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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Charged

The Music of Power: Perceptual and Behavioral Consequences of Powerful Music

Dennis Hsu et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Music has long been suggested to be a way to make people feel powerful. The current research investigated whether music can evoke a sense of power and produce power-related cognition and behavior. Initial pretests identified musical selections that generated subjective feelings of power. Experiment 1 found that music pretested to be powerful implicitly activated the construct of power in listeners. Experiments 2-4 demonstrated that power-inducing music produced three known important downstream consequences of power: abstract thinking, illusory control, and moving first. Experiments 5a and 5b held all features of music constant except for the level of bass and found that music with more bass increased participants' sense of power. This research expands our understanding of music’s influence on cognition and behavior and uncovers a novel antecedent of the sense of power.

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How Non-Consumption Shapes Desire

Xianchi Dai & Ayelet Fishbach
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does non-consumption shape desire? The proposed model suggests that desire depends on the length of non-consumption of a good and the presence of salient alternatives, and that desire is at least partially constructed. In the absence of salient alternatives, a longer non-consumption period results in stronger desire for the unconsumed good. However, in the presence of salient alternatives, individuals infer that they have developed new tastes, and thus a longer non-consumption period results in a weaker desire for the unconsumed good. Five studies support this model across non-consumption of various goods: food from home when attending college (study 1); chametz food during the Passover holiday (study 2); social media (i.e., abstaining from Facebook; study 3); and cultural foods (i.e., forgoing Japanese food, study 4; and Thai food, study 5). We discuss implications of our findings for when and how the experience of desire is constructed and situationally determined.

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Cues of working together fuel intrinsic motivation

Priyanka Carr & Gregory Walton
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 169-184

Abstract:
What psychological mechanisms facilitate social coordination and cooperation? The present research examined the hypothesis that social cues that signal an invitation to work with others can fuel intrinsic motivation even when people work alone. Holding constant other factors, participants exposed to cues of working together persisted longer on a challenging task (Experiments 1 and 3), expressed greater interest in and enjoyment of the task (Experiments 1, 3, and 5), required less self-regulatory effort to persist on the task (Experiment 2), became more engrossed in and performed better on the task (Experiment 4), and, when encouraged to link this motivation to their values and self-concept, chose to do more related tasks in an unconnected setting 1-2 weeks later (Experiment 5). The results suggest that cues of working together can inspire intrinsic motivation, turning work into play. The discussion addresses the social-relational bases of motivation and implications for the !
self and application.

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Implicit Theories About Willpower Predict Self-Regulation and Grades in Everyday Life

Veronika Job et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Laboratory research shows that when people believe that willpower is an abundant (rather than highly limited) resource they exhibit better self-control after demanding tasks. However, some have questioned whether this “nonlimited” theory leads to squandering of resources and worse outcomes in everyday life when demands on self-regulation are high. To examine this, we conducted a longitudinal study, assessing students’ theories about willpower and tracking their self-regulation and their academic performance. As hypothesized, a “nonlimited” theory predicted better self-regulation (better time management and less procrastination, unhealthy eating, and impulsive spending) for students who faced high self-regulatory demands. Moreover, among students taking a heavy course load, those with a nonlimited theory earned higher grades, which was mediated by less procrastination. These findings contradict the idea that a limited theory helps people all!
ocate their resources more effectively; instead, it is people with the nonlimited theory who self-regulate well in the face of high demands.

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Theories of intelligence and students' daily self-handicapping behaviors

Nicolette Rickert, Inez Meras & Melissa Witkow
Learning and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study sought to examine the relationship between students' theory of intelligence and daily self-handicapping behaviors. Ninth grade students completed a background survey with an eight-item measure assessing one's theory of intelligence (Dweck, 1999) and global measures of procrastination and self-handicapping. Participants then completed daily surveys for 2 weeks in which they reported how much homework they had, perceived school difficulty, time spent studying and in other domains, and how much effort they spent on their homework/studying. Results revealed that the strength of one's entity theory of intelligence was positively associated with self-handicapping and procrastination, replicating past findings. It was also found that entity theories of intelligence were associated with reduced responsiveness to daily school demands when compared to incremental theories. Not only do these results demonstrate an association between theory of intelligence and maladap!
tive school behaviors, but they show how these behaviors manifest on a daily basis.

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The effect of priming learning vs. performance goals on a complex task

Xiao Chen & Gary Latham
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examined the effect of priming a learning goal, a performance goal, and both a learning and a performance goal on a task requiring the acquisition of knowledge. A photograph of Rodin’s “The Thinker” primed a learning goal, and a photograph of a racer primed a performance goal, as measured by a projective test. A laboratory experiment (n = 88) involving a 2 (a primed learning goal vs. control) × 2 (a primed performance goal vs. control) × 3 (trials) repeated measures factorial design revealed a significant main effect for only the primed learning goal. The results are interpreted within two frameworks, namely, goal setting theory and the automaticity model.

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Boredom and academic achievement: Testing a model of reciprocal causation

Reinhard Pekrun et al.
Journal of Educational Psychology, August 2014, Pages 696-710

Abstract:
A theoretical model linking boredom and academic achievement is proposed. Based on Pekrun’s (2006) control-value theory of achievement emotions, the model posits that boredom and achievement reciprocally influence each other over time. Data from a longitudinal study with college students (N = 424) were used to examine the hypothesized effects. The study involved 5 assessments of students’ boredom and test performance during a university course spanning an entire academic year. Structural equation modeling was used to examine effects of boredom on achievement, and vice versa. The results show that boredom had consistently negative effects on subsequent performance, and performance had consistently negative effects on subsequent boredom, while controlling for students’ gender, age, interest, intrinsic motivation, and prior achievement. These results provide robust evidence for the proposed links between boredom and achievement and support systems-theoretic!
al perspectives on the dynamics of emotions and achievement. From a broader educational perspective, the findings imply that researchers and practitioners alike should focus attention on boredom as an important, yet often overlooked, academic emotion.

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Daytime light exposure: Effects on biomarkers, measures of alertness, and performance

Levent Sahin et al.
Behavioural Brain Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Light can elicit an alerting response in humans, independent from acute melatonin suppression. Recent studies have shown that red light significantly increases daytime and nighttime alertness. The main goal of the present study was to further investigate the effects of daytime light exposure on performance, biomarkers and measures of alertness. It was hypothesized that, compared to remaining in dim light, daytime exposure to narrowband long-wavelength (red) light or polychromatic (2568 K) light would induce greater alertness and shorter response times. Thirteen subjects experienced three lighting conditions: dim light (<5 lux), red light (λmax = 630 nm, 210 lux, 1.1 W/m2), and white light (3000 K, 360 lux, 1.1 W/m2). The presentation order of the lighting conditions was counterbalanced across the participants and each participant saw a different lighting condition each week. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that red light can increase short-term performanc!
e as shown by the significant (p < 0.05) reduced response time and higher throughput in performance tests during the daytime. There was a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in alpha power and alpha-theta power after exposure to the white light, but this alerting effect did not translate to better performance. There was no significant effect of light on cortisol and alpha amylase. Alpha power was significantly reduced after red light exposure in the middle of the afternoon. The present results suggest that red light can be used to increase daytime performance.

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When motivational consequences of ego depletion collide: Conservation dominates over reward-seeking

Mauro Giacomantonio et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 217-220

Abstract:
Existing research shows that ego depletion - impaired self-regulation following repeatedly exerting self-control - both increases the need to conserve energy, thus reducing engagement and persistence, and promotes approach tendencies and reward-seeking behaviors. These dual motivations may be paradoxical; in many situations, seeking rewards requires energy input. In such cases of competing motivations, which of the two motivations dominates over the other? To answer this question, we manipulated ego depletion and then had participants engage in a reward-seeking task that was either demanding or not demanding of energy. Results showed that, in line with previous research, in the less demanding condition, depleted participants were more reward-seeking than non-depleted participants. In contrast, in the more demanding condition, depleted individuals quit sooner and hence were less reward-seeking than the non-depleted participants. We conclude that in a state of ego depletion, c!
onserving energy is sometimes dominant over pursuing rewards.

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Association between serotonin Cumulative Genetic Score and the Behavioral Approach System (BAS): Moderation by early life environment

Rahel Pearson, John McGeary & Christopher Beevers
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2014, Pages 140-144

Abstract:
The present study investigates if genetic variation in the serotonergic system interacts with early adversity to predict changes in the Behavioral Approach System (BAS), a system that taps into reward processing. In a sample of community adults (N = 236) the influence of single serotonergic candidate polymorphisms on BAS was analyzed, we also examined the aggregate contribution of these genetic variants by creating a Cumulative Genetic Score (CGS). A CGS quantifies an individual’s cumulative risk by aggregating the number of risk alleles across the candidate polymorphisms. After individual gene analysis, three candidate genes rs7305115 (TPH2), rs6311 (HTR2A), and rs6295 (HTR1A) were combined into the CGS. There were no significant interactions between individual candidate polymorphisms and childhood adversity, but the CGS interacted with childhood adversity to explain a significant amount of variance (11.6%) in the BAS. Findings suggest that genetic variations in the !
serotonergic system in combination with childhood adversity contribute to individual differences in reward sensitivity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, August 22, 2014

Your money or your life

Health Spending Slowdown Is Mostly Due To Economic Factors, Not Structural Change In The Health Care Sector

David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite & Christopher Ody
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1399-1406

Abstract:
The source of the recent slowdown in health spending growth remains unclear. We used new and unique data on privately insured people to estimate the effect of the economic slowdown that began in December 2007 on the rate of growth in health spending. By exploiting regional variations in the severity of the slowdown, we determined that the economic slowdown explained approximately 70 percent of the slowdown in health spending growth for the people in our sample. This suggests that the recent decline is not primarily the result of structural changes in the health sector or of components of the Affordable Care Act, and that — absent other changes in the health care system — an economic recovery will result in increased health spending.

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The Impact of Tort Reform on Intensity of Treatment: Evidence from Heart Patients

Ronen Avraham & Max Schanzenbach
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the effect of non-economic damage caps on the treatment intensity of heart attack victims. We focus on whether a patient receives a major intervention in the form of either a coronary artery by-pass or angioplasty. We find strong evidence that treatment intensity declines after a cap on non-economic damages. The probability of receiving a major intervention in the form of either an angioplasty or bypass declines by 1.25 to 2 percentage points after non-economic damage caps are enacted, and this effect is larger a year or two after reform. However, we also find clear evidence of substitution between major interventions. When doctors have discretion to perform a by-pass and patients have insurance coverage, caps on non-economic damages increase the probability that a by-pass is performed. The effect of non-economic damage caps on costs is not always statistically significant, but in models with state-specific trends, total costs decline by as much as four percent. We conclude that tort reform reduces treatment intensity overall, even though it changes the mix of treatments. Using the Center for Disease Control's Vital Statistics data, we find that tort reform is not associated with an increase in mortality from coronary heart disease; if anything, mortality declines.

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Moral Hazard and Less Invasive Medical Treatment for Coronary Artery Disease: The Case of Cigarette Smoking

Jesse Margolis et al.
NBER Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Over the last several decades, numerous medical studies have compared the effectiveness of two common procedures for Coronary Artery Disease: Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG). Most evidence indicates that CABG – the more invasive procedure – leads to superior long term outcomes for otherwise similar patients, though there is little consensus as to why. In this article, we propose a novel explanation: patient offsetting behavior. We hypothesize that patients who undergo the more invasive procedure, CABG, are more likely to improve their behavior – eating, exercise, smoking, and drinking – in a way that increases longevity. To test our hypothesis, we use Medicare records linked to the National Health Interview Survey to study one such behavior: smoking. We find that CABG patients are 12 percentage points more likely to quit smoking in the one-year period immediately surrounding their procedure than PCI patients, a result that is robust to numerous alternative specifications.

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Insurers' Negotiating Leverage and the External Effects of Medicare Part D

Darius Lakdawalla & Wesley Yin
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
By influencing the size and bargaining power of private insurers, public subsidization of private health insurance may project effects beyond the subsidized population. We test for such spillovers by analyzing how increases in insurer size resulting from the implementation of Medicare Part D affected drug prices negotiated in the non-Medicare commercial market. On average, Part D lowered prices for commercial enrollees by 3.7%. The external commercial market savings amount to $1.5 billion per year, which, if passed to consumers, approximates the internal cost-savings of newly-insured subsidized beneficiaries. If retained by insurers, it corresponds to a greater than 9.25% average increase in profitability on stand-alone drug insurance.

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California Safety-Net Hospitals Likely To Be Penalized By ACA Value, Readmission, And Meaningful-Use Programs

Matlin Gilman et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1314-1322

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act includes provisions to increase the value obtained from health care spending. A growing concern among health policy experts is that new Medicare policies designed to improve the quality and efficiency of hospital care, such as value-based purchasing (VBP), the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), and electronic health record (EHR) meaningful-use criteria, will disproportionately affect safety-net hospitals, which are already facing reduced disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) payments under both Medicare and Medicaid. We examined hospitals in California to determine whether safety-net institutions were more likely than others to incur penalties under these programs. To assess quality, we also examined whether mortality outcomes were different at these hospitals. Our study found that compared to non-safety-net hospitals, safety-net institutions had lower thirty-day risk-adjusted mortality rates in the period 2009–11 for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia and marginally lower adjusted Medicare costs. Nonetheless, safety-net hospitals were more likely than others to be penalized under the VBP program and the HRRP and more likely not to meet EHR meaningful-use criteria. The combined effects of Medicare value-based payment policies on the financial viability of safety-net hospitals need to be considered along with DSH payment cuts as national policy makers further incorporate performance measures into the overall payment system.

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Does Seeing the Doctor More Often Keep You Out of the Hospital?

Robert Kaestner & Anthony Lo Sasso
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
By exploiting a unique health insurance benefit design, we provide novel evidence on the causal association between outpatient and inpatient care. Our results indicate that greater outpatient spending was associated with more hospital admissions: a $100 increase in outpatient spending was associated with a 1.9% increase in the probability of having an inpatient event and a 4.6% increase in inpatient spending among enrollees in our sample. Moreover, we present evidence that the increase in hospital admissions associated with greater outpatient spending was for conditions in which it is plausible to argue that the physician and patient could exercise discretion.

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Cohort Turnover and Productivity: The July Phenomenon in Teaching Hospitals

Robert Huckman, Hummy Song & Jason Barro
Harvard Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We consider the impact of cohort turnover — the planned simultaneous exit of a large number of experienced employees and a similarly sized entry of new workers — on productivity in the context of teaching hospitals. Specifically, we examine the impact of the annual July turnover of residents in American teaching hospitals on levels of resource utilization and quality in teaching hospitals relative to a control group of non-teaching hospitals. We find that, despite the anticipated nature of the cohort turnover and the supervisory structures that exist in teaching hospitals, this annual cohort turnover results in increased resource utilization (i.e., longer length of hospital stay) for both minor and major teaching hospitals, and decreased quality (i.e., higher mortality rates) for major teaching hospitals. Particularly in major teaching hospitals, we find evidence of a gradual trend of decreasing performance that begins several months before the actual cohort turnover and may result from a transition of responsibilities at major teaching hospitals in anticipation of the cohort turnover.

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Non-Adherence In Health Care: A Positive and Normative Analysis

Mark Egan & Tomas Philipson
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Non-adherence in health care results when a patient does not initiate or continue care that has been recommended by a provider. Previous researchers have identified non-adherence as a major source of waste in US healthcare, totaling approximately 2.3% of GDP, and have proposed a plethora of interventions to improve adherence. However, little explicit analysis exists in health economics of the dynamic demand behavior that drives non-adherence. We argue that while providers may be more informed about the population-wide effects of treatments, patients are more informed about their individual treatment effect. We interpret a patient’s adherence decision as an optimal stopping problem where patients learn the value of a treatment through experience. Our positive analysis derives an “adherence survival function” and shows how various observable factors affect adherence. Our normative analysis derives the efficiency effects of non-adherence, the conditions under which adherence is too high or too low, and why many common interventions aimed at raising adherence produce indeterminate welfare effects. We calibrate these welfare effects for one of the largest US drug categories, cholesterol reducing drugs. Contrary to frequent normative claims of under-adherence, our estimates suggest that the ex-post efficiency loss from over-adherence is over 80% larger than from under-adherence.

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The Long-Term Health Effects of Early Life Medicaid Coverage

Sarah Marie Miller & Laura Wherry
University of Michigan Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Although the link between the fetal environment and later life health and achievement is well-established, few studies have evaluated the extent to which public policies aimed at improving fetal health have effects that persist into adulthood. In this study, we evaluate how a rapid expansion of prenatal and child health insurance coverage through the Medicaid program affected the adult health and health care utilization of individuals born between 1979 and 1993 who gained coverage in utero and as children. We find that those whose mothers gained eligibility for prenatal coverage under Medicaid have lower rates of obesity and lower body mass indices as adults. Using administrative data on hospital discharges, we find that cohorts who gained in utero Medicaid eligibility have fewer preventable hospitalizations and fewer hospitalizations related to endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, and immunity disorders as adults. We find effects of public eligibility in other periods of childhood on hospitalizations later in life, but these effects are small. Our results indicate that expanding Medicaid prenatal coverage had long-term benefits for the health of the next generation.

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Bundled Payment Fails To Gain A Foothold In California: The Experience Of The IHA Bundled Payment Demonstration

Susan Ridgely et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1345-1352

Abstract:
To determine whether bundled payment could be an effective payment model for California, the Integrated Healthcare Association convened a group of stakeholders (health plans, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, physician organizations, and vendors) to develop, through a consensus process, the methods and means of implementing bundled payment. In spite of a high level of enthusiasm and effort, the pilot did not succeed in its goal to implement bundled payment for orthopedic procedures across multiple payers and hospital-physician partners. An evaluation of the pilot documented a number of barriers, such as administrative burden, state regulatory uncertainty, and disagreements about bundle definition and assumption of risk. Ultimately, few contracts were signed, which resulted in insufficient volume to test hypotheses about the impact of bundled payment on quality and costs. Although bundled payment failed to gain a foothold in California, the evaluation provides lessons for future bundled payment initiatives.

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Health insurer market power and primary care consolidation

Christopher Brunt & John Bowblis
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyses how health insurance market concentration impacts the market structure of primary care physicians. In more concentrated insurance markets, physicians are found to work in larger practices and their practices are more likely to have a hospital with an ownership interest. Physicians are also less likely to report being in a competitive physician market, consistent with practice consolidation. Our results suggest consolidation in insurance markets impacts the competitive structure of physicians markets.

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Socialized medicine and mortality

Sam Peltzman
International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, September 2014, Pages 179-205

Abstract:
Over the last century life expectancy has increased substantially and so has the share of health care expenditures financed by governments. In cross-country comparisons, the US, which has the lowest government health expenditure share, often has the poorest health outcomes. Is there a plausible connection between health outcomes and government financing of health care? This paper addresses this question with panel data from 20 developed countries from 1950 to 2010. I review the history of government involvement in health care financing over this period. Then I use panel regression methods to examine whether a variety of mortality based outcome measures are correlated with the extent of government involvement. The answers are robustly negative.

