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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Suspects

Does Immigration Enforcement Reduce Crime? Evidence from Secure Communities

Thomas Miles & Adam Cox
Journal of Law and Economics, November 2014, Pages 937-973

Abstract:
Prior research investigates whether immigrants commit more crimes than native-born people. Yet the central policy used to regulate immigration — detention and deportation — has received little empirical evaluation. This article studies a recent policy innovation called Secure Communities. This program permits the federal government to check the immigration status of every person arrested by local police and to take the arrestee into federal custody promptly for deportation proceedings. Since its launch, the program has led to a quarter of a million detentions. We utilize the staggered rollout of the program across the country to obtain differences-in-differences estimates of its impact on crime rates. We also use unique counts of the detainees from each county and month to estimate the elasticity of crime with respect to confined immigrants. The results show that the Secure Communities program has had no observable effect on the overall crime rate.

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Increased death rates of domestic violence victims from arresting vs. warning suspects in the Milwaukee Domestic Violence Experiment (MilDVE)

Lawrence Sherman & Heather Harris
Journal of Experimental Criminology, March 2015, Pages 1-20

Objectives: We explored death rates from all causes among victims of misdemeanor domestic violence 23 years after random assignment of their abusers to arrests vs. warnings.

Methods: We gathered state and national death data on all 1,125 victims (89 % female; 70 % African-American; mean age = 30) enrolled by Milwaukee Police in 1987–88, after 98 % treatment as randomly assigned.

Results: Victims were 64 % more likely to have died of all causes if their partners were arrested and jailed than if warned and allowed to remain at home (p = .037, 95 % CI = risk ratio of 1:1.024 to 1:2.628). Among the 791 African-American victims, arrest increased mortality by 98 % (p = .019); among 334 white victims, arrest increased mortality by only 9 % (95 % CI = RR of 1:0.489 to 1:2.428). The highest victim death rate across four significant differences found in all 22 moderator tests was within the group of 192 African-American victims who held jobs: 11 % died after partner arrests, but none after warnings (d = .8, p = .003). Murder of the victims caused only three of all 91 deaths; heart disease and other internal morbidity caused most victim deaths.

Conclusions: Partner arrests for domestic common assault apparently increased premature death for their victims, especially African-Americans. Victims who held jobs at the time of police response suffered the highest death rates, but only if they were African-American. Replications and detailed risk factor studies are needed to confirm these conclusions, which may support repeal or judicial invalidation of state-level mandatory arrest laws.

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Viewer Ethnicity Matters: Black Crime in TV News and Its Impact on Decisions Regarding Public Policy

Ryan Hurley et al.
Journal of Social Issues, March 2015, Pages 155–170

Abstract:
Content analyses have consistently documented the disproportionate portrayal of Black Americans as criminals in the news. This experiment examines the impact of such portrayals on consumers by investigating the relationship between viewer ethnicity, viewing Black criminal suspects in the news, and beliefs related to public policy. Participants viewed a 30-minute local newscast containing crime stories featuring a majority of Black suspects, White suspects, or no crime stories. Those exposed to crime stories featuring a majority of Black suspects were more likely to rate a nondescript inmate as personally culpable (i.e., unable to be rehabilitated). An interaction between participant ethnicity and treatment condition revealed that ethnic minority group members who view a majority of Black criminals demonstrated significantly lower police support than other participants. These data suggest a complex relationship between exposure to Black crime, racial/ethnic-group membership, and crime-related perceptions and have implications for priming and spreading activation.

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Per Se Drugged Driving Laws and Traffic Fatalities

Mark Anderson & Daniel Rees
International Review of Law and Economics, June 2015, Pages 122–134

Abstract:
In an effort to reduce drugged driving by 10 percent, the Office of National Drug Control Policy is encouraging all states to adopt per se drugged driving laws, which make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in the system. To date, 20 states have passed per se drugged driving laws, yet little is known about their effectiveness. Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the period 1990-2010, the current study examines the relationship between these laws and traffic fatalities, the leading cause of death among Americans ages 5 through 34. Our results provide no evidence that per se drugged driving laws reduce traffic fatalities.

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The African-American Entrepreneur–Crime Drop Relationship: Growing African-American Business Ownership and Declining Youth Violence

Karen Parker
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although much of the urban violence literature focuses on the link between urban disadvantage and crime rates, in this article we explore the relationship between African-American entrepreneurship and rates of juvenile violence, net of the effects associated with labor market shifts and the concentration of disadvantage within these areas. That is, Black-owned businesses have increased considerably over time but have largely been neglected in the criminological literature. After generating two distinct measures of Black entrepreneurship, we test to see if Black-owned businesses were significant to the documented decline in juvenile violence in larger U.S. cities from 1990 to 2000. We find an inverse relationship between entrepreneurship and juvenile arrests involving violence across multiple cities in 1990 and 2000. Furthermore, when estimating a pooled cross-sectional time-series design, the growing presence of African-American businesses is a significant contributor to the change (decline) in Black youth violence during the period of the 1990 crime drop, while the rate of paid employees in Black firms remained unrelated to Black youth violence. In changing economic times, we discuss the importance of exploring ways to capture the presence of African-Americans in the urban economy.

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Exploring the Effect of Exposure to Short-Term Solitary Confinement Among Violent Prison Inmates

Robert Morris
Journal of Quantitative Criminology, forthcoming

Objectives: This study tracked the behavior of male inmates housed in the general inmate populations of 70 different prison units from a large southern state. Each of the inmates studied engaged in violent misconduct at least once during the first 2 years of incarceration (n = 3,808). The goal of the study was to isolate the effect of exposure to short-term solitary confinement (SC) as a punishment for their initial act of violent behavior on the occurrence and timing of subsequent misconduct.

Methods: This study relied upon archival longitudinal data and employed a multilevel counterfactual research design (propensity score matching) that involved tests for group differences, event history analyses, and trajectory analyses.

Results: The results suggest that exposure to short-term solitary confinement as a punishment for an initial violence does not appear to play a role in increasing or decreasing the probability, timing, or development of future misconduct for this particular group on inmates.

Conclusions: Upon validation, these findings call for continued research and perhaps a dialog regarding the utility of solitary confinement policies under certain contexts. This unique study sets the stage for further research to more fully understand how solitary impacts post-exposure behavior.

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Do execution moratoriums increase homicide? Re-examining evidence from Illinois

A. Ahrens, T.V. Kovandzic & L.M. Vieraitis B.
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article revisits the event study by Cloninger and Marchesini (2006), who find that the declaration of the Illinois’ death penalty moratorium on 31 January 2000 had a homicide-promoting effect and resulted in 150 additional homicides over the period 2000–2003. We reassess the author’s identification strategy, which they refer to as ‘portfolio approach’ and which draws upon event studies in finance research. We argue that their methodology is not applicable in crime studies. Instead, we apply univariate time-series methods to test for a structural break at a known and unknown break date. We allow for unknown break points as the structural break might have occurred slightly earlier (criminals might have anticipated the moratorium) or later (due to persistence in criminal behaviour). In addition, we implement the synthetic control estimator which approximates the counterfactual homicide series by a weighted average of homicide outcomes in other US states. Based on various testing methods and two distinct data sets, we conclude that there is no empirical evidence to support the hypothesis that the Illinois’ execution moratorium significantly increased homicides.

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Violent victimization, confluence of risks and the nature of criminal behavior: Testing main and interactive effects from Agnew’s extension of General Strain Theory

Graham Ousey, Pamela Wilcox & Christopher Schreck
Journal of Criminal Justice, March–April 2015, Pages 164–173

Purpose: Important facets of the association between violent crime victimization and criminal offending remain unsettled. Drawing on key aspects of General Strain Theory, this study examined whether violent crime victimization affects overall offending proclivity as well as the character—violent vs. nonviolent—of criminal behavior. Additionally, it tested a recent theory extension positing that larger effects of violent victimization will be found among individuals with a greater confluence of criminogenic risk factors.

Methods: Multi-level latent variable item-response models are used to examine data from a sample of nearly 3,000 tenth-grade students from thirty Kentucky counties.

Results: Quantitative analyses indicated that greater violent victimization was associated with both higher scores on a latent index of overall offending and with an elevated propensity for violent criminality in particular. Contrary to expectations, effects of violent victimization on overall offending and the propensity for violence were not higher for individuals with higher scores on a multidimensional risk index.

Conclusion: In support of General Strain Theory, violent victimization elevates the overall amount of criminal offending and increases odds that crimes involve violent rather than nonviolent behaviors. However, variations in the preceding effects across levels of criminogenic risk are not consistent with the theory.

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Walking ATMs and the Immigration Spillover Effect: The Link Between Latino Immigration and Robbery Victimization

Raymond Barranco & Edward Shihadeh
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Media reports and prior research suggest that undocumented Latino migrants are disproportionately robbed because they rely on a cash-only economy and they are reluctant to report crimes to law-enforcement (the Walking ATM phenomenon). From this we generate two specific research questions. First, we probe for an immigration spillover effect – defined as increased native and documented Latino robbery victimization due to offenders’ inability to distinguish between the statuses of potential victims. Second, we examine the oft-repeated claim that Black robbers disproportionately target Latino victims. Using National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data from 282 counties, results show 1) support for an immigration spillover effect but, 2) no support for the claim that Latinos are disproportionately singled out by Black robbers. We discuss the implications of our findings.

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The Effect of Community Traumatic Events on Student Achievement: Evidence from the Beltway Sniper Attacks

Seth Gershenson & Erdal Tekin
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Community traumatic events such as mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and natural or man-made disasters have the potential to disrupt student learning in numerous ways. For example, these events can reduce instructional time by causing teacher and student absences, school closures, and disturbances to usual classroom routines. Similarly, they might also disrupt home environments. This paper uses a quasi-experimental research design to identify the effects of the 2002 “Beltway Sniper” attacks on student achievement in Virginia’s public schools. In order to identify the causal impact of these events, the empirical analysis uses a difference-in-differences strategy that exploits geographic variation in schools’ proximity to the attacks. The main results indicate that the attacks significantly reduced school-level proficiency rates in schools within five miles of an attack. Evidence of a causal effect is most robust for third grade reading and third and fifth grade math proficiency, suggesting that the shootings caused a decline in school proficiency rates of about five to nine percentage points. Particularly concerning from an equity standpoint, these effects appear to be entirely driven by achievement declines in schools that serve higher proportions of racial minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Finally, results from supplementary analyses suggest that these deleterious effects faded out in subsequent years.

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The Sliding Scale of Snitching: A Qualitative Examination of Snitching in Three Philadelphia Communities

Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Patrick Carr & Maria Kefalas
Sociological Forum, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conducted an in-depth interview study with 77 young men in three moderate to high-crime neighborhoods in Philadelphia to hear their stories about community violence and relations with police. In this article, we have analyzed how Latino, African-American, and white young men experience policing and how they discuss the guidelines around cooperation with the police and what they view as snitching. Contrary to popular perception, talking to the police is not always banned in poor or high-crime neighborhoods. Instead, the respondents present a variety of personal rules that they use to assess when cooperation is called for. We argue that the policing they experience within disadvantaged neighborhoods shapes their frame of legal cynicism, which in turn makes decisions not to cooperate with the police more likely.

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The All-volunteer Force and Crime: The Effects of Military Participation on Offending Behavior

Jessica Craig & Nadine Connell
Armed Forces & Society, April 2015, Pages 329-351

Abstract:
Sampson and Laub’s age-graded theory of informal social control posits that social bonds created through marriage, military, and employment lead to a decrease of criminal behavior or desistance. Most research has focused primarily on the roles of marriage and employment in this process, ignoring the impact of military service on future offending behavior. However, recent US military involvement in the Middle East suggests that the effects of military experience on individuals should be reevaluated. Using data collected from a more recent sample of military-involved individuals, all of whom served in the All-volunteer Force, this study examines how participation in the military impacts offending and potential desistance. The results demonstrate that, overall, modern-day military involvement does not have the same protective effect on future offending as observed in World War II samples. Racial subgroup analyses, however, suggest that military involvement leads to a greater likelihood of desistance for minority service members.

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Bobbies and Baseball Players: Evaluating Patrol Officer Productivity Using Sabermetrics

Luke Bonkiewicz
Police Quarterly, March 2015, Pages 55-78

Abstract:
Patrol officer productivity is an understudied topic in police research. Prior studies on productivity have primarily relied on rudimentary statistics, such as calls for service and arrests. A more advanced method for evaluating productivity should (a) account for the diverse activities of patrol officers, (b) weight different productivity outputs, (c) evaluate officers in terms of available minutes for self-initiated activities (productive time), and (d) offer agencies the flexibility to select, prioritize, and weight patrol activities most relevant to their jurisdictions. Borrowing from a baseball sabermetric called Value Over Replacement Player, we create and test an innovative statistic called Value Over Replacement Cop. This metric analyzes 12 patrol activities and generates a single number by which to quantify and evaluate a patrol officer’s productivity. Using data from a midsize U.S. Police Department (325 sworn officers), we find strong support for the validity of this new metric.

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'Ain't No Rest for the Wicked': Population, Crime, and the 2013 Government Shutdown

Ricard Gil & Mario Macis
Johns Hopkins University Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
The vast majority of the empirical literature on crime has focused on the effects of "supply-side" shocks such as the severity of laws and enforcement. In this paper we analyze the effects of a large and unexpected "demand-side" shock: the drop in daytime population in Washington, DC caused by the government shutdown of October 1-16, 2013. We derive implications from a simple theoretical model where criminals choose effort and allocate it across different criminal activities. We test these implications using the city of Baltimore as the comparison group, and employing difference-in-differences methods. Consistent with the model's predictions (and inconsistent with alternative explanations), we find a 3% decline in crime in DC during the shutdown period, with the net effect resulting from a 9% decline during the day hours, and a 5% increase in crime during the evening and night hours, indicating reallocation of criminals' effort induced by the shutdown.

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Adolescent Criminal Behavior, Population Heterogeneity, and Cumulative Disadvantage: Untangling the Relationship Between Adolescent Delinquency and Negative Outcomes in Emerging Adulthood

Matthew Makarios, Francis Cullen & Alex Piquero
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Developmentalists suggest that adolescent criminal involvement encourages later life failure in the social domains of education, welfare, and risky sexual activities. Although prior research supports a link between crime and later life failure, relatively little research has sought to explain why this relationship exists. This research attempts to understand why crime leads to negative social outcomes by testing hypotheses derived from the perspectives of population heterogeneity and cumulative disadvantage. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, the results reveal that net of control variables and measures of population heterogeneity, adolescent criminal behavior consistently predicts school failure, being on welfare, and risky sexual activities. The findings also suggest that after controlling for delinquency, adolescent arrest negatively affects these factors. Furthermore, stable criminal traits and adolescent delinquency interact when predicting measures of poor social adjustment in early adulthood.

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Anarchy in the UK: Economic Deprivation, Social Disorganization, and Political Grievances in the London Riot of 2011

Juta Kawalerowicz & Michael Biggs
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Thousands rioted in London in August 2011, with the police losing control of parts of the city for four days. This event was not an ethnic riot: participants were ethnically diverse and did not discriminate in choosing targets for looting or destruction. Whereas the sociological literature has focused on variation in rioting across cities, we examine variation within London by mapping the residential addresses of 1,620 rioters — who were subsequently arrested and charged — on to 25,022 neighborhoods. Our findings challenge the orthodoxy that rioting is not explained by deprivation or by disorganization. Rioters were most likely to come from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Rioters also tended to come from neighborhoods where ethnic fractionalization was high, and from areas with few charitable organizations. Political grievances also emerge as important. Rioters were more likely to come from boroughs where the police had previously been perceived as disrespectful.

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Strangers, Acquaintances, and Victims: Victimization and Concern About Crime Among Women

Kevin Drakulich
Sociological Forum, March 2015, Pages 103–126

Abstract:
Women report greater concerns about the danger posed by strangers despite greater victimization by acquaintances. Using a survey of Seattle residents, this article investigates one understudied dimension of this seeming incongruity: the actual effect of victimization by a stranger or acquaintance on concerns about crime. The results suggest different patterns for different crimes: relationship to the offender does not matter for burglaries while acquaintance sexual assaults and stranger nonsexual assaults, respectively, hold the largest associations with concerns. Implications are discussed for research on fear of crime, acquaintance victimizations, and perceptions of neighborhoods.

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The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police

Paul Heaton et al.
RAND Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Over a million people in the United States are employed in private security and law enforcement, yet very little is known about the effects of private police on crime. The current study examines the relationship between a privately-funded university police force and crime in a large U.S. city. Following an expansion of the jurisdictional boundary of the private police force, we see no short-term change in crime. However, using a geographic regression discontinuity approach, we find large impacts of private police on public safety, with violent crime in particular decreasing. These contradictory results appear to be a consequence of delayed effect of private police on crime.

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On the Move: Incarceration, Race, and Residential Mobility

Cody Warner
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examines the relationship between incarceration and post-prison residential mobility. In spite of recent research examining the residential context following incarceration, we know little about if or how incarceration affects individual patterns of residential mobility. This study starts to fill this gap in knowledge by drawing on nationally representative data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79). I find that individuals with a history of incarceration are more likely to move after prison than they are before prison. This relationship holds even after accounting for various time-varying and time-stable sources of spuriousness, including other known correlates of mobility. Additional analyses suggest that this effect is strongest early in the reentry period, and that there exists important racial variation in the relationship between incarceration and mobility. These results imply that, while housing stability is an important feature of successful prisoner reentry, incarceration contributes to larger patterns of residential instability.

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Mortgage Foreclosures and the Changing Mix of Crime in Micro-neighborhoods

Johanna Lacoe & Ingrid Gould Ellen
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: The main objectives of the study are to estimate the impact of mortgage foreclosures on the location of criminal activity within a blockface. Drawing on routine activity theory, disorder theory, and social disorganization theory, the study explores potential mechanisms that link foreclosures to crime.

Methods: To estimate the relationship between foreclosures and localized crime, we use detailed foreclosure and crime data at the blockface level in Chicago and a difference-in-difference estimation strategy.

Results: Overall, mortgage foreclosures increase crime on blockfaces. Foreclosures have a larger impact on crime that occurs inside residences than on crime in the street. The impact of foreclosures on crime location varies by crime type (violent, property, and public order crime).

Conclusions: The evidence supports the three main theoretical mechanisms that link foreclosure activity to local crime. The investigation of the relationship by crime location suggests that foreclosures change the relative attractiveness of indoor and outdoor locations for crime commission on the blockface.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dialect

Globalization and the transmission of social values: The case of tolerance

Niclas Berggren & Therese Nilsson
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Tolerance – respecting those who are different – is arguably of particular importance in an era of globalization, where a potential for economic, social and personal development is increasingly a function of interaction with others different from oneself. We investigate whether globalization induces parents to want to instill tolerance in their children, the main idea being that this quality would equip children for greater success in a more integrated world. Using a survey measure, we indeed find that globalization enhances the willingness to transmit such social values. More precisely, economic and social, but not to the same extent political, globalization has this effect, as shown by using the KOF Index of Globalization in regression analysis of up to 59 countries. Extreme bounds analysis and outlier tests indicate robustness. Overall, our results suggest that certain kinds of globalization seem able to shape values in ways considered desirable by many.

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A transformative taste of home: Home culture primes foster expatriates’ adjustment through bolstering relational security

Jeanne Ho-Ying Fu, Michael Morris & Ying Yi Hong
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 24–31

Abstract:
Past research encourages expatriates to immerse themselves in the host culture, avoiding reminders of their home culture. We counter that, for expatriates still struggling to adjust, home culture stimuli might prime a sense of relational security, emboldening them to reach out to locals and hence boost cultural adjustment. In Study 1, American exchange students in Hong Kong felt more adjusted to Hong Kong after incidental exposure to iconic American practices (vs. Chinese or neutral), an effect partially mediated by relational security and not by other exchange student concerns. Study 2 surveyed exchange students from Hong Kong at three points in time: before, during and after a study abroad term. The intervention of writing about home culture (vs. host culture) symbols during their trip helped adjustment for those with pre-trip insecurities about interacting with locals but not those lacking these insecurities. The boost in adjustment from the home culture primes had a lasting impact, visible in the post-trip evaluations of the study abroad experience by students in the initially insecure group.

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Are the world's languages consolidating? The dynamics and distribution of language populations

David Clingingsmith
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have conjectured that the return to speaking a language increases with the number of speakers. Long-run economic and political integration would accentuate this advantage, increasing the population share of the largest languages. I show that, to the contrary, language size and growth are uncorrelated except for very small languages (<35,000 speakers). I develop a model of local language coordination over a network. The steady-state distribution of language sizes follows a power law and precisely fits the empirical size distribution of languages with ≥35,000 speakers. Simulations suggest the extinction of 40% of languages with <35,000 speakers within 100 years.

