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Saturday, March 26, 2016

You have to want it

The Pandora Effect: The Power and Peril of Curiosity

Christopher Hsee & Bowen Ruan

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Curiosity — the desire for information — underlies many human activities, from reading celebrity gossip to developing nuclear science. Curiosity is well recognized as a human blessing. Is it also a human curse? Tales about such things as Pandora’s box suggest that it is, but scientific evidence is lacking. In four controlled experiments, we demonstrated that curiosity could lead humans to expose themselves to aversive stimuli (even electric shocks) for no apparent benefits. The research suggests that humans possess an inherent desire, independent of consequentialist considerations, to resolve uncertainty; when facing something uncertain and feeling curious, they will act to resolve the uncertainty even if they expect negative consequences. This research reveals the potential perverse side of curiosity, and is particularly relevant to the current epoch, the epoch of information, and to the scientific community, a community with high curiosity.

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When unfair treatment helps performance

Jordan Axt & Shigehiro Oishi

Motivation and Emotion, April 2016, Pages 243-257

Abstract:
Human beings are responsive to fairness violations. People reject unfair offers and go out of their way to punish those who behave unfairly. However, little is known regarding when unfair treatment can either help or harm performance. We found that basketball players were more likely to make free throws after being awarded a foul specific to unfair treatment (Study 1). Similarly, hockey players were more likely to score during a penalty shot compared to a shootout (Study 2). A laboratory experiment showed that participants were more accurate at golf putting after a previous attempt had been unfairly nullified (Study 3). However, a final experiment revealed that when the task was more demanding, unfair treatment resulted in worse performance (Study 4). Moreover, this effect was mediated by feelings of anger and frustration. These results suggest that performance is sensitive to perceptions of fairness and justice.

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A Neural Signature of Private Property Rights

Lauri Sääksvuori et al.

Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, March 2016, Pages 38-49

Abstract:
This study investigates the neural correlates of behavior that leads individuals to ascribe different value to property acquired through their own effort than to property received as a windfall gain. We examine individuals’ neural response to anticipated and experienced monetary losses from earned and unearned monetary endowments using functional MRI. We show that the neural processing of monetary losses is modulated by the effort one has put into earning the money at stake. In particular, we find that the loss of earned monetary endowment leads to a decreasing activity in the brain’s reward system. Our results suggest that the exertion of one’s own effort to gain ownership increases the neurally measured value of ownership rights. Our results and method may prove useful in developing the first steps toward a biologically informed valuation of property rights. Neural methods may help in the future to design efficient and just compensation schemes for property taken by eminent domain.

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Conscious Augmentation of Creative State Enhances “Real” Creativity in Open-Ended Analogical Reasoning

Adam Weinberger, Hari Iyer & Adam Green

PLoS ONE, March 2016

Abstract:
Humans have an impressive ability to augment their creative state (i.e., to consciously try and succeed at thinking more creatively). Though this “thinking cap” phenomenon is commonly experienced, the range of its potential has not been fully explored by creativity research, which has often focused instead on creativity as a trait. A key question concerns the extent to which conscious augmentation of state creativity can improve creative reasoning. Although artistic creativity is also of great interest, it is creative reasoning that frequently leads to innovative advances in science and industry. Here, we studied state creativity in analogical reasoning, a form of relational reasoning that spans the conceptual divide between intelligence and creativity and is a core mechanism for creative innovation. Participants performed a novel Analogy Finding Task paradigm in which they sought valid analogical connections in a matrix of word-pairs. An explicit creativity cue elicited formation of substantially more creative analogical connections (measured via latent semantic analysis). Critically, the increase in creative analogy formation was not due to a generally more liberal criterion for analogy formation (that is, it appeared to reflect “real” creativity rather than divergence at the expense of appropriateness). The use of an online sample provided evidence that state creativity augmentation can be successfully elicited by remote cuing in an online environment. Analysis of an intelligence measure provided preliminary indication that the influential “threshold hypothesis,” which has been proposed to characterize the relationship between intelligence and trait creativity, may be extensible to the new domain of state creativity.

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The Calendar Mindset: Scheduling Takes the Fun Out and Puts the Work In

Gabriela Tonietto & Selin Malkoc

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often schedule their activities in an attempt to more efficiently use their time. While the benefits of scheduling are well established, its potential downsides are not well understood. The authors examine if scheduling uniquely undermines the benefits of leisure activities. In thirteen studies using unambiguously leisure activities that are commonly scheduled by consumers (e.g., movies, a coffee break), they find that scheduling a leisure activity (vs. experiencing it impromptu) makes it feel more work-like and diminishes its utility, both in terms of excitement in anticipation of the activity as well as experienced enjoyment. This is because scheduling temporally structures these otherwise free-flowing leisure activities. As a result, maintaining the free-flowing nature of the activity by roughly scheduling (without pre-specified times) eliminates this effect, indicating that the effect is driven by a detriment from scheduling rather than a boost from spontaneity. Furthermore, the negative effects of scheduling are unique to leisure and do not occur for work activities. The reported findings highlight an important opportunity to improve consumers’ experiences and utility by leveraging scheduling behavior.

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Discouraged by Peer Excellence: Exposure to Exemplary Peer Performance Causes Quitting

Todd Rogers & Avi Feller

Psychological Science, March 2016, Pages 365-374

Abstract:
People are exposed to exemplary peer performances often (and sometimes by design in interventions). In two studies, we showed that exposure to exemplary peer performances can undermine motivation and success by causing people to perceive that they cannot attain their peers’ high levels of performance. It also causes de-identification with the relevant domain. We examined such discouragement by peer excellence by exploiting the incidental exposure to peers’ abilities that occurs when students are asked to assess each other’s work. Study 1 was a natural experiment in a massive open online course that employed peer assessment (N = 5,740). Exposure to exemplary peer performances caused a large proportion of students to quit the course. Study 2 explored underlying psychological mechanisms in an online replication (N = 361). Discouragement by peer excellence has theoretical implications for work on social judgment, social comparison, and reference bias and has practical implications for interventions that induce social comparisons.

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Priming States of Mind Can Affect Disclosure of Threatening Self-Information: Effects of Self-Affirmation, Mortality Salience, and Attachment Orientations

Deborah Davis et al.

Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interviewers often face respondents reluctant to disclose sensitive, embarrassing or potentially damaging information. We explored effects of priming 5 states of mind on willingness to disclose: including 2 expected to facilitate disclosure (self-affirmation, attachment security), and 3 expected to inhibit disclosure (self-disaffirmation, attachment insecurity, mortality salience). Israeli Jewish participants completed a survey including a manipulation of 1 of these states of mind, followed by questions concerning hostile thoughts and behaviors toward the Israeli Arab outgroup, past minor criminal behaviors, and socially undesirable traits and behaviors. Self-affirmation led to more disclosures of all undesirable behaviors than neutral priming, whereas self-disaffirmation led to less disclosures. Mortality salience led to fewer disclosures of socially undesirable and criminal behaviors compared to neutral priming, but more disclosures of hostile thoughts and behaviors toward Israeli Arabs. Security priming facilitated disclosure of hostile attitudes toward Israeli Arabs. However, neither security nor insecurity priming had any other significant effects.

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How to tame your BAS: Reward sensitivity and music involvement

Natalie Loxton et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, July 2016, Pages 35–39

Abstract:
High reward sensitivity is typically associated with negative outcomes such as addiction. However, this trait has been recently linked with purposeful approach behaviours that are related to positive outcomes, such as hope and life satisfaction. The present study applied the revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (rRST) to the relationship between reward sensitivity (rBAS) and music involvement. The tendency to be absorbed by music and the tendency to experience a positive emotional response to music were tested as potential mediators of the association. An international online survey of adults (N = 378; 65% females; Mage = 34 years) incorporated questionnaires assessing rBAS, involvement with music, absorption, and affective response to music. Consistent with rRST, those high in reward sensitivity were more likely to be involved in music and have stronger positive responses to music. Bootstrapped tests of indirect effects found the relationship between rBAS and music involvement to be uniquely mediated by greater absorption in music. This study further supports the argument that high levels of reward sensitivity may be involved in both functional and dysfunctional behaviours. Engagement in musical activities may be a useful approach to assist in the directing of behaviour in highly reward sensitive individuals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ballot issues

Infections and Elections: Did an Ebola Outbreak Influence the 2014 U.S. Federal Elections (and if so, How)?

Alec Beall, Marlise Hofer & Mark Schaller

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the studies reported here, we conducted longitudinal analyses of preelection polling data to test whether an Ebola outbreak predicted voting intentions preceding the 2014 U.S. federal elections. Analyses were conducted on nationwide polls pertaining to 435 House of Representatives elections and on state-specific polls pertaining to 34 Senate elections. Analyses compared voting intentions before and after the initial Ebola outbreak and assessed correlations between Internet search activity for the term "Ebola" and voting intentions. Results revealed that (a) the psychological salience of Ebola was associated with increased intention to vote for Republican candidates and (b) this effect occurred primarily in states characterized by norms favoring Republican Party candidates (the effect did not occur in states with norms favoring Democratic Party candidates). Ancillary analyses addressed several interpretational issues. Overall, these results suggest that disease outbreaks may influence voter behavior in two psychologically distinct ways: increased inclination to vote for politically conservative candidates and increased inclination to conform to popular opinion.

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Campaign Civility under Preferential and Plurality Voting

Todd Donovan, Caroline Tolbert & Kellen Gracey

Electoral Studies, June 2016, Pages 157-163

Abstract:
We present reasons to expect that campaigns are less negative under preferential voting. We then examine if preferential voting systems affect how people perceive the conduct of elections. This paper reports results from surveys designed to measure voters' perceptions of candidates' campaigns, comparing places with plurality elections to those that used preferential voting rules. Our surveys of voters indicate that people in cities using preferential voting were significantly more satisfied with the conduct of local campaigns than people in similar cities with plurality elections. People in cities with preferential voting were also less likely to view campaigns as negative, and less likely to respond that candidates were frequently criticizing each other. Results are consistent across a series of robustness checks.

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The Appearance and the Reality of Quid Pro Quo Corruption: An Empirical Investigation

Christopher Robertson et al.

Journal of Legal Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Supreme Court says that campaign finance regulations are unconstitutional unless they target "quid pro quo" corruption or its appearance. The Court has used this doctrine to strike down many efforts at campaign finance reform. However, the court has merely speculated or reasoned in a conclusory way about when that criterion is satisfied. To operationalize and test the "appearances" standard, we fielded two empirical studies. First, in a highly realistic simulation, three grand juries deliberated on charges that "independent" campaign spending in a Congressional race met the legal standard for bribery of the candidate. Second, 1276 nationally-representative online respondents considered whether to convict in such a scenario, with five variables manipulated randomly to enhance generalizability. In both studies, jurors found quid pro quo corruption for behaviors they believed to be common in contemporary politics. Because these tests use the procedural and substantive apparatus of Federal law to operationalize the quid pro quo corruption concept and draw from a diverse population of respondents, they are a stronger test of the "appearances" standard than mere opinion polling or judicial speculation. The data suggest that prior Supreme Court's decisions were wrong, and that Congress and the states have greater authority to regulate campaign finance. This research also suggests that actual prosecutions under current bribery laws are surprisingly viable, but this risk is deeply problematic under the First Amendment, Due Process, and Separation of Powers doctrines. A regulatory system using safe harbors may be a solution.

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The Determinants of State Legislator Support for Restrictive Voter ID Laws

William Hicks, Seth McKee & Daniel Smith

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine state legislator behavior on restrictive voter identification (ID) bills from 2005 to 2013. Partisan polarization of state lawmakers on voter ID laws is well known, but we know very little with respect to other determinants driving this political division. A major shortcoming of extant research evaluating the passage of voter ID bills stems from using the state legislature as the unit of analysis. We depart from existing scholarship by using the state legislator as our unit of analysis, and we cover the entirety of the period when restrictive voter ID laws became a frequent agenda item in state legislatures. Beyond the obviously significant effect of party affiliation, we find a notable relationship between the racial composition of a member's district, region, and electoral competition and the likelihood that a state lawmaker supports a voter ID bill. Democratic lawmakers representing substantial black district populations are more opposed to restrictive voter ID laws, whereas Republican legislators with substantial black district populations are more supportive. We also find Southern lawmakers (particularly Democrats) are more opposed to restrictive voter ID legislation. In particular, we find black legislators in the South are the least supportive of restrictive voter ID bills, which is likely tied to the historical context associated with state laws restricting electoral participation. Finally, in those state legislatures where electoral competition is not intense, polarization over voter ID laws is less stark, which likely reflects the expectation that the reform will have little bearing on the outcome of state legislative contests.

