settings, it is only through the anticipated social change that victory can generate that leaders can unify their nation, and the higher anticipated payoffs to national unification makes leaders fight international wars that they would otherwise choose not to fight. We use the case of German unification after the Franco-Prussian war to demonstrate the model's value-added and illustrate the interaction between social identification, nationalism, state-building, and the power politics of interstate war.

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Foreign Military Interventions and Suicide Attacks

Seung-Whan Choi & James Piazza
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the effect of foreign military interventions on the incidence of suicide attacks. It presents three theoretical explanations. Foreign military interventions may boost insurgent use of suicide attacks by (a) fomenting a nationalist backlash that sanctions the use of more extreme and unconventional tactics like suicide attacks, (b) providing more and better targets against which suicide attacks can be launched, or (c) prompting insurgents to use suicide tactics in order to overcome their power asymmetries and to confront better defended targets that are enhanced by interventions. We test these competing explanations using a battery of statistical tests on cross-national, time-series data for 138 countries during the period from 1981 to 2005. We find that only foreign interventions with specific features - pro-government interventions involving larger numbers of ground troops - boost suicide attacks in countries experiencing interventions. This finding suggests that by tipping the balance of power against insurgents and hardening targets in the context of assisting a local government, foreign military interventions are likely to increase the use of suicide attacks by regime challengers.

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The limits of autocracy promotion: The case of Russia in the 'near abroad'

Lucan Way
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, observers have raised concerns about threats to democracy posed by external support for authoritarianism coming from regional powers such as Russia, China and Venezuela. This article assesses the efficacy of autocracy promotion through a close examination of Russian efforts to shape regime outcomes in the former Soviet Union. It finds that while Russian actions have periodically promoted instability and secessionist conflict, there is little evidence that such intervention has made post-Soviet countries less democratic than they would have been otherwise. First, the Russian government has been inconsistent in its support for autocracy - supporting opposition and greater pluralism in countries where anti-Russian governments are in power, and incumbent autocrats in cases where pro-Russian politicians dominate. At the same time, the Russian government's narrow concentration on its own economic and geopolitical interests has significantly limited the country's influence, fostering a strong counter-reaction in countries with strong anti-Russian national identities. Finally, Russia's impact on democracy in the region has been restricted by the fact that post-Soviet countries already have weak democratic prerequisites. This analysis suggests that, despite increasingly aggressive foreign policies by autocratic regional powers, autocracy promotion does not present a particularly serious threat to democracy in the world today.

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Measuring hard power: China's economic growth and military capacity

Peter Robertson & Adrian Sin
Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
China's rapid economic growth is facilitating massive increases in its military spending and causing increased security concerns in Asia and the Western Pacific. But there is uncertainty over how large China's military spending is relative to other countries, or how fast it is growing in real terms. We address this issue by deriving a relative military cost price index based on the relative unit costs of inputs. We find that China's real military spending is much larger than suggested by exchange rate comparisons, and even larger than standard purchasing power parity comparisons. We also find, however, that the real growth of China's military spending has been smaller than conventionally thought. This is due to rapidly growing wages in China and the large share of personnel in China's military budget.

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Economic Stress and International Cooperation: Evidence from International Rivalries

Christopher Clary
MIT Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Do economic downturns generate pressure for diversionary conflict? Or might downturns encourage austerity and economizing behavior in foreign policy? This paper provides new evidence that economic stress is associated with conciliatory policies between strategic rivals. For states that view each other as military threats, the biggest step possible toward bilateral cooperation is to terminate the rivalry by taking political steps to manage the competition. Drawing on data from 109 distinct rival dyads since 1950, 67 of which terminated, the evidence suggests rivalries were approximately twice as likely to terminate during economic downturns than they were during periods of economic normalcy. This is true controlling for all of the main alternative explanations for peaceful relations between foes (democratic status, nuclear weapons possession, capability imbalance, common enemies, and international systemic changes), as well as many other possible confounding variables. This research questions existing theories claiming that economic downturns are associated with diversionary war, and instead argues that in certain circumstances peace may result from economic troubles.

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One Shield, Two Responses: Anti-U.S. Missile Defense Shield Protests in the Czech Republic and Poland

Yelena Biberman & Feryaz Ocakli
Politics & Policy, April 2015, Pages 197-214

Abstract:
What is the role of civil society in geopolitical conflict? The crisis in Ukraine has, once again, raised questions over security in the post-communist world. This article examines the puzzling variation in the antimissile defense shield protests in the Czech Republic and Poland (2007-09) to elucidate the conditions under which civil society emerges as a significant actor in international politics. Activists in the Czech Republic staged seven times as many antishield protests as their Polish counterparts despite the two countries' similar levels of popular opposition to the project. The variation in the responses of the Polish and Czech activists resulted from the different material and legacy-driven ideological constraints faced by the civil society organizations. The findings suggest that the scholarship on contentious civic activism should take organization-level opportunities and constraints seriously when analyzing the impact of civil society on political processes.

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Are Economic Development and Education Improvement Associated with Participation in Transnational Terrorism?

L. Elbakidze & Y.H. Jin
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using transnational terrorism data from 1980 to 2000, this study empirically examines the relationships between frequency of participation in transnational terrorism acts and economic development and education improvement. We find an inverse U-shaped association between the frequency of various nationals acting as perpetrators in transnational terrorism acts and per capita income in their respective home countries. As per capita incomes increase from relatively low levels, frequencies of participation in transnational terrorism increase. However, at sufficiently higher levels of per capita income, further increase in per capita income is negatively associated with the rate of participation in transnational terrorism. Education improvement from elementary to secondary is positively correlated with frequency of participation in transnational terrorism events, whereas further improvement from secondary to tertiary level is negatively correlated with participation in transnational terrorism. We also find that citizens of countries with greater openness to international trade, lower degree of income inequality, greater economic freedom, larger proportion of population with tertiary education, and less religious prevalence participate in transnational terrorism events less frequently.

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Gender perceptions and support for compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Yossi David & Ifat Maoz
Journal of Peace Psychology, May 2015, Pages 295-298

Abstract:
The goal of our study was to explore factors that underlie public support for compromise in protracted, asymmetrical conflict. We introduce a gendering for compromise model in which, in line with previous studies (Maoz & McCauley, 2008), support for compromise is determined by perception of threat from the opponent. However, innovatively, our model also presents perception of the opponent as having stereotypical feminine traits as an important predictor of willingness to compromise in conflict. This model was tested in the context of the asymmetrical, protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict using representative of Jewish-Israeli public opinion polling data (N = 511). In line with our expectations, the findings indicated that Jewish-Israeli perceptions of Palestinians as threatening and Jewish-Israeli perceptions of Palestinians as having stereotypical feminine traits both made significant contributions to predicting attitudes toward compromise.

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Does Membership on the UN Security Council Influence Voting in the UN General Assembly?

Wonjae Hwang, Amanda Sanford & Junhan Lee
International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies report that temporary members of the UN Security Council receive favorable treatment from the IMF, the World Bank, or in US foreign aid in exchange for their political support for permanent members. Nevertheless, few studies have examined whether this favorable treatment and these benefits have actually made any significant changes in the member states' voting behavior in the United Nations. To explore this question, we investigate whether membership on the UN Security Council influences a state's voting in the UN General Assembly. In the analysis of panel data for 197 countries over the period from 1946 to 2008, the empirical results show that elected members of the UN Security Council tend to behave similarly with permanent members, especially with the United States, as the number of loan programs signed with the IMF and the World Bank increases. Also, US foreign aid significantly increases temporary members' vote coincidence with the United States and other permanent members. In this regard, this article contributes to our understanding of state voting behavior and power politics in international organizations.

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Mehdi Hashemi and the Iran-Contra-Affair

Ulrich von Schwerin
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
In November 1986 a Lebanese newspaper revealed the secret arms-for-hostages deal between Tehran and Washington that subsequently became known as the Iran-Contra-Affair. The newspaper had been tipped off by friends of the Iranian radical Mehdi Hashemi who had been arrested shortly before in Iran. This article explores the link between the arrest of the ardent supporter of the then deputy leader Hossein-Ali Montazeri and the secret talks with the US government. The article will show that his arrest was not only an attempt of the then dominant faction around Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to bring the future leader Montazeri under its control, but also an attempt to eliminate a rival actor opposing the rapprochement with the USA and threatening to disrupt the arms-for-hostages deal.

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The Showdown That Wasn't: U.S.-Israeli Relations and American Domestic Politics, 1973-75

Galen Jackson
International Security, Spring 2015, Pages 130-169

Abstract:
How influential are domestic politics on U.S. foreign affairs? With regard to Middle East policy, how important a role do ethnic lobbies, Congress, and public opinion play in influencing U.S. strategy? Answering these questions requires the use of archival records and other primary documents, which provide an undistorted view of U.S. policymakers' motivations. The Ford administration's 1975 reassessment of its approach to Arab-Israeli statecraft offers an excellent case for the examination of these issues in light of this type of historical evidence. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided, in large part because of the looming 1976 presidential election, to avoid a confrontation with Israel in the spring and summer of 1975 by choosing to negotiate a second disengagement agreement between Egypt and Israel rather than a comprehensive settlement. Nevertheless, domestic constraints on the White House's freedom of action were not insurmountable and, had they had no other option, Ford and Kissinger would have been willing to engage in a showdown with Israel over the Middle East conflict's most fundamental aspects. The administration's concern that a major clash with Israel might stoke an outbreak of anti-Semitism in the United States likely contributed to its decision to back down.

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The Compellence Dilemma: International Disputes with Violent Groups

David Carter
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article introduces the idea of a compellence dilemma. This dilemma arises when the domestic policies of adversaries - such as hosting violent groups - threaten states' security. Such states often consider coercive instruments to compel their adversary to change those policies. The problem? The prospect of costly punishment makes cooperation more attractive for the adversary. However, if they fail to coerce policy change, harsh punishments can reduce the adversary's capacity to enact policy change and induce harmful domestic instability. These problems are compounded by the fact that both the threatened states' incentive to use costly punishments and the costs of failed compellence increase with the severity of the security threat. The logic of the compellence dilemma applies whenever a state uses damaging coercive instruments but risks failing to achieve its immediate objectives. I analyze the compellence dilemma with a dynamic game-theoretic model of interaction among a target state, host state, and violent group, and show that it is pervasive in equilibrium. I show that the compellence dilemma causes states to refrain from using harsh punishments even when they would compel the host state to cooperate. Concerns about decreasing future host-state capacity and increasing group power drive this result.

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Estimating the Severity of the WikiLeaks U.S. Diplomatic Cables Disclosure

Michael Gill & Arthur Spirling
Political Analysis, Spring 2015, Pages 299-305

Abstract:
In November 2010, the WikiLeaks organization began the release of over 250,000 diplomatic cables sent by U.S. embassies to the U.S. State Department, uploaded to its website by (then) Private Manning, an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army. This leak was widely condemned, including by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We assess the severity of the leak by considering the size of the disclosure relative to all diplomatic cables that were in existence at the time - a quantity that is not known outside official sources. We rely on the fact that the cables that were leaked are internally indexed in such a way that they may be treated as a sample from a discrete uniform distribution with unknown maximum; this is a version of the well-known "German Tank Problem." We consider three estimators that rely on discrete uniformity - maximum likelihood, Bayesian, and frequentist unbiased minimum variance - and demonstrate that the results are very similar in all cases. To supplement these estimators, we employ a regression-based procedure that incorporates the timing of cables' release in addition to their observed serial numbers. We estimate that, overall, approximately 5% of all cables from this timeframe were leaked, but that this number varies considerably at the embassy-year level. Our work provides a useful characterization of the sample of documents available to international relations scholars interested in testing theories of "private information," while helping inform the public debate surrounding Manning's trial and 35-year prison sentence.

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The supply side of United Nations peacekeeping operations: Trade ties and United Nations-led deployments to civil war states

Szymon Stojek & Jaroslav Tir
European Journal of International Relations, June 2015, Pages 352-376

Abstract:
Peacekeeping operations have been identified as the most effective and efficient solution to the highly intractable problem of civil war recurrence; yet, only about 38% of civil wars receive peacekeeping assistance. To explain what determines whether an intrastate conflict receives a deployment of peacekeepers, we note that peacekeeping operations are costly endeavors requiring significant material investments. Focusing on the United Nations and its peacekeeping operations, we argue that because a relatively small group of states decides about (and funds) possible deployments, the supply of United Nations peacekeeping operations likely reflects the interests of these states. Specifically, we hypothesize that trade ties between the five permanent members of the Security Council and civil war states are among the factors that influence the decision to authorize United Nations peacekeeping operations. Testing the argument over the post-World War II and post-Cold War periods reveals that the economic interests of the permanent five members of the Security Council play a key role in explaining which civil wars receive United Nations peacekeepers.

