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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Life of poverty

Caught in the crossfire: The competing influence of outcome and beneficiary cues on perceptions of antipoverty spending

Carl Palmer

Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
Certain issues in American politics have become racialized by virtue of elite rhetoric and media coverage. When considering these issues, many Americans find themselves, either consciously or unconsciously, relying on their sentiments toward and stereotypes of implicated groups to form opinions. This project seeks to extend research in this domain by considering the extent to which racialized thinking may be offset, or enhanced, due to the presence of other cues. While citizens typically support successful programs while opposing unsuccessful ones, do these patterns persist when program outcomes and sentiments toward program targets conflict? Results from a lab experiment and two survey experiments suggest that while policy cues appear to have a strong and consistent impact on opinion, group stereotypes activated by group cues moderate the effect of policy cues.

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The Formative Years, Economic Hardship, and Beliefs about the Government’s Role in Lessening Poverty

Colin Campbell

Social Problems, May 2016, Pages 244-265

Abstract:
Existing research on beliefs about government efforts to lessen poverty is limited in two important ways. First, explanations of beliefs about antipoverty efforts largely focus on current contexts. By emphasizing contemporary contexts, existing research overlooks the potentially profound effect of past experiences. Second, most existing research relies on cross-sectional data, which limits understandings of within person change. In the research presented here, I use both cross-sectional and panel data from the General Social Survey to (1) examine how past experiences shape an individual’s belief about what the government should do about poverty and (2) examine whether beliefs about the government’s role in helping the poor are sensitive to changes in micro and macro-economic hardship. Drawing on theories related to the formative years and event driven changes, I find that experiences during late adolescence, increases in macro-level economic hardship, and increases in individual hardship all influence support for government efforts to lessen poverty; however, current objective and subjective economic position is particularly important. Moreover, I find variation in support across different types of government responses to poverty. In particular, welfare is uniquely unpopular, and support for welfare is less responsive to generational experiences or changes in individual level hardship.

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Frugality is Hard to Afford

Yesim Orhun & Mike Palazzolo

University of Michigan Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Households commonly utilize strategies that provide long-term savings for everyday purchases in exchange for an increase in their short-term expenditures. They buy larger packages of non-perishable goods to take advantage of bulk discounts, and accelerate their purchases to take advantage of temporary discounts. We document that low income households are less likely to utilize these strategies even though they have greater incentives to do so. Moreover, results suggest a compounding effect: the inability to buy in bulk inhibits the ability to time purchases to take advantage of sales, and the inability to accelerate purchase timing to buy on sale inhibits the ability to buy in bulk. We find that the financial losses low income households incur due to underutilization of these strategies can be as large as half of the savings they accrue by purchasing cheaper brands. We provide causal evidence that liquidity constraints inhibit the use of these money-saving strategies.

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Moving to opportunity and mental health: Exploring the spatial context of neighborhood effects

Corina Graif, Mariana Arcaya & Ana V. Diez Roux

Social Science & Medicine, August 2016, Pages 50–58

Abstract:
Studies of housing mobility and neighborhood effects on health often treat neighborhoods as if they were isolated islands. This paper argues that conceptualizing neighborhoods as part of the wider spatial context within which they are embedded may be key in advancing our understanding of the role of local context in the life of urban dwellers. Analyses are based on mental health and neighborhood context measurements taken on over 3,000 low-income families who participated in the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program (MTO), a large field experiment in five major U.S. cities. Results from analyses of two survey waves combined with Census data at different geographic scales indicate that assignment to MTO's experimental condition of neighborhood poverty <10% significantly decreased average exposure to immediate and surrounding neighborhood disadvantage by 97% and 59% of a standard deviation, respectively, relative to the control group. Escaping concentrated disadvantage in either the immediate neighborhood or the surrounding neighborhood, but not both, was insufficient to make a difference for mental health. Instead, the results suggest that improving both the immediate and surrounding neighborhoods significantly benefits mental health. Compared to remaining in concentrated disadvantage in the immediate and surrounding neighborhood, escaping concentrated disadvantage in both the immediate and surrounding neighborhood on average over the study duration as a result of the intervention predicts an increase of 25% of a standard deviation in the composite mental health scores.

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Redistribution through Minimum Wage Regulation: An Analysis of Program Linkages and Budgetary Spillovers

Jeffrey Clemens

Tax Policy and the Economy, 2016, Pages 163-189

Abstract:
Program linkages and budgetary spillovers can significantly complicate efforts to project a policy change’s effects. I illustrate this point in the context of recent increases in the federal minimum wage. Previous analysis finds that these particular minimum wage increases had significant effects on employment. Employment declines were sufficiently large that the average earnings of targeted individuals declined. Payroll tax revenues, thus, also fell. I find that transfers to affected individuals through programs including unemployment insurance, food stamp benefits, and cash welfare assistance changed little. These programs, thus, offset relatively little of the earnings declines experienced by individuals who lost employment. I discuss how this broad range of spillovers matters for assessing the relevant minimum wage change’s welfare implications.

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and food insecurity among families with children

Jun Zhang & Steven Yen

Journal of Policy Modeling, forthcoming

Abstract:
The roles of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and parental resources in household food insecurity (FI) are investigated. For husband-wife families with children, SNAP participation reduces the probability of household FI among adults by 8.8%, but increases the probabilities of low food security by 6.1% and very low food security by 2.7%, both among children. The positive effects cast doubt on effectiveness of SNAP alone and call for additional policy measures to improve FI among children. SNAP participation can be promoted by policy instruments such as broad-based categorical eligibility and simplified reporting, and food security by promoting education and providing employment opportunities.

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Family Disadvantage and the Gender Gap in Behavioral and Educational Outcomes

David Autor et al.

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Using birth certificates matched to schooling records for Florida children born 1992 - 2002, we assess whether family disadvantage disproportionately impedes the pre-market development of boys. We find that, relative to their sisters, boys born to disadvantaged families have higher rates of disciplinary problems, lower achievement scores, and fewer high-school completions. Evidence supports that this is a causal effect of the post-natal environment; family disadvantage is unrelated to the gender gap in neonatal health. We conclude that the gender gap among black children is larger than among white children in substantial part because black children are raised in more disadvantaged families.

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Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status in Relation to Serum Biomarkers in the Black Women’s Health Study

Yvette Cozier et al.

Journal of Urban Health, April 2016, Pages 279-291

Abstract:
Lower neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Black women have a higher CVD risk and are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods than white women. We examined the association of neighborhood SES with several CVD biomarkers using data from the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), a follow-up study of US black women reporting high levels of education and income. Blood specimens of 418 BWHS participants were assayed for C-reactive protein (CRP), hemoglobin A1C (hgA1C), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. US Census block group data were linked to the women’s addresses to reflect neighborhood SES. Multivariable-adjusted mixed linear regression models that adjusted for person-level SES and for cardiovascular risk factors were used to assess CRP, hgA1C, and HDL levels in relation to quintiles of neighborhood SES. Women living in the poorest neighborhoods had the least favorable biomarker levels. As neighborhood SES increased, CRP decreased (P for trend = 0.01), hgA1C decreased (P for trend = 0.07), and HDL increased (P for trend = 0.19). These associations were present within strata of individual educational level. The present findings suggest that neighborhood environments may affect physiological processes within residents independently of individual SES.

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Linking systemic arterial stiffness among adolescents to adverse childhood experiences

Stephen Klassen et al.

Child Abuse & Neglect, June 2016, Pages 1–10

Abstract:
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked with cardiovascular disease and early mortality among adults. Most research examines this relationship retrospectively. Examining the association between ACEs and children's cardiovascular health is required to understand the time course of this association. We examined the relationship between ACEs exposure and ECG-to-toe pulse wave velocity (PWV), a measure of systemic arterial stiffness that is strongly related to cardiovascular mortality among adults. PWV (distance/transit time; m/s) was calculated using transit times from the ECG R-wave to the pulse wave contour at the toe. Transit times were collected over 15 heartbeats and the distance from the sternal notch to the left middle toe was used. A total of 221 children (119 females) aged 10–14 years participated in data collection of PWV, hemodynamic and anthropometric variables. Parents of these children completed a modified inventory of ACEs taken from the Childhood Trust Events Survey. Multivariable regression assessed the relationship between ACEs group (<4 ACEs versus ≥4 ACEs) and PWV. Analyses yielded an ACEs group by sex interaction, with males who experienced four or more ACEs having higher PWV (p < 0.01). This association was independent of hemodynamic, anthropometric and sociodemographic variables (R2 = 0.346; p < 0.01). Four or more ACEs is associated with greater arterial stiffness in male children aged 10–14 years. Addressing stress and trauma exposure in childhood is an important target for public health interventions to reduce early cardiovascular risk.

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Differential Risk for Homelessness Among US Male and Female Veterans With a Positive Screen for Military Sexual Trauma

Emily Brignone et al.

JAMA Psychiatry, June 2016, Pages 582-589

Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective cohort study of US veterans who used Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services between fiscal years 2004 and 2013 was conducted using administrative data from the Department of Defense and VHA. Included in the study were 601 892 US veterans deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan who separated from the military between fiscal years 2001 and 2011 and subsequently used VHA services.

Results: The mean (SD) age of the 601 892 participants was 38.9 (9.4) years, 527 874 (87.7%) were male, 310 854 (51.6%) were white, and 382 361 (63.5%) were enlisted in the Army. Among veterans with a positive screen for MST, rates of homelessness were 1.6% within 30 days, 4.4% within 1 year, and 9.6% within 5 years, more than double the rates of veterans with a negative MST screen (0.7%, 1.8%, and 4.3%, respectively). A positive screen for MST was significantly and independently associated with postdeployment homelessness. In regression models adjusted for demographic and military service characteristics, odds of experiencing homelessness were higher among those who screened positive for MST compared with those who screened negative (30-day: adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.89; 95% CI, 1.58-2.24; 1-year: AOR, 2.27; 95% CI, 2.04-2.53; and 5-year: AOR, 2.63; 95% CI, 2.36-2.93). Military sexual trauma screen status remained independently associated with homelessness after adjusting for co-occurring mental health and substance abuse diagnoses in follow-up regression models (30-day: AOR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.36-1.93; 1-year: AOR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.33-1.66; and 5-year: AOR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.24-1.55). In the fully adjusted models, the interaction between MST status and sex was significant in the 30-day and 1-year cohorts (30-day: AOR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.18-2.02; and 1-year: AOR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.23-1.74), denoting higher risk for homelessness among males with a positive screen for MST.

Conclusions and Relevance: A positive screen for MST was independently associated with postdeployment homelessness, with male veterans at greater risk than female veterans. These results underscore the importance of the MST screen as a clinically important marker of reintegration outcomes among veterans. These findings demonstrate significant long-term negative effects and inform our understanding of the public health implications of sexual abuse and harassment.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Keeping it in the family

Do Parents’ Life Experiences Affect the Political and Civic Participation of Their Children? The Case of Draft-Induced Military Service

Tim Johnson & Christopher Dawes

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Myriad studies show that politically-salient events influence civic and political engagement. Yet, on the other hand, decades of research indicate that familial factors mold political and civic dispositions early in life, before an individual experiences political events outside the family. Viewing these two lines of research together, we ask if individuals’ political and civic dispositions might be influenced not solely by their own experiences, but, also, by the experiences of those individuals who create their family environment — namely, their parents. Do parents’ life experiences — before the birth of their children — affect their offspring’s public engagement? To answer that question, we examine how the assignment of military service, via the Vietnam-era Selective Service Lotteries, affected rates of public participation among the children of draft-eligible men. Our analysis finds a negative relationship between a father’s probability of draft-induced military service and his offspring’s public participation. In addition to highlighting how parents’ life experiences can influence the social behavior of their children, this finding challenges the prevailing view that the Vietnam conflict did not contribute to declining civic engagement and it shows how experiences within bureaucratic institutions can yield long-standing effects on politically-relevant behaviors.

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Signing Up New Fathers: Do Paternity Establishment Initiatives Increase Marriage, Parental Investment, and Child Well-Being?

Maya Rossin-Slater

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
With nearly half of U.S. births occurring out of wedlock, understanding how parents navigate their relationship options is important. This paper examines the consequences of a large exogenous change to parental relationship contract options on parental behavior and child well-being. Identification comes from the staggered timing of state reforms that substantially lowered the cost of legal paternity establishment. I show that the resulting increases in paternity establishment are partially driven by reductions in parental marriage. Although unmarried fathers become more involved with their children along some dimensions, the net effects on father involvement and child well-being are negative or zero.

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What mom and dad’s match means for junior: Marital sorting and child outcomes

Ryan Edwards & Jennifer Roff

Labour Economics, June 2016, Pages 43–56

Abstract:
This paper employs recently developed marital matching models to examine empirically the role played by marital sorting in observed measures of marital production. Using the US Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP), a large-scale study from the 1960s, and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY), we find that marital surplus is strongly correlated with indices of child quality, as measured by cognitive test scores, and with the durability of the marital union. At ages beyond infancy, the correlation between cognitive outcomes and marital surplus is robust to the inclusion of the parental characteristics that generate the match, suggesting that the correlation represents effects of the match itself. High marital surplus is associated with assortative mating on education and age, suggesting complementarity in parental inputs in child production. Our results suggest that marital surplus is an important input for child quality above and beyond its indirect effects on marital stability.

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Household Crowding During Childhood and Long-Term Education Outcomes

Leonard Lopoo & Andrew London

Demography, June 2016, Pages 699-721

Abstract:
Household crowding, or having more household members than rooms in one’s residence, could potentially affect a child’s educational attainment directly through a number of mechanisms. We use U.S. longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to derive new measures of childhood crowding and estimate negative associations between crowding during one’s high school years and, respectively, high school graduation by age 19 and maximum education at age 25. These negative relationships persist in multivariate models in which we control for the influence of a variety of factors, including socioeconomic status and housing-cost burden. Given the importance of educational attainment for a range of midlife and later-life outcomes, this study suggests that household crowding during one’s high school years is an engine of cumulative inequality over the life course.

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Coresidence Duration and Cues of Maternal Investment Regulate Sibling Altruism Across Cultures

Daniel Sznycer et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Genetic relatedness is a fundamental determinant of social behavior across species. Over the last few decades, researchers have been investigating the proximate psychological mechanisms that enable humans to assess their genetic relatedness to others. Much of this work has focused on identifying cues that predicted relatedness in ancestral environments and examining how they regulate kin-directed behaviors. Despite progress, many basic questions remain unanswered. Here we address three of these questions. First, we examine the replicability of the effect of two association-based cues to relatedness — maternal perinatal association (MPA) and coresidence duration — on sibling-directed altruism. MPA, the observation of a newborn being cared for by one’s mother, strongly signals relatedness, but is only available to the older sibling in a sib-pair. Younger siblings, to whom the MPA cue is not available, appear to fall back on the duration of their coresidence with an older sibling. Second, we determine whether the effects of MPA and coresidence duration on sibling-directed altruism obtain across cultures. Last, we explore whether paternal perinatal association (PPA) informs sibship. Data from six studies conducted in California, Hawaii, Dominica, Belgium, and Argentina support past findings regarding the role of MPA and coresidence duration as cues to siblingship. By contrast, PPA had no effect on altruism. We report on levels of altruism toward full, half, and step siblings, and discuss the role alternate cues might play in discriminating among these types of siblings.