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The cosmopolitan elite in Germany: Transnationalism and postmaterialism

Marc Helbling & Céline Teney
Global Networks, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we investigate cosmopolitan attitudes among the people often considered the most cosmopolitan – the elite. Studying the typical class of frequent travellers provides a particularly good opportunity to study the relationship between transnational activities and cosmopolitanism. We also comprehensively investigate the link between postmaterialist values and cosmopolitan attitudes. We test our arguments using an original dataset that includes a relatively large sample of the German positional top elite in the years 2011 and 2012. A comparison between these data and data from a general population survey shows that while transnational activities affect the attitudes of ordinary citizens, increased travelling does not make elites more cosmopolitan. We discuss several reasons why this might be the case. We also observe that postmaterialist values and the ideological environment of the elite play a key role. Finally, we tentatively suggest that cosmopolitan elites do not endanger national social cohesion, as some fear they might. We show that cosmopolitanism and localism are not mutually exclusive and that members of the German elite feel even more attached to their nation than ordinary Germans.

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The Male Breadwinner/Female Homemaker Model and Perceived Marital Stability: A Comparison of Chinese Wives in the United States and Urban China

Yan Yu
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, March 2015, Pages 34-47

Abstract:
From in-depth interviews with Chinese immigrant wives in the United States and the Chinese couples in urban China in 2004, researcher found a surprising result in terms of their interpretations of the impact of the male-breadwinner ideal upon perceived marital stability. Over half of the sampled Chinese immigrant wives in the United States reported that they became stay-at-home mothers after their immigration, and most believed that becoming a stay-at-home mother had stabilized their marriage. The traditionally defined gender role for women was actually not as much condemned by the Chinese immigrant wives as it would be if they were in China. When asked whether or not the Chinese urban wives would like to follow the male-breadwinner ideal, a common response was “No way!” Among urban Chinese couples, wives as well as husbands strongly believed that the male-breadwinner ideal would destabilize rather than stabilize their marriage. In this paper, researcher has put forth a hypothesis that the existing familial, economic, and cultural conditions in the United States and urban China play a role in shaping the Chinese couples’ perceptions of the traditional family model and their decision to either adapt or reject it in association with their perceived marital stability.

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Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity

Klaus Desmet, Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Romain Wacziarg
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
We investigate the empirical relationship between ethnicity and culture, defined as a vector of traits reflecting norms, attitudes and preferences. Using surveys of individual values in 76 countries, we find that ethnic identity is a significant predictor of cultural values, yet that within-group variation in culture trumps between-group variation. Thus, in contrast to a commonly held view, ethnic and cultural diversity are unrelated. We explore the correlates of cultural diversity and of the overlap between culture and ethnicity, finding that the level of economic development is positively associated with cultural diversity and negatively associated with the overlap between culture and ethnicity. Finally, although only a small portion of a country's overall cultural heterogeneity occurs between groups, this does not imply that cultural differences between groups are irrelevant. Indeed, we find that civil conflict becomes more likely when there is greater overlap between ethnicity and culture.

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Cultural influences on Facebook practices: A comparative study of college students in Namibia and the United States

Anicia Peters, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus & Brian Mennecke
Computers in Human Behavior, August 2015, Pages 259–271

Abstract:
Facebook has been adopted in many countries with over 80% of its user-base being outside of the US and Canada. Yet, despite this global dominance, not much is understood of Facebook usage by individuals in non-western cultures. A cross-cultural study was conducted with undergraduate students in the United States and Namibia to examine Facebook use. The study used a mixed method of online surveys and focus groups in both countries. The research examined issues such as motivations for use, friendships, privacy and trust, and life changing events such as relationships, births, deaths, religion and politics. Findings suggest cultural influence on both online and offline practices as well as appropriation and re-contextualization to fit existing offline cultural practices. While we find that participants from the United States are changing their online behavior toward increased self-censorship, more users from Namibia, where family and community structures are important, continue to engage in online behavior that is more open and transparent. Findings also suggest an expressive privacy paradox for United States participants, who are generally less concerned with updating their privacy settings while simultaneously practicing self-censorship.

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Human language reveals a universal positivity bias

Peter Sheridan Dodds et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 24 February 2015, Pages 2389–2394

Abstract:
Using human evaluation of 100,000 words spread across 24 corpora in 10 languages diverse in origin and culture, we present evidence of a deep imprint of human sociality in language, observing that (i) the words of natural human language possess a universal positivity bias, (ii) the estimated emotional content of words is consistent between languages under translation, and (iii) this positivity bias is strongly independent of frequency of word use. Alongside these general regularities, we describe interlanguage variations in the emotional spectrum of languages that allow us to rank corpora. We also show how our word evaluations can be used to construct physical-like instruments for both real-time and offline measurement of the emotional content of large-scale texts.

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Sex differences in suicide rates and suicide methods among adolescents in South Korea, Japan, Finland, and the US

Subin Park
Journal of Adolescence, April 2015, Pages 74–77

Abstract:
Sex differences in suicide rates and suicide methods was compared among adolescents in South Korea, Japan, Finland, and the United States. This study analyzed suicide rates and suicide methods of adolescents aged 15–19 years in four countries, using the World Health Organization mortality database. Among both male and female adolescents, the most common method of suicide was jumping from heights in South Korea and hanging in Japan. In Finland, jumping in front of moving objects and firearms were frequently used by males, but not by females. In the United States, males were more likely to use firearms, and females were more likely to use poison. The male to female ratio of suicide rates was higher in the United States (3.8) and Finland (3.6) than in Korea (1.3) and Japan (1.9). Sex differences in suicide methods may contribute to differences in the suicide rates among males and female adolescents in different countries.

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Factors Influencing the Allowance of Cousin Marriages in the Standard Cross Cultural Sample

Ashley Hoben, Abraham Buunk & Maryanne Fisher
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of this study is to examine variance in the practice and acceptance of cousin marriage in select areas of the world. This study uses Murdock’s Standard Cross Cultural Sample (SCCS). The SCCS includes 186 societies ranging from contemporary hunter and gatherers to early historic states to contemporary industrial people. It is hypothesized that cousin marriages are more likely to occur in small, isolated communities, and in communities that experience high rates of pathogen prevalence. That is, the variance in the practice of cousin marriage may reflect functional responses to various local ecological and environmental pressures. The results demonstrate that geographic isolation and pathogen prevalence are both independent and significant positive predictors of whether or not a society practices cousin marriage. These findings suggest that consanguineous marriage may be an adaptive solution to the problem of mate selection, depending on the environment in which one lives. Consequently, the biological advantages may lead to and/or become an individual preference, which is then reinforced by the local culture. We contend that although social and cultural explanations are of obvious importance, they can only provide partial explanations, and much can be gained from incorporating an evolutionary perspective.

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Cultural differences in recognition of subdued facial expressions of emotions

Fang Zhang et al.
Motivation and Emotion, April 2015, Pages 309-319

Abstract:
A relative in-group advantage for recognizing emotional facial expressions presented at full intensity has been documented. The present study examined whether this in-group advantage also existed for the recognition of subdued expressions. American and Chinese participants judged Caucasian and Chinese angry, sad, and happy expressions at subtle, low, and moderate intensity levels. An in-group advantage was found at the low and moderate intensity levels for angry expressions (the effect was partial at moderate intensity), and at the moderate intensity level for sad expressions. But at milder expression intensities, the in-group advantage disappeared, replaced by a main cultural effect in recognition accuracy. American judges were more accurate than Chinese judges in judging both Caucasian and Chinese expressions at the subtle intensity level for angry expressions and at both the subtle and low intensity levels for sad expressions. The present findings suggest that the in-group advantage resides in recognizing expressions of mid-range intensities but diminishes in recognizing milder expressions, and when the in-group advantage stops, cultural differences in sensitivity to very subtle expressions come to fore, at least for negative emotions involving potential threats to social harmony. The present findings suggest that Americans may be better able to detect very subtle facial expressions of sadness and anger, which may have implications for our understanding of cross-cultural differences in emotion.

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Choosing Across Cultures: The Effect of Choice Complexity on Treatment Outcomes

Jill Brown et al.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has revealed that having choice over treatments can improve their efficacy. However, it is currently unknown if the benefits of treatment choice hold for complex decisions and different cultures. The effects of differing numbers of treatment options were explored across two cultural contexts: United States and Japan. Participants were exposed to an uncomfortable stimulus and provided with up to 15 placebo treatment options they believed would reduce discomfort. There was a significant interaction such that participants from Japan benefited most from fewer treatment options (2 and 5) compared with more treatment options (10 and 15). Participants from the United States, however, showed either no change in discomfort or less discomfort as the number of choices increased. Additionally, participants from Japan reported less satisfaction with the decision process when they had more treatment options to choose from whereas U.S. participants reported similar, if not slightly higher, satisfaction with more treatment options. Further, a second study indicated that a positive experience with the decision process mediated the relationship between choice complexity and treatment efficacy for Japanese participants. These data demonstrate the importance of culture and choice complexity when discussing treatment choice and resulting outcomes in the medical context.

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How Do We Assign Ourselves Social Status? A Cross-Cultural Test of the Cognitive Averaging Principle

Matthew Andersson
Social Science Research, July 2015, Pages 317–329

Abstract:
Subjective social status (SSS), or one’s perceived social standing, is linked robustly to mental and physical health and is thought to be determined in part by a cognitive average of one’s past, present and expected socioeconomic status. However, this averaging principle awaits a formal test. Further, cultures differ with regard to how they perceive and discount time. In this study, I draw upon cross-sectional data from the United States and Japan (2005 MIDUS non-Hispanic whites and 2008 MIDJA), which measured subjective status in terms of one’s perceived standing within a personally defined community. I compare equal and unequal cognitive averaging models for their goodness of fit relative to a traditional present-based model. Socioeconomic status is assessed broadly, in terms of past, present and expected overall work and financial situations. In the United States, averaging models do not fit the data consistently better than a present-based model of SSS. However, in Japan, averaging models do fit SSS consistently better. These fit conclusions are robust to controlling for negative affect.

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How Facial Cues of Models Affect Attention to Websites in Asian and American Cultures

Qiuzhen Wang, Michel Wedel & Xuan Liu
University of Maryland Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Gaze direction and the facial expression of emotion are the two most important facial cues in non-verbal communication. This research involves three eye tracking experiments to investigate the joint effects of facial expression (neutral/happy) and gaze direction (direct/averted) of models on websites on visual attention among American and Chinese participants. They reveal that among both cultures a gaze cue primes initial attention to the product or brand and show that positive affect from the happy expression when a model looks at the viewer carries over to the product or brand. For American participants, a model that looks at the viewer with a happy expression draws more attention to the brand, while for Chinese participants a model that looks at the product with a happy expression draws more attention to the brand. These differences are explained from a cultural difference in using the eyes and mouth as cues to recognize and interpret smiles in Asian and Western cultures, respectively. Further, the match in ethnicity between a model and the viewer exacerbated the attention effects of facial expression.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, April 6, 2015

Poll position

What the Demolition of Public Housing Teaches Us about the Impact of Racial Threat on Political Behavior

Ryan Enos
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does the context in which a person lives affect his or her political behavior? I exploit an event in which demographic context was exogenously changed, leading to a significant change in voters' behavior and demonstrating that voters react strongly to changes in an outgroup population. Between 2000 and 2004, the reconstruction of public housing in Chicago caused the displacement of over 25,000 African Americans, many of whom had previously lived in close proximity to white voters. After the removal of their African American neighbors, the white voters' turnout dropped by over 10 percentage points. Consistent with psychological theories of racial threat, their change in behavior was a function of the size and proximity of the outgroup population. Proximity was also related to increased voting for conservative candidates. These findings strongly suggest that racial threat occurs because of attitude change rather than selection.

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Field experiment evidence of substantive, attributional, and behavioral persuasion by members of Congress in online town halls

William Minozzi et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 31 March 2015, Pages 3937–3942

Abstract:
Do leaders persuade? Social scientists have long studied the relationship between elite behavior and mass opinion. However, there is surprisingly little evidence regarding direct persuasion by leaders. Here we show that political leaders can persuade their constituents directly on three dimensions: substantive attitudes regarding policy issues, attributions regarding the leaders’ qualities, and subsequent voting behavior. We ran two randomized controlled field experiments testing the causal effects of directly interacting with a sitting politician. Our experiments consist of 20 online town hall meetings with members of Congress conducted in 2006 and 2008. Study 1 examined 19 small meetings with members of the House of Representatives (average 20 participants per town hall). Study 2 examined a large (175 participants) town hall with a senator. In both experiments we find that participating has significant and substantively important causal effects on all three dimensions of persuasion but no such effects on issues that were not discussed extensively in the sessions. Further, persuasion was not driven solely by changes in copartisans’ attitudes; the effects were consistent across groups.

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Party Activists as Campaign Advertisers: The Ground Campaign as a Principal-Agent Problem

Ryan Enos & Eitan Hersh
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
As a key element of their strategy, recent Presidential campaigns have recruited thousands of workers to engage in direct voter contact. We conceive of this strategy as a principal-agent problem. Workers engaged in direct contact are intermediaries between candidates and voters, but they may be ill-suited to convey messages to general-election audiences. By analyzing a survey of workers fielded in partnership with the 2012 Obama campaign, we show that in the context of the campaign widely considered most adept at direct contact, individuals who were interacting with swing voters on the campaign’s behalf were demographically unrepresentative, ideologically extreme, cared about atypical issues, and misunderstood the voters’ priorities. We find little evidence that the campaign was able to use strategies of agent control to mitigate its principal-agent problem. We question whether individuals typically willing to be volunteer surrogates are productive agents for a strategic campaign.

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An Absence of Malice: The Limited Utility of Campaigning Against Party Corruption

Michael Cobb & Andrew Taylor
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine whether repeated scandals within one party generate collective sanctions for fellow partisans. Do voters punish a party’s candidates because of multiple corruption scandals? Our data come from a unique survey conducted prior to the 2010 legislative elections in North Carolina, a state that had recently seen a number of high-profile corruption scandals involving Democrats exclusively. Although Republicans campaigned energetically against “the party of corruption,” we find the impact of that campaign was muted. Respondents who accurately identified at least one scandal rated the Democratic Party less favorably and thought Republicans would do better at responding to corruption. Nevertheless, vote choice was unrelated to knowledge of corruption scandals, and Republicans did not benefit from any effects on voter turnout. Importantly, respondents’ partisanship only sometimes mediated attitudes and did not affect behavior. We conclude that voters might in theory prefer “clean” parties, but their political actions are uninfluenced by that preference, a finding that has unfortunate implications for democracy.

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Estimating Voter Registration Deadline Effects with Web Search Data

Alex Street et al.
Political Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Electoral rules have the potential to affect the size and composition of the voting public. Yet scholars disagree over whether requiring voters to register well in advance of Election Day reduces turnout. We present a new approach, using web searches for “voter registration” to measure interest in registering, both before and after registration deadlines for the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Many Americans sought information on “voter registration” even after the deadline in their state had passed. Combining web search data with evidence on the timing of registration for 80 million Americans, we model the relationship between search and registration. Extrapolating this relationship to the post-deadline period, we estimate that an additional 3–4 million Americans would have registered in time to vote, if deadlines had been extended to Election Day. We test our approach by predicting out of sample and with historical data. Web search data provide new opportunities to measure and study information-seeking behavior.

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Exposure to Political Discussion in College is Associated With Higher Rates of Political Participation Over Time

Casey Klofstad
Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
While individuals who are exposed to political discussion are more politically active, analytical biases make it difficult to show evidence of causation. It is also uncertain how long the relationship between discussion and participation lasts. Here both questions are addressed with panel data collected from individuals who were randomly assigned to their college dormitories. The data show that exposure to political discussion in college leads to higher levels of participation, immediately while still in college and years into the future after graduation. As political behavior is habitual, the initial increase in participation after being exposed to political discussion is a mechanism underlying the long-run relationship between discussion and participation.

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Candidates or Districts? Reevaluating the Role of Race in Voter Turnout

Bernard Fraga
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Leading theories of race and participation posit that minority voters are mobilized by co-ethnic candidates. However, past studies are unable to disentangle candidate effects from factors associated with the places from which candidates emerge. I reevaluate the links between candidate race, district composition, and turnout by leveraging a nationwide database of over 185 million individual registration records, including estimates for the race of every voter. Combining these records with detailed information about 3,000 recent congressional primary and general election candidates, I find that minority turnout is not higher in districts with minority candidates, after accounting for the relative size of the ethnic group within a district. Instead, Black and Latino citizens are more likely to vote in both primary and general elections as their share of the population increases, regardless of candidate race.

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Candidate Race, Partisanship, and Political Participation: When Do Black Candidates Increase Black Turnout?

Amir Shawn Fairdosi & Jon Rogowski
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
A sizable literature in American politics documents increased levels of voter turnout among black citizens when coracial candidates are on the ballot or hold office. However, due to a paucity of black Republican candidates, existing research has been unable to identify whether increased participation occurs irrespective of the candidate’s partisanship. Using data from the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we find that, while the presence of a black Democratic House candidate was associated with increased black voter turnout, there was no association between black Republican candidates and black turnout. These results are robust to model specification, issues of statistical power, and contextual differences across districts. We report further evidence that black citizens’ perceptions of black candidates’ ideologies and character traits differed substantially based on the candidate’s party. Our results have implications for understanding how citizens engage in politics when salient political identities come into conflict. The results further suggest that Republican efforts to recruit black candidates are unlikely to mobilize black voters.

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Alphabetically Ordered Ballots and the Composition of American Legislatures

Barry Edwards
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although research demonstrates that favorable ballot position can deliver candidates a small windfall of votes in local, nonpartisan, and primary elections, it is not clear whether ballot order laws have had any impact on the composition of U.S. legislatures. In this article, I estimate the substantive significance of ballot order rules by comparing the legislators of states that alphabetically order ballots to those elected by states that randomize or rotate ballot order. I also compare legislators elected by states that started or stopped alphabetically ordering ballots in recent decades. I find that states that alphabetically order ballots disproportionately elect candidates with early alphabet surnames. My research challenges the prevailing belief that ballot order affects only minor elections and suggests that seemingly innocuous rules have altered our political landscape. I conclude that arbitrary ballot ordering rules should be reformed to remedy their substantial impact on political representation.

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Reevaluating the Sociotropic Economic Voting Hypothesis

Thomas Hansford & Brad Gomez
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
One of the canonical causal claims in political science links individuals’ evaluations of the national economy with their votes. Yet there are reasons to expect that these economic perceptions are endogenous to vote choice, meaning that existing cross-sectional models cannot provide a valid test of the causal retrospective voting claim. Using an instrumental variables approach, we assess the effect of sociotropic evaluations on the decision to vote for the incumbent president or his party’s candidate in eight recent U.S. presidential elections. In contrast with prior work, our results reveal that while there is a correlation between sociotropic evaluations and vote choice, individuals’ subjective evaluations only exert a causal effect on votes when there is not an incumbent president on the ballot. These results suggest that, when incumbents are on the ballot, individuals’ economic perceptions are particularly clouded by appraisals of the incumbent and thus do not operate as an exogenous influence on votes.

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Connecting people to politics over time? Internet communication technology and retention in MoveOn.org and the Florida Tea Party Movement

Deana Rohlinger & Leslie Bunnage
Information, Communication & Society, May 2015, Pages 539-552

Abstract:
Although there is a growing consensus that Internet communication technology (ICT) affects collective action in the twenty-first century, we know very little about what keeps individuals involved in ICT-based organizations over time. Our paper addresses this lacuna by examining whether individuals stay involved in two organizations that use ICT to structure interaction differently over a two-year period. We draw on interview and participant observation data with 38 supporters of MoveOn.org, which structures interaction hierarchically, and the Florida Tea Party Movement, which structures interaction horizontally, to assess how individuals think about each organization's use of ICT and how this shapes individual efficacy and voice – two factors that we find critical to keeping individuals engaged in organizations over time. We show that how a group uses ICT to structure interaction affects the kinds of efficacy and voice individuals are likely to experience. Organizations that use ICT to hierarchically structure interactions are effective at mobilizing people or money quickly and at achieving short-term goals, but very ineffective at creating a community of activists on the ground. The opposite is true of groups that use ICT horizontally. They are effective at creating a political community, but the conflicts that arise among supporters narrow group membership, hinder mobilization, and undercut organizational political clout over time. We conclude with a discussion of our results for understanding ICT and activism in the digital age.

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Making Young Voters: The Impact of Preregistration on Youth Turnout

John Holbein & Sunshine Hillygus
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has cast doubt on the potential for various electoral reforms to increase voter turnout. In this article, we examine the effectiveness of preregistration laws, which allow young citizens to register before being eligible to vote. We use two empirical approaches to evaluate the impact of preregistration on youth turnout. First, we implement difference-in-difference and lag models to bracket the causal effect of preregistration implementation using the 2000–2012 Current Population Survey. Second, focusing on the state of Florida, we leverage a discontinuity based on date of birth to estimate the effect of increased preregistration exposure on the turnout of young registrants. In both approaches, we find preregistration increases voter turnout, with equal effectiveness for various subgroups in the electorate. More broadly, observed patterns suggest that campaign context and supporting institutions may help to determine when and if electoral reforms are effective.