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The Limits of Foreign Aid Diplomacy: How Bureaucratic Design Shapes Aid Distribution

Vincent Arel-Bundock, James Atkinson & Rachel Augustine Potter
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does the institutional design of a state's bureaucracy affect foreign policy? We argue that institutions can moderate bureaucrats' incentives to act in accordance with an Executive's diplomatic preferences. Where the Executive can influence budgets or career paths, bureaucrats face incentives to adopt her diplomatic goals as their own. Where agencies are shielded from Executive influence, bureaucrats are free to act independently in a bid to enhance their autonomy and their reputation for competence. To test these expectations, we develop a new measure of bureaucratic independence for the 15 aid-giving agencies in the US government. We analyze how independence affects foreign aid allocation patterns over the 1999-2010 period. We find that in "dependent" agencies, foreign aid flows track the diplomatic objectives of the president. In "independent" agencies, aid flows appear less responsive to presidential priorities and more responsive to indicators of need in the recipient country. Our results highlight limits on the diplomatic use of foreign aid and emphasize the importance of domestic institutional design. Our findings yield insight into a broad range of policy domains - including international finance, immigration, and the application of economic sanctions - where multiple government agencies are in charge of implementing foreign policy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, May 17, 2015

In it together

Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: Evidence from the Micro-Context

Peter Thisted Dinesen & Kim Mannemar Sønderskov
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We argue that residential exposure to ethnic diversity reduces social trust. Previous within-country analyses of the relationship between contextual ethnic diversity and trust have been conducted at higher levels of aggregation, thus ignoring substantial variation in actual exposure to ethnic diversity. In contrast, we analyze how ethnic diversity of the immediate micro-context — where interethnic exposure is inevitable — affects trust. We do this using Danish survey data linked with register-based data, which enables us to obtain precise measures of the ethnic diversity of each individual’s residential surroundings. We focus on contextual diversity within a radius of 80 meters of a given individual, but we also compare the effect in the micro-context to the impact of diversity in more aggregate contexts. Our results show that ethnic diversity in the micro-context affects trust negatively, whereas the effect vanishes in larger contextual units. This supports the conjecture that interethnic exposure underlies the negative relationship between ethnic diversity in residential contexts and social trust.

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Dopamine Modulates Egalitarian Behavior in Humans

Ignacio Sáez et al.
Current Biology, 30 March 2015, Pages 912–919

Abstract:
Egalitarian motives form a powerful force in promoting prosocial behavior and enabling large-scale cooperation in the human species. At the neural level, there is substantial, albeit correlational, evidence suggesting a link between dopamine and such behavior. However, important questions remain about the specific role of dopamine in setting or modulating behavioral sensitivity to prosocial concerns. Here, using a combination of pharmacological tools and economic games, we provide critical evidence for a causal involvement of dopamine in human egalitarian tendencies. Specifically, using the brain penetrant catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) inhibitor tolcapone, we investigated the causal relationship between dopaminergic mechanisms and two prosocial concerns at the core of a number of widely used economic games: (1) the extent to which individuals directly value the material payoffs of others, i.e., generosity, and (2) the extent to which they are averse to differences between their own payoffs and those of others, i.e., inequity. We found that dopaminergic augmentation via COMT inhibition increased egalitarian tendencies in participants who played an extended version of the dictator game. Strikingly, computational modeling of choice behavior revealed that tolcapone exerted selective effects on inequity aversion, and not on other computational components such as the extent to which individuals directly value the material payoffs of others. Together, these data shed light on the causal relationship between neurochemical systems and human prosocial behavior and have potential implications for our understanding of the complex array of social impairments accompanying neuropsychiatric disorders involving dopaminergic dysregulation.

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Power and Legitimacy Influence Conformity

Nicholas Hays & Noah Goldstein
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 17–26

Abstract:
Although prior research indicates that power and hierarchy illegitimacy independently decrease conformity to social norms, we demonstrate that the two interact. In five studies, we find that legitimate power decreases conformity, whereas illegitimate power increases conformity. We conducted Study 1 in a business organization and found that power was negatively related to employees’ conformity with organizational values when the power hierarchy was seen as legitimate, but positively related to conformity when the hierarchy was seen as illegitimate. In Study 2, we manipulated power and legitimacy via a recall task and found the same pattern of effects. Study 3 replicates this finding by manipulating role-based power and legitimacy and examining conformity to norms ostensibly established by others in the context of the study. In Study 4, we find that these effects are driven by increases in conformity among those who are in a state of legitimate powerlessness or illegitimate power. Finally, Study 5 demonstrates that legitimacy moderates the experience of power in part because of its effect on hierarchy stability. Our studies suggest that attributes of a power hierarchy, such as its legitimacy, can be as important in determining behavior as one’s hierarchical position.

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Leader emergence through interpersonal neural synchronization

Jing Jiang et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 7 April 2015, Pages 4274–4279

Abstract:
The neural mechanism of leader emergence is not well understood. This study investigated (i) whether interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) plays an important role in leader emergence, and (ii) whether INS and leader emergence are associated with the frequency or the quality of communications. Eleven three-member groups were asked to perform a leaderless group discussion (LGD) task, and their brain activities were recorded via functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning. Video recordings of the discussions were coded for leadership and communication. Results showed that the INS for the leader–follower (LF) pairs was higher than that for the follower–follower (FF) pairs in the left temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), an area important for social mentalizing. Although communication frequency was higher for the LF pairs than for the FF pairs, the frequency of leader-initiated and follower-initiated communication did not differ significantly. Moreover, INS for the LF pairs was significantly higher during leader-initiated communication than during follower-initiated communications. In addition, INS for the LF pairs during leader-initiated communication was significantly correlated with the leaders’ communication skills and competence, but not their communication frequency. Finally, leadership could be successfully predicted based on INS as well as communication frequency early during the LGD (before half a minute into the task). In sum, this study found that leader emergence was characterized by high-level neural synchronization between the leader and followers and that the quality, rather than the frequency, of communications was associated with synchronization. These results suggest that leaders emerge because they are able to say the right things at the right time.

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The monetary value of social capital

Johannes Orlowski & Pamela Wicker
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, August 2015, Pages 26–36

Abstract:
The purpose of this study is to estimate the monetary value of social capital by considering its multidimensional nature. Four dimensions are conceptualized: Interpersonal trust, institutional trust, trustworthiness, and participation in civil society (formal and informal). The monetary value is obtained by including social capital in a well-being function and estimating the shadow price of social capital. The empirical analysis is based on data from the European Values Survey covering 45 European countries. A generalized ordered response model is estimated to account for possible heterogeneity of social capital indicators among the ten different subjective well-being levels. The results show that on average a one standard deviation increase in interpersonal trust (people's fairness) is worth an extra € 7,913 per year in terms of foregone income, the same increase in institutional trust is worth € 7,405, and the same increase in the importance of family is worth € 7,312. The findings indicate that social capital has significant monetary value to individuals. This should be considered when designing government policies aiming at e.g., labor market mobility that are accompanied by a decreasing social capital stock that, in turn, may negatively affect economic and political development.

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"Ingroup love" and "outgroup hate" in intergroup conflict between natural groups

Ori Weisel & Robert Böhm
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report on two studies investigating the motivations (“ingroup love” and “outgroup hate”) underlying individual participation in intergroup conflict between natural groups (fans of football clubs, supporters of political parties), by employing the Intergroup Prisoner’s Dilemma Maximizing-Difference game (IPD-MD). In this game group members can contribute to the ingroup (at a personal cost) and benefit ingroup members with or without harming members of an outgroup. Additionally, we devised a novel version of the IPD-MD in which the choice is between benefiting ingroup members with or without helping members of the outgroup. Our results show an overall reluctance to display outgroup hate by actively harming outgroup members, except when the outgroup was morality-based. More enmity between groups induced more outgroup hate only when it was operationalized as refraining from help.

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National identification as a function of perceived social control: A subjective group dynamics analysis

Isabel Pinto, José Marques & Dario Paez
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on subjective group dynamics theory (SGDT; e.g., Marques, Paez, & Abrams, 1998), we examine the effects of a group’s ability to effectively control its deviant members on participants’ ingroup identification. In Studies 1 and 2 (N = 79 and N = 173) participants were informed that the ingroup (vs. outgroup) dealt with deviant occurrences in an effective (vs. ineffective) way. As predicted, induced ingroup effectiveness generated higher ingroup identification, trust in the ingroup’s social control system, and more positive emotional climate, whereas induced ingroup ineffectiveness generated more negative emotional climate or anomie and weaker ingroup identification as compared to outgroup conditions. In Study 3 (N = 115), perceived ingroup effectiveness predicted ingroup identification, via emotional climate, ingroup anomie, confidence in the group’s social control system, and ingroup emotions. We discuss the results in light of SGDT and the role of perceived ingroup social control in promoting ingroup identification.

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Substitute or stepping stone? Assessing the impact of low-threshold online collective actions on offline participation

Sandy Schumann & Olivier Klein
European Journal of Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 308–322

Abstract:
Anecdotes of past social movements suggest that Internet-enabled technologies, especially social media platforms, can facilitate collective actions. Recently, however, it has been argued that the participatory Internet encourages low-cost and low-risk activism — slacktivism — which may have detrimental consequences for groups that aim to achieve a collective purpose. More precisely, low-threshold digital practices such as signing online petitions or “liking” the Facebook page of a group are thought to derail subsequent engagement offline. We assessed this postulation in three experiments (N = 76, N = 59, and N = 48) and showed that so-called slacktivist actions indeed reduce the willingness to join a panel discussion and demonstration as well as the likelihood to sign a petition. This demobilizing effect was mediated by the satisfaction of group-enhancing motives; members considered low-threshold online collective actions as a substantial contribution to the group's success. The findings highlight that behavior that is belittled as slacktivism addresses needs that pertain to individuals' sense of group membership. Rather than hedonistic motives or personal interests, concerns for the ingroup's welfare and viability influenced the decision to join future collective actions offline.

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When Treatments are Tweets: A Network Mobilization Experiment over Twitter

Alexander Coppock, Andrew Guess & John Ternovski
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study rigorously compares the effectiveness of online mobilization appeals via two randomized field experiments conducted over the social microblogging service Twitter. In the process, we demonstrate a methodological innovation designed to capture social effects by exogenously inducing network behavior. In both experiments, we find that direct, private messages to followers of a nonprofit advocacy organization’s Twitter account are highly effective at increasing support for an online petition. Surprisingly, public tweets have no effect at all. We additionally randomize the private messages to prime subjects with either a “follower” or an “organizer” identity but find no evidence that this affects the likelihood of signing the petition. Finally, in the second experiment, followers of subjects induced to tweet a link to the petition are more likely to sign it — evidence of a campaign gone “viral.” In presenting these results, we contribute to a nascent body of experimental literature exploring political behavior in online social media.

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Sports at Work: Anticipated and Persistent Correlates of Participation in High School Athletics

Kevin Kniffin, Brian Wansink & Mitsuru Shimizu
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, May 2015, Pages 217-230

Abstract:
Do former high school athletes make better employees than nonathletes? Two studies examine how participation in competitive youth sports appears to be relevant for early-career job prospects as well as late-in-life outcomes. In the short run, Study 1 shows that people expect former student-athletes to display significantly more leadership, self-confidence, and self-respect than those who were active outside of sports — such as being in the band or on the yearbook staff. In the long run, Study 2 uses biodata to discover that men who participated in varsity-level high school sports an average of 60 years earlier appeared to demonstrate higher levels of leadership and enjoyed higher-status careers. Surprisingly, these ex-athletes also exhibited more prosocial behavior than nonathletes — they more frequently volunteered time and donated to charity. These findings open a wide range of possibilities regarding how one’s participation in competitive youth sports might influence the development of important skills and values beyond simply signaling the specific traits examined here. Moreover, this contributes to theoretical debates about the traits of students involved in competitive athletics, and it highlights the need for closer attention to the relevance of sports in the workplace and beyond — including late-in-life charitable giving and voluntarism.