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Medicaid Primary Care Physician Fees and the Use of Preventive Services among Medicaid Enrollees

Adam Atherly & Karoline Mortensen
Health Services Research, August 2014, Pages 1306–1328

Objective: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) increases Medicaid physician fees for preventive care up to Medicare rates for 2013 and 2014. The purpose of this paper was to model the relationship between Medicaid preventive care payment rates and the use of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)–recommended preventive care use among Medicaid enrollees.

Data Sources/Study Session: We used data from the 2003 and 2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a national probability sample of the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population, linked to Kaiser state Medicaid benefits data, including the state Medicaid-to-Medicare physician fee ratio in 2003 and 2008.

Study Design: Probit models were used to estimate the probability that eligible individuals received one of five USPSF-recommended preventive services. A difference-in-difference model was used to separate out the effect of changes in the Medicaid payment rate and other factors.

Principal Findings: Although Medicaid enrollees had a lower rate of use of the five preventive services in univariate analysis, neither Medicaid enrollment nor changes in Medicaid payment rates had statistically significant effects on meeting screening recommendations for the five screenings. The results were robust to a number of different sensitivity tests. Individual and state characteristics were significant.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that although temporary changes in primary care provider payments for preventive services for Medicaid enrollees may have other desirable effects, they are unlikely to substantially increase the use of these selected USPSTF-recommended preventive care services among Medicaid enrollees.

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Paying Attention or Paying Too Much in Medicare Part D

Jonathan Ketcham, Claudio Lucarelli & Christopher Powers
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study whether people became less likely to switch Medicare prescription drug plans (PDPs) due to more options and more time in Part D. Panel data for a random 20% sample of enrollees from 2006–2010 show that 50% were not in their original PDPs by 2010. Individuals switched PDPs in response to higher costs of their status quo plans, saving them money. Contrary to choice overload, larger choice sets increased switching unless the additional plans were relatively expensive. Neither switching overall nor responsiveness to costs declined over time, and above-minimum spending in 2010 remained below the 2006 and 2007 levels.

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Medication Affordability Gains Following Medicare Part D Are Eroding Among Elderly With Multiple Chronic Conditions

Huseyin Naci et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1435-1443

Abstract:
Elderly Americans, especially those with multiple chronic conditions, face difficulties paying for prescriptions, which results in worse adherence to and discontinuation of therapy, called cost-related medication nonadherence. Medicare Part D, implemented in January 2006, was supposed to address issues of affordability for prescriptions. We investigated whether the gains in medication affordability attributable to Part D persisted during the six years that followed its implementation. Overall, we found continued incremental improvements in medication affordability in the period 2007–09 that eroded during the period 2009–11. Among elderly beneficiaries with four or more chronic conditions, we observed an increase in the prevalence of cost-related nonadherence from 14.4 percent in 2009 to 17.0 percent in 2011, reversing previous downward trends. Similarly, the prevalence among the sickest elderly of forgoing basic needs to purchase medicines decreased from 8.7 percent in 2007 to 6.8 percent in 2009 but rose to 10.2 percent in 2011. Our findings highlight the need for targeted policy efforts to alleviate the persistent burden of drug treatment costs on this vulnerable population.

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Do Certificate-of-Need Laws Increase Indigent Care?

Thomas Stratmann & Jacob Russ
George Mason University Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Many states have certificate-of-need regulations, which prohibit hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory surgical centers from entering new markets or making changes to the existing capacity of medical facilities without first gaining approval from certificate-of-need regulators. These regulations purport to limit the supply of medical services and to induce regulated institutions to use the resulting economic profits to cross-subsidize indigent care. We document that these regulations do limit supply. However, we do not find strong evidence of higher levels of indigent-care provision in states that have certificate-of-need regulations as opposed to those that do not.

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Tradeoffs in the Design of Health Plan Payment Systems: Fit, Power and Balance

Michael Geruso & Thomas McGuire
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
In many markets, including the new U.S. Exchanges, health plans are paid by risk-adjusted capitation, in some markets combined with reinsurance and other payment features. This paper proposes three metrics for grading these complex payment systems: fit, power and balance, each of which addresses a distinct market failure in health insurance. We implement these metrics in a study of Exchange payment systems with data similar to that used to develop the Exchange risk adjustment scheme and describe the tradeoffs among the metrics. We find that a simple reinsurance system scores better on fit, power and balance than the risk adjustment formula in use in the Exchanges.

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Price Transparency For MRIs Increased Use Of Less Costly Providers And Triggered Provider Competition

Sze-jung Wu et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1391-1398

Abstract:
To encourage patients to select high-value providers, an insurer-initiated price transparency program that focused on elective advanced imaging procedures was implemented. Patients having at least one outpatient magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan in 2010 or 2012 were divided according to their membership in commercial health plans participating in the program (the intervention group) or in nonparticipating commercial health plans (the reference group) in similar US geographic regions. Patients in the intervention group were informed of price differences among available MRI facilities and given the option of selecting different providers. For those patients, the program resulted in a $220 cost reduction (18.7 percent) per test and a decrease in use of hospital-based facilities from 53 percent in 2010 to 45 percent in 2012. Price variation between hospital and nonhospital facilities for the intervention group was reduced by 30 percent after implementation. Nonparticipating members residing in intervention areas also observed price reductions, which indicates increased price competition among providers. The program significantly reduced imaging costs. This suggests that patients select lower-price facilities when informed about available alternatives.

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Factors Affecting Receipt of Expensive Cancer Treatments and Mortality: Evidence from Stem Cell Transplantation for Leukemia and Lymphoma

Jean Mitchell & Elizabeth Conklin
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To identify factors that affect whether patients diagnosed with either leukemia or lymphoma receive a stem cell transplant and secondly if receipt of stem cell transplantation is linked to improved survival.

Data: California inpatient discharge records (2002–2003) for patients with either leukemia or lymphoma linked with vital statistics death records (2002–2005).

Study Design: Bivariate Probit treatment effects model that accounts for both the type of treatment received and survival while controlling for nonrandom selection due to unobservable factors.

Principal Findings: Having private insurance coverage and residence in a well-educated county increased the chances a patient with either disease received HSCT. Increasing age and travel distance to the nearest transplant hospital had the opposite effect. Receipt of HSCT had a significant impact on mortality. We found the probability of death was 4.3 percentage points higher for leukemia patients who did NOT have HSCT. Receipt of HSCT reduced the chances of dying by almost 50 percent. The likelihood of death among lymphoma patients who underwent HSCT was almost 5 percentage points lower, a 70 percent reduction in the probability of death.

Conclusions: The findings raise concern about access to expensive, but highly effective cancer treatments for patients with certain hematologic malignancies.

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For-Profit Medicare Home Health Agencies’ Costs Appear Higher And Quality Appears Lower Compared To Nonprofit Agencies

William Cabin et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1460-1465

Abstract:
For-profit, or proprietary, home health agencies were banned from Medicare until 1980 but now account for a majority of the agencies that provide such services. Medicare home health costs have grown rapidly since the implementation of a risk-based prospective payment system in 2000. We analyzed recent national cost and case-mix-adjusted quality outcomes to assess the performance of for-profit and nonprofit home health agencies. For-profit agencies scored slightly but significantly worse on overall quality indicators compared to nonprofits (77.18 percent and 78.71 percent, respectively). Notably, for-profit agencies scored lower than nonprofits on the clinically important outcome “avoidance of hospitalization” (71.64 percent versus 73.53 percent). Scores on quality measures were lowest in the South, where for-profits predominate. Compared to nonprofits, proprietary agencies also had higher costs per patient ($4,827 versus $4,075), were more profitable, and had higher administrative costs. Our findings raise concerns about whether for-profit agencies should continue to be eligible for Medicare payments and about the efficiency of Medicare’s market-oriented, risk-based home care payment system.

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Can Caesarean section improve child and maternal health? The case of breech babies

Vibeke Myrup Jensen & Miriam Wüst
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the health effects of Caesarean section (CS) for children and their mothers. We use exogenous variation in the probability of CS in a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. Using administrative Danish data, we exploit an information shock for obstetricians that sharply altered CS rates for breech babies. We find that CS decreases the child's probability of having a low APGAR score and the number of family doctor visits in the first year of life. We find no significant effects for severe neonatal morbidity or hospitalizations. While mothers are hospitalized longer after birth, we find no effects of CS for maternal post-birth complications or infections. Although the change in mode of delivery for the marginal breech babies increases direct costs, the health benefits show that CS is the safest option for these children.

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A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Variation in Charges and Prices across California for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Renee Hsia et al.
PLoS ONE, August 2014

Objectives: We sought to examine the variability in charges for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with a drug-eluting stent and without major complications (MS-DRG-247), and determine whether hospital and market characteristics influenced these charges.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of adults admitted to California hospitals in 2011 for MS-DRG-247 using patient discharge data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. We used a two-part linear regression model to first estimate hospital-specific charges adjusted for patient characteristics, and then examine whether the between-hospital variation in those estimated charges was explained by hospital and market characteristics.

Results: Adjusted charges for the average California patient admitted for uncomplicated PCI ranged from $22,047 to $165,386 (median: $88,350) depending on which hospital the patient visited. Hospitals in areas with the highest cost of living, those in rural areas, and those with more Medicare patients had higher charges, while government-owned hospitals charged less. Overall, our model explained 43% of the variation in adjusted charges. Estimated discounted prices paid by private insurers ranged from $3,421 to $80,903 (median: $28,571).

Conclusions: Charges and estimated discounted prices vary widely between hospitals for the average California patient undergoing PCI without major complications, a common and relatively homogeneous episode of care. Though observable hospital characteristics account for some of this variation, the majority remains unexplained.

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The effect of in-office waiting time on physician visit frequency among working-age adults

Hyo Jung Tak et al.
Social Science & Medicine, October 2014, Pages 43–51

Abstract:
Disparities in unmet health care demand resulting from socioeconomic, racial, and financial factors have received a great deal of attention in the United States. However, out-of-pocket costs alone do not fully reflect the total opportunity cost that patients must consider as they seek medical attention. While there is an extensive literature on the price elasticity of demand for health care, empirical evidence regarding the effect of waiting time on utilization is sparse. Using the nationally representative 2003 Community Tracking Study Household Survey, the most recent iteration containing respondents' physician office visit frequency and estimated in-office waiting time in the United States (N = 23,484), we investigated the association between waiting time and calculated time cost with the number of physician visits among a sample of working-age adults. To avoid the bias that literature suggests would result from excluding respondents with zero physician visits, we imputed waiting time for the essential inclusion of such individuals. On average, respondents visited physician offices 3.55 times, during which time they waited 28.7 min. The estimates from a negative binomial model indicated that a doubling of waiting time was associated with a 7.7 percent decrease (p-value < 0.001) in physician visit frequency. For women and unemployed respondents, who visited physicians more frequently, the decrease was even larger, suggesting a stronger response to greater waiting times. We believe this finding reflects the discretionary nature of incremental visits in these groups, and a consequent lower perceived marginal benefit of additional visits. The results suggest that in-office waiting time may have a substantial influence on patients' propensity to seek medical attention. Although there is a belief that expansions in health insurance coverage increase health care utilization by reducing financial barriers to access, our results suggest that unintended consequences may arise if in-office waiting time increases.

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Machines that Go ‘Ping’: Medical Technology and Health Expenditures in OECD Countries

Peter Willemé & Michel Dumont
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Technology is believed to be a major determinant of increasing health spending. The main difficulty to quantify its effect is to find suitable proxies to measure medical technological innovation. This paper's main contribution is the use of data on approved medical devices and drugs to proxy for medical technology. The effects of these variables on total real per capita health spending are estimated using a panel model for 18 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries covering the period 1981–2012. The results confirm the substantial cost-increasing effect of medical technology, which accounts for almost 50% of the explained historical growth of spending. Despite the overall net positive effect of technology, the effect of two subgroups of approvals on expenditure is significantly negative. These subgroups can be thought of as representing ‘incremental medical innovation’, whereas the positive effects are related to radically innovative pharmaceutical products and devices. A separate time series model was estimated for the USA because the FDA approval data in fact only apply to the USA, while they serve as proxies for the other OECD countries. Our empirical model includes an indicator of obesity, and estimations confirm the substantial contribution of this lifestyle variable to health spending growth in the countries studied.

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Beyond Adoption: Does Meaningful Use of EHR Improve Quality of Care?

Yu-Kai Lin, Mingfeng Lin & Hsinchun Chen
University of Arizona Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Electronic health record (EHR) system holds great promise in transforming healthcare. Existing empirical literature typically focused on its adoption, and found mixed evidence on whether EHR improves care. The federal initiative for meaningful use (MU) of EHR aims to maximize the potential of quality improvement, yet there is little empirical study on the impact of the initiative and, more broadly, the relation between MU and quality of care. Leveraging features of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for exogenous variations, we examine the impact of MU on healthcare quality, and also the clinical benefit of the multi-billion-dollar EHR incentive program. We found that MU significantly and consistently improves quality of care. More importantly, this effect is greater in historically disadvantaged hospitals such as small, non-teaching, or rural hospitals. These findings contribute not only to the literature on Health IT, but also the broader literature of IT adoption and value as well.

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The Impact of Tiered Physician Networks on Patient Choices

Anna Sinaiko & Meredith Rosenthal
Health Services Research, August 2014, Pages 1348–1363

Objective: To assess whether patient choice of physician or health plan was affected by physician tier-rankings.

Data Sources: Administrative claims and enrollment data on 171,581 nonelderly beneficiaries enrolled in Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission health plans that include a tiered physician network and who had an office visit with a tiered physician.

Study Design: We estimate the impact of tier-rankings on physician market share within a plan of new patients and on the percent of a physician's patients who switch to other physicians with fixed effects regression models. The effect of tiering on consumer plan choice is estimated using logistic regression and a pre–post study design.

Principal Findings: Physicians in the bottom (least-preferred) tier, particularly certain specialist physicians, had lower market share of new patient visits than physicians with higher tier-rankings. Patients whose physician was in the bottom tier were more likely to switch health plans. There was no effect of tier-ranking on patients switching away from physicians whom they have seen previously.

Conclusions: The effect of tiering appears to be among patients who choose new physicians and at the lower end of the distribution of tiered physicians, rather than moving patients to the “best” performers. These findings suggest strong loyalty of patients to physicians more likely to be considered their personal doctor.

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Do the Medicaid and Medicare programs compete for access to health care services? A longitudinal analysis of physician fees, 1998–2004

Larry Howard
International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, September 2014, Pages 229-250

Abstract:
As the demand for publicly funded health care continues to rise in the U.S., there is increasing pressure on state governments to ensure patient access through adjustments in provider compensation policies. This paper longitudinally examines the fees that states paid physicians for services covered by the Medicaid program over the period 1998–2004. Controlling for an extensive set of economic and health care industry characteristics, the elasticity of states’ Medicaid fees, with respect to Medicare fees, is estimated to be in the range of 0.2–0.7 depending on the type of physician service examined. The findings indicate a significant degree of price competition between the Medicaid and Medicare programs for physician services that is more pronounced for cardiology and critical care, but not hospital care. The results also suggest several policy levers that work to either increase patient access or reduce total program costs through changes in fees.

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Higher Medicare SNF Care Utilization by Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries: Can Medicaid Long-Term Care Policies Be the Answer?

Momotazur Rahman et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine outcomes associated with dual eligibility (Medicare and Medicaid) of patients who are admitted to skilled nursing facility (SNF) care and whether differences in outcomes are related to states' Medicaid long-term care policies.

Data Sources/Collection: We used national Medicare enrollment data and claims, and the Minimum Data Set for 890,922 community-residing Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries who were discharged to an SNF from a general hospital between July 2008 and June 2009.

Study Design: We estimated the effect of dual eligibility on the likelihood of 30-day rehospitalization, becoming a long-stay nursing home resident, and 180-day survival while controlling for clinical, demographic, socio-economic, residential neighborhood characteristics, and SNF-fixed effects. We estimated the differences in outcomes by dual eligibility status separately for each state and showed their relationship with state policies: the average Medicaid payment rate; presence of nursing home certificate-of-need (CON) laws; and Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) spending.

Principal Findings: Dual-eligible patients are equally likely to experience 30-day rehospitalization, 12 percentage points more likely to become long-stay residents, and 2 percentage points more likely to survive 180 days compared to Medicare-only patients. This longer survival can be attributed to longer nursing home length of stay. While higher HCBS spending reduces the length-of-stay gap without affecting the survival gap, presence of CON laws reduces both the length-of-stay and survival gaps.

Conclusions: Dual eligibles utilize more SNF care and experience higher survival rates than comparable Medicare-only patients. Higher HCBS spending may reduce the longer SNF length of stay of dual eligibles without increasing mortality and may save money for both Medicare and Medicaid.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shady past

The Old Jim Crow: Racial Residential Segregation and Neighborhood Imprisonment

Traci Burch
Law & Policy, July 2014, Pages 223–255

Abstract:
This article examines the impact of racial residential segregation on imprisonment rates at the neighborhood level. Key to the strength of this enterprise is block-group level data on imprisonment, crime, and other demographic factors for about 5,000 neighborhoods in North Carolina. These data also include information on county racial residential segregation from the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. Hierarchical linear models that control for neighborhood characteristics, such as racial diversity, crime, poverty, unemployment, median income, homeownership, and other factors, show that neighborhoods in more segregated counties have higher imprisonment rates than neighborhoods in less segregated counties. On average, neighborhoods in counties with segregation levels at the minimum of 41.4 are expected to have imprisonment rates of 0.186 percent, while neighborhoods in counties with segregation levels at the maximum of 95.6 are expected to have imprisonment rates more than twice as high, or about 0.494 percent.

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The Decline of Whiteness and the Rise of the Tea Party

Robb Willer
Stanford Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
The Tea Party is the most electorally influential social movement in recent American history. What factors led the movement to emerge when it did? And what role might racial prejudice play in Tea Party support? Here I test the claim that recent political, demographic, and economic events have threatened the status of white Americans, leading them to increased racial prejudice and support for the Tea Party. Five studies support this reasoning, demonstrating that various threats to the status of whites lead white Americans to express both greater prejudice and greater support for the movement. A final study finds that threatened whites reported greater support for the Tea Party when racialized aspects of its platform (e.g., opposition to immigration) were highlighted, not when libertarian positions (e.g., opposition to environmental regulation) were. These findings support a view of the Tea Party as, in part, a response to a perceived decline in the status of whiteness in America. I conclude by discussing prospects for a general theory of the role of group status in the mobilization of large scale collective actions.