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Election Laws and Agenda Setting: How Election Law Restrictiveness Shapes the Complexity of State Ballot Measures

Kerri Milita
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recently, many U.S. states that allow citizen initiatives have passed laws designed to make it more difficult for an initiative to qualify for the ballot (e.g., by increasing the number of signatures required to get on the ballot), thereby making it harder for citizens to bypass the legislature and make direct changes to public policy. Such laws have reduced both the number of measures that make the ballot and the number that pass on Election Day. I show that laws governing access of initiatives to the ballot also shape the policy agenda; provisions making it harder for proposals to get on the ballot decrease the complexity of the initiatives on the ballot. As less complex initiatives are more likely to be understood by voters and voters are reluctant to vote for measures they do not understand, more restrictive laws actually increase the likelihood that an initiative will pass.

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Do Interest Group Endorsements Cue Individual Contributions to House Candidates?

Anne Baker
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Non-incumbents face an uphill battle in their quest to raise sufficient funds to compete effectively against seated House incumbents and, alternatively, in competitive open-seat House contests. Interest group endorsements are thought to contribute to their electoral success, but whether endorsements help non-incumbent House candidates raise contributions from individuals, as a component of this success, remains unknown. Their heavy reliance upon individual contributions to finance their campaigns as well as the prominence of the groups making a large number of endorsements justifies an explicit test of this relationship. Using contribution data from the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) between 2006 and 2012 paired with endorsement tabulations in both a set of regression and matching analyses, I uncover evidence that endorsements increase individual contributions to the candidate over the course of the election cycle. The results underpin the value of endorsements to non-incumbent candidates as well as their utility for the endorsing groups wishing to influence House elections.

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Does party support help candidates win?

Anne Baker
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The parties’ congressional campaign committees have made it their business to strategically provide contributions to candidate campaigns in order to help their candidates win. However, the effectiveness of these contributions in terms of increasing the competitiveness of party-sponsored candidates remains untested. Using contribution data from the U.S. Federal Election Commission in a series of mixed effects models as well as a matching analysis, the receipt of direct party contributions and coordinated support is shown to significantly improve the competitive position of challengers but not open seat candidates in races for the House. Further, independent expenditures by the parties do not significantly increase candidates’ competitiveness. The implications of these results for future party strategies are explored.

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Economic Voting in Big-City U.S. Mayoral Elections

Daniel Hopkins & Lindsay Pettingill
Georgetown University Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Retrospective voting is a central explanation for voters' support of incumbents. Yet despite the variety of conditions facing American cities, past research has devoted little attention to retrospective voting for mayors. Local economic conditions are widely reported, making them one likely source of retrospective voting. To test that possibility, we turn to the largest data set to date on big-city mayoral elections between 1990 and 2011. Neither crime rates nor property values consistently influence incumbent mayors' vote shares, nor do changes in local conditions. However, low city-level unemployment relative to national unemployment correlates with higher incumbent support. The urban voter is a particular type of retrospective voter, one who compares local economic performance to conditions elsewhere. Moreover, these effects are present only in cities that dominate their media markets. At a time when the audiences for local media are declining, this research suggests that those outlets play a critical role in facilitating retrospective voting.

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In a Different Voice? Explaining the Use of Men and Women As Voice-Over Announcers in Political Advertising

Patricia Strach et al.
Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
We draw on a comprehensive database of American political advertising and television audience profile data to investigate the ways in which gender influences choices about the use of voice-overs in political advertising. Our findings suggest that although men voice the vast majority of political ads, campaigns do strategically choose the sex of the voice-over announcer and that it systematically varies with candidate characteristics, ad tone, and, to a lesser extent, issues. Moreover, using survey data, we show that the choice of voice-over influences the perceived credibility of the ad.

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Competition and property tax limit overrides: Revisiting Massachusetts' Proposition 2½

Zackary Hawley & Jonathan Rork
Regional Science and Urban Economics, May 2015, Pages 93–107

Abstract:
This paper looks at the role of spatial proximity of other towns' decisions to hold an override vote on the decision of a Massachusetts town to hold an initial override vote under Proposition 2½. We find that if a neighboring town has already held a vote at some point in the past, a town's likelihood of holding an initial vote increases by 10–15%. A prior vote being successful has a strong impact, whereas losing votes are relatively ignored. The presence of spatial dependence remains when we look at the specific purpose of override vote, or at the annual number of votes that have occurred between 1982 and 2010. This result is consistent across weighting schemes.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Go for it

(Too) optimistic about optimism: The belief that optimism improves performance

Elizabeth Tenney, Jennifer Logg & Don Moore
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 377-399

Abstract:
A series of experiments investigated why people value optimism and whether they are right to do so. In Experiments 1A and 1B, participants prescribed more optimism for someone implementing decisions than for someone deliberating, indicating that people prescribe optimism selectively, when it can affect performance. Furthermore, participants believed optimism improved outcomes when a person's actions had considerable, rather than little, influence over the outcome (Experiment 2). Experiments 3 and 4 tested the accuracy of this belief; optimism improved persistence, but it did not improve performance as much as participants expected. Experiments 5A and 5B found that participants overestimated the relationship between optimism and performance even when their focus was not on optimism exclusively. In summary, people prescribe optimism when they believe it has the opportunity to improve the chance of success - unfortunately, people may be overly optimistic about just how much optimism can do.

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Hunger promotes acquisition of nonfood objects

Alison Jing Xu, Norbert Schwarz & Robert Wyer
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 March 2015, Pages 2688-2692

Abstract:
Hunger motivates people to consume food, for which finding and acquiring food is a prerequisite. We test whether the acquisition component spills over to nonfood objects: Are hungry people more likely to acquire objects that cannot satisfy their hunger? Five laboratory and field studies show that hunger increases the accessibility of acquisition-related concepts and the intention to acquire not only food but also nonfood objects. Moreover, people act on this intention and acquire more nonfood objects (e.g., binder clips) when they are hungry, both when these items are freely available and when they must be paid for. However, hunger does not influence how much they like nonfood objects. We conclude that a basic biologically based motivation can affect substantively unrelated behaviors that cannot satisfy the motivation. This presumably occurs because hunger renders acquisition-related concepts and behaviors more accessible, which influences decisions in situations to which they can be applied.

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The self: Your own worst enemy? A test of the self-invoking trigger hypothesis

Brad McKay et al.
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The self-invoking trigger hypothesis was proposed by Wulf and Lewthwaite [Wulf, G., & Lewthwaite, R. (2010). Effortless motor learning? An external focus of attention enhances movement effectiveness and efficiency. In B. Bruya (Ed.), Effortless attention: A new perspective in attention and action (pp. 75-101). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press] as a mechanism underlying the robust effect of attentional focus on motor learning and performance. One component of this hypothesis, relevant beyond the attentional focus effect, suggests that causing individuals to access their self-schema will negatively impact their learning and performance of a motor skill. The purpose of the present two studies was to provide an initial test of the performance and learning aspects of the self-invoking trigger hypothesis by asking participants in one group to think about themselves between trial blocks - presumably activating their self-schema - to compare their performance and learning to that of a control group. In Experiment 1, participants performed 2 blocks of 10 trials on a throwing task. In one condition, participants were asked between blocks to think about their past throwing experience. While a control group maintained their performance across blocks, the self group's performance was degraded on the second block. In Experiment 2, participants were asked to practice a wiffleball hitting task on two separate days. Participants returned on a third day to perform retention and transfer tests without the self-activating manipulation. Results indicated that the self group learned the hitting task less effectively than the control group. The findings reported here provide initial support for the self-invoking trigger hypothesis.

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Volitional Personality Trait Change: Can People Choose to Change Their Personality Traits?

Nathan Hudson & Chris Fraley
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has found that most people want to change their personality traits. But can people actually change their personalities just because they want to? To answer this question, we conducted 2, 16-week intensive longitudinal randomized experiments. Across both studies, people who expressed goals to increase with respect to any Big Five personality trait at Time 1 tended to experience actual increases in their self-reports of that trait - as well as trait-relevant daily behavior - over the subsequent 16 weeks. Furthermore, we tested 2 randomized interventions designed to help participants attain desired trait changes. Although 1 of the interventions was inefficacious, a second intervention that trained participants to generate implementation intentions catalyzed their ability to attain trait changes. We also tested several theoretical processes through which volitional changes might occur. These studies suggest that people may be able to change their self-reported personality traits through volitional means, and represent a first step toward understanding the processes that enable people to do so.

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Competition Breeds Desire

Britta Larsen et al.
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, January/February 2015, Pages 81-86

Abstract:
Desire spurs competition; here we explore whether the converse is also true. In one study, female quartets (N = 58) completed anagrams, with the winner to receive compact speakers; controls anagrammed without competition. In the other study, female quartets (N = 74) described their ideal first date to a male judge, who chose the best description; controls read to him others' date descriptions without competition. In both studies, creating competition increased desire and altered how much participants wanted, but not how much they liked, the competed-for thing. Competition may activate a general "wanting system," producing overvaluing in settings from stock markets to partner selection.

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Why children differ in motivation to learn: Insights from over 13,000 twins from 6 countries

Yulia Kovas et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, July 2015, Pages 51-63

Abstract:
Little is known about why people differ in their levels of academic motivation. This study explored the etiology of individual differences in enjoyment and self-perceived ability for several school subjects in nearly 13,000 twins aged 9-16 from 6 countries. The results showed a striking consistency across ages, school subjects, and cultures. Contrary to common belief, enjoyment of learning and children's perceptions of their competence were no less heritable than cognitive ability. Genetic factors explained approximately 40% of the variance and all of the observed twins' similarity in academic motivation. Shared environmental factors, such as home or classroom, did not contribute to the twin's similarity in academic motivation. Environmental influences stemmed entirely from individual specific experiences.

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Manipulating motor performance and memory through real-time fMRI neurofeedback

Frank Scharnowski et al.
Biological Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Task performance depends on ongoing brain activity which can be influenced by attention, arousal, or motivation. However, such modulating factors of cognitive efficiency are unspecific, can be difficult to control, and are not suitable to facilitate neural processing in a regionally specific manner. Here, we non-pharmacologically manipulated regionally specific brain activity using technically sophisticated real-time fMRI neurofeedback. This was accomplished by training participants to simultaneously control ongoing brain activity in circumscribed motor and memory-related brain areas, namely the supplementary motor area and the parahippocampal cortex. We found that learned voluntary control over these functionally distinct brain areas caused functionally specific behavioral effects, i.e. shortening of motor reaction times and specific interference with memory encoding. The neurofeedback approach goes beyond improving cognitive efficiency by unspecific psychological factors such as attention, arousal, or motivation. It allows for directly manipulating sustained activity of task-relevant brain regions in order to yield specific behavioral or cognitive effects.

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Time to Move On? When Entity Theorists Perform Better Than Incremental Theorists

Daeun Park & Sara Kim
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that when confronted with failure, individuals with a fixed view of intelligence (entity theorists) perform worse on subsequent tasks than those with a malleable view of intelligence (incremental theorists). This study finds that entity theorists perform worse than incremental theorists only when they believe that a subsequent task measures the same ability as the task they previously failed. However, when individuals believe that the subsequent task measures an ability unrelated to the ability needed for the initial failed task, incremental theorists perform worse than entity theorists. Across five studies, we show that entity theorists are more likely to choose a different-ability task as a second task and perform better than incremental theorists on that task. We also examine the role of thoughts about previous failure in the performance differences.

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Prioritising - the Task Strategy of the Powerful?

Petra Schmid, Marianne Schmid Mast & Fred Mast
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that power increases focus on the main goal when distractor information is present. As a result, high-power people have been described as goal-focused. In real life, one typically wants to pursue multiple goals at the same time. There is a lack of research on how power affects how people deal with situations in which multiple important goals are present. To address this question, one hundred and fifty-eight participants were primed with high or low power or assigned to a control condition, and were asked to perform a dual-goal task with three difficulty levels. We hypothesised and found that high-power primed people prioritise when confronted with a multiple goal situation. More specifically, when task demands were relatively low, power had no effect; participants generally pursued multiple goals in parallel. However, when task demands were high, the participants in the high-power condition focused on a single goal whereas participants in the low-power condition continued using a dual-task strategy. This study extends existing power theories and research in the domain of goal pursuit.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hanging out

A social chemosignaling function for human handshaking

Idan Frumin et al.
eLife, March 2015

Abstract:
Social chemosignaling is a part of human behavior, but how chemosignals transfer from one individual to another is unknown. In turn, humans greet each other with handshakes, but the functional antecedents of this behavior remain unclear. To ask whether handshakes are used to sample conspecific social chemosignals, we covertly filmed 271 subjects within a structured greeting event either with or without a handshake. We found that humans often sniff their own hands, and selectively increase this behavior after handshake. After handshakes within gender, subjects increased sniffing of their own right shaking hand by more than 100%. In contrast, after handshakes across gender, subjects increased sniffing of their own left non-shaking hand by more than 100%. Tainting participants with unnoticed odors significantly altered the effects, thus verifying their olfactory nature. Thus, handshaking may functionally serve active yet subliminal social chemosignaling, which likely plays a large role in ongoing human behavior.

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Women Favour Dyadic Relationships, but Men Prefer Clubs: Cross-Cultural Evidence from Social Networking

Tamas David-Barrett et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2015

Abstract:
The ability to create lasting, trust-based friendships makes it possible for humans to form large and coherent groups. The recent literature on the evolution of sociality and on the network dynamics of human societies suggests that large human groups have a layered structure generated by emotionally supported social relationships. There are also gender differences in adult social style which may involve different trade-offs between the quantity and quality of friendships. Although many have suggested that females tend to focus on intimate relations with a few other females, while males build larger, more hierarchical coalitions, the existence of such gender differences is disputed and data from adults is scarce. Here, we present cross-cultural evidence for gender differences in the preference for close friendships. We use a sample of ~112,000 profile pictures from nine world regions posted on a popular social networking site to show that, in self-selected displays of social relationships, women favour dyadic relations, whereas men favour larger, all-male cliques. These apparently different solutions to quality-quantity trade-offs suggest a universal and fundamental difference in the function of close friendships for the two sexes.

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Laughter's Influence on the Intimacy of Self-Disclosure

Alan Gray, Brian Parkinson & Robin Dunbar
Human Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
If laughter functions to build relationships between individuals, as current theory suggests, laughter should be linked to interpersonal behaviors that have been shown to be critical to relationship development. Given the importance of disclosing behaviors in facilitating the development of intense social bonds, it is possible that the act of laughing may temporarily influence the laugher's willingness to disclose personal information. We tested this hypothesis experimentally by comparing the characteristics of self-disclosing statements produced by those who had previously watched one of three video clips that differed in the extent to which they elicited laughter and positive affect. The results show that disclosure intimacy is significantly higher after laughter than in the control condition, suggesting that this effect may be due, at least in part, to laughter itself and not simply to a change in positive affect. However, the disclosure intimacy effect was only found for observers' ratings of participants' disclosures and was absent in the participants' own ratings. We suggest that laughter increases people's willingness to disclose, but that they may not necessarily be aware that it is doing so.

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Sibling composition, executive function, and children's thinking about mental diversity

Katie Kennedy, Kristin Hansen Lagattuta & Liat Sayfan
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, April 2015, Pages 121-139

Abstract:
Prior investigations of relations between sibling composition and theory of mind have focused almost exclusively on false belief understanding in children 6 years of age and younger. The current work expands previous research by examining whether sibling composition predicts 4- to 11-year-olds' (N = 192) more advanced mental state reasoning on interpretive theory of mind tasks. Even when controlling for age and executive function, children with a greater number of older siblings or with more same-sex siblings demonstrated stronger knowledge in both their predictions and explanations that people with different past experiences can have diverse interpretations of ambiguous stimuli. These data provide some of the first documentation of sibling constellations that predict individual differences in theory of mind during middle childhood.

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Fostering diverse friendships: The role of beliefs about the value of diversity

Angela Bahns, Lauren Springer & Carla The
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Encouraging dialogue between people of differing social backgrounds and beliefs can reduce prejudice and lead to greater appreciation of diversity, which in turn fosters attitudinally diverse friendships. We investigated how beliefs about the value of diversity relate to attitudinal diversity within relationship dyads. In a field study of naturally occurring relationship pairs in two neighborhoods of Boston (N = 89 dyads), participants completed measures of diversity beliefs and sociopolitical attitudes. People placed higher value on diversity in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood compared to people in the North End neighborhood, and relationship pairs were more attitudinally diverse in Jamaica Plain than in the North End. Attitudinal diversity within pairs was predicted by how highly the pair jointly valued diversity. Further, pairs' greater valuing of diversity in Jamaica Plain mediated the effect of neighborhood on attitude diversity. These findings suggest that individual differences in appreciation for diversity are meaningful predictors of diverse relationships.

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Affiliation-seeking among the powerless: Lacking power increases social affiliative motivation

Charleen Case, Kyle Conlon & Jon Maner
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although it is well known that many people possess fundamental desires for both social affiliation and power, research has only begun to investigate the interplay between these two core social motives. The current research tested the hypothesis that an individual's level of power would influence that person's level of social affiliative motivation. We predicted that, compared with participants in a control condition, (1) individuals who possess power would exhibit less social affiliative motivation; and (2) individuals who lack power would display greater social affiliative motivation. Although we found little evidence to support the former prediction, we observed consistent evidence across two experiments that supported the latter. In Experiment 1, priming participants with low power (versus control) led them to display greater interest in joining a campus service aimed at fostering new friendships among students. In Experiment 2, placing participants in a position of low power (versus control) led them to seek greater proximity to a partner. Together, these results suggest that lacking power motivates people to seek social affiliation.

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Desiring to connect to nature: The effect of ostracism on ecological behavior

Kai-Tak Poon et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2015, Pages 116-122

Abstract:
Three experiments tested whether ostracism increases ecological behaviors through increased desires to connect to nature. Compared with non-ostracized participants, ostracized participants reported higher desires to connect to nature (Experiments 1 and 3) and were more willing to behave ecologically (Experiments 2 and 3). Furthermore, increased desires to connect to nature mediated the effect of ostracism on ecological inclinations (Experiment 3). Together, these findings suggest that people try to cope with the pain of ostracism by connecting to the natural environment and behaving ecologically. They also highlight the significance of desires for nature connectedness in explaining why ostracism increases ecological behavior. Implications are discussed.

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In your 20s it's quantity, in your 30s it's quality: The prognostic value of social activity across 30 years of adulthood

Cheryl Carmichael, Harry Reis & Paul Duberstein
Psychology and Aging, March 2015, Pages 95-105

Abstract:
Social connection, a leading factor in the promotion of health, well-being, and longevity, requires social knowledge and the capacity to cultivate intimacy. Life span development theorists have speculated that social information-seeking goals, emphasized at the beginning of early adulthood, give way to emotional closeness goals in later stages of early adulthood. Drawing on developmental theory (Baltes & Carstensen, 2003; Baltes, 1997), this 30-year prospective study assessed social activity at age 20 and age 30 with experience sampling methods, and psychosocial outcomes (social integration, friendship quality, loneliness, depression, and psychological well-being) at age 50. Results supported the hypothesis that the quantity (but not the quality) of social interactions at age 20, and the quality (but not the quantity) of social interactions at age 30 predict midlife psychosocial outcomes. Longitudinal structural models revealed that age-20 interaction quantity had a direct, unmediated effect on age-50 social and psychological outcomes. The effects of age-20 interaction quality on midlife outcomes, on the other hand, were mediated by age-30 interaction quality. Our findings are consistent with the idea that selection and optimization serve important functions in early adulthood, and that engaging in developmentally appropriate social activity contributes to psychosocial adjustment in the decades that follow.

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Growing to Trust: Evidence That Trust Increases and Sustains Well-Being Across the Life Span

Michael Poulin & Claudia Haase
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Across the globe, populations are aging, which presents an unprecedented challenge to individual and societal well-being. We seek to (a) replicate and extend previous work on age-related differences in interpersonal trust and (b) examine associations between trust and well-being across the adult life span. Study 1, a cross-sectional study of 197,888 individuals (aged 14-99) from 83 countries assessed between 1981 and 2007, showed that (a) older versus younger adults showed higher interpersonal trust and (b) higher trust predicted higher well-being, especially for older adults. Study 2, a nationally representative three-wave cohort-sequential longitudinal study (spanning 4 years) of 1,230 individuals in the United States (aged 18-89), showed that (a) interpersonal trust increased longitudinally across age groups and (b) higher trust predicted increases in well-being longitudinally and vice versa. These findings suggest that interpersonal trust may be an important resource for successful development across the life span.