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Mechanisms of Social Avoidance Learning Can Explain the Emergence of Adaptive and Arbitrary Behavioral Traditions in Humans

Björn Lindström & Andreas Olsson
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many nonhuman animals preferentially copy the actions of others when the environment contains predation risk or other types of danger. In humans, the role of social learning in avoidance of danger is still unknown, despite the fundamental importance of social learning for complex social behaviors. Critically, many social behaviors, such as cooperation and adherence to religious taboos, are maintained by threat of punishment. However, the psychological mechanisms allowing threat of punishment to generate such behaviors, even when actual punishment is rare or absent, are largely unknown. To address this, we used both computer simulations and behavioral experiments. First, we constructed a model where simulated agents interacted under threat of punishment and showed that mechanisms’ (a) tendency to copy the actions of others through social learning, together with (b) the rewarding properties of avoiding a threatening punishment, could explain the emergence, maintenance, and transmission of large-scale behavioral traditions, both when punishment is common and when it is rare or nonexistent. To provide empirical support for our model, including the 2 mechanisms, we conducted 4 experiments, showing that humans, if threatened with punishment, are exceptionally prone to copy and transmit the behavior observed in others. Our results show that humans, similar to many nonhuman animals, use social learning if the environment is perceived as dangerous. We provide a novel psychological and computational basis for a range of human behaviors characterized by the threat of punishment, such as the adherence to cultural norms and religious taboos.

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Operationalizations of the “but you are free” technique with the word liberty and the Statue of Liberty symbol on clothes: Effects on compliance-gaining

Alexandre Pascual et al.
Social Influence, Summer 2015, Pages 149-156

Abstract:
The “but you are free” (BYAF) technique is a verbal compliance procedure which solicits people to comply with a request by telling them that they are free to accept or to refuse the request. This technique is based on the semantic evocation of freedom. In two studies, we explored another operationalization of this paradigm: the word “liberty” or a “Statue of Liberty” picture on the experimenter's clothes. The data showed that the word liberty printed on a t-shirt produced the BYAF effect whereas the Statue of Liberty picture did not. These results provide some evidence consistent with using reactance and commitment theories to explain the paradigm, contrary to other theoretical interpretations proposed in the literature such as politeness and reciprocity theories.

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Dual-Hormone Changes Are Related to Bargaining Performance

Pranjal Mehta et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies show that endogenous testosterone and cortisol changes interactively track bargaining outcomes. In a face-to-face competitive negotiation (Study 1) and a laboratory-based bargaining game (Study 2), testosterone rises were related to greater earnings and high relationship quality only if cortisol dropped. If cortisol rose, testosterone rises were related to lower earnings and poor relationship quality. Conflict between financial and social goals was associated with the financially costly hormone profile, whereas the absence of such conflict was associated with the financially adaptive hormone profile. The findings suggest that when cortisol decreases, rising testosterone is implicated in adaptive bargaining behavior that maximizes earnings and relationship quality. But when cortisol increases, rising testosterone is related to conflict between social and financial motives, lower earnings, and lower relationship quality. These results imply that there are “bright” and “dark” sides to rising testosterone in economic social interactions that depend on fluctuations in cortisol.

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How does leader humility influence team performance? Exploring the mechanisms of contagion and collective promotion focus

Bradley Owens & David Hekman
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from 607 subjects organized in 161 teams (84 laboratory teams and 77 organizational field teams), we examined how leader humility influences team interaction patterns, emergent states, and team performance. We developed and tested a theoretical model arguing that when leaders behave humbly, followers emulate their humble behaviors, creating a shared interpersonal team process (collective humility). This collective humility in turn creates a team emergent state focused on progressively striving toward achieving the team's highest potential (collective promotion focus), which ultimately enhances team performance. We tested our model across three studies wherein we manipulated leader humility to test the social contagion hypothesis (Study 1), examined the impact of humility on team processes and performance in a longitudinal team simulation (Study 2), and tested the full model in a multistage field study in a health services context (Study 3). The findings from these lab and field studies collectively supported our theoretical model, demonstrating that leader behavior can spread via social contagion to followers, producing an emergent state that ultimately affects team performance. Our findings contribute to the leadership literature by suggesting the need for leaders to lead by example, and showing precisely how a specific set of leader behaviors influence team performance, which may provide a useful template for future leadership research on a wide variety of leader behaviors.

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Damage to the insula is associated with abnormal interpersonal trust

Amy Belfi, Timothy Koscik & Daniel Tranel
Neuropsychologia, May 2015, Pages 165–172

Abstract:
Reciprocal trust is a crucial component of cooperative, mutually beneficial social relationships. Previous research using tasks that require judging and developing interpersonal trust has suggested that the insula may be an important brain region underlying these processes (King-Casas et al., 2008). Here, using a neuropsychological approach, we investigated the role of the insula in reciprocal trust during the Trust Game (TG), an interpersonal economic exchange. Consistent with previous research, we found that neurologically normal adults reciprocate trust in kind, i.e., they increase trust in response to increases from their partners, and decrease trust in response to decreases. In contrast, individuals with damage to the insula displayed abnormal expressions of trust. Specifically, these individuals behaved benevolently (expressing misplaced trust) when playing the role of investor, and malevolently (violating their partner's trust) when playing the role of the trustee. Our findings lend further support to the idea that the insula is important for expressing normal interpersonal trust, perhaps because the insula helps to recognize risk during decision-making and to identify social norm violations.

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The undermining effect of facial attractiveness on brain responses to fairness in the Ultimatum Game: An ERP study

Qingguo Ma et al.
Frontiers in Neuroscience, March 2015

Abstract:
To investigate the time course of the neural processing of facial attractiveness and its influence on fairness consideration during social interactions, event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded from 21 male subjects performing a two-person Ultimatum Game (UG). During this bargaining game, the male subjects played responders who decided whether to accept offers from female proposers, whose facial images (grouped as “attractive” and “unattractive”) were presented prior to the offer presentation. The behavioral data demonstrated that the acceptance ratio increased with the fairness level of the offers and, more importantly, the subjects were more likely to accept unfair offers when presented with the attractive-face condition compared with the unattractive-face condition. The reaction times (RTs) for five offers (1:9, 2:8, 3:7, 4:6, and 5:5) in the unattractive-face condition were not significantly different. In contrast, the subjects reacted slower to the attractive proposers' unfair offers and quicker to fair offers. The ERP analysis of the face presentation demonstrated a decreased early negativity (N2) and enhanced late positive potentials (LPPs) elicited by the attractive faces compared with the unattractive faces. In addition, the feedback-related negativity (FRN) in response to an offer presentation was not significantly different for the unfair (1:9 and 2:8) and fair (4:6 and 5:5) offers in the attractive-face condition. However, the unfair offers generated larger FRNs compared with the fair offers in the unattractive-face condition (consistent with prior studies). A similar effect was identified for P300. The present study demonstrated an undermining effect of proposer facial attractiveness on responder consideration of offer fairness during the UG.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Can't help myself

The burden of responsibility: Interpersonal costs of high self-control

Christy Zhou Koval et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 750-766

Abstract:
The psychological literature on self-control has illustrated the many benefits experienced by people with high self-control, who are more successful both personally and interpersonally. In the current research, we explore the possibility that having high self-control also may have some interpersonal costs, leading individuals to become burdened by others’ reliance. In Studies 1 and 2, we examined the effects of actors’ self-control on observers’ performance expectations and found that observers had higher performance expectations for actors with high (vs. low) self-control. In Study 3, we tested the effect of actors’ self-control on work assigned to actors and found that observers assigned greater workloads to actors with high (vs. low) self-control. In Study 4, we examined how actors and observers differed in their assessments of the effort expended by high and low self-control actors and found that observers (but not actors) reported that high self-control actors expended less effort than low self-control actors. Finally, we found that people high (vs. low) in self-control reported greater burden from the reliance of coworkers (Study 5) and romantic partners (Study 6), and this tendency led them to feel less satisfied with their relationships (Study 6). Together, results from these studies provide novel evidence that individuals’ self-control affects others’ attitudes and behaviors toward them, and suggest that these interpersonal dynamics can have negative consequences for high self-control individuals.

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When Temptations Come Alive: How Anthropomorphism Undermines Self-Control

Julia Hur, Minjung Koo & Wilhelm Hofmann
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how anthropomorphizing a temptation impacts consumer self-control. Six studies show that anthropomorphizing a tempting product impairs self-control not by boosting desire strength but by decreasing consumers’ experience of conflict toward consuming the product — an alarm that signals a need for self-control. As a result, consumers are less likely to initiate self-control and more likely to indulge in the product. This process occurs because an anthropomorphized product acts as another agent in the self-control dilemma, which decreases the extent to which consumers attribute the cause of and responsibility for their consumption to themselves (i.e., internal attribution).

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The Effect of Self-Control on the Construction of Risk Perceptions

Jayson Jia, Uzma Khan & Ab Litt
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that the way decision makers construct risk perceptions is systematically influenced by their level of self-control: low self-control results in greater weighting of probability and reduced weighting of consequences of negative outcomes in formulating overall threat perceptions. Seven studies demonstrate such distorted risk construction in wide-ranging risk domains. The effects hold for both chronic and manipulated levels of perceived self-control and are observed only for risks involving high personal agency (e.g., overeating, smoking, drinking). As an important implication of our results, we also demonstrate that those lower (higher) in self-control show relatively less (more) interest in products and lifestyle changes reducing consequences (e.g., a pill that heals liver damage from drinking) than those reducing likelihood of risks (e.g., a pill that prevents liver damage from drinking). We also explore several possible underlying processes for the observed effect and discuss the theoretical and managerial relevance of our findings.

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Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies

Michael Daly et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The capacity for self-control may underlie successful labor-force entry and job retention, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Analyzing unemployment data from two nationally representative British cohorts (N = 16,780), we found that low self-control in childhood was associated with the emergence and persistence of unemployment across four decades. On average, a 1-SD increase in self-control was associated with a reduction in the probability of unemployment of 1.4 percentage points after adjustment for intelligence, social class, and gender. From labor-market entry to middle age, individuals with low self-control experienced 1.6 times as many months of unemployment as those with high self-control. Analysis of monthly unemployment data before and during the 1980s recession showed that individuals with low self-control experienced the greatest increases in unemployment during the recession. Our results underscore the critical role of self-control in shaping life-span trajectories of occupational success and in affecting how macroeconomic conditions affect unemployment levels in the population.

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Decision-making under uncertainty and demand for health insurance: A multidisciplinary study

Cristina Ottaviani & Daniela Vandone
Journal of Psychophysiology, Spring 2015, Pages 80-85

Abstract:
This study empirically estimated the role played by attitudes toward risk in insurance decision-making. Four hundred forty-five participants underwent the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) coupled with skin conductance recording and demographic/socio-economic questionnaires. The multiple regression model showed a higher probability of holding health insurance for people who are more risk seeking (bad performance at the IGT) but are adaptively able to feel the risk (normal anticipatory skin conductance responses to disadvantageous decks). The role played by traditional socio-economic explanatory variables (age and work status) was confirmed. Results are discussed in light of the need for interdisciplinary research.

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Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, Cooperation, and Self-Control

Kristian Ove Myrseth, Gerhard Riener & Conny Wollbrant
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The social dilemma may involve a within-person conflict, between urges to act selfishly and better judgment to cooperate. Examining the proposition from the perspective of temptation, we pair the public good game with treatments that vary the degree to which money is abstract (numbers on-screen) or tangible (tokens or cash). We also include psychometric measures of self-control and impulsivity. Consistent with our hypothesis, we found in the treatments that render money more tangible a stronger positive association between cooperation and self-control and a stronger negative association between cooperation and impulsivity. Our results show that the representation of the endowment in the public good game matters for the role of self-control and, hence, cooperation.

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COMT Genotype, Gambling Activity, and Cognition

Jon Grant et al.
Journal of Psychiatric Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Neuropsychological studies of adults with problem gambling indicate impairments across multiple cognitive domains. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) plays a unique role in the regulation of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex, and has been implicated in the cognitive dysfunction evident in problem gambling. This study examined adults with varying levels of gambling behavior to determine whether COMT genotype was associated with differences in gambling symptoms and cognitive functioning. 260 non-treatment-seeking adults aged 18-29 years with varying degrees of gambling behavior provided saliva samples for genotyping COMT val158met (rs4680). All subjects underwent clinical evaluations and neurocognitive assessment of decision-making, working memory, and impulsivity. The Val/Val COMT genotype was associated with the largest percentage of subjects with gambling disorder (31.8%), a rate significantly different from the Val/Met (13.2%) group (p=0.001). The Val/Val COMT group was also associated with significantly more gambling disorder diagnostic criteria being met, greater frequency of gambling behavior, and significantly worse cognitive performance on the Cambridge Gamble Task (risk adjustment and delay aversion) and the Spatial Working Memory task (total errors). This study adds to the growing literature on the role of COMT in impulsive behaviors by showing that the Val/Val genotype was associated with specific clinical and cognitive elements among young adults who gamble, in the absence of differences on demographic measures and other cognitive domains. Future work should consider using genotyping to explore whether certain polymorphisms predict subsequent development of impulsive behaviors including gambling disorder, and treatment outcomes.