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A Theory of African American Offending: A Test of Core Propositions

James Unnever
Race and Justice, April 2014, Pages 98-123

Abstract:
Analyzing the National Survey of American Life, which includes 3,570 Blacks, this research is the first to test core hypotheses of Unnever and Gabbidon’s Theory of African American Offending. A core assertion of Unnever and Gabbidon’s theory, which specifically and only focuses on Blacks, is that their offending is associated with the degree to which they encounter racial injustices. This article focuses on two forms of racial injustice that are prominently highlighted by Unnever and Gabbidon — racial discrimination and racist stereotypes. The results reveal that Blacks who experience racial discrimination and “buy into” the pejorative stereotype that they are violent are more likely to offend, as they experience heightened states of low self-control, anger, and depression. The data also show that experiences with racial injustices increase the likelihood that Blacks will become dependent on substances/alcohol. These findings were generated while including other correlates of arrests, including demographic characteristics, whether Blacks identify with other Blacks, the number of relatives in jail or prison, and strength of family bonds. The theoretical importance of these findings is discussed.

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Differences in Subprime Loan Pricing Across Races and Neighborhoods

Andra Ghent, Rubén Hernández-Murillo & Michael Owyang
Regional Science and Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether race and ethnicity influenced subprime loan pricing during 2005, the peak of the subprime mortgage expansion. We combine loan-level data on the performance of non-prime securitized mortgages with individual- and neighborhood-level data on racial and ethnic characteristics for metropolitan areas in California and Florida. Using a model of rate determination that accounts for predicted loan performance, we evaluate the differences in subprime mortgage rates in terms of racial and ethnic groups and neighborhood characteristics. We find evidence of adverse pricing for blacks and Hispanics. The evidence of adverse pricing is strongest for purchase mortgages and mortgages originated by non-depository institutions.

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Emerging Forms of Racial Inequality in Homeownership Exit, 1968–2009

Gregory Sharp & Matthew Hall
Social Problems, August 2014, Pages 427-447

Abstract:
Because homeownership continues to be a key mechanism underlying racial inequality in America, recent developments that led to the foreclosure crisis bring to the forefront issues concerning minority homeowners' ability to sustain ownership. This article uses longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine racial differences in the likelihood of homeownership exit over the last four decades. We find that black homeowners are at a significantly higher risk of transitioning to renter status than are white homeowners, even after accounting for life-course, socioeconomic, and housing characteristics, and the selection into homeownership. Most importantly, we show that the racial gap in ownership exit has widened substantially over time, especially among owners who purchased their homes in the 1990s or later. These findings are consistent with arguments that the nature of racial stratification in U.S. housing markets has shifted over time from overt market exclusion to market exploitation.

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Ethnic Diversity and Its Effects on Social Cohesion

Tom van der Meer & Jochem Tolsma
Annual Review of Sociology, 2014, Pages 459-478

Abstract:
Recent years have seen a sharp increase in empirical studies on the constrict claim: the hypothesized detrimental effect of ethnic diversity on most if not all aspects of social cohesion. Studies have scrutinized effects of different measures of ethnic heterogeneity in different geographical areas on different forms of social cohesion. The result has been a cacophony of empirical findings. We explicate mechanisms likely to underlie the negative relationship between ethnic heterogeneity and social cohesion: the homophily principle, feelings of anomie, group threat, and social disorganization. Guided by a clear conceptual framework, we structure the empirical results of 90 recent studies and observe three patterns. We find that (a) there is consistent support for the constrict claim for aspects of social cohesion that are spatially bounded to neighborhoods, (b) support for the constrict claim is more common in the United States than in other countries, and (c) ethnic diversity is not related to less interethnic social cohesion. We discuss the implications of these patterns.

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Trends In The Black-White Life Expectancy Gap Among US States, 1990–2009

Sam Harper, Richard MacLehose & Jay Kaufman
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1375-1382

Abstract:
Nationwide differences in US life expectancy trends for blacks and whites may mask considerable differences by state that are relevant to policies aimed at reducing health inequalities. We calculated annual state-specific life expectancies for blacks and whites from 1990 to 2009 using age-specific mortality counts and census-based denominators. Nationally, the black-white difference in life expectancy at birth shrank during the period by 2.7 years for males (from 8.1 to 5.4 years) and by 1.7 years for females (from 5.5 to 3.8 years). We found considerable variation across states in both the magnitude of the life expectancy gap (approximately fifteen years) and the change during the past two decades (about six years). Decomposition analysis showed that New York made the most profound contribution to reducing the gap, but less favorable trends in a number of states, notably California and Texas, kept the gap from shrinking further. Large state variations in the pace of change in the racial gap in life expectancy suggest that state-specific determinants merit further investigation.

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Neighborhoods and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior

Daniel Carlson et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, September 2014, Pages 1536-1549

Abstract:
Understanding the determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in adolescent sexual risk behavior is important given its links to the differential risk of teen pregnancy, childbearing, and sexually transmitted infections. This article tests a contextual model that emphasizes the concentration of neighborhood disadvantage in shaping racial/ethnic disparities in sexual risk behavior. We focus on two risk behaviors that are prevalent among Black and Hispanic youth: the initiation of sexual activity in adolescence and the number of sex partners. Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Youth (N = 6,985; 48 % female; 57 % non-Hispanic White) evidence indicates that neighborhood disadvantage — measured by concentrated poverty, unemployment rates, and the proportion of female-headed households — partially explains Black and Hispanic disparities from Whites in the odds of adolescent sexual debut, although the prevalence of female-headed households in neighborhoods appears to be the main driver in this domain. Likewise, accounting for neighborhood disadvantage reduces the Black-White and Hispanic-White disparity in the number of sexual partners, although less so relative to sexual debut. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

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Diversity and the Civic Spirit in British Neighbourhoods: An Investigation with MCDS and EMBES 2010 Data

Neli Demireva & Anthony Heath
Sociology, August 2014, Pages 643-662

Abstract:
Recently, there has been a proliferation of studies investigating the relationship between diversity and outcomes such as social cohesion and civic mindedness. This article addresses several common problems in this field and, using data for British neighbourhoods, elaborates on the experiences of both white British and ethnic minority respondents. We conclude that, if anything, diversity should be encouraged to cement the integration progress of migrants and foster stronger identification with Britain in the second generation. Deprivation at the neighbourhood level along with individual factors such as fear of crime is a much stronger predictor of deterioration of the civic spirit than diversity. Bridging contacts have the expected strong positive association with cohesion outcomes; and contrary to policy concerns no strong negative impact is observed for associational bonding among minority ingroupers.

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“The Whole North Is Not Abolitionized”: Slavery’s Slow Death in New Jersey, 1830–1860

James Gigantino
Journal of the Early Republic, Fall 2014, Pages 411-437

Abstract:
This article explores how white and black New Jerseyans understood slavery and abolition in their state in the 1830s and 1840s. It examines how the emergence of an active abolition society, fervor over the presence of fugitive slaves, and the increasingly degraded relationship between the North and the South over slavery spurred a localized debate in New Jersey over slavery’s continuation. However, even with active abolitionist pressure and a population that increasingly eyed slavery and the South with suspicion, abolitionists never convinced the general population to support immediate black freedom. When New Jersey legislators finally abolished slavery in 1846, they did so grudgingly and under yet another graduated system. Instead of freeing all bound blacks, the legislature abolished the legal term “slave” and reclassified all former slaves as “apprentices for life.” New Jerseyans therefore displayed a remarkable ability to resist immediate abolition, which illustrates that slavery survived far longer and more powerfully in the North than previously imagined. More importantly, New Jerseyans did not disown their past relationships with slavery, but instead used them to inform their dealings with the institution in the 1840s and their relationship with the South in an increasingly divided nation. These past relationships then had a tangible impact on the sectional crisis as New Jersey and southern politicians shared an understanding of slavery and an astute knowledge of the various forms of unfreedom associated with it.

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Please pass me the skin coloured crayon! Semantics, socialisation, and folk models of race in contemporary Europe

Martina Zimmermann et al.
Language Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explores the cultural semantics of colour words in the four urban, European communities of Munich, Berne, Aarhus, and Reykjavik, focussing on hautfarben (German), hutfarb (Bernese Swiss German), hudfarvet (Danish), and húðlitur (Icelandic), all of which can be translated as ‘skin coloured’. Unlike in English, where skin coloured has fallen out of use due to its racist semantic profile, these words are still widely present within the four communities. Using evidence from a referential colour naming task and semi-structured interviews, our study seeks to reveal the linguistic worldviews and idealised cognitive models embedded in skin-based colour concepts in contemporary German and Scandinavian languages. Arguing that colour concepts are linguistic constructs through which speakers have learned to pay attention to their visual worlds, we trace the origin of the skin-based colour concept to language socialisation. Our study suggests that children's use of crayons in pre-schools, homes, and kindergartens have a formative impact on the acquisition of colour concepts in general, and in particular, in acquiring a skin-based colour concept. Apart from ‘crayon socialisation’ and children's drawing practices, our study points to one other salient aspect of meaning associated with the skin-based colour concept, namely socio-political discourses of multiculturalism, political correctness and racism. Some speakers find it ‘natural’ to use a skin-based colour concept while others find it ‘racist’. Yet regardless of an individual speaker's views on the matter, they all appear to recognise the specific folk model of race, encoded in hautfarben, hutfarb, hudfarvet and húðlitur. In addition, based on the disagreement among speakers, we do find some evidence that discursive changes in German and Scandinavian languages could lead to similar changes as the ones which have taken place in English (i.e. the replacement of skin coloured with peach or a similar construct). Skin-based colours in Germanic languages also offer new perspectives on visual semantics, the social origins of colour, and on the interface of language, sociality and colour.

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Does School Policy Affect Housing Choices? Evidence From the End of Desegregation in Charlotte–Mecklenburg

David Liebowitz & Lindsay Page
American Educational Research Journal, August 2014, Pages 671-703

Abstract:
We examine whether the legal decision to grant unitary status to the Charlotte–Mecklenburg school district, which led to the end of race-conscious student assignment policies, increased the probability that families with children enrolled in the district would move to neighborhoods with a greater proportion of student residents of the same race as their own children. Motivated by the rich but inconclusive literature on the consequences of educational and residential segregation, we make use of a natural policy experiment — a judicial decision to end court-ordered busing — to estimate the causal impacts of this policy shift on household residential decisions. We find that, for those who moved, the legal decision made White families with children in the Charlotte–Mecklenburg Schools substantially more likely than they were during desegregation to move to a neighborhood with a greater proportion of White residents than their own neighborhood.

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Dangerous Climates: Factors Associated With Variation in Racist Hate Crimes on College Campuses

Nella Van Dyke & Griff Tester
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, August 2014, Pages 290-309

Abstract:
Although hundreds of American college students are the victims of bias-motivated verbal and physical assaults every year, little research explores whether there is a systematic pattern to the hate crimes that occur on college campuses. In this article, we study why some campuses experience more racist hate crimes than do others. We explore how campus demographics, tuition increases, and the presence of fraternities influence reported hate crime incidence. Through a statistical analysis of the hate crimes reported to the FBI by 349 colleges, we find that ethnic-/racial-bias hate crimes are more likely to be reported on predominantly White college campuses and those that have a large Greek population. We contribute to theory on hate crime by illustrating some of the social characteristics that make hate crime more likely in certain geographic areas than others.

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“Without Regard to Race”: Critical Ideational Development in Modern American Politics

Desmond King & Rogers Smith
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many scholars note that racial policy issues now focus on color-blind versus race-conscious approaches to racial inequalities, but they have not adequately explained how this development occurred or its consequences. Using work theorizing the role of ideas in politics, this article argues that these changes represent a “critical ideational development.” Diverse strains in earlier racial policy positions were reformulated to advance not just old racial goals but new ones. This critical ideational development produced advantages for conservative coalition building and Republican electoral campaigns, thereby contributing to the Reagan Revolution and later polarization and gridlock, and it helped drive racial issues out of campaigns and into other venues, especially legislative, administrative, and judicial hearings. It has not been associated with great progress in reducing racial inequalities or promoting racial harmony.

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Self-Rated Health and Residential Segregation: How Does Race/Ethnicity Matter?

Joseph Gibbons & Tse-Chuan Yang
Journal of Urban Health, August 2014, Pages 648-660

Abstract:
Despite recent declines, racial segregation remains a detriment to minority neighborhoods. However, existing research is inconclusive as to the effects racial segregation has on health. Some argue that racial segregation is related to poor health outcomes, whereas others suspect that racial segregation may actually lead to improved health for some minority communities. Even less is known about whether minority access to white neighborhoods improves health. We address these gaps with individual data from the 2010 Public Health Management Corporation’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey and census tract data from the 2010 Decennial Census and the 2006–2010 American Community Survey. We implement logistic multilevel models to determine whether and how a resident’s self-rated health is affected by the racial/ethnic segregation of their neighborhoods. Our key finding suggests that the effects of segregation on self-rated health depend on an individual’s race/ethnicity, with blacks and Latino residents most likely to experience adverse effects. Particularly, minorities living in predominantly white communities have a significantly higher likelihood to report poor/fair health than they would in segregated minority neighborhoods. These findings make clear that access to white neighborhoods is not sufficient to improve minority health; fuller neighborhood integration is necessary to ensure all have health equity.

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Workplace Discrimination Predicting Racial/Ethnic Socialization Across African American, Latino, and Chinese Families

Carolin Hagelskamp & Diane Hughes
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Informed by Kohn and Schooler’s (1969) occupational socialization framework, this study examined linkages between racial/ethnic minority mothers’ perceptions of racial/ethnic discrimination in the workplace and adolescents’ accounts of racial/ethnic socialization in the home. Data were collected from 100 mother–early adolescent dyads who participated in a longitudinal study of urban adolescents’ development in the Northeastern United States, including African American, Latino, and Chinese families. Mothers and adolescents completed surveys separately. We found that when mothers reported more frequent institutional discrimination at work, adolescents reported more frequent preparation for bias messages at home, across racial/ethnic groups. Mothers’ experiences of interpersonal prejudice at work were associated with more frequent cultural socialization messages among African American and Latino families. Chinese youth reported fewer cultural socialization messages when mothers perceived more frequent interpersonal prejudice at work. Findings are discussed in the context of minority groups’ distinct social histories and economic status in the United States.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Value at risk

Quantifying the semantics of search behavior before stock market moves

Chester Curme et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 August 2014, Pages 11600-11605

Abstract:
Technology is becoming deeply interwoven into the fabric of society. The Internet has become a central source of information for many people when making day-to-day decisions. Here, we present a method to mine the vast data Internet users create when searching for information online, to identify topics of interest before stock market moves. In an analysis of historic data from 2004 until 2012, we draw on records from the search engine Google and online encyclopedia Wikipedia as well as judgments from the service Amazon Mechanical Turk. We find evidence of links between Internet searches relating to politics or business and subsequent stock market moves. In particular, we find that an increase in search volume for these topics tends to precede stock market falls. We suggest that extensions of these analyses could offer insight into large-scale information flow before a range of real-world events.

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Private Equity and Industry Performance

Shai Bernstein et al.
Stanford Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
The growth of the private equity industry has spurred concerns about its potential impact on the economy. This analysis looks across nations and industries to assess the impact of private equity on industry performance. We find that industries where private equity funds have invested in the past five years have grown more quickly in terms of productivity and employment, and these industries appear to be less exposed to aggregate shocks. Robustness tests suggest that the results are not driven by reverse causality. These patterns are not driven solely by common law nations such as the United Kingdom and United States, but also hold in Continental Europe.

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Public Enforcement of Securities Market Rules: Resource-based evidence from the Securities Exchange Commission

Tim Lohse, Razvan Pascalau & Christian Thomann
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, October 2014, Pages 197-212

Abstract:
We empirically investigate whether increases in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) budget have an effect on firms' compliance behavior with securities market rules. Our study uses a dataset on the SEC's resources and its enforcement actions over a period beginning shortly after the Second World War and ending in 2010. We find that increases in the SEC's resources both improve compliance and lead to an increased activity level of the SEC. The higher level of compliance is reflected by a decrease in the numbers of enforcement cases. The increased activity level is reflected by a surge in the number of investigations conducted by the SEC.

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Did going public impair Moody's credit ratings?

Simi Kedia, Shivaram Rajgopal & Xing Zhou
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate a prominent allegation in congressional hearings that Moody's loosened its rating standards to chase revenue after it went public in 2000. Consistent with this allegation, Moody's ratings for both corporate bonds and structured finance products are significantly more favorable to issuers, relative to S&P's, after Moody's IPO. Moreover, Moody's ratings are more favorable for clients subject to greater conflict of interest. There is little evidence that Moody's higher ratings, post-IPO, are more informative, measured as expected default frequencies (EDFs) or as the probability of default. Our findings inform the debate on whether financial gatekeepers should be publicly traded.

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Capitalizing on Capitol Hill: Informed Trading by Hedge Fund Managers

Meng Gao & Jiekun Huang
University of Illinois Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines the hypothesis that hedge fund managers gain an informational advantage in securities trading through their connections with lobbyists. Using datasets on the long-equity holdings and lobbyist connections of hedge funds from 1998 to 2012, we show that hedge funds outperform by 63 to 87 basis points per month on their political holdings when they are connected to lobbyists. Furthermore, the political outperformance of connected funds decreased significantly after the STOCK Act was signed into law. Our study provides evidence on the transmission of private political information in the financial markets and on the value of such information to financial market participants.

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Irrational exuberance and neural crash warning signals during endogenous experimental market bubbles

Alec Smith et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 22 July 2014, Pages 10503-10508

Abstract:
Groups of humans routinely misassign value to complex future events, especially in settings involving the exchange of resources. If properly structured, experimental markets can act as excellent probes of human group-level valuation mechanisms during pathological overvaluations - price bubbles. The connection between the behavioral and neural underpinnings of such phenomena has been absent, in part due to a lack of enabling technology. We used a multisubject functional MRI paradigm to measure neural activity in human subjects participating in experimental asset markets in which endogenous price bubbles formed and crashed. Although many ideas exist about how and why such bubbles may form and how to identify them, our experiment provided a window on the connection between neural responses and behavioral acts (buying and selling) that created the bubbles. We show that aggregate neural activity in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) tracks the price bubble and that NAcc activity aggregated within a market predicts future price changes and crashes. Furthermore, the lowest-earning subjects express a stronger tendency to buy as a function of measured NAcc activity. Conversely, we report a signal in the anterior insular cortex in the highest earners that precedes the impending price peak, is associated with a higher propensity to sell in high earners, and that may represent a neural early warning signal in these subjects. Such markets could be a model system to understand neural and behavior mechanisms in other settings where emergent group-level activity exhibits mistaken belief or valuation.

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Does the Tail Wag the Dog?: The Effect of Credit Default Swaps on Credit Risk

Marti Subrahmanyam, Dragon Yongjun Tang & Sarah Qian Wang
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use credit default swaps (CDS) trading data to demonstrate that the credit risk of reference firms, reflected in rating downgrades and bankruptcies, increases significantly upon the inception of CDS trading, a finding that is robust after controlling for the endogeneity of CDS trading. Additionally, distressed firms are more likely to file for bankruptcy if they are linked to CDS trading. Furthermore, firms with more "no restructuring" contracts than other types of CDS contracts (i.e., contracts that include restructuring) are more adversely affected by CDS trading, and the number of creditors increases after CDS trading begins, exacerbating creditor coordination failure in the resolution of financial distress.