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Reducing children's behavior problems through social capital: A causal assessment

Ruth López Turley et al.

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Behavior problems among young children have serious detrimental effects on short and long-term educational outcomes. An especially promising prevention strategy may be one that focuses on strengthening the relationships among families in schools, or social capital. However, empirical research on social capital has been constrained by conceptual and causal ambiguity. This study attempts to construct a more focused conceptualization of social capital and aims to determine the causal effects of social capital on children's behavior. Using data from a cluster randomized trial of 52 elementary schools, we apply several multilevel models to assess the causal relationship, including intent to treat and treatment on the treated analyses. Taken together, these analyses provide stronger evidence than previous studies that social capital improves children's behavioral outcomes and that these improvements are not simply a result of selection into social relations but result from the social relations themselves.

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Are ‘born to rebel’ last-borns more likely to be self-employed?

Liang Han & Francis Greene

Personality and Individual Differences, October 2016, Pages 270–275

Abstract:
This paper investigates birth order effects on adult self-employment. Drawing on Sulloway's ‘born to rebel’ thesis, we test whether or not last-borns whose parents have no prior self-employment experience are more likely to bear and assume the risks associated with self-employment. We also test if parental self-employment experience moderates the relationship between last-borns and self-employment. Using large-scale life-span data on 6322 cohort members, a within-family design, and controlling for demographic confounds such as the number of siblings, we find that last-borns from non-entrepreneurial families are more likely to be self-employed than first or middle-borns. However, in families with parental experience of self-employment, we find that last-borns in three or more child families are no more likely to be self-employed than their siblings.

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Children’s Mental Disorders and Their Mothers’ Earnings: Implications for the Affordable Care Act of 2010

Patrick Richard

Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2016, Pages 156-171

Abstract:
Children with emotional and behavioral problems (EBP) may have a negative effect on their mothers’ earnings because they require additional time for treatment. On the other hand, children with EBP require additional financial resources, which may increase their mothers’ earnings through an increase in work activities. This study examined the impact of children’s EBP on parental earnings, while accounting for omitted variable bias. This study found significant reductions of single mothers’ wage rate/annual earnings if their children have EBP. Conversely, children’s EBP increased their married mothers’ hourly wage. These results have important implications in terms of public policy such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 in terms of expanding health insurance coverage to children with EBP to have access to appropriate treatment.

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Income Effects in Labor Supply: Evidence from Child-Related Tax Benefit

Philippe Wingender & Sara LaLumia

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
A parent whose child is born in December can claim child-related tax benefits when she files her tax return a few months later. Parents of children born in January must wait more than a year before they can receive child-related tax benefits. As a result, families with December births have higher after-tax income in the first year of a child's life than otherwise similar families with January births. This paper estimates the corresponding income effect on maternal labor supply, testing whether mothers who give birth in December work and earn less in the months following birth. We use data from the American Community Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the 2000 Decennial Census. We find that December mothers have a lower probability of working, particularly in the third month after a child's birth. Earnings data from the SIPP indicate that an additional dollar of child-related tax benefits reduces annual maternal earnings in the year following a child's birth by approximately one dollar.

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The economics of grief

Gerard van den Berg, Petter Lundborg & Johan Vikstrom

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the short-run and long-run economic impact of one of the largest losses that an individual can face; the death of a child. We utilise unique registers on the entire Swedish population, combining information on the date and cause of death with parental outcomes. We exploit the longitudinal dimension of the data and deal with several selection issues. Losing a child has adverse effects on labor income, employment status, marital status and hospitalizations. The value of policy measures aimed at preventing mortal accidents of children is underestimated if it does not take bereavement effects on parents into account.

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Children Living With Uninsured Family Members: Differences by Family Structure

Sharon Bzostek & Christine Percheski

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite increased access to insurance through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, uninsurance rates are expected to remain relatively high. Having uninsured family members may expose children to financial hardships. Eligibility rules governing both private and public health insurance are based on outdated expectations about family structure. Using 2009–2011 data from the National Health Interview Survey (N = 65,038), the authors investigated family structure differences in family-level insurance coverage of households with children. Children living with married biological parents were the least likely to have uninsured family members and most likely to have all family members covered by private insurance. Controlling for demographic characteristics and income, children in single-mother families had the same risk of having an uninsured family member as children in married-parent families. Children with cohabiting biological parents had higher rates of family uninsurance than children with married biological parents, even accounting for other characteristics.

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Effects of maternal depression on family food insecurity

Kelly Noonan, Hope Corman & Nancy Reichman

Economics & Human Biology, September 2016, Pages 201–215

Abstract:
We use data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort to estimate the effects of maternal depression, a condition that is fairly common and can be severe, on food insecurity, a hardship that has increased substantially in the U.S. Using various model specifications, we find convincing evidence that severe maternal depression increases the likelihood that young children experience food insecurity by 23–69%, with estimates depending on model specification and measures of depression and food insecurity. For household food insecurity, the corresponding estimates are 11–79%. We also find that maternal mental illness increases reliance on several types of public programs, suggesting that the programs play a buffering role.

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Decreasing risk factors for later alcohol use and antisocial behaviors in children in foster care by increasing early promotive factors

Katherine Pears, Hyoun Kim & Philip Fisher

Children and Youth Services Review, June 2016, Pages 156–165

Abstract:
Children in foster care are at high risk for poor psychosocial outcomes, including school failure, alcohol and other substance abuse, and criminal behaviors. Promoting healthy development by increasing broad-impact positive skills may help reduce some of the risk factors for longer-term negative outcomes. School readiness has been linked to a number of positive outcomes across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and may also boost intermediary positive skills such as self-competence. This paper presents findings from a longitudinal study involving 192 children in foster care who were 5 years old at the start of the study. They participated in a randomized controlled trial of a school readiness program to prepare them for kindergarten. Outcomes were assessed at third grade (9 years old) on variables associated with risk for later involvement in substance use and delinquency. These included positive attitudes towards alcohol use, positive attitudes towards antisocial behaviors, and involvement with deviant peers. Results showed that the intervention decreased positive attitudes towards alcohol use and antisocial behaviors. Further, the mediating role of children's self-competence was tested. The intervention positively influenced children's third-grade self-competence, which in turn, decreased their involvement with deviant peers. Findings suggest that promoting school readiness in children in foster care can have far-reaching, positive effects and that increased self-competence may be a mechanism for reducing risk.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 27, 2016

Captains of industry

Financing Constraints and Workplace Safety

Jonathan Cohn & Malcolm Wardlaw

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present evidence that financing frictions adversely impact investment in workplace safety, with implications for worker welfare and firm value. Using several identification strategies, we find that injury rates increase with leverage and negative cash flow shocks, and decrease with positive cash flow shocks. We show that firm value decreases substantially with injury rates. Our findings suggest that investment in worker safety is an economically important margin on which firms respond to financing constraints.

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Institutional Ownership and Corporate Tax Avoidance: New Evidence

Mozaffar Khan, Suraj Srinivasan & Liang Tan

Harvard Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
We provide new evidence on the agency theory of corporate tax avoidance (Slemrod, 2004; Crocker and Slemrod, 2005; Chen and Chu, 2005) by showing that increases in institutional ownership are associated with increases in tax avoidance. Using the Russell index reconstitution setting to isolate exogenous shocks to institutional ownership, and a regression discontinuity design that facilitates sharper identification of treatment effects, we find a significant and discontinuous increase in tax avoidance following Russell 2000 inclusion. The tax avoidance involves the use of tax shelters, and immediate benefits include higher profit margins and likelihood of meeting or beating analyst expectations. Collectively the results shed light on the effect of increased ownership concentration on tax avoidance.

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A Fleeting Glory: Self-Serving Behavior Among Celebrated MBA CEOs

Danny Miller & Xiaowei Xu

Journal of Management Inquiry, July 2016, Pages 286-300

Abstract:
Recent studies have criticized MBA programs for their association with self-serving behavior, although there is little empirical research to establish the firm-level consequences of that relationship. We explored whether MBAs versus non-MBAs in a sample of celebrated CEOs of major U.S. companies - thus CEOs who have achieved and had opportunity to exploit their fame - were more apt than their counterparts to engage in self-serving behavior that benefits them but disadvantages their companies. We assessed this behavior via the pursuit of costly growth strategies, an inability to sustain performance, and the capacity to obtain superior private benefits in compensation. Our analysis of 444 star CEOs celebrated on the covers of major business publications confirmed that an MBA education either fosters or is related to such behavior among these executives.

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CEO Home Bias and Corporate Acquisitions

Kiseo Chung, Clifton Green & Breno Schmidt

Emory University Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We find that CEOs are significantly more likely to purchase cross-state targets from their birth state, consistent with either informational advantages or familiarity bias. Evidence from bidder announcement returns supports the latter view. Acquirer returns are significantly lower for CEO home state acquisitions, and the relation is robust to controls for firm and industry characteristics. The negative announcement effect is stronger for poorly-governed firms, when the target is located further away, and when the CEO has a deeper birth-state connection. CEOs' post-acquisition trading behavior also supports a familiarity bias interpretation. Our findings suggest CEO home bias influences firm investment.

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Ties that Bind: How Business Connections Affect Mutual Fund Activism

Dragana Cvijanović, Amil Dasgupta & Konstantinos Zachariadis

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether business ties with portfolio firms influence mutual funds' proxy voting using a comprehensive data set spanning 2003 to 2011. In contrast to prior literature, we find that business ties significantly influence pro-management voting at the level of individual pairs of fund families and firms after controlling for ISS recommendations and holdings. The association is significant only for shareholder-sponsored proposals and stronger for those that pass or fail by relatively narrow margins. Our findings are consistent with a demand-driven model of biased voting in which company managers use existing business ties with funds to influence how they vote.

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What Else Do Shareholders Want? Shareholder Proposals Contested by Firm Management

Eugene Soltes, Suraj Srinivasan & Rajesh Vijayaraghavan

Harvard Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Shareholder proposals provide investors an opportunity to exercise their decision rights within a firm. However, not all proposals created by shareholders receive consideration. Managers can seek permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exclude specific proposals from the proxy statement. From 2003-2013, we find that managers seek to exclude 40% of all proposals they receive, but the SEC does not permit exclusion in over a quarter of the cases. Of the proposals that managers seek to exclude but the SEC does not allow, 28% win shareholder support or the firm voluntarily implements prior to a vote. Our analysis of contested shareholder proposals suggests that managers often seek to avoid the implementation of legitimate shareholder interests.

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Product Market Competition and Internal Governance: Evidence from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Vidhi Chhaochharia et al.

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) as a quasi-natural experiment to examine the link between product market competition and internal governance mechanisms. Consistent with the notion that competition plays an important role in aligning incentives within the firm, SOX has led to a larger improvement in the operation of firms in concentrated industries than in nonconcentrated industries. Furthermore, within concentrated industries, the effect is especially pronounced among firms with weaker governance mechanisms prior to SOX. We corroborate these findings using two additional regulatory changes in the United States and abroad. Overall, our results indicate that corporate governance is more important when firms face less product market competition.

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How Does Hedge Fund Activism Reshape Corporate Innovation?

Alon Brav et al.

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
This paper studies how hedge fund activism reshapes corporate innovation. Firms targeted by hedge fund activists experience an improvement in innovation efficiency during the five-year period following the intervention. Despite a tightening in R&D expenditures, target firms experience increases in innovation output, measured by both patent counts and citations, with stronger effects seen among firms with more diversified innovation portfolios. We also find that the reallocation of innovative resources and the redeployment of human capital contribute to the refocusing of the scope of innovation. Finally, additional tests refute alternative explanations attributing the improvement to mean reversion, sample attrition, management's voluntary reforms, or activists' stock-picking abilities.

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Corporate Finance Policies and Social Networks

Cesare Fracassi

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that managers are influenced by their social peers when making corporate policy decisions. Using biographical information about executives and directors of U.S. public companies, we define social ties from current and past employment, education, and other activities. We find that more connections two companies share with each other, more similar their capital investments are. To address endogeneity concerns, we find that companies invest less similarly when an individual connecting them dies. The results extend to other corporate finance policies. Furthermore, central companies in the social network invest in a less idiosyncratic way and exhibit better economic performance.

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Window­dressing individual backgrounds: Evidence from biographies of corporate directors

Ian Gowm, Aida Sijamic Wahid & Gwen Yu

Harvard Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
We examine disclosure of prior experience in the biographies of corporate directors. Using biographies in proxy statements filed with the SEC, we find that directors are less likely to disclose directorships held at firms that experienced adverse events such as accounting restatements, securities litigation, or bankruptcy. When directors disclose adverse­event directorships, stock reaction at appointment is more negative and the likelihood of loss of existing directorships in future years is higher. Non­disclosure of directorships is significantly reduced following changes to SEC rules in 2010, with the greatest change being for adverse­event directorships. These findings suggest that corporate directors make strategic disclosure choices with consequences in both capital and labor markets.

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Does the Market Value CEO Styles?

Antoinette Schoar & Luo Zuo

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 262-266

Abstract:
We study how investors perceive the skill set that different types of CEOs bring into their companies. We compare CEOs who started their careers during a recession with other CEOs. We show that the announcement return around the appointment of a recession CEO is very significant and positive, and this positive market reaction is driven by cases where a recession CEO replaces a non-recession CEO. Our results indicate that the market assigns a positive and economically meaningful value to a recession CEO, suggesting that there is a limited supply of these types of CEOs in the executive labor market.

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Analyst Coverage and Real Earnings Management: Quasi-Experimental Evidence

Rustom Irani & David Oesch

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, April 2016, Pages 589-627

Abstract:
We study how securities analysts influence managers' use of different types of earnings management. To isolate causality, we employ a quasi-experiment that exploits exogenous reductions in analyst following resulting from brokerage house mergers. We find that managers respond to the coverage loss by decreasing real earnings management while increasing accrual manipulation. These effects are significantly stronger among firms with less coverage and for firms close to the zero-earnings threshold. Our causal evidence suggests that managers use real earnings management to enhance short-term performance in response to analyst pressure, effects that are not uncovered when focusing solely on accrual-based methods.

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Does Institutional Shareholder Activism Stimulate Corporate Information Flow? Evidence from Labor Union Proxy Activism

Andrew Prevost, Udomsak Wongchoti & Ben Marshall

Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Activist shareholders have an incentive to communicate and cooperate with other major shareholders. However, the impact of their activity on information flow surrounding targeted firms is largely unknown. We explore this aspect using a prolific proponent: labor unions. Following the mailing of proxies containing union-sponsored shareholder proposals, trading volume increases significantly and at-issue bond yield spreads of targeted firms are lower compared to matched firms. Subsequent difference-in-differences analyses show that stock prices of targeted firms become more informative as a result of activism, affirming the intuition that activism results in a reduction of differential information between outside investors.