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Hyperactivity in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Impairing Deficit or Compensatory Behavior?

Dustin Sarver et al.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Excess gross motor activity (hyperactivity) is considered a core diagnostic feature of childhood ADHD that impedes learning. This view has been challenged, however, by recent models that conceptualize excess motor activity as a compensatory mechanism that facilitates neurocognitive functioning in children with ADHD. The current study investigated competing model predictions regarding activity level’s relation with working memory (WM) performance and attention in boys aged 8–12 years (M = 9.64, SD = 1.26) with ADHD (n = 29) and typically developing children (TD; n = 23). Children’s phonological WM and attentive behavior were objectively assessed during four counterbalanced WM tasks administered across four separate sessions. These data were then sequenced hierarchically based on behavioral observations of each child’s gross motor activity during each task. Analysis of the relations among intra-individual changes in observed activity level, attention, and performance revealed that higher rates of activity level predicted significantly better, but not normalized WM performance for children with ADHD. Conversely, higher rates of activity level predicted somewhat lower WM performance for TD children. Variations in movement did not predict changes in attention for either group. At the individual level, children with ADHD and TD children were more likely to be classified as reliably Improved and Deteriorated, respectively, when comparing their WM performance at their highest versus lowest observed activity level. These findings appear most consistent with models ascribing a functional role to hyperactivity in ADHD, with implications for selecting behavioral treatment targets to avoid overcorrecting gross motor activity during academic tasks that rely on phonological WM.

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Plasticity of risky decision making among maltreated adolescents: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial

Joshua Weller et al.
Development and Psychopathology, May 2015, Pages 535-551

Abstract:
Childhood maltreatment has lasting negative effects throughout the life span. Early intervention research has demonstrated that these effects can be remediated through skill-based, family-centered interventions. However, less is known about plasticity during adolescence, and whether interventions are effective many years after children experience maltreatment. This study investigated this question by examining adolescent girls' ability to make advantageous decisions in the face of risk using a validated decision-making task; performance on this task has been associated with key neural regions involved in affective processing and executive functioning. Maltreated foster girls (n = 92), randomly assigned at age 11 to either an intervention designed to prevent risk-taking behaviors or services as usual (SAU), and nonmaltreated age and socioeconomic status matched girls living with their biological parent(s) (n = 80) completed a decision-making task (at age 15–17) that assessed risk taking and sensitivity to expected value, an index of advantageous decision making. Girls in the SAU condition demonstrated the greatest decision-making difficulties, primarily for risks to avoid losses. In the SAU group, frequency of neglect was related to greater difficulties in this area. Girls in the intervention condition with less neglect performed similarly to nonmaltreated peers. This research suggests that early maltreatment may impact decision-making abilities into adolescence and that enriched environments during early adolescence provide a window of plasticity that may ameliorate these negative effects.

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A Comparison of Two Models of Risky Sexual Behavior During Late Adolescence

Sopagna Eap Braje, Mark Eddy & Gordon Hall
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two models of risky sexual behavior (RSB) were compared in a community sample of late adolescents (N = 223). For the traumagenic model, early negative sexual experiences were posited to lead to an association between negative affect with sexual relationships. For the cognitive escape model, depressive affect was posited to lead to engagement in RSB as a way to avoid negative emotions. The current study examined whether depression explained the relationship between sexual trauma and RSB, supporting the cognitive escape model, or whether it was sexual trauma that led specifically to RSB, supporting the traumagenic model. Physical trauma experiences were also examined to disentangle the effects of sexual trauma compared to other emotionally distressing events. The study examined whether the results would be moderated by participant sex. For males, support was found for the cognitive escape model but not the traumagenic model. Among males, physical trauma and depression predicted engagement in RSB but sexual trauma did not. For females, support was found for the traumagenic and cognitive escape model. Among females, depression and sexual trauma both uniquely predicted RSB. There was an additional suppressor effect of socioeconomic status in predicting RSB among females. Results suggest that the association of trauma type with RSB depends on participant sex. Implications of the current study for RSB prevention efforts are discussed.

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A depleted mind feels inefficacious: Ego-depletion reduces self-efficacy to exert further self-control

Jason Chow, Chin Ming Hui & Shun Lau
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has found that ego-depletion undermines self-control by motivating cognition that justifies conservation of mental resource. One potential cognitive mechanism is reduction of self-efficacy. Specifically, we propose that ego-depletion might demotivate self-control by making people believe that they are inefficacious in exerting self-control in subsequent tasks. Three experiments support the proposal. First, we demonstrated that (a) ego-depletion can reduce self-efficacy to exert further control (Experiments 1 to 3) and (b) the temporary reduction of self-efficacy mediates the effect of depletion on self-control performance (Experiment 2). Finally, we found that (c) these effects are only observed among participants who endorse a limited (versus non-limited) theory of willpower and are, hence, more motivated to conserve mental resources (Experiment 3). Taken together, the present findings show that decrease in self-efficacy to exert further self-control is an important cognitive process that explains how ego-depletion demotivates self-control. This research also contributes to the recent discussion of the psychological processes underlying ego-depletion.

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40-second green roof views sustain attention: The role of micro-breaks in attention restoration

Kate Lee et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2015, Pages 182–189

Abstract:
Based on attention restoration theory we proposed that micro-breaks spent viewing a city scene with a flowering meadow green roof would boost sustained attention. Sustained attention is crucial in daily life and underlies successful cognitive functioning. We compared the effects of 40-second views of two different city scenes on 150 university students’ sustained attention. Participants completed the task at baseline, were randomly assigned to view a flowering meadow green roof or a bare concrete roof, and completed the task again at post-treatment. Participants who briefly viewed the green roof made significantly lower omission errors, and showed more consistent responding to the task compared to participants who viewed the concrete roof. We argue that this reflects boosts to sub-cortical arousal and cortical attention control. Our results extend attention restoration theory by providing direct experimental evidence for the benefits of micro-breaks and for city green roofs.

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Higher impulsivity after exposure to the internet for individuals with high but not low levels of self-reported problematic internet behaviours

Phil Reed et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, August 2015, Pages 512–516

Abstract:
The current study explored the impact of internet exposure on the impulsivity of individuals who reported higher or lower levels of problematic internet behaviours. Levels of problematic internet use in 60 individuals were measured using the Internet Addiction Test. Participants were exposed to a choice assessment, in which they could choose between a small immediately-delivered outcome (impulsive), a medium-sized outcome with a medium delay (optimal), and a larger longer-delayed outcome (self-controlled). They were given 15 min access to the internet, and finally were presented with the choice test again. Of the sample, 28% (17/60) had internet-problems, with no difference being found between male and female rates of problematic internet use. Those reporting higher levels of internet-problems displayed no greater impulsive behaviours, prior to internet exposure, than those reporting fewer problems. After internet exposure, higher-problem users displayed greater impulsivity, reflected by a move from self-controlled to impulsive choices. These findings suggest that individuals reporting internet-related problems become more impulsive after exposure to the internet.

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Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Online Risk Taking: The Role of Gist and Verbatim Representations

Claire White, Michaela Gummerum & Yaniv Hanoch
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Young people are exposed to and engage in online risky activities, such as disclosing personal information and making unknown friends online. Little research has examined the psychological mechanisms underlying young people's online risk taking. Drawing on fuzzy trace theory, we examined developmental differences in adolescents’ and young adults’ online risk taking and assessed whether differential reliance on gist representations (based on vague, intuitive knowledge) or verbatim representations (based on specific, factual knowledge) could explain online risk taking. One hundred and twenty two adolescents (ages 13–17) and 172 young adults (ages 18–24) were asked about their past online risk-taking behavior, intentions to engage in future risky online behavior, and gist and verbatim representations. Adolescents had significantly higher intentions to take online risks than young adults. Past risky online behaviors were positively associated with future intentions to take online risks for adolescents and negatively for young adults. Gist representations about risk negatively correlated with intentions to take risks online in both age groups, while verbatim representations positively correlated with online risk intentions, particularly among adolescents. Our results provide novel insights about the underlying mechanisms involved in adolescent and young adults’ online risk taking, suggesting the need to tailor the representation of online risk information to different age groups.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, May 15, 2015

Rising up

A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries

Abhijit Banerjee et al.
Science, 15 May 2015

Introduction: Working in six countries with an international consortium, we investigate whether a multifaceted Graduation program can help the extreme poor establish sustainable self-employment activities and generate lasting improvements in their well-being. The program targets the poorest members in a village and provides a productive asset grant, training and support, life skills coaching, temporary cash consumption support, and typically access to savings accounts and health information or services. In each country, the program was adjusted to suit different contexts and cultures, while staying true to the same overall principles. This multipronged approach is relatively expensive, but the theory of change is that the combination of these activities is necessary and sufficient to obtain a persistent impact. We do not test whether each of the program dimensions is individually necessary. Instead, we examine the “sufficiency” claim: A year after the conclusion of the program, and 3 years after the asset transfer, are program participants earning more income and achieving stable improvements in their well-being?

Rationale: We conducted six randomized trials in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru with a total of 10,495 participants. In each site, our implementing partners selected eligible villages based on being in geographies associated with extreme poverty, and then identified the poorest of the poor in these villages through a participatory wealth-ranking process. About half the eligible participants were assigned to treatment, and half to control. In three of the sites, to measure within village spillovers, we also randomized half of villages to treatment and half to control. We conducted a baseline survey on all eligible participants, as well as an endline at the end of the intervention (typically 24 months after the start of the intervention) and a second endline 1 year after the first endline. We measure impacts on consumption, food security, productive and household assets, financial inclusion, time use, income and revenues, physical health, mental health, political involvement, and women’s empowerment.

Results: At the end of the intervention, we found statistically significant impacts on all 10 key outcomes or indices. One year after the end of the intervention, 36 months after the productive asset transfer, 8 out of 10 indices still showed statistically significant gains, and there was very little or no decline in the impact of the program on the key variables (consumption, household assets, and food security). Income and revenues were significantly higher in the treatment group in every country. Household consumption was significantly higher in every country except one (Honduras). In most countries, the (discounted) extra earnings exceeded the program cost.

Conclusion: The Graduation program’s primary goal, to substantially increase consumption of the very poor, is achieved by the conclusion of the program and maintained 1 year later. The estimated benefits are higher than the costs in five out of six sites. Although more can be learned about how to optimize the design and implementation of the program, we establish that a multifaceted approach to increasing income and well-being for the ultrapoor is sustainable and cost-effective.

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Family Values and the Regulation of Labor

Alberto Alesina et al.
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
To be efficient, flexible labor markets require geographically mobile workers. Otherwise firms can take advantage of workers' immobility and extract rents at their expense. In cultures with strong family ties, moving away from home is costly. Thus, to limit the rents of firms and to avoid moving, individuals with strong family ties rationally choose regulated labor markets, even though regulation generates higher unemployment and lower incomes. Empirically, we find that individuals who inherit stronger family ties are less mobile, have lower wages and higher unemployment, and support more stringent labor market regulations. We find a positive association between labor market rigidities at the beginning of the 21st century and family values prevailing before World War II, and between family structures in the Middle Ages and current desire for labor market regulation. Both results suggest that labor market regulations have deep cultural roots.

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The Geography of Development: Evaluating Migration Restrictions and Coastal Flooding

Klaus Desmet, Dávid Krisztián Nagy & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We study the relationship between geography and growth. To do so, we first develop a dynamic spatial growth theory with realistic geography. We characterize the model and its balanced growth path and propose a methodology to analyze equilibria with different levels of migration frictions. We bring the model to the data for the whole world economy at a 1°×1° geographic resolution. We then use the model to quantify the gains from relaxing migration restrictions as well as to describe the evolution of the distribution of economic activity in the different migration scenarios. Our results indicate that fully liberalizing migration would increase welfare more than three-fold and would significantly affect the evolution of particular regions in the world. We then use the model to study the effect of a spatial shock. We focus on the example of a rise in the sea level and find that coastal flooding can have an important impact on welfare by changing the geographic-dynamic path of the world economy.