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Access to management and the informativeness of analyst research

Clifton Green et al.
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine whether access to management at broker-hosted investor conferences leads to more informative research by analysts. We find analyst recommendation changes have larger immediate price impacts when the analyst's firm has a conference-hosting relation with the company. The effect increases with hosting frequency and is strongest in the days following the conference. Conference-hosting brokers also issue more informative, accurate, and timely earnings forecasts than non-hosts. Our findings suggest that access to management remains an important source of analysts' informational advantage in the post-Regulation Fair Disclosure world.

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The behavioral basis of sell-side analysts' herding

Robert Durand, Manapon Limkriangkrai & Lucia Fung
Journal of Contemporary Accounting & Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sell-side analysts move away from the prevailing consensus as their confidence increases. As their confidence falls, they herd towards the prevailing consensus. Confidence and the associated propensity to move away from the herd, increases as firms become more difficult to analyze. This behavior is consistent with such analysts having lower meta-cognitive skills.

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Money Doctors

Nicola Gennaioli, Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a new model of investors delegating portfolio management to professionals based on trust. Trust in the manager reduces an investor's perception of the riskiness of a given investment, and allows managers to charge fees. Money managers compete for investor funds by setting fees, but because of trust fees do not fall to costs. In equilibrium, fees are higher for assets with higher expected return, managers on average underperform the market net of fees, but investors nevertheless prefer to hire managers to investing on their own. When investors hold biased expectations, trust causes managers to pander to investor beliefs.

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Private Equity Premium Puzzle Revisited

Katya Kartashova
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper revisits the results of Moskowitz and Vissing-Jorgensen (2002) on returns to entrepreneurial investments in the United States. Following the authors' methodology and new data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), I find that the "private equity premium puzzle" does not survive the period of high public equity returns in the 1990s. The difference between private and public equity returns is positive and large period-by-period between 1999 and 2007. Whereas in the economy-wide downturn of the Great Recession, public and private equities performances are substantially closer. I validate these results in the aggregate data going back to 1960s.

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Does the Disposition Effect Matter in Corporate Takeovers? Evidence from Institutional Investors of Target Companies

Pengfei Ye
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, February 2014, Pages 221-248

Abstract:
This paper examines whether one of the most important participants in the takeover market, the institutional investors of target companies, suffers from the disposition effect and, if so, how this selling bias influences the takeover outcomes. I report robust evidence that target institutional investors are reluctant to realize losses. This bias further allows their sunk cost to affect both the takeover price and the deal success. My results are explained by neither the undervalued targets nor the 52-week-high price effect. They are most pronounced among targets whose investors have a strong propensity to hold on to loser stocks.

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Understanding Mechanisms Underlying Peer Effects: Evidence From a Field Experiment on Financial Decisions

Leonardo Bursztyn et al.
Econometrica, July 2014, Pages 1273-1301

Abstract:
Using a high-stakes field experiment conducted with a financial brokerage, we implement a novel design to separately identify two channels of social influence in financial decisions, both widely studied theoretically. When someone purchases an asset, his peers may also want to purchase it, both because they learn from his choice ("social learning") and because his possession of the asset directly affects others' utility of owning the same asset ("social utility"). We randomize whether one member of a peer pair who chose to purchase an asset has that choice implemented, thus randomizing his ability to possess the asset. Then, we randomize whether the second member of the pair: (i) receives no information about the first member, or (ii) is informed of the first member's desire to purchase the asset and the result of the randomization that determined possession. This allows us to estimate the effects of learning plus possession, and learning alone, relative to a (no information) control group. We find that both social learning and social utility channels have statistically and economically significant effects on investment decisions. Evidence from a follow-up survey reveals that social learning effects are greatest when the first (second) investor is financially sophisticated (financially unsophisticated); investors report updating their beliefs about asset quality after learning about their peer's revealed preference; and, they report motivations consistent with "keeping up with the Joneses" when learning about their peer's possession of the asset. These results can help shed light on the mechanisms underlying herding behavior in financial markets and peer effects in consumption and investment decisions.

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The financial performance of aircraft manufacturers during World War II: The vicissitudes of war

Stephen Ciccone & Fred Kaen
Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Controversy has long surrounded the role and profitability of US defense contractors. From a financial perspective the question becomes whether defense contractors earn greater profits and investor returns than other companies during military conflicts. We explore this question by examining the accounting profitability and investor returns of US aircraft manufacturers before, during, and after World War II and compare them to a sample of non-defense firms. We also examine the reactions of aircraft stock prices to important political and military events of the time. We find that (1) aircraft stocks exhibited positive abnormal returns around events associated with defense buildups and outbreaks of hostile action and negative returns around events signaling an end to hostilities, (2) the company's accounting returns improved during the war but these higher accounting returns did not translate into higher stock returns for the shareholders, and (3) investors could have earned higher stock returns had they switched out of aircraft stocks after Pearl Harbor and reinvested the proceeds in the overall market.

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Disagreement and asset prices

Bruce Carlin, Francis Longstaff & Kyle Matoba
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do differences of opinion affect asset prices? Do investors earn a risk premium when disagreement arises in the market? Despite their fundamental importance, these questions are among the most controversial issues in finance. In this paper, we use a novel data set that allows us to directly measure the level of disagreement among Wall Street mortgage dealers about prepayment speeds. We examine how disagreement evolves over time and study its effects on expected returns, return volatility, and trading volume in the mortgage-backed security market. We find that increased disagreement is associated with higher expected returns, higher return volatility, and larger trading volume. These results imply that there is a positive risk premium for disagreement in asset prices. We also show that volatility in and of itself does not lead to higher trading volume. Instead, only when disagreement arises in the market is higher uncertainty associated with more trading. Finally, we are able to distinguish empirically between two competing hypotheses regarding how information in markets gets incorporated into asset prices. We find that sophisticated investors appear to update their beliefs through a rational expectations mechanism when disagreement arises.

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High-yield versus investment-grade bonds: Less risk and greater returns?

Hsi Li, Joseph McCarthy & Coleen Pantalone
Applied Financial Economics, Fall 2014, Pages 1303-1312

Abstract:
Using Bank of America/Merrill Lynch bond yield indexes, we compare the returns on investment-grade bonds to the returns on high-yield bonds over the period from January 1997 through mid-August 2011, a period marked by the collapse of the technology sector in early 2000 and the financial crisis in 2008. We compare return and risk measures under the assumption of a normal distribution with those obtained under the assumption of a stable distribution. When a normal distribution is assumed, we see a higher expected return associated with a lower SD on the high-yield bond returns relative to investment-grade bond returns. However, we also find that the returns on both high-yield bonds and investment-grade bonds exhibit stable (fat-tailed) distributions, with the fat tail more pronounced for the high-yield bond series. These results suggest that the assumption of a distribution that allows for fat tails and skewness is important for identifying the risk and return characteristics of these bond series.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seeing a difference

Racial Disparities in Incarceration Increase Acceptance of Punitive Policies

Rebecca Hetey & Jennifer Eberhardt
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
During the past few decades, punitive crime policies have led to explosive growth in the United States prison population. Such policies have contributed to unprecedented incarceration rates for Blacks in particular. In this article, we consider an unexamined relationship between racial disparities and policy reform. Rather than treating racial disparities as an outcome to be measured, we exposed people to real and extreme racial disparities and observed how this drove their support for harsh criminal-justice policies. In two experiments, we manipulated the racial composition of prisons: When the penal institution was represented as "more Black," people were more concerned about crime and expressed greater acceptance of punitive policies than when the penal institution was represented as "less Black." Exposure to extreme racial disparities, then, can lead people to support the very policies that produce those disparities, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle.

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Hispanic Respondent Intelligence Level and Skin Tone: Interviewer Perceptions From the American National Election Study

Lance Hannon
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, August 2014, Pages 265-283

Abstract:
Using the 2012 American National Election Study, the present article explored the relationship between interviewers' assessment of respondent skin tone and their perception of respondent intelligence (n = 459). Results from logistic regression analyses indicated that Hispanic respondents with the lightest skin were several times more likely to be seen as having high intelligence compared with those with the darkest skin. Importantly, this relationship was independent of respondent self-identified race, educational attainment, vocabulary test score, and several other respondent and interviewer characteristics. Implications for the growing body of research on colorism are discussed.

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Racial Attitudes and Visual Cues in Political Judgments: Support for Obama During the 2008 Presidential Election

Tessa West et al.
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present longitudinal study examined the complex role of race - including racial attitudes and visual representations of race - in White Americans' responses to Obama during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Consistent with prior research, participants who perceived Obama as darker skinned were less likely to vote for him and generally evaluated Obama less positively. It is important to note, however, that these effects were stronger among Whites with more egalitarian expressed racial attitudes. Moreover, this pattern occurred over and above effects of political orientation and remained stable over a 2-month period, including pre- and postelection. Implications of these findings for understanding the complex and persistent influence of race in politics are considered.

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Americans Fill Out President Obama's Census Form: What is His Race?

Jack Citrin, Morris Levy & Robert Van Houweling
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We use nationally representative survey experiments to assess public opinion about how President Obama should have identified himself racially on the 2010 Census.

Methods: Respondents were randomly assigned to three conditions -a control, a treatment that described the president's biracial ancestry, and a treatment that combined the biracial ancestry information with a statement that Obama had in fact classified himself as black only. All respondents were then asked how they felt Obama should have filled out his Census form.

Results: A clear majority of Americans in all experimental conditions said that Obama should have identified himself as both black and white.

Conclusion: There appears to be suggesting robust acceptance of official multiracial identification despite the cultural and legal legacy of the "one drop of blood" rule in official U.S. race categorization. A subsequent survey experiment found that a convenience sample of Americans support multiracial identification for mixed-race individuals generally and not only for the president.

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The Rules of Implicit Evaluation by Race, Religion, and Age

Jordan Axt, Charles Ebersole & Brian Nosek
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The social world is stratified. Social hierarchies are known but often disavowed as anachronisms or unjust. Nonetheless, hierarchies may persist in social memory. In three studies (total N > 200,000), we found evidence of social hierarchies in implicit evaluation by race, religion, and age. Participants implicitly evaluated their own racial group most positively and the remaining racial groups in accordance with the following hierarchy: Whites > Asians > Blacks > Hispanics. Similarly, participants implicitly evaluated their own religion most positively and the remaining religions in accordance with the following hierarchy: Christianity > Judaism > Hinduism or Buddhism > Islam. In a final study, participants of all ages implicitly evaluated age groups following this rule: children > young adults > middle-age adults > older adults. These results suggest that the rules of social evaluation are pervasively embedded in culture and mind.

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Brothers and Sisters in Arms: Intergroup Cooperation in a Violent Shooter Game Can Reduce Intergroup Bias

Paul Adachi et al.
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: Video games increasingly have become multiplayer, and thus online video game players have the unique opportunity to cooperate with players from all over the world, including those who belong to different social groups. Consistent with research showing that intergroup cooperation leads to reductions in intergroup bias, playing a video game cooperatively with a member of a different social group (i.e., an outgroup member) may reduce bias. The goal of the current study, therefore, was to test whether playing a violent video game cooperatively with an outgroup member reduces intergroup bias toward that partner's group.

Method: In our investigation, Canadians (n = 138) played a violent video game cooperatively with an outgroup (American) or ingroup member against alien (i.e., zombie-like) enemies.

Results: Cooperating with an outgroup member in a violent context for only 12 minutes generated large reductions in outgroup prejudice.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight the potential for even violent video games to serve as prejudice interventions.

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Selective Attention to In- and Out-Group Members Systematically Influences Intergroup Bias

Torsten Martiny-Huenger, Peter Gollwitzer & Gabriele Oettingen
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We analyzed whether attending to versus ignoring in- and out-group members systematically influences intergroup bias. In two studies (N = 187), we manipulated attention by asking participants to count the appearance of in-group (or out-group) members in the presence of out-group (or in-group) distractors. Prior to and during the counting task, we assessed intergroup bias by having participants rate the group members on a liking scale. The results show that the change in intergroup bias from baseline to experimental ratings depended on the attention focus. Whereas counting in-group members (while ignoring the out-group) increased intergroup bias, counting out-group members (while ignoring the in-group) decreased intergroup bias. Thus, we provide evidence that consequences of goal-directed interactions with in- and out-group stimuli (i.e., exposure and selection) systematically influence intergroup bias. We propose that in future research these processes should be considered in addition to social-motivational factors in the analysis of intergroup bias.

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Direct-to-Consumer Racial Admixture Tests and Beliefs About Essential Racial Differences

Jo Phelan et al.
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although at first relatively disinterested in race, modern genomic research has increasingly turned attention to racial variations. We examine a prominent example of this focus - direct-to-consumer racial admixture tests - and ask how information about the methods and results of these tests in news media may affect beliefs in racial differences. The reification hypothesis proposes that by emphasizing a genetic basis for race, thereby reifying race as a biological reality, the tests increase beliefs that whites and blacks are essentially different. The challenge hypothesis suggests that by describing differences between racial groups as continua rather than sharp demarcations, the results produced by admixture tests break down racial categories and reduce beliefs in racial differences. A nationally representative survey experiment (N = 526) provided clear support for the reification hypothesis. The results suggest that an unintended consequence of the genomic revolution may be to reinvigorate age-old beliefs in essential racial differences.

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Are Americans Really in Favor of Interracial Marriage? A Closer Look at When They Are Asked About Black-White Marriage for Their Relatives

Yanyi Djamba & Sitawa Kimuna
Journal of Black Studies, September 2014, Pages 528-544

Abstract:
This study transcends general opinion reports and uses data from the General Social Survey (GSS) to examine responses on attitudinal questions about how Black and White Americans actually feel about their close relative marrying outside their own race. The results show that more than half (54%) of Black Americans are in favor of their close relative marrying a White person compared with nearly one-in-four (26%) White Americans who said they were in favor of their close relative marrying a Black person. Such results suggest that questions about how individuals feel when close relatives engage into Black-White marriage provide better measures of attitude toward racial exogamy. Logistic regression models are analyzed to determine how socio-demographic factors influence Black and White Americans' views on interracial marriage of their close relatives.

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The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice

Loris Vezzali et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research shows that extended contact via story reading is a powerful strategy to improve out-group attitudes. We conducted three studies to test whether extended contact through reading the popular best-selling books of Harry Potter improves attitudes toward stigmatized groups (immigrants, homosexuals, refugees). Results from one experimental intervention with elementary school children and from two cross-sectional studies with high school and university students (in Italy and United Kingdom) supported our main hypothesis. Identification with the main character (i.e., Harry Potter) and disidentification from the negative character (i.e., Voldemort) moderated the effect. Perspective taking emerged as the process allowing attitude improvement. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed in the context of extended intergroup contact and social cognitive theory.

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Perceptions of Parents' Ethnic Identities and the Personal Ethnic-Identity and Racial Attitudes of Biracial Adults

Cesalie Stepney, Diana Sanchez & Phillip Handy
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examined the relationship of perceived parental closeness and parental ethnic identity on personal ethnic identity and colorblindness beliefs in 275 part-White biracial Americans (M age = 23.88). Respondents completed online measures of their personal ethnic identity (minority, White, and multiracial), perceived parental ethnic identity, parental closeness, and attitudes about the state of race relations and the need for social action in the United States. Using path modeling, results show that part-White biracial individuals perceive their ethnic identity to be strongly linked to their parental racial identities, especially when they had closer parental relationships. Moreover, stronger minority identity was linked to less colorblind attitudes, and greater White identity was linked to greater colorblind attitudes suggesting that patterns of identity may influence how biracial individuals view race-relations and the need for social action. Implications for biracial well-being and their understanding of prejudice and discrimination are discussed.

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The Impact of Childhood Experience on Amygdala Response to Perceptually Familiar Black and White Faces

Jasmin Cloutier, Tianyi Li & Joshua Correll
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, September 2014, Pages 1992-2004

Abstract:
Given the well-documented involvement of the amygdala in race perception, the current study aimed to investigate how interracial contact during childhood shapes amygdala response to racial outgroup members in adulthood. Of particular interest was the impact of childhood experience on amygdala response to familiar, compared with novel, Black faces. Controlling for a number of well-established individual difference measures related to interracial attitudes, the results reveal that perceivers with greater childhood exposure to racial outgroup members display greater relative reduction in amygdala response to familiar Black faces. The implications of such findings are discussed in the context of previous investigations into the neural substrates of race perception and in consideration of potential mechanisms by which childhood experience may shape race perception.

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Essentializing Ethnicity: Identification Constraint Reduces Diversity Interest

Tiane Lee, Leigh Wilton & Virginia Kwan
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 194-200

Abstract:
The present research investigates the effects of a subtle essentialist cue: restricting individuals to identify with only one ethnicity. Although this constraint is mundane and commonly used in everyday life, it sends a message of essentialized group differences. Three studies illustrate the harmful impact of this essentialist cue on diversity. Studies 1a and 1b show that it decreases Asian-Americans' desire to participate in ethnicity-related activities. Study 2 reveals that it reduces essentialist European-Americans' desire for friendship with a minority target. Study 3 illustrates the mechanism through which an essentialist cue reduces intergroup contact, with perceivers' chronic beliefs moderating this effect. Together, these findings demonstrate the powerful impact of the seemingly small act of how we ask people to identify with an ethnic group.

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Exploring implicit ingroup and outgroup bias toward Hispanics

David March & Reiko Graham
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Racial and ethnic biases often manifest without awareness. The underlying causes of these attitudes are not fully understood. While outgroup bias is well studied, ingroup bias has received far less attention. We examined ingroup biases among Hispanic women and outgroup biases toward Hispanics among White (Caucasian non-Hispanic) females using the startle eyeblink paradigm, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), and an explicit self-report measure. Hispanic and White male faces were used as exemplars during both the startle task and the IAT. A similar pattern of results were observed for indirect measures: both groups displayed startle and IAT responses indicative of negative attitudes toward Hispanic male faces relative to White male faces, although less so for Hispanic participants. Combined groups correlational analyses revealed a significant positive relationship between startle eyeblink amplitude and subtle subscale bias scores. However, no relationships were found between any measures when groups were examined separately. The comparable pattern of startle and IAT results suggests that in spite of the likelihood that these measures index different aspects of attitudes and tap into different processes, inter and intragroup biases are manifested similarly. The finding of negative ingroup biases among Hispanic females is consistent with system justification theory, which posits that members of devalued groups internalize negative stereotypes about their ingroup. This study extends startle eyeblink research of intergroup racial biases, while also expanding this line of research to intragroup biases. In doing so, these results add to our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the persistent nature of stereotypes.