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Peers and Network Growth: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Sharique Hasan & Surendrakumar Bagde
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much research suggests that social networks affect individual and organizational success. However, a strong assumption underlying this research is that network structure is not reducible to the individual attributes of social actors. In this article, we test this assumption by examining whether interacting with random peers causes exogenous growth of a person's network. Using three years of network data for students at an Indian college, we evaluate the effect of peers on network growth. We find strong evidence that interacting with random, but well-connected, roommates causes significant growth of a focal student's network. Further, we find that this growth also implies an increase in how close an actor moves to a network's center and whether that actor is likely to serve as a network bridge. Fundamentally, our results demonstrate that exogenous factors beyond individual agency - i.e., random peers - can shape network structure. Our results also provide a useful model for causally identifying the determinants of network structure and dynamics.

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Inflammation impairs social cognitive processing: A randomized controlled trial of endotoxin

Mona Moieni et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., autism, schizophrenia) are partially characterized by social cognitive deficits, including impairments in the ability to perceive others' emotional states, which is an aspect of social cognition known as theory of mind (ToM). There is also evidence that inflammation may be implicated in the etiology of these disorders, but experimental data linking inflammation to deficits in social cognition is sparse. Thus, we examined whether exposure to an experimental inflammatory challenge led to changes in ToM. One hundred and fifteen (n=115) healthy participants were randomly assigned to receive either endotoxin, which is an inflammatory challenge, or placebo. Participants completed a social cognition task, the Reading the Mind in the Eyes (RME) test, at baseline and at the peak of inflammatory response for the endotoxin group. The RME test, a validated measure of ToM, evaluates how accurately participants can identify the emotional state of another person by looking only at their eyes. We found that endotoxin (vs. placebo) led to decreases in performance on the RME test from baseline to the peak of inflammatory response, indicating that acute inflammation can lead to decreases in the ability to accurately and reliably comprehend emotional information from others. Given that deficits in ToM are implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders, including those which may have an inflammatory basis, these results may have implications for understanding the links between inflammation, social cognition, and neuropsychiatric disorders.

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The oxytocin receptor gene and social perception

Martin Melchers et al.
Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social perception is an important prerequisite for successful social interaction, because it helps to gain information about behaviors, thoughts, and feelings of interaction partners. Previous pharmacological studies have emphasized the relevance of the oxytocin system for social perception abilities, while knowledge on genetic contributions is still scarce. In the endeavor to fill this gap in the literature, the current study searches for associations between participants' social perception abilities as measured by the interpersonal perception task (IPT) and the rs2268498 polymorphism on the OXTR-gene, which has repeatedly been linked to processes relevant to social functioning. N = 105 healthy participants were experimentally tested with the IPT and genotyped for the rs2268498 polymorphism. T-allele carriers (TT and TC genotypes) exhibited significantly better performance in the IPT than carriers of the CC-genotype. This difference was also significant for the subscales measuring the strength of social bonding (kinship and intimacy). As in previous studies, T-allele carriers exhibited better performance in measures of social processing indicating that the rs2268498 polymorphism is an important candidate for understanding the genetic basis of social functioning.

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Feeling Depleted and Powerless: The Construal-Level Mechanism

Junha Kim, Sujin Lee & Tuvana Rua
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2015, Pages 599-609

Abstract:
Individuals exercise self-control daily to achieve desired goals; at the same time, people engage in social interaction daily and influence (feel powerful) or are influenced (feel powerless) by others. Does controlling the self have an unforeseen consequence for people's perception of their capacity to control others? Five studies - one correlational and four experimental - demonstrate that ego depletion from prior self-control determines one's personal sense of power; low-level, concrete mental construals account for this relationship. Our results showed that people with higher trait self-control reported a greater sense of power (Study 1). People who had depleted their self-control-related regulatory resources (vs. those who had not) experienced a lower sense of power (Study 2). The relationship between ego depletion and low sense of power was mediated by construal level (Study 3) and observed only when low-level, concrete construals were present, but not under high-level, abstract construals (Studies 4 and 5).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, April 3, 2015

Explanation of benefits

New Analysis Reexamines The Value Of Cancer Care In The United States Compared To Western Europe

Samir Soneji & JaeWon Yang
Health Affairs, March 2015, Pages 390-397

Abstract:
Despite sharp increases in spending on cancer treatment since 1970 in the United States compared to Western Europe, US cancer mortality rates have decreased only modestly. This has raised questions about the additional value of US cancer care derived from this additional spending. We calculated the number of US cancer deaths averted, compared to the situation in Western Europe, between 1982 and 2010 for twelve cancer types. We also assessed the value of US cancer care, compared to that in Western Europe, by estimating the ratio of additional spending on cancer to the number of quality-adjusted life-years saved. Compared to Western Europe, for three of the four costliest US cancers — breast, colorectal, and prostate — there were approximately 67,000, 265,000, and 60,000 averted US deaths, respectively, and for lung cancer there were roughly 1,120,000 excess deaths in the study period. The ratio of incremental cost to quality-adjusted life-years saved equaled $402,000 for breast cancer, $110,000 for colorectal cancer, and $1,979,000 for prostate cancer — amounts that exceed most accepted thresholds for cost-effective medical care. The United States lost quality-adjusted life-years despite additional spending for lung cancer: −$19,000 per quality-adjusted life-year saved. Our results suggest that cancer care in the United States may provide less value than corresponding cancer care in Western Europe for many leading cancers.

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The Insurance Value of Medical Innovation

Darius Lakdawalla, Anup Malani & Julian Reif
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Economists think of medical innovation as a valuable but risky good, producing health benefits but increasing financial risk. This perspective overlooks how innovation can lower physical risks borne by healthy patients facing the prospect of future disease. We present an alternative framework that accounts for all these aspects of value and links them to the value of health insurance. We show that any innovation worth buying reduces overall risk, thereby generating positive insurance value on its own. We conduct two empirical exercises to assess the significance of our insights. First, we calculate that conventional methods underestimate the value of historical health gains by 30-80%. Second, we examine a large set of medical technologies and calculate that insurance value on average adds 100% to the conventional valuation of those treatments. Moreover, we find that the physical risk-reduction value of these technologies is ten times greater than the financial risk they pose and the corresponding value of health insurance that insures this financial risk. Our analysis also suggests standard methods disproportionately undervalue treatments for the most severe illnesses, where physical risk to consumers is most costly.

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The effect of Medicaid expansions on demand for care from the Veterans Health Administration

Austin Frakt, Amresh Hanchate & Steven Pizer
Healthcare, forthcoming

Background: Adequate access to care at Veterans Health Administration (VA) medical centers has become a high-profile policy issue. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) could improve access to care for veterans, particularly if its Medicaid expansion is implemented in all states. The relationship between Medicaid expansion on the one hand and VA enrollment and utilization on the other has not previously been explored for all states.

Methods: Using VA and other public data from 2002 to 2008, we calculated a measure of Medicaid eligibility sensitive to state-year varying policy change but not changes in demographics or economic conditions. Next, controlling for potential confounding factors, we estimated fixed effects Poisson models of VA enrollment and inpatient and outpatient utilization. We then used these estimates to simulate the effect of the ACA׳s Medicaid expansion on demand for VA care.

Results: If the ACA׳s Medicaid expansion had been implemented in all states, enrollment for VA health coverage, acute inpatient care (days), and outpatient visits would have been 9%, 6%, and 12% lower, respectively. In states that did not expand Medicaid in 2014, VA enrollment, inpatient days, and outpatient visits were, respectively, 10, 6, and 13 percentage points higher than they would have been otherwise.

Conclusion: VA medical centers in states that did not expand Medicaid in 2014 are likely to have experienced a higher demand, and commensurately longer wait times. As policymakers continue to address VA capacity issues, they should be mindful of the potential role of Medicaid, and that it will change over time as more states adopt the expansion.

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Does Tort Reform Affect Physician Supply? Evidence From Texas

David Hyman et al.
International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does state tort reform affect physician supply? Tort reformers certainly believe so. Before Texas adopted tort reform in 2003, proponents claimed that physicians were deserting Texas in droves. After tort reform was enacted, proponents claimed there had been a dramatic increase in physicians moving to Texas due to the improved liability climate. We find no evidence to support either claim. Physician supply was not measurably stunted prior to reform, and it did not measurably improve after reform. This is true for all patient care physicians in Texas, high-malpractice-risk specialties, primary care physicians, and rural physicians.

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The Effect of Health Insurance Mandate on Labor Market Activity and Time Allocation: Evidence from the Federal Dependent Coverage Provision

Vinish Shrestha & Otto Lenhart
Emory University Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
The federal dependent coverage mandate, a part of the Affordable Care Act, went into effect in September 2010. Using data from the American Time Use Survey from 2008 to 2013 and implementing difference in difference models, this paper evaluates the effect of the federal mandate on labor market outcomes and time allocation among young adults. We find that young adults reduce their labor supply both on the intensive and extensive margin in response to the dependent coverage. Specifically, we show that the dependent coverage mandate reduces weekly market work time by 259 minutes, which corresponds to an 18% change compared to before the policy change. Subsequently, affected individuals reallocate the majority of forgone market work hours toward leisure activities. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the provision of health insurance coverage through the mandate reduces time spent on health. We argue that this finding demonstrates evidence for the existence of ex-ante moral hazard. We find that the effect of the policy is stronger in states with no state level dependent coverage mandates prior to 2010.

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Does Medicaid Coverage for Pregnant Women Affect Prenatal Health Behaviors?

Dhaval Dave, Robert Kaestner & George Wehby
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Despite plausible mechanisms, little research has evaluated potential changes in health behaviors as a result of the Medicaid expansions of the 1980s and 1990s for pregnant women. Accordingly, we provide the first national study of the effects of Medicaid on health behaviors for pregnant women. We exploit exogenous variation from the Medicaid income eligibility expansions for pregnant women and children during late-1980s through mid-1990s to examine effects on several prenatal health behaviors and health outcomes using U.S. vital statistics data. We find that increases in Medicaid eligibility were associated with increases in smoking and decreases in weight gain during pregnancy. Raising Medicaid eligibility by 12 percentage-points increased rates of any prenatal smoking and smoking more than five cigarettes daily by 0.7-0.8 percentage point. Medicaid expansions were associated with a reduction in pregnancy weight-gain by about 0.6%. These effects diminish at higher levels of eligibility, which is consistent with crowd-out from private to public insurance. Importantly, our evidence is consistent with ex-ante moral hazard although income effects are also at play. The worsening of health behaviors may partly explain why Medicaid expansions have not been associated with substantial improvement in infant health.

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Why the Geographic Variation in Health Care Spending Cannot Tell Us Much about the Efficiency or Quality of Our Health Care System

Louise Sheiner
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Fall 2014, Pages 1-72

Abstract:
Examining the geographic variation in Medicare and non-Medicare health spending, I find little support for the view that most of the variation can be attributed to differences in practice styles. Instead, I find that socioeconomic factors that affect the need for medical care, as well as interactions between the Medicare system and other parts of the health system, can account for most of the variation in spending. I also find that controlling for health attributes at the state level explains more of the state-level variation associated with omitted health attributes than controlling for them at the individual level, an econometric difference that likely explains much of the difference between my results and those of the Dartmouth group. More broadly, I find that geographic variations in health spending do not provide a useful way to examine the inefficiencies of our health system. States where Medicare spending is high differ in multiple ways from states where it is low, and it is difficult to isolate the effects of health spending intensity from the effects of the underlying state characteristics. I show, for example, that previous findings about the relationships between health spending, the share of physicians who are general practitioners, and health care quality, are likely the result of omitted factors rather than the result of causal relationships.

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Health Insurance, Familial Responsibilities and Job Satisfaction

Scott Adams & Benjamin Artz
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, March 2015, Pages 143-153

Abstract:
We observed that workers with health insurance provided by their employers reported lower job satisfaction in survey data. Middle-aged and middle-income workers, particularly those with young children at home, showed the strongest negative relationship between health insurance and job satisfaction. The most plausible explanation is that these workers were in suboptimal labor market situations because of their familial responsibilities to provide health insurance for their family relative to workers who were free to choose a better job match or not work at all. This is confirmed by workers with options to obtain health insurance from a source other than their own jobs, namely those likely eligible for parental insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, who showed no such negative relationship between health insurance and job satisfaction.

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Uncovering Waste in U.S. Healthcare

Joseph Doyle, John Graves & Jonathan Gruber
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
There is widespread agreement that the US healthcare system wastes as much as 5% of GDP, yet little consensus on what care is actually unproductive. This partly arises because of the endogeneity of patient choice of treatment location. This paper uses the effective random assignment of patients to ambulance companies to generate comparisons across similar patients treated at different hospitals. We find that assignment to hospitals whose patients receive large amounts of care over the three months following a health emergency do not have meaningfully better survival outcomes compared to hospitals whose patients receive less. Outcomes are related to different types of treatment intensity, however: patients assigned to hospitals with high levels of inpatient spending are more likely to survive to one year, while those assigned to hospitals with high levels of outpatient spending are less likely to do so. This adverse effect of outpatient spending is predominately driven by spending at skilled nursing facilities (SNF) following hospitalization. These results offer a new type of quality measure for hospitals based on utilization of SNFs. We find that patients quasi-randomized to hospitals with high rates of SNF discharge have poorer outcomes, as well as higher downstream spending once conditioning on initial hospital spending.

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Large, Sparse Optimal Matching with Refined Covariate Balance in an Observational Study of the Health Outcomes Produced by New Surgeons

Samuel Pimentel et al.
Journal of the American Statistical Association, forthcoming

"Using data from 498 hospitals, we compare 1252 pairs comprised of a new surgeon and an experienced surgeon working at the same hospital. We introduce a new form of matching that matches patients of each new surgeon to patients of an otherwise similar experienced surgeon at the same hospital, perfectly balancing 176 surgical procedures and closely balancing a total of 2.9 million categories of patients; additionally, the individual patient pairs are as close as possible. A new goal for matching is introduced, called 'refined covariate balance,' in which a sequence of nested, ever more refined, nominal covariates is balanced as closely as possible, emphasizing the first or coarsest covariate in that sequence...There is no evidence that mortality rates for new and experienced surgeons differ."

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Do Experiences with Medicare Managed Care Vary According to the Proportion of Same-Race/Ethnicity/Language Individuals Enrolled in One's Contract?

Rebecca Anhang Price et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine whether care experiences and immunization for racial/ethnic/language minority Medicare beneficiaries vary with the proportion of same-group beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage (MA) contracts.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Exactly 492,495 Medicare beneficiaries responding to the 2008–2009 MA Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Survey.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Mixed-effect regression models predicted eight CAHPS patient experience measures from self-reported race/ethnicity/language preference at individual and contract levels, beneficiary-level case-mix adjustors, along with contract and geographic random effects.

Principal Findings: As a contract's proportion of a given minority group increased, overall and non-Hispanic, white patient experiences were poorer on average; for the minority group in question, however, high-minority plans may score as well as low-minority plans. Spanish-preferring Hispanic beneficiaries also experience smaller disparities relative to non-Hispanic whites in plans with higher Spanish-preferring proportions.

Conclusions: The tendency for high-minority contracts to provide less positive patient experiences for others in the contract, but similar or even more positive patient experiences for concentrated minority group beneficiaries, may reflect cultural competency, particularly language services, that partially or fully counterbalance the poorer overall quality of these contracts. For some beneficiaries, experiences may be just as positive in some high-minority plans with low overall scores as in plans with higher overall scores.

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The Impact of Consumer Inattention on Insurer Pricing in the Medicare Part D Program

Kate Ho, Joseph Hogan & Fiona Scott Morton
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Medicare Part D presents a novel privatized structure for a government pharmaceutical benefit. Incentives for firms to provide low prices and high quality are generated by consumers who choose among multiple insurance plans in each market. To date the literature has primarily focused on consumers, and has calculated how much could be saved if they chose better plans. In this paper we take the next analytical step and consider how plans will adjust prices as consumer search behavior improves. We use detailed data on enrollees in New Jersey to demonstrate that consumers switch plans infrequently and imperfectly. We estimate a model of consumer plan choice with inattentive consumers. We then turn to the supply side and examine insurer responses to this behavior. We show that high premiums are consistent with insurers profiting from consumer inertia. We use the demand model and a model of firm pricing to calculate how much lower Part D program costs would be if consumer inattention were removed and plans re-priced in response. Our estimates indicate that consumers would save $536 each, and the government would save $550 million total over three years, when firms' choice of markup is taken into account. Cost growth would also fall: by the last year of our sample government savings would amount to 8.2% of the cost of subsidizing the relevant enrollees.

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National Hospital Ratings Systems Share Few Common Scores And May Generate Confusion Instead Of Clarity

Matthew Austin et al.
Health Affairs, March 2015, Pages 423-430

Abstract:
Attempts to assess the quality and safety of hospitals have proliferated, including a growing number of consumer-directed hospital rating systems. However, relatively little is known about what these rating systems reveal. To better understand differences in hospital ratings, we compared four national rating systems. We designated “high” and “low” performers for each rating system and examined the overlap among rating systems and how hospital characteristics corresponded with performance on each. No hospital was rated as a high performer by all four national rating systems. Only 10 percent of the 844 hospitals rated as a high performer by one rating system were rated as a high performer by any of the other rating systems. The lack of agreement among the national hospital rating systems is likely explained by the fact that each system uses its own rating methods, has a different focus to its ratings, and stresses different measures of performance.

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Do "Consumer-Directed" Health Plans Bend the Cost Curve Over Time?

Amelia Haviland et al.
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
“Consumer-Directed” Health Plans (CDHPs) combine high deductibles with personal medical accounts and are intended to reduce health care spending through greater patient cost sharing. Prior research shows that CDHPs reduce spending in the first year. However, there is little research on the impact of CDHPs over the longer term. We add to this literature by using data from 13 million individuals in 54 large US firms to estimate the effects of a firm offering CDHPs on health care spending up to three years post offer. We use a difference-in-differences analysis and to further strengthen identification, we balance observables within firm, over time by developing weights through a machine learning algorithm. We find that spending is reduced for those in firms offering CDHPs in all three years post. The reductions are driven by spending decreases in outpatient care and pharmaceuticals, with no evidence of increases in emergency department or inpatient care.

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Home Safety, Accessibility, and Elderly Health: Evidence from Falls

Michael Eriksen, Nadia Greenhalgh-Stanley & Gary Engelhardt
Journal of Urban Economics, May 2015, Pages 14–24

Abstract:
This article presents estimates of the impact of home safety and accessibility features on the prevention of serious, non-fatal falls for elderly widowed individuals. As these features are not randomly assigned across homes, we develop an instrumental variable (IV) strategy that relies on the differential decline in the health and functional status of spouses to identify impacts. Specifically, we use the deceased spouse’s functional status when alive, as measured by limits to Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), as an IV for the presence of home safety and accessibility features for the surviving spouse in the years after widowhood, and then estimate the effect of these features on the likelihood of a serious fall for the widow using rich longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study. The presence of such features reduces the likelihood of a fall requiring medical treatment by 20 percentage points, a substantial effect. However, falls are not the type of health shock that is a main driver of housing tenure transitions among the elderly. Although somewhat speculative, cost-benefit estimates suggest that investments in home safety for the elderly may generate in the short run as much as a dollar-for-dollar reduction in medical expenditures.

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Modern Management Practices and Hospital Admissions

John McConnell et al.
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether the modern management practices and publicly reported performance measures are associated with choice of hospital for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We define and measure management practices at approximately half of US cardiac care units using a novel survey approach. A patient's choice of a hospital is modeled as a function of the hospital's performance on publicly reported quality measures and the quality of its management. The estimates, based on a grouped conditional logit specification, reveal that higher management scores and better performance on publicly reported quality measures are positively associated with hospital choice. Management practices appear to have a direct correlation with admissions for AMI — potentially through reputational effects — and indirect association, through better performance on publicly reported measures. Overall, a one standard deviation change in management practice scores is associated with an 8% increase in AMI admissions.

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Ask Your Doctor? Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceuticals

Michael Sinkinson & Amanda Starc
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
We measure the impact of direct-to-consumer television advertising (DTCA) by drug manufacturers. Our identification strategy exploits shocks to local advertising markets generated by idiosyncrasies of the political advertising cycle as well as a regulatory intervention affecting a single product. We find that a 10% increase in the number of a firm's ads leads to a 0.76% increase in revenue, while the same increase in rival advertising leads to a 0.55% decrease in firm revenue. Results also indicate that a 10% increase in category advertising produces a 0.2% revenue increase for non-advertised drugs. Both the business-stealing and spillover effects would not be detected through OLS. Decomposition using micro data confirms that the effect is due mostly to new customers as opposed to switching among current customers. Simulations show that an outright ban on DTCA would have modest effects on the sales of advertised drugs as well as on non-advertised drugs.