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From Open to Secret Ballot: Vote Buying and Modernization

Toke Aidt & Peter Jensen

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
The secret ballot is one of the cornerstones of democracy. We contend that the historical process of modernization caused the switch from open to secret ballot with the underlying mechanism being that income growth, urbanization, and rising education standards undermined vote markets. We undertake event history studies of ballot reform in Western Europe and the U.S. states during the 19th and 20th centuries to establish that modernization was systematically related to ballot reform. We study electoral turnout before and after ballot reform among the U.S. states and British parliamentary constituencies to substantiate the hypothesis that modernization reduced the volume of trade in the vote market.

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Gender Inequalities in Campaign Finance

Michael Barber, Daniel Butler & Jessica Preece

Quarterly Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that female candidates do not face fundraising barriers; however, female politicians consistently report that fundraising is more difficult for them than their male colleagues. Using a regression discontinuity design to hold district characteristics constant, we study whether there is a gender gap in campaign fundraising for state legislators from 1990 to 2010. We find that male candidates raise substantially more money than female candidates. Further, male donors give more money to male candidates, while female donors, political parties, and PACs give approximately equally to men and women. At the same time, men face challengers who raise more money; consequently, male and female incumbents do not differ in the proportion of the overall district money that they raise in their next reelection bid. These results suggest that there are large gender inequalities in campaign finance, but they may not have immediate consequences for women's representation.

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Effects of Welfare Reform on Women's Voting Participation

Dhaval Dave, Hope Corman & Nancy Reichman

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Voting is an important form of civic participation in democratic societies but a fundamental right that many citizens do not exercise. This study investigates the effects of welfare reform in the U.S. in the 1990s on voting of low income women. Using the November Current Population Surveys with the added Voting and Registration Supplement for the years 1990 through 2004 and exploiting changes in welfare policy across states and over time, we estimate the causal effects of welfare reform on women's voting registration and voting participation during the period during which welfare reform unfolded. We find robust evidence that welfare reform increased the likelihood of voting by about 4 percentage points, which translates to about a 10% increase relative to the baseline mean. The effects were largely confined to Presidential elections, were stronger in Democratic than Republican states, were stronger in states with stronger work incentive policies, and appeared to operate through employment, education, and income.

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Inferring Roll-Call Scores from Campaign Contributions Using Supervised Machine Learning

Adam Bonica

Stanford Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
This paper develops a generalized supervised learning methodology for inferring roll call scores for incumbent and non-incumbent candidates from campaign contribution data. Rather than use unsupervised methods to recover the latent dimension that best explains patterns in giving, donation patterns are instead mapped onto a target measure of legislative voting behavior. Supervised learning methods applied to contribution data are shown to significantly outperform alternative measures of ideology in predicting legislative voting behavior. Fundraising prior to entering office provides a highly informative signal about future voting behavior. Impressively, contribution-based forecasts of non-incumbent roll call ideology predict voting behavior with the same accuracy as that achieved by in-sample forecasts based on votes casts during a legislator's first two years in Congress. The combined results demonstrate campaign contributions to be powerful predictors of roll call ideology and stand to resolve an ongoing debate as to whether contributions records can be used to make accurate within-party comparisons.

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From Miss World to World Leader: Beauty Queens, Paths to Power, and Political Representations

Magda Hinojosa & Jill Carle

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Winter 2016, Pages 24-46

Abstract:
This article argues that participation in beauty pageants can serve as a path to power for women. This previously unidentified route to political office is unique to women, builds on representational elements of beauty pageants, and provides girls and women with skills necessary to political achievement. We analyze how this path to power is different from celebrity politicians, which has recently received much academic attention. We use examples from Venezuela, Jamaica, the United States, and France to illustrate this path to power and differentiate between two types of beauty queens turned politicians.

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The Declining Relevance of Candidate Personal Attributes in Presidential Elections

Martin Wattenberg

Presidential Studies Quarterly, March 2016, Pages 125-139

Abstract:
This article examines sixty years of data from the American National Election Studies, and finds that the electorate's focus on candidate attributes has declined substantially. Whereas 80% of respondents had mentioned personal attributes in the past, in recent elections only about 60% have done so. Furthermore, such comments are now more tied to partisan identification and have less of an independent impact on voting behavior. The chances of presidential image makers successfully making a difference by emphasizing a president's personal character are now much less than in the era of Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan.

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Fact-Checking Polarized Politics: Does The Fact-Check Industry Provide Consistent Guidance on Disputed Realities?

Morgan Marietta, David Barker & Todd Bowser

The Forum, December 2015, Pages 577-596

Abstract:
In the contemporary political environment of polarized claims about disputed realities, the online fact-check industry was born. These enterprises have received awards and praise but also accusations of bias and error, bringing their methods and conclusions into question. This paper examines the comparative epistemology of the three major fact-check sites: do they examine the same questions and reach the same conclusions? A content analysis of the published fact-checks addressing three disputed realties - the existence of climate change, the influence of racism, and the consequences of the national debt - suggests substantial differences in the questions asked and the answers offered, limiting the usefulness of fact-checking for citizens trying to decide which version of disputed realities to believe.

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Open Versus Closed Primaries and the Ideological Composition of Presidential Primary Electorates

Barbara Norrander & Jay Wendland

Electoral Studies, June 2016, Pages 229-236

Abstract:
Many journalists, political reformers and social scientists assume that electorates in open versus closed primaries are distinctive, especially in terms of their ideological orientations. Because voting in closed primaries is restricted to registered partisans, voters in this setting are assumed to be more ideologically extreme. Independents voting in open primaries are seen as moderating the ideological orientation of these primary electorates. However, our research demonstrates that the ideological orientations of voters in these two primary settings are quite similar. Prior research demonstrates the influence of primary laws on voters' self-identifications as partisans or independents. We expand upon this research to show how this influences the number and ideological positions of partisans and independents as they vote in presidential primaries held under differing participation rules.

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Voter Turnout in Presidential Nominating Contests

Michael McDonald & Thessalia Merivaki

The Forum, December 2015, Pages 597-622

Abstract:
Presidential elections are conducted in two stages. The November general election is proceeded by a series of contests where delegates are selected to national party conventions, which is where the parties select their candidates for the fall election. These nominating contests' political environments vary: the rules regarding who can participate; the levels of electoral competition, which are related to when they are held; and that other offices present on the ballot, if any. We explore the effects of these conditions on voter participation in recent presidential contests and generally find turnout highest in competitive and inclusive contests where other offices are on the ballot. Examining the 2008 American National Election Panel Study, we find primary voters are more ideologically extreme than general election voters, but there is little difference between voters in closed and open primary states. We suggest primary type has little effect on the ideological composition of the electorate because modern nomination contests are low turnout elections that draw only the most politically interested.

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Informing the Informed: How Content Preferences Limit the Impact of Voting Aids

Jonathan Mummolo & Erik Peterson

Stanford Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Voters are often uninformed about the political candidates they choose between. Governments, media outlets and civic organizations devote substantial resources to correcting these knowledge deficits by creating tools to provide candidate information to voters. Despite the widespread production of these aids, it remains unclear who they reach. We collect validated measures of online voter guide use for over 40,000 newspaper readers during a state primary election. We show these guides are primarily used by individuals with high levels of political interest and knowledge, a finding in contrast to earlier hypotheses that providing these guides directly to voters online would reduce disparities in use based on political interest. A field experiment promoting voter guides failed to diminish these consumption gaps. These results show that the same content preferences that contribute to an unequal distribution of political knowledge also impede the effectiveness of subsequent efforts to close knowledge gaps.

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When style obscures substance: Visual attention to display appropriateness in the 2012 presidential debates

Zijian Harrison Gong & Erik Bucy

Communication Monographs, forthcoming

Abstract:
As with the first televised debates in 1960, the 2012 US presidential debates accentuated the importance of nonverbal behavior in political competition, with President Obama receiving widespread criticism for his disengaged and arguably inappropriate communication style in the first debate. To investigate the perceptual impact of such nonverbal expectancy violations, this study first employs an experimental design to examine the consequence of inappropriate leader displays, operationalized as nonverbal behaviors that are incongruent with the rhetorical setting. Theoretical explanations about the evaluative consequences of inappropriate leader displays are described in light of expectancy violations theory. Results of a repeated measures eye-tracking experiment find support for the prediction that inappropriate facial expressions increase visual attention on the source of violation, prompt critical scrutiny, and elicit negative evaluations. These findings are further explored with qualitative analysis of focus group responses to key moments from the first and third presidential debates. The discussion considers the broader implications of nonverbal communication in politics and how expressive leader displays serve as meaningful cues for citizens when making sense of televised political encounters.

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Women's Equality, Candidate Difference, and the Vote

Susan Hansen

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Winter 2016, Pages 47-67

Abstract:
This article argues that the status of women continues to be a major issue in the ongoing culture wars over morality politics. While more scholarly and media attention has focused on abortion and gay marriage, since the 1970s the Democratic and Republican Parties have also taken divergent positions on the status of women. Data from the American National Election Studies show that while the general public has become more supportive of equal roles for women, the presidential candidates are perceived to differ considerably on gender roles and positions on abortion. Since the 1970s perceptions of candidate differences on gender equity have been strong predictors of the presidential vote, even after controlling for party identification, abortion attitudes, religiosity, retrospective assessments of the economy, and perceived candidate differences on other issues, including abortion.

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Do Public Matching Funds and Tax Credits Encourage Political Contributions? Evidence from Three Field Experiments Using Nonpartisan Messages

Michael Schwam-Baird et al.

Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report the results of three field experiments that provided nonpartisan information about municipal- and state-level incentives for making political contributions to potential donors. Our experiments examine two types of contribution incentive programs, public matching funds and tax credits, in three different jurisdictions: New York City, Virginia, and Ohio. We find that providing information about matching funds and tax credits has negligible effects on both the probability that an individual will make a contribution and the amount that an individual donates. Our findings suggest that publicizing contribution incentive programs using nonpartisan messages does little to enhance the pool of new donors. Our research leaves open the possibility that contribution incentive programs, and donation matching programs in particular, may nonetheless affect campaign behavior and encourage campaigns to pursue more small donors.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Proper identification

Identity and Group Conflict

Subhasish Chowdhury, Joo Young Jeon & Abhijit Ramalingam

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We experimentally investigate the effects of real and minimal identities on group conflict. In turn we provide a direct empirical test of the hypotheses coined by Amartya Sen that the salience of a real identity escalates conflict but that of a mere classification would not do so. In a baseline treatment, two groups - East Asians and Caucasians - engage in a group contest, but information on the racial composition of the groups is not revealed. In the minimal identity treatment each group is arbitrarily given a different color code, whereas in the real identity treatment the race information is revealed. Supporting Sen's hypotheses, we find that compared to the baseline, free-riding declines and conflict effort increases in the real identity treatment but not in the minimal identity treatment. Moreover, this occurs due to an increase in efforts in the real identity treatment by females in both racial groups.

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Racial Resentment and Whites' Gun Policy Preferences in Contemporary America

Alexandra Filindra & Noah Kaplan

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Our study investigates how and why racial prejudice can fuel white opposition to gun restrictions. Drawing on research across disciplines, we suggest that the language of individual freedom used by the gun rights movement utilizes the same racially meaningful tropes as the rhetoric of the white resistance to black civil rights that developed after WWII and into the 1970s. This indicates that the gun rights narrative is color-coded and evocative of racial resentment. To determine whether racial prejudice depresses white support for gun control, we designed a priming experiment which exposed respondents to pictures of blacks and whites drawn from the IAT. Results show that exposure to the prime suppressed support for gun control compared to the control, conditional upon a respondent's level of racial resentment. Analyses of ANES data (2004-2013) reaffirm these findings. Racial resentment is a statistically significant and substantively important predictor of white opposition to gun control.

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American Football and National Pride: Racial Differences

Tamir Sorek & Robert White

Social Science Research, forthcoming

"We examine the relationship between fandom in football and national pride, as a specific dimension of national identity, with data that we assembled from nationally representative opinion surveys over the period 1981-2014. Aggregating seventy-five opinion polls with questions about football fandom, national pride and race we compare national pride and NFL fandom among white and black Americans in this period...We find that since the early 1980s, national pride has been in decline among American men and women of all races. Among black men, this decline has been especially sharp and it accompanied a marked increase in interest in the NFL. While these findings by themselves may be interpreted as coincidence, our analysis of individual fandom and national pride demonstrates a close relationship that is independent of the well-known predictors of national pride, implying a much deeper affinity. We also find that these ties are strikingly different between whites and African-Americans. The sizable positive association between football fandom and national pride among whites suggests that the football spectacle may facilitate more favorable national sentiment among white fans. The negative association among African-Americans suggests black fans may experience a very different game."