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A Happy Face Advantage With Male Caucasian Faces: It Depends on the Company You Keep

Ottmar Lipp, Belinda Craig & Mylyn Dat
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Happy faces are categorized faster as "happy" than angry faces as "angry," the happy face advantage. Here, we show across three experiments that the size of the happy face advantage for male Caucasian faces varies as a function of the other faces they are presented with. A happy face advantage was present if the male Caucasian faces were presented among male African American faces, but absent if the same faces were presented among female faces, Caucasian or African American. The modulation of the happy face advantage for male Caucasian faces was observed even if the female Caucasian/male African American faces had neutral expressions. This difference in the happy face advantage for a constant set of faces as a function of the other faces presented indicates that it does not reflect on a stimulus-dependent bottom-up process but on the evaluation of the expressive faces within a specific context.

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The Spontaneous Formation of Stereotypes via Cumulative Cultural Evolution

Douglas Martin et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
All people share knowledge of cultural stereotypes of social groups - but what are the origins of these stereotypes? We examined whether stereotypes form spontaneously as information is repeatedly passed from person to person. As information about novel social targets was passed down a chain of individuals, what initially began as a set of random associations evolved into a system that was simplified and categorically structured. Over time, novel stereotypes emerged that not only were increasingly learnable but also allowed generalizations to be made about previously unseen social targets. By illuminating how cognitive and social factors influence how stereotypes form and change, these findings show how stereotypes might naturally evolve or be manipulated.

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The Inherence Heuristic as a Source of Essentialist Thought

Erika Salomon & Andrei Cimpian
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Humans are essentialists: They believe hidden "essences" underlie membership in natural and social kinds. Although essentialism has well-established implications for important societal issues (e.g., discrimination), little is known about its origins. According to a recent proposal, essentialism emerges from a broader inherence heuristic - an intuitive tendency to explain patterns in terms of the inherent properties of their constituents (e.g., we have orange juice for breakfast [pattern] because citrus aromas [inherent feature] wake us up). We tested two predictions of this proposal - that reliance on the inherence heuristic predicts endorsement of essentialist beliefs, even when adjusting for potentially confounding variables (Studies 1 and 2), and that reducing reliance on the inherence heuristic produces a downstream reduction in essentialist thought (Studies 3 and 4). The results were consistent with these predictions and thus provided evidence for a new theoretical perspective on the cognitive underpinnings of psychological essentialism.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:15:00 AM

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pay as you go

The Tax Gradient: Spatial Aspects of Fiscal Competition

David Agrawal
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
State borders create a discontinuous tax treatment of retail sales. In a Nash game, local tax rates will be higher on the low-state-tax side of a border. Local taxes will decrease from the nearest high-tax border and increase from the low-tax border. Using driving time from state borders and all local sales tax rates, local tax rates on the low-tax side of the border are 1.25 percentage points higher, reducing the differential in state tax rates by over three-quarters. A ten minute increase in driving time from the nearest high-tax state lowers a border town's local tax rate by 6%.

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Taxes and Financial Constraints: Evidence from Linguistic Cues

Kelvin Law & Lillian Mills
University of Texas Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Using a new measure of financial constraints based on firms' qualitative disclosure, we find financially constrained firms — firms that use more negative words in their annual reports — pursue more aggressive tax planning strategies: (1) have higher current and future unrecognized tax benefits, (2) have lower short- and long-run current and future effective tax rates, and (3) use more tax havens for their material operations. We exploit the unexpected closure of local banks as exogenous liquidity shocks to show that firms' external financial constraints affect their tax avoidance strategies. Using confidential IRS tax audit data, we also show that financially constrained firms subsequently have higher IRS tax audit adjustments. Overall, the linguistic cues in firms' qualitative disclosure provide incremental information beyond traditional accounting variables or commonly used effective tax rates to reveal and predict tax aggressiveness, both contemporaneously and in the future.

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A Model of the Consumption Response to Fiscal Stimulus Payments

Greg Kaplan & Giovanni Violante
Econometrica, July 2014, Pages 1199–1239

Abstract:
A wide body of empirical evidence finds that approximately 25 percent of fiscal stimulus payments (e.g., tax rebates) are spent on nondurable household consumption in the quarter that they are received. To interpret this fact, we develop a structural economic model where households can hold two assets: a low-return liquid asset (e.g., cash, checking account) and a high-return illiquid asset that carries a transaction cost (e.g., housing, retirement account). The optimal life-cycle pattern of portfolio choice implies that many households in the model are “wealthy hand-to-mouth”: they hold little or no liquid wealth despite owning sizable quantities of illiquid assets. Therefore, they display large propensities to consume out of additional transitory income, and small propensities to consume out of news about future income. We document the existence of such households in data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. A version of the model parameterized to the 2001 tax rebate episode yields consumption responses to fiscal stimulus payments that are in line with the evidence, and an order of magnitude larger than in the standard “one-asset” framework. The model's nonlinearities with respect to the rebate size and the prevailing aggregate economic conditions have implications for policy design.

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Cognitive Biases in Government Procurement – An Experimental Study

Omer Dekel & Amos Schurr
Review of Law & Economics, July 2014, Pages 169–200

Abstract:
Competitive bidding (CB) is the dominant governmental contracting mechanism by which hundreds of billions of dollars are allocated annually. We claim that when bid evaluators assess the qualitative components of competing bids while being exposed to the bid prices, a systematic bias occurs that gives an unjust advantage to the lower bidder. We term this the Lower-Bid Bias. It is then shown that this bias can be neutralized by splitting the evaluation process into two stages, whereby bid price is revealed only after the evaluation process has culminated (two-stage CB). This is demonstrated through the findings of a survey and three controlled experiments, the first to be conducted with procurement officials. We also explain why this bias is undesirable and suggest a mandatory rule, requiring two-stage CB for any competitive public procurement based on evaluation criteria other than price. Further applications of the experiments’ findings are also discussed.

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U.S. State Fiscal Policy and Natural Resources

Alexander James
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
An analytical framework predicts that, in response to an exogenous increase in resource-based government revenue, a benevolent government will partially substitute away from taxing income, increase spending and save. Forty-two years of U.S.-state level data are consistent with this theory. A baseline fixed effects model predicts that a 1% point increase in resource revenue results in a .20% point decrease in non-resource revenue, a .50% point increase in spending and a .30% point increase in savings. These results are generally robust to alternative model specifications and the instrumentation of resource-based government revenue.

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Taxes and Fiscal Sociology

Isaac William Martin & Monica Prasad
Annual Review of Sociology, 2014, Pages 331-345

Abstract:
This article reviews recent research in fiscal sociology. We specifically examine contributions to the study of taxation that illuminate core issues in the sociology of contemporary capitalism, including the causes of poverty and inequality in rich countries and of inequality between rich and poor countries. Research on developed countries suggests that tax policy changes are important for explaining rising income inequality, tax policies may structure durable inequalities of race and gender, and earnings-conditional tax subsidies may alleviate poverty more effectively and with less stigma than means-tested social spending. Scholars also find the most generous welfare states rely the most heavily on regressive taxes, although there is disagreement over how this association arises. Comparative research on developing countries shows consumption taxes are more conducive to growth than taxes on income, tax-financed spending benefits growth if it is spent on productive investments, and taxation strengthened democracy and state building in medieval and early modern Europe. However, there is disagreement as to whether taxation contributes to state building in contemporary developing countries and whether foreign aid undermines democracy by undermining taxation. These questions are the focus of considerable current research.

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Political Parties, Supply-Side Strategies, and Firms: The Political Micro-Economy of Partisan Politics

Isa Camyar
Journal of Politics, July 2014, Pages 725-739

Abstract:
This research examines the economic impact of partisan politics at a level that has been neglected in prior research: the firm level. Specifically, I investigate the impact of partisan supply-side policies on firm performance and firm heterogeneity in experience of this impact. I claim that parties’ supply-side strategies (the interventionist strategy of left-wing parties and the market-oriented strategy of right-wing parties) have conflicting implications for the productivity and cost of economic factors at the disposal of firms. My empirics employ firm-level data from 21 advanced industrial democracies for the period extending from 1989 to 2008. The results are counterintuitive and, in some ways, even provocative. I find that (1) firms perform better under left-oriented governments compared to right-oriented governments, suggesting that the interventionist strategy of left-wing parties helps firms better than the market-oriented strategy of right-wing parties; and (2) there is considerable firm heterogeneity in exposure to partisan supply-side strategies.

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Government size, composition of public expenditure, and economic development

Susana Martins & Francisco José Veiga
International Tax and Public Finance, August 2014, Pages 578-597

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the effects of government size and of the composition of public expenditure on economic development. Using the system-GMM estimator for linear dynamic panel data models, on a sample covering up to 156 countries and 5-year periods from 1980 to 2010, we find that government size as a percentage of GDP has a quadratic (inverted U-shaped) effect on the growth rate of the Human Development Index (HDI). This effect is especially pronounced in developed and high-income countries. We also find that the composition of public expenditure affects development, with the share of five subcomponents exhibiting nonlinear relationships with HDI growth.

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The Impact of Subnational Fiscal Policies on Economic Growth: A Dynamic Analysis Approach

Arwiphawee Srithongrung & Kenneth Kriz
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much previous research has analyzed the effect of state and local taxes and expenditures on economic growth, but usually in a static manner. In this paper, we use panel vector autoregression (PVAR) to examine the effects of taxes and expenditures on state income growth. This methodology allows us to treat all variables in the model as endogenously determined. Our approach allows us to address the endogeneity problem inherent in fiscal policy research as well as to obtain results for both the short term and intermediate term (up to six years). Consistent with prevailing wisdom, taxes are shown to have a negative effect on economic growth, but the effect only is present in the short run. Public capital spending has a positive effect on growth in both the short and intermediate terms. Operational expenditures exhibit positive effects on growth over the entire analysis period.

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Who Benefits from State Corporate Tax Cuts? A Local Labor Markets Approach with Heterogeneous Firms

Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Owen Zidar
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
This paper estimates the incidence of state corporate taxes on workers, landowners, and firm owners in a spatial equilibrium model in which corporate taxes affect the location choices of both firms and workers. Heterogeneous, location-specific productivities and preferences determine the mobility of firms and workers, respectively. Owners of monopolistically competitive firms receive economic profits and may bear the incidence of corporate taxes as heterogeneous productivity can make them inframarginal in their location choices. We derive a simple expression for equilibrium incidence as a function of a few estimable parameters. Using variation in state corporate tax rates and apportionment rules, we estimate the reduced-form effects of tax changes on firm and worker location decisions, wages, and rental costs. We then use minimum distance methods to recover the parameters that determine equilibrium incidence as a function of these reduced-form effects. In contrast to previous assumptions of infinitely mobile firms and perfectly immobile workers, we find that firms are only approximately twice as mobile as workers over a ten-year period. This fact, along with equilibrium impacts on the housing market, implies that firm owners bear roughly 40% of the incidence, while workers and land owners bear 35% and 25%, respectively. Finally, we derive revenue-maximizing state corporate tax rates and discuss interactions with other local taxes and apportionment formulae.

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Taxes on the Internet: Deterrence Effects of Public Disclosure

Erlend Bø, Joel Slemrod & Thor Thoresen
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although Norway has a long tradition of public disclosure of tax filings, starting in 2001 anyone with Internet access could obtain individual information on income and income taxes paid. We examine the effect on income reporting of this change in the degree of public disclosure, making use of the fact that prior to 2001 in some municipalities tax information was distributed widely through locally produced paper catalogs. We find an approximately 3 percent higher average increase in reported income among business owners living in areas where the switch to Internet disclosure represented a large change in access.

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State Tax Differentials, Cross-Border Commuting, and Commuting Times in Multi-State Metropolitan Areas

David Agrawal & William Hoyt
University of Georgia Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
We examine the effects of differences in income tax rates on commuting times within multi-state MSAs. Our theoretical model introduces a border into a model of an urban area and shows that differences in average tax rates distort commute times and interstate commutes. Empirically examining multi-state MSAs allows us to exploit tax policy discontinuities while holding fixed other characteristics. We identify large effects on commuting times for affluent households and homeowners in MSAs in which taxes are based on the state of residence. We discuss how the model and empirical design can be used to study other policy differences.

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House Price Gains and U.S. Household Spending from 2002 to 2006

Atif Mian & Amir Sufi
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We examine the effect of rising U.S. house prices on borrowing and spending from 2002 to 2006. There is strong heterogeneity in the marginal propensity to borrow and spend. Households in low income zip codes aggressively liquefy home equity when house prices rise, and they increase spending substantially. In contrast, for the same rise in house prices, households living in high income zip codes are unresponsive, both in their borrowing and spending behavior. The entire effect of housing wealth on spending is through borrowing, and, under certain assumptions, this spending represents 0.8% of GDP in 2004 and 1.3% of GDP in 2005 and 2006. Households that borrow and spend out of housing gains between 2002 and 2006 experience significantly lower income and spending growth after 2006.

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Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Connection Between Property Taxes and Residential Capital Investment

Byron Lutz
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do low property taxes attract new home construction? This question is answered using a large shock to property tax burdens caused by an unusual school finance reform in the state of New Hampshire. The estimates suggest that, in most of the state, communities with a reduced tax burden experience a substantial increase in residential construction. In the area of the state near the region's primary urban center (Boston), however, the shock clears through a price adjustment — i.e. by capitalizing into property values. The differing responses are attributed to differing housing supply elasticities.

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The effects of economic freedom, regulatory quality and taxation on the level of per capita real income: A preliminary analysis for OECD nations and non-G8 OECD nations

Richard Cebula & J.R. Clark
Applied Economics, Fall 2014, Pages 3836-3848

Abstract:
This study of the impact of economic freedom, regulatory quality and the relative burden of taxation on the level of per capita real income/GDP among OECD nations over the period 2003 to 2007 adopts a modified version of the overall economic freedom index computed by the Heritage Foundation (2013), one with the fiscal freedom and business freedom indices removed. This study then provides panel least squares fixed-effects estimates for five linear specifications/models. Each nation during this time frame can be regarded either as a nation per se or as a de facto ‘economic region’ within the OECD. The analysis first focuses upon all of the OECD nations and then, as a robustness test, subsequently focuses only on non-G8 OECD member nations. The estimations in this study all provide strong empirical support for the three central hypotheses proffered here, namely: (1) the higher the overall degree of economic freedom, the higher the per capita real income (GDP) level; (2) the higher the level of regulatory quality, the higher the level of per capita real income (GDP) and (3) the higher the overall tax burden, expressed as a per cent of GDP, the lower is the level of per capita real income (GDP).

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Tax Avoidance and Business Location in a State Border Model

Shawn Rohlin, Stuart Rosenthal & Amanda Ross
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have struggled to demonstrate that higher taxes deter business activity. We revisit this issue by estimating the effect of changes over time in cross-border differences in state tax conditions on the tendency for new establishments to favor one side of a state border over the other. Identification is enhanced by taking account of previously overlooked reciprocal agreements that require workers to pay income tax to their state of residence as opposed to their state of employment. When reciprocal agreements are in force, higher personal income tax rates lure companies from across the border, while corporate income tax and sales tax rates have the opposite effect. Where reciprocal agreements are not in place, the results are largely reversed. These patterns are amplified in heavily developed locations, and differ in anticipated ways by industry and corporate/non-corporate status of the establishment. Overall, results strengthen the view that state-level tax policies do affect the location decisions of entrepreneurs and new business activity, but not in a way that lends itself to a one-size-fits-all summary.

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Traffic Congestion’s Economic Impacts: Evidence from US Metropolitan Regions

Matthias Sweet
Urban Studies, August 2014, Pages 2088-2110

Abstract:
Traffic congestion alleviation has long been a common core transport policy objective, but it remains unclear under which conditions this universal byproduct of urban life also impedes the economy. Using panel data for 88 US metropolitan statistical areas, this study estimates congestion’s drag on employment growth (1993 to 2008) and productivity growth per worker (2001 to 2007). Using instrumental variables, results suggest that congestion slows job growth above thresholds of approximately 4.5 minutes of delay per one-way auto commute and 11,000 average daily traffic (ADT) per lane on average across the regional freeway network. While higher ADT per freeway lane appears to slow productivity growth, there is no evidence of congestion-induced travel delay impeding productivity growth. Results suggest that the strict policy focus on travel time savings may be misplaced and, instead, better outlooks for managing congestion’s economic drag lie in prioritising the economically most important trips (perhaps through road pricing) or in providing alternative travel capacity to enable access despite congestion.

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Complex Tax Incentives

Johannes Abeler & Simon Jäger
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does tax complexity affect people’s reaction to tax changes? To answer this question, we conduct an experiment in which subjects work for a piece rate and face taxes. One treatment features a simple, the other a complex tax system. The payoff-maximizing output level and the incentives around this optimum are, however, identical across treatments. We introduce the same sequence of additional taxes in both treatments. Subjects in the complex treatment underreact to new taxes; some ignore new taxes entirely. The underreaction is stronger for subjects with lower cognitive ability. Contrary to predictions from models of rational inattention, subjects are equally likely to ignore large or small incentive changes.

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Discontinuity of Output Convergence within the United States: Why Has the Course Changed?

Chi-Young Choi & Xiaojun Wang
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Has the progress of output convergence changed within the United States? This article examines the output convergence among U.S. states for the last five decades by making several improvements over the extant literature. By applying a battery of convergence tests designed to capture nonlinear transitional dynamics to real output per worker data (i.e., nominal values deflated by state-level price), we find that output convergence has not been a feature of the continental United States since the 1970s. Instead, output convergence has proceeded among four subgroups within which constituent states have certain characteristics in common. Our regression analysis suggests that state-level characteristics related to technology and human capital play a crucial role in accounting for the formation and composition of convergence clubs, in agreement with the recent theoretical models of growth and development (e.g., Aghion et al. 2009; Gennaioli et al. 2013b). The level of technology, proxied by patents, turns out to be a consistently significant determinant even after controlling for endogeneity, suggesting that frictions in the diffusion of technology and human capital may have led to clustering of states with different levels of productivity. Our results therefore cast doubt on the common view that diffusion of knowledge and technology across state borders is frictionless.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Making a difference

The evaluability bias in charitable giving: Saving administration costs or saving lives?

Lucius Caviola et al.
Judgment and Decision Making, July 2014, Pages 303–315

Abstract:
We describe the “evaluability bias”: the tendency to weight the importance of an attribute in proportion to its ease of evaluation. We propose that the evaluability bias influences decision making in the context of charitable giving: people tend to have a strong preference for charities with low overhead ratios (lower administrative expenses) but not for charities with high cost-effectiveness (greater number of saved lives per dollar), because the former attribute is easier to evaluate than the latter. In line with this hypothesis, we report the results of four studies showing that, when presented with a single charity, people are willing to donate more to a charity with low overhead ratio, regardless of cost-effectiveness. However, when people are presented with two charities simultaneously — thereby enabling comparative evaluation — they base their donation behavior on cost-effectiveness (Study 1). This suggests that people primarily value cost-effectiveness but manifest the evaluability bias in cases where they find it difficult to evaluate. However, people seem also to value a low overhead ratio for its own sake (Study 2). The evaluability bias effect applies to charities of different domains (Study 3). We also show that overhead ratio is easier to evaluate when its presentation format is a ratio, suggesting an inherent reference point that allows meaningful interpretation (Study 4).