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The Practice of Cranial Neurosurgery and the Malpractice Liability Environment in the United States

Kimon Bekelis et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2015

Object: The potential imbalance between malpractice liability cost and quality of care has been an issue of debate. We investigated the association of malpractice liability with unfavorable outcomes and increased hospitalization charges in cranial neurosurgery.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study involving patients who underwent cranial neurosurgical procedures from 2005-2010, and were registered in the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database. We used data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) from 2005 to 2010 to create measures of volume and size of malpractice claim payments. The association of the latter with the state-level mortality, length of stay (LOS), unfavorable discharge, and hospitalization charges for cranial neurosurgery was investigated.

Results: During the study period, there were 189,103 patients (mean age 46.4 years, with 48.3% females) who underwent cranial neurosurgical procedures, and were registered in NIS. In a multivariable regression, higher number of claims per physician in a state was associated with increased ln-transformed hospitalization charges (beta 0.18; 95% CI, 0.17 to 0.19). On the contrary, there was no association with mortality (OR 1.00; 95% CI, 0.94 to 1.06). We observed a small association with unfavorable discharge (OR 1.09; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.13), and LOS (beta 0.01; 95% CI, 0.002 to 0.03). The size of the awarded claims demonstrated similar relationships. The average claims payment size (ln-transformed) (Pearson’s rho=0.435, P=0.01) demonstrated a positive correlation with the risk-adjusted hospitalization charges but did not demonstrate a correlation with mortality, unfavorable discharge, or LOS.

Conclusions: In the present national study, aggressive malpractice environment was not correlated with mortality but was associated with higher hospitalization charges after cranial neurosurgery. In view of the association of malpractice with the economics of healthcare, further research on its impact is necessary.

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Physician Incentives and the Rise in C-sections: Evidence from Canada

Sara Allin et al.
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
More than one in four births are delivered by Cesarean section across the OECD where fee-for-service remuneration schemes generally compensate C-sections more generously than vaginal deliveries. In this paper, we exploit unique features of the Canadian health care system to investigate if physicians respond to financial incentives in obstetric care. Previous studies have investigated physicians' behavioral response to incentives using data from institutional contexts in which they can sort across remuneration schemes and patient types. The single payer and universal coverage nature of Medicare in Canada mitigates the threat that our estimates are contaminated by such a selection bias. Using administrative data from nearly five million hospital records, we find that doubling the compensation received for a C-section relative to a vaginal delivery increases by 5.6 percentage points the likelihood that a birth is delivered by C-section, all else equal. This result is mostly driven by obstetricians, rather than by general practitioners. We also find that physicians' response to financial incentives is greater among patients over 34, which may reflect physicians' greater informational advantage on the risks of different delivery methods for this category of mothers.

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US Hospitals Experienced Substantial Productivity Growth During 2002–11

John Romley, Dana Goldman & Neeraj Sood
Health Affairs, March 2015, Pages 511-518

Abstract:
The need for better value in US health care is widely recognized. Existing evidence suggests that improvement in the productivity of American hospitals—that is, the output that hospitals produce from inputs such as labor and capital—has lagged behind that of other industries. However, previous studies have not adequately addressed quality of care or severity of patient illness. Our study, by contrast, adjusts for trends in the severity of patients’ conditions and health outcomes. We studied productivity growth among US hospitals in treating Medicare patients with heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia during 2002–11. We found that the rates of annual productivity growth were 0.78 percent for heart attack, 0.62 percent for heart failure, and 1.90 percent for pneumonia. However, unadjusted productivity growth appears to have been negative. These findings suggest that productivity growth in US health care could be better than is sometimes believed, and may help alleviate concerns about Medicare payment policy under the Affordable Care Act.

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The Efficiency of Slacking Off: Evidence from the Emergency Department

David Chan
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Work schedules play an important role in time-sensitive production utilizing workers interchangeably. Studying emergency department physicians in shift work, I find two types of strategic behavior induced by schedules. First, on an extensive margin, physicians "slack off" by accepting fewer patients near end of shift (EOS). Second, on an intensive margin, physicians distort patient care, incurring higher costs as they spend less time on patients accepted near EOS. I demonstrate a tradeoff between these two strategic behaviors, by examining how they change with shift overlap. Accounting for both costs of physician time and patient care, I find that physicians slack off at approximately second-best optimal levels.

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A Note on the Comparative Statics of Pay-for-Performance in Health Care

Tisamarie Sherry
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Pay-for-performance (P4P) is a widely implemented quality improvement strategy in health care that has generated much enthusiasm, but only limited empirical evidence to support its effectiveness. Researchers have speculated that flawed program designs or weak financial incentives may be to blame, but the reason for P4P's limited success may be more fundamental. When P4P rewards multiple services, it creates a special case of the well-known multitasking problem, where incentives to increase some rewarded activities are blunted by countervailing incentives to focus on other rewarded activities: these incentives may cancel each other out with little net effect on quality. This paper analyzes the comparative statics of a P4P model to show that when P4P rewards multiple services in a setting of multitasking and joint production, the change in both rewarded and unrewarded services is generally ambiguous. This result contrasts with the commonly held intuition that P4P should increase rewarded activities.

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Trends in Settings for Peripheral Vascular Intervention and the Effect of Changes in the Outpatient Prospective Payment System

Schuyler Jones et al.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 10 March 2015, Pages 920–927

Background: Peripheral vascular intervention (PVI) is an effective treatment option for patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). In 2008, Medicare modified reimbursement rates to encourage more efficient outpatient use of PVI in the United States.

Methods: Using a 5% national sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries from 2006 to 2011, we examined age- and sex-adjusted rates of PVI by year, type of procedure, clinical setting, and physician specialty.

Results: A total of 39,339 Medicare beneficiaries underwent revascularization for PAD between 2006 and 2011. The annual rate of PVI increased slightly from 401.4 to 419.6 per 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries (p = 0.17), but the clinical setting shifted. The rate of PVI declined in inpatient settings from 209.7 to 151.6 (p < 0.001), whereas the rate expanded in outpatient hospitals (184.7 to 228.5; p = 0.01) and office-based clinics (6.0 to 37.8; p = 0.008). The use of atherectomy increased 2-fold in outpatient hospital settings and 50-fold in office-based clinics during the study period. Mean costs of inpatient procedures were similar across all types of PVI, whereas mean costs of atherectomy procedures in outpatient and office-based clinics exceeded those of stenting and angioplasty procedures.

Conclusions: From 2006 to 2011, overall rates of PVI increased minimally. However, after changes in reimbursement, PVI and atherectomy in outpatient facilities and office-based clinics increased dramatically, neutralizing cost savings to Medicare and highlighting the possible unintended consequences of coverage decisions.

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Long-Term Care Utility and Late in Life Saving

John Ameriks et al.
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Older wealthholders spend down assets slowly. To study this pattern, the paper introduces health dependent utility into a model in which different preferences for bequests, expenditures when in need of long-term care (LTC), and ordinary consumption combine with health and longevity uncertainty to determine saving behavior. To help separately identify motives, it develops Strategic Survey Questions (SSQs) that elicit stated preferences. The model is estimated using new SSQ and wealth data from the Vanguard Research Initiative. Estimates of the health-state utility function imply that motives associated with LTC are significantly more important than bequest motives in determining late in life saving.

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Copayments and Emergency Department Use Among Adult Medicaid Enrollees

Lindsay Sabik & Sabina Ohri Gandhi
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A number of state Medicaid programs have recently proposed or implemented new or increased copayments for nonemergent emergency department (ED) visits. Evidence suggests that copayments generally reduce the level of healthcare utilization, although there is little specific evidence regarding the effectiveness of copayments in reducing nonurgent ED use among Medicaid enrollees or other low-income populations. Encouraging efficient and appropriate use of healthcare services will be of particular importance for Medicaid programs as they expand under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This analysis uses national data from 2001 to 2009 to examine the effect of copayments on nonurgent ED utilization among nonelderly adult enrollees. We find that visits among Medicaid enrollees in state-years where a copayment is in place are significantly less likely to be for nonurgent reasons. Our findings suggest that copayments may be an effective tool for reducing use of the ED for nonurgent care.

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Staffing Subsidies and the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes

Andrew Foster & Yong Suk Lee
Journal of Health Economics, May 2015, Pages 133–147

Abstract:
Concerns about the quality of state-financed nursing home care has led to the wide-scale adoption by states of pass-through subsidies, in which Medicaid reimbursement rates are directly tied to staffing expenditure. We examine the effects of Medicaid pass-through on nursing home staffing and quality of care by adapting a two-step FGLS method that addresses clustering and state-level temporal autocorrelation. We find that pass-through subsidies increases staffing by about 1% on average and 2.7% in nursing homes with a low share of Medicaid patients. Furthermore, pass-through subsidies reduce the incidences of pressure ulcer worsening by about 0.9%.

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Effects of the Ten Percent Cap in Medicare Home Health Care on Treatment Intensity and Patient Discharge Status

Hyunjee Kim & Edward Norton
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To estimate the effect of the 10 percent cap introduced to Medicare home health care on treatment intensity and patient discharge status.

Data Sources: Medicare Denominator, Medicare Home Health Claims, and Medicare Provider of Services Files from 2008 through 2010.

Study Design: We used agency-level variation in the proportion of outlier payments prior to the implementation of the 10 percent cap to identify how home health agencies adjusted the number of home health visits and patient discharge status under the new law.

Principal Findings: Under the 10 percent cap, agencies dramatically decreased the number of service visits. Agencies also dropped relatively healthy patients and sent sicker patients to nursing homes.

Conclusions: The drastic reduction in the number of service visits and discontinuation of relatively healthy patients from home health care suggest that the 10 percent cap improved the efficiency of home health services as intended. However, the 10 percent cap increased other types of health care expenditures by pushing sicker patients to use more expensive health services.

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Public reporting and the evolution of diabetes quality

Jeffrey McCullough et al.
International Journal of Health Economics and Management, March 2015, Pages 127-138

Abstract:
We address three questions related to public reports of diabetes quality. First, does clinic quality evolve over time? Second, does the quality of reporting clinics converge to a common standard? Third, how persistent are provider quality rankings across time? Since current methods of public reporting rely on historic data, measures of clinic quality are most informative if relative clinic performance is persistent across time. We use data from the Minnesota Community Measurement spanning 2007–2012. We employ seemingly-unrelated regression to measure quality improvement conditional upon cohort effects and changes in quality metrics. Basic autoregressive models are used to measure quality persistence. There were striking differences in initial quality across cohorts of clinics and early-reporting cohorts maintained higher quality in all years. This suggests that consumers can infer, on average, that non-reporting clinics have poorer quality than reporting clinics. Average quality, however, improves slowly in all cohorts and quality dispersion declines over time both within and across cohorts. Relative clinic quality is highly persistent year-to-year, suggesting that publicly-reported measures can inform consumers in choice of clinics, even though they represent measured quality for a previous time period. Finally, definition changes in measures can make it difficult to draw appropriate inferences from longitudinal public reports data.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rush to judgment

“Leave Your Comment Below”: Can Biased Online Comments Influence Our Own Prejudicial Attitudes and Behaviors?

Mark Hsueh, Kumar Yogeeswaran & Sanna Malinen
Human Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Increased use of online communication in everyday life presents a growing need to understand how people are influenced by others in such settings. In this study, online comments established social norms that directly influenced readers' expressions of prejudice both consciously and unconsciously. Participants read an online article and were then exposed to antiprejudiced or prejudiced comments allegedly posted by other users. Results revealed that exposure to prejudiced (relative to antiprejudiced) comments influenced respondents to post more prejudiced comments themselves. In addition, these effects generalized to participants' unconscious and conscious attitudes toward the target group once offline. These findings suggest that simple exposure to social information can impact our attitudes and behavior, suggesting potential avenues for social change in online environments.

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A Study of a Market Anomaly: “White Men Can’t Jump,” But Would You Bet On It?

Deniz Igan, Marcelo Pinheiro & John Smith
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, May 2015, Pages 13–25

Abstract:
We identify a largely efficient market in which there is a relationship between race and market outcomes. Examining data on NBA games, we find that teams with more black players tend to face larger point spreads and that these teams perform worse against the spread. These biased outcomes are significantly large and persistent so that we are able to identify profit opportunities. We also find evidence that the biased spread is set by the bookmakers rather than being moved as a result of excessive betting on the more black team. We examine several alternate explanations, and the racial composition measures remain significant in these specifications.

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Awareness of Intergroup Help Can Rehumanize the Out-Group

Tamar Saguy et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Dehumanizing the enemy is one of the most destructive elements of intergroup conflict. Past research demonstrated that awareness of harm that the in-group imposed on a specific out-group can increase out-group dehumanization as means of justifying the harm. In this research, we examined whether the opposite process would occur when people become aware of help given to an adversary. We reasoned that the need to justify a good deed toward a persistent enemy can result in more human-like out-group attributions. In two experiments, Israeli-Jews read about their group either helping Palestinians or not. In Study 1, awareness of help provided by the in-group to the out-group resulted in greater out-group humanization. In Study 2, we further established that when a third party helped the out-group, the rehumanization effect was not obtained, suggesting that the phenomenon is of specific intergroup nature. Theoretical and applied implications for conflict resolution are discussed.

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Applying imagined contact to improve physiological responses in anticipation of intergroup interactions and the perceived quality of these interactions

Keon West, Rhiannon Turner & Liat Levita
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This experiment (N = 49) is the first to show that imagined contact can buffer anticipatory physiological responses to future interactions, and improve the quality of these interactions. Participants imagined a positive interaction with a person with schizophrenia, or in a control condition, a person who did not have schizophrenia. They then interacted with a confederate whom they believed had schizophrenia. Participants in the imagined contact condition reported more positive attitudes and less avoidance of people with schizophrenia, displayed smaller anticipatory physiological responses, specifically smaller changes in interbeat interval and skin conductance responses, and had a more positive interaction according to the confederate. These findings support applying imagined contact to improve interactions with people with severe mental illnesses.

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Some extended psychological benefits of challenging social stereotypes: Decreased dehumanization and a reduced reliance on heuristic thinking

Francesca Prati et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
One way to promote equality is to encourage people to generate counterstereotypic role models. In two experiments, we demonstrate that such interventions have much broader benefits than previously thought — reducing a reliance on heuristic thinking and decreasing tendencies to dehumanize outgroups. In Experiment 1, participants who thought about a gender counterstereotype (e.g., a female mechanic) demonstrated a generalized decrease in dehumanization towards a range of unrelated target groups (including asylum seekers and the homeless). In Experiment 2 we replicated these findings using alternative targets and measures of dehumanization. Furthermore, we found the effect was mediated by a reduced reliance on heuristic thinking. The findings suggest educational initiatives that aim to challenge social stereotypes may not only have societal benefits (generalized tolerance), but also tangible benefits for individuals (enhanced cognitive flexibility).

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Affect and Understanding During Everyday Cross-Race Experiences

Robyn Mallett, Sharon Akimoto & Shigehiro Oishi
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research uses an event sampling method to test whether, compared to same-race interactions, everyday cross-race contact is better characterized by the presence of negative affect or the absence of positive affect. Everyday intergroup interactions have some positive and negative aspects, so the present research independently assesses positive affect and negative affect along with felt understanding and misunderstanding. Across 3 studies (Study 1, n = 107; Study 2, n = 112; Study 3, n = 146), we find that European, Asian, and African Americans report that everyday cross-race interactions generate less positive affect and felt understanding than same-race interactions. Yet cross-race interactions entail no more negative affect than same-race interactions. This supports the idea that positive emotions are mostly reserved for and experienced with the ingroup, rather than the idea that people feel animosity toward the outgroup. Given that nearly half of racial-minority group member’s everyday interactions are cross-race, their daily encounters are typically less positive than those of racial-majority group members. Feeling less well understood as a result of cross-race contact may increase the likelihood that racial-minority group members question whether they belong on a college campus.

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Multiple Forms of Prejudice: How Gender and Disability Stereotypes Influence Judgments of Disabled Women and Men

Jill Coleman, Amy Brunell & Ingrid Haugen
Current Psychology, March 2015, Pages 177-189

Abstract:
The present study examined how gender and disability stereotypes interact to influence social judgments. We predicted that people would judge a woman with physical disability more negatively than a woman with intellectual disability, but that there would be a less pronounced difference for judgments of men with physical and intellectual disability. Participants (N = 173) read short descriptions of a male or female character who was physically or intellectually disabled. They evaluated the character’s warmth and competence and reported how much social distance they wanted from the character. Contrary to our expectations, participants reported significantly less desire for social distance from physically disabled women than intellectually disabled women. As predicted, evaluations of men were not affected by the type of disability the target character possessed.

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Using Celebrity News Stories to Effectively Reduce Racial/Ethnic Prejudice

Srividya Ramasubramanian
Journal of Social Issues, March 2015, Pages 123–138

Abstract:
This article argues that exposure to admirable media celebrities from racial/ethnic outgroups is an effective, proactive, and viable strategy for prejudice reduction and intergroup harmony. It uses mediated contact and exemplification theories to demonstrate that reading news stories about likable outgroup media personalities who serve as counter-stereotypic exemplars can subtly modify racial attitudes, which are malleable and context-sensitive. Specifically, results from a between-participants experiment (N = 88) show that exposure to news stories about counter-stereotypic African American media personalities as compared to stereotypical ones reduces stereotypical perceptions and symbolic racist beliefs of White Americans about African Americans. Furthermore, these favorable attitudes translate into an increased willingness to support affirmative action policies.

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Effects of Right-Wing Populist Political Advertising on Implicit and Explicit Stereotypes

Florian Arendt, Franziska Marquart & Jörg Matthes
Journal of Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated the effects of antiforeigner political advertisements on implicit and explicit stereotypes. While stereotypical associations may become automatically activated (implicit stereotypes), individuals can reject these thoughts and decide not to use them for an overtly expressed judgment (explicit stereotypes). We hypothesized that even if citizens negated stereotypical content, advertisements might still affect implicit stereotypes. This hypothesis was tested using an experiment where participants (N = 186) were exposed to zero, two, four, or six stereotypical advertisements. The results showed that stereotypical advertisements did not influence explicit stereotypes but did influence implicit stereotypes, even in critical recipients who negated the stereotypical content.

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A Group’s Physical Attractiveness Is Greater Than the Average Attractiveness of Its Members: The Group Attractiveness Effect

Yvette van Osch et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2015, Pages 559-574

Abstract:
We tested whether the perceived physical attractiveness of a group is greater than the average attractiveness of its members. In nine studies, we find evidence for the so-called group attractiveness effect (GA-effect), using female, male, and mixed-gender groups, indicating that group impressions of physical attractiveness are more positive than the average ratings of the group members. A meta-analysis on 33 comparisons reveals that the effect is medium to large (Cohen’s d = 0.60) and moderated by group size. We explored two explanations for the GA-effect: (a) selective attention to attractive group members, and (b) the Gestalt principle of similarity. The results of our studies are in favor of the selective attention account: People selectively attend to the most attractive members of a group and their attractiveness has a greater influence on the evaluation of the group.

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Documenting Portrayals of Race/Ethnicity on Primetime Television over a 20-Year Span and Their Association with National-Level Racial/Ethnic Attitudes

Riva Tukachinsky, Dana Mastro & Moran Yarchi
Journal of Social Issues, March 2015, Pages 17–38

Abstract:
The current study content analyzes the 345 most viewed U.S. television shows within 12 separate television seasons spanning the years 1987 to 2009. Using multilevel modeling, the results from this comprehensive content analysis then are used to predict national-level racial/ethnic perceptions (between the years 1988 and 2008) with data from the American National Election Studies (ANES). Content analysis results reveal severe underrepresentation of Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, and a tendency to depict ethnic minorities stereotypically (e.g., overrepresentation of hyper-sexualized Latino characters). Multilevel-modeling analysis indicates that both the quantity and quality of ethnic media representations contributes to Whites’ racial attitudes.

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Targeting Prejudice: Personal Self-Esteem as a Resource for Asians’ Attributions to Racial Discrimination

Mark Seery & Wendy Quinton
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although Asians in the United States are targets of racial prejudice and discrimination, cultural forces may hinder their acknowledging that such bias has occurred. High personal self-esteem (SE) may facilitate acknowledging discrimination — which is costly yet necessary to remedy unfair treatment — but the importance of personal SE for Asians has been questioned. This study investigated a novel question: Does high personal SE function as a psychological resource for Asians’ attributions to racial discrimination? Participants received negative performance feedback containing one of three levels of cues to a White evaluator’s prejudice (feedback only, less-clear cues, or more-clear cues). Participants with lower SE reported elevated attributions to discrimination only when cues were more clear, whereas participants with higher SE reported elevated attributions when any cues to prejudice were present. Results suggest that high personal SE serves as a psychological resource for Asian targets of prejudice, lowering the threshold for acknowledging discriminatory treatment.