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The Resource Curse Exorcised: Evidence from a Panel of Countries

Brock Smith
Journal of Development Economics, September 2015, Pages 57–73

Abstract:
This paper evaluates the impact of major natural resource discoveries since 1950 on GDP per capita. Using panel fixed-effects estimation and resource discoveries in countries that were not previously resource-rich as a plausibly exogenous source of variation, I find a positive effect on GDP per capita levels following resource exploitation that persists in the long term. Results vary significantly between OECD and non-OECD treatment countries, with effects concentrated within the non-OECD group. I further test GDP effects with synthetic control analysis on each individual treated country, yielding results consistent with the average effects found with the fixed-effects model.

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The Aggregate Effect of School Choice: Evidence from a two-stage experiment in India

Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present experimental evidence on the impact of a school choice program in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) that provided students with a voucher to finance attending a private school of their choice. The study design featured a unique two-stage lottery-based allocation of vouchers that created both a student-level and a market-level experiment, which allows us to study both the individual and the aggregate effects of school choice (including spillovers). After two and four years of the program, we find no difference between test scores of lottery winners and losers on Telugu (native language), math, English, and science/social studies, suggesting that the large cross-sectional differences in test scores across public and private schools mostly reflect omitted variables. However, private schools also teach Hindi, which is not taught by the public schools, and lottery winners have much higher test scores in Hindi. Further, the mean cost per student in the private schools in our sample was less than one-third of the cost in public schools. Thus, private schools in this setting deliver slightly better test score gains than their public counterparts (better on Hindi and same in other subjects), and do so at a substantially lower cost per student. Finally, we find no evidence of spillovers on public-school students who do not apply for the voucher, or on private school students, suggesting that the positive impacts on voucher winners did not come at the expense of other students.

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The Half-Life of Happiness: Hedonic Adaptation in the Subjective Well-Being of Poor Slum Dwellers to a Large Improvement in Housing

Sebastian Galiani, Paul Gertler & Raimundo Undurraga
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
A fundamental question in economics is whether happiness increases pari passu with improvements in material conditions or whether humans grow accustomed to better conditions over time. We rely on a large-scale experiment to examine what kind of impact the provision of housing to extremely poor populations in Latin America has on subjective measures of well-being over time. The objective is to determine whether poor populations exhibit hedonic adaptation in happiness derived from reducing the shortfall in the satisfaction of their basic needs. Our results are conclusive. We find that subjective perceptions of well-being improve substantially for recipients of better housing but that after, on average, eight months, 60% of that gain disappears.

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Has China’s fast industrial growth been efficient? An industry-level investigation with a newly constructed data set

Harry Wu, Esther Shea & Alice Shiu
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We adopt contemporaneous, nonradial and variable returns to scale assumptions in a data envelopment analysis (DEA) exercise to address the inefficiency problem in Chinese industries in different policy regimes using a newly constructed data set for 24 Chinese manufacturing industries in 1952–2008. While confirming that the central planning period was indeed a ‘graveyard’ for productivity that entailed severe technical regress and efficiency losses, we do not find a steady improvement in efficiency during the reform period despite strong technical progress. We argue that the resurgent prominence of the government and the state sector since the late 1990s, especially following China’s World Trade Organization accession, has obstructed the efficiency improvement.

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Institutionalizing a global anti-corruption regime: Perverse effects on country outcomes, 1984–2012

Wade Cole
International Journal of Comparative Sociology, February 2015, Pages 53-80

Abstract:
A global anti-corruption movement rapidly mobilized and institutionalized during the mid-1990s. Using data for 119 countries between 1984 and 2012, I examine the effects of this movement on rated levels of perceived corruption. Results from multivariate regression analyses show that the global surge in anti-corruption organizing, monitoring, and legalization was paradoxically associated with an increase in rated levels of corruption, over and above a host of political, economic, social, and cultural factors shown in previous research to explain perceived corruption. With the international standardization, scrutinization, and stigmatization of corruption, activities once hidden from view or previously regarded as ‘standard operating procedure’ came to be denominated, detected, and decried as illegitimate. In turn, these processes gave the impression that corruption worsened, when in fact it may have remained stable or even improved. These findings lend support to institutional approaches in sociology and the ‘information paradox’ concept in political science.

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Social Ties and Economic Development

José Anchorena & Fernando Anjos
Journal of Macroeconomics, September 2015, Pages 63–84

Abstract:
We develop a parsimonious general equilibrium model where agents allocate time across three activities: production, trade, and leisure. Leisure includes time spent socializing, which economizes transaction costs. Our framework yields multiple equilibria in terms of the number of social ties and predicts that the number of social ties is positively associated with development. We calibrate our model using an empirical measure of country-level social ties and are able to quantitatively match the cross-country relationship between social ties and income per capita. Our calibration also captures additional dimensions of cross-country data: (i) increasing income inequality, but converging growth rates; (ii) an association between weak social ties and development; and (iii) an association between number of social ties and size of the transaction sector.

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Gold and Silver Mining in the 16th and 17th Centuries, Land Titles and Agricultural Productivity

Rabiul Islam, Jakob Madsen & Paul Raschky
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although agricultural productivity is critical for economic development very little is known about the causes of the large dispersion in agricultural productivity across the world. Microeconomic studies increasingly stress the lack of land rights in many poor countries as an important source of low productivity. This paper examines the role played by land titles in explaining differences in agricultural productivity for 93 countries. Using the per capita accumulated value of gold and silver production in the 16th and 17th centuries as instruments for land rights it is shown that enforcement of land titles is a significant source of agricultural productivity inequality across the world.

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Taxes, National Identity, and Nation Building: Evidence from France

Noel Johnson
George Mason University Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
What is the relationship between state capacity, national identity, and economic development? This paper argues that increases in state capacity can lower the collective action costs associated with political and economic exchange by encouraging the formation of a common identity. This hypothesis is tested by exploiting the fact that the French Monarchy was more successful in substituting its fiscal and legal institutions for those of the medieval seigneurial regime within an area of the country known as the Cinq Grosses Fermes (CGF). Highly disaggregated data on regional self-identification from the 1789 Cahiers de Doléances confirm that regions just inside the CGF were more likely than regions just outside the CGF to identify themselves with national, as opposed to local, institutions. We also show that regions inside the CGF that affiliated with national identity were more economically developed during the first half of the nineteenth century and more likely to contribute towards local public goods.

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The Persistence of (Subnational) Fortune

William Maloney & Felipe Valencia Caicedo
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using newly collected subnational data, this paper establishes the within country persistence of economic activity in the New World over the last half millennium, a period including the trauma of European colonization, the decimation of native populations, and the imposition of potentially growth inhibiting institutions. High pre-colonial density areas tend to be denser today due to locational fundamentals and agglomeration effects: colonialists established settlements near existing native populations for reasons of labour, trade, knowledge and defence. These areas, identified with pre-colonial prosperity, also tend to have higher incomes today suggesting that at the subnational level, fortune persists.

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What Underlies Weak States? The Role of Terrain Ruggedness

Pablo Jimenez-Ayora & Mehmet Ali Ulubaşoğlu
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article documents terrain ruggedness as an underlying cause of lack of state capacity. The paper contends that rugged topography poses significant costs to cooperation among the constituent groups within the state. This problem then translates into inability to commit to policies and under-provision of public goods, leading to such outcomes as poor protection of rule of law, limited tax revenue, civil violence, and ultimately, a weak state apparatus. Using several indicators capturing different dimensions of state capacity, the paper econometrically tests its argument in a sample of 187 independent countries and finds robust and clear evidence in favor of its reasoning. Further, the paper documents that delayed urbanization constitutes an important transmission mechanism for the significant role of terrain ruggedness in reduced state capacity.

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Does Agricultural Growth Cause Manufacturing Growth?

Abdulaziz Shifa
Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
The role of agricultural development for industrialization is central to several theories of economic development and policy. However, empirically assessing the impact of agricultural growth on manufacturing growth is challenging because of endogeneity concerns. To address the identification challenge, I use random weather variations to instrument agricultural growth. The instrumental variable estimations show that agricultural growth has a significant positive impact on manufacturing growth. I discuss the empirical implications for efficiency of the manufacturing sector and the role of agriculture in Africa's industrialization.

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Aspire

Marcel Fafchamps & Simon Quinn
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We gave US$1,000 cash prizes to winners of a business plan competition in Africa. The competition, entitled ‘Aspire’, was intended to attract young individuals aspiring to become entrepreneurs. Participants were ranked by committees of judges composed of established entrepreneurs. Each committee selected one winner among twelve candidates; that winner was awarded a prize of US$1,000 to spend at his or her discretion. Six months after the competition, we compare winners with the two runners-up in each committee: winners are about 33 percentage points more likely to be self-employed. We estimate an average effect on monthly profits of about US$150: an annual profit of 80% on initial investment. Our findings imply that access to start-up capital constitutes a sizable barrier to entry into entrepreneurship for the kind of young motivated individual most likely to succeed in business.

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Catastrophes and Time Preference: Evidence From the Indian Ocean Earthquake

Michael Callen
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide evidence suggesting that exposure to the Indian Ocean Earthquake tsunami increased patience in a sample of Sri Lankan wage workers. We develop a framework to characterize the various channels through which disaster exposure could affect measures of patience. Drawing on this framework, we show that a battery of empirical tests support the argument that the increase in measured patience reflects a change in time preference and not selective exposure to the event, migration related to the tsunami, or other changes in the economic environment which affect experimental patience measures. The results have implications for policies aimed at disaster recovery and for the literature linking life events to economic preferences.

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The Impact of IMF and World Bank Programs on Labor Rights

Robert Blanton, Shannon Lindsey Blanton & Dursun Peksen
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
What effect do International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank programs have on collective labor rights? Labor rights advocacy networks and organized labor groups have long been critical of neoliberal policy prescriptions attached to loans by international financial institutions (IFIs), claiming that they harm the interests of workers. IFIs dispute these claims, noting that they work with relevant labor organizations and that many of their arrangements call for compliance with core labor standards. Yet very little research has been devoted to whether IFI programs affect labor laws and the actual labor practices of recipient countries. We argue that IFI programs undermine collective labor rights. Specifically, recommended policy reforms, as well as the broader signals connoted by participation in the programs, undermine labor organizations and the adoption of protective laws. To substantiate these claims, we use time-series cross-national data for a sample of 123 low- and middle-income countries for the years 1985 to 2002. Our findings suggest that programs from both IFIs are negatively and significantly related to labor rights, including laws designed to guarantee basic collective labor rights as well as the protection of these rights in practice.

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The (Non-) Effect of Violence on Education: Evidence from the "War on Drugs" in Mexico

Fernanda Márquez-Padilla, Francisco Pérez-Arce & Carlos Rodríguez-Castelán
World Bank Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
This paper studies the sharp increase in violence experienced in Mexico after 2006, known as "The War on Drugs," and its effects on human capital accumulation. The upsurge in violence is expected to have direct effects on individuals'schooling decisions, but not indirect effects, because there was no severe destruction of infrastructure. The fact that the marked increases in violence were concentrated in some municipalities (and not in others) allows for implementation of a fixed-effects methodology to study the effects of violence on educational outcomes. Different from several recent studies that have found significant negative effects of violence on economic outcomes in Mexico, the paper finds evidence that this is not the case, at least for human capital accumulation. The paper uses several sources of data on homicides and educational outcomes and shows that, at most, there are very small effects on total enrollment. These small effects may be driven by some students being displaced from high-violence municipalities to low-violence municipalities; but the education decisions of individuals do not seem to be highly impacted. The analysis discards the possibility that the effects on enrollment of young adults appear small because of a counteracting effect from ex-workers returning to school. The results stand in contrast with recent evidence of the negative effects of violence on short-term economic growth, since minimal to null effects on human capital accumulation today should have little to no adverse effects on long-term growth outcomes in Mexico.

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Education and Human Capital Externalities: Evidence from Colonial Benin

Leonard Wantchekon, Marko Klašnja & Natalija Novta
Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 2015, Pages 703-757

Abstract:
Using a unique data set on students from the first regional schools in colonial Benin, we investigate the effect of education on living standards, occupation, and political participation. Since both school locations and student cohorts were selected with very little information, treatment and control groups are balanced on observables. We can therefore estimate the effect of education by comparing the treated to the untreated living in the same village, as well as those living in villages where no schools were set up. We find a significant positive treatment effect of education for the first generation of students, as well as their descendants: they have higher living standards, are less likely to be farmers, and are more likely to be politically active. We find large village-level externalities — descendants of the uneducated in villages with schools do better than those in control villages. We also find extended family externalities — nephews and nieces directly benefit from their uncle’s education — and show that this represents a “family tax,” as educated uncles transfer resources to the extended family.