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Firm Selection and Corporate Cash Holdings

Juliane Begenau & Berardino Palazzo

Harvard Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
The gradual replacement of traditional U.S. public companies by more R&D-intensive firms is key to understanding the secular trend in average cash-holdings. Over the last 35 years, an increasing share of R&D-intensive firms has entered the stock market with progressively higher cash-balances. This positive entry-effect dominates the negative within-firm effect post IPO. We build a firm industry model with endogenous entry to quantify the importance of two competing selection mechanisms: an increasing share of R&D-intensive firms in the overall economy and more favorable IPO conditions. Only the combination of both mechanisms successfully generates a sizable secular increase.

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Managerial Ability and Credit Risk Assessment

Samuel Bonsall, Eric Holzman & Brian Miller

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on the credit rating process has primarily focused on how rating agencies incorporate firm characteristics into their rating opinions. We contribute to this literature by examining the impact of managerial ability on the credit rating process. Given debt market participants' interest in assessing default risk, we begin by documenting that higher managerial ability is associated with lower variability in future earnings and stock returns. We then show that higher managerial ability is associated with higher credit ratings (i.e., lower assessments of credit risk). To provide more direct identification of the impact of managerial ability, we examine chief executive officer (CEO) replacements and document that ratings increase (decrease) when CEOs are replaced with more (less) able CEOs. Finally, we show that managerial ability also has capital market implications by documenting that managerial ability is associated with bond offering credit spreads. Collectively, our evidence suggests that managerial ability is an important factor that bond market participants impound into their assessments of firm credit risk.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 26, 2016

That's helpful

Prosocial Conformity: Prosocial Norms Generalize Across Behavior and Empathy

Erik Nook et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Generosity is contagious: People imitate others' prosocial behaviors. However, research on such prosocial conformity focuses on cases in which people merely reproduce others' positive actions. Hence, we know little about the breadth of prosocial conformity. Can prosocial conformity cross behavior types or even jump from behavior to affect? Five studies address these questions. In Studies 1 to 3, participants decided how much to donate to charities before learning that others donated generously or stingily. Participants who observed generous donations donated more than those who observed stingy donations (Studies 1 and 2). Crucially, this generalized across behaviors: Participants who observed generous donations later wrote more supportive notes to another participant (Study 3). In Studies 4 and 5, participants observed empathic or non-empathic group responses to vignettes. Group empathy ratings not only shifted participants' own empathic feelings (Study 4), but they also influenced participants' donations to a homeless shelter (Study 5). These findings reveal the remarkable breadth of prosocial conformity.

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When Lending a Hand Depletes the Will: The Daily Costs and Benefits of Helping

Klodiana Lanaj, Russell Johnson & Mo Wang

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Employees help on a regular daily basis while at work, yet surprisingly little is known about how responding to help requests affects helpers. Although recent theory suggests that helping may come at a cost to the helper, the majority of the helping literature has focused on the benefits of helping. The current study addresses the complex nature of helping by simultaneously considering its costs and benefits for helpers. Using daily diary data across 3 consecutive work weeks, we examine the relationship between responding to help requests, perceived prosocial impact of helping, and helpers' regulatory resources. We find that responding to help requests depletes regulatory resources at an increasing rate, yet perceived prosocial impact of helping can replenish resources. We also find that employees' prosocial motivation moderates these within-person relationships, such that prosocial employees are depleted to a larger extent by responding to help requests, and replenished to a lesser extent by the perceived prosocial impact of helping. Understanding the complex relationship of helping with regulatory resources is important because such resources have downstream effects on helpers' behavior in the workplace. We discuss the implications of our findings for both theory and practice.

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The effect of effectiveness: Donor response to aid effectiveness in a direct mail fundraising experiment

Dean Karlan & Daniel Wood

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We test how donors respond to new information about a charity's effectiveness. Freedom from Hunger implemented a test of its direct marketing solicitations, varying letters by whether they include a discussion of their program's impact as measured by scientific research. The base script, used for both treatment and control, included a standard qualitative story about an individual beneficiary. Adding scientific impact information has no effect on average likelihood of giving or average gift amount. However, we find important heterogeneity: large prior donors both are more likely to give and also give more, whereas small prior donors are less likely to give. This pattern is consistent with two different types of donors: warm glow donors who respond negatively to analytical effectiveness information, and altruism donors who respond positively to such information.

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In Pursuit of Good Karma: When Charitable Appeals to Do Right Go Wrong

Katina Kulow & Thomas Kramer

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the implications of consumers' belief in karma - the belief that the universe bestows rewards for doing right and exacts punishments for doing wrong - in the context of prosocial behavior. Although intuitively, believing in karma should result in greater intentions to do right by supporting a charity, karmic beliefs are found to facilitate prosocial behavior only in contexts not associated with self-gains. A series of experiments shows that those with strong (vs. weak) beliefs in karma actually respond less favorably to charitable appeals that rely on common marketing tools meant to enhance consumer responses but that also cue self-gains by offering incentives or by highlighting self-benefits. However, these effects are only obtained for donations of time, which represent a means to enhance social connections, but not for donations of money. Consistent with the proposition that prosocial behaviors motivated by self-gains do not engender karmic rewards, lower intentions to do right among those with strong karmic beliefs are driven by a shift from other-focused to self-focused attention following appeals that cue self-gains, as compared to appeals that do not. Results imply that marketers need to take into account consumers' karmic beliefs when seeking to incentivize prosocial behavior.

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The emotional consequences of donation opportunities

Lara Aknin, Guy Mayraz & John Helliwell

Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Charities often circulate widespread donation appeals, but who is most likely to donate and how do appeals impact the well-being of individual donors and non-donors, as well as the entire group exposed to the campaign? Here, we investigate three factors that may influence donations (recent winnings, the presence of another person, and matched earnings) in addition to the changes in affect reported by individuals who donate in response to a charitable opportunity and those who do not. Critically, we also investigate the change in affect reported by the entire sample to measure the net impact of the donation opportunity. Results reveal that people winning more money donate a smaller percentage to charity, and the presence of another person does not influence giving. In addition, large donors experience hedonic boosts from giving, and the substantial fraction of large donors translates to a net positive influence on well-being for the entire sample.

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Saving the masses: The impact of perceived efficacy on charitable giving to single vs. multiple beneficiaries

Eesha Sharma & Vicki Morwitz

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, July 2016, Pages 45-54

Abstract:
People are more generous toward single than toward multiple beneficiaries, and encouraging greater giving to multiple targets is challenging. We identify one factor, perceived efficacy, which enhances generosity toward multiple beneficiaries. We investigate relationships between perceived self-efficacy (believing one can take steps to make an impact), response efficacy (believing those steps will be effective), and charitable giving. Four studies show that increasing perceived self-efficacy increases perceived response efficacy (Studies 1 and 2) and increases donations for multiple beneficiaries (Studies 1-4). Further, results show that boosting perceived self-efficacy enhances giving to a greater extent for multiple than for single beneficiaries (Studies 3 and 4). These effects emerge using various charitable giving contexts, efficacy manipulations, and measures of generosity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Perceive it or not

Animal Magnetism: Metaphoric Cues Alter Perceptions of Romantic Partners and Relationships

Andrew Christy, Kelly Hirsch & Rebecca Schlegel

PLoS ONE, May 2016

Abstract:
The psychological state of love is difficult to define, and we often rely on metaphors to communicate about this state and its constituent experiences. Commonly, these metaphors liken love to a physical force - it sweeps us off our feet, causes sparks to fly, and ignites flames of passion. Even the use of "attraction" to refer to romantic interest, commonplace in both popular and scholarly discourse, implies a force propelling two objects together. The present research examined the effects of exposing participants to a physical force (magnetism) on subsequent judgments of romantic outcomes. Across two studies, participants exposed to magnets reported greater levels of satisfaction, attraction, intimacy, and commitment.

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How Taking Photos Increases Enjoyment of Experiences

Kristin Diehl, Gal Zauberman & Alixandra Barasch

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Experiences are vital to the lives and well-being of people; hence, understanding the factors that amplify or dampen enjoyment of experiences is important. One such factor is photo-taking, which has gone unexamined by prior research even as it has become ubiquitous. We identify engagement as a relevant process that influences whether photo-taking will increase or decrease enjoyment. Across 3 field and 6 lab experiments, we find that taking photos enhances enjoyment of positive experiences across a range of contexts and methodologies. This occurs when photo-taking increases engagement with the experience, which is less likely when the experience itself is already highly engaging, or when photo-taking interferes with the experience. As further evidence of an engagement-based process, we show that photo-taking directs greater visual attention to aspects of the experience one may want to photograph. Lastly, we also find that this greater engagement due to photo-taking results in worse evaluations of negative experiences.

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Semantic Prosody and Judgment

David Hauser & Norbert Schwarz

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some words tend to co-occur exclusively with a positive or negative context in natural language use, even though such valence patterns are not dictated by definitions or are part of the words' core meaning. These words contain semantic prosody, a subtle valenced meaning derived from co-occurrence in language. As language and thought are heavily intertwined, we hypothesized that semantic prosody can affect evaluative inferences about related ambiguous concepts. Participants inferred that an ambiguous medical outcome was more negative when it was caused, a verb with negative semantic prosody, than when it was produced, a synonymous verb with no semantic prosody (Studies 1a, 1b). Participants completed sentence fragments in a manner consistent with semantic prosody (Study 2), and semantic prosody affected various other judgments in line with evaluative inferences (estimates of an event's likelihood in Study 3). Finally, semantic prosody elicited both positive and negative evaluations of outcomes across a large set of semantically prosodic verbs (Study 4). Thus, semantic prosody can exert a strong influence on evaluative judgment.

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Physical Exercise Performed Four Hours after Learning Improves Memory Retention and Increases Hippocampal Pattern Similarity during Retrieval

Eelco van Dongen et al.

Current Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Persistent long-term memory depends on successful stabilization and integration of new memories after initial encoding. This consolidation process is thought to require neuromodulatory factors such as dopamine, noradrenaline, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Without the release of such factors around the time of encoding, memories will decay rapidly. Recent studies have shown that physical exercise acutely stimulates the release of several consolidation-promoting factors in humans, raising the question of whether physical exercise can be used to improve memory retention. Here, we used a single session of physical exercise after learning to exogenously boost memory consolidation and thus long-term memory. Three groups of randomly assigned participants first encoded a set of picture-location associations. Afterward, one group performed exercise immediately, one 4 hr later, and the third did not perform any exercise. Participants otherwise underwent exactly the same procedures to control for potential experimental confounds. 48 hr later, participants returned for a cued-recall test in a magnetic resonance scanner. With this design, we could investigate the impact of acute exercise on memory consolidation and retrieval-related neural processing. We found that performing exercise 4 hr, but not immediately, after encoding improved the retention of picture-location associations compared to the no-exercise control group. Moreover, performing exercise after a delay was associated with increased hippocampal pattern similarity for correct responses during delayed retrieval. Our results suggest that appropriately timed physical exercise can improve long-term memory and highlight the potential of exercise as an intervention in educational and clinical settings.

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The length of words reflects their conceptual complexity

Molly Lewis & Michael Frank

Cognition, August 2016, Pages 182-195

Abstract:
Are the forms of words systematically related to their meaning? The arbitrariness of the sign has long been a foundational part of our understanding of human language. Theories of communication predict a relationship between length and meaning, however: Longer descriptions should be more conceptually complex. Here we show that both the lexicons of human languages and individual speakers encode the relationship between linguistic and conceptual complexity. Experimentally, participants mapped longer words to more complex objects in comprehension and production tasks and across a range of stimuli. Explicit judgments of conceptual complexity were also highly correlated with implicit measures of study time in a memory task, suggesting that complexity is directly related to basic cognitive processes. Observationally, judgments of conceptual complexity for a sample of real words correlate highly with their length across 80 languages, even controlling for frequency, familiarity, imageability, and concreteness. While word lengths are systematically related to usage - both frequency and contextual predictability - our results reveal a systematic relationship with meaning as well. They point to a general regularity in the design of lexicons and suggest that pragmatic pressures may influence the structure of the lexicon.

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Simulated thought insertion: Influencing the sense of agency using deception and magic

Jay Olson et al.

Consciousness and Cognition, July 2016, Pages 11-26

Abstract:
In order to study the feeling of control over decisions, we told 60 participants that a neuroimaging machine could read and influence their thoughts. While inside a mock brain scanner, participants chose arbitrary numbers in two similar tasks. In the Mind-Reading Task, the scanner appeared to guess the participants' numbers; in the Mind-Influencing Task, it appeared to influence their choice of numbers. We predicted that participants would feel less voluntary control over their decisions when they believed that the scanner was influencing their choices. As predicted, participants felt less control and made slower decisions in the Mind-Influencing Task compared to the Mind-Reading Task. A second study replicated these findings. Participants' experience of the ostensible influence varied, with some reporting an unknown source directing them towards specific numbers. This simulated thought insertion paradigm can therefore influence feelings of voluntary control and may help model symptoms of mental disorders.

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A Pilot Study Examining Physical and Social Warmth: Higher (Non-Febrile) Oral Temperature Is Associated with Greater Feelings of Social Connection

Tristen Inagaki et al.

PLoS ONE, June 2016

Abstract:
An emerging literature suggests that experiences of physical warmth contribute to social warmth - the experience of feeling connected to others. Thus, thermoregulatory systems, which help maintain our relatively warm internal body temperatures, may also support feelings of social connection. However, the association between internal body temperature and feelings of connection has not been examined. Furthermore, the origins of the link between physical and social warmth, via learning during early experiences with a caregiver or via innate, co-evolved mechanisms, remain unclear. The current study examined the relationship between oral temperature and feelings of social connection as well as whether early caregiver experiences moderated this relationship. Extending the existing literature, higher oral temperature readings were associated with greater feelings of social connection. Moreover, early caregiver experiences did not moderate this association, suggesting that the physical-social warmth overlap may not be altered by early social experience. Results provide additional support for the link between experiences of physical warmth and social warmth and add to existing theories that highlight social connection as a basic need on its own.

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Barack Obama Blindness (BOB): Absence of Visual Awareness to a Single Object

Marjan Persuh & Robert Melara

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, March 2016

Abstract:
In two experiments, we evaluated whether a perceiver's prior expectations could alone obliterate his or her awareness of a salient visual stimulus. To establish expectancy, observers first made a demanding visual discrimination on each of three baseline trials. Then, on a fourth, critical trial, a single, salient and highly visible object appeared in full view at the center of the visual field and in the absence of any competing visual input. Surprisingly, fully half of the participants were unaware of the solitary object in front of their eyes. Dramatically, observers were blind even when the only stimulus on display was the face of U.S. President Barack Obama. We term this novel, counterintuitive phenomenon, Barack Obama Blindness (BOB). Employing a method that rules out putative memory effects by probing awareness immediately after presentation of the critical stimulus, we demonstrate that the BOB effect is a true failure of conscious vision.