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The Times They Are a-Changing . or Are They Not? A Comparison of Gender Stereotypes, 1983-2014

Elizabeth Haines, Kay Deaux & Nicole Lofaro

Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
During the past 30 years, women's participation in the workforce, in athletics, and in professional education has increased, while men's activities have been more stable. Have gender stereotypes changed over this time period to reflect the new realities? And, to what extent does gender stereotyping exist today? We address these questions by comparing data collected in the early 1980s to new data collected in 2014. In each study, participants rated the likelihood that a typical man or woman has a set of gendered characteristics (traits, role behaviors, occupations, and physical characteristics). Results indicate that people perceive strong differences between men and women on stereotype components today, as they did in the past. Comparisons between the two time periods show stability of gender stereotypes across all components except female gender roles, which showed a significant increase in gender stereotyping. These results attest to the durability of basic stereotypes about how men and women are perceived to differ, despite changes in the participation and acceptance of women and men in nontraditional domains. Because gender stereotypes are apparently so deeply embedded in our society, those in a position to evaluate women and men, as well as women and men themselves, need to be constantly vigilant to the possible influence of stereotypes on their judgments, choices, and actions.

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An identity-based motivational model of the effects of perceived discrimination on health-related behaviors

Laura Smart Richman, Alison Blodorn & Brenda Major

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Perceived discrimination is associated with increased engagement in unhealthy behaviors. We propose an identity-based pathway to explain this link. Drawing on an identity-based motivation model of health behaviors (Oyserman, Fryberg, & Yoder, 2007), we propose that perceptions of discrimination lead individuals to engage in ingroup-prototypical behaviors in the service of validating their identity and creating a sense of ingroup belonging. To the extent that people perceive unhealthy behaviors as ingroup-prototypical, perceived discrimination may thus increase motivation to engage in unhealthy behaviors. We describe our theoretical model and two studies that demonstrate initial support for some paths in this model. In Study 1, African American participants who reflected on racial discrimination were more likely to endorse unhealthy ingroup-prototypical behavior as self-characteristic than those who reflected on a neutral event. In Study 2, among African American participants who perceived unhealthy behaviors to be ingroup-prototypical, discrimination predicted greater endorsement of unhealthy behaviors as self-characteristic as compared to a control condition. These effects held both with and without controlling for body mass index (BMI) and income. Broader implications of this model for how discrimination adversely affects health-related decisions are discussed.

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Are Group Cues Necessary? How Anger Makes Ethnocentrism Among Whites a Stronger Predictor of Racial and Immigration Policy Opinions

Antoine Banks

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research shows that group conflict sets ethnocentric thinking into motion. However, when group threat is not salient, can ethnocentrism still influence people's political decision-making? In this paper, I argue that anger, unrelated to racial and ethnic groups, can activate the attitudes of ethnocentric whites and those that score low in ethnocentrism thereby causing these attitudes to be a stronger predictor of racial and immigration policy opinions. Using an adult national experiment over two waves, I induced several emotions to elicit anger, fear, or relaxation (unrelated to racial or ethnic groups). The experimental findings show that anger increases opposition to racial and immigration policies among whites that score high in ethnocentrism and enhances support for these policies among those that score low in ethnocentrism. Using data from the American National Election Study cumulative file, I find a similar non-racial/ethnic anger effect. The survey findings also demonstrate that non-racial/ethnic fear increases opposition to immigration among whites that don't have strong out-group attitudes.

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Tattoos, Employment, and Labor Market Earnings: Is There a Link in the Ink?

Michael French et al.

Southern Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The popularity of tattooing has increased substantially in recent years, particularly among adolescents and young adults. Moreover, tattooed images are permanent unless the individual opts for expensive, time consuming, and painful removal procedures. Given the increasing popularity of tattooing, and the permanent nature of this action, it is of interest to know whether tattooed workers are more or less likely to be employed and, conditional on employment, if they receive wages that are different from the wages of their non-tattooed peers. To investigate these questions, we analyze two large data sets - from the United States and Australia - with measures of tattoo status, employment, earnings, and other pertinent variables. Regardless of country, gender, specific measures, or estimation technique, the results consistently show that having a tattoo is negatively and significantly related to employment and earnings in bivariate analyses, but the estimates become smaller and nonsignificant after controlling for human capital, occupation, behavioral choices, lifestyle factors, and other individual characteristics related to labor market outcomes. Various robustness checks confirm the stability of the core findings. These results suggest that, once differences in personal characteristics are taken into account, tattooed and non-tattooed workers are treated similarly in the labor market. We offer suggestions for improving future surveys to enable a better understanding of the relationships between tattooed workers and their labor market outcomes.

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The threat of racial progress and the self-protective nature of perceiving anti-White bias

Clara Wilkins et al.

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two studies we tested whether racial progress is threatening to Whites and whether perceiving anti-White bias assuages that threat. Study 1 revealed that Whites primed with racial progress exhibited evidence of threat (lower implicit self-worth relative to baseline). Study 2 replicated the threat effect from Study 1 and examined how perceiving discrimination may buffer Whites' self-worth. After White participants primed with high racial progress attributed a negative event to their race, their implicit self-worth rebounded. Participants primed to perceive low racial progress did not experience fluctuations in implicit self-worth. Furthermore, among those primed with high racial progress, greater racial discounting (attributing rejection to race rather than to the self) was associated with greater self-worth protection. These studies suggest that changes to the racial status quo are threatening to Whites and that perceiving greater racial bias is a way to manage that threat.

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The Voiced Pronunciation of Initial Phonemes Predicts the Gender of Names

Michael Slepian & Adam Galinsky

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although it is known that certain names gain popularity within a culture because of historical events, it is unknown how names become associated with different social categories in the first place. We propose that vocal cord vibration during the pronunciation of an initial phoneme plays a critical role in explaining which names are assigned to males versus females. This produces a voiced gendered name effect, whereby voiced phonemes (vibration of the vocal cords) are more associated with male names, and unvoiced phonemes (no vibration of the vocal cords) are more associated with female names. Eleven studies test this association between voiced names and gender (a) using 270 million names (more than 80,000 unique names) given to children over 75 years, (b) names across 2 cultures (the U.S. and India), and (c) hundreds of novel names. The voiced gendered name effect was mediated through how hard or soft names sounded, and moderated by gender stereotype endorsement. Although extensive work has demonstrated morphological and physical cues to gender (e.g., facial, bodily, vocal), this work provides a systematic account of name-based cues to gender. Overall, the current research extends work on sound symbolism to names; the way in which a name sounds can be symbolically related to stereotypes associated with its social category.

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Beyond Black and White: Biracial Attitudes in Contemporary U.S. Politics

Lauren Davenport

American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The 2000 U.S. census was the first in which respondents were permitted to self-identify with more than one race. A decade later, multiple-race identifiers have become one of the fastest-growing groups in the nation. Such broadening multiracial identification poses important political ramifications and raises questions about the future of minority group political solidarity. Yet we know little about the opinions of multiple-race identifiers and from where those opinions emerge. Bridging literatures in racial politics and political socialization, and drawing upon a multimethod approach, this article provides insight into the consequences of the U.S.'s increasingly blurred racial boundaries by examining the attitudes of Americans of White-Black parentage, a population whose identification was traditionally constrained by the one-drop rule. Findings show that on racial issues such as discrimination and affirmative action, biracials who identify as both White and Black generally hold views akin to Blacks. But on nonracial political issues including abortion and gender/marriage equality, biracials who identify as White-Black or as Black express more liberal views than their peers of monoracial parentage. Being biracial and labeling oneself a racial minority is thus associated with a more progressive outlook on matters that affect socially marginalized groups. Two explanations are examined for these findings: the transmission of political outlook from parents to children, and biracials' experiences straddling a long-standing racial divide.

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A Perceptual Pathway to Bias: Interracial Exposure Reduces Abrupt Shifts in Real-Time Race Perception That Predict Mixed-Race Bias

Jonathan Freeman, Kristin Pauker & Diana Sanchez

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two national samples, we examined the influence of interracial exposure in one's local environment on the dynamic process underlying race perception and its evaluative consequences. Using a mouse-tracking paradigm, we found in Study 1 that White individuals with low interracial exposure exhibited a unique effect of abrupt, unstable White-Black category shifting during real-time perception of mixed-race faces, consistent with predictions from a neural-dynamic model of social categorization and computational simulations. In Study 2, this shifting effect was replicated and shown to predict a trust bias against mixed-race individuals and to mediate the effect of low interracial exposure on that trust bias. Taken together, the findings demonstrate that interracial exposure shapes the dynamics through which racial categories activate and resolve during real-time perceptions, and these initial perceptual dynamics, in turn, may help drive evaluative biases against mixed-race individuals. Thus, lower-level perceptual aspects of encounters with racial ambiguity may serve as a foundation for mixed-race prejudice.

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Eyelid-Openness and Mouth Curvature Influence Perceived Intelligence Beyond Attractiveness

Sean Talamas et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Impression formation is profoundly influenced by facial attractiveness, but the existence of facial cues which affect judgments beyond such an "attractiveness halo" may be underestimated. Because depression and tiredness adversely affect cognitive capacity, we reasoned that facial cues to mood (mouth curvature) and alertness (eyelid-openness) affect impressions of intellectual capacity. Over 4 studies we investigated the influence of these malleable facial cues on first impressions of intelligence. In Studies 1 and 2 we scrutinize the perceived intelligence and attractiveness ratings of images of 100 adults (aged 18-33) and 90 school-age children (aged 5-17), respectively. Intelligence impression was partially mediated by attractiveness, but independent effects of eyelid-openness and subtle smiling were found that enhanced intelligence ratings independent of attractiveness. In Study 3 we digitally manipulated stimuli to have altered eyelid-openness or mouth curvature and found that each independent manipulation had an influence on perceptions of intelligence. In a final set of stimuli (Study 4) we explored changes in these cues before and after sleep restriction, to examine whether natural variations in these cues according to sleep condition can influence perceptions. In Studies 3 and 4 variations with increased eyelid-openness and mouth curvature were found to relate positively to intelligence ratings. These findings suggest potential overgeneralizations based on subtle facial cues that indicate mood and tiredness, both of which alter cognitive ability. These findings also have important implications for students who are directly influenced by expectations of ability and teachers who may form expectations based on initial perceptions of intelligence.

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Conflict and the Ethnic Structure of the Marketplace: Evidence from Israel

Asaf Zussman

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
How and why does ethnic conflict affect the ethnic structure of the marketplace? To answer these questions, this paper merges a unique administrative dataset covering the universe of transactions in the Israeli market for used cars during 1998-2010 with data on the intensity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The analysis shows that violence reduces the number of transactions between Arab sellers and Jewish buyers while increasing the number of transactions between Arab sellers and Arab buyers; violence has no effect on the number of transactions involving Jewish sellers. I relate these findings to the economic literature studying the sources of discrimination.

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Social Status Attainment and Racial Category Selection in the Contemporary United States

Robert DeFina & Lance Hannon

Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numerous studies have shown that individuals can change how they racially self-identify over time, potentially in response to changes in educational and occupational attainment. The value of that evidence is somewhat diminished, however, by reliance on survey questions about racial identity that are inconsistent over time. This study offers new evidence based on the 2008-2012 General Social Survey panel, which uses a consistent question about self-declared race throughout. Those data are used to estimate transition tables and fixed effects panel models, in which an individual's probability of choosing a racial category depends on social status indicators. We find that, on average, fluctuations in an individual's income, educational attainment and employment status are not significantly related to changes in racial self-identity in the contemporary United States. These results obtain for the total sample and for populations that historically have been more likely to change (Hispanics, Native Americans and individuals who identify as multi-racial). Implications for theory and policy are discussed.

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On implicit racial prejudice against infants

Lukas Wolf et al.

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Because of the innocence and dependence of children, it would be reassuring to believe that implicit racial prejudice against out-group children is lower than implicit prejudice against out-group adults. Yet, prior research has not directly tested whether or not adults exhibit less spontaneous prejudice toward child targets than adult targets. Three studies addressed this issue, contrasting adults with very young child targets. Studies 1A and B revealed that participants belonging to an ethnic majority group (White Europeans) showed greater spontaneous favorability toward their ethnic in-group than toward an ethnic out-group (South Asians), and this prejudice emerged equally for infant and adult targets. Study 2 found that this pattern occurred even when race was not a salient dimension of categorization in the implicit measure. Thus, there was a robust preference for in-group children over out-group children, and there was no evidence that this prejudice is weaker than that exhibited toward adults.

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Take it Like a Man: Gender-Threatened Men's Experience of Gender Role Discrepancy, Emotion Activation, and Pain Tolerance

Danielle Berke et al.