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Conscience Accounting: Emotion Dynamics and Social Behavior

Uri Gneezy, Alex Imas & Kristóf Madarász
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper presents theory and experiments where people's prosocial attitudes fluctuate over time following the violation of an internalized norm. We report the results of two experiments in which people who first made an immoral choice were then more likely to donate to charity than those who did not. In addition, those who knew that a donation opportunity would follow the potentially immoral choice behaved more unethically than those who did not know. We interpret this increase in charitable behavior as being driven by a temporal increase in guilt induced by past immoral actions. We term such behavior conscience accounting and discuss its importance in charitable giving and in the identification of social norms in choice behavior through time inconsistency.

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Giving Against the Odds: When Tempting Alternatives Increase Willingness to Donate

Jennifer Savary, Kelly Goldsmith & Ravi Dhar
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors examine how a reference to an unrelated product in the choice context impacts consumers' likelihood of donating to charity. Building on research on self-signaling, the authors predict that consumers are more likely to give when the donation appeal references a hedonic product, as compared to when a utilitarian product is referenced or when no comparison is provided. They posit that this occurs because referencing a hedonic product during a charitable appeal changes the self-attributions, or self-signaling utility, associated with the choice to donate. A series of hypothetical and real choice experiments demonstrate the predicted effect, and show that the increase in donation rates occurs because the self-attributions signaled by a choice not to donate are more negative in the context of a hedonic reference product. Finally, consistent with these experimental findings, a field experiment shows that referencing a hedonic product during a charitable appeal increases real donation rates in a non-laboratory setting. The authors discuss theoretical implications for both consumer decision making and the self-signaling motives behind prosocial choice.

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Signaling Virtue: Charitable Behavior Under Consumer Elective Pricing

Minah Jung
University of California Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Four field experiments examined the quantitative and qualitative forces influencing behaviors under consumer elective pricing called “shared social responsibility” (SSR, Gneezy, Gneezy, Nelson, & Brown, 2010). Under SSR consumers can pay what they want and a percentage of their payment goes to support a charitable cause. Customers in our experiments were sensitive to the presence of charitable giving, paying more when a portion of their payment went to charity (Studies 1-4), but were largely insensitive to what portion of their payment went to charity (Studies 1 and 2). To test possible explanations we examined how consumers’ qualitative concerns to signal a positive image influenced their decisions and found that neither self-selection into paying (Studies 3 and 4) nor social pressure (Study 4) explained higher payments under SSR.

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Priming Effects on Commitment to Help and on Real Helping Behavior

Costanza Scaffidi Abbate et al.
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, July/August 2014, Pages 347-355

Abstract:
Years of research on bystander apathy have demonstrated that the physical presence of others can reduce the tendency to help individuals needing assistance. Recent research on the implicit bystander effect has suggested that simply imagining the presence of others can lead to less helping behavior on a subsequent unrelated task. The present study was designed to contribute to previous findings on the implicit bystander effect by demonstrating these effects on commitment to help and on real helping behavior, rather than simply on intentions to help. Studies 1a and 1b demonstrate that merely priming participants with the construct of being in a group at Time 1 created significantly less commitment to future helping on a subsequent task at Time 2. Study 2 aimed to extend this effect to behavioral measures and verified that participants exposed to a group prime helped less than those who were exposed to a single-person prime. The implications of these findings for the literature on the bystander effect are discussed.

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The power of one: The relative influence of helpful and selfish models

Jerry Burger et al.
Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
We compared the extent to which people imitate models who exhibit either helpful or selfish behavior. In Study 1, female shoppers witnessed an individual either help or not help a woman who dropped her books. Women who saw the helpful model were more likely to assist a confederate who dropped a dollar, whereas those who saw the unhelpful model assisted at a rate no different than the control condition. In Study 2, undergraduate women saw a confederate take either one or five pieces of candy after being instructed to take only one. Participants who witnessed the unselfish behavior took fewer pieces for themselves than control condition participants, whereas those who saw the selfish behavior did not differ from the control condition.

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Individual resource contributions to voluntary organizations in the United States: A comparison between social movements and other organizations

Nicolás Somma
Acta Sociologica, August 2014, Pages 237-251

Abstract:
Although social movement organizations (SMOs) are often depicted as mobilizing intensive resources from their individual members, we lack a systematic assessment of this issue. Based on the notion of ‘modern social movements’ I argue that SMOs mobilize fewer human and monetary resources from their members than other voluntary organizations do. A regression model using a survey representative of American adults shows that, when compared to other organization members, SMO members generally contribute significantly lower amounts of money and time. They are also less likely to attend, plan or chair meetings, and give speeches on behalf of the organization. The only exception to this pattern is that SMO members are more likely to write letters for the organization than other members do.

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I’m Moral, but I Won’t Help You: The Distinct Roles of Empathy and Justice in Donations

Saerom Lee, Karen Page Winterich & William Ross
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Donating to charitable causes is generally perceived as a moral, prosocial behavior, but this may not always be the case. Although moral identity tends to have a positive effect on prosocial behavior, moral identity does not unconditionally enhance charitable giving. Four studies demonstrate that moral identity decreases donations when recipients are responsible for their plight. Mediation analysis reveals that empathy and justice underlie these effects such that moral identity increases donations for recipients with low plight responsibility through increased empathy, but moral identity decreases donations to recipients with high plight responsibility due to perceptions of justice. Importantly, donations to recipients who are responsible for their plight can be enhanced when donors’ immorality is made salient, evoking empathy for recipients, particularly among donors with high moral identity. This research makes theoretical contributions in addition to providing implications for nonprofit organizations whose recipients may be perceived as responsible for their plight.

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What Policies Increase Prosocial Behavior? An Experiment with Referees at the Journal of Public Economics

Raj Chetty, Emmanuel Saez & Laszlo Sandor
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2014, Pages 169-188

Abstract:
We evaluate policies to increase prosocial behavior using a field experiment with 1,500 referees at the Journal of Public Economics. We randomly assign referees to four groups: a control group with a six week deadline to submit a referee report, a group with a four week deadline, a cash incentive group rewarded with $100 for meeting the four week deadline, and a social incentive group in which referees were told that their turnaround times would be publicly posted. We obtain four sets of results. First, shorter deadlines reduce the time referees take to submit reports substantially. Second, cash incentives significantly improve speed, especially in the week before the deadline. Cash payments do not crowd out intrinsic motivation: after the cash treatment ends, referees who received cash incentives are no slower than those in the four-week deadline group. Third, social incentives have smaller but significant effects on review times and are especially effective among tenured professors, who are less sensitive to deadlines and cash incentives. Fourth, all the treatments have little or no effect on agreement rates, quality of reports, or review times at other journals. We conclude that small changes in journals’ policies could substantially expedite peer review at little cost. More generally, price incentives, nudges, and social pressure are effective and complementary methods of increasing prosocial behavior.

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The early origins of human charity: Developmental changes in preschoolers’ sharing with poor and wealthy individuals

Markus Paulus
Frontiers in Psychology, June 2014

Abstract:
Recent studies have provided evidence that young children already engage in sharing behavior. The underlying social-cognitive mechanisms, however, are still under debate. In particular, it is unclear whether or not young children’s sharing is motivated by an appreciation of others’ wealth. Manipulating the material needs of recipients in a sharing task (Experiment 1) and a resource allocation task (Experiment 2), we show that 5- but not 3-year-old children share more with poor than wealthy individuals. The 3-year-old children even showed a tendency to behave less selfishly towards the rich, yet not the poor recipient. This suggests that very early instances of sharing behavior are not motivated by a consideration of others’ material needs. Moreover, the results show that 5-year-old children were rather inclined to give more to the poor individual than distributing the resources equally, demonstrating that their wish to support the poor overruled the otherwise very prominent inclination to share resources equally. This indicates that charity has strong developmental roots in preschool children.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ladies' night

Female Economic Dependence and the Morality of Promiscuity

Michael Price, Nicholas Pound & Isabel Scott
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In environments in which female economic dependence on a male mate is higher, male parental investment is more essential. In such environments, therefore, both sexes should value paternity certainty more and thus object more to promiscuity (because promiscuity undermines paternity certainty). We tested this theory of anti-promiscuity morality in two studies (N = 656 and N = 4,626) using U.S. samples. In both, we examined whether opposition to promiscuity was higher among people who perceived greater female economic dependence in their social network. In Study 2, we also tested whether economic indicators of female economic dependence (e.g., female income, welfare availability) predicted anti-promiscuity morality at the state level. Results from both studies supported the proposed theory. At the individual level, perceived female economic dependence explained significant variance in anti-promiscuity morality, even after controlling for variance explained by age, sex, religiosity, political conservatism, and the anti-promiscuity views of geographical neighbors. At the state level, median female income was strongly negatively related to anti-promiscuity morality and this relationship was fully mediated by perceived female economic dependence. These results were consistent with the view that anti-promiscuity beliefs may function to promote paternity certainty in circumstances where male parental investment is particularly important.

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Hooking Up and Psychological Well-Being in College Students: Short-Term Prospective Links Across Different Hookup Definitions

Zhana Vrangalova
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Hooking up (sex outside committed, romantic relationships) is feared to result from or lead to compromised psychological well-being among undergraduates, yet longitudinal evidence is scarce and inconclusive, and different hookup definitions complicate cross-study comparisons. This study examined short-term longitudinal associations with four well-being indicators (depression, anxiety, life satisfaction, and self-esteem) across several definitions of hookups based on relationship length (one time, longer casual, and any) and physical intimacy level (kissing, genital touching, oral sex, and intercourse). A university-wide sample of 666 Northeastern U.S. freshmen and juniors (63% female, 68% White) completed online surveys at the beginning and end of one academic semester. Linear and logistic regressions explored whether hookups over the semester were linked to later well-being, and whether initial well-being was linked to later hookups. Across all 96 regressions, statistically significant associations between well-being and hookups were infrequent (23%), predominantly confined to anxiety and life satisfaction, equally likely in the direction of higher (13%) as lower (10%) well-being, and affected by both casual relationship length and intimacy level. When gender differences emerged (11%), hookups were associated with higher well-being for women and lower well-being for men. This complex set of results points to the importance of researchers' choices in hookup definitions.

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Evidence to Suggest that Women's Sexual Behavior is Influenced by Hip Width Rather than Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Victoria Simpson, Gayle Brewer & Colin Hendrie
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is an important ornament display that signals women's health and fertility. Its significance derives from human development as a bipedal species. This required fundamental changes to hip morphology/musculature to accommodate the demands of both reproduction and locomotion. The result has been an obstetric dilemma whereby women's hips are only just wide enough to allow the passage of an infant. Childbirth therefore poses a significant hip width related threat to maternal mortality/risk of gynecological injury. It was predicted that this would have a significant influence on women's sexual behavior. To investigate this, hip width and WHR were measured in 148 women (M age = 20.93 + 0.17 years) and sexual histories were recorded via questionnaire. Data revealed that hip width per se was correlated with total number of sexual partners, total number of one night stands, percentage of sexual partners that were one night stands, number of sexual partners within the context of a relationship per year sexually active, and number of one night stands per year sexually active. By contrast, WHR was not correlated with any of these measures. Further analysis indicated that women who predominantly engaged in one night stand behavior had wider hips than those who did not. WHR was again without effect in this context. Women's hip morphology has a direct impact on their risk of potentially fatal childbirth related injury. It is concluded that when they have control over this, women's sexual behavior reflects this risk and is therefore at least in part influenced by hip width.

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The self-regulation effect of fertility status on inbreeding aversion: When fertile, disgust increases more in response to descriptions of one's own than of others' inbreeding

Jan Antfolk et al.
Evolutionary Psychology, Summer 2014, Pages 621-631

Abstract:
The ovulatory shift modulates emotions related to female sexuality. Because fertility status only affects the individual's own opportunity cost, the adaptive value of this shift is expected to stem from self-regulation. To test this assumption we asked women to contemplate various inbreeding descriptions: 1) they themselves having sex with male relatives; 2) their sister having sex with their common male relatives; and 3) an unrelated woman having sex with her male relatives (in 1, but not 2 and 3, negative fitness consequences are affected by the participant's fertility). We dichotomized the dependent variable disgust (ceiling vs. non-ceiling) and analyzed the interaction between fertility status and description type. The ovulatory shift was stronger in descriptions where they themselves were described as engaging in inbreeding. A smaller increase was also found in reactions to others engaging in inbreeding. We explain the latter effect as due to self-reflection.

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Changes in salivary estradiol predict changes in women's preferences for vocal masculinity

Katarzyna Pisanski et al.
Hormones and Behavior, August 2014, Pages 493-497

Abstract:
Although many studies have reported that women's preferences for masculine physical characteristics in men change systematically during the menstrual cycle, the hormonal mechanisms underpinning these changes are currently poorly understood. Previous studies investigating the relationships between measured hormone levels and women's masculinity preferences tested only judgments of men's facial attractiveness. Results of these studies suggested that preferences for masculine characteristics in men's faces were related to either women's estradiol or testosterone levels. To investigate the hormonal correlates of within-woman variation in masculinity preferences further, here we measured 62 women's salivary estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone levels and their preferences for masculine characteristics in men's voices in five weekly test sessions. Multilevel modeling of these data showed that changes in salivary estradiol were the best predictor of changes in women's preferences for vocal masculinity. These results complement other recent research implicating estradiol in women's mate preferences, attention to courtship signals, sexual motivation, and sexual strategies, and are the first to link women's voice preferences directly to measured hormone levels.

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Red and Romantic Rivalry: Viewing Another Woman in Red Increases Perceptions of Sexual Receptivity, Derogation, and Intentions to Mate-Guard

Adam Pazda, Pavol Prokop & Andrew Elliot
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has shown that men perceive women wearing red, relative to other colors, as more attractive and more sexually receptive; women's perceptions of other women wearing red have scarcely been investigated. We hypothesized that women would also interpret female red as a sexual receptivity cue, and that this perception would be accompanied by rival derogation and intentions to mate-guard. Experiment 1 demonstrated that women perceive another woman in a red, relative to white, dress as sexually receptive. Experiment 2 demonstrated that women are more likely to derogate the sexual fidelity of a woman in red, relative to white. Experiment 3 revealed that women are more likely to intend to guard their romantic partner from a woman wearing a red, relative to a green, shirt. These results suggest that some color signals are interpreted similarly across sex, albeit with associated reactions that are sex-specific.

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Functional Variation in Sensitivity to Cues that a Partner is Cheating with a Rival

Katherine Hanson Sobraske, Steven Gaulin & James Boster
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The costs imposed by a romantic partner's mixed reproductive strategy (MRS) generate selection pressures for anticipatory responses to mitigate or avoid those costs. People will differ in their vulnerability to those costs, based in part on the qualities of their romantic rivals. Thus, we predicted that individuals at high risk of a partner's MRS - women with many sexually accessible rivals and men with many rivals more physically attractive than themselves - would be more attentive to cues that an MRS was being employed than those at lower risk. Based on similarity judgments derived from a successive-pile-sort method, this prediction was supported in a study involving over 1,300 students and community members. These results complement a growing body of research on selection pressures generated by romantic rivals.

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Fruit over sunbed: Carotenoid skin coloration is found more attractive than melanin coloration

Carmen Lefevre & David Perrett
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Skin coloration appears to play a pivotal part in facial attractiveness. Skin yellowness contributes to an attractive appearance and is influenced both by dietary carotenoids and by melanin. While both increased carotenoid coloration and increased melanin coloration enhance apparent health in Caucasian faces by increasing skin yellowness, it remains unclear firstly, whether both pigments contribute to attractiveness judgements, secondly, whether one pigment is clearly preferred over the other, and thirdly, whether these effects depend on the sex of the face. Here, in three studies, we examine these questions using controlled facial stimuli transformed to be either high or low in (a) carotenoid coloration, or (b) melanin coloration. We show, firstly, that both increased carotenoid coloration and increased melanin coloration are found attractive compared to lower levels of these pigments. Secondly, we show that carotenoid coloration is consistently preferred over melanin coloration when levels of coloration are matched. In addition, we find an effect of the sex of stimuli with stronger preferences for carotenoids over melanin in female compared to male faces, irrespective of the sex of the observer. These results are interpreted as reflecting preferences for sex-typical skin coloration: men have darker skin than women and high melanisation in male faces may further enhance this masculine trait, thus carotenoid coloration is not less desirable, but melanin coloration is relatively more desirable in males compared to females. Taken together, our findings provide further support for a carotenoid-linked health-signalling system that is highly important in mate choice.

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Love Is in the Gaze: An Eye-Tracking Study of Love and Sexual Desire

Mylene Bolmont, John Cacioppo & Stephanie Cacioppo
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Reading other people's eyes is a valuable skill during interpersonal interaction. Although a number of studies have investigated visual patterns in relation to the perceiver's interest, intentions, and goals, little is known about eye gaze when it comes to differentiating intentions to love from intentions to lust (sexual desire). To address this question, we conducted two experiments: one testing whether the visual pattern related to the perception of love differs from that related to lust and one testing whether the visual pattern related to the expression of love differs from that related to lust. Our results show that a person's eye gaze shifts as a function of his or her goal (love vs. lust) when looking at a visual stimulus. Such identification of distinct visual patterns for love and lust could have theoretical and clinical importance in couples therapy when these two phenomena are difficult to disentangle from one another on the basis of patients' self-reports.

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Some evidence for health-related marriage selection

Anna Lipowicz
American Journal of Human Biology, forthcoming

Objectives: Married people live longer and are healthier than unmarried people. This can be explained in terms of marriage protection and marriage selection. The aim of the present study was to examine the direct effect of marriage selection on health status.

Methods: Data were collected from the archives of the Lower Silesian Medical Center (DOLMED) in Wrocław, Poland. The sample consisted of 2,265 adult (never married or currently married) men. Subjects were assigned to categories for selected variables, including age, level of education, military category upon conscription, height, hearing acuity, and visual acuity. Military category, objective data gathered upon military conscription at age 18, was used to assess initial health status. To identify any relationships between marital status and health status, generalized linear models with binomially distributed dependent variable were used.

Results: The never-married subjects were more likely to have been assigned to lower military categories, which indicates that their health status at age 18 was inferior to those conscripts who would later marry. Hearing acuity and visual acuity were generally worse in never-married subjects than in married subjects. Never-married subjects were also more likely to be short and less likely to be tall.

Conclusions: The results provide evidence for direct health-related marriage selection in men between 25 and 60 years of age. Poor health status reduces the likelihood of marriage.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, August 15, 2014

Due process

Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Sentences

Marit Rehavi & Sonja Starr
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using rich data linking federal cases from arrest through to sentencing, we find that initial case and defendant characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain most, but not all, of the large raw racial disparity in federal sentences. Across the sentence distribution, blacks receive sentences that are almost 10% longer than comparable whites arrested for the same crimes. Most of this disparity can be explained by prosecutors' initial charging decisions, particularly the filing of charges carrying mandatory minimum sentences. Ceteris paribus, the odds of black arrestees facing such a charge are 1.75 times higher than those of white arrestees.