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Encouraging sanitation investment in the developing world: A cluster-randomized trial

Raymond Guiteras, James Levinsohn & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak
Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Poor sanitation contributes to morbidity and mortality in the developing world, but there is disagreement on what policies can increase sanitation coverage. To measure the effects of alternative policies on investment in hygienic latrines, we assigned 380 communities in rural Bangladesh to different marketing treatments — community motivation and information; subsidies; a supply-side market access intervention; and a control — in a cluster-randomized trial. Community motivation alone did not increase hygienic latrine ownership (+1.6 percentage points, p=0.43), nor did the supply-side intervention (+0.3 percentage points, p=.90). Subsidies to the majority of the landless poor increased ownership among subsidized households (+22.0 percentage points, p<.001) and their unsubsidized neighbors (+8.5 percentage points, p=.001), which suggests investment decisions are interlinked across neighbors. Subsidies also reduced open defecation by 14 percentage points (p<.001).

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Fiscal Incentives and Policy Choices of Local Governments: Evidence from China

Li Han & James Kai-Sing Kung
Journal of Development Economics, September 2015, Pages 89–104

Abstract:
This paper examines how fiscal incentives affect the policy choices of local governments in the context of China. Based on exogenous changes in the intergovernmental revenue-sharing scheme, we construct a simulated instrumental variable to resolve the endogeneity problem. We find evidence that local governments shifted their efforts from fostering industrial growth to “urbanizing” China, i.e., to developing the real estate and construction sectors, when their retention rate of enterprise tax revenue was reduced. The increase from the new revenue source compensated for half of the losses in revenue that resulted from the reassignment of fiscal rights. The reassignment had also the effect of retarding the industrial growth of domestically-owned firms in particular.

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Living standards and plague in London, 1560–1665

Neil Cummins, Morgan Kelly & Cormac Ó Gráda
Economic History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article uses individual records of 930,000 burials and 630,000 baptisms to reconstruct the spatial and temporal patterns of birth and death in London from 1560 to 1665, a period dominated by recurrent plague. The plagues of 1563, 1603, 1625, and 1665 appear of roughly equal magnitude, with deaths running at five to six times their usual rate, but the impact on wealthier central parishes falls markedly through time. Tracking the weekly spread of plague, we find no evidence that plague emerged first in the docks, and in many cases elevated mortality emerges first in the poor northern suburbs. Looking at the seasonal pattern of mortality, we find that the characteristic autumn spike associated with plague continued into the early 1700s. Natural increase improved as smaller crises disappeared after 1590, but fewer than half of those born survived childhood.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Your kind

Some evidence for the nonverbal contagion of racial bias

Greg Willard, Kyonne-Joy Isaac & Dana Carney
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four experiments provide evidence for the hypothesis that we can “catch” racial bias from others by merely observing subtle nonverbal cues. Video recordings were made of white participants (with varying levels of racial bias) interacting with a neutral black confederate. Videos contained subtle expressions of positivity or negativity, corresponding to white participants’ levels of bias. Participants randomly assigned to observe the subtle anti-black bias videos (vs. pro-black) formed more negative impressions of the black person (Experiment 1), adopted more negative racial stereotypes (Experiment 2), and demonstrated greater anti-black bias themselves (Experiment 3). Participants only demonstrated increased bias when they knew that a black person was the target (vs. white; Experiment 4). Results suggest that nonverbal expressions of racial bias affect more than simply the actor and target — they affect passive, naïve observers. The good news, however, is that the same is true of pro-black bias. Implications for organizations are discussed.

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Imagining oneself in a stereotyped role may stifle generalized tendencies to support social change

Laura Di Bella & Richard Crisp
Social Influence, Summer 2015, Pages 157-167

Abstract:
Imagining oneself in a stereotyped role may not only increase women's endorsement of stereotypes about women and science, but also stifle broader concerns about social change. In the experiment, 81 women imagined themselves on a stereotypical or a counter-stereotypical career path (vs. a control condition). Participants in the stereotypical imagery condition endorsed to a higher extent the stereotypes about women and science, and crucially, were more resistant to social change in general. Stereotype endorsement mediated the relationship between exposure to stereotypes and resistance to social change. Results imply that tackling occupational gender stereotypes is crucial not only because they exclude women from male-dominated careers, but also because of a potentially pervasive negative impact on broader egalitarian concerns.

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The effect of intergroup contact on secondary group attitudes and social dominance orientation

Natalie Shook, Patricia Hopkins & Jasmine Koech
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study tested the extent to which intergroup contact reduces social dominance orientation (SDO), producing secondary transfer effects. Participants were first-year undergraduate students randomly assigned to live with either a same-race roommate or a roommate of a different race in university housing. Participants completed a feeling thermometer and a measure of SDO at the beginning and end of the fall semester. Participants in interracial rooms reported lower levels of SDO and more positive attitudes toward secondary groups (i.e., racial/ethnic groups other than their roommates’ group) than participants in same-race rooms at the end of the semester. Those in interracial rooms exhibited a significant change in SDO levels and attitudes across time, whereas those in same-race rooms exhibited no change. Furthermore, SDO fully mediated the effect of intergroup contact on attitudes toward secondary groups. These findings provide causal evidence of secondary transfer effects and indicate SDO as an underlying mechanism.

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Sounding Black or White: Priming identity and biracial speech

Sarah Gaither et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015

Abstract:
Research has shown that priming one’s racial identity can alter a biracial individuals’ social behavior, but can such priming also influence their speech? Language is often used as a marker of one’s social group membership and studies have shown that social context can affect the style of language that a person chooses to use, but this work has yet to be extended to the biracial population. Audio clips were extracted from a previous study involving biracial Black/White participants who had either their Black or White racial identity primed. Condition-blind coders rated Black-primed biracial participants as sounding significantly more Black and White-primed biracial participants as sounding significantly more White, both when listening to whole (Study 1a) and thin-sliced (Study 1b) clips. Further linguistic analyses (Studies 2a–c) were inconclusive regarding the features that differed between the two groups. Future directions regarding the need to investigate the intersections between social identity priming and language behavior with a biracial lens are discussed.

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It’s just a (sexist) joke: Comparing reactions to sexist versus racist communications

Julie Woodzicka et al.
Humor, May 2015, Pages 289–309

Abstract:
Two experiments test whether using humor moderates the effect of the type of prejudice (racist or sexist) on evaluations of discriminatory communications. Experiment 1 examined a) the offensiveness of sexist and racist humor and b) whether jokes were judged as confrontation-worthy compared to statements expressing the same prejudicial sentiment. Racist jokes and statements were rated as more offensive and confrontation-worthy than sexist statements and jokes, respectively. Additionally, sexist jokes were rated as less offensive than sexist statements. Experiment 2 examined a) the perceived appropriateness of three responses (ignoring, saying “that’s not funny,” or labeling as discrimination) to sexist or racist jokes and b) the likeability of the confronter. Saying “that’s not funny” was the most acceptable response to jokes, but labeling a racist joke as racism was perceived as more appropriate than labeling a sexist joke as sexism. Finally, confronters of racism were liked more than those who confronted sexism.

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Mourning Mayberry: Guns, Masculinity, and Socioeconomic Decline

Jennifer Carlson
Gender & Society, June 2015, Pages 386-409

Abstract:
This study uses in-depth interviews and participant observation with gun carriers in Michigan to examine how socioeconomic decline shapes the appropriation of guns by men of diverse class and race backgrounds. Gun carriers nostalgically referenced the decline of Mayberry America — a version of America characterized by the stable employment of male breadwinners and low crime rates. While men of color and poor and working-class men bear the material brunt of these transformations, this narrative of decline impacts how both privileged and marginalized men think of themselves as men because of the ideological centrality of breadwinning to American masculinity. Using Young’s (2003) “masculine protectionism” framework, I argue that against this backdrop of decline, men use guns not simply to instrumentally address the threat of crime but also to negotiate their own position within a context of socioeconomic decline by emphasizing their role as protector.

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Reducing prejudice through brain stimulation

Roberta Sellaro et al.
Brain Stimulation, forthcoming

Background: Social categorization and group identification are essential ingredients for maintaining a positive self-image that often lead to negative, implicit stereotypes toward members of an out-group. The medial Prefrontal Cortex (mPFC) may be a critical component in counteracting stereotypes activation.

Objective: Here, we assessed the causal role of the mPFC in these processes by non-invasive brain stimulation via transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).

Method: Participants (n=60) were randomly and equally assigned to receive anodal, cathodal, or sham stimulation over the mPFC while performing an Implicit Association Test (IAT): They were instructed to categorize in-group and out-group names and positive and negative attributes.

Results: Anodal excitability-enhancing stimulation decreased implicit biased attitudes toward out-group members compared to excitability-diminishing cathodal and sham stimulation.

Conclusions: These results provide evidence for a critical role of the mPFC in counteracting stereotypes activation. Furthermore, our results are consistent with previous findings showing that increasing cognitive control may overcome negative bias toward members of social out-groups.

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Folk beliefs about genetic variation predict avoidance of biracial individuals

Sonia Kang, Jason Plaks & Jessica Remedios
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015

Abstract:
People give widely varying estimates for the amount of genetic overlap that exists between humans. While some laypeople believe that humans are highly genetically similar to one another, others believe that humans share very little genetic overlap. These studies examine how beliefs about genetic overlap affect neural and evaluative reactions to racially-ambiguous and biracial targets. In Study 1, we found that lower genetic overlap estimates predicted a stronger neural avoidance response to biracial compared to monoracial targets. In Study 2, we found that lower genetic overlap estimates predicted longer response times to classify biracial (vs. monoracial) faces into racial categories. In Study 3, we manipulated genetic overlap beliefs and found that participants in the low overlap condition explicitly rated biracial targets more negatively than those in the high overlap condition. Taken together, these data suggest that genetic overlap beliefs influence perceivers’ processing fluency and evaluation of biracial and racially-ambiguous individuals.

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Good Guys Are Still Always in White? Positive Change and Continued Misrepresentation of Race and Crime on Local Television News

Travis Dixon
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
A content analysis of a random sample of Los Angeles television news programs was used to assess racial representations of perpetrators, victims, and officers. A series of comparisons were used to assess whether local news depictions differed from outside indicators of social reality. In a significant departure from prior research, they revealed that perpetration was accurately depicted on local TV news. Blacks, in particular, were accurately depicted as perpetrators, victims, and officers. However, although Latinos were accurately depicted as perpetrators, they continued to be underrepresented as victims and officers. Conversely, Whites remained significantly overrepresented as victims and officers. The implications of these findings are discussed in light of incognizant racism, ethnic blame discourse, structural limitations, and the guard dog perspective of news media.

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Can pejorative terms ever lead to positive social consequences? The case of SlutWalk

Danielle Gaucher, Brianna Hunt & Lisa Sinclair
Language Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Critics of SlutWalk social movements claim that the term slut can never be empowering and that it is inherently derogatory. However, recent research suggests that the in-group can re-appropriate slurs successfully (e.g., Croom, 2013, Galinsky et al., 2013). In two experiments, we investigated whether the typically pejorative term slut can lead to positive social consequences when used in the context of a social justice movement. We exposed participants to the term slut and systematically varied the sex of the speaker (Study 1) and the context in which the slur was used (Studies 1 and 2). Women were less likely to endorse common rape myths after being exposed to slut in a supportive (i.e., SlutWalk march) relative to a nondescript context (i.e., yelled in the street), regardless of the sex of speaker (Study 1), and even when compared to baseline (i.e., absence of any mention of the term; Study 2). Moreover, within a supportive march context the use of the slur slut did not significantly lower women's feelings of empowerment relative to a slur-free women's march (Study 2). Taken together, results demonstrate that the slur slut is not inherently derogatory and can be re-appropriated under supportive march contexts. Implications for language re-appropriation in social demonstrations are discussed.