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Theory suggests that men respond to situations in which their gender status is threatened with emotions and behaviors meant to reaffirm manhood. However, the extent to which threats to masculine status impact gender role discrepancy (perceived failure to conform to socially prescribed masculine gender role norms) has yet to be demonstrated empirically. Nor has research established whether gender role discrepancy is itself predictive of engagement in gender-stereotyped behavior following threats to gender status. In the present study, we assessed the effect of threats to masculinity on gender role discrepancy and a unique gender-shaped phenomenon, pain tolerance. Two-hundred twelve undergraduate men were randomly assigned to receive feedback that was either threatening to masculine identity or nonthreatening. Over the course of the study, participants also completed measures of gender role discrepancy, emotion activation, and objectively measured pain tolerance. Results indicated that gender threat predicted increased self-perceived gender role discrepancy and elicited aggression, but not anxiety-related cognitions in men. Moreover, gender-threatened men evinced higher pain tolerance than their nonthreatened counterparts. Collectively, these findings provide compelling support for the theory that engagement in stereotyped masculine behavior may serve a socially expressive function intended to quell negative affect and realign men with the status of "manhood."

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fairly safe

On sweatshop jobs and decent work

Nancy Chau

Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper argues that while rooting out sweatshop conditions raises unemployment, the potential gains include an increase in decent work employment, a pro-worker shift in distribution, and an improvement in overall efficiency. In a search model of employment inspired by firm- and household-level evidence about the harm that sweatshop conditions pose to workers' capability to be productive at work and to be vertically mobile, this paper unpacks the irony of job losses and efficiency gains by examining equilibria where, unless regulations are in place, employers tolerate unproductive sweatshop conditions, and where workers accept insufficiently compensating sweatshop wages.

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Disruptive Change in the Taxi Business: The Case of Uber

Judd Cramer & Alan Krueger

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
In most cities, the taxi industry is highly regulated and utilizes technology developed in the 1940s. Ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, which use modern internet-based mobile technology to connect passengers and drivers, have begun to compete with traditional taxis. This paper examines the efficiency of ride sharing services vis-à-vis taxis by comparing the capacity utilization rate of UberX drivers with that of traditional taxi drivers in five cities. The capacity utilization rate is measured by the fraction of time a driver has a fare-paying passenger in the car while he or she is working, and by the share of total miles that drivers log in which a passenger is in their car. The main conclusion is that, in most cities with data available, UberX drivers spend a significantly higher fraction of their time, and drive a substantially higher share of miles, with a passenger in their car than do taxi drivers. Four factors likely contribute to the higher capacity utilization rate of UberX drivers: 1) Uber’s more efficient driver-passenger matching technology; 2) the larger scale of Uber than taxi companies; 3) inefficient taxi regulations; and 4) Uber’s flexible labor supply model and surge pricing more closely match supply with demand throughout the day.

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A spatial analysis of incomes and institutional quality: Evidence from US metropolitan areas

Jamie Bologna, Andrew Young & Donald Lacombe

Journal of Institutional Economics, March 2016, Pages 191-216

Abstract:
We use the Stansel (2013) metropolitan area economic freedom index and 25 conditioning variables to analyze the spatial relationships between institutional quality and economic outcomes across 381 U.S. metropolitan areas. Specifically, we allow for spatial dependence in both the dependent and independent variables and estimate how economic freedom impacts both per capita income growth and per capita income levels. We find that economic freedom and per capita income growth and income levels are directly and positively related. Furthermore, we find that the total (direct plus indirect) effects on all metropolitan areas are positive and larger in magnitude than the direct effects alone, indicating that freedom-enhancing reforms in one metropolitan area lead to positive-sum games with neighboring metropolitan areas.

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Product Liability versus Reputation

Juan José Ganuza, Fernando Gomez & Marta Robles

Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Market reputation is often perceived as a cheaper alternative to product liability in the provision of safety incentives. We explore the interaction between legal and reputational sanctions using the idea that inducing safety through reputation requires implementing costly “market sanctioning” mechanisms. We show that law positively affects the functioning of market reputation by reducing its costs. We also show that reputation and product liability are not just substitutes but also complements. We analyze the effects of different legal policies, and namely that negligence reduces reputational costs more intensely than strict liability, and that court errors in determining liability interfere with reputational cost reduction through law. A more general result is that any variant of an ex post liability rule will improve the functioning of market reputation in isolation. We complicate the basic analysis with endogenous prices and observability by consumers of the outcome of court’s decisions.

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Simplification of Privacy Disclosures: An Experimental Test

Omri Ben-Shahar & Adam Chilton

University of Chicago Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
Simplification of disclosures is widely regarded as an important goal and is increasingly mandated by regulations in a variety of areas of the law. In privacy law, simplification of disclosures is near universally supported. To guide this simplification, various “Best Practices” presentation techniques have been recommended, aimed at transforming privacy notices into clear and accessible information aids for consumers. In addition, some have proposed “Warning Labels” designed to familiarize consumers with only a short list the least expected privacy practices. But do such simplifications actually inform consumers and prevent unwise behavior? Since this question has not been rigorously studied, we conducted a survey experiment designed to test whether simplifying privacy disclosures affects respondents: (1) comprehension of the disclosure; (2) willingness to disclose personal information; and (3) expectations about their privacy rights. Our results reveal that none of the simplification techniques help inform respondents or affect their behavior. They call into further question the wisdom of focusing much regulatory effort on improved disclosures.

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Does antitrust policy promote competition?

Robert Lawson & Ryan Murphy

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using new measures of the scope and strength of antitrust policies, we find no evidence that more robust antitrust regimes correlate with more intense local competition or less corporate dominance. The results cast doubt on the common textbook assumption that antitrust policies improve levels of competition.

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Economic Freedom and Crashes in Financial Markets

Benjamin Blau

Utah State University Working Paper, December 2015

Abstract:
Using a unique empirical approach that accounts for the possibility that financial market crashes are endogenously determined by market structures, this study examines how economic freedom contribute to crashes in financial markets. On one hand, economic freedom might provide an unregulated framework that contributes to the likelihood of crashes. On the other hand, economic freedom may mitigate regulatory uncertainty thus providing a level of transparency that reduces the likelihood of crashes. Results in this study provide strong support for the latter idea as countries with higher economic freedom experience lower probabilities of market crashes and more positive skewness in asset returns. A closer examination of the data suggest that the components of economic freedom that contribute most to the reduction in crash risk is the level of free trade and, to some extent, the strength of property right protection.

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Efficiency and regulation: A comparison of dairy farms in Ontario and New York State

Peter Slade & Getu Hailu

Journal of Productivity Analysis, February 2016, Pages 103-115

Abstract:
We study the cost efficiency of dairy farms operating under two different regulatory regimes. While neo-classical economic theory suggests that farms should maximize their efficiency regardless of their regulatory system, we find that farms operating in a more regulated environment have, on average, a lower cost efficiency. Differences in cost efficiency are primarily explained by allocative decisions — farms in the more regulated environment are overcapitalized and overly reliant on homegrown feed. Efficiency is estimated using bootstrapped data envelopment analysis and a stochastic distance function. We discuss the implications of these results for welfare and policy.

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Hidden Baggage: Behavioral Responses to Changes in Airline Ticket Tax Disclosure

Sebastien Bradley & Naomi Feldman

Federal Reserve Working Paper, December 2015

Abstract:
We examine the impact on air travelers of an enforcement action issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2012 requiring that domestic air carriers and online travel agents incorporate all mandatory taxes and fees in their advertised fares. Consistent with the literature on tax salience, we find quasi-experimental evidence that the more prominent display of tax-inclusive prices is associated with a reduction in tax incidence on consumers, and this effect varies non-monotonically with market concentration. Ticket revenues are commensurately reduced, while passenger demand and average per-passenger tax revenue between origin and destination airport-pairs likewise decline following the introduction of full-fare advertising.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Caring

Parental supervision and adolescent risky behaviors

Sarah Grace See

Review of Economics of the Household, March 2016, Pages 185-206

Abstract:
This paper re-examines the relationship between parental supervision and adolescents' engagement in risky behaviors. Using the Child Development Supplement and Transition to Adulthood of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I consider different measures of supervision among a sample of adolescents 10-21 years old. Issues relating to endogeneity bias and unobserved heterogeneity are accounted for using lagged amounts of supervision and fixed effects as an estimation strategy. The results highlight the role of fathers in mitigating cigarette smoking in the past month, regular alcohol consumption in the past year, and marijuana smoking in the past month. The research emphasizes the need to account for unobserved heterogeneity and supports the idea of looking at the different roles of each parent in affecting child outcomes.

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Parental Influences on Health and Longevity: Lessons from a Large Sample of Adoptees

Mikael Lindahl et al.

NBER Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
To what extent is the length of our lives determined by pre-birth factors? And to what extent is it affected by parental resources during our upbringing that can be influenced by public policy? We study the formation of adult health and mortality using data on about 21,000 adoptees born between 1940 and 1967. The data include detailed information on both biological and adopting parents. We find that the health of the biological parents affects the health of their adopted children. Thus, we confirm that genes and conditions in utero are important intergenerational transmission channels for long-term health. However, we also find strong evidence that the educational attainment of the adopting mother has a significant impact on the health of her adoptive children, suggesting that family environment and resources in the post-birth years have long-term consequences for children's health.

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Paid family leave's effect on hospital admissions for pediatric abusive head trauma

Joanne Klevens et al.

Injury Prevention, forthcoming

Abstract:
Paediatric abusive head trauma (AHT) is a leading cause of fatal child maltreatment among young children. Current prevention efforts have not been consistently effective. Policies such as paid parental leave could potentially prevent AHT, given its impacts on risk factors for child maltreatment. To explore associations between California's 2004 paid family leave (PFL) policy and hospital admissions for AHT, we used difference-in-difference analyses of 1995-2011 US state-level data before and after the policy in California and seven comparison states. Compared with seven states with no PFL policies, California's 2004 PFL showed a significant decrease in AHT admissions in both <1 and <2-year-olds. Analyses using additional data years and comparators could yield different results.

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The Costs of Suppressing Negative Emotions and Amplifying Positive Emotions During Parental Caregiving

Bonnie Le & Emily Impett

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, March 2016, Pages 323-336

Abstract:
How do parents feel when they regulate their emotional expressions in ways that are incongruent with their genuine feelings? In an experimental study, parents reported experiencing lower authenticity, emotional well-being, relationship quality, and responsiveness to their children's needs when they recalled caregiving experiences in which they suppressed negative emotions and amplified positive emotions, relative to a control condition. In a 10-day daily experience study, parents tended to use both regulation strategies simultaneously. In addition, assessing their unique effects indicated that positive emotion amplification, but not negative emotion suppression, had an indirect effect on parental outcomes via authenticity, with negative emotion suppression no longer being costly. This indirect effect was dampened when accounting for care difficulty. In both studies, effects were independent of a child's mood. The current results suggest that parents' attempts to suppress negative and amplify positive emotions during child care can detract from their well-being and high-quality parent-child bonds.

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Match quality and maternal investments in children

Erin Fletcher

Review of Economics of the Household, March 2016, Pages 83-102

Abstract:
Marriage advocates contend that the unstable environment caused by divorce can have adverse effects on children's educational and behavioral outcomes. However, the assignment of poor outcomes to the divorce itself fails to take into account relationship quality and heterogeneity in place before or in the absence of union dissolution. I explore the link between heterogeneity of relationship quality and investments in children by showing that women who report less satisfaction in their relationships spend less time reading with their children. I test various theoretical mechanisms by which we would expect women to decrease their investments in a child using information about the match including reported argument frequency and whether the union dissolves. The results suggest that subjective measures tell a more complete story about investments in children than indicated by future union status, argument frequency or parental quality.

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Birth order and child cognitive outcomes: An exploration of the parental time mechanism

Chiara Monfardini & Sarah Grace See

Education Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Higher birth order positions are associated with poorer outcomes due to smaller shares of resources received within the household. Using a sample of Panel Study of Income Dynamics-Child Development Supplement children, we investigate if the negative birth order effect we find in cognitive outcomes is due to unequal allocation of mother and father time investments. Exploiting the presence of siblings in the sample, we show that birth order differences in parental time are mostly driven by between-families variation rather than within-family variation. This finding suggests that birth order effects are unlikely to be driven by differences in quality time spent with either parent.

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Is time spent playing video games associated with mental health, cognitive and social skills in young children?

Viviane Kovess-Masfety et al.

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, forthcoming

Methods: Data were drawn from the School Children Mental Health Europe project conducted in six European Union countries (youth ages 6-11, n = 3195). Child mental health was assessed by parents and teachers using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and by children themselves with the Dominic Interactive. Child video game usage was reported by the parents. Teachers evaluated academic functioning. Multivariable logistic regressions were used.