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The Chief Justice as Executive: Judicial Conference Committee Appointments

Dawn Chutkow
Journal of Law and Courts, Fall 2014, Pages 301-325

Abstract:
This article is the first comprehensive empirical study of chief justice appointments to the Judicial Conference committees of the US Courts, entities with influence over substantive public and legal policy. Using a newly created database of all judges appointed to serve on Judicial Conference committees between 1986 and 2012, the results indicate that a judge's partisan alignment with the chief justice matters, as do personal characteristics such as race, experience on the bench, and court level. These results support claims that Judicial Conference committee selection, membership, and participation may present a vehicle for advancing the chief justice's individual political and policy interests.

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An Empirical Evaluation of the Connecticut Death Penalty System Since 1973: Are There Unlawful Racial, Gender, and Geographic Disparities?

John Donohue
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article analyzes the 205 death-eligible murders leading to homicide convictions in Connecticut from 1973-2007 to determine if discriminatory and arbitrary factors influenced capital outcomes. A regression analysis controlling for an array of legitimate factors relevant to the crime, defendant, and victim provides overwhelming evidence that minority defendants who kill white victims are capitally charged at substantially higher rates than minority defendants who kill minorities, that geography influences both capital charging and sentencing decisions (with the location of a crime in Waterbury being the single most potent influence on which death-eligible cases will lead to a sentence of death), and that the Connecticut death penalty system has not limited its application to the worst of the worst death-eligible defendants. The work of an expert hired by the State of Connecticut provided emphatic, independent confirmation of these three findings, and found that women who commit death-eligible crimes are less likely than men to be sentenced to death. There is also strong and statistically significant evidence that minority defendants who kill whites are more likely to end up with capital sentences than comparable cases with white defendants. Regression estimates of the effect of both race and geography on death sentencing reveal the disparities can be glaring. Considering the most common type of death-eligible murder - a multiple victim homicide - a white on white murder of average egregiousness outside Waterbury has a .57 percent chance of being sentenced to death, while a minority committing the identical crime on white victims in Waterbury would face a 91.2 percent likelihood. In other words, the minority defendant in Waterbury would be 160 times more likely to get a sustained death sentence than the comparable white defendant in the rest of the state. Among the nine Connecticut defendants to receive sustained death sentences over the study period, only Michael Ross comports with the dictates that "within the category of capital crimes, the death penalty must be reserved for 'the worst of the worst.'" For the eight defendants on death row (after the 2005 execution of Ross), the median number of equally or more egregious death-eligible cases that did not receive death sentences is between 35 and 46 (depending on the egregiousness measure). In light of the prospective abolition of the Connecticut death penalty in April 2012, which eliminated the deterrence rationale for the death penalty, Atkins v. Virginia teaches that unless the Connecticut death penalty regime "measurably contributes to [the goal of retribution], it is nothing more than the purposeless and needless imposition of pain and suffering, and hence an unconstitutional punishment." Apart from Ross, the evidence suggests that the eight others residing on death row were not measurably more culpable than the many who were not capitally sentenced. Moreover, Connecticut imposed sustained death sentences at a rate of 4.4 percent (9 of 205). This rate of death sentencing is among the lowest in the nation and more than two-thirds lower than the 15 percent pre-Furman Georgia rate that was deemed constitutionally problematic in that "freakishly rare" sentences of death are likely to be arbitrary.

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Influence of Race and Ethnicity on Charge Severity in Chicago Homicide Cases: An Investigation of Prosecutorial Discretion

Christine Martin
Race and Justice, April 2014, Pages 152-174

Abstract:
This research examines prosecutorial decision making at the initial charging stage in Chicago homicide cases during the late 1990s. The objectives of this investigation are to determine whether African Americans were prosecuted more severely than similarly situated White and Latino defendants in Chicago homicide cases prior to the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois and to identify the factors that affected how severely prosecutors prosecuted defendants during that time. The study participants are adults who were identified by the Chicago Police Department as suspects in homicide incidents during the years of 1994 and 1995 and whose cases were selected for prosecution. Other relevant factors that may have influenced charging decisions include the defendant-victim relationship, the homicide circumstances, and the number of victims in a particular homicide incident. General linear regression modeling is used to determine the factors that affected how severely prosecutors prosecuted Chicago homicide defendants. Charge severity is measured by the number of charges of Class M felony murder that were filed against a defendant. The results indicate that prior to the moratorium on the death penalty in Chicago, all defendants studied (regardless of the race/ethnicity of their victims) were charged with fewer counts of murder (prosecuted less severely) than African American defendants who were charged with killing White victims. This direct and significant relationship persists even after adding defendant-victim relationship and homicide circumstance interaction terms to the analysis.

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The intersection of race and gender: An examination of sentencing outcomes in North Carolina

Katrina Rebecca Bloch, Rodney Engen & Kylie Parrotta
Criminal Justice Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the intersection of offenders' race and gender in the sentencing process using data on felony cases sentenced in North Carolina. Analyses examine the likelihood that charges were reduced in severity between initial filing and conviction, the likelihood of imprisonment, and the length of sentence imposed, and test whether race affects punishment similarly for men and women. Results indicate that status characteristics predict both reductions in charge severity and the severity of the final sentence, and that racial disparity is conditional on gender. However, the results are not entirely consistent with predictions derived from the extant literature. Gender significantly predicts case outcomes at each stage, but black men were not uniformly disadvantaged, and black women received the least severe treatment in two out of four analyses. Theoretical implications for the intersection of race and gender in sentencing theories are discussed.

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The Difference "Hate" Makes in Clearing Crime: An Event History Analysis of Incident Factors

Christopher Lyons & Aki Roberts
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, August 2014, Pages 268-289

Abstract:
Studying hate crime clearance rates provides an opportunity to uncover the factors that influence police effectiveness for a relatively new legal category - one that was designed ostensibly to protect minorities, and that may pose unique challenges for police reporting, defining, and investigation. Using multiple years (2005-2010) of data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), we estimate event history models to compare the incident-level predictors and relative probability of arrest for hate and nonbias crimes. As an aggregate category, we find hate crimes are less likely to clear than nonbias crimes. However, the most prototypical hate crimes - White-on-non-White incidents motivated by racial and ethnic bias - are as likely to clear as the most successfully cleared nonbias crimes. Our results suggest that only hate crimes that fit popular constructions of "normal victims and offenders" receive investigative outcomes comparable with otherwise similar nonbias offenses.

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Judicial Bond-Setting Behavior: The Perceived Nature of the Crime May Matter More Than How Serious It Is

Robert Beattey, Taiki Matsuura & Elizabeth Jeglic
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
Whether a criminal defendant will be released on bail or held in jail pretrial is one of the first decisions made in a criminal prosecution. This study examined whether a certain group of defendants is subject to the setting of higher bonds by virtue of the subjectively perceived nature of the offense with which the defendants are charged. We specifically tested whether, despite lower overall rearrest rates, judges are imposing higher bonds on defendants charged with a sex offense than on defendants charged with a nonsex offense of equal statutory offense level. Results showed a statistically significant difference in the bond rates between sex offenders and nonsex offenders, with the mean sex offense bond being set approximately $30,000 higher than the mean nonsex offense bond, despite controlling for level of offense, sex of the defendant, and judge setting the bond amount. Given the high costs of pretrial detention to both the defendant and the state, the utility of empirically based bond setting is discussed.

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An Investigation of Implied Miranda Waivers and Powell Wording in a Mock-Crime Study

Nathan Gillard et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
To guard against coerced self-incrimination, the Supreme Court of the United States outlined in Miranda v. Arizona (1966) what arresting officers must convey to custodial suspects for resulting statements to be admissible into evidence. During the ensuing decades, the Court has continued to grapple with the requisite wording and practical enforcement of these Constitutional rights. In Florida v. Powell (2010), the Court upheld the conviction of a defendant whose Miranda warning affirmed that before questioning he had the right to an attorney, but failed to specify that during questioning he had this right as well. In Berghuis v. Thompkins (2010), the Court ruled that the right to silence must be invoked explicitly, while valid Miranda waivers could be "implied" by a suspect's actions as well as words. The current study employed a mock crime design to assess the practical effects of these 2 rulings on waiver decisions. The wording change enabled by Powell had little effect on Miranda knowledge and reasoning. With regard to Thompkins, the type of waiver profoundly affected subsequent decisions: 13.7% exercised their rights following implied waivers versus 81.1% with explicit waivers. Importantly, the implied waiver condition produced much higher percentages of confessions (17.6% vs. 3.8%) and of admissions about incriminating information (29.4% vs. 9.4%).

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Squealer Dealers: The Market for Information in Federal Drug Trafficking Prosecutions

Andrew Nutting
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Federal data on drug trafficking sentences are used to determine factors that affect market quantities of providing information against other defendants (i.e., defendant probabilities of receiving testimony-related sentence reductions) and market prices of information (i.e., the sizes of such sentence reductions). Women and better-educated defendants experience high demand (higher quantities and prices) for information. Blacks, Hispanics, and non-U.S. citizens experience low demand. Defendants expecting longer sentences have higher supply of information. Conditional on expected sentence, crack dealers, high-level dealers, and dealers with long criminal histories experience low demand, while low-level dealers experience high demand. Women of all races experience high demand for information.

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Lawyer and Nonlawyer Susceptibility to Framing Effects in Out-of-Court Civil Litigation Settlement

Ian Belton, Mary Thomson & Mandeep Dhami
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, September 2014, Pages 578-600

Abstract:
Settling a legal dispute out of court is typically a good result for both parties. However, many disputes do not settle: the presence of cognitive biases, such as those observed through framing manipulations, is thought to be one of the many reasons for settlement failure. The present study used quantitative and qualitative data to compare the impact of a gain- or loss-framed hypothetical civil litigation scenario on settlement decisions made by lawyers and other nonlawyer professionals. A significant effect of framing was found for both groups. As predicted, both nonlawyers and lawyers were much more likely to settle their claim in the gain scenario than in the loss scenario. This finding was supported by the qualitative data: risk-averse comments were more frequent in the gain frame whereas risk-seeking statements were more common in the loss frame. There was also evidence that lawyers may be less affected by framing than nonlawyers, although a smaller difference was observed than in previous studies. In addition, lawyers were more likely than nonlawyers to consider the expected financial value of the litigation in making their decision. We discuss the implications of these results and suggest avenues for future research.

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Examining Pretrial Publicity in a Shadow Jury Paradigm: Issues of Slant, Quantity, Persistence and Generalizability

Tarika Daftary-Kapur et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of pretrial publicity (PTP) on mock juror decision making. Specifically, we examined the influence of quantity and slant of the PTP (proprosecution vs. prodefense), the persistence of PTP effects over time, and whether the PTP effects demonstrated in research laboratories would also occur in more naturalistic settings (generalizability). Using a shadow jury paradigm we examined these effects using a real trial as stimulus. Mock jurors included 115 jury-eligible community members who were naturally exposed to PTP in the venue in which the actual case occurred and 156 who were experimentally exposed. We found mock jurors were significantly influenced by both the slant and quantity of the PTP to which they were exposed, such that those exposed to proprosecution or prodefense PTP tended to render decision in support of the party favored in the PTP, and those exposed to greater quantities of PTP tended to be more biased. Additionally, PTP effects persisted throughout the course of the trial and continued to influence judgments in face of trial evidence and arguments. A finding of no significant difference in the effect of exposure slant between the naturally exposed and experimentally exposed samples provides support for the external validity of laboratory studies examining PTP effects. This research helps address some of the concerns raised by courts with regard to the durability of PTP effects and the application of laboratory findings to real world settings.

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"Midnight Confessions": The Effect of Chronotype Asynchrony on Admissions of Wrongdoing

Kyle Scherr et al.
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, July/August 2014, Pages 321-328

Abstract:
Confession evidence is highly incriminating in court. We examined the interaction between chronotype and time of day on the confession decisions of 60 participants using an experimental paradigm. Pre-identified morning- and evening-type people were randomly assigned to participate in morning or evening sessions. Results supported an interactional asynchrony hypothesis that individuals are more likely to confess during "off-peak" periods (i.e., evening-types in the morning and morning-types in the evening). This interaction was obtained for both high- and low-seriousness transgressions. These results suggest that chronotype asynchrony constitutes a significant risk factor for false confessions and the wrongful convictions that often follow.

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Birds of a feather get misidentified together: High entitativity decreases recognition accuracy for groups of other-race faces

Mollie McGuire & Kathy Pezdek
Legal and Criminological Psychology, forthcoming

Purpose: The cross-race effect can be exaggerated when faces are presented in groups, leading to less accurate eyewitness identifications (Pezdek, O'Brien, & Wasson, 2012, Law Hum. Behav., 36, 488). Our current study examined the effect of entitativity, the degree to which members of a group are perceived as a coherent unit (Campbell, 1958, Behav. Sci., 3, 14), on recognition accuracy for same- and cross-race faces presented in groups.

Methods: White participants viewed 16 slides of 3-face groups (eight White groups, eight Black groups). Prior to viewing the faces they were told that the entitativity of each 3-face group was high ('friends who do things together') or low ('people in line at the bank'). They were then tested on 32 individually presented faces (16 old and 16 new).

Results: When cross-race faces were presented in high rather than low entitativity groups, less accurate face recognition memory resulted. Increasing group entitativity decreased recognition accuracy for cross-race faces but increased recognition accuracy for same-race faces.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the perception of a group negatively impacts eyewitness memory. Contextual factors such as entitativity need to be considered along with other estimator variables when assessing eyewitness identification accuracy.

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On Courts and Pocketbooks: Macroeconomic Judicial Behavior across Methods of Judicial Selection

Douglas Rice
Journal of Law and Courts, Fall 2014, Pages 327-347

Abstract:
Scholars studying judicial behavior have identified a host of factors theoretically and empirically connected to judicial decision making. One recent theory identifies economic conditions - which have implications for the decisions of voters and politicians - as influencing the voting behavior of US Supreme Court justices. Yet the US Supreme Court is a unique judicial institution addressing limited - though indisputably important - economic cases every year. State courts, on the other hand, address a multitude of issues every year with economic ramifications. Building on the rich body of literature examining state courts of last resort, I analyze whether judges, across a variety of methods for judicial selection and retention, respond to temporary changes in the state of the economy. Results indicate that the responses of state supreme court judges to changes in the state of the economy are conditional on the electoral vulnerability of the justice. This research thus offers considerable insight into judicial behavior under different selection mechanisms and the conditional influence of the state of the economy.

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Hypothesis Testing in Attorney-Conducted Voir Dire

Caroline Crocker Otis et al.
Law and Human Behavior, August 2014, Pages 392-404

Abstract:
Attorneys may hold expectations about jurors based on stereotypes about the relationships between demographic characteristics and attitudes. Attorneys test their hypotheses about prospective jurors during voir dire, but it is unclear whether their questioning strategies are likely to produce accurate information from jurors. In 2 studies, attorneys and law students formulated voir dire questions to test a particular hypothesis about the attitudes held by a prospective juror (venireperson) and provided their subsequent inferences about that individual given certain hypothetical responses to the questions. Bayes's theorem was used to compare attorneys' actual conclusions about the venireperson with the conclusions they would reach if correctly using the available information. Attorneys' conclusions were biased by the questions they asked, and in some cases, by the hypothesis that they were asked to test. Compared with normative models derived using Bayes' theorem, attorneys overrelied on venirepersons' responses when drawing conclusions about their attitudes. These findings suggest that even if traditional attorney-conducted voir dire elicited accurate information about prospective jurors' attitudes, attorneys may not use that information to draw normatively accurate conclusions about the attitudes that they hold.

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Knowledge and Death Penalty Opinion: The Marshall Hypotheses Revisited

Gavin Lee, Robert Bohm & Lynn Pazzani
American Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2014, Pages 642-659

Abstract:
This study tests the three hypotheses derived from the written opinion of Justice Thurgood Marshall in Furman v Georgia in 1972. Subjects completed questionnaires at the beginning and the end of the fall a semester. Experimental group subjects were enrolled in a death penalty class, while control group subjects were enrolled in another criminal justice class. The death penalty class was the experimental stimulus. Findings provided strong support for the first and third hypotheses, i.e., subjects were generally lacking in death penalty knowledge before the experimental stimulus, and death penalty proponents who scored "high" on a retribution index did not change their death penalty opinions despite exposure to death penalty knowledge. Marshall's second hypothesis--that death penalty knowledge and death penalty support were inversely related--was not supported by the data. Two unexpected findings were that death penalty proponents who scored "low" on a retribution index also did not change their death penalty opinions after becoming more informed about the subject, and that death penalty knowledge did not alter subjects' initial retributive positions. Suggestions for future research are provided.

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High stakes lies: Police and non-police accuracy in detecting deception

Clea Wright Whelan, Graham Wagstaff & Jacqueline Wheatcroft
Psychology, Crime & Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
To date, the majority of investigations into accuracy in detecting deception has used low-stakes lies as stimulus materials, and findings from these studies suggest that people are generally poor at detecting deception. The research presented here utilised real-life, high-stakes lies as stimulus materials, to investigate the accuracy of police and non-police observers in detecting deception. It was hypothesised that both police and non-police observers would achieve above chance levels of accuracy in detecting deception, that police officers would be more accurate at detecting deception than non-police observers, that confidence in veracity judgements would be positively related to accuracy and that consensus judgements would predict veracity. One hundred and seven observers (70 police officers and 37 non-police participants) watched 36 videos of people lying or telling the truth in an extremely high-stakes, real-life situation. Police observers achieved mean accuracy in detecting deception of 72%, non-police observers achieved 68% mean accuracy, and confidence in veracity judgements was positively related to accuracy. Consensus judgements correctly predicted veracity in 92% of cases.

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Parsing Disciplinary Disproportionality: Contributions of Infraction, Student, and School Characteristics to Out-of-School Suspension and Expulsion

Russell Skiba et al.
American Educational Research Journal, August 2014, Pages 640-670

Abstract:
In the context of a national conversation about exclusionary discipline, we conducted a multilevel examination of the relative contributions of infraction, student, and school characteristics to rates of and racial disparities in out-of-school suspension and expulsion. Type of infraction; race, gender, and to a certain extent socioeconomic status at the individual level; and, at the school level, mean school achievement, percentage Black enrollment, and principal perspectives all contributed to the probability of out-of-school suspension or expulsion. For racial disparities, however, school-level variables, including principal perspectives on discipline, appear to be among the strongest predictors. Such a pattern suggests that schools and districts looking to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in discipline would do well to focus on school- and classroom-based interventions.