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Culturally inconsistent spatial structure reduces learning

Koleen McCrink & Samuel Shaki

Acta Psychologica, September 2016, Pages 20-26

Abstract:
Human adults tend to use a spatial continuum to organize any information they consider to be well-ordered, with a sense of initial and final position. The directionality of this spatial mapping is mediated by the culture of the subject, largely as a function of the prevailing reading and writing habits (for example, from left-to-right for English speakers or right-to-left for Hebrew speakers). In the current study, we tasked American and Israeli subjects with encoding and recalling a set of arbitrary pairings, consisting of frequently ordered stimuli (letters with shapes: Experiment 1) or infrequently ordered stimuli (color terms with shapes: Experiment 2), that were serially presented in a left-to-right, right-to-left, or central-only manner. The subjects were better at recalling information that contained ordinal stimuli if the spatial flow of presentation during encoding matched the dominant directionality of the subjects' culture, compared to information encoded in the non-dominant direction. This phenomenon did not extend to infrequently ordered stimuli (e.g., color terms). These findings suggest that adults implicitly harness spatial organization to support memory, and this harnessing process is culturally mediated in tandem with our spatial biases.

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Noticing Future Me: Reducing Egocentrism Through Mental Imagery

Neil Macrae et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2016, Pages 855-863

Abstract:
People drastically overestimate how often others attend to them or notice their unusual features, a phenomenon termed the spotlight effect. Despite the prevalence of this egocentric bias, little is known about how to reduce the tendency to see oneself as the object of others' attention. Here, we tested the hypothesis that a basic property of mental imagery - the visual perspective from which an event is viewed - may alleviate a future-oriented variant of the spotlight effect. The results of three experiments supported this prediction. Experiment 1 revealed a reduction in egocentric spotlighting when participants imagined an event in the far compared with near future. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated reduced spotlighting and feelings of embarrassment when participants viewed an impending event from a third-person (vs. first-person) vantage point. Simple changes in one's visual perspective may be sufficient to diminish the illusion of personal salience.

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Reminders Through Association

Todd Rogers & Katherine Milkman

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often fail to follow through on good intentions. While limited self-control is frequently the culprit, another cause is simply forgetting to enact intentions when opportunities arise. We introduce a novel, potent approach to facilitating follow-through: the reminders-through-association approach. This approach involves associating intentions (e.g., to mail a letter on your desk tomorrow) with distinctive cues that will capture attention when you have opportunities to act on those intentions (e.g., Valentine's Day flowers that arrived late yesterday, which are sitting on your desk). We showed that cue-based reminders are more potent when the cues they employ are distinctive relative to (a) other regularly encountered stimuli and (b) other stimuli encountered concurrently. Further, they can be more effective than written or electronic reminder messages, and they are undervalued and underused. The reminders-through-association approach, developed by integrating and expanding on past research on self-control, reminders, and prospective memory, can be a powerful tool for policymakers and individuals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 24, 2016

In or out

Legalization and human capital accumulation

Fabio Méndez, Facundo Sepúlveda & Nieves Valdés

Journal of Population Economics, July 2016, Pages 721-756

Abstract:
This paper presents new evidence regarding the effects of legalization on the training of immigrants who were granted legal status through the US Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Our findings point to a large increase in the immigrants’ incidence of training relative to comparable groups of natives following legalization. While training gains are higher for males, wage gains are higher for females. We also show that an important part of these changes in labor market outcomes occurs through occupation changes by newly legalized immigrants.

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Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Evidence from Survey Experiments

Alexis Grigorieff, Christopher Roth & Diego Ubfal

University of Oxford Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Many people in the U.S. and in Europe have biased beliefs about immigrants. In this paper, we examine whether providing information about immigrants affects people’s attitude towards them. We first use a large representative cross-country survey experiment with more than 19,000 participants to show that people who are told the actual share of immigrants in their country become less likely to state that there are too many of them. We also conduct an online experiment in the U.S., where we provide information about immigration to half of the participants, before measuring their attitude towards immigrants with self-reported and behavioral outcomes. We find that participants in the treatment group update their beliefs about immigrants, and they donate more money to a pro-immigrant charity. However, their self-reported policy preferences remain broadly unchanged, and they do not become more willing to sign a petition in favor of immigration reform. Interestingly, Republicans and people who are worried about immigration respond more strongly to the information treatment, both in terms of their views on immigrants and their policy preferences. Finally, we also measure people’s self-reported policy preferences, attitudes, and beliefs in a four week follow-up, and we show that the treatment effects persist.

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Immigration Politics and Partisan Realignment: California, Texas, and the 1994 Election

James Monogan & Austin Doctor

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article demonstrates how the party identification of various demographic groups in California and Texas changed in response to the gubernatorial campaigns of Pete Wilson and George W. Bush. Using aggregated time series of Field Poll, Texas Poll, and Gallup data, difference-in-differences results show that Wilson’s embrace of Proposition 187 was followed by significant Hispanic movement toward the Democratic Party in California. Time series analysis substantiates that this action led to a long-term 7.1 percentage point Democratic shift among California’s Hispanics. This suggests that state-level actors can influence partisan coalitions in their state, beyond what would be expected from national-level factors.

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Fear of Ebola: The Influence of Collectivism on Xenophobic Threat Responses

Heejung Kim, David Sherman & John Updegraff

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to the Ebola scare in 2014, many people evinced strong fear and xenophobia. The present study, informed by the pathogen-prevalence hypothesis, tested the influence of individualism and collectivism on xenophobic response to the threat of Ebola. A nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans completed a survey, indicating their perceptions of their vulnerability to Ebola, ability to protect themselves from Ebola (protection efficacy), and xenophobic tendencies. Overall, the more vulnerable people felt, the more they exhibited xenophobic responses, but this relationship was moderated by individualism and collectivism. The increase in xenophobia associated with increased vulnerability was especially pronounced among people with high individualism scores and those with low collectivism scores. These relationships were mediated by protection efficacy. State-level collectivism had the same moderating effect on the association between perceived vulnerability and xenophobia that individual-level value orientation did. Collectivism — and the set of practices and rituals associated with collectivistic cultures — may serve as psychological protection against the threat of disease.

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Nation-Building Through Compulsory Schooling During the Age of Mass Migration

Oriana Bandiera et al.

London School of Economics Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
By the mid-19th century, America was the best educated nation on Earth: significant financial investments in education were being undertaken and the majority of children voluntarily attended public schools. So why did American states start introducing compulsory schooling laws at this point in time? We provide qualitative and quantitative evidence that states adopted compulsory schooling laws as a nation-building tool to instill civic values to the tens of millions of culturally diverse migrants who arrived during the ‘Age of Mass Migration’ between 1850 and 1914. Using state level data, we show the adoption of compulsory schooling laws occurred significantly earlier in states that hosted a subgroup of European migrants with lower exposure to civic values in their home countries. We present IV estimates based on a Bartik-Card instrument to address concerns over endogenous location choices of migrants. We then use cross-county data to show that the same subgroup of European migrants had significantly lower demand for American common schooling pre-compulsion, and so would have been less exposed to the kinds of civic value instilled by the American education system had compulsory schooling not been passed. We thus provide micro-foundations for schooling laws, highlighting the link between mass migration and the endogenous policy responses of American-born voters in receiving states.

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A Declining Farm Workforce: Analysis of Panel Data from Rural Mexico

Diane Charlton & Edward Taylor

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analysis of nationally representative individual-level panel data from 1980 to 2010 reveals a significant negative trend in the agricultural labor supply from rural Mexico, which is the primary source of hired workers for U.S. farms. These findings offer an explanation for the rise over time in U.S. farm wages. Concomitants of the agricultural transformation, including growth in the non-farm economy, falling birth rates, and an increase in rural education, accelerate the transition of rural Mexicans out of farm work. Higher U.S. farm wages and increased border enforcement slow the transition, but the combined impact of these offsetting variables is relatively small. A diminishing farm labor supply has far-reaching implications for farmers, farm labor organizers, rural communities, and agricultural workers.

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The Departed: Deportations and Out-Migration among Latino Immigrants in North Carolina after the Great Recession

Emilio Parrado & Chenoa Flippen

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July 2016, Pages 131-147

Abstract:
This article explores the impact of the 2007 recession and immigration enforcement policies on Latin American immigrants’ out-migration from the Durham, North Carolina, area — a new immigrant destination. Drawing on an original ethnosurvey collected in 2011, the analysis assesses the extent of out-migration over time, what precipitated the move, and whether individuals returned to their country of origin or migrated within the United States. We find that out-migration more than doubled after the 2007 recession and that migrants overwhelmingly returned to their home countries. While family considerations and accidents accounted for most of the departures before the recession, economic considerations became the dominant drivers of out-migration after 2007. Deportations also grew in number but accounted for a negligible share of all out-migration. Departures were more prevalent among immigrants from Mexico and those with lower educational attainment. Latin American migration, especially from Mexico, continues to be circular, and deportation is a relatively ineffective strategy for immigrant population control when compared to voluntary returns.

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Policy Popularity: The Arizona Immigration Law

Jeeyoung Park & Helmut Norpoth

Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
As a maker of policy, a president or a governor invites public approval or disapproval for policy decisions. Public reaction is likely to occur for issues of great salience and clear candidate positions. We focus on immigration policy. Illegal immigration has become a hot issue in recent years, especially in Arizona. The state’s governor took a clear stance in 2010 by signing a law that gives police sweeping powers to deal with illegal immigration (Arizona SB 1070). Using an aggregate time–series model, we find that this action affected gubernatorial approval ratings. Indeed the gain in approval proved enduring enough to turn a losing race for re–election into a victory for Governor Brewer. Using individual–level survey data, we find that presidential approval also was affected by reactions to the Arizona Law among residents of the state. When elected officials take clear stances on a salient issue – Governor Brewer for, President Obama against the law - policy moves approval.

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Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration

Umut Özek & David Figlio

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
We make use of a new data source – matched birth records and longitudinal student records in Florida – to study the degree to which student outcomes differ across successive immigrant generations. Specifically, we investigate whether first, second, and third generation Asian and Hispanic immigrants in Florida perform differently on reading and mathematics tests, and whether they are differentially likely to get into serious trouble in school, to be truant from school, to graduate from high school, or to be ready for college upon high school graduation. We find evidence suggesting that early-arriving first generation immigrants perform better than do second generation immigrants, and second generation immigrants perform better than third generation immigrants. Among first generation immigrants, the earlier the arrival, the better the students tend to perform. These patterns of findings hold for both Asian and Hispanic students, and suggest a general pattern of successively reduced achievement – beyond a transitional period for recent immigrants – in the generations following the generation that immigrated to the United States.

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LEP Language Disability, Immigration Reform, and English-Language Acquisition

Alberto Dávila & Marie Mora

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 478-483

Abstract:
Policy might partly shape the English-language acquisition of Hispanics migrating to the U.S. mainland, particularly policies related to limited-English-language disability benefits and immigration reform. Using data from the American Community Survey, we find that island-born Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland, as U.S. citizens, may have lower incentives to learn English than Hispanic immigrants because of their higher participation in LEP disability programs. However, among Mexican immigrants, recent immigration reform aimed at interior enforcement might have increased incentives for Mexican immigrants to learn English to reduce their probability of detection, if speaking English proxies for undocumented status.

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The effect of legal status on immigrant wages and occupational skills

Quinn Steigleder & Chad Sparber

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Native and foreign-born workers with a high school degree or less education work in different types of occupations. This article exploits the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act to examine whether legal status causes immigrants to work in occupations that use skills similar to those of natives. Legal status decreases the manual skill intensity of immigrants’ occupations by about two percentiles. It increases communication skill intensity by a similar amount. This reduces the skill gap between Mexican-born and native-born American workers by 11–15%.

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Mexican-American Educational Stagnation: The Role of Family-Structure Change

Richard Neil Turner & Brian Thiede

International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
High school dropout rates among Mexican Americans decline markedly between the first and second immigrant generations and, consequently, move closer to non-Hispanic white levels. However, the third generation makes little progress in closing the remaining gap with whites despite their parents having more schooling on average than those of the second generation. Utilizing 2007–2013 Current Population Survey data, we examine whether an inter-generational shift away from two-parent families contributes to this educational stagnation. We also consider the effect of changes in sibship size. The analysis involves performing a partial regression decomposition of differences between second- and third-generation Mexican-American adolescents (aged 16–17 years) in the likelihood of having dropped out. We find that Mexican third-generation teens are close to nine percentage points less likely than second-generation peers to live with two parents. The decomposition results suggest that this change in family structure offsets a substantial portion of the negative influence of rising parental education on third-generation dropout risk.

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A longitudinal analysis of cross-border ties and depression for Latino adults

Jacqueline Torres et al.

Social Science & Medicine, July 2016, Pages 111–119

Abstract:
Recent scholarship suggests a significant association between cross-border ties, or ties maintained with family and friends in countries and communities of origin, and the mental health of immigrants and their descendants. To date, this research has been exclusively cross-sectional, precluding conclusions about a causal association between cross-border ties and mental health outcomes. In the present study we undertake a longitudinal analysis of the relationship between cross-border ties and depression measured over a ten-year period for a sample of immigrant and U.S.-born Latinos. Data are from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (1998–2008), a population-based, prospective study of Latin American-origin adults 60 years and older. We find that cross-border ties reported at baseline were significantly associated with depression in subsequent study waves, even after controlling for the presence of depression at baseline, albeit with substantial differences by gender and nativity. Specifically, communication with family and friends in Latin America and travel to Latin America at baseline were each significantly associated with greater odds of depression for immigrant women, but with lower odds of depression for U.S.-born Latina women over the study period. Travel to Latin America at baseline was significantly associated with lower odds of depression for Latino men across the study. Across all models we control for depressive symptomatology at baseline to account for the reciprocal nature of depressive symptoms and engagement with social ties, including cross-border ties. Our findings suggest that cross-border ties may represent a unique source of both resilience and risk for the long-term mental health of immigrant Latinos and their descendants.

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Child support and mixed-status families: An analysis using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

Lanlan Xu, Maureen Pirog & Edward Vargas

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large body of literature documents the importance of child support for children's wellbeing, though little is known about the child support behaviors of mixed-status families, a large and rapidly growing population in the United States. In this paper, we use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to investigate the impact of citizenship status on formal and informal child support transfers among a nationally representative sample of parents who have citizen children. Probit regression models and propensity score matching (PSM) estimators show that mixed-status families are significantly less likely to have child support orders and child support receipt compared to their citizen counterparts. We found that mothers' knowledge of the child support system increases the probability of establishing paternity. However, cultural differences in knowledge of and perception about the U.S. child support system between mixed-status families and citizen families do not have an impact on the probability of getting a child support order, child support receipt, or in-kind child support. Rather, institutional factors such as collaborations between welfare agencies and child support enforcement agencies as well as state child support enforcement efforts have a significant impact on formal child support outcomes. The results are robust against different model specifications, measure constructions, and use of datasets. These findings have important policy implications for policy makers and researchers interested in reducing child poverty in complex family structures and underscore the need to revisit child support policies for mixed-status families.

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Reappraising and Extending the Predictors of States’ Immigrant Policies: Industry Influences and the Moderating Effect of Political Ideology

Margaret Commins & Jeremiah Wills

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We examined how the preferences of firms in immigrant-heavy industries influence the enactment of immigration policies by states and considered whether political ideology, serving as an interpretive lens for such preferences, moderates the effects of industry influences. Existing hypotheses about immigrant policy predictors were also reevaluated.

Method: We coded all immigration bills enacted for years 2005–2012 and fit multilevel, mixed models to predict state-year counts of beneficial and restrictive policies.