Results: 20 % of the children played video games more than 5 h per week. Factors associated with time spent playing video games included being a boy, being older, and belonging to a medium size family. Having a less educated, single, inactive, or psychologically distressed mother decreased time spent playing video games. Children living in Western European countries were significantly less likely to have high video game usage (9.66 vs 20.49 %) though this was not homogenous. Once adjusted for child age and gender, number of children, mothers age, marital status, education, employment status, psychological distress, and region, high usage was associated with 1.75 times the odds of high intellectual functioning (95 % CI 1.31-2.33), and 1.88 times the odds of high overall school competence (95 % CI 1.44-2.47). Once controlled for high usage predictors, there were no significant associations with any child self-reported or mother- or teacher-reported mental health problems. High usage was associated with decreases in peer relationship problems [OR 0.41 (0.2-0.86) and in prosocial deficits (0.23 (0.07, 0.81)].

Conclusions: Playing video games may have positive effects on young children. Understanding the mechanisms through which video game use may stimulate children should be further investigated.

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Secure Infant-Mother Attachment Buffers the Effect of Early-Life Stress on Age of Menarche

Sooyeon Sung et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research indicates that being reared in stressful environments is associated with earlier onset of menarche in girls. In this research, we examined (a) whether these effects are driven by exposure to certain dimensions of stress (harshness or unpredictability) during the first 5 years of life and (b) whether the negative effects of stress on the timing of menarche are buffered by secure infant-mother attachment. Results revealed that (a) exposure to greater harshness (but not unpredictability) during the first 5 years of life predicted earlier menarche and (b) secure infant-mother attachment buffered girls from this effect of harsh environments. By connecting attachment research to its evolutionary foundations, these results illuminate how environmental stressors and relationships early in life jointly affect pubertal timing.

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Mothers' Involuntary Job Loss and Children's Academic Achievement

Elif Filiz

Journal of Labor Research, March 2016, Pages 98-127

Abstract:
Using matched mother-child data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, I examine the impact of mothers' involuntary job loss on children's academic achievement. Single mothers' job displacement affects children's math and reading test scores negatively and statistically significantly in the short run. Displacement of married mothers has no impact on their children's test scores. The decline in income and a worsening of child's behavioral problems are two channels through which single mothers' job loss impacts test scores.

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Single Mothers by Choice: Mother-Child Relationships and Children's Psychological Adjustment

Susan Golombok et al.

Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Fifty-one solo mother families were compared with 52 two-parent families all with a 4-9-year-old child conceived by donor insemination. Standardized interview, observational and questionnaire measures of maternal wellbeing, mother-child relationships and child adjustment were administered to mothers, children and teachers. There were no differences in parenting quality between family types apart from lower mother-child conflict in solo mother families. Neither were there differences in child adjustment. Perceived financial difficulties, child's gender, and parenting stress were associated with children's adjustment problems in both family types. The findings suggest that solo motherhood, in itself, does not result in psychological problems for children.

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Home-Based Early Intervention and the Influence of Family Resources on Cognitive Development

Carla Bann et al.

Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: To investigate whether early developmental intervention (EDI) can positively affect the trajectories of cognitive development among children from low-resource families.

Methods: Longitudinal analyses were conducted of data from 293 children in the Brain Research to Ameliorate Impaired Neurodevelopment Home-based Intervention Trial, a randomized controlled trial of a home-based EDI program, to examine trajectories of Bayley Scales of Infant Development-Second Edition Mental Development Index (MDI) scores from 12 to 36 months of age among young children from high- and low-resource families in 3 low- to middle-resource countries.

Results: A 3-way interaction among family resources, intervention group, and age was statistically significant after controlling for maternal, child, and birth characteristics (Wald χ2(1) = 9.41, P = .002). Among children of families with high resources, both the intervention and control groups had significant increases in MDI scores over time (P < .001 and P = .002, respectively), and 36-month MDI scores for these 2 groups did not differ significantly (P = .602). However, in families with low resources, the EDI group displayed greater improvement, resulting in significantly higher 36-month MDI scores than the control group (P < .001). In addition, the 36-month MDI scores for children in families with low resources receiving EDI did not differ significantly from children from high-resource families in either the EDI (P = .509) or control (P = .882) groups.

Conclusions: A home-based EDI during the first 3 years of life can substantially decrease the developmental gap between children from families with lower versus higher resources, even among children in low- to middle-resource countries.

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The Mobility of Elite Life Scientists: Professional and Personal Determinants

Pierre Azoulay, Ina Ganguli & Joshua Graff Zivin

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
As scientists' careers unfold, mobility can allow researchers to find environments where they are more productive and more effectively contribute to the generation of new knowledge. In this paper, we examine the determinants of mobility of elite academics within the life sciences, including individual productivity measures and for the first time, measures of the peer environment and family factors. Using a unique data set compiled from the career histories of 10,004 elite life scientists in the U.S., we paint a nuanced picture of mobility. Prolific scientists are more likely to move, but this impulse is constrained by recent NIH funding. The quality of peer environments both near and far is an additional factor that influences mobility decisions. Interestingly, we also identify a significant role for family structure. Scientists appear to be unwilling to move when their children are between the ages of 14-17, which is when US children are typically enrolled in middle school or high school. This suggests that even elite scientists find it costly to disrupt the social networks of their children and take these costs into account when making career decisions.

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The Impact of Maternal Depression on Child Academic and Socioemotional Outcomes

Heather Dahlen

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines how maternal depression affects children's test scores and socioemotional outcomes. An empirical challenge surrounding this research is to address the omission of unobserved factors affecting both maternal depression and child outcomes. By implementing bounding, an underutilized estimation technique not previously applied to maternal depression studies, I am able to generate ranges of the causal impact of maternal depression on child test scores and socioemotional outcomes. Primary findings include moderately-sized reductions in children's socioemotional measures and slight reductions in children's test scores when a mother reported any level of depression in single-period analyses, an increase in magnitude of the findings for kindergarten students as severity of depression increased, and larger impacts on reading scores of third graders when their mother was depressed in multiple time periods.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fabulous investments

Corporate Scandals and Household Stock Market Participation

Mariassunta Giannetti & Tracy Yue Wang

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that after the revelation of corporate fraud in a state, household stock market participation in that state decreases. Households decrease holdings in fraudulent as well as non fraudulent firms, even if they do not hold stocks in fraudulent firms. Within a state, households with more lifetime experience of corporate fraud hold less equity. Following the exogenous increase in fraud revelation due to Arthur Andersen's demise, states with more Arthur Andersen clients experience a larger decrease in stock market participation. We provide evidence that the documented effect is likely to reflect a loss of trust in the stock market.

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Frenemies: How Do Financial Firms Vote on Their Own Kind?

Aneel Keswani, David Stolin & Anh Tran

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The financial sector is unique in being largely self-governed: the majority of financial firms' shares are held by other financial institutions. This raises the possibility that the monitoring of financial firms is especially undermined by conflicts of interest as a result of personal and professional links between these firms and their shareholders. To investigate this possibility, we scrutinize the aspect of the financial sector's self-governance that is directly observable: mutual fund companies' voting on their peers' stocks. We find that considerations specific to investee firms' membership in the same industry as their investors do indeed impact voting. This impact is in the direction of supporting the investee's management. We show that the own-industry effect reduces director efficacy and lowers firm value as a result. We extend our analysis to other financial companies and show that they also tend to vote more favorably when it comes to their peers. Our results suggest that peer support is a corrupting factor in the financial sector's governance.

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The Leverage Externalities of Credit Default Swaps

Jay Li & Dragon Yongjun Tang

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper provides the first empirical evidence of the externalities of credit default swaps (CDS). We find that a firm's leverage is lower when a larger proportion of its revenue is derived from CDS-referenced customers. This finding is robust to alternative samples and measures, placebo tests, and the selection of customers by suppliers. Moreover, firms affected by customer CDS trading issue equity to lower leverage, and their equity issuance costs are lower. These findings are consistent with the view that CDS trading on customers improves the information environment for suppliers. Therefore, while many firms are not directly linked to CDS trading, CDS trading on their customers has spillover effects on these firms' financial policies.

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The Market for Financial Adviser Misconduct

Mark Egan, Gregor Matvos & Amit Seru

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We construct a novel database containing the universe of financial advisers in the United States from 2005 to 2015, representing approximately 10% of employment of the finance and insurance sector. Roughly 7% of advisers have misconduct records. Prior offenders are five times as likely to engage in new misconduct as the average financial adviser. Firms discipline misconduct: approximately half of financial advisers lose their job after misconduct. The labor market partially undoes firm-level discipline: of these advisers, 44% are reemployed in the financial services industry within a year. Reemployment is not costless. Following misconduct, advisers face longer unemployment spells, and move to less reputable firms, with a 10% reduction in compensation. Additionally, firms that hire these advisers also have higher rates of prior misconduct themselves. We find similar results for advisers of dissolved firms, in which all advisers are forced to find new employment independent of past misconduct or performance. Firms that persistently engage in misconduct coexist with firms that have clean records. We show that differences in consumer sophistication may be partially responsible for this phenomenon: misconduct is concentrated in firms with retail customers and in counties with low education, elderly populations, and high incomes. Our findings suggest that some firms "specialize" in misconduct and cater to unsophisticated consumers, while others use their reputation to attract sophisticated consumers.

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ABCs of Trading: Behavioral Biases affect Stock Turnover and Value

Jennifer Itzkowitz, Jesse Itzkowitz & Scott Rothbort

Review of Finance, March 2016, Pages 663-692

Abstract:
Psychological research suggests that individuals are satisficers. That is, when confronted with a large number of options, individuals often choose the first acceptable option, rather than the best possible option (Simon, 1957). Given the vast quantity of information available and the widespread convention of listing stocks in alphabetical order, we conjecture that investors are more likely to buy and sell stocks with early alphabet names. Consistent with this view, we find that early alphabet stocks are traded more frequently than later alphabet stocks and that alphabeticity also affects firm value. We also document how these effects have changed over time.

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Alphabetic Bias, Investor Recognition, and Trading Behavior

Heiko Jacobs & Alexander Hillert

Review of Finance, March 2016, Pages 693-723

Abstract:
Extensive research has revealed that alphabetical name ordering tends to provide an advantage to those positioned in the beginning of an alphabetical listing. This article is the first to explore the implications of this alphabetic bias in financial markets. We find that US stocks that appear near the top of an alphabetical listing have about 5-15% higher trading activity and liquidity than stocks that appear toward the bottom. The magnitude of these results is negatively related to firm visibility and investor sophistication. International evidence and fund flows further indicate that ordering effects can affect trading activity and liquidity.

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Influential Investors in online stock forums

Lucy Ackert et al.

International Review of Financial Analysis, May 2016, Pages 39-46

Abstract:
This paper uses data from an online stock forum to examine the behavior of influential investors, posters who are popular among forum members. Unlike prior research, we find that influential investors post messages based on information and target actively traded large firms. Their predictions are more likely to indicate subsequent returns, as compared to other investors. Influential investors exhibit a preference for local investments and, furthermore, their predictions for local firms are more likely to be correct, suggesting a true information advantage. Thus, these investors contribute to the overall functioning of the market by providing insight into targeted companies.

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IPO pricing as a function of your investment banks' past mistakes: The case of Facebook

Laurie Krigman & Wendy Jeffus

Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
On May 18, 2012 Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO), raising over $16 billion making it one of the largest IPOs in history. To the surprise of many investors, there was no underpricing―the stock closed the first day of trading flat from its offer price. The Facebook IPO was described as not only disappointing but also detrimental to the broader market. We explore why one IPO should have such widespread consequences. We document that the IPO market was silent for 41 days following Facebook. When it re-opened 41 days later, the average level of underpricing increased from 11% pre-Facebook to 20% post-Facebook. The common blame was an overall increase in risk-aversion among investors. We offer an alternative explanation. We show that the entire increase in underpricing is concentrated in the IPOs of the Facebook lead underwriters. We find no statistical difference in underpricing pre and post-Facebook for non-Facebook underwriters. We argue that investment bank loyalty to their institutional investor client based propelled the Facebook underwriters to increase underpricing to compensate for the perceived losses on Facebook.

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The Social Value of Financial Expertise

Pablo Kurlat

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
I study expertise acquisition in a model of trading under asymmetric information. I propose and implement a method to estimate the ratio of social to private marginal value of expertise. This can be decomposed into three sufficient statistics: traders' average profits, the fraction of bad assets among traded assets and the elasticity of good assets traded with respect to capital inflows. For venture capital, the ratio is between 0.64 and 0.83 and for junk bond underwriting, it is between 0.09 and 0.26. In both cases this is less than one so at the margin financial expertise destroys surplus.

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Does rating analyst subjectivity affect corporate debt pricing?

Cesare Fracassi, Stefan Petry & Geoffrey Tate

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find evidence of systematic optimism and pessimism among credit analysts, comparing contemporaneous ratings of the same firm across rating agencies. These differences in perspectives carry through to debt prices and negatively predict future changes in credit spreads, consistent with mispricing. Moreover, the pricing effects are the largest among firms that are the most opaque, likely exacerbating financing constraints. We find that masters of business administration (MBAs) provide higher quality ratings. However, optimism increases and accuracy decreases with tenure covering the firm. Our analysis demonstrates the role analysts play in shaping investor expectations and its effect on corporate debt markets.