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Semantic Information Influences Race Categorization From Faces

Konstantin Tskhay & Nicholas Rule
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is well established that low-level visual features affect person categorization in a bottom-up fashion. Few studies have examined top-down influences, however, and have largely focused on how information recalled from memory or from motivation influences categorization. Here, we investigated how race categorizations are affected by the context in which targets are perceived by manipulating semantic information associated with the faces being categorized. We found that presenting faces that systematically varied in racial ambiguity with race-congruent (vs. incongruent) semantic labels shifted the threshold at which perceivers distinguished between racial groups. The semantic information offered by the labels therefore appeared to influence the categorization of race. These findings suggest that semantic information creates a context for the interpretation of perceptual cues during social categorization, highlighting an active role of top-down information in race perception.

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Pre- and Post-Welfare Reform Media Portrayals of Poverty in the United States: The Continuing Importance of Race and Ethnicity

Bas van Doorn
Politics & Policy, February 2015, Pages 142–162

Abstract:
This article analyzes racial and ethnic patterns in media coverage of poverty in the United States, with a particular focus on depictions of African Americans and Hispanics. A content analysis of photos accompanying poverty-related stories published in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report from 1992 to 2010 shows that while Hispanics are underrepresented in media portrayals of the poor, African Americans are overrepresented, especially alongside stories on welfare, in times of economic growth and low unemployment, and in coverage unsympathetic to the poor more generally. I conclude that media coverage of poverty is unrepresentative in a manner consistent with stereotypes concerning African Americans and Hispanics, likely contributing to the endurance of such stereotypes and explaining the fact that welfare is as unpopular after welfare reform as it was prior to reform.

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Social Identity Threat in Response to Stereotypic Film Portrayals: Effects on Self-Conscious Emotion and Implicit Ingroup Attitudes

Toni Schmader, Katharina Block & Brian Lickel
Journal of Social Issues, March 2015, Pages 54–72

Abstract:
Disadvantaged ethnic groups are often portrayed stereotypically in film, but little is known about how such portrayals affect members of those groups. Two experiments examined the affective and attitudinal reactions of Mexican and European Americans to stereotypic film clips of Latinos. Results of Study 1 revealed that stereotypic films cue negative affect among Mexican Americans, regardless of the realism of the portrayals. In Study 2, both Mexican and European Americans felt more self-conscious when another ingroup member openly laughed at negative Latino stereotypes in a comedy. Across both studies, the importance of ethnic identity exacerbated negative reactions to stereotypic clips and predicted somewhat more negative implicit group attitudes among Mexican Americans. In contrast, group pride mitigated affective costs and predicted greater enjoyment of stereotypical film clips among European Americans. The implications for the role of mass media in creating social identity threat for disadvantaged ethnic groups are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

School choices

School District Lines Stratify Educational Opportunity by Race and Poverty

Jennifer Ayscue & Gary Orfield
Race and Social Problems, March 2015, Pages 5-20

Abstract:
School segregation has serious consequences for educational opportunity and success. Across the nation, school segregation by race and poverty is deepening and varies by state. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data, this study explores the relationship between fragmentation - the degree to which metropolitan areas are split into many separate school districts - and segregation. Three measures of segregation - exposure, concentration, and evenness - are employed to analyze state- and metropolitan-level data between 1989 and 2010 in four states with different school district structures. Findings in this exploratory study indicate that states and metropolitan areas with more fragmented district structures are associated with higher levels of segregation. In comparison with the less fragmented states of North Carolina and Virginia, in the highly fragmented states of New York and New Jersey, the typical black and Latino student are exposed to smaller shares of white students, the typical white student is more isolated with other white peers, there are greater disparities in exposure to low-income students by race, the share of non-white segregated schools is substantially larger, and levels of multiracial unevenness are higher. (These states were selected from a set of in-depth state studies by the Civil Rights Project of the states from Maine to North Carolina; comparable data are not available for many other states.) Highly fragmented states and metropolitan areas with numerous small school districts cannot confront segregation by exclusively focusing their efforts within districts; in these areas, segregation is fundamentally occurring among districts rather than within districts. Instead, highly fragmented areas could use regional strategies, such as interdistrict transfer programs, regional magnet schools, and district consolidation, to make progress in desegregating their schools across school district lines.

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College Access, Initial College Choice and Degree Completion

Joshua Goodman, Michael Hurwitz & Jonathan Smith
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
The relatively low degree completion rate of U.S. college students has prompted debate over the extent to which the problem is attributable to the students or to their choice of colleges. Estimating the impact of initial college choice is confounded by the non-random nature of college selection. We solve this selection problem by studying the universe of SAT-takers in the state of Georgia, where minimum SAT scores required for admission to the four-year public college sector generate exogenous variation in initial college choice. Regression discontinuity estimates comparing the relatively low-skilled students just above and below this minimum threshold show that access to this sector increases enrollment in four-year colleges, largely by diverting students from two-year community colleges. Most importantly, access to four-year public colleges substantially increases bachelor's degree completion rates, particularly for low-income students. Conditional on a student's own academic skill, the institutional completion rate of his initial college explains a large fraction of his own probability of completion. Consistent with prior research on college quality and the two-year college penalty, these results may explain part of the labor market return to college quality.

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Inequality, marketisation and the left: Schools policy in England and Sweden

Timothy Hicks
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is argued in this article that the marketisation of schools policy has a tendency to produce twin effects: an increase in educational inequality, and an increase in general satisfaction with the schooling system. However, the effect on educational inequality is very much stronger where prevailing societal inequality is higher. The result is that cross-party political agreement on the desirability of such reforms is much more likely where societal inequality is lower (as the inequality effects are also lower). Counterintuitively, then, countries that are more egalitarian - and so typically thought of as being more left-wing - will have a higher likelihood of adopting marketisation than more unequal countries. Evidence is drawn from a paired comparison of English and Swedish schools policies from the 1980s to the present. Both the policy history and elite interviews lend considerable support for the theory in terms of both outcomes and mechanisms.

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Missed Signals: The Effect of ACT College-Readiness Measures on Post-Secondary Decisions

Andrew Foote, Lisa Schulkind & Teny Shapiro
Economics of Education Review, June 2015, Pages 39-51

Abstract:
In the face of shrinking government budgets and a growing need to train a high-skilled labor force, policymakers have become increasingly interested in cost-effective measures that induce more students to apply to and enroll in college. In this paper, we use a regression discontinuity design to identify the causal effect of students receiving information about their own college-readiness after taking the ACT on their subsequent college enrollment decisions. Using data from Colorado, where all high school students are required to take the ACT, we find that students who receive information that they are college-ready are no more likely to attend college than those that do not receive this information. We discuss possible reasons for these findings.

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The Impact of Chicago's Small High School Initiative

Lisa Barrow, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Amy Claessens
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This project examines the effects of the introduction of new small high schools on student performance in the Chicago Public School (CPS) district. Specifically, we investigate whether students attending small high schools have better graduation/enrollment rates and achievement than similar students who attend regular CPS high schools. We show that students who choose to attend a small school are more disadvantaged on average, including having prior test scores that are about 0.2 standard deviations lower than their elementary school classmates. To address the selection problem, we use an instrumental variables strategy and compare students who live in the same neighborhoods but differ in their residential proximity to a small school. In this approach, one student is more likely to sign up for a small school than another statistically identical student because the small school is located closer to the student's house and therefore the "cost" of attending the school is lower. The distance-to-small-school variable has strong predictive power to identify who attends a small school. We find that small schools students are substantially more likely to persist in school and eventually graduate. Nonetheless, there is no positive impact on student achievement as measured by test scores.

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Teachers' Pay for Performance in the Long-Run: Effects on Students' Educational and Labor Market Outcomes in Adulthood

Victor Lavy
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
The long term effect of teachers' pay for performance is of particular interest, as critics of these schemes claim that they encourage teaching to the test or orchestrated cheating by teachers and schools. In this paper, I address these concerns by examining the effect of teachers' pay for performance on long term human capital outcomes, in particular attainment and quality of higher education, and labor market outcomes at adulthood, in particular employment and earnings. I base this study on an experiment conducted a decade and a half ago in Israel and present evidence that the pay for performance scheme increased a wide range of long run human capital measures. Treated students are 4.3 percentage points more likely to enroll in a university and to complete an additional 0.17 years of university schooling, a 60 percent increase relative to the control group mean. These gains are mediated by overall improvements in the high school matriculation outcomes due to the teachers' intervention at 12th grade. The pay scheme led also to a significant 7 percent increase in annual earnings, to a 2 percent reduction in claims for unemployment benefits, and a 1 percent decline in eligibility for the government disability payment.

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How the Time of Day Affects Productivity: Evidence from School Schedules

Nolan Pope
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Increasing the efficiency of the school system is a primary focus of policy makers. I analyze how the time of day affects students' productivity and if efficiency gains can be obtained by rearranging the order of tasks performed throughout the school day. Using a panel data set of nearly two million 6th through 11th grade students in Los Angeles county, I perform within teacher, class type, and student estimation of the time-of-day effect on students' learning as measured by GPA and state test scores. I find that given a school start time students' learn more in the morning than later in the school day. Having a morning instead of afternoon math or English class increases a student's GPA by 0.072 (0.006) and 0.032 (0.006) respectively. A morning math class increases state test scores by an amount equivalent to increasing teacher quality by one-fourth standard deviation or half of the gender gap. Rearranging school schedules can lead to increased academic performance.

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Peer Turnover and Student Achievement: Implications for Classroom Assignment Policy

Marc Luppino
Economics of Education Review, June 2015, Pages 98-111

Abstract:
This paper examines the effect of peer turnover on academic achievement using random variation in classroom composition induced by Tennessee's Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) experiment. In central city school districts, I find that first graders benefit from greater peer turnover. Conversely, turnover is found to have a negative effect on young students in schools outside of central city districts. These results are consistent with a model of classroom learning in which the educational returns to having a stronger social network depend on neighborhood context. They suggest that a richer understanding of peer continuity effects is essential for designing optimal classroom assignment policies.

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The Paradox of Success at a No-Excuses School

Joanne Golann
Sociology of Education, April 2015, Pages 103-119

Abstract:
No recent reform has had so profound an effect as no-excuses schools in increasing the achievement of low-income black and Hispanic students. In the past decade, no-excuses schools - whose practices include extended instructional time, data-driven instruction, ongoing professional development, and a highly structured disciplinary system - have emerged as one of the most influential urban school-reform models. Yet almost no research has been conducted on the everyday experiences of students and teachers inside these schools. Drawing from 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork inside one no-excuses school and interviews with 92 school administrators, teachers, and students, I argue that even in a school promoting social mobility, teachers still reinforce class-based skills and behaviors. Because of these schools' emphasis on order as a prerequisite to raising test scores, teachers stress behaviors that undermine success for middle-class children. As a consequence, these schools develop worker-learners - children who monitor themselves, hold back their opinions, and defer to authority - rather than lifelong learners. I discuss the implications of these findings for market-based educational reform, inequality, and research on noncognitive skills.

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Productivity Returns to Experience in the Teacher Labor Market: Methodological Challenges and New Evidence on Long-Term Career Improvement

John Papay & Matthew Kraft
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present new evidence on the relationship between teacher productivity and job experience. Econometric challenges require identifying assumptions to model the within-teacher returns to experience with teacher fixed effects. We describe the identifying assumptions used in past models and in a new approach that we propose, and we demonstrate how violations of these assumptions can lead to substantial bias. Consistent with past research, we find that teachers experience rapid productivity improvement early in their careers. However, we also find evidence of returns to experience later in the career, indicating that teachers continue to build human capital beyond these first years.

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Risky business: An analysis of teacher risk preferences

Daniel Bowen et al.
Education Economics, July/August 2015, Pages 470-480

Abstract:
A range of proposals aim to reform teacher compensation, recruitment, and retention. Teachers have generally not embraced these policies. One potential explanation for their objections is that teachers are relatively risk averse. We examine this hypothesis using a risk-elicitation task common to experimental economics. By comparing preferences of new teachers with those entering other professions, we find that individuals choosing to teach are significantly more risk averse. This suggests that the teaching profession may attract individuals who are less amenable to certain reforms. Policy-makers should take into account teacher risk characteristics when considering reforms that may clash with preferences.

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Does early schooling narrow outcome gaps for advantaged and disadvantaged children?

Agne Suziedelyte & Anna Zhu
Economics of Education Review, April 2015, Pages 76-88

Abstract:
This paper explores how starting school at a younger age affects the developmental score gaps between relatively advantaged and disadvantaged children. While previous findings suggest that delaying school entry may improve school readiness, less is known about whether it has differential effects for advantaged and disadvantaged children. For disadvantaged children, starting school early may be a better alternative to staying at home for longer as school provides a more stable and educational environment than the family home, overcompensating for the penalties of starting school early. This may be less applicable to relatively advantaged children who generally have greater access to resources in the home and who are more likely to utilise formal pre-school services. We use the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children to investigate if there is support for this hypothesis. The endogeneity of school starting age is addressed using the regression discontinuity design. We find that an early school start generally improves children's cognitive skills, which is even more pronounced for disadvantaged children. In contrast, an early school start tends to negatively affect children's non-cognitive skills with both advantaged and disadvantaged children affected in similar ways. Thus, our findings suggest that an earlier school entry may narrow the gaps in cognitive skills, whereas the gaps in non-cognitive skills are not affected by the school starting age.

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The distributional effects of the multi-track year-round calendar: A quantile regression approach

Steven McMullen, Kathryn Rouse & Justin Haan
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Year-round school (YRS) calendars that redistribute the 180 school days more evenly across the calendar year are growing in popularity. Learning loss theory predicts student response to year-round calendars could vary substantially across achievement levels. Existing research on the heterogeneous effects of YRS focuses on estimating mean treatment effects by subgroup. We instead use a quantile regression approach with school and grade-by-year fixed effects to estimate the distributional impact of year-round calendars using a natural experiment setting in Wake County, NC. Contrary to the prior literature, we find evidence of a positive impact of year-round calendars for the lowest-performing students. However, even for these students, the estimated academic impact is small.

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Effects of professorial tenure on undergraduate ratings of teaching performance

Dorothy Cheng
Education Economics, May/June 2015, Pages 338-357

Abstract:
This study estimates the effect of professorial tenure on undergraduate ratings of learning, instructor quality, and course quality at the University of California, San Diego from Summer 2004 to Spring 2012. During this eight-year period, 120 assistant professors received tenure and 83 associate professors attained full rank. A differences-in-differences model controlling for teaching experience, study hours, response rate, and unobserved heterogeneity among terms, courses, and professors suggests that for a given professor, tenure does not have a significant impact on student ratings of teaching performance, at least in the immediate years after advancement. The results are similar for the promotion from associate to full professor.

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College-Going Benefits of High School Sports Participation: Race and Gender Differences Over Three Decades

Dara Shifrer et al.
Youth & Society, May 2015, Pages 295-318

Abstract:
The long touted athlete advantage in college enrollment has been tempered by assertions that this advantage is actually due to characteristics that precede participation. Moreover, it remains unclear whether the benefits of sports extend into contemporary times and apply equally to female and racial minority athletes. This study uses three nationally representative longitudinal data sets of students who were 10th graders in 1980, 1990, and 2002. We find that high school sports participation was positively associated with college enrollment, even with the utilization of propensity score modeling, for White boys and girls, Black boys, and Latino boys and girls during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. The most important gender and race differences include Black female athletes' college-going disadvantage in the 1980s and 1990s, and girls' persistently lower rates of high school sports participation than boys'.

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Spillovers from Universities: Evidence from the Land-Grant Program

Shimeng Liu
Journal of Urban Economics, May 2015, Pages 25-41

Abstract:
This paper estimates the short- and long-run effects of universities on geographic clustering of economic activity, labor market composition and local productivity and presents evidence of local spillovers from universities. I treat the designation of land-grant universities in the 1860s as a natural experiment after controlling for the confounding factors with a combination of synthetic control methods and event-study analyses. Three key results are obtained. First, the designation increased local population density by 6 percent within 10 years and 45 percent in 80 years. Second, the designation did not change the relative size of local manufacturing sector. Third, the designation enhanced local manufacturing output per worker by $2136 (1840 dollars; 57 percent) in 80 years while the short-run effects were negligible. This positive effect on the productivity in non-education sectors suggests the existence of local spillovers from universities. Over an 80-year horizon, my results indicate that the increase in manufacturing productivity reflects both the impact of direct spillovers from universities and general agglomeration economies that arise from the increase in population.

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The Currents beneath the "Rising Tide" of School Choice: An Analysis of Student Enrollment Flows in the Chicago Public Schools

Irmak Sirer et al.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Spring 2015, Pages 358-377

Abstract:
Existing research highlights that families face geographic, social, and psychological constraints that may limit the extent to which competition can take hold in school choice programs. In this paper, we address the implications of such findings by creating a network of student flows from 11 cohorts of eighth-grade students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). We applied a custom algorithm to group together schools with similar sending and receiving patterns, and calculated the difference in mean achievement between a student's attended and assigned high schools. For all identified school groupings, we found that the students were on average moving to higher achieving schools. We also found that the movement toward higher achieving schools of the top achievement quartile of students was over twice as large as that of the bottom quartile, but that the flows of both the highest and lowest achieving student quartiles were toward higher achieving destinations. Our results suggest that student movements in CPS between the years of 2001 to 2005 were consistent with creating market pressure for improvement as well as increasing segregation by achievement. However, further research into how schools responded to those movements is required to make inferences about the level or consequences of competition generated by choice-related reforms during that time.

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Earlier school start times as a risk factor for poor school performance: An examination of public elementary schools in the commonwealth of Kentucky

Peggy Keller et al.
Journal of Educational Psychology, February 2015, Pages 236-245

Abstract:
Adequate sleep is essential for child learning. However, school systems may inadvertently be promoting sleep deprivation through early school start times. The current study examines the potential implications of early school start times for standardized test scores in public elementary schools in Kentucky. Associations between early school start time and poorer school performance were observed primarily for schools serving few students who qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches. Associations were controlled for teacher-student ratio, racial composition, and whether the school was in the Appalachian region. Findings support the growing body of research showing that early school start times may influence student learning but offer some of the first evidence that this influence may occur for elementary school children and depend on school characteristics.

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Grade-Specific Experience, Grade Reassignments, and Teacher Turnover

Ben Ost & Jeffrey Schiman
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study documents that teacher turnover is strongly related to the pattern of grades that a teacher is asked to teach. Elementary teachers in North Carolina that teach the same grade in their first two years are approximately 20% more likely to stay than teachers who teach two different grades in their first two years of teaching. More generally, within total experience categories, teachers with the fewest years of grade-specific experience have the highest probability of turnover. We argue that this pattern is driven both by the disruption caused by grade reassignment and by the fact that teachers with stable grade assignments have effectively smaller workloads since they can reuse lesson plans and, more generally, apply grade-specific skills.

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Capitalization of Charter Schools into Residential Property Values

Scott Imberman, Michael Naretta & Margaret O'Rourke
NBER Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
While prior research has found clear impacts of schools and school quality on property values, little is known about whether charter schools have similar effects. Using sale price data for residential properties in Los Angeles County from 2008 to 2011 we estimate the neighborhood level impact of charter schools on housing prices. Using an identification strategy that relies on census block fixed-effects and variation in charter penetration over time, we find little evidence that the availability of charter schools affect housing prices on average. However, we do find that when restricting to charter schools located in the same school district as the household, housing prices outside Los Angeles Unified School District fall in response to an increase in nearby charter penetration.

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State Merit-Based Financial Aid Programs and College Attainment

David Sjoquist & John Winters
Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the effects of state merit-based student aid programs on college attendance and degree completion. Our primary analysis uses microdata from the 2000 United States Census and 2001-2010 American Community Survey to estimate the effects of exposure to merit programs on educational outcomes for 25 states that adopted such programs by 2004. We also utilize administrative data for the University System of Georgia to look more in depth at the effects of exposure to the HOPE Scholarship on degree completion. We find strong consistent evidence that exposure to state merit aid programs have no meaningfully positive effect on college completion.

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School Quality and Educational Attainment: Japanese American Internment as a Natural Experiment

Martin Saavedra
Explorations in Economic History, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 1942, the United States incarcerated all Japanese Americans on the West Coast, including children, in internment camps. Using non-West Coast Japanese Americans and non-Japanese Asians as control groups, I estimate the effect of attending a War Relocation Authority school on educational attainment. Non-linear difference-in-differences estimates suggest that attending school within the internment camps decreased the probability of receiving a post-collegiate education by approximately 4 to 5 percentage points and decreased the probability of receiving a college degree by between 2 and 7 percentage points. I find some evidence that attending a WRA school may have decreased the returns to education as well. By using un-incarcerated birth cohorts and races, placebo tests find no evidence that the identifying assumptions are violated.