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Sexist humor as a trigger of state self-objectification in women

Thomas Ford et al.
Humor, May 2015, Pages 253–269

Abstract:
We conducted two experiments to test the possibility that sexist humor triggers a state of self-objectification in women. Our findings supported two hypotheses derived from self-objectification theory. In Experiment 1, we found that women (but not men) reported greater state self-objectification following exposure to sexist comedy clips than neutral comedy clips. Experiment 2 replicated this finding for women and further demonstrated that sexist humor causes women to engage in more body surveillance compared to neutral humor.

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The Empowering (Super) Heroine? The Effects of Sexualized Female Characters in Superhero Films on Women

Hillary Pennell & Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz
Sex Roles, March 2015, Pages 211-220

Abstract:
The present study was conducted with female undergraduates in the Midwestern region of U.S. to examine the potential positive and negative influences of the gendered depictions of women in superhero films. This study utilized social cognitive and objectification theory frameworks to experimentally examine the short-term effects of exposure to sexualized female characters in superhero films on 83 female viewers’ gender role beliefs, body esteem, and self-objectification. Results show that exposure to the sexualized-victim images of women in superhero films decreased egalitarian gender role beliefs. Exposure to the sexualized-heroine images resulted in lower body esteem. Additionally, a positive effect emerged with a greater belief in the importance of body competence to the self-concept for women who were exposed to the superheroine characters. This study demonstrates short-term effects from viewing sexualized images of women in superhero films and provides a significant understanding of how sexualized female representations may impact gender related beliefs as well as perceptions of one’s self-esteem and body objectification.

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Flash fire and slow burn: Women’s cardiovascular reactivity and recovery following hostile and benevolent sexism

Kristen Salomon, Kaleena Burgess & Jennifer Bosson
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, April 2015, Pages 469-479

Abstract:
Women’s cardiovascular responses to sexist treatment are documented, but researchers have yet to consider these responses separately as a function of sexism type (hostile vs. benevolent). This study demonstrates distinct effects of hostile and benevolent sexism for women’s cardiovascular responses that indicate increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Female participants performed a demanding insight task after exposure to a male researcher who offered them a hostilely sexist, benevolently sexist, or nonsexist comment. Women displayed heightened cardiovascular reactivity (increases from baseline) during the task following hostile sexism, and they displayed impaired cardiovascular recovery (return to baseline after the task) following benevolent sexism. The effects seen in the hostile condition were mediated by self-reported anger. These findings indicate that women’s affective responses to hostile and benevolent sexism differ but that exposure to both forms of sexism may have negative cardiovascular consequences.

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It's Not Easy Trying to be One of the Guys: The Effect of Avatar Attractiveness, Avatar Sex, and User Sex on the Success of Help-Seeking Requests in an Online Game

Franklin Waddell & James Ivory
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Winter 2015, Pages 112-129

Abstract:
Interactions in online environments are influenced by many of the same gender and sex-role stereotypes that people use in offline interactions. However, less research has examined systematically how the traits of an avatar and the avatar's user interact to influence stereotypical responses in virtual spaces. A field experiment manipulated avatar attractiveness, avatar sex, user sex, and favor difficulty to measure responses to a requested favor across 2,300 interactions in an online game. Attractive avatars received more help than less attractive avatars, but female users received less help than male users when represented by avatars that were less attractive or male.

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The Woman Next to Me: Pairing Powerful and Objectifying Representations of Women

Deborah Schooler
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has documented negative effects of exposure to sexually objectifying media and positive effects of viewing women with more power and agency. The current study evaluates the effects of pairing these two types of representations of women on gender attitudes. Experimental stimuli were based on actual images from a student newspaper, where a statement from the new, female university president ran on the front page adjacent to a sexually objectifying ad. The experiment used a 2 (type of article) X 2 (type of ad) X 2 (gender) design to evaluate the independent and combined effects of viewing the statement from the president and the objectifying ad. Exposure to the objectifying ad was related to more attributional bias and marginally more stereotype production but was not related to hostile or benevolent sexism. Men who saw the objectifying ad alongside the president's statement rated the president as significantly less competent than other groups. Implications for the professional advancement of women are discussed, including the importance of context for media attention paid to female political figures.

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Understanding the Selection Bias: Social Network Processes and the Effect of Prejudice on the Avoidance of Outgroup Friends

Tobias Stark
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has found that prejudiced people avoid friendships with members of ethnic outgroups. Results of this study suggest that this effect is mediated by a social network process. Longitudinal network analysis of a three-wave panel study of 12- to 13-year-olds (N = 453) found that more prejudiced majority group members formed fewer intergroup friendships than less prejudiced majority group members. This was caused indirectly by the preference to become friends of one’s friends’ friends (triadic closure). More prejudiced majority members did not have a preference for actively avoiding minority group members. Rather, they had the tendency to avoid friends who already had minority group friends and thus could not be introduced to potential minority group friends. Instead they became friends with the majority group friends of their friends. This research shows how a social networks perspective can further our understanding of the processes underlying intergroup contact.

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Asian American Phenotypicality and Experiences of Psychological Distress: More Than Meets the Eyes

Matthew Lee & Christina Thai
Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on Asian Americans’ experiences of racism has examined the impact of generation status and ethnicity. This study investigates how phenotypic and physical appearance characteristics are implicated in self-reports of racialization and social anxiety in Asian American college students (n = 170) who completed measures of psychological distress, well-being, and racialization (e.g., Subtle and Blatant Racism Scale; Yoo, Steger, & Lee, 2010). Participants’ digital photographs were analyzed to test whether specific physical characteristics correlated with self-reported distress. Results suggest eyeglasses and darker skin tone are strongly associated with greater reports of racialization and psychological distress in Asian American college students.

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When threat matters: Self-regulation, threat salience, and stereotyping

Steven Stroessner et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 77–89

Abstract:
Four experiments examined whether information implying imminent threat to safety would interact with regulatory focus (Higgins, 1997) to affect the utilization of threat-relevant stereotypes. Because information suggesting imminent danger is more relevant to the safety goals of prevention-focused individuals than the advancement goals of promotion-focused individuals,, utilization of threat-relevant stereotypes was expected to increase under such conditions only under prevention focus. Support for this prediction was obtained in four distinct and socially important domains. Using scenarios describing a violent crime committed by an African-American male (Experiment 1) or a petty crime committed by an undocumented immigrant (Experiment 2), prevention-focused individuals made judgments consistent with stereotypes when threat was perceived to be high rather than low. In studies that manipulated the stereotypicality of the target in a terrorism scenario (Experiments 3 & 4), prevention-focused individuals were more likely to endorse scrutinizing a stereotypical compared with a non-stereotypical target when terrorism was described as an increasing problem. Implications for models of stereotyping, self-regulation, and responding to threat are discussed.

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Effect of neighborhood stigma on economic transactions

Max Besbris et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 21 April 2015, Pages 4994–4998

Abstract:
The hypothesis of neighborhood stigma predicts that individuals who reside in areas known for high crime, poverty, disorder, and/or racial isolation embody the negative characteristics attributed to their communities and experience suspicion and mistrust in their interactions with strangers. This article provides an experimental test of whether neighborhood stigma affects individuals in one domain of social life: economic transactions. To evaluate the neighborhood stigma hypothesis, this study adopts an audit design in a locally organized, online classified market, using advertisements for used iPhones and randomly manipulating the neighborhood of the seller. The primary outcome under study is the number of responses generated by sellers from disadvantaged relative to advantaged neighborhoods. Advertisements from disadvantaged neighborhoods received significantly fewer responses than advertisements from advantaged neighborhoods. Results provide robust evidence that individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods bear a stigma that influences their prospects in economic exchanges. The stigma is greater for advertisements originating from disadvantaged neighborhoods where the majority of residents are black. This evidence reveals that residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood not only affects individuals through mechanisms involving economic resources, institutional quality, and social networks but also affects residents through the perceptions of others.

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Sexist Games=Sexist Gamers? A Longitudinal Study on the Relationship Between Video Game Use and Sexist Attitudes

Johannes Breuer et al.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, April 2015, Pages 197-202

Abstract:
From the oversexualized characters in fighting games, such as Dead or Alive or Ninja Gaiden, to the overuse of the damsel in distress trope in popular titles, such as the Super Mario series, the under- and misrepresentation of females in video games has been well documented in several content analyses. Cultivation theory suggests that long-term exposure to media content can affect perceptions of social realities in a way that they become more similar to the representations in the media and, in turn, impact one's beliefs and attitudes. Previous studies on video games and cultivation have often been cross-sectional or experimental, and the limited longitudinal work in this area has only considered time intervals of up to 1 month. Additionally, previous work in this area has focused on the effects of violent content and relied on self-selected or convenience samples composed mostly of adolescents or college students. Enlisting a 3 year longitudinal design, the present study assessed the relationship between video game use and sexist attitudes, using data from a representative sample of German players aged 14 and older (N=824). Controlling for age and education, it was found that sexist attitudes — measured with a brief scale assessing beliefs about gender roles in society — were not related to the amount of daily video game use or preference for specific genres for both female and male players. Implications for research on sexism in video games and cultivation effects of video games in general are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dirty work

Employment trends in the U.S. Electricity Sector, 2008–2012

Drew Haerer & Lincoln Pratson
Energy Policy, July 2015, Pages 85–98

Abstract:
Between 2008–2012, electricity generated (GWh) from coal, the longtime dominant fuel for electric power in the US, declined 24%, while electricity generated from natural gas, wind and solar grew by 39%, 154%, and 400%, respectively. These shifts had major effects on domestic employment in those sectors of the coal, natural gas, wind and solar industries involved in operations and maintenance (O&M) activities for electricity generation. Using an economic input–output model, we estimate that the coal industry lost more than 49,000 jobs (12%) nationally over the five-year period, while in the natural gas, solar, and wind industries, employment increased by nearly 220,000 jobs (21%). We also combine published ratios for jobs per unit of fuel production and per megawatt of power plant capacity with site-specific data on fuel production and power plant retirements, additions and capacity changes to estimate and map direct job changes at the county level. The maps show that job increases in the natural gas, solar and wind industries generally did not occur where there were significant job losses in the coal industry, particularly in West Virginia and Kentucky.

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Does perception of automation undermine pro-environmental behaviour? Findings from three everyday settings

Niamh Murtagh et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2015, Pages 139–148

Abstract:
The global deployment of technology to aid mitigation of climate change has great potential but the realisation of much of this potential depends on behavioural response. A culturally pervasive reliance on and belief in technology raises the risk that dependence on technology will hamper human actions of mitigation. Theory suggests that ‘green’ behaviour may be undermined by automated technology but empirical investigation has been lacking. We examined the effect of the prospect of automation on three everyday behaviours with environmental impact. Based on evidence from observational and experimental studies, we demonstrated that the prospect of automation can undermine even simple actions for sustainability. Further, we examined the process by which automated technology influences behaviour and suggest that automation may impair personal responsibility for action.

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Consumer’s Surplus with a Racial Apology? Black Relative to Non-Black Inequality in the Welfare Gains of Fuel-Efficient Cars and Trucks

Juliet Elu & Gregory Price
Review of Black Political Economy, June 2015, Pages 135-154

Abstract:
This paper considers whether race conditions the welfare gains associated with the purchase of cars and trucks that comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards . We utilize data from the General Social Survey on respondent stated preferences for the extent to which they value fuel-efficient cars and trucks to estimate the maximum market price they are willing to pay for fuel-efficient cars and trucks. Multinomial and Binary Logit parameter estimates from an inverse demand maximum price valuation specification reveal that relative to non-black Americans, black Americans place less value on fuel-efficient cars and trucks. Our results suggest that federal Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards policy is a source of inegalitarian and racially stratified welfare outcomes as relative to non-black Americans, black Americans gain less consumer’s surplus from fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

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Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure

Elissa Wilker et al.
Stroke, forthcoming

Background and Purpose: Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with cerebrovascular disease and cognitive impairment, but whether it is related to structural changes in the brain is not clear. We examined the associations between residential long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and markers of brain aging using magnetic resonance imaging.

Methods: Framingham Offspring Study participants who attended the seventh examination were at least 60 years old and free of dementia and stroke were included. We evaluated associations between exposures (fine particulate matter [PM2.5] and residential proximity to major roadways) and measures of total cerebral brain volume, hippocampal volume, white matter hyperintensity volume (log-transformed and extensive white matter hyperintensity volume for age), and covert brain infarcts. Models were adjusted for age, clinical covariates, indicators of socioeconomic position, and temporal trends.

Results: A 2-μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with −0.32% (95% confidence interval, −0.59 to −0.05) smaller total cerebral brain volume and 1.46 (95% confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.94) higher odds of covert brain infarcts. Living further away from a major roadway was associated with 0.10 (95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 0.19) greater log-transformed white matter hyperintensity volume for an interquartile range difference in distance, but no clear pattern of association was observed for extensive white matter.