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Invisible walls: Do psychological barriers really exist in stock index levels?

Sam Alan Woodhouse et al.

North American Journal of Economics and Finance, April 2016, Pages 267-278

Abstract:
We investigate whether the levels of a stock market index contain any evidence of a behavioural bias depending on the proximity of the index level to 'psychological barriers'. These are certain index levels (usually in multiples of 100) at which the market tends to stick before breaking out either up or down. Extant behavioural finance literature has attributed this to investors' subjective perception of 'something special' about certain index levels where in fact no rational economic basis exists for such a perception. We carry out an empirical analysis of the NASDAQ Composite index and find that barrier effects are indeed present in that stock index. We employ simulation analysis to validate of our obtained results.

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Soft Strategic Information and IPO Underpricing

James Brau, James Cicon & Grant McQueen

Journal of Behavioral Finance, Winter 2016, Pages 1-17

Abstract:
Using content analysis, we measure the impact of soft information, derived from words in initial public offering (IPO) registration documents, on IPO pricing efficiency. First, using 2,298 U.S. IPOs from 1996-2008, we find that an IPO document's strategic tone correlates positively with the stock's first-day return; more frequent usage of positive and/or less frequent usage of negative strategic words leads to more IPO underpricing. Second, we find that an IPO document's strategic tone is negatively correlated with the stock's long-run return. Together, these findings imply that investors initially misprice soft information in registration statements, which mispricing is eventually corrected. Additionally, we create new content-analysis libraries for strategic words and introduce a survey-based library creation method and word-weighting system.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Feeling better

Power and Death: Mortality Salience Increases Power Seeking While Feeling Powerful Reduces Death Anxiety

Peter Belmi & Jeffrey Pfeffer

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to Terror Management Theory, people respond to reminders of mortality by seeking psychological security and bolstering their self-esteem. Because previous research suggests that having power can provide individuals a sense of security and self-worth, we hypothesize that mortality salience leads to an increased motivation to acquire power, especially among men. Study 1 found that men (but not women) who wrote about their death reported more interest in acquiring power. Study 2A and Study 2B demonstrated that when primed with reminders of death, men (but not women) reported behaving more dominantly during the subsequent week, while both men and women reported behaving more prosocially during that week. Thus, mortality salience prompts people to respond in ways that help them manage their death anxiety but in ways consistent with normative gender expectations. Furthermore, Studies 3–5 showed that feeling powerful reduces anxiety when mortality is salient. Specifically, we found that when primed to feel more powerful, both men and women experienced less mortality anxiety.

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The 'Extreme Female Brain': Increased Cognitive Empathy as a Dimension of Psychopathology

Natalie Dinsdale, MIka Mökkönen & Bernard Crespi

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Baron-Cohen's 'extreme male brain' theory postulates that autism involves exaggerated male-typical psychology, with reduced empathizing (considered here as social-emotional interest, motivation and abilities) and increased systemizing (non-social, physical-world and rule-based interest, motivation and abilities), in association with its male-biased sex ratio. The concept of an 'extreme female brain', involving some combination of increased empathizing and reduced systemizing, and its possible role in psychiatric conditions, has been considerably less well investigated. Female-biased sex ratios have been described in two conditions, depression and borderline personality disorder (BPD), that also show evidence of increases in aspects of empathy in some studies. We evaluated the hypothesis that BPD and depression can be conceptualized in the context of the 'extreme female brain' by: (1) describing previous conceptualizations of the extreme female brain model, (2) reviewing evidence of female-biased sex ratios in BPD and depression, (3) conducting meta-analyses of performance on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test (RMET) among individuals with BPD, clinical or subclinical depression, and other psychiatric conditions involving altered social cognition and mood (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and autism), in relation to disorder sex ratios, and (4) evaluating previous evidence of increased empathic performance in these, and related, psychiatric conditions, and (5) synthesizing these lines of evidence into models for causes and effects of an 'extreme female brain'. Our primary empirical results are that RMET performance is enhanced in subclinical depression, preserved in borderline personality disorder, and reduced in other disorders (by meta-analyses), and that across disorders, more male-biased patient sex ratios are strongly associated with worse RMET performance of patients relative to controls. Our findings, in conjunction with previous work, suggest that increased cognitive empathizing mediates risk and expression of some psychiatric conditions with evidence of female biases, especially non-clinical depression and borderline personality disorder, in association with increased attention to social stimuli, higher levels of social and emotional sensitivity, negative emotion biases, and over-developed mentalist thought. These results link evolved human sex differences with psychiatric vulnerabilities and symptoms, and lead to specific suggestions for future work.

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Belief in scientific–technological progress and life satisfaction: The role of personal control

Olga Stavrova, Daniel Ehlebracht & Detlef Fetchenhauer

Personality and Individual Differences, July 2016, Pages 227–236

Abstract:
While numerous studies have examined the positive association between religious beliefs and subjective well-being, there is a notable absence of research addressing the potential role of secular beliefs as a source of happiness and life satisfaction. Drawing from literature on compensatory control, the present research fills this void by exploring the association between belief in scientific–technological progress and life satisfaction, investigating its underlying mechanism and examining cross-cultural moderators. The results showed that belief in scientific–technological progress is a stronger predictor of life satisfaction than religious beliefs in a nationally representative sample of the Dutch population (Study 1) and across 69 out of 72 countries (Study 2). Additional analyses highlighted the role of personal control beliefs as the mechanism driving this effect: a strong belief in scientific–technological progress was associated with an enhanced sense of personal control, which in turn contributed to higher life satisfaction. Consistent with previous research on “shared reality” and person–culture fit, the beneficial consequences of an individual's belief in scientific–technological progress were enhanced when this belief was widely held within a specific culture.

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Affective Forecasting About Hedonic Loss and Adaptation: Implications for Damage Awards

Edie Greene, Kristin Sturm & Andrew Evelo

Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In tort lawsuits, plaintiffs may seek damages for loss of enjoyment of life, so-called hedonic loss, which occurred as a result of an accident or injury. In 2 studies, we examined how people judge others’ adaptation and hedonic loss after an injury. Laypeople’s forecasts of hedonic loss are relevant to concerns about whether jurors appropriately compensate plaintiffs. Longitudinal data of subjective well-being (e.g., Binder & Coad, 2013) show that hedonic loss is domain-specific: Many physical impairments (e.g., strokes) inflict less hedonic loss than many persistent yet invisible ailments (e.g., mental illness and conditions that cause chronic pain). We used vignette methodology to determine whether laypeople (n = 68 community members and 65 students in Study 1; 87 community members and 93 students in Study 2) and rehabilitation professionals (n = 47 in Study 2) were aware of this fact. In Study 1, participants’ ratings of hedonic loss subsequent to a physical injury and a comparably severe psychological impairment did not differ. In Study 2, ratings of short- and long-term hedonic loss stemming from paraplegia and chronic back pain showed that neither laypeople nor professionals understood that hedonic loss is domain-specific. These findings imply that observers may forecast a future for people who suffered serious physical injuries as grimmer than it is likely to be, and a future for people who experience chronic pain and psychological disorders as rosier than is likely.

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Mental Health Improves After Transition From Comprehensive School to Vocational Education or Employment in England: A National Cohort Study

Jennifer Symonds et al.

Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Underpinned by stage-environment fit and job demands-resources theories, this study examined how adolescents’ anxiety, depressive symptoms, and positive functioning developed as they transferred from comprehensive school to further education, employment or training, or became NEET (not in education, employment, or training), at age 16 years, in the longitudinal English national cohort study Next Steps (N = 13,342). Controlling for childhood achievement, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender, we found that NEET adolescents had the largest losses in mental health. This pattern was similar to adolescents staying on at school who had increased anxiety and depression, and decreased positive functioning, after transition. In comparison, adolescents transferring to full-time work, apprenticeships, or vocational college experienced gains in mental health.

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Nine beautiful things: A self-administered online positive psychology intervention on the beauty in nature, arts, and behaviors increases happiness and ameliorates depressive symptoms

René Proyer et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, May 2016, Pages 189–193

Abstract:
We tested the effectiveness of a self-administered online positive psychology intervention which addressed the appreciation of beauty and excellence on happiness and depression directly after the intervention, after one week, and one, three, and six months. One hundred thirteen adults were randomly assigned to a “9 beautiful things” intervention (IG; n = 59), or a placebo control group (“early memories”; n = 54). Participants in the IG were asked to write down (a) three beautiful things in human behavior; (b) three things they experienced as beautiful in nature and/or the environment; and (c) three beautiful things related to beauty in general that they observed. Findings show increased levels of happiness in the intervention group at post-test, after one week and one month, and amelioration of depressive symptoms at the post-test and one week after the intervention. The effect sizes were small to medium (η2 = .03 to .07). Overall, this initial study provides support for the notion that the “9 beautiful things” intervention may be effective in increasing people's well-being — at least in a short term.

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Retirement as Meaningful: Positive Retirement Stereotypes Associated with Longevity

Reuben Ng et al.

Journal of Social Issues, March 2016, Pages 69–85

Abstract:
Studies examining the association between retirement and health have produced mixed results. This may be due to previous studies treating retirement as merely a change in job status rather than a transition associated with stereotypes or societal beliefs (e.g., retirement is a time of mental decline or retirement is a time of growth). To examine whether these stereotypes are associated with health, we studied retirement stereotypes and survival over a 23-year period among 1,011 older adults. As predicted by stereotype embodiment theory, it was found that positive stereotypes about physical health during retirement showed a survival advantage of 4.5 years (hazard ratio = 0.88, p = .022) and positive stereotypes about mental health during retirement tended to show a survival advantage of 2.5 years (hazard ratio = 0.87, p = .034). Models adjusted for relevant covariates such as age, gender, race, employment status, functional health, and self-rated health. These results suggest that retirement preparation could benefit from considering retirement stereotypes.

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Adolescent Psychological Distress, Unemployment, and the Great Recession: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997

Mark Egan, Michael Daly & Liam Delaney

Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: This paper uses the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997 data to examine whether adolescent psychological distress in 2000 predicts higher unemployment over 2000-11, whether this relationship changed in the period following the Great Recession, and whether it is robust to adjustment for family effects.

Methods: 7,125 cohort members (2,986 siblings) self-reported their mental health in 2000 and employment activities over 2000-11. This association was examined using Probit and ordinary least squares regressions controlling for intelligence, physical health, other sociodemographic characteristics and family background.

Results: After adjustment for covariates and compared to those with low distress, highly distressed adolescents were 2.7 percentage points (32%) more likely to be unemployed, 5.1 points (26%) more likely to be unemployed or out of the labor force and experienced 11 weeks (28%) more unemployment. The impact of high distress was similar to a one standard deviation decrease in intelligence, and double the magnitude of having a serious physical health problem, and these estimates were robust to adjustment for family fixed-effects. The highly distressed were also disproportionately more likely to become unemployed or exit the labor force in the years following the Great Recession.

Conclusion: These findings provide strong evidence of the unemployment penalty of early-life psychological distress and suggest that this relationship may be intensified during economic recessions. Investing in mental health in early life may be an effective way to reduce unemployment.

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Beliefs About the Causal Structure of the Self-Concept Determine Which Changes Disrupt Personal Identity

Stephanie Chen, Oleg Urminsky & Daniel Bartels

University of Chicago Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Personal identity is an important determinant of behavior, yet how people mentally represent their self-concept is not well understood. In the studies reported in this paper, we examine the age-old question of what makes us who we are. We propose a novel approach to identity which suggests that the answer lies in people’s beliefs about how the features of identity (e.g., memories, moral qualities, personality traits) are causally related to each other. Features that are involved in many cause-effect relationships with other features of one’s identity are perceived as more defining to a person’s self-concept. In three experiments, using both measured and manipulated causal centrality, we find support for this approach. For both judgments of one’s self and of others, we find that some features are perceived as more causally central than others and that changes in those more causally central features are believed to be more disruptive to identity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Go ahead

Social Stress Facilitates Risk in Youths

Jeremy Jamieson & Wendy Berry Mendes

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, April 2016, Pages 467-485

Abstract:
This research examined the influence of social stress on risk processes in youths. Study 1 (N = 89) randomly assigned male youths to perform either a stressful social-evaluative or nonstressful control task followed by a risk-perception measure. Compared to controls, social stress participants perceived less risk in their environment. Study 2 (N = 188) extended findings by testing effects of social stress on risk perception in males and females, and across 3 age groups: teenagers (15–19), young adults (25–40), and older adults (60–75). Replicating Study 1, teenagers experiencing social stress perceived less risk than age-matched controls. However, adults assigned to experience social stress reported greater risk perception compared to their age-matched controls. Effects of social stress also extended to risk-taking behavior. Stressed teenagers engaged in more risk-taking behavior relative to controls, and showed increased reward and lowered cost sensitivity during decision-making. These findings offer basic and translational value regarding factors that influence how youths evaluate risk.