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Salaries in Space: The Spatial Dimensions of Teacher Compensation

Jacob Fowles
Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article, drawing on a rich panel of administrative data comprising all public school teachers employed in Kentucky from 1997 to 2005, utilizes methods developed in spatial econometrics to test for spatial interdependence in the teacher remuneration policies utilized by public school districts. The results of the best fitting model suggest that a 1 percentage point increase in the salary generosity of a particular district's distance-weighted neighbors yields a 0.57 percentage point increase in the generosity of salaries within that district, even after controlling for relevant district characteristics and including time and district fixed effects. The results are discussed within the context of state education finance reforms, the school choice movement as well as the continued national focus on improving teacher quality as a primary mechanism to increase student achievement.

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Blissful Ignorance? A Natural Experiment on the Effect of Feedback on Students' Performance

Oriana Bandiera, Valentino Larcinese & Imran Rasul
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide evidence on whether providing university students with feedback on their past exam performance affects their future exam performance. Our identification strategy exploits a natural experiment in a leading UK university where different departments have historically different rules on the provision of feedback to their students. We find the provision of feedback has a positive effect on students' subsequent test scores: the mean impact corresponds to 13% of a standard deviation in test scores. The impact of feedback is stronger for more able students and for students who have less information to start with about the academic environment, while no subset of individuals is found to be discouraged by feedback. Our findings suggest that students have imperfect information on how their effort translates into test scores and that the provision of feedback might be a cost-effective means to increase students' exam performance.

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Ill Communication: Technology, Distraction & Student Performance

Louis-Philippe Beland & Richard Murphy
Louisiana State University Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
This paper investigates the impact of removing mobile phones from classrooms. Combining administrative data on student performance with a unique survey of school mobile phone policies in four cities in England, we investigate the impact of introducing a ban on mobile phones on student performance, exploiting variations in schools' autonomous decisions to ban mobile phones. Our results indicate that there is an increase in student performance after a school bans the use of mobile phones and that these gains are driven by the lowest-achieving students. This suggests that restricting mobile phone use can be a low-cost policy to reduce educational inequality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sick days

The Relationship Between Workplace Stressors and Mortality and Health Costs in the United States

Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer & Stefanos Zenios
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Even though epidemiological evidence links specific workplace stressors to health outcomes, the aggregate contribution of these factors to overall mortality and health spending in the United States is not known. In this paper, we build a model to estimate the excess mortality and incremental health expenditures associated with exposure to the following 10 workplace stressors: unemployment, lack of health insurance, exposure to shift work, long working hours, job insecurity, work–family conflict, low job control, high job demands, low social support at work, and low organizational justice. Our model uses input parameters obtained from publicly accessible data sources. We estimated health spending from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and joint probabilities of workplace exposures from the General Social Survey, and we conducted a meta-analysis of the epidemiological literature to estimate the relative risks of poor health outcomes associated with exposure to these stressors. The model was designed to overcome limitations with using inputs from multiple data sources. Specifically, the model separately derives optimistic and conservative estimates of the effect of multiple workplace exposures on health, and uses optimization to calculate upper and lower bounds around each estimate, which accounts for the correlation between exposures. We find that more than 120,000 deaths per year and approximately 5%–8% of annual healthcare costs are associated with and may be attributable to how U.S. companies manage their work forces. Our results suggest that more attention should be paid to management practices as important contributors to health outcomes and costs in the United States.

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The Content and Effect of Politicized Health Controversies

Erika Franklin Fowler & Sarah Gollust
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2015, Pages 155-171

Abstract:
Health issues are increasingly becoming politicized, but little is known about how politicization takes shape in the news and its effect on the public. We analyze the evolution of politicization in news coverage of two health controversies: the uproar over the 2009 mammography screening guidelines and the 2006–2007 debate over mandating the HPV vaccine as a requirement for middle school–aged girls. We then examine the public response to politicization in the HPV case, using original data from a survey-embedded experiment that was linked with news coverage in all fifty states. We find that real-world politicization is associated with decreases in support for HPV vaccine requirements, state immunization programs, and confidence in doctors and in government. In addition, among those less likely to have encountered real-world politicization, we find marginal evidence that exposure to political conflict decreases support for state immunization programs and clear evidence that politicization reduces confidence in doctors. We discuss the implications of these findings and suggest future avenues of research.

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Success is Something to Sneeze at: Influenza Mortality in Regions that Send Teams to the Super Bowl

Charles Stoecker, Nicholas Sanders & Alan Barreca
Tulane University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Using county-level Vital Statistics of the United States data from 1974-2009, we employ a differences-in-differences framework comparing influenza mortality rates in Super Bowl-participating counties to non-participants. Having a local team in the Super Bowl causes an 18% increase in influenza deaths for the population over age 65, with evidence suggesting one mechanism is increased local socialization. Effects are most pronounced in years when the dominant influenza strain is more virulent, or when the Super Bowl occurs closer to the peak of influenza season. Mitigating influenza transmission at gatherings related to large spectator events could have substantial returns for public health.

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Disentangling Race and Social Context in Understanding Disparities in Chronic Conditions among Men

Roland Thorpe et al.
Journal of Urban Health, February 2015, Pages 83-92

Abstract:
Disparities in men’s health research may inaccurately attribute differences in chronic conditions to race rather than the different health risk exposures in which men live. This study sought to determine whether living in the same social environment attenuates race disparities in chronic conditions among men. This study compared survey data collected in 2003 from black and white men with similar incomes living in a racially integrated neighborhood of Baltimore to data from the 2003 National Health Interview Survey. Multivariable logistic regression models estimated to determine whether race disparities in chronic conditions were attenuated among men living in the same social environment. In the national sample, black men exhibited greater odds of having hypertension (odds ratio [OR] = 1.58, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.34, 1.86) and diabetes (OR = 1.62, 95 % CI 1.27–2.08) than white men. In the sample of men living in the same social context, black and white respondents had similar odds of having hypertension (OR = 1.05, 95 % CI 0.70, 1.59) and diabetes (OR = 1.12, 95 % CI 0.57–2.22). There are no race disparities in chronic conditions among low-income, urban men living in the same social environment. Policies and interventions aiming to reduce disparities in chronic conditions should focus on modifying social aspects of the environment.

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Successful Scientific Replication and Extension of Levitt (2008): Child Seats are Still No Safer Than Seat Belts

Lauren Jones & Nicolas Ziebarth
Journal of Applied Econometrics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using US fatality data from 1975 to 2003, Levitt (Evidence that seat belts are as effective as child safety seats in preventing death for children aged two and up, Review of Economics and Statistics 2008; 90(1): 158–163) shows that child safety seats do not significantly reduce fatalities for children aged 2–6 years as compared to standard seat belts. Although we were unable to gain access to the original programs and dataset used, we were able to replicate Levitt's (2008) findings almost exactly. We extend Levitt (2008) by showing that the findings also hold for the years 2004–2011 despite changing driver characteristics and restraint use patterns. We fail to find evidence that SUVs provide additional safety for children.

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Education and Health: The Role of Cognitive Ability

Govert Bijwaard, Hans van Kippersluis & Justus Veenman
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We aim to disentangle the relative impact of (i) cognitive ability, and (ii) education on health and mortality using a structural equation model suggested by Conti et al. (2010). We extend their model by allowing for a duration dependent variable (mortality), and an ordinal educational variable. Data come from a Dutch cohort born between 1937 and 1941, including detailed measures of cognitive ability and family background in the final grade of primary school. The data are linked to the mortality register 1995-2011, such that we observe mortality between ages 55 and 75. The results suggest that at least half of the unconditional survival differences between educational groups are due to a ‘selection effect’, primarily on the basis of cognitive ability. Conditional survival differences across those having finished just primary school and those entering secondary education are still substantial, and amount to a 4 years gain in life expectancy, on average.

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Neighborhood Blight, Stress, and Health: A Walking Trial of Urban Greening and Ambulatory Heart Rate

Eugenia South et al.
American Journal of Public Health, forthcoming

Abstract:
We measured dynamic stress responses using ambulatory heart rate monitoring as participants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania walked past vacant lots before and after a greening remediation treatment of randomly selected lots. Being in view of a greened vacant lot decreased heart rate significantly more than did being in view of a nongreened vacant lot or not in view of any vacant lot. Remediating neighborhood blight may reduce stress and improve health.

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Does higher income inequality adversely influence infant mortality rates? Reconciling descriptive patterns and recent research findings

Arjumand Siddiqi, Marcella Jones & Paul Campbell Erwin
Social Science & Medicine, April 2015, Pages 82–88

Abstract:
As the struggle continues to explain the relatively high rates of infant mortality (IMR) exhibited in the United States, a renewed emphasis is being placed on the role of possible 'contextual' determinants. Cross-sectional and short time-series studies have found that higher income inequality is associated with higher IMR at the state level. Yet, descriptively, the longer-term trends in income inequality and in IMR seem to call such results into question. To assess whether, over the period 1990–2007, state-level income inequality is associated with state-level IMR; to examine whether the overall effect of income inequality on IMR over this period varies by state; to test whether the association between income inequality and IMR varies across this time period. IMR data - number of deaths per 1000 live births in a given state and year - were obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Wonder database. Income inequality was measured using the Gini coefficient, which varies from zero (complete equality) to 100 (complete inequality). Covariates included state-level poverty rate, median income, and proportion of high school graduates. Fixed and random effects regressions were conducted to test hypotheses. Fixed effects models suggested that, overall, during the period 1990–2007, income inequality was inversely associated with IMR (β = −0.07, SE (0.01)). Random effects models suggested that when the relationship was allowed to vary at the state-level, it remained inverse (β = −0.05, SE (0.01)). However, an interaction between income inequality and time suggested that, as time increased, the effect of income inequality had an increasingly positive association with total IMR (β = 0.009, SE (0.002)). The influence of state income inequality on IMR is dependent on time, which may proxy for time-dependent aspects of societal context.

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The impact of low birth weight and maternal age on adulthood offending

Jamie Vaske et al.
Journal of Criminal Justice, January–February 2015, Pages 49–56

Purpose: The current study examines the relationship between low birth weight and adult offending, and whether maternal age at childbirth moderates this relationship.

Methods: Using longitudinal data from mothers and offspring from the Providence sample of the Collaborative Perinatal Project, multivariate logistic regression models were used to study the relationship between low birth weight and adulthood arrest by maternal age.

Results: Offspring born at low birth weight were at an increased risk of adult arrest, but only if they were born to adolescent (and not adult) mothers. These results remained while controlling for preterm delivery, number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy, mothers’ marital status, socioeconomic status, African American race, gender, and court contact during adolescence.

Conclusions: Results highlight the importance of considering the moderating role of maternal age at childbirth, and underscore the notion that the adverse effect of a child born at low birth weight — with respect to crime — can be exacerbated if the child is born to a young mother but lessened or even ameliorated if born to an older mother. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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The impact of minimum age and child access prevention laws on firearm-related youth suicides and unintentional deaths

Mark Gius
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The aim of the present study is to quantify the association between child access prevention (CAP) and minimum age laws and state-level youth firearm-related suicide and unintentional death rates. This paper differs from prior research in several ways. First, this is one of the few studies to focus exclusively on youth death rates. Second, this study looks at those laws with the most impact on youth suicides and unintentional deaths. Finally, this study uses one of the largest and most recent data sets of any study on this topic. In order to estimate the determinants of youth firearm deaths, a fixed effects regression model, controlling for both state-level and year-specific effects, is used. Results indicate that state-level minimum age laws have no significant effects on either youth suicides or unintentional deaths and that state-level CAP laws have no significant effects on unintentional deaths. States with CAP laws, however, have lower rates of youth suicide, and, after the enactment of the Federal minimum age requirement, both youth suicide and unintentional death rates fell. Given the mixed results regarding state-level juvenile firearm laws, national restrictions on juvenile handgun possession may be more effective in reducing both youth suicides and unintentional deaths than state-level regulations.

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Web search activity data accurately predict population chronic disease risk in the USA

Thin Nguyen et al.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: The WHO framework for non-communicable disease (NCD) describes risks and outcomes comprising the majority of the global burden of disease. These factors are complex and interact at biological, behavioural, environmental and policy levels presenting challenges for population monitoring and intervention evaluation. This paper explores the utility of machine learning methods applied to population-level web search activity behaviour as a proxy for chronic disease risk factors.

Methods: Web activity output for each element of the WHO's Causes of NCD framework was used as a basis for identifying relevant web search activity from 2004 to 2013 for the USA. Multiple linear regression models with regularisation were used to generate predictive algorithms, mapping web search activity to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measured risk factor/disease prevalence. Predictions for subsequent target years not included in the model derivation were tested against CDC data from population surveys using Pearson correlation and Spearman's r.

Results: For 2011 and 2012, predicted prevalence was very strongly correlated with measured risk data ranging from fruits and vegetables consumed (r=0.81; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.89) to alcohol consumption (r=0.96; 95% CI 0.93 to 0.98). Mean difference between predicted and measured differences by State ranged from 0.03 to 2.16. Spearman's r for state-wise predicted versus measured prevalence varied from 0.82 to 0.93.

Conclusions: The high predictive validity of web search activity for NCD risk has potential to provide real-time information on population risk during policy implementation and other population-level NCD prevention efforts.

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Dangerous Double Dosing: How Naive Beliefs Can Contribute to Unintentional Overdose with Over-the-Counter Drugs

Jesse Catlin, Cornelia (Connie) Pechmann & Eric Brass
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a series of studies, consumers reviewed over-the-counter (OTC) drug packages and evaluated these OTC drugs for concurrent use to investigate whether they utilized the active ingredients and recognized the risks of double dosing when using two drugs contained the same active ingredient. Both novice and expert consumers used active ingredients to assess drug similarity, indicating the information was accessible. However, only medically trained experts used this information to assess the risks of taking two drugs concurrently, indicating they understood its diagnosticity or relevancy. Novices' failure to view double dosing as risky suggested they might hold a naive belief that OTC drugs are relatively risk-free, and so interventions to increase active ingredient diagnosticity versus accessibility were tested. One intervention considered by OTC drug manufacturers makes active ingredients more accessible on packages using icons. However, this approach alone was not found to be effective, while interventions enhancing the diagnosticity of ingredients through public service messages or package warnings yielded promising results. Thus, interventions may benefit from going beyond accessibility to also highlight active ingredient diagnosticity.

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Allergy in Children in Hand Versus Machine Dishwashing

Bill Hesselmar, Anna Hicke-Roberts & Göran Wennergren
Pediatrics, March 2015, Pages e590-e597

Backrgound and objective: The hygiene hypothesis stipulates that microbial exposure during early life induces immunologic tolerance via immune stimulation, and hence reduces the risk of allergy development. Several common lifestyle factors and household practices, such as dishwashing methods, may increase microbial exposure. The aim of this study was to investigate if such lifestyle factors are associated with allergy prevalence.

Methods: Questionnaire-based study of 1029 children aged 7 to 8 years from Kiruna, in the north of Sweden, and Mölndal, in the Gothenburg area on the southwest coast of Sweden. Questions on asthma, eczema, and rhinoconjunctivitis were taken from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire.

Results: Hand dishwashing was associated with a reduced risk of allergic disease development (multivariate analysis, odds ratio 0.57; 95% confidence interval: 0.37–0.85). The risk was further reduced in a dose-response pattern if the children were also served fermented food and if the family bought food directly from farms.

Conclusions: In families who use hand dishwashing, allergic diseases in children are less common than in children from families who use machine dishwashing. We speculate that a less-efficient dishwashing method may induce tolerance via increased microbial exposure.

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Health Selection Theory: An Explanation for the Paradox between Perceived Male Well-Being and Mortality

Susan Brown, Susan Shirachi & Danielle Zandbergen
Quarterly Review of Biology, March 2015, Pages 3-21

Abstract:
Paradoxically, men report better health and quality of life than women, but men experience higher mortality rates than women at most ages. One conclusion from these findings is that men have been selected to disregard signs of ill health, or even to deceive themselves about their health, to their detriment because presenting themselves as healthy has fitness benefits. We hypothesize that men have been sexually selected to present themselves to women as healthy but that the cost of not attending to their minor health problems results in earlier mortality than women. We present a review of the human and primate literature that supports health selection theory, the hypothesis that females have preferentially selected males who present themselves as healthy.

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Accelerometer-Monitored Sedentary Behavior and Observed Physical Function Loss

Pamela Semanik et al.
American Journal of Public Health, March 2015, Pages 560-566

Objectives: We examined whether objectively measured sedentary behavior is related to subsequent functional loss among community-dwelling adults with or at high risk for knee osteoarthritis.

Methods: We analyzed longitudinal data (2008–2012) from 1659 Osteoarthritis Initiative participants aged 49 to 83 years in 4 cities. Baseline sedentary time was assessed by accelerometer monitoring. Functional loss (gait speed and chair stand testing) was regressed on baseline sedentary time and covariates (baseline function; socioeconomics [age, gender, race/ethnicity, income, education], health factors [obesity, depression, comorbidities, knee symptoms, knee osteoarthritis severity, prior knee injury, other lower extremity pain, smoking], and moderate-to-vigorous activity).

Results: This cohort spent almost two thirds of their waking hours (average = 9.8 h) in sedentary behaviors. Sedentary time was significantly positively associated with subsequent functional loss in both gait speed (−1.66 ft/min decrease per 10% increment sedentary percentage waking hours) and chair stand rate (−0.75 repetitions/min decrease), controlling for covariates.

Conclusions: Being less sedentary was related to less future decline in function, independent of time spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity. Both limiting sedentary activities and promoting physical activity in adults with knee osteoarthritis may be important in maintaining function.

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Antimicrobial Resistance: The Major Contribution of Poor Governance and Corruption to This Growing Problem

Peter Collignon et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2015

Objectives: To determine how important governmental, social, and economic factors are in driving antibiotic resistance compared to the factors usually considered the main driving factors—antibiotic usage and levels of economic development.

Design: A retrospective multivariate analysis of the variation of antibiotic resistance in Europe in terms of human antibiotic usage, private health care expenditure, tertiary education, the level of economic advancement (per capita GDP), and quality of governance (corruption). The model was estimated using a panel data set involving 7 common human bloodstream isolates and covering 28 European countries for the period 1998–2010.

Results: Only 28% of the total variation in antibiotic resistance among countries is attributable to variation in antibiotic usage. If time effects are included the explanatory power increases to 33%. However when the control of corruption indicator is included as an additional variable, 63% of the total variation in antibiotic resistance is now explained by the regression. The complete multivariate regression only accomplishes an additional 7% in terms of goodness of fit, indicating that corruption is the main socioeconomic factor that explains antibiotic resistance. The income level of a country appeared to have no effect on resistance rates in the multivariate analysis. The estimated impact of corruption was statistically significant (p< 0.01). The coefficient indicates that an improvement of one unit in the corruption indicator is associated with a reduction in antibiotic resistance by approximately 0.7 units. The estimated coefficient of private health expenditure showed that one unit reduction is associated with a 0.2 unit decrease in antibiotic resistance.

Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis that poor governance and corruption contributes to levels of antibiotic resistance and correlate better than antibiotic usage volumes with resistance rates. We conclude that addressing corruption and improving governance will lead to a reduction in antibiotic resistance.

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Geospatial Resolution of Human and Bacterial Diversity with City-Scale Metagenomics

Ebrahim Afshinnekoo et al.
Cell Systems, forthcoming

Abstract:
The panoply of microorganisms and other species present in our environment influence human health and disease, especially in cities, but have not been profiled with metagenomics at a city-wide scale. We sequenced DNA from surfaces across the entire New York City (NYC) subway system, the Gowanus Canal, and public parks. Nearly half of the DNA (48%) does not match any known organism; identified organisms spanned 1,688 bacterial, viral, archaeal, and eukaryotic taxa, which were enriched for harmless genera associated with skin (e.g.,Acinetobacter). Predicted ancestry of human DNA left on subway surfaces can recapitulate U.S. Census demographic data, and bacterial signatures can reveal a station’s history, such as marine-associated bacteria in a hurricane-flooded station. Some evidence of pathogens was found (Bacillus anthracis), but a lack of reported cases in NYC suggests that the pathogens represent a normal, urban microbiome. This baseline metagenomic map of NYC could help long-term disease surveillance, bioterrorism threat mitigation, and health management in the built environment of cities.

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Effect of oral melatonin and wearing earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep in healthy subjects in a simulated intensive care unit environment: Which might be a more promising strategy for ICU sleep deprivation?

Hua-Wei Huang et al.
Critical Care, March 2015

Introduction: Sleep deprivation is common in critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Noise and light in the ICU and the reduction in plasma melatonin play the essential roles. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of simulated ICU noise and light on nocturnal sleep quality, and compare the effectiveness of melatonin and earplugs and eye masks on sleep quality in these conditions in healthy subjects.