Results: Models showed that increases in GDP and employment within the accommodations industry predicted more beneficial immigrant policies within states. The effect of construction industry variables was conditional on state residents’ political ideology. There was mixed support for extant racial and economic threat and political climate hypotheses.

Conclusion: Firms in sectors heavily dependent on immigrant labor influence state-level immigrant policy. Some of these effects are direct, and some are moderated by state residents’ political beliefs.

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Is Previous Removal From the United States a Marker for High Recidivism Risk? Results From a 9-Year Follow-Up Study of Criminally Involved Unauthorized Immigrants

Laura Hickman, Jennifer Wong & Marika Suttorp-Booth

Criminal Justice Policy Review, June 2016, Pages 378-401

Abstract:
The present study examines the long-term recidivism patterns of a group of unauthorized immigrants identified to be at high risk of recidivism. Using a sample of 517 male unauthorized immigrants, we used three measures of recidivism to assess 9-year rearrest differences between unauthorized immigrants who have and who have not been previously removed from the United States. Results indicate that prior removal was a significant risk marker for recidivism, with previously removed immigrants showing a higher likelihood of rearrest, a greater frequency of rearrest, and a more rapid time-to-first rearrest. While the present study does not establish whether previous removal is a consistent indicator of high recidivism, it suggests that this group of unauthorized immigrants may be worthy of review and policy consideration. Much potential value for law enforcement lies in the sharing of federal immigration records with academics to further study the outcomes of unauthorized immigrants.

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Global competition for scientific talent: Evidence from location decisions of PhDs and postdocs in 16 countries

Paula Stephan, Chiara Franzoni & Giuseppe Scellato

Industrial and Corporate Change, June 2016, Pages 457-485

Abstract:
We analyze the decisions of foreign-born PhD and postdoctoral trainees in four natural science fields to come to the United States vs. go to another country for training. Data are drawn from the GlobSci survey of research scientists in 16 countries. A major reason individuals report coming to train in the United States is the prestige of its programs and/or career prospects; perceived lifestyle in the United States is a major factor individuals report for training elsewhere. The availability of exchange programs elsewhere is associated with fewer PhD students coming to the United States. The relative unattractiveness of fringe benefits in the United States is associated with going elsewhere for postdoctoral training. Countries that have been nibbling at the US PhD and postdoc share are Australia, Germany, and Switzerland; France and Great Britain have gained appeal in attracting postdocs, but not in attracting PhD students. Canada has made gains in neither.

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Want freedom, will travel: Emigrant self-selection according to institutional quality

Maryam Naghsh Nejad & Andrew Young

European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate emigrant self-selection according to institutional quality using up to 3566 observations on bilateral migration flows from 77 countries over the 1990–2000 period. We relate these flows to differences in political and economic institutions. We improve and expand upon previous studies by (i) examining decade-long migration flows that (ii) include flows not only to OECD countries but also to non-OECD countries, also (iii) utilizing an estimation method that takes into account the information in zero value migration flows and (iv) examining not only total migration flows but also college-educated and non-college-educated subsamples separately. We find that economic freedoms are a significant pull factor for potential migrants. Once economic freedoms are controlled for, measures of political institutions do not always enter significantly into our estimations. Results are similar for college- and non-college-educated subsamples. Improvements in legal systems and property rights appear to be the strongest pull factor for potential migrants.

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Mixed-Status Families and WIC Uptake: The Effects of Risk of Deportation on Program Use

Edward Vargas & Maureen Pirog

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: Develop and test measures of risk of deportation and mixed-status families on women, infants, and children (WIC) uptake. Mixed-status is a situation in which some family members are U.S. citizens and other family members are in the United States without proper authorization.

Methods: Estimate a series of logistic regressions to estimate WIC uptake by merging data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey with deportation data from U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

Results: The findings of this study suggest that risk of deportation is negatively associated with WIC uptake and among mixed-status families; Mexican-origin families are the most sensitive when it comes to deportations and program use.

Conclusion: Our analysis provides a typology and framework to study mixed-status families and evaluate their usage of social services by including an innovative measure of risk of deportation.

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Effects of the Great Recession on the U.S. Agricultural Labor Market

Maoyong Fan, Anita Alves Pena & Jeffrey Perloff

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We empirically test four hypotheses regarding differences between agricultural worker earnings (wages and bonuses) during recession and non-recessionary times, between agricultural worker time use during recession and non-recession times, between outcomes for undocumented and documented workers, and between outcomes for agricultural workers versus those working in other sectors of interest. Regression analyses show that the wages of documented (legal) seasonal agricultural workers increased more during the last three recessions than did the wages of undocumented agricultural workers and low-skilled nonagricultural workers. Bonus pay and weekly hours also increased for some workers, suggesting general increases in the financial wellbeing of employed agricultural workers during recessions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Judging by its cover

On the psychological function of flags and logos: Group identity symbols increase perceived entitativity

Shannon Callahan & Alison Ledgerwood

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2016, Pages 528-550

Abstract:
Group identity symbols such as flags and logos have been widely used across time and cultures, yet researchers know very little about the psychological functions that such symbols can serve. The present research tested the hypotheses that (a) simply having a symbol leads collections of individuals to seem more like real, unified groups, (b) this increased psychological realness leads groups to seem more threatening and effective to others, and (c) group members therefore strategically emphasize symbols when they want their group to appear unified and intimidating. In Studies 1a–1c, participants perceived various task groups as more entitative when they happened to have a symbol. In Study 2, symbols not only helped groups make up for lacking a physical characteristic associated with entitativity (physical similarity), but also led groups to seem more threatening. Study 3 examined the processes underlying this effect and found that group symbols increase entitativity by increasing perceived cohesiveness. Study 4 extended our results to show that symbols not only shape the impressions people form of novel groups, but also change people’s existing impressions of more familiar and real-world social groups, making them seem more entitative and competent but also less warm. Finally, Studies 5a and 5b further expand our understanding of the psychological function of symbols by showing that group members strategically display symbols when they are motivated to convey an impression of their group as unified and threatening (vs. inclusive and cooperative). We discuss implications for understanding how group members navigate their social identities.

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Threats to Racial Status Promote Tea Party Support Among White Americans

Robb Willer, Matthew Feinberg & Rachel Wetts

Stanford Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Since its rapid rise in early 2009, scholars have advanced a variety of explanations for popular support for the Tea Party movement. Here we argue that various political, economic, and demographic trends and events – e.g., the election of the first nonwhite president, the rising minority population – have been perceived as threatening the relative standing of whites in the U.S., with the resulting racial resentment fueling popular support for the movement. This “decline of whiteness” explanation for white Americans’ Tea Party support differs from prior accounts in highlighting the role of symbolic group status rather than personal experience, or economic competition, with minority group members in generating perceptions of threat. We tested this explanation in five survey-based experiments. In Study 1 we sought to make salient the president’s African-American heritage by presenting participants with an artificially darkened picture of Barack Obama. White participants shown the darkened photo were more likely to report they supported the Tea Party relative to a control condition. Presenting participants with information that the white population share (Study 2) or income advantage (Study 3) is declining also led whites to report greater Tea Party support, effects that were partly explained by heightened levels of racial resentment. A fourth study replicated the effects of Study 2 in a sample of Tea Party supporters. Finally, Study 5 showed that threatened white respondents reported stronger support for the Tea Party when racialized aspects of its platform (e.g., opposition to immigration) were highlighted, than if libertarian ones (e.g., reduced government spending) were. These findings are consistent with a view of popular support for the Tea Party as resulting, in part, from threats to the status of whites in America.

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Prejudice Masquerading as Praise: The Negative Echo of Positive Stereotypes

John Oliver Siy & Sapna Cheryan

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2016, Pages 941-954

Abstract:
Five studies demonstrate the powerful connection between being the target of a positive stereotype and expecting that one is also being ascribed negative stereotypes. In Study 1, women who heard a man state a positive stereotype were more likely to believe that he held negative stereotypes of them than women who heard no stereotype. Beliefs about being negatively stereotyped mediated the relationship between hearing a positive stereotype and believing that the stereotyper was prejudiced. Studies 2 to 4 extended these results to Asian Americans and accounted for alternative explanations (e.g., categorization threat). In Study 5, the same positive stereotype (e.g., good at math) was directed to Asian American men’s racial or gender identity. Their perceptions about whether negative racial or gender stereotypes were being applied to them depended on the identity referenced by the positive stereotype. Positive stereotypes signal a latent negativity about one’s group, thereby explaining why they can feel like prejudice.

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Do You See What I See? The Consequences of Objectification in Work Settings for Experiencers and Third Party Predictors

Sarah Gervais et al.

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sexual objectification is a significant problem that permeates all areas of women's lives including the workplace. This research examines the impact of sexual objectification on women in work settings by integrating objectification, sexual harassment, and affective forecasting theories. We used a laboratory analogue that included undergraduate women who actually experienced objectification during a work interview (i.e., experiencers) and third-party predictors (including female and male undergraduates as well as female and male community workers) who anticipated the effects of objectification (i.e., predictors). We measured actual and anticipated emotions, performance, and sexual harassment following objectification. We found that both mild and severe objectification caused weaker positive affect, stronger negative affect, worse work performance, and higher sexual harassment judgments, but these effects were primarily driven by predictors anticipating worse outcomes following objectification compared to what experiencers actually reported. We also found that experiencers’ responses to objectification were moderated by benevolent sexism with women lower in benevolent sexism responding more similarly to predictors relative to women higher in benevolent sexism. Both experiencers and predictors evaluated interviewers who engaged in objectification equally negatively. Finally, we explored differences between predictors who were female and male undergraduate students versus community workers and found that these parties anticipated different consequences, depending on worker status and gender. Implications for sexual objectification, sexual harassment, and affective forecasting theories as well as practical implications for policy and law are discussed.

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Is President Obama’s Race Chronically Accessible? Racial Priming in the 2012 Presidential Election

Matthew Luttig & Timothy Callaghan

Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
A vast literature indicates that racial animosity has a pervasive influence on the public’s evaluations of U.S. President Barack Obama. Can political communications enhance and/or defuse the link between White Americans’ racial attitudes and evaluations of Barack Obama? In this article, we report the results of an experiment conducted in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign which examines the effect of political rhetoric on the extent to which evaluations of Barack Obama are racialized. Drawing from research on attitude strength and pretreatment effects in experimental studies, we argue that the use of racial appeals in the pretreatment environment and the strength of citizens’ preexisting attitudes toward the incumbent president may produce a downward bias in average estimates of racial priming effects toward President Obama. After accounting for individual differences in the propensity to form strong attitudes with need to evaluate, we observe substantial effects of campaign rhetoric in priming racial attitudes toward President Obama, especially among individuals who are low in the need to evaluate and who tend to have more malleable political attitudes. We conclude by discussing implications for research on racial priming and the politics of racial intolerance in evaluations of Barack Obama.

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Gender-Role Portrayals in Television Advertising Across the Globe

Jörg Matthes, Michael Prieler & Karoline Adam

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although there are numerous studies on gender-role portrayals in television advertising, comparative designs are clearly lacking. With content analytical data from a total of 13 Asian, American, and European countries, we study the stereotypical depiction of men and women in television advertisements. Our sample consists of 1755 ads collected in May 2014. Analyzing the gender of the primary character and voiceover, as well as the age, associated product categories, home- or work setting, and the working role of the primary character, we concluded that gender stereotypes in TV advertising can be found around the world. A multilevel model further showed that gender stereotypes were independent of a country’s gender indices, including Hofstede’s Masculinity Index, GLOBE’s Gender Egalitarianism Index, the Gender-related Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Global Gender Gap Index. These findings suggest that gender stereotyping in television advertising does not depend on the gender equality prevalent in a country. The role of a specific culture in shaping gender stereotypes in television advertising is thus smaller than commonly thought.

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Just say no! (and mean it): Meaningful negation as a tool to modify automatic racial attitudes

India Johnson, Brandon Kopp & Richard Petty

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research compared the effectiveness of meaningful negation — “That’s wrong” — and simple negation — “No” — to alter automatic prejudice. Participants were trained to negate prejudice-consistent or prejudice-inconsistent information, using either simple or meaningful negation, and completed an evaluative priming measure of racial prejudice before and after training. No significant changes in automatic prejudice in the simple negation conditions emerged. In contrast, those trained to negate prejudice-consistent information in a more meaningful way showed a significant decrease in automatic prejudice, whereas those trained to negate prejudice-inconsistent information meaningfully showed a significant increase. Study 2 revealed that these effects were driven by participants high in their motivation to control prejudiced reactions (MCPR), as they demonstrated the greatest changes in automatic prejudice following training. Contrary to research suggesting negation training is an ineffective means to reduce automatic racial prejudice, the present research suggests negation can be effective when the negation is meaningful.

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Can White Children Grow Up to Be Black? Children’s Reasoning About the Stability of Emotion and Race

Steven Roberts & Susan Gelman

Developmental Psychology, June 2016, Pages 887-893

Abstract:
Recent research questions whether children conceptualize race as stable. We examined participants’ beliefs about the relative stability of race and emotion, a temporary feature. Participants were White adults and children ages 5–6 and 9–10 (Study 1) and racial minority children ages 5–6 (Study 2). Participants were presented with target children who were happy or angry and Black or White and were asked to indicate which of 2 adults (a race but not emotion match or an emotion but not race match) each child would grow up to be. White adults, White 9- to 10-year-olds, and racial minority 5- to 6-year-olds selected race matches, whereas White 5- to 6-year-olds selected race and emotion matches equally. These data suggest that beliefs about racial stability vary by age and social group.

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Biracial Perception in Black and White: How Black and White Perceivers Respond to Phenotype and Racial Identity Cues

Danielle Young, Diana Sanchez & Leigh Wilton

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Objectives: This study investigates how racial identity and phenotypicality (i.e., racial ambiguity) shape the perception of biracial individuals in both White and Black perceivers. We investigated complex racial categorization and its downstream consequences, such as perceptions of discrimination.

Method: We manipulated racial phenotypicality (Black or racially ambiguous) and racial identity (Black or biracial) to test these cues’ influence on Black and White race categorizations in a sample of both White (n = 145) and Black (n = 152) identified individuals.

Results: Though racial identity and phenotypicality information influenced deliberate racial categorization, White and Black participants used the cues in different ways. For White perceivers, racial identity and phenotypicality additively influenced Black categorization. For Black perceivers, however, racial identity was only used in Black categorization when racial ambiguity was high. Perceived discrimination was related to White (but not Black) perceivers’ distribution of minority resources to targets, however Black categorization related to perceived discrimination for Black perceivers only.

Conclusion: By demonstrating how Black and White individuals use identity and phenotype information in race perceptions, we provide a more complete view of the complexities of racial categorization and its downstream consequences.