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Laughing at Risk: Sitcom Laugh Tracks Communicate Norms for Behavior

Nancy Rhodes & Morgan Ellithorpe

Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The role that sitcom laugh tracks play in the communication of social norms was investigated. Participants (n = 112) were exposed to a sitcom narrative in which reckless driving behaviors were exhibited, or a control narrative. One half of the participants viewed a clip with laugh track present, and the other half viewed a clip with the laugh track edited out. Results indicate that laugh tracks do communicate information about what kinds of driving behavior is normative in the target driving clip condition. Specifically, the accessibility of risky driving injunctive norms was influenced by the laugh track and scenario manipulation. This effect was moderated by identification with the character who exhibited reckless behavior. Accessibility of risky driving norms then predicted attitudes, descriptive norms, and behavioral intentions regarding risky driving. The implication of the results is that media narratives can communicate norms for behavior through the laugh track in a sitcom.

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When Is an Adolescent an Adult? Assessing Cognitive Control in Emotional and Nonemotional Contexts

Alexandra Cohen et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
An individual is typically considered an adult at age 18, although the age of adulthood varies for different legal and social policies. A key question is how cognitive capacities relevant to these policies change with development. The current study used an emotional go/no-go paradigm and functional neuroimaging to assess cognitive control under sustained states of negative and positive arousal in a community sample of one hundred ten 13- to 25-year-olds from New York City and Los Angeles. The results showed diminished cognitive performance under brief and prolonged negative emotional arousal in 18- to 21-year-olds relative to adults over 21. This reduction in performance was paralleled by decreased activity in fronto-parietal circuitry, implicated in cognitive control, and increased sustained activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, involved in emotional processes. The findings suggest a developmental shift in cognitive capacity in emotional situations that coincides with dynamic changes in prefrontal circuitry. These findings may inform age-related social policies.

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Did households’ time preference change due to the Great Recession?

Eunice Hong & Sherman Hanna

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Household time preference for US households, as measured by the planning horizon, was fairly stable for many years, but sharply changed with the onset of the Great Recession. Based on an analysis of a combination of the 1992–2013 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) datasets, time preference increased in 2010 and remained high in 2013, indicating households were less patient after the onset of the recession. This pattern held up even after controlling for household characteristics.

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Psychopathy and Machiavellianism: A distinction without a difference?

Joshua Miller et al.

Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Abstract:
A robust literature has emerged on the Dark Triad (DT) of personality – Machiavellianism (MACH), psychopathy, and narcissism. Questions remain as to whether MACH and psychopathy are distinguishable and whether MACH's empirical and theoretical networks are consistent. In Study 1 (N = 393), factor analyses were used to compare 2 (MACH and psychopathy combined + narcissism) and 3 factor models with both fitting the data equally well. In Studies 1 and 2 (N = 341), DT scores were examined in relation to a variety of external criteria including self and informant ratings of personality, adverse developmental experiences, and psychopathological symptoms/behaviors. In both studies, MACH and psychopathy manifested nearly identical empirical profiles and both were significantly related to disinhibitory traits thought to be antithetical to MACH. In Study 3 (N = 36), expert ratings of the FFM traits prototypical of MACH were collected and compared with empirically derived profiles. Measures of MACH yielded profiles that were inconsistent with the prototypical expert-rated profile due to their positive relations with a broad spectrum of impulsivity-related traits. Ultimately, measures of psychopathy and MACH appear to be measuring the same construct and MACH assessments fail to capture the construct as articulated in theoretical descriptions.

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Enhanced emotion regulation capacity and its neural substrates in those exposed to moderate childhood adversity

Susanne Schweizer et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, February 2016, Pages 272-281

Abstract:
Individuals exposed to childhood adversities (CA) present with emotion regulation (ER) difficulties in later life, which have been identified as risk and maintenance factors for psychopathologies. However, it is unclear if CA negatively impacts on ER capacity per se or whether observed regulation difficulties are a function of the challenging circumstances in which ER is being deployed. In this longitudinal study, we aimed to clarify this association by investigating the behavioral and neural effects of exposure to common moderate CA (mCA) on a laboratory measure of ER capacity in late adolescence/young adulthood. Our population-derived samples of adolescents/young adults (N = 53) were administered a film-based ER-task during functional magnetic resonance imaging that allowed evaluation of ER across mCA-exposure. mCA-exposure was associated with enhanced ER capacity over both positive and negative affect. At the neural level, the better ER of negative material in those exposed to mCA was associated with reduced recruitment of ER-related brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex and temporal gyrus. In addition mCA-exposure was associated with a greater down-regulation of the amygdala during ER of negative material. The implications of these findings for our understanding of the effects of mCA on the emergence of resilience in adolescence are discussed.

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Emotional Arousal Predicts Intertemporal Choice

Karolina Lempert, Eli Johnson & Elizabeth Phelps

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
People generally prefer immediate rewards to rewards received after a delay, often even when the delayed reward is larger. This phenomenon is known as temporal discounting. It has been suggested that preferences for immediate rewards may be due to their being more concrete than delayed rewards. This concreteness may evoke an enhanced emotional response. Indeed, manipulating the representation of a future reward to make it more concrete has been shown to heighten the reward’s subjective emotional intensity, making people more likely to choose it. Here the authors use an objective measure of arousal — pupil dilation — to investigate if emotional arousal mediates the influence of delayed reward concreteness on choice. They recorded pupil dilation responses while participants made choices between immediate and delayed rewards. They manipulated concreteness through time interval framing: delayed rewards were presented either with the date on which they would be received (e.g., “$30, May 3”; DATE condition, more concrete) or in terms of delay to receipt (e.g., “$30, 7 days; DAYS condition, less concrete). Contrary to prior work, participants were not overall more patient in the DATE condition. However, there was individual variability in response to time framing, and this variability was predicted by differences in pupil dilation between conditions. Emotional arousal increased as the subjective value of delayed rewards increased, and predicted choice of the delayed reward on each trial. This study advances our understanding of the role of emotion in temporal discounting.

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Individual Differences in Delay Discounting: Differences are Quantitative with Gains, but Qualitative with Losses

Joel Myerson, Ana Baumann & Leonard Green

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on delay discounting and inter-temporal choice has yielded significant insights into decision making. Although research has focused on delayed gains, the discounting of losses is potentially important in precisely those areas where the discounting of gains has proved informative (e.g., substance use and abuse). Participants in the current study completed both a questionnaire consisting of choices between immediate and delayed gains and an analogous questionnaire consisting of choices between immediate and delayed losses. For almost all participants, the likelihood of choosing the delayed gain decreased with increases in the wait until it would be received. In contrast, when losses (i.e., payments) were involved, different participants showed quite different patterns of choices. More specifically, although the majority of the participants became increasingly likely to choose to pay later as the delay was increased, some participants appeared to be debt averse, in that they were more likely to choose the immediate payment option when the delay was long than when it was brief. These debt-averse participants also were more likely to choose to wait for a larger delayed gain than other participants and scored lower on Impulsiveness than those who showed the typical pattern of discounting delayed losses. Taken together, these results suggest that in the case of delayed gains, people differ only quantitatively (i.e., in how steeply they discount), whereas in the case of delayed losses, people differ qualitatively as well as quantitatively, contrary to the common assumption that a single impulsivity trait underlies choices between immediate and delayed outcomes.

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Exposure to acute stress enhances decision-making competence: Evidence for the role of DHEA

Grant Shields et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, May 2016, Pages 51–60

Abstract:
Exposure to acute stress can impact performance on numerous cognitive abilities, but little is known about how acute stress affects real-world decision-making ability. In the present study, we induced acute stress with a standard laboratory task involving uncontrollable socio-evaluative stress and subsequently assessed decision-making ability using the Adult Decision Making Competence index. In addition, we took baseline and post-test saliva samples from participants to examine associations between decision-making competence and adrenal hormones. Participants in the stress induction group showed enhanced decision-making competence, relative to controls. Further, although both cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) reactivity predicted decision-making competence when considered in isolation, DHEA was a significantly better predictor than cortisol when both hormones were considered simultaneously. Thus, our results show that exposure to acute stress can have beneficial effects on the cognitive ability underpinning real-world decision-making and that this effect relates to DHEA reactivity more than cortisol.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 18, 2016

The establishment

Representation, neighboring districts, and party loyalty in the U.S. Congress

Justin Kirkland & Lucas Williams

Public Choice, December 2015, Pages 263-284

Abstract:
Legislative scholars often assume that legislators are motivated by concerns over re-election. This assumption implies that legislators are forward-looking and are motivated by a concern over what their re-election constituency will look like during their next electoral cycle. In this research, we show how the forward-looking nature of legislators motivates members of the U.S. House of Representatives to represent both their home district and their neighboring districts in their choices regarding when to support their own party. Using survey responses to the 2006, 2008, and 2010 Cooperative Congressional Elections Study to construct measures of Congressional District ideology, empirical analysis is strongly supportive of our claims. Legislators' choices are strongly influenced both by the ideology of their home district and that of the districts that neighbor their home district. Thus, the electoral connection between citizens and representatives extends beyond a legislator's own constituents to include the constituents in neighboring districts.

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Corporate Ownership and News Bias Revisited: Newspaper Coverage of the Supreme Court's Citizens United Ruling

Catie Snow Bailard

Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
The clear financial benefits accrued to owners of television stations as a result of the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) decision opens the door to an important question: Did the degree to which media corporations benefited from the changes in campaign finance law influence their news outlets' coverage of the Citizens United decision? In other words, is it possible to identify variation in how media outlets covered the Supreme Court decision that correlates with the degree to which those outlets' parent companies profited from the resulting increase in campaign spending? Answering this question will provide an important and much-too-uncommon opportunity to systematically test for bias in news coverage. Replicating the method used by Gilens and Hertzman (2000) in their own test of coverage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, this analysis reveals that newspapers belonging to media corporations that own more television stations covered the Citizens United ruling systematically differently - and more favorably - than those with few or no television stations. This has important implications for the degree to which the news produced by increasingly conglomerated and corporatized media companies may eschew neutral or balanced coverage in favor of news frames that promote their own financial interests.

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Inferences Made Easy: Partisan Voting in Congress, Voter Awareness, and Senator Approval

Logan Dancey & Geoffrey Sheagley

American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article investigates whether constituents are able to accurately infer their senators' votes when the senator frequently votes against the party line. We find that when senators repeatedly vote against the party line, constituents' ability to correctly identify their senators' votes drops precipitously while levels of misinformation rise. We then show that citizens represented by senators who tend to vote against the party line are also less able to connect their policy positions with their evaluations of those senators. These findings indicate that there is substantial variation across senators in the ability of their constituents to hold them accountable for their votes while in office. Constituents simply know less about the positions taken by moderate senators and have a harder time aligning their levels of policy agreement with a senator with their evaluation of that senator if she frequently votes against her party.

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Optimal wages for politicians

Mohammad Reza Mirhosseini

Southern Economic Journal, January 2016, Pages 1004-1020

Abstract:
I consider a society that has to decide on the wage that it offers for an elected official. Potential candidates differ in their abilities, which determines their effectiveness in office and their opportunity cost. They consider the wage when deciding whether to enter as candidates, and if they do, how hard to campaign. The remuneration for the official that maximizes ordinary citizens' expected utility is a function of the proportion of competent voters who are better informed about the quality of the candidates and are not influenced by the campaign. I use the data on U.S. governor salaries over six decades to evaluate some implications of the model. Specifically, the proportion of the state's population with a bachelor's degree - a proxy for the proportion of competent voters - is negatively correlated with the governors' salaries when controlled for other factors.

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Senate Dynamics in the Shadow of Money

Matias Iaryczower, Gabriel Lopez-Moctezuma & Adam Meirowitz

Princeton Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
Incumbent politicians seeking reelection face an inherently dynamic problem: They observe the change in their poll standing and incoming contributions, and respond by adjusting their political stances and by spending money in political advertising. In this paper, we formulate a model that captures this problem and estimate the model using data for US senators. Our empirical strategy allows us to obtain an estimate of senators' policy preferences that discounts pandering. This approach contrasts with current methods to estimate legislators' ideal points, which assume that all votes are sincere expressions of preference. The difference is consequential: we find that while there are some truly extreme senators, the vast majority is actually relatively moderate, and appear extreme due to electoral pressures. This finding contrasts with the conventional wisdom on the polarization of elites in American politics.