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Legislating Incentives for Attorney Representation in Civil Rights Litigation

Sean Farhang & Douglas Spencer
Journal of Law and Courts, Fall 2014, Pages 241-271

Abstract:
Congress routinely relies on private lawsuits to enforce its mandates. In this article, we investigate whether, when it does so, the details of the legislation can importantly influence the extent to which the private bar is mobilized to carry out the prosecutorial function. Using an original and novel data set based on review of archived litigation documents for cases filed in the Northern and Eastern Districts of California over the two decades spanning 1981-2000, we examine the effects of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which increased economic damages available to Title VII job discrimination plaintiffs, on their ability to secure counsel. We find that over the course of the decade after passage, the law substantially increased the probability that Title VII plaintiffs would be represented by counsel and that in doing so it reversed a decade-long trend in the opposite direction.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ups and downs

Is there a cannabis epidemic model? Evidence from France, Germany and USA

Stephane Legleye et al.
International Journal of Drug Policy, forthcoming

Background: Cannabis is the most popular illicit drug in the world, but the process of its diffusion through the population has rarely been studied. The unfolding of the tobacco epidemic was accompanied by a shift in the educational gradient of users across generations. As a consequence, cannabis may show the same pattern of widening social inequalities. We test the diffusion hypotheses that a positive value in older cohorts – the more educated experimenting more – shifts to a negative one in younger cohorts – the more educated experimenting less, first for males and then females.

Methods: Three nationwide subsamples (18-64 years old) of representative surveys conducted in France (n = 21,818), Germany (n = 7,887) and USA (n = 37,115) in 2009-2010 recorded age at cannabis experimentation (i.e., first use), educational level, gender, and age. Cumulative prevalence of experimentation was plotted for three retrospective cohorts (50-64, 35-49, 18-34 years old at data collection) and multivariate time-discrete logistic regression was computed by gender and generation to model age at experimentation adjusted on age at data collection and educational level. This latter was measured according to four categories derived from the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and a relative (rather than absolute) index of education.

Results: The findings demonstrate a consistent pattern of evolution of the prevalence, gender ratio and educational gradient across generations and countries that supports the hypothesis of an “epidemic” of cannabis experimentation that mimics the epidemic of tobacco.

Conclusion: We provide evidence for a cannabis epidemic model similar to the tobacco epidemic model. In the absence of clues regarding the future of cannabis use, our findings demonstrate that the gender gap is decreasing and, based on the epidemic model, suggest that we may expect widening social inequalities in cannabis experimentation if cannabis use decreases in the future.

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The Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Illegal Marijuana Use

Yu-Wei Luke Chu
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
More and more states have passed laws that allow individuals to use marijuana for medical purposes. There is an ongoing, heated policy debate over whether these laws have increased marijuana use among non-patients. In this paper, I address that question empirically by studying marijuana possession arrests in cities from 1988 to 2008. I estimate fixed effects models with city-specific time trends that can condition on unobserved heterogeneities across cities in both their levels and trends. I find that these laws increase marijuana arrests among adult males by about 15–20%. These results are further validated by findings from data on treatment admissions to rehabilitation facilities: marijuana treatments among adult males increased by 10–20% after the passage of medical marijuana laws.

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Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use

Mark Anderson, Benjamin Hansen & Daniel Rees
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
While at least a dozen state legislatures in the United States have recently considered bills to allow the consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the federal government is intensifying its efforts to close medical marijuana dispensaries. Federal officials contend that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages teenagers to use marijuana and have targeted dispensaries operating within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds. Using data from the national and state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and the Treatment Episode Data Set, we estimate the relationship between medical marijuana laws and marijuana use. Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that legalization leads to increased use of marijuana by teenagers.

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Crime and the Depenalization of Cannabis Possession: Evidence from a Policing Experiment

Imran Rasul, Jerome Adda & Brendon McConnell
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We evaluate the impact on crime of a localized policing experiment that depenalized the possession of small quantities of cannabis in the London borough of Lambeth. We find that depenalization policy caused the police to reallocate effort towards non-drug crime. Despite the overall fall in crime attributable to the policy, we find the total welfare of local residents likely fell, as measured by house prices. We shed light on what would be the impacts on crime of a citywide depenalization policy, by developing and calibrating a structural model of the market for cannabis and crime.

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The Next Generation of Users: Prevalence and Longitudinal Patterns of Tobacco Use Among US Young Adults

Amanda Richardson et al.
American Journal of Public Health, August 2014, Pages 1429-1436

Objectives: We monitored the prevalence and patterns of use of the array of tobacco products available to young adults, who are at risk for initiation and progression to established tobacco use.

Methods: We used data from waves 1 to 3 of GfK’s KnowledgePanel (2011–2012), a nationally representative cohort of young adults aged 18 to 34 years (n = 2144). We examined prevalence and patterns of tobacco product use over time, associated demographics, and state-level tobacco policy. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine predictors of initiation of cigarettes as well as noncombustible and other combustible products.

Results: The prevalence of ever tobacco use rose from 57.28% at wave 1 to 67.43% at wave 3. Use of multiple products was the most common pattern (66.39% of tobacco users by wave 3). Predictors of initiation differed by product type and included age, race/ethnicity, policy, and use of other tobacco products.

Conclusions: Tobacco use is high among young adults and many are using multiple products. Efforts to implement policy and educate young adults about the risks associated with new and emerging products are critical to prevent increased initiation of tobacco use.

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Probing the Smoking–Suicide Association: Do Smoking Policy Interventions Affect Suicide Risk?

Richard Grucza et al.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, forthcoming

Introduction: Smokers exhibit elevated risk for suicide, but it is unknown whether smoking interventions reduce suicide risk. We examined whether state-level policy interventions—increases in cigarette excise taxes and strengthening of smoke-free air laws—corresponded to reduction in suicide risk during the 1990s and early 2000s. We also examined whether the magnitude of such reductions correlated with individuals’ predicted probability of smoking, as would be expected if the associations stemmed from changes in smoking behavior.

Methods: We paired individual-level data on suicide deaths from the U.S. Multiple Cause of Death files, years 1990–2004, with living population data from the same period. These were linked with state data on cigarette excise taxes and smoke-free air policies. Utilizing a quasi-experimental analytical approach, we estimated the association between changes in policy and suicide risk. To examine whether associations correlated with individuals’ probability of smoking, we used external survey data to derive a predicted probability of smoking function from demographic variables, which was then used to stratify the population by predicted smoking prevalence.

Results: Cigarette excise taxes, smoke-free air policies, and an index combining the two policies all exhibited protective associations with suicide. The associations were strongest in segments of the population where predicted smoking prevalence was the highest and weaker in segments of the population where predicted smoking prevalence was the lowest, suggesting that the protective associations were related to changes in smoking behavior.

Conclusion: These results provide support for the proposition that population interventions for smoking could reduce risk for suicide.

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Cannabis-Related Impairment: The Impacts of Social Anxiety and Misconceptions of Friends’ Cannabis-Related Problems

Anthony Ecker, Ashley Richter & Julia Buckner
Addictive Behaviors, December 2014, Pages 1746–1749

Objective: Socially anxious cannabis users are especially vulnerable to cannabis-related impairment, yet mechanisms underlying this vulnerability remain unclear. Socially anxious persons may use cannabis despite related problems if they believe such problems are common, and thus socially acceptable. Yet no known studies have examined the impact of beliefs regarding others’ cannabis-related problems on one’s own use-related problems.

Method: This study investigated the impact of beliefs about a close friend’s experience with cannabis-related problems on the relationship between social anxiety and cannabis-related problems. The sample consisted of 158 (75% female) current (past-month) cannabis-using undergraduates.

Results: Believing one’s friend experienced more cannabis problems was related to experiencing more cannabis-related problems oneself. In fact, perceived friend’s problems accounted for 40% of the unique variance in one’s own cannabis problems. Descriptive norms (others’ use) and injunctive norms (others’ approval of risky use) were unrelated to number of one’s own problems. Social anxiety was related to experiencing more cannabis problems. This relation was moderated by perceived friend’s problems such that greater social anxiety was related to more cannabis-related problems among participants who believed their friend experienced more cannabis-related problems. This was not the case among participants who believed their friend experienced fewer problems.

Conclusions: Normative beliefs regarding a close friend’s cannabis problems were robustly and uniquely related to experiencing more cannabis-related impairment. Beliefs regarding friends’ experience with cannabis-related problems may play an especially important role in the experience of cannabis-related problems among socially anxious users.

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Electronic Cigarettes and Conventional Cigarette Use Among US Adolescents: A Cross-sectional Study

Lauren Dutra & Stanton Glantz
JAMA Pediatrics, July 2014, Pages 610-617

Objective: To examine e-cigarette use and conventional cigarette smoking.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional analyses of survey data from a representative sample of US middle and high school students in 2011 (n = 17 353) and 2012 (n = 22 529) who completed the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

Results: Among cigarette experimenters (≥1 puff), ever e-cigarette use was associated with higher odds of ever smoking cigarettes (≥100 cigarettes; odds ratio [OR] = 6.31; 95% CI, 5.39-7.39) and current cigarette smoking (OR = 5.96; 95% CI, 5.67-6.27). Current e-cigarette use was positively associated with ever smoking cigarettes (OR = 7.42; 95% CI, 5.63-9.79) and current cigarette smoking (OR = 7.88; 95% CI, 6.01-10.32). In 2011, current cigarette smokers who had ever used e-cigarettes were more likely to intend to quit smoking within the next year (OR = 1.53; 95% CI, 1.03-2.28). Among experimenters with conventional cigarettes, ever use of e-cigarettes was associated with lower 30-day (OR = 0.24; 95% CI, 0.21-0.28), 6-month (OR = 0.24; 95% CI, 0.21-0.28), and 1-year (OR = 0.25; 95% CI, 0.21-0.30) abstinence from cigarettes. Current e-cigarette use was also associated with lower 30-day (OR = 0.11; 95% CI, 0.08-0.15), 6-month (OR = 0.11; 95% CI, 0.08-0.15), and 1-year (OR = 0.12; 95% CI, 0.07-0.18) abstinence. Among ever smokers of cigarettes (≥100 cigarettes), ever e-cigarette use was negatively associated with 30-day (OR = 0.61; 95% CI, 0.42-0.89), 6-month (OR = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.33-0.83), and 1-year (OR = 0.32; 95% CI, 0.18-0.56) abstinence from conventional cigarettes. Current e-cigarette use was also negatively associated with 30-day (OR = 0.35; 95% CI, 0.18-0.69), 6-month (OR = 0.30; 95% CI, 0.13-0.68), and 1-year (OR = 0.34; 95% CI, 0.13-0.87) abstinence.

Conclusions and Relevance: Use of e-cigarettes was associated with higher odds of ever or current cigarette smoking, higher odds of established smoking, higher odds of planning to quit smoking among current smokers, and, among experimenters, lower odds of abstinence from conventional cigarettes. Use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among US adolescents.

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The Relationship Between Brand-Specific Alcohol Advertising on Television and Brand-Specific Consumption Among Underage Youth

Craig Ross et al.
Alcoholism, forthcoming

Background: Being able to investigate the relationship between underage drinkers' preferences for particular brands and their exposure to advertising for those brands would represent a significant advance in alcohol marketing research. However, no previous national study has examined the relationship between underage youth exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising and consumption of those brands.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional, Internet-based survey of a national sample of 1,031 youth, ages 13–20, who had consumed at least 1 drink of alcohol in the past 30 days. We ascertained all alcohol brands consumed by respondents in the past 30 days. The main outcome measure was brand-specific consumption during the past 30 days, measured as a dichotomous variable. The main predictor variable was exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising on television. The respondents reported which of 20 television shows popular with youth they had watched during the past 30 days. For each respondent, we calculated a standard measure of potential exposure to the brand-specific alcohol advertising that aired on those shows during the preceding 12 months, based on Nielsen (New York, NY) estimates of the youth audience for each show's telecasts.

Results: Compared to no brand-specific advertising exposure, any exposure was associated with an increased likelihood of brand-specific consumption (adjusted odds ratio 3.02; 95% confidence interval: 2.61–3.49) after controlling for several individual- and brand-level variables. When measured as a continuous variable, the relationship between advertising exposure and brand consumption was nonlinear, with a large association at lower levels of exposure and diminishing incremental effects as the level of exposure increased.

Conclusions: There is a robust relationship between youth's brand-specific exposure to alcohol advertising on television and their consumption of those same alcohol brands during the past 30 days. This study provides further evidence of a strong association between alcohol advertising and youth drinking behavior.

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The influence of societal individualism on a century of tobacco use: Modelling the prevalence of smoking

John Lang, Daniel Abrams & Hans De Sterck
University of Waterloo Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Smoking of tobacco is predicted to cause approximately six million deaths worldwide in 2014. Responding effectively to this epidemic requires a thorough understanding of how smoking behaviour is transmitted and modified. Here, we present a new mathematical model of the social dynamics that cause cigarette smoking to spread in a population. Our model predicts that more individualistic societies will show faster adoption and cessation of smoking. Evidence from a new century-long composite data set on smoking prevalence in 25 countries supports the model, with direct implications for public health interventions around the world. Our results suggest that differences in culture between societies can measurably affect the temporal dynamics of a social spreading process, and that these effects can be understood via a quantitative mathematical model matched to observations.

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Tobacco Control Policies and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Developed Nations

Christian King, Sara Markowitz & Hana Ross
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper estimates the effects of higher cigarette prices and smoke-free policies on the prevalence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Using a panel of developed countries over a 20 year period, we find that higher cigarette prices are associated with reductions in the prevalence of SIDS. However, we find no evidence that smoke-free policies are associated with declines in SIDS.

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The Interactive Effect of Neighborhood Peer Cigarette Use and 5HTTLPR Genotype on Individual Cigarette Use

Jonathan Daw et al.
Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous cross-sectional research has shown that adolescents’ cigarette use is interactively associated with that of their school peers and their 5HTTLPR genotype, such that the cigarette use of persons with more copies of the 5HTTLPR*S’ allele is more dependent on school peers’ cigarette use behaviors than their counterparts. This analysis seeks to extend this novel finding by examining whether the same conclusion can be reached when substituting neighborhood peers for school peers and examining the timing of the initiation of any and regular smoking in adolescence. A similar conclusion is reached using an independent sample with longitudinal measures of cigarette use among 6th through 8th graders clustered in 82 neighborhoods, of whom 1,098 contributed genetic data. The proportion of respondents who had ever smoked cigarettes by the first wave was calculated for each Census block group in the study. 5HTTLPR genotype was assayed using the method of Whisman and colleagues (2011). The timing of any or regular smoking initiation and over four years were modeled as dependent variables using Cox proportional hazards models. The interaction of neighborhood peer smoking behavior in the first wave and 5HTTLPR genotype statistically significantly predicted any smoking initiation (hazard ratio: 3.532; p-value = 0.002) and regular smoking initiation (hazard ratio: 5.686; p-value = 0.000), net of controls for sex, race/ethnicity, grade in the first wave of data, and parental educational attainment. These findings reach the same conclusions as previous cross-sectional research. The findings for any smoking initiation are consistent with the diathesis-stress model of gene-environment interaction; the findings for regular smoking initiation are consistent with the differential susceptibility model.

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Awareness of Novel Drug Legality in a Young Adult Population

Michael Singleton, John Stogner & Bryan Lee Miller
American Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2014, Pages 425-435

Abstract:
In recent years, use of substances commonly referred to as ‘legal highs’ has become a significant concern to policy makers and public health officials. Though legislation banning the use and possession of these novel and synthetic drugs often follows the initial media attention and public outcry, potential users may often be unaware of the legislation. A survey including self-reported drug use and perceptions of the legality of various psychoactive substances was administered to 2,346 students in randomly selected classes at a large public university to determine what portion accurately knew four types of novel drugs were locally illegal. Results indicated that numerous potential and current users incorrectly believed that the former ‘legal highs’ remained unrestricted. This sample did include a number of novel drug users; lifetime use of at least one novel drug was reported by 17.1 %, many of which reported using multiple types of novel drugs. Approximately one-third of the overall sample inaccurately believed that Salvia divinorum (34.7 %), K2/Spice (36.5 %), and Mr. Miyagi/Pot-pourri (32.1 %) were legal in the state and over half (50.3 %) inaccurately believed ‘bath salts’ (synthetic cathinones, MDPV, and other synthetic stimulants) remained legal. As these misperceptions have the potential to influence substance use decisions, they may need to be corrected through educational campaigns as widespread as the preceding media coverage that labeled the drug as ‘legal highs.’ Results also indicated that Blacks and previous users of the substances were more likely to hold inaccurate legal beliefs.

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Productive Addicts and Harm Reduction: How Work Reduces Crime – But Not Drug Use

Christopher Uggen & Sarah Shannon
Social Problems, February 2014, Pages 105-130

Abstract:
From the Works Progress Administration of the New Deal to the Job Corps of the Great Society era, employment programs have been advanced to fight poverty and social disorder. In today's context of stubborn unemployment and neoliberal policy change, supported work programs are once more on the policy agenda. This article asks whether work reduces crime and drug use among heavy substance users. And, if so, whether it is the income from the job that makes a difference, or something else. Using the nation's largest randomized job experiment, we first estimate the treatment effects of a basic work opportunity and then partition these effects into their economic and extra-economic components, using a logit decomposition technique generalized to event history analysis. We then interview young adults leaving drug treatment to learn whether and how they combine work with active substance use, elaborating the experiment's implications. Although supported employment fails to reduce cocaine or heroin use, we find clear experimental evidence that a basic work opportunity reduces predatory economic crime, consistent with classic criminological theory and contemporary models of harm reduction. The rate of robbery and burglary arrests fell by approximately 46 percent for the work treatment group relative to the control group, with income accounting for a significant share of the effect.

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Maladaptive Decision Making and Substance Use Outcomes in High-Risk Individuals: Preliminary Evidence for the Role of 5-HTTLPR Variation

Jessica O'Brien, Sarah Lichenstein & Shirley Hill
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, July 2014, Pages 643–652

Objective: Individuals with multiple alcohol-dependent (AD) relatives are at increased risk for substance use disorders (SUDs). Prospective, longitudinal studies of high-risk (HR) individuals afford the opportunity to determine potential risk markers of SUDs. The current study assessed the effect of familial risk and genetic variation on Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) performance and tested for an association between IGT performance and SUD outcomes.

Method: Individuals from multiplex AD families (n = 63) and low-risk (LR; n = 45) control families, ages 16–34 years, were tested using a computerized version of the IGT. SUD outcomes were assessed at approximately yearly intervals. 5-HTTLPR and COMT genotypes were available for the majority of participants (n = 86).

Results: HR offspring showed poorer performance overall on the IGT and especially poor performance on the final trial block (Block 5), indicating a failure to improve decision making with previous experience. The 5-HTTLPR short-allele homozygote participants performed worse than long-allele carriers, with HR S/S carriers exhibiting particularly poor performance. There was no main effect of COMT on IGT performance and no significant COMT by Risk interaction. Significantly more individuals in the HR than LR group met criteria for SUD. Importantly, disadvantageous performance on IGT Block 5 was significantly associated with an earlier age at SUD onset.

Conclusions: This is the first study to show that both familial risk of SUD and 5-HTTLPR variation impact performance on the IGT. Poorer IGT performance was associated with earlier onset of SUD, suggesting that HR individuals who fail to appropriately attend to long-term costs and benefits during a decision-making task are especially at risk for developing SUD in adolescence and young adulthood.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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