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The base rate principle and the fairness principle in social judgment

Jack Cao & Mahzarin Banaji

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Meet Jonathan and Elizabeth. One person is a doctor and the other is a nurse. Who is the doctor? When nothing else is known, the base rate principle favors Jonathan to be the doctor and the fairness principle favors both individuals equally. However, when individuating facts reveal who is actually the doctor, base rates and fairness become irrelevant, as the facts make the correct answer clear. In three experiments, explicit and implicit beliefs were measured before and after individuating facts were learned. These facts were either stereotypic (e.g., Jonathan is the doctor, Elizabeth is the nurse) or counterstereotypic (e.g., Elizabeth is the doctor, Jonathan is the nurse). Results showed that before individuating facts were learned, explicit beliefs followed the fairness principle, whereas implicit beliefs followed the base rate principle. After individuating facts were learned, explicit beliefs correctly aligned with stereotypic and counterstereotypic facts. Implicit beliefs, however, were immune to counterstereotypic facts and continued to follow the base rate principle. Having established the robustness and generality of these results, a fourth experiment verified that gender stereotypes played a causal role: when both individuals were male, explicit and implicit beliefs alike correctly converged with individuating facts. Taken together, these experiments demonstrate that explicit beliefs uphold fairness and incorporate obvious and relevant facts, but implicit beliefs uphold base rates and appear relatively impervious to counterstereotypic facts.

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Neural pattern similarity reveals the inherent intersection of social categories

Ryan Stolier & Jonathan Freeman

Nature Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 795–797

Abstract:
We provide evidence that neural representations of ostensibly unrelated social categories become bound together by their overlapping stereotype associations. While viewing faces, multi-voxel representations of gender, race, and emotion categories in the fusiform and orbitofrontal cortices were stereotypically biased and correlated with subjective perceptions. The findings suggest that social-conceptual knowledge can systematically alter the representational structure of social categories at multiple levels of cortical processing, reflecting bias in visual perceptions.

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The robust self-esteem proxy: Impressions of self-esteem inform judgments of personality and social value

Jessica Cameron et al.

Self and Identity, September/October 2016, pages 561-578

Abstract:
People use impressions of an evaluative target’s self-esteem to infer their possession of socially desirable traits. But will people still use this self-esteem proxy when trait-relevant diagnostic information is available? We test this possibility in two experiments: participants learn that a target person has low or high self-esteem, and then receive diagnostic information about the target’s academic success or failure and positive or negative affectivity (Study 1), or watch a video of the target’s extraverted or introverted behavior (Study 2). In both experiments, participants’ impressions of the target’s traits accurately tracked diagnostic information, but impressions also revealed an independent self-esteem proxy effect. Evidently, the self-esteem proxy is robust and influences person perception even in the presence of vivid individuating information.

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Reducing prejudice and promoting positive intergroup attitudes among elementary-school children in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Rony Berger et al.

Journal of School Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current investigation tested the efficacy of the Extended Class Exchange Program (ECEP) in reducing prejudicial attitudes. Three hundred and twenty-two 3rd and 4th grade students from both Israeli–Jewish and Israeli–Palestinian schools in the ethnically mixed city of Jaffa were randomly assigned to either intervention or control classes. Members of the intervention classes engaged in ECEP's activities, whereas members of the control classes engaged in a social–emotional learning program. The program's outcomes were measured a week before, immediately after, and 15 months following termination. Results showed that the ECEP decreased stereotyping and discriminatory tendencies toward the other group and increased positive feelings and readiness for social contact with the other group upon program termination. Additionally, the effects of the ECEP were generalized to an ethnic group (i.e., Ethiopians) with whom the ECEP's participants did not have any contact. Finally, the ECEP retained its significant effect 15 months after the program's termination, despite the serious clashes between Israel and the Palestinians that occurred during that time. This empirical support for the ECEP'S utility in reducing prejudice makes it potentially applicable to other areas in the world, especially those that are characterized by ethnic tension and violent conflicts.

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Beware of “reducing prejudice”: Imagined contact may backfire if applied with a prevention focus

Keon West & Katy Greenland

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Imagined intergroup contact — the mental simulation of a (positive) interaction with a member of another group — is a recently developed, low-risk, prejudice-reducing intervention. However, regulatory focus can moderate of the effects of prejudice-reducing interventions: a prevention focus (as opposed to a promotion focus) can lead to more negative outcomes. In two experiments we found that a prevention focus altered imagined contact's effects, causing the intervention to backfire. In Experiment 1, participants who reported a strong prevention-focus during imagined contact subsequently reported higher intergroup anxiety and (indirectly) less positive attitudes toward Asians. We found similar moderating effects in Experiment 2, using a different outgroup (gay men) and a subtle regulatory focus manipulation. Theoretical and practical implications for imagined contact are discussed.

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Evaluations of Michelle Obama as First Lady: The Role of Racial Resentment

Jonathan Knuckey & Myunghee Kim

Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 2016, Pages 365–386

Abstract:
The election of Barack Obama in 2008 was initially viewed as signaling a postracial era in American politics. However, since 2008, race and racial attitudes have appeared to pervade American political discourse and shape political attitudes and behavior to an even greater extent. Using data from the American National Election Studies, this article examines the extent to which white racial attitudes have shaped evaluations of perhaps the most visible African American in politics today after the president: the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Findings show that racial resentment played a large role in evaluations of Michelle Obama, even after controlling for other explanatory variables, which include partisanship, ideology, and affect toward Barack Obama.

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“Yuck, You Disgust Me!” Affective Bias Against Interracial Couples

Allison Skinner & Caitlin Hudac

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research expands upon the sparse existing literature on the nature of bias against interracial couples. Study 1 demonstrates that bias against interracial romance is correlated with disgust. Study 2 provides evidence that images of interracial couples evoke a neural disgust response among observers – as indicated by increased insula activation relative to images of same-race couples. Consistent with psychological theory indicating that disgust leads to dehumanization, Study 3 demonstrates that manipulating disgust leads to implicit dehumanization of interracial couples. Overall, the current findings provide evidence that interracial couples elicit disgust and are dehumanized relative to same-race couples. These findings are particularly concerning, given evidence of antisocial reactions (e.g., aggression, perpetration of violence) to dehumanized targets. Findings also highlight the role of meaningful social units (e.g., couples) in person perception, an important consideration for psychologists conducting social cognition research.

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The Effect of the Perception of an Interviewer’s Race on Survey Responses in a Sample of Asian Americans

Mingnan Liu

Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explores how the perceived race of the interviewer in a telephone survey influences responses to race-related questions in a sample of Asian Americans, using the 2008 National Asian American Survey. Among the 14 questions examined, 5 showed significant effects of the interviewer’s perceived race in regression analysis after controlling for respondents’ demographic characteristics. When respondents perceived the interviewers as Asian American, they were more likely to show a preference for an Asian American candidate in an election and to respond that Asians shared political interests. In contrast, when respondents perceived the interviewers as non-Asian, they were more likely to admit that they had experienced discrimination. In addition, when respondents perceived the interviewers as African American, they were more likely to report that Asian Americans had things in common with African Americans. This article concludes by discussing the implications of this study and future research directions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Winning

Competing with Superstars

Manuel Ammann, Philipp Horsch & David Oesch

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the effect of superstar chief executive officers (CEOs) on their competitors. Exploiting shocks to CEO status due to prestigious media awards, we document a significant positive stock market performance of competitors of superstar CEOs subsequent to the award. The effect is more pronounced for competitors who have not received an award themselves, who are geographically close to an award winner, and who are not entrenched. We observe an increase in risk taking, operating performance, and innovation activity of superstars' competitors as potential channels for this positive performance. Our results suggest a positive overall welfare impact of corporate superstar systems due to the incentivizing effect on superstars' competitors.

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Values That Shape Marketing Decisions: Influence of CEOs' Political Ideologies on Innovation Propensity, Shareholder Value, and Risk

Saim Kashmiri & Vijay Mahajan

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the influence of CEOs' political ideologies, specifically their degree of political liberalism (i.e., support for the Democratic Party relative to the Republican Party), on firms' innovation propensity (i.e., rate of new product introductions).The authors propose that CEOs' degree of political liberalism positively impacts their firms' rate of new product introductions (NPIs). This impact is weakened, however, when CEOs have low power, when a high proportion of their compensation comes from equity, when the marketing department has high influence in the top management team, and when the economy is growing. Liberal CEOs' greater rate of NPIs is associated with superior Tobin's q, but also higher stock return volatility. Findings based on observing 421 publicly listed U.S. firms between 2006-2010 provide considerable support for the authors' hypotheses. The authors also examine changes in firms' rate of NPIs and performance around CEO turnovers and find corroborating evidence for their thesis. These results highlight the role of executives' personal values in shaping firms' innovation strategy, and the risks and rewards associated with aggressive new product introductions.

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Red, Blue, and Purple Firms: Organizational Political Ideology and Corporate Social Responsibility

Abhinav Gupta, Forrest Briscoe & Donald Hambrick

Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do firms vary so much in their stances toward corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Prior research has emphasized the role of external pressures, as well as CEO preferences, while little attention has been paid to the possibility that CSR may also stem from prevailing beliefs among the body politic of the firm. We introduce the concept of organizational political ideology to explain how political beliefs of organizational members shape corporate advances in CSR. Using a novel measure based on the political contributions by employees of Fortune 500 firms, we find that ideology predicts advances in CSR. This effect appears stronger when CSR is rare in the firm's industry, when firms are high in human capital intensity, and when the CEO has had long organizational tenure.

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How Targeting Affects Customer Search: A Field Experiment

Nathan Fong

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
It has become common practice for retailers to personalize direct marketing efforts based on customer transaction histories as a tactic to increase sales. Targeted email offers featuring products in the same category as a customer's previous purchases generate higher purchase rates. However, a targeted offer emphasizing familiar products could result in curtailed search for unadvertised products, as a closely matched offer weakens a customer's incentives to search beyond the targeted items. In a field experiment using email offers sent by an online wine retailer, targeted offers resulted in decreased search activity on the retailer's website. This effect is driven by a lower rate of search by customers who visit the site, rather than a lower incidence of search. There are several ways this could potentially hurt retailers and consumers, such as reduced cross-selling and fewer opportunities for customers to explore new products.

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Where you say it matters: Why packages are a more believable source of product claims than advertisements

Tatiana Fajardo & Claudia Townsend

Journal of Consumer Psychology, July 2016, Pages 426-434

Abstract:
This research demonstrates that a marketing claim placed on a package is more believable than a marketing claim placed in an advertisement. In three studies, we show that the benefit of greater believability for packages is driven by perceptions of proximity. In general, consumers perceive packages, and thus the claims they offer, as closer to the product than ads and their respective claims. This perception of greater claim-to-product proximity is likely to make a claim seem more verifiable. Therefore, claim-to-product proximity is taken as a signal of the marketers' credibility, decreasing inferences of manipulative intent and thereby increasing claim believability and purchase likelihood.

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Fee or Free: When Should Firms Charge for Online Content?

Anja Lambrecht & Kanishka Misra

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many online content providers aim to compensate for a loss in advertising revenues by charging consumers for access to content. However, such a choice is not straightforward because subscription fees typically deter customers, and a resulting decline in viewership further reduces advertising revenues. This research examines whether firms that offer both free and paid content can benefit from adjusting the amount of content offered for free. We find that firms should offer more free - and not paid - content in periods of high demand. We motivate theoretically that this policy, which we term "countercyclical offering," may be optimal for firms when consumers are heterogeneous in their valuation of online content and this heterogeneity varies over time. Using unique data from an online content provider, we then provide empirical evidence that firms indeed engage in countercyclical offering and increase the share of free content in periods of high demand.

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The effects of promotions on hedonic versus utilitarian purchases

Ran Kivetz & Yuhuang Zheng

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Because it is harder to justify hedonic purchases than utilitarian purchases, it is proposed that promotions will have a stronger positive effect on the purchase likelihood of hedonic than utilitarian products. This and related propositions are tested in multiple studies using a variety of product categories and promotions. The results demonstrate that promotions are more effective in driving purchase decisions when: (a) the product is hedonic rather than utilitarian; (b) the product is framed as more hedonic; and (c) the consumer has a hedonic rather than utilitarian consumption goal. Consistent with our conceptualization, the enhanced impact of promotions on hedonic purchases is attenuated when: (a) the hedonic product is intended as a gift for others; (b) consumers can construct justifications for their purchase ahead of time; (c) consumers are not accountable for their decisions; and (d) the promotion is contingent on purchasing additional product units (i.e., a quantity discount like "Buy 10, get 50% off"). Importantly, the present research reconciles and explains the seemingly inconsistent prior findings regarding the effects of price versus quantity promotions.

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Is Top 10 Better than Top 9? The Role of Expectations in Consumer Response to Imprecise Rank Claims

Mathew Isaac, Aaron Brough & Kent Grayson

Journal of Marketing Research, June 2016, Pages 338-353

Abstract:
Many marketing communications are carefully designed to cast a brand in its most favorable light. For example, marketers may prefer to highlight a brand's membership in the top 10 tier of a third-party list instead of disclosing the brand's exact rank. The authors propose that when marketers use these types of imprecise advertising claims, subtle differences in the selection of a tier boundary (e.g., top 9 vs. top 10) can influence consumers' evaluations and willingness to pay. Specifically, the authors find a comfort tier effect in which a weaker claim that references a less exclusive but commonly used tier boundary can actually lead to higher brand evaluations than a stronger claim that references a more exclusive but less common tier boundary. This effect is attributed to a two-stage process by which consumers evaluate imprecise rank claims. The results demonstrate that consumers have specific expectations for how messages are constructed in marketing communications and may make negative inferences about a brand when these expectations are violated, thus attenuating the positive effect such claims might otherwise have on consumer responses.

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Returns to Consumer Search: Evidence from eBay

Thomas Blake, Chris Nosko & Steven Tadelis

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
A growing body of empirical literature finds that consumers are relatively limited in how much they search over product characteristics. We assemble a dataset of search and purchase behavior from eBay to quantify the returns, and thus implied costs, to consumer search on the internet. The extensive nature of the eBay data allows us to examine a rich and detailed set of questions related to search in a way that previous structural models cannot. In contrast to the literature, we find that consumers search a lot: on average 36 times per purchase over 3 (distinct) days, with most sessions ending in no purchase. We find that search costs are relatively low, in the region of 25 cents per search page. We pursue the analysis further by, i) examining how users refine their search, ii) how search behavior spans multiple search sessions, and iii) how the amount of search relates to finding lower prices.

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What are likes worth? A Facebook page field experiment

Daniel Mochon et al.

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the tremendous resources devoted to marketing on Facebook, little is known about its actual effect on customers. Specifically, can Facebook page likes affect offline customer behavior, and if so how? To answer these questions, the authors conducted a field experiment on acquired Facebook page likes and found them to have a positive causal effect on offline customer behavior. Importantly, these likes were most effective when the Facebook page was used as a platform for firm initiated promotional communications. There was no effect of acquired page likes when customers interacted organically with the firm's page, but a significant effect when the firm paid to boost its page posts, and thus used its Facebook page as a platform for paid advertising. These results demonstrate the value of likes beyond Facebook activity itself and highlight the conditions under which acquiring likes is most valuable for firms.