Conclusions: Exposure to elevated levels of PM2.5 was associated with smaller total cerebral brain volume, a marker of age-associated brain atrophy, and with higher odds of covert brain infarcts. These findings suggest that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain aging even in dementia- and stroke-free persons.

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Differences in Birth Weight Associated with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Air Pollution Reduction: Results from a Natural Experiment

David Rich et al.
Environmental Health Perspectives, forthcoming

Objectives: Using the natural experiment of air pollution declines during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we evaluated whether having specific months of pregnancy (i.e. 1st…8th) during the 2008 Olympic period was associated with larger birth weights, compared with pregnancies during the same dates in 2007 or 2009.

Methods: Using n=83,672 term births to mothers residing in 4 urban districts of Beijing, we estimated the difference in birth weight associated with having individual months of pregnancy during the 2008 Olympics (8/8/08–9/24/08) compared to the same dates in 2007/2009. We also estimated the difference in birth weight associated with interquartile range (IQR) increases in mean ambient particulate matter <2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations during each pregnancy month.

Results: Babies with their 8th month of pregnancy during the 2008 Olympics were, on average, 23g larger (95% CI: 5g, 40g) than babies having their 8th month in 2007 or 2009. IQR increases in PM2.5 (19.8 µg/m3), CO (0.3 ppm), SO2 (1.8 ppb), and NO2 (13.6 ppb) concentrations during the 8th month of pregnancy were associated with 18g (-32g, -3g), 17g (95% CI: -28g, -6g), 23g (95% CI: -36g, -10g), and 34g (95% CI: -70g, 3g) decreases in birth weight, respectively. We did not see significant associations for months 1-7.

Conclusions: Short-term decreases in air pollution late in pregnancy in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics, a normally heavily polluted city, were associated with higher birth weight.

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Combined effects of prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and material hardship on child IQ

Julia Vishnevetsky et al.
Neurotoxicology and Teratology, forthcoming

Objectives: We examined whether the association between child IQ and prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons differed between groups of children whose mothers reported high vs. low material hardship during their pregnancy and through child age 5. We tested statistical interactions between hardships and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as measured by DNA adducts in cord blood, to determine whether material hardship exacerbated the association between adducts and IQ scores.

Design: Prospective cohort. Participants were recruited from 1998 to 2006 and followed from gestation through age 7 years.

Setting: Urban community (New York City)

Participants: A community-based sample of 276 minority urban youth

Results: Significant inverse effects of high cord PAH–DNA adducts on full scale IQ, perceptual reasoning and working memory scores were observed in the groups whose mothers reported a high level of material hardship during pregnancy or recurring high hardship into the child's early years, and not in those without reported high hardship. Significant interactions were observed between high cord adducts and prenatal hardship on working memory scores (β = − 8.07, 95% CI (− 14.48, − 1.66)) and between high cord adducts and recurrent material hardship (β = − 9.82, 95% CI (− 16.22, − 3.42)).

Conclusion: The findings add to other evidence that socioeconomic disadvantage can increase the adverse effects of toxic physical “stressors” like air pollutants. Observed associations between high cord adducts and reduced IQ were significant only among the group of children whose mothers reported high material hardship. These results indicate the need for a multifaceted approach to prevention.

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The U.S. Electricity Industry After 20 Years of Restructuring

Severin Borenstein & James Bushnell
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Prior to the 1990s, most electricity customers in the U.S. were served by regulated, vertically-integrated, monopoly utilities that handled electricity generation, transmission, local distribution and billing/collections. Regulators set retail electricity prices to allow the utility to recover its prudently incurred costs, a process known as cost-of-service regulation. During the 1990s, this model was disrupted in many states by "electricity restructuring," a term used to describe legal changes that allowed both non-utility generators to sell electricity to utilities — displacing the utility generation function — and/or "retail service providers" to buy electricity from generators and sell to end-use customers — displacing the utility procurement and billing functions. We review the original economic arguments for electricity restructuring, the potential winners and losers from these changes, and what has actually happened in the subsequent years. We argue that the greatest political motivation for restructuring was rent shifting, not efficiency improvements, and that this explanation is supported by observed waxing and waning of political enthusiasm for electricity reform. While electricity restructuring has brought significant efficiency improvements in generation, it has generally been viewed as a disappointment because the price-reduction promises made by some advocates were based on politically-unsustainable rent transfers. In reality, the electricity rate changes since restructuring have been driven more by exogenous factors — such as generation technology advances and natural gas price fluctuations — than by the effects of restructuring. We argue that a similar dynamic underpins the current political momentum behind distributed generation (primarily rooftop solar PV) which remains costly from a societal viewpoint, but privately economic due to the rent transfers it enables.

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A new approach to measuring the rebound effect associated to energy efficiency improvements: An application to the US residential energy demand

Luis Orea, Manuel Llorca & Massimo Filippini
Energy Economics, May 2015, Pages 599–609

Abstract:
This paper brings attention to the fact that the energy demand frontier model introduced by Filippini and Hunt (2011, 2012) is closely connected to the measurement of the so-called rebound effect associated with improvements in energy efficiency. In particular, we show that their model implicitly imposes a zero rebound effect, which contradicts most of the available empirical evidence on this issue. We relax this restrictive assumption through the modelling of a rebound-effect function that mitigates or intensifies the effect of an efficiency improvement on energy consumption. We illustrate our model with an empirical application that aims to estimate a US frontier residential aggregate energy demand function using panel data for 48 states over the period 1995 to 2011. Average values of the rebound effect in the range of 56-80% are found. Therefore, policymakers should be aware that most of the expected energy reduction from efficiency improvements may not be achieved.

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Adopting Clean Fuels and Technologies on School Buses: Pollution and Health Impacts in Children

Sara Adar et al.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, forthcoming

Background: Over 25 million American children breathe polluted air on diesel school buses. Emission reduction policies exist but the health impacts to individual children have not been evaluated.

Methods: Using a natural experiment, we characterized the exposures and health of 275 school bus riders before, during, and after the adoption of clean technologies and fuels between 2005 and 2009. Air pollution was measured during 597 trips on 188 school buses. Repeated measures of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), lung function (forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC)) and absenteeism were also collected monthly (1,768 visits). Mixed-effects models longitudinally related the adoption of diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC), closed crankcase ventilation systems (CCV), ultralow sulfur diesel (ULSD), or biodiesel with exposures and health.

Results: Fine and ultrafine particle concentrations were 10-50% lower on buses using ULSD, DOCs, and/or CCVs. ULSD adoption was also associated with -16% (95% CI: -10, -21%) reduced FENO, 0.02 (95% CI: 0.003, 0.05) and 0.01 (95% CI: -0.006, 0.03) L/year greater changes in FVC and FEV1, respectively, and -8% (95% CI: -16.0, -0.7%) lower absenteeism with stronger associations among asthmatics. DOCs and, to a lesser extent CCVs, also were associated with improved FENO, FVC growth, and absenteeism, but these findings were primarily restricted to persistent asthmatics and were often sensitive to control for ULSD. No health benefits were noted for biodiesel. Extrapolating to the US population, changed fuel/technologies likely reduced absenteeism by >14 million/year.

Conclusions: National and local diesel policies appear to have reduced children’s exposures and improved health.

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Politics, proximity and the pipeline: Mapping public attitudes toward Keystone XL

Timothy Gravelle & Erick Lachapelle
Energy Policy, August 2015, Pages 99–108

Abstract:
The politics of oil pipelines have become increasingly salient in American politics in recent years. In particular, debates about economic benefits, energy security and environmental impact have been provoked by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion intended to take bitumen from northern Alberta in Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas. Drawing on data from recent surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center, this article asks a series of questions. What levels of support for (and opposition to) the pipeline exist among the American public? What are the roles of political factors (such as party identification and ideology), economic attitudes, environmental attitudes and proximity to the proposed pipeline route in shaping attitudes toward the pipeline? And how do political factors and proximity to the pipeline interact? We find that partisanship and ideology drive attitudes toward the Keystone XL pipeline, and that the effect of ideology is attenuated by proximity to the proposed route. The policy implications of these findings for energy infrastructure siting controversies are discussed.

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Welfare and Distributional Implications of Shale Gas

Catherine Hausman & Ryan Kellogg
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Technological innovations in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have enabled tremendous amounts of natural gas to be extracted profitably from underground shale formations that were long thought to be uneconomical. In this paper, we provide the first estimates of broad-scale welfare and distributional implications of this supply boom. We provide new estimates of supply and demand elasticities, which we use to estimate the drop in natural gas prices that is attributable to the supply expansion. We calculate large, positive welfare impacts for four broad sectors of gas consumption (residential, commercial, industrial, and electric power), and a negative impact for producers, with variation across regions. We then examine the evidence for a gas-led "manufacturing renaissance" and for pass-through to prices of products such as retail natural gas, retail electricity, and commodity chemicals. We conclude with a discussion of environmental externalities from unconventional natural gas, including limitations of the current regulatory environment. Overall, we find that between 2007 and 2013 the shale gas revolution led to an increase in welfare for natural gas consumers and producers of $48 billion per year, but more data are needed on the extent and valuation of the environmental impacts of shale gas production.

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Soft Transport Policies and Ground-Level Ozone: An Evaluation of the “Clear the Air Challenge” in Salt Lake City

William Seth Teague, Cathleen Zick & Ken Smith
Policy Studies Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, communities have begun to implement both “soft” and mandatory policies designed to address worsening air quality. Voluntary or soft transportation policies have included air quality alert systems that encourage people not to drive on days when the air quality index is above a specified threshold and public education/action campaigns that focus on reducing automobile related travel. In this article, we evaluate the effectiveness of one such soft policy, the Clear the Air Challenge (CAC), in reducing ground-level ozone during the Wasatch Front's summer ozone season. Using daily ozone data and color-coded daily air quality designations from 2006 through 2012, we estimate a range of nonequivalent control group models. In only one of the models does the CAC generate a statistically significant but small reduction in ground-level ozone. Future research should assess the full range of costs and benefits to the public associated with such soft transport policies.

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Neighbors, Knowledge, and Nuggets: Two Natural Field Experiments on the Role of Incentives on Energy Conservation

Paul Dolan & Robert Metcalfe
University of Chicago Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
There is increasing research on the impact of social norms on economic behavior. The research to date has a number of limitations: 1) it has not de-coupled the impact of the norm and the knowledge required to understand how to change behavior based upon it; and 2) it has not understood the impact of social norms under different incentive structures. We address these limitations using two natural field experiments. We find, firstly, that norms change energy consumption irrespective of whether information is provided or not. We find that social norms reduce consumption by around 6% (0.2 standard deviations). Secondly, we find that large financial rewards for targeted consumption reductions work very well in reducing consumption, with a 8% reduction (0.35 standard deviations) in energy consumption. The effect persists even when the financial incentive has been removed, suggesting no crowding out of financial incentives. Perhaps most interestingly, we find that the large effect of financial incentives completely disappears when information on social norms is included.

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Global, regional and local health impacts of civil aviation emissions

Steve Yim et al.
Environmental Research Letters, March 2015

Abstract:
Aviation emissions impact surface air quality at multiple scales — from near-airport pollution peaks associated with airport landing and take off (LTO) emissions, to intercontinental pollution attributable to aircraft cruise emissions. Previous studies have quantified aviation's air quality impacts around a specific airport, in a specific region, or at the global scale. However, no study has assessed the air quality and human health impacts of aviation, capturing effects on all aforementioned scales. This study uses a multi-scale modeling approach to quantify and monetize the air quality impact of civil aviation emissions, approximating effects of aircraft plume dynamics-related local dispersion (~1 km), near-airport dispersion (~10 km), regional (~1000 km) and global (~10 000 km) scale chemistry and transport. We use concentration-response functions to estimate premature deaths due to population exposure to aviation-attributable PM2.5 and ozone, finding that aviation emissions cause ~16 000 (90% CI: 8300–24 000) premature deaths per year. Of these, LTO emissions contribute a quarter. Our estimate shows that premature deaths due to long-term exposure to aviation-attributable PM2.5 and O3 lead to costs of ~$21 bn per year. We compare these costs to other societal costs of aviation and find that they are on the same order of magnitude as global aviation-attributable climate costs, and one order of magnitude larger than aviation-attributable accident and noise costs.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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