Methods: This study was conducted in two parts. In part one, 40 healthy subjects slept under baseline night and simulated ICU noise and light (NL) by a cross-over design. In part two, 40 subjects were randomly assigned to four groups: NL, NL plus placebo (NLP), NL plus use of earplugs and eye masks (NLEE) and NL plus melatonin (NLM). 1 mg of oral melatonin or placebo was administered at 21:00 on four consecutive days in NLM and NLP. Earplugs and eye masks were made available in NLEE. The objective sleep quality was measured by polysomnography. Serum was analyzed for melatonin levels. Subjects rated their perceived sleep quality and anxiety levels.

Results: Subjects had shorter total sleep time (TST) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, longer sleep onset latency, more light sleep and awakening, poorer subjective sleep quality, higher anxiety level and lower serum melatonin level in NL night (P <0.05). NLEE had less awakenings and shorter sleep onset latency (P <0.05). NLM had longer TST and REM and shorter sleep onset latency (P <0.05). Compared with NLEE, NLM had fewer awakenings (P = 0.004). Both NLM and NLEE improved perceived sleep quality and anxiety level (P = 0.000), and NLM showed better than NLEE in perceived sleep quality (P = 0.01). Compared to baseline night, the serum melatonin levels were lower in NL night at every time point, and the average maximal serum melatonin concentration in NLM group was significantly greater than other groups (P <0.001).

Conclusions: Compared with earplugs and eye masks, melatonin improves sleep quality and serum melatonin levels better in healthy subjects exposed to simulated ICU noise and light.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 30, 2015

Let the record show

Courting the President: How Circuit Court Judges Alter Their Behavior for Promotion to the Supreme Court

Ryan Black & Ryan Owens
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine whether circuit court judges sacrifice policy purity for career goals. We compare the behavior of contender judges-those most likely to be elevated to the Supreme Court-during vacancy periods with their behavior outside vacancy periods. We also examine the behavior of noncontender judges during those same times. The data show that during vacancy periods, contender judges are more likely to vote consistently with the president's preferences, to rule in favor of the United States, and to write dissenting opinions. Noncontender judges fail to evidence such behavior. These findings provide empirical support for the argument that federal judges adapt their behavior to specific audiences, and provide new avenues for research into judges' goals and the role of audiences in judicial decision making.

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Media Influence on Courts: Evidence from Civil Case Adjudication

Claire Lim
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper quantitatively assesses media influence on civil case adjudication in U.S. state courts. It shows that media influence substantially mitigates disparity in damage awards across political orientation of districts. That is, in areas with frequent newspaper coverage of courts, there is little difference in damage awards between conservative and liberal districts. In contrast, in areas with little newspaper coverage, liberal districts tend to grant substantially larger damage awards than do conservative ones. This result suggests that the presence of active media coverage may enhance consistency in the civil justice system.

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Differential Treatment of Female Defendants: Does Criminal History Moderate the Effect of Gender on Sentence Length in Federal Narcotics Cases?

Rob Tillyer, Richard Hartley & Jeffrey Ward
Criminal Justice and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research indicates that men and women are treated differently at the sentencing phase, but the specifics of this relationship have not been fully explicated. The current study draws on the chivalry and evil woman hypotheses to examine how a defendant's gender may interact with criminal history to affect sentence length in federal narcotics cases. Results indicate that gender's effect on sentence length is nuanced, complex, and dependent on a defendant's criminal history score; thus, conditional support is found for both the chivalry and evil woman hypotheses. Specifically, female defendants with lower criminal history scores received more lenient treatment (relative to male defendants) whereas those with higher criminal history scores received more severe sentences. These findings suggest that further exploration of interactions between extralegal and legal factors is necessary to uncover the complex ways in which gender influences court outcomes.

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Precinct or Prejudice? Understanding Racial Disparities in New York City's Stop-and-Frisk Policy

Sharad Goel, Justin Rao & Ravi Shroff
Stanford Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Recent studies have examined racial disparities in stop-and-frisk, a widely employed but controversial policing tactic. The statistical evidence, though, has been limited and contradictory. We investigate by analyzing three million stops in New York City over five years, focusing on cases where officers suspected the stopped individual of criminal possession of a weapon (CPW). For each CPW stop, we estimate the ex-ante probability that the detained suspect would have a weapon. We find that in 44% of cases, the likelihood of finding a weapon was less than 1%, raising concerns that the legal requirement of "reasonable suspicion" was often not met. We further find that blacks and Hispanics were disproportionately stopped in these low hit rate contexts, a phenomenon largely attributable to lower thresholds for stopping individuals in high-crime, predominately minority areas, particularly public housing. Even after adjusting for location effects, however, we find that stopped blacks and Hispanics were still less likely than similarly situated whites to possess weapons, indicative of racial bias in stop decisions. We demonstrate that by conducting only the 6% ex-ante highest hit rate stops, one can both recover the majority of weapons and mitigate racial disparities. Finally, we develop stop heuristics that can be implemented as a simple scoring rule, and have comparable accuracy to our full statistical models.

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The Death Penalty: Should the Judge or the Jury Decide Who Dies?

Valerie Hans et al.
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2015, Pages 70-99

Abstract:
This article addresses the effect of judge versus jury decision making through analysis of a database of all capital sentencing phase hearing trials in the State of Delaware from 1977-2007. Over the three decades of the study, Delaware shifted responsibility for death penalty sentencing from the jury to the judge. Currently, Delaware is one of the handful of states that gives the judge the final decision-making authority in capital trials. Controlling for a number of legally relevant and other predictor variables, we find that the shift to judge sentencing significantly increased the number of death sentences. Statutory aggravating factors, stranger homicides, and the victim's gender also increased the likelihood of a death sentence, as did the county of the homicide. We reflect on the implications of these results for debates about the constitutionality of judge sentencing in capital cases.

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Classing Sex Offenders: How Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys Differentiate Men Accused of Sexual Assault

Jamie Small
Law & Society Review, March 2015, Pages 109-141

Abstract:
As public awareness of and concern about sexual victimization has increased in recent decades, stigmatization of sex offenders has also increased considerably. Contemporary sex offender policies transform discrete criminal behaviors into lifelong social identities. Although there is much debate about the efficacy and constitutionality of such policies, we know little about how the category of "sex offender" is constituted in the first place. In this article, I reveal how prosecutors and defense attorneys construct sex offenders, not as monsterous or racialized as is commonly thought, but as "lower class" men. This analysis is based on 30 in-depth interviews with prosecutors and defense attorneys in Michigan. These legal actors wield disproportionate power in defining the boundaries of criminal behaviors and individuals. That they associate sexual criminality with lower class men demonstrates yet another way that class-based inequalities are reproduced in the legal field.

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The Role of Age in Jury Selection and Trial Outcomes

Shamena Anwar, Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson
Journal of Law and Economics, November 2014, Pages 1001-1030

Abstract:
This paper uses data from more than 700 felony trials in Florida to examine the role of age in jury selection and trial outcomes. The results imply that prosecutors are more likely to use their peremptory challenges to exclude younger members of the jury pool, while defense attorneys exclude older potential jurors. To examine the causal impact of age, we employ a research design that isolates the effect of the random variation in the age composition of the pool of eligible jurors called for jury duty. Consistent with the jury selection patterns, the empirical evidence implies that older jurors are significantly more likely to convict. Results are robust to controls for county, time, and judge fixed effects. Thus, many cases are decided differently for reasons that are completely independent of the nature of the evidence in the case - that is, there is substantial randomness in the application of criminal justice.

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Lawyers Steer Clients Toward Lucrative Filings: Evidence from Consumer Bankruptcies

Frank McIntyre, Daniel Sullivan & Laura Summers
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often rely on lawyers to make complicated legal decisions, though in many cases the lawyer's financial interests are at odds with those of the client. We consider this general problem in the context of consumers filing for bankruptcy. Lawyers advise debtors on whether to file the cheaper Chapter 7 filing or the more expensive Chapter 13 filing. Bankruptcy courts that allow lawyers to charge more for Chapter 13 bankruptcy see a significantly larger fraction of Chapter 13 filings (elasticity of 0.3). This is true controlling for a host of demographic controls at the zip code level, as well as with state fixed effects and district policy controls. Our estimates suggest that 5.4% of cross-district variation in relative Chapter 13 rates could be eliminated by harmonizing relative fees.

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Judicial Contributions to US National Policy Change since 1945

Matt Grossmann & Brendon Swedlow
Journal of Law and Courts, Spring 2015, Pages 1-35

Abstract:
How often, at what times, and on what issues do courts directly make policy or indirectly influence policy making by other branches of government? We assess the judicial contribution to policy change using 268 policy histories covering 14 issue areas of US domestic policy making from 1945 to 2004. Contrary to the prominent view that courts are relatively inconsequential policy-making institutions, we find that federal courts made or influenced nearly one in four significant federal policy changes. Courts directly made almost as many significant policies as the executive branch and indirectly influenced about as many significant policies in other branches as Congress. We also find that judicial policy making and influence are concentrated in a few time periods and issue areas.

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Preemption in the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts: An Empirical Analysis

Michael Greve et al.
George Mason University Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
This article presents an empirical analysis of the Rehnquist Court's and the Roberts Court's decisions on the federal (statutory) preemption of state law. In addition to raw outcomes for or against preemption, we examine cases by subject-matter, level of judicial consensus, tort versus regulatory preemption, party constellation, and origin in state or federal court. We present additional data and analysis on the role of state amici and of the U.S. Solicitor General in preemption cases, and we examine individual justices' voting records. Among our findings, one stands out: over time and especially under the Roberts Court, lawyerly preemption questions have assumed a distinctly ideological flavor. Preemption cases are much more likely to be contested than they were in earlier decades; and in those cases, once-rare judicial bloc voting has become common.

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Appellate Caseload and the Switch to Comparative Negligence

Jef De Mot, Michael Faure & Jonathan Klick
International Review of Law and Economics, June 2015, Pages 147-156

Abstract:
The switch from contributory to comparative negligence is thought to have been motivated primarily out of a concern for justice. We offer a different perspective. Language in state supreme court decisions suggests that some judges thought the switch would reduce appeal rates. We hypothesize that courts were more likely to make the switch when their appellate caseloads are relatively high. To examine this, we estimate hazard models, showing that states with appellate courts where caseloads grew relatively faster made the switch more quickly, and the effect was more pronounced for the switch to the pure, as opposed to the modified, form of comparative negligence.

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Sentencing Outcomes in U.S. District Courts: Can Offenders' Educational Attainment Guard Against Prevalent Criminal Stereotypes?

Travis Franklin
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numerous studies have examined the influence of offender characteristics on sentencing outcomes, yet little attention has been afforded to offenders' educational attainment. The focal concerns theory provides reason to suspect that greater educational attainment may insulate offenders from the effects of criminal stereotypes linked to extralegal factors, including race/ethnicity, age, and sex. The current analysis employs a sample of 115,674 federal offenders to test this assumption on the in/out and sentence length decisions. Results of the in/out models demonstrate a general pattern where the effects of several extralegal factors (i.e., race, ethnicity, age, sex, and detention) are reduced, and in some cases fully moderated, by offenders' educational attainment. This pattern, however, is not apparent during the sentence length decision.

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Leveling the Odds: The Effect of Quality Legal Representation in Cases of Asymmetrical Capability

Banks Miller, Linda Camp Keith & Jennifer Holmes
Law & Society Review, March 2015, Pages 209-239

Abstract:
How much does attorney quality influence the outcome of cases in which one litigant is significantly more capable than the other? Using a unique dataset of all asylum merits decision from 1990 to 2010, we find that high quality representation evens the odds for asylum applicants and that not being represented by legal counsel is actually better than being represented by a poor lawyer. In this analysis, we draw on a modified party capability theory and create new measures of attorney capability. We find that variation in attorney capability is a primary driver of the disparity in asylum outcomes in U.S. immigration courts and that a likely causal mechanism for this influence is the judge-specific reputation of an attorney.

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The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Politicize the Judiciary

Adam Bonica & Maya Sen
Harvard Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
The American judiciary has increasingly come under attack as polarized and politicized. Using a newly collected dataset that captures the ideological positioning of nearly half a million judges and lawyers who have made campaign contributions, we present empirical evidence showing politicization through various tiers of the judicial hierarchy. We show that the higher the court, the more conservative and more polarized it becomes, in contrast with the broader population of attorneys, who tend to be liberal. These findings suggest that political actors not only appear to rely on ideology in the selection of judges, but that they strategically prioritize higher courts. To our knowledge, our study is the first to provide a direct ideological comparison across tiers of the judiciary and between judges and lawyers, and also the first to document how - and why - American courts are politicized.

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Measuring the Fortress: Explaining Trends in Supreme Court and Circuit Court Dictionary Use

John Calhoun
Yale Law Journal, November 2014, Pages 484-526

Abstract:
Recent research argues that the increasing use of dictionaries in Supreme Court and circuit court opinions may pose risks to the legitimacy, credibility, and accuracy of federal appellate court judgments. However, it is hard to understand why dictionary use has grown so much over the last thirty years, because existing data on Justices' and judges' dictionary use is insufficient. This Note introduces a comprehensive dataset covering dictionary usage in every Supreme Court and circuit court opinion from 1950 to 2010. The dataset allows one to test leading theories about Supreme Court dictionary usage by seeing how those same theories fare in light of circuit court dictionary usage trends. Such comparisons suggest that the Supreme Court's increasing dictionary usage reflects, among other factors, fear of charges of judicial activism, the rising popularity of originalism and textualism, the persuasive power of Justice Scalia, and an increased number of criminal law cases on the Court's docket.

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From Commemoration to Conviction: Prosecuting Edgar Ray Killen for the "Mississippi Burning" Murders

Claire Whitlinger
Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the growing number of civil rights era cold cases brought to trial over the past 20 years, surprisingly little social scientific research has examined how these cases emerged. This article examines one such case - the 2005 prosecution of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 murder of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Using event structure analysis and drawing on archival sources, media accounts, and interview data, this study finds that the trial would not have occurred without the 40th anniversary commemoration in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Furthermore, this study suggests that commemorations can serve as mechanisms connecting collective memory with broader social change by catalyzing mnemonic entrepreneurship and cultivating organizational structures and resources necessary to achieve positive legal outcomes. Such outcomes, however, can only occur when political opportunities are favorable and potential jurors have been primed through the "memory of commemoration."

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Race Differences in Drug Offending and Drug Distribution Arrests

Ojmarrh Mitchell & Michael Caudy
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
The War on Drugs' emphasis on apprehending low-level drug offenders dramatically increased the number of arrests for drug distribution and exacerbated racial and ethnic disparities in such arrests. Although these disparities have been the topic of much discussion, they rarely have been the subject of multivariate empirical scrutiny. This research examines the degree to which race differences in drug offending, nondrug offending, and community context explain race differences in the likelihood of experiencing a drug distribution arrest in a longitudinal sample of youthful respondents (age 12-29). Our results indicate that in comparison with White drug offenders, Hispanic drug offenders' greater likelihood of arrest is largely due to differences in community context; however, African Americans' greater likelihood of arrest is not explained by differences in offending or community context. The policy implications of these findings are discussed.

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U.S. Latino Arrest: An Analysis of Risk by Nativity and Origin

Mike Tapia
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, February 2015, Pages 37-58

Abstract:
This article examines the impact of Latino nativity and origin on the risk of arrest. Survey data are used to compare the odds of arrest within and between various U.S. race-ethnic groups over one decade. Net of legal, demographic, and social correlates of arrest in teen and young adult samples, Blacks consistently experience higher odds of arrest than other groups. Puerto Rican arrest risk approximates that of Blacks while foreign-born Latinos consistently experienced a lower arrest risk than Whites. This effect was nearly indistinguishable from that of U.S.-born Latinos. The study has implications for the life-course perspective in terms of how arrest correlates change for all groups over time. For Latinos, findings also inform acculturation and segmented assimilation perspectives.

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Nominating Commissions, Judicial Retention, and Forward-Looking Behavior on State Supreme Courts: An Empirical Examination of Selection and Retention Methods

Ryan Owens et al.
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
High-profile advocates are pushing states to move away from judicial elections and toward a "merit" method because it purportedly produces the best quality judges. Quality, however, is difficult to measure empirically. Rather than attempt to measure quality, we examine whether certain types of state supreme courts are more forward-looking than others. States are likely to desire forward-looking behavior among judges because it can protect judicial legitimacy, help states to control policy, and could be more efficient than myopic behavior. Using a recent innovation in matching called covariate-balancing propensity scores, we find that the U.S. Supreme Court is equally likely to review and reverse decisions by judges regardless of their selection or retention methods. These results suggest that state supreme court justices, no matter their paths of getting to (and staying on) their courts, are roughly equal in terms of forward-looking behavior.

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The Intersection of Victim Race and Gender: The "Black Male Victim Effect" and the Death Penalty

Alicia Girgenti
Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research on race and the death penalty has shown that victim race is a significant predictor of whether a jury imposes a death sentence. However, less attention has been given to the effects of victim gender and to the combined effects of victim race and gender. With a growing scholarly interest in intersectionality, it is crucial to consider the interaction effect of victim race and gender on death sentencing outcomes. Data from the Capital Jury Project were used to examine whether the intersection of victim race and gender is associated with an increased odds of defendants receiving a death sentence and whether a "White female victim effect" exists. This study instead reveals a significant "Black male victim" effect. Black male victim cases are the least likely to be perceived by jurors as involving brutality, heinousness, and victim suffering. Results indicate that a defendant's odds of receiving a death sentence in a White female victim case is 3.8 times greater and 3.6 times greater in a White male victim case than in a Black male victim case. Victim race rather than victim gender appears to be the factor most strongly influencing jury decision making in capital cases.

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Plaintiphobia in State Courts Redux? An Empirical Study of State Court Trials on Appeal

Theodore Eisenberg & Michael Heise
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2015, Pages 100-127

Abstract:
Prior federal and state civil appeals studies show that appeals courts overturn jury verdicts more than bench decisions and that defendants fare better than plaintiffs on appeal. Attitudinal and selection effect hypotheses may help explain an appellate court tilt that favors defendants. This study builds on and extends our prior work on state civil appeals and examines a comprehensive state court civil appeals data set to test leading theories on appellate outcomes as well as to explore the relation between plaintiff success at trial and on appeal. Using data from 40 different states and 141 counties on 8,872 completed civil trials and 646 concluded appeals, we find that appellate reversal rates for jury trials and defendant appeals exceed reversal rates for bench trials and plaintiff appeals. The reversal rate for plaintiff appeals is 21 percent, compared with 40.9 percent for defendant appeals. The reversal rate for jury trials is 33.1 percent, compared with 25 percent for bench trials. Both the attitudinal and selection effect hypotheses find some level of support in our descriptive analyses and results from more formal models. Finally, we find little correlation between how plaintiffs fare at trial and how they fare on appeal.

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Automated insights: Verbal cues to deception in real-life high-stakes lies

Sarah McQuaid et al.
Psychology, Crime & Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study differentiated between the language of deceptive and genuine pleaders who were pleading for the return of a missing loved one during a televised press conference. The Wmatrix (Rayson, 2008) linguistic analysis tool was used to examine the language of 78 pleaders. Approximately half (n = 35) of these individuals were deceptive and were responsible for the disappearance. Transcripts of the pleas were analyzed for various linguistic cues, and a separate analysis was conducted across gender. Results revealed that deceptive pleaders used the word 'they', singular indefinite pronouns (e.g., 'anybody', 'somebody'), and exclusivizers/particularizers (e.g., 'just') significantly more than genuine pleaders, while genuine pleaders used more temporal words (e.g., 'days', 'weeks'), and the word 'we' more frequently in their pleas. Specific gender differences were also revealed across credible and deceptive pleaders. Our analysis of linguistic differences across pleader veracity provides an enhanced understanding of the verbal elements of high-stakes deception and what differentiates truths from deceptions in high-stakes cases. It also provides further validation of the use of automated linguistic tools like the Wmatrix in forensic contexts.

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How Do Case Law and Statute Differ? Lessons from the Evolution of Mortgage Law

Andra Ghent
Journal of Law and Economics, November 2014, Pages 1085-1122

Abstract:
This paper traces the history of mortgage law in the United States. I explore the history of foreclosure procedures, redemption periods, restrictions on deficiency judgments, and foreclosure moratoria. The historical record shows that the most enduring aspects of mortgage law stem from case law rather than statute. In particular, the ability of creditors to foreclose nonjudicially is determined very early in states' histories, usually before the Civil War, and usually in case law. In contrast, the aspects of mortgage law developed through statute change more frequently. This finding calls into question whether common law is inherently more flexible than the civil-law system used in some other countries. However, case law tends to be less responsive to populist pressures than statutes. My findings suggest that the reason common law favors financial development is unlikely to be its greater flexibility relative to law made by statute.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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