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How Advertorials Deactivate Advertising Schema: MTurk-Based Experiments to Examine Persuasion Tactics and Outcomes in Health Advertisements

Sunny Jung Kim & Jeffrey Hancock

Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Advertorials - advertisements camouflaged as editorial material - are a pervasive advertising strategy. Presentational features of advertorials, such as a small or omitted advertisement label and useful information presented in an editorial format prior to promoting a product, are likely to give impressions to readers that the reading material is a useful resource rather than advertising material. We examined the cognitive and persuasive effects of health product-related advertorials based on a schema-laden information processing model framework. Study 1 (n = 337) found that advertorials were less likely to trigger advertising schema, especially consumer awareness of persuasive intent. Study 2 (n = 336) found that the structure presenting useful information before advertising a related product decreased consumer skepticism. Overall, readers exhibited more positive attitudes toward advertorials than they did toward traditional advertisements due to decreased awareness of persuasive intent (Study 1) and advertorials' structure (Study 2), which, in turn, increased willingness to purchase advertised products.

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Keeping Your Enemies Closer: When Market Entry as an Alliance with Your Competitor Makes Sense

Jeffrey Cai & Jagmohan Raju

Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present an analytical framework of multimarket competition and supporting empirical analysis to explain why and when competing firms in an existing market may prefer an alliance entry over independent entry into a new market. Our findings suggest that an alliance entry is more profitable than an independent entry (i) when the new market is larger relative to the existing market, and (ii) when the competition in the existing market is stronger relative to the new market. We compare these key predictions with archival data from the regional shopping center industry in the United States and find that instances of alliance formation in this industry are consistent with our model-based predictions.

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Designed to Succeed: Dimensions of Product Design and Their Impact on Market Share

Rupinder Jindal et al.

Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the relationship between product design and market share: a topic of considerable significance that has not been addressed in the published literature. Drawing from diverse disciplines such as marketing, industrial design, and engineering, authors conceptualize design as being composed of three distinct product-level dimensions - function, form, and ergonomics. Furthermore, the authors examine the interplay among these design dimensions and their impact on the market share of a product. Empirical results using integrated repeated cross-sectional data obtained from several different sources in the U.S. light vehicle industry reveal an important strategic trade-off concerning design capabilities. Firms can either design for satisfaction by investing in both function and ergonomics, or design for delight by investing in form design capabilities so as to reap share rewards. Authors also show that older generation vehicles with superior form designs do much better in terms of share than corresponding generation vehicles with higher levels of either function or ergonomics. Implications of these results for academic researchers and managers are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Maybe baby

Abortion Costs, Separation, and Non-marital Childbearing

Andrew Beauchamp

Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2016, Pages 182-196

Abstract:
How do abortion costs affect non-marital childbearing? While greater access to abortion has the first-order effect of reducing childbearing among pregnant women, it could nonetheless lead to unintended consequences through effects on marriage market norms. Single motherhood could rise if low-cost abortion makes it easier for men to avoid marriage. This study estimated the effect of abortion costs on separation, cohabitation and marriage following a birth by exploiting miscarriage and changes in state abortion laws. There is evidence that norms responded to abortion laws as women who gave birth under abortion restrictions experienced sizable decreases in single motherhood and increased cohabitation rates. The results underscore the importance of norms regulating relationship dynamics in explaining high levels of non-marital childbearing and single motherhood.

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The Incidental Fertility Effects of School Condom Distribution Programs

Kasey Buckles & Daniel Hungerman

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
While the fertility effects of improving teenagers’ access to contraception are theoretically ambiguous, most empirical work has shown that access decreases teen fertility. In this paper, we consider the fertility effects of access to condoms — a method of contraception not considered in prior work. We exploit variation across counties and across time in teenagers’ exposure to condom distribution programs in schools. We find that access to condoms in schools increases teen fertility by about 10 percent. These effects are driven by communities where condoms are provided without mandated counseling.

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Peer Effects on Teenage Fertility: Social Transmission Mechanisms and Policy Recommendations

Jason Fletcher & Olga Yakusheva

American Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present instrumental variable results suggesting that the likelihood of having a teenage pregnancy is influenced by peers. We show that the instruments (peer-level teen childbearing of mothers and the average age of menarche) are plausibly exogenous across cohorts of students attending the same school. The estimates are large — a 10 percentage point increase in peer pregnancies is associated with a 2–5 percentage point greater likelihood of own-pregnancy. Peer influence is greater in environments with other policy factors that also increase teenage pregnancy rates and may operate primarily through shaping social norms rather than information or knowledge-sharing mechanisms.

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The effects of teenage childbearing on adult soft skills development

Jason Fletcher & Norma Padrón

Journal of Population Economics, July 2016, Pages 883-910

Abstract:
Research examining impacts of teenage childbearing on economic and social outcomes have focused on completed schooling and labor force outcomes. In this paper, we examine outcomes that have remained largely unexplored, soft skills and personality. We use Add Health data to construct relevant controls for teenage mothers and explore a set of measures that proxy for what is usually deemed in economics as “non-cognitive” or “soft skill” traits. We find that teenage childbearing increases impulsivity, a trait that has been found to have negative effects on a large set of outcomes and has a negative effect on other personality traits perceived as positive, such as openness to experiences. Our results remain consistent through a set of robustness checks, and we interpret our findings to suggest that adolescence may be a sensitive period for the development of soft skills and that childbearing may interrupt this process.

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Predicting Unprotected Sex and Unplanned Pregnancy among Urban African-American Adolescent Girls Using the Theory of Gender and Power

Janet Rosenbaum et al.

Journal of Urban Health, June 2016, Pages 493-510

Abstract:
Reproductive coercion has been hypothesized as a cause of unprotected sex and unplanned pregnancies, but research has focused on a narrow set of potential sources of reproductive coercion. We identified and evaluated eight potential sources of reproductive coercion from the Theory of Gender and Power including economic inequality between adolescent girls and their boyfriends, cohabitation, and age differences. The sample comprised sexually active African-American female adolescents, ages 15–21. At baseline (n = 715), 6 months (n = 607), and 12 months (n = 605), participants completed a 40-min interview and were tested for semen Y-chromosome with polymerase chain reaction from a self-administered vaginal swab. We predicted unprotected sex and pregnancy using multivariate regression controlling for demographics, economic factors, relationship attributes, and intervention status using a Poisson working model. Factors associated with unprotected sex included cohabitation (incidence risk ratio (IRR) 1.48, 95 % confidence interval (1.22, 1.81)), physical abuse (IRR 1.55 (1.21, 2.00)), emotional abuse (IRR 1.31 (1.06, 1.63)), and having a boyfriend as a primary source of spending money (IRR 1.18 (1.00, 1.39)). Factors associated with unplanned pregnancy 6 months later included being at least 4 years younger than the boyfriend (IRR 1.68 (1.14, 2.49)) and cohabitation (2.19 (1.35, 3.56)). Among minors, cohabitation predicted even larger risks of unprotected sex (IRR 1.93 (1.23, 3.03)) and unplanned pregnancy (3.84 (1.47, 10.0)). Adolescent cohabitation is a marker for unprotected sex and unplanned pregnancy, especially among minors. Cohabitation may have stemmed from greater commitment, but the shortage of affordable housing in urban areas could induce women to stay in relationships for housing. Pregnancy prevention interventions should attempt to delay cohabitation until adulthood and help cohabiting adolescents to find affordable housing.

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Unconditional Prenatal Income Supplement and Birth Outcomes

Marni Brownell et al.

Pediatrics, June 2016

Methods: This study included all mother–newborn pairs (2003–2010) in Manitoba, Canada, where the mother received prenatal social assistance, the infant was born in the hospital, and the pair had a risk screen (N = 14 591). Low-income women who received the income supplement (Healthy Baby Prenatal Benefit [HBPB], n = 10 738) were compared with low-income women who did not receive HBPB (n = 3853) on the following factors: low birth weight, preterm, small and large for gestational age, Apgar score, breastfeeding initiation, neonatal readmission, and newborn hospital length of stay (LOS). Covariates from risk screens were used to develop propensity scores and to balance differences between groups in regression models; γ sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess sensitivity to unmeasured confounding. Population-attributable and preventable fractions were calculated.

Results: HBPB was associated with reductions in low birth weight (aRR, 0.71 [95% CI, 0.63–0.81]), preterm births (aRR, 0.76 [95% CI, 0.69–0.84]) and small for gestational age births (aRR, 0.90 [95% CI, 0.81–0.99]) and increases in breastfeeding (aRR, 1.06 [95% CI, 1.03–1.09]) and large for gestational age births (aRR, 1.13 [95% CI, 1.05–1.23]). For vaginal births, HBPB was associated with shortened LOS (weighted mean, 2.86; P < .0001). Results for breastfeeding, low birth weight, preterm birth, and LOS were robust to unmeasured confounding. Reductions of 21% (95% CI, 13.6–28.3) for low birth weight births and 17.5% (95% CI, 11.2–23.8) for preterm births were associated with HBPB.

Conclusions: Receipt of an unconditional prenatal income supplement was associated with positive outcomes. Placing conditions on income supplements may not be necessary to promote prenatal and perinatal health.

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The effect of prenatal docosahexaenoic acid supplementation on infant outcomes in African American women living in low-income environments: A randomized, controlled trial

Kate Keenan et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, September 2016, Pages 170–175

Objective: To test the effectiveness of prenatal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation on birth outcomes and infant development in a sample of African American women with Medicaid insurance and living in the city of Pittsburgh.

Design: The Nutrition and Pregnancy Study (NAPS) is a double-blind, randomized controlled trial of prenatal DHA supplementation conducted between 2012 and 2014.

Participants: Sixty-four pregnant, African American women were enrolled at 16-21 weeks of gestation and randomized to either 450 mg/day of DHA (22:6n-3)(n = 43) or a soybean placebo (n = 21). Four women (6.3%) withdrew from the study: two participants from each study arm; complete data were obtained for 49 infants (76.5%) at the 3-month assessment.

Main Outcome and Measures: Data on birth outcomes were collected from medical records. At approximately 3 months post-partum, mothers brought their infants to the laboratory where the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID-III) were administered and cortisol response to the Face-to-Face Still-Face (FFSF) paradigm was assessed.

Results: Infants of mothers who received DHA supplementation had higher birth weight (3,174 grams versus 2,890 grams) than infants of mothers receiving placebo (F [2,40] = 6.09, p = .018, eta = .36), and were more likely to have a 1-minute Apgar score greater than 8 (OR = 5.99 [95% CI = 1.25–28.75], p = .025). Infants of mothers who received DHA compared with infants of mothers receiving placebo had lower levels of cortisol in response to the FFSF paradigm (F [1,32] = 5.36, p = .018, eta = .36). None of the scores on the BSID-III differed as a function of active supplement versus placebo.

Conclusions: Infants of women living in urban, low-income environments who received DHA supplementation had more optimal birth outcomes and more modulated cortisol response to a stressor. DHA supplementation may be effective in attenuating the negative effects of prenatal stress on offspring development.

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Assortative mating and differential fertility by phenotype and genotype across the 20th century

Dalton Conley et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 14 June 2016, Pages 6647–6652

Abstract:
This study asks two related questions about the shifting landscape of marriage and reproduction in US society over the course of the last century with respect to a range of health and behavioral phenotypes and their associated genetic architecture: (i) Has assortment on measured genetic factors influencing reproductive and social fitness traits changed over the course of the 20th century? (ii) Has the genetic covariance between fitness (as measured by total fertility) and other traits changed over time? The answers to these questions inform our understanding of how the genetic landscape of American society has changed over the past century and have implications for population trends. We show that husbands and wives carry similar loadings for genetic factors related to education and height. However, the magnitude of this similarity is modest and has been fairly consistent over the course of the 20th century. This consistency is particularly notable in the case of education, for which phenotypic similarity among spouses has increased in recent years. Likewise, changing patterns of the number of children ever born by phenotype are not matched by shifts in genotype–fertility relationships over time. Taken together, these trends provide no evidence that social sorting is becoming increasingly genetic in nature or that dysgenic dynamics have accelerated.

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The Effect of Gender Norms in Sitcoms on Support for Access to Abortion and Contraception

Nathaniel Swigger

American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can ostensibly nonpolitical television programming affect policy opinions? In this article, I use a laboratory experiment to test whether the gender norms portrayed on two primetime sitcoms can alter political attitudes on gender issues, specifically access to abortion, and contraception. Though the shows in the experiment did not explicitly discuss any policy, I find that sitcoms can influence policy opinions, particularly when the show conveys a “boys will be boys” mentality toward sexual behavior. This finding has important implications for public opinion scholars because it suggests that there may not be such a thing as apolitical programming, and pop culture may have a profound, overlooked effect on public opinion.

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Austerity and Abortion in the European Union

Joana Madureira Lima et al.

European Journal of Public Health, June 2016, Pages 518-519

Abstract:
Economic hardship accompanying large recessions can lead families to terminate unplanned pregnancies. To assess whether abortions have risen during the recession, we collected crude abortion data from 2000 to 2012 from Eurostat for countries that had legal abortions and complete data. Declining trends in abortion ratios between 2000 and 2009 have been reversing. Excess abortions between 2010 and 2012 totaled 10.6 abortions per 1000 pregnancies ending in abortion or birth or 6701 additional abortions (95% CI 1190–9240) with stronger effects in younger ages. Economic shocks may increase recourse to abortion. Further research should explore causal pathways and protective factors.

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Perceived Costs and Benefits of Early Childbearing: New Dimensions and Predictive Power

Sarah Hayford et al.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, June 2016, Pages 83–91

Methods: Perceptions of costs and benefits of pregnancy, as well as later experiences of pregnancy, were assessed for 701 nulligravid women aged 18–22 who entered the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life study in 2008–2009 and were interviewed weekly for up to 30 months. Bivariate t tests, chi-square tests and multivariable discrete-time event history analyses were used to assess associations of perceived personal consequences of childbearing (e.g., predicted financial costs), goals in potentially competing domains (opportunity costs) and social norms with subsequent pregnancy.

Results: Twenty percent of women reported that early childbearing would have more positive than negative personal consequences. Compared with other women, those who had a pregnancy during follow-up had, at baseline, more positive perceptions of the personal consequences of pregnancy and of their friends’ approval of pregnancy, and greater desire for consumer goods. In multivariable analyses, only the scales assessing perceived personal consequences of childbearing and friends’ approval of childbearing were associated with pregnancy (odds ratios, 2.0 and 1.2, respectively). Goals in potentially competing domains were not associated with pregnancy.

Conclusions: Young women's perceptions of consequences of early childbearing predict subsequent pregnancy. That these perceptions are distinct from childbearing desires and from other dimensions of costs and benefits illustrates the complex attitudinal underpinnings of reproductive behavior.

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A Genetically Informed Study of the Associations Between Maternal Age at Childbearing and Adverse Perinatal Outcomes

Ayesha Sujan et al.

Behavior Genetics, May 2016, Pages 431-456

Abstract:
We examined associations of maternal age at childbearing (MAC) with gestational age and fetal growth (i.e., birth weight adjusting for gestational age), using two genetically informed designs (cousin and sibling comparisons) and data from two cohorts, a population-based Swedish sample and a nationally representative United States sample. We also conducted sensitivity analyses to test limitations of the designs. The findings were consistent across samples and suggested that, associations observed in the population between younger MAC and shorter gestational age were confounded by shared familial factors; however, associations of advanced MAC with shorter gestational age remained robust after accounting for shared familial factors. In contrast to the gestational age findings, neither early nor advanced MAC was associated with lower fetal growth after accounting for shared familial factors. Given certain assumptions, these findings provide support for a causal association between advanced MAC and shorter gestational age. The results also suggest that there are not causal associations between early MAC and shorter gestational age, between early MAC and lower fetal growth, and between advanced MAC and lower fetal growth.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 20, 2016

For your country

The Impact of Holy Land Crusades on State Formation: War Mobilization, Trade Integration, and Political Development in Medieval Europe

Lisa Blaydes & Christopher Paik

International Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Holy Land Crusades were among the most significant forms of military mobilization to occur during the medieval period. Crusader mobilization had important implications for European state formation. We find that areas with large numbers of Holy Land crusaders witnessed increased political stability and institutional development as well as greater urbanization associated with rising trade and capital accumulation, even after taking into account underlying levels of religiosity and economic development. Our findings contribute to a scholarly debate regarding when the essential elements of the modern state first began to appear. Although our causal mechanisms — which focus on the importance of war preparation and urban capital accumulation — resemble those emphasized by previous research, we date the point of critical transition to statehood centuries earlier, in line with scholars who emphasize the medieval origins of the modern state. We also point to one avenue by which the rise of Muslim military and political power may have affected European institutional development.

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Representation and Consent: Why They Arose in Europe and Not Elsewhere

David Stasavage

Annual Review of Political Science, 2016, Pages 145-162

Abstract:
Medieval Western Europeans developed two practices that are the bedrock of modern democracy: representative government and the consent of the governed. Why did this happen in Europe and not elsewhere? I ask what the literature has to say about this question, focusing on the role of political ideas, on economic development, and on warfare. I consider Europe in comparison with the Byzantine Empire, the Abbasid Caliphate, and Song Dynasty China. I argue that ultimately Europe's different path may have been an accident. It was produced by Western Europe's experience of outside invasion that replaced the Western Roman Empire with a set of small, fragmented polities in which rulers were relatively weak. Small size meant low transaction costs for maintaining assemblies. The relatively weak position of rulers meant that consent of the governed was necessary. I also suggest how these conclusions should influence our understanding of democracy today.

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The Two Sides of Magna Carta: How Good Government Sometimes Wins Out Over Public Choice

Richard Epstein

International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines two rival interpretations of Magna Carta. It rejects the view that Magna Carta is largely a special interest deal between the King and the Barons, and defends the proposition that by and large it works as a public-regarding document that did much to cure the defects of the feudal and judicial systems they had evolved under King John. A clause-by-clause analysis of the document, dealing with such matters as tenurial succession, marriage, courts and judicial procedures, debtor and creditor arrangements, and property rights and liberties shows that Magna Carta exhibited a high degree of technical excellence. By constantly referring back to ancient customs, Magna Carta introduced sensible reforms, some of which were peculiar to the feudal system, but others of which carry over to similar problems today. The durability of the Magna Carta is justified by its political and legal achievements.

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Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers during an Election in Mozambique

Jenny Aker, Paul Collier & Pedro Vicente

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
African elections often reveal low levels of political accountability. We assess different forms of voter education during an election in Mozambique. Three interventions providing information to voters and calling for their participation were randomized: an information campaign using SMS, an SMS hotline for electoral misconduct, and the distribution of a free newspaper. To measure impact, we look at official electoral results, reports by electoral observers, behavioral and survey data. We find positive effects of all treatments on voter turnout. However, only the distribution of the free newspaper led to more accountability-based participation and to a decrease in electoral problems.

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Electoral Handouts as Information: Explaining Unmonitored Vote Buying

Eric Kramon

World Politics, July 2016, Pages 454-498

Abstract:
Why is vote buying effective even where ballot secrecy is protected? Most answers emerge from models of machine politics, in which a machine holds recipients of handouts accountable for their subsequent political behavior. Yet vote buying is common in many contexts where political party machines are not present, or where parties exert little effort in monitoring voters. This article addresses this puzzle. The author argues that politicians often distribute electoral handouts to convey information to voters. This vote buying conveys information with respect to the future provision of resources to the poor. The author tests the argument with original qualitative and experimental data collected in Kenya. A voter's information about a candidate's vote buying leads to substantial increases in electoral support, an effect driven by expectations about the provision of clientelist benefits beyond the electoral period. The results, showing that the distribution of material benefits can be electorally effective for persuasive reasons, thereby explain how vote buying can be effective in the absence of machine politics.

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The return of the prodigy son: Do return migrants make better leaders?

Marion Mercier

Journal of Development Economics, September 2016, Pages 76–91

Abstract:
This paper describes the relationship between political leaders' migration experience and the evolution of democracy during their leadership. We build up an original database on the personal background of 932 politicians who were at the head of the executive power in a developing country over the 1960–2004 period. These data reveal the existence of a positive correlation between the fact that leaders studied abroad and the change in the score of democracy in their country during their tenure, for leaders who reach power in initially autocratic settings. This correlation notably appears to be driven by leaders who studied in high-income OECD countries. The main finding, confirmed by various robustness tests, adds up to the recent literature on the effects of the characteristics of political leaders. It also suggests a new channel through which migration may shape development and politics in the sending countries — namely, the political elites.

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Working for the Hierarchical System: The Role of Meritocratic Ideology in the Endorsement of Corruption

Xuyun Tan et al.

Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Corruption has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies, but it is widespread throughout the world. There is a question, however, as to whether corruption is endorsed as an outcome of a legitimate hierarchy and meritocracy. To address this issue, the present study examines the associations between meritocratic ideology and the indicators of corruption by performing two empirical studies with correlational and experimental designs. In Study 1, all variables were measured with scales, and the results demonstrated that meritocratic ideologies were negatively associated with corruption perception but positively associated with corrupt intention. In Study 2, meritocratic ideology was manipulated, and the results demonstrated that compared with the low meritocratic-ideology condition, the participants primed by the high meritocratic-ideology condition reported a lower corruption perception but higher corrupt intention. In both studies, the findings suggest that the meritocratic ideology that motivates people to maintain and bolster the current hierarchical structure and meritocracy leads to the endorsement of corruption. The present study explores the roles of meritocratic ideology in the perception and intention of corruption, extends the scope of the predictive power of system justification theory to corruption beyond mere injustice-related aspects of disadvantage, and also provides suggestions for interpreting and fighting against corruption.

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Democracy and Football

Ignacio Lago, Carlos Lago-Peñas & Santiago Lago-Peñas

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: This article relies on data from two samples of 47 and 49 European countries from 1950 through 2011 and 1,980 and 1,960 football domestic leagues, respectively, to explore to what extent political regimes affect the competitive balance in domestic football (soccer) leagues.

Methods: We run OLS cross-sectional regressions comparing democracies and nondemocracies and pooled cross-sectional time-series analyses conducted on the 13 countries that have experienced a transition to democracy after 1950.

Results: We find that the percentage of league competitions won by the most successful club in the country is substantially lower in democracies than in nondemocracies. Democratic transitions trigger pressures to increase the competitive balance in football leagues.

Conclusions: The link between nondemocracies and specific teams breaks when a country experiences a transition to democracy and the economic liberalization that takes place in transitions to democracy disperses resources and generates competition among descending and ascending teams.

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Reconciling after civil conflict increases social capital but decreases individual well-being

Jacobus Cilliers, Oeindrila Dube & Bilal Siddiqi

Science, 13 May 2016, Pages 787-794

Abstract:
Civil wars divide nations along social, economic, and political cleavages, often pitting one neighbor against another. To restore social cohesion, many countries undertake truth and reconciliation efforts. We examined the consequences of one such effort in Sierra Leone, designed and implemented by a Sierra Leonean nongovernmental organization called Fambul Tok. As a part of this effort, community-level forums are set up in which victims detail war atrocities, and perpetrators confess to war crimes. We used random assignment to study its impact across 200 villages, drawing on data from 2383 individuals. We found that reconciliation had both positive and negative consequences. It led to greater forgiveness of perpetrators and strengthened social capital: Social networks were larger, and people contributed more to public goods in treated villages. However, these benefits came at a substantial cost: The reconciliation treatment also worsened psychological health, increasing depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder in these same villages. For a subset of villages, we measured outcomes both 9 months and 31 months after the intervention. These results show that the effects, both positive and negative, persisted into the longer time horizon. Our findings suggest that policy-makers need to restructure reconciliation processes in ways that reduce their negative psychological costs while retaining their positive societal benefits.

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War, Inflation, and Social Capital

Sergei Guriev & Nikita Melnikov

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 230-235

Abstract:
We use weekly data from 79 Russian regions to measure the impact of economic shocks and proximity to war in Ukraine on social capital in Russian regions. We proxy social capital by the relative intensity of internet searches for the most salient dimensions of pro-social behavior such as "donate blood", "charity", "adopt a child" etc. This measure of social capital is correlated with a survey-based measure of generalized social trust. Our search-based measure of social capital responds negatively to the spikes of inflation and positively to the intensity of the conflict in Ukraine (controlling for region and week fixed effects).

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Global Power Movements, Uncertainty and Democracy in the Middle East

Selin Guner

New Global Studies, April 2016, Pages 27–48

Abstract:
Studies that examine global determinants of democracy mainly focus on factors such as global conflict, strength of global community, international organizations and the impact of democratic neighbors. This paper logically extends the global approach by considering the impact of global power shifts on democratization in the Middle East. In this paper, it is argued that global uncertainty raised by power shifts in the system is likely to impact authoritarian elite behavior leading to their concession to share political power. This article specifies the assumptions, hypothesis and the causal mechanism through which power shifts might impact democracy in the Middle East. To test the hypothesis, this article uses cross-country panel data and fixed effects GLS regression models on 878 observations, 20 countries ranging from 1815 until 2004. To clarify the argument, examples of democratization process in Iran and Turkey as well as recent 2011 Middle East uprisings are also discussed as illustrative evidence. The results support the argument that global power transfers have short term and long term impacts on democratization in the Middle East.

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Media, Protest Diffusion, and Authoritarian Resilience

Haifeng Huang, Serra Boranbay-Akan & Ling Huang

Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do authoritarian governments always censor news about protests to prevent unrest from spreading? Existing research on authoritarian politics stresses the danger that information spread within the society poses for a regime. In particular, media and Internet reports of social unrest are deemed to threaten authoritarian rule, as such reports may incite more protests and thus spread instability. We show that such reasoning is incomplete if social protests are targeted at local officials. Allowing media the freedom to report local protests may indeed lead to protest diffusion, but the increased probability of citizen protest also has two potential benefits for the regime: (1) identifying and addressing more social grievances, thus releasing potential revolutionary pressure on the regime; (2) forcing local officials to reduce misbehavior, thus reducing underlying social grievances. For authoritarian governments whose survival is vulnerable to citizen grievances, allowing the media to report social protests aimed at local governments can therefore enhance regime stability and protect its interests under many circumstances. We construct a game-theoretic model to analyze the problem and illustrate the argument with examples from China.

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Are Coups Really Contagious? An Extreme Bounds Analysis of Political Diffusion

Michael Miller, Michael Joseph & Dorothy Ohl

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Protests and democratic transitions tend to spread cross-nationally. Is this true of all political events? We argue that the mechanisms underlying the diffusion of mass-participation events are unlikely to support the spread of elite-led violence, particularly coups. Further, past findings of coup contagion employed empirical techniques unable to distinguish clustering, common shocks, and actual diffusion. To investigate which events diffuse and where, we combine modern spatial dependence models with extreme bounds analysis (EBA). EBA allows for numerous modeling alternatives, including diffusion timing and the controls, and calculates the distribution of estimates across all combinations of these choices. We also examine various diffusion pathways, such as contagion among trade partners. Results from nearly 1.2 million models clearly undercut coup contagion. In comparison, we confirm that more mass-driven political events robustly spread cross-nationally. Our findings contribute to studies of political conflict and contagion, while introducing EBA as an effective tool for diffusion scholars.

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Elite Capture: How Decentralization and Informal Institutions Weaken Property Rights in China

Daniel Mattingly

World Politics, July 2016, Pages 383-412

Abstract:
Political decentralization is often argued to strengthen political accountability by bringing government closer to the people. Social and civic institutions at the local level, such as lineage associations, temples, churches, or social clubs, can make it easier for citizens to monitor officials and hold them accountable. This article argues that strong social institutions also empower local elites who may use their informal influence to control their group and capture rents. Drawing on evidence from case studies of Chinese villages, the article shows that lineage group leaders who become village officials use their combination of social and political authority to confiscate villagers’ land. Evidence from a survey experiment suggests that endorsement of a land confiscation plan by lineage elites elicits greater compliance with property seizures. A national survey indicates that when a lineage leader becomes a village cadre, it is associated with a 14 to 20 percent increase in the likelihood of a land expropriation. The findings demonstrate how informal institutions and local civil society can be tools of top-down political control.

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The Arc of Modernization: Economic Structure, Materialism, and the Onset of Civil Conflict

Tyson Chatagnier & Emanuele Castelli

Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
The onset of intrastate conflict has two requisite conditions: that prospective insurgents have an incentive to rebel, and that the state lacks the capacity to deter such a rebellion. We outline a simple rationalist argument grounded in gains from economic growth — to both individual income and state revenue — to argue that modernization has the potential to affect the likelihood of civil conflict through both of these conditions. The shift away from a rent-seeking economy affects opportunity costs for rebellion by increasing the cost of recruitment, broadening the time horizon for gain, and decreasing looting possibilities. On the state side, modernization increases state military, economic, and institutional capacity, allowing governments to deter rebellion. We construct an index of modernization from World Bank data and apply a strategic model to explore the effect of modernization on both states and rebels simultaneously. We find that the modernization process describes an arc that may increase the likelihood of unrest in the early stages, but has long-term stabilizing effects.

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Unsafe Havens: Re-Examining Humanitarian Aid and Peace Duration after Civil Wars

Philip Martin & Nina McMurry

MIT Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Does humanitarian aid delivered in the aftermath of civil conflict increase the risk of conflict resumption? And if so, under what conditions? In contrast to previous work that focuses on the terms of civil war resolution, we argue that humanitarian aid is most likely to play a de-stabilizing role when armed groups have access to territorial safe havens, either inside the country where the fighting has taken place or in cross-border refugee camps. We illustrate this argument with the cases of Liberia (1989-1997) and Sudan (1983-2005), and then test the theory using a panel dataset of civil war ceasefires between 1989 and 2004. Our results support the argument that the effect of humanitarian aid on ceasefire stability is conditional on the ability of rebel organizations to control territory and access cross-border refugee populations.

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When Do States Take the Bait? State Capacity and the Provocation Logic of Terrorism

Brian Blankenship

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
A prominent theory holds that groups may use terrorism in order to provoke governments into undertaking repression that alienates the population. However, virtually no studies have addressed the central puzzle of this provocation logic: why states would actually fall into this trap, if doing so can backfire. This study seeks to address this puzzle by suggesting conditions under which states would respond to terrorism with repression. I argue that states with limited bureaucratic capacity are more prone to using repression after terrorist incidents, as their ability to selectively crack down is inhibited by their more limited capability for controlling, monitoring, and collecting revenue from their populations and for collecting intelligence on suspected terrorists. Using a cross-national analysis with data from 1981 to 2011, I find it is low-capacity states which are most likely to respond to terrorism with repression, while constraints on executive authority have no clear effect.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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