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Constituents' Responses to Descriptive and Substantive Representation in Congress

Philip Edward Jones

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: This article examines whether the descriptive representation of race and ethnicity influences how constituents respond to the substantive representation of their policy preferences. Hypotheses derived from theories of descriptive representation suggest that voters may overestimate policy congruence, or downplay its importance, while evaluating politicians who "look like" them.

Methods: A unique sample of black, Hispanic, and white Americans was asked to evaluate a (fictitious) member of the U.S. Congress whose race/ethnicity and policy positions are randomly manipulated.

Results: Regardless of their actual policy positions, blacks perceived greater substantive representation from black politicians. Also holding policy congruence constant, whites approved of white politicians at distinctly higher rates. Education moderates this effect, such that less-educated whites respond more negatively to representation by nonwhite legislators.

Conclusions: Being represented by someone of the same race can diminish accountability for legislators' substantive records, an important cost of descriptive representation.

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The Dead Hand of the Past? Toward an Understanding of "Constitutional Veneration"

James Zink & Christopher Dawes

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some observers argue that excessive veneration of the U.S. Constitution has blinded Americans to its flaws and made them reluctant to consider necessary reforms. In this paper, we test the assumptions that underlie these claims. We report the results of two survey experiments that examine the existence and effects of constitutional status quo bias at both the state and federal levels. Our findings support the notion that a proposed policy involving constitutional change imbues the constitutional status quo with normative value and, in turn, disposes individuals to resist the proposal. These results hold even at the state level. In addition to the institutional obstacles to constitutional amendment, therefore, we find evidence of another, psychological barrier to constitutional change that is based specifically in a sense of constitutional attachment.

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Who Gets the Credit? Legislative Responsiveness and Evaluations of Members, Parties, and the US Congress

Daniel Butler, Christopher Karpowitz & Jeremy Pope

Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article considers the hypothesis that the positive actions taken by members of Congress (MCs) influence citizens' evaluations of them, their party, and Congress as an institution. We begin with a look at the available cross-sectional survey data on contact with legislators and legislator and institutional approval. Their legislative responsiveness appears to have a small spillover effect on institutions. However, when we employ a unique panel design that controls for prior levels of opinion and avoids recall bias, we find no evidence of spillover effects. Overall, we find that constituents who received a response from their own MC evaluate that representative more positively than those who did not receive a response, but legislator responsiveness does not predict evaluations of the MC's political party or the Congress.

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Public Corruption in the United States: Implications for Local Firms

Nishant Dass, Vikram Nanda & Steven Chong Xiao

Review of Corporate Finance Studies, March 2016, Pages 102-138

Abstract:
We study the relation between state-level public corruption in the United States and firm-value and firms' disclosure policies. Consistent with our hypotheses, firms have significantly lower value (Tobin's q) and informational transparency in more corrupt areas. Local corruption has a less negative effect on industries that sell primarily to the government, suggesting a quid pro quo between these firms and public officials. Several tests address endogeneity concerns: for example, firms located in different states but close to state borders are affected by differences in state-level corruption, indicating legal jurisdiction matters despite similar local conditions.

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What does It Take for Congress to Enact Good Policies? an Analysis of Roll Call Voting in the US Congress

Matias Iaryczower & Gabriel Katz

Economics & Politics, March 2016, Pages 79-104

Abstract:
We study the conditions under which members of Congress incorporate policy-specific considerations in their decisions. To do this, we estimate a model that accounts for the influence of private information about legislation quality on voting patterns in the House and Senate. We find that minority party members are more likely to evaluate proposals on their merits than majority members, but institutional and electoral considerations significantly attenuate these partisan differences. In particular, seniority, electoral safety, and constituents' political knowledge have a balancing effect on partisan predispositions to rely on policy-relevant information, making minority (majority) members less (more) likely to vote informatively.

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Beyond Lobbying Expenditures: How Lobbying Breadth and Political Connectedness Affect Firm Outcomes

Jason Ridge, Amy Ingram & Aaron Hill

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Firms are increasingly emphasizing lobbying, yet the theoretical rationale explaining the firm-level implications of lobbying remains limited and the empirical evidence contradictory. In particular, extant research largely focuses on aggregate expenditures, suggesting that more lobbying nets firm benefits (typically measured as firm performance). We argue that focusing solely on aggregate expenditures largely ignores how expenditures are targeted and the connections of firms doing the targeting and, as such, that exploring such factors both will add to our understanding of the theoretical mechanisms underlying lobbying and help clarify contradictory results. Specifically, we argue that a lobbying strategy consists of the amount of agencies and legislation targeted (lobbying breadth) and firms' connections in political circles (political connectedness). Empirical results support our contentions that lobbying breadth and political connectedness affect the benefits firms receive from lobbying, which we operationalize using both government contracts and Tobin's Q. Our results support our theoretical arguments that more is not always better in the case of lobbying breadth, as the benefits firms accrue via dispersing lobbying across more entities reaches a point of diminishing returns. Further, political connectedness has both a direct effect and interacts with lobbying breadth in determining firm benefits from lobbying.

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On the Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs

David Robert Grimes

PLoS ONE, January 2016

Abstract:
Conspiratorial ideation is the tendency of individuals to believe that events and power relations are secretly manipulated by certain clandestine groups and organisations. Many of these ostensibly explanatory conjectures are non-falsifiable, lacking in evidence or demonstrably false, yet public acceptance remains high. Efforts to convince the general public of the validity of medical and scientific findings can be hampered by such narratives, which can create the impression of doubt or disagreement in areas where the science is well established. Conversely, historical examples of exposed conspiracies do exist and it may be difficult for people to differentiate between reasonable and dubious assertions. In this work, we establish a simple mathematical model for conspiracies involving multiple actors with time, which yields failure probability for any given conspiracy. Parameters for the model are estimated from literature examples of known scandals, and the factors influencing conspiracy success and failure are explored. The model is also used to estimate the likelihood of claims from some commonly-held conspiratorial beliefs; these are namely that the moon-landings were faked, climate-change is a hoax, vaccination is dangerous and that a cure for cancer is being suppressed by vested interests. Simulations of these claims predict that intrinsic failure would be imminent even with the most generous estimates for the secret-keeping ability of active participants - the results of this model suggest that large conspiracies (?1000 agents) quickly become untenable and prone to failure. The theory presented here might be useful in counteracting the potentially deleterious consequences of bogus and anti-science narratives, and examining the hypothetical conditions under which sustainable conspiracy might be possible.

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How Michigan Became a Right to Work State: The Role of Money and Politics

Michelle Kaminski

Labor Studies Journal, December 2015, Pages 362-378

Abstract:
The passage of Right to Work (RTW) legislation in Michigan was a surprise to many, given its relatively high unionization rate. Previous studies that examine state RTW status and the process of passing RTW legislation are not a good fit for the events in Michigan. Instead, single-party Republican control of state government and a wealthy donor who prioritized RTW combined to introduce legislation, pass it, and sign it into law in a one-week period. Contextual factors helped create an opportunity for this campaign to succeed. The Michigan experience raises questions about long-term strategies for labor in similar environments in the era of big-money donors.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to behave

Heterogeneity of Long-History Migration Predicts Emotion Recognition Accuracy

Adrienne Wood, Magdalena Rychlowska & Paula Niedenthal

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work (Rychlowska et al., 2015) demonstrated the power of a relatively new cultural dimension, historical heterogeneity, in predicting cultural differences in the endorsement of emotion expression norms. Historical heterogeneity describes the number of source countries that have contributed to a country’s present-day population over the last 500 years. People in cultures originating from a large number of source countries may have historically benefited from greater and clearer emotional expressivity, because they lacked a common language and well-established social norms. We therefore hypothesized that in addition to endorsing more expressive display rules, individuals from heterogeneous cultures will also produce facial expressions that are easier to recognize by people from other cultures. By reanalyzing cross-cultural emotion recognition data from 92 papers and 82 cultures, we show that emotion expressions of people from heterogeneous cultures are more easily recognized by observers from other cultures than are the expressions produced in homogeneous cultures. Heterogeneity influences expression recognition rates alongside the individualism-collectivism of the perceivers’ culture, as more individualistic cultures were more accurate in emotion judgments than collectivistic cultures. This work reveals the present-day behavioral consequences of long-term historical migration patterns and demonstrates the predictive power of historical heterogeneity.

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Suicidality, Economic Shocks, and Egalitarian Gender Norms

Aaron Reeves & David Stuckler

European Sociological Review, February 2016, Pages 39-53

Abstract:
Durkheim conceived of suicide as a product of social integration and regulation. Although the sociology of suicide has focused on the role of disintegration, to our knowledge, the interaction between integration and regulation has yet to be empirically evaluated. In this article we test whether more egalitarian gender norms, an important form of macro-regulation, protects men and women against suicidality during economic shocks. Using cross-national data covering 20 European Union countries from the years 1991 to 2011, including the recent economic crises in Europe, we first assessed the relation between unemployment and suicide. Then we evaluated potential effect modification using three measures of gender equality, the gender ratio in labour force participation, the gender pay gap, and women’s representation in parliament using multiple measures. We found no evidence of a significant, direct link between greater gender equality and suicide rates in either men or women. However, a greater degree of gender equality helped protect against suicidality associated with economic shocks. At relatively high levels of gender equality in Europe, such as those seen in Sweden and Austria, the relationship between rising unemployment rates and suicide in men disappeared altogether. Our findings suggest that more egalitarian forms of gender regulation may help buffer the suicidal consequences of economic shocks, especially in men.

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Popular Attitudes towards Markets and Democracy: Russia and United States Compared 25 Years Later

Maxim Boycko & Robert Shiller

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We repeat a survey we did in the waning days of the Soviet Union (Shiller, Boycko and Korobov, AER 1991) comparing attitudes towards free markets between Moscow and New York. Additional survey questions, from Gibson Duch and Tedin (J. Politics 1992) are added to compare attitudes towards democracy. Two comparisons are made: between countries, and through time, to explore the existence of international differences in allegiance to democratic free-market institutions, and the stability of these differences. While we find some differences in attitudes towards markets across countries and through time, we do not find most of the differences large or significant. Our evidence does not support a common view that the Russian personality is fundamentally illiberal or non-democratic.

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Intrinsic honesty and the prevalence of rule violations across societies

Simon Gächter & Jonathan Schulz

Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Deception is common in nature and humans are no exception. Modern societies have created institutions to control cheating, but many situations remain where only intrinsic honesty keeps people from cheating and violating rules. Psychological, sociological and economic theories suggest causal pathways to explain how the prevalence of rule violations in people’s social environment, such as corruption, tax evasion or political fraud, can compromise individual intrinsic honesty. Here we present cross-societal experiments from 23 countries around the world that demonstrate a robust link between the prevalence of rule violations and intrinsic honesty. We developed an index of the ‘prevalence of rule violations’ (PRV) based on country-level data from the year 2003 of corruption, tax evasion and fraudulent politics. We measured intrinsic honesty in an anonymous die-rolling experiment. We conducted the experiments with 2,568 young participants (students) who, due to their young age in 2003, could not have influenced PRV in 2003. We find individual intrinsic honesty is stronger in the subject pools of low PRV countries than those of high PRV countries. The details of lying patterns support psychological theories of honesty. The results are consistent with theories of the cultural co-evolution of institutions and values, and show that weak institutions and cultural legacies that generate rule violations not only have direct adverse economic consequences, but might also impair individual intrinsic honesty that is crucial for the smooth functioning of society.

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Individualism as the moderator of the relationship between hedonism and happiness: A study in 19 nations

Mohsen Joshanloo & Aaron Jarden

Personality and Individual Differences, May 2016, Pages 149–152

Abstract:
We hypothesize that hedonism (valuing pleasure) as a pathway to happiness is more strongly correlated with happiness in more individualistic (vs collectivistic) cultures. Multi-level modeling is used to test this hypothesis in a sample of 6899 individuals across 19 cultures, controlling for age, gender, and national economic prosperity. As predicted, we find that individualism moderates the relationship between hedonism and happiness, such that hedonism is more strongly related to happiness in more individualistic cultures. These results suggest that culture influences how happiness is most effectively pursued in various cultures.

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Dignity, face, and honor cultures: A study of negotiation strategy and outcomes in three cultures

Soroush Aslani et al.

Journal of Organizational Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study compares negotiation strategy and outcomes in countries illustrating dignity, face, and honor cultures. Hypotheses predict cultural differences in negotiators' aspirations, use of strategy, and outcomes based on the implications of differences in self-worth and social structures in dignity, face, and honor cultures. Data were from a face-to-face negotiation simulation; participants were intra-cultural samples from the USA (dignity), China (face), and Qatar (honor). The empirical results provide strong evidence for the predictions concerning the reliance on more competitive negotiation strategies in honor and face cultures relative to dignity cultures in this context of negotiating a new business relationship. The study makes two important theoretical contributions. First, it proposes how and why people in a previously understudied part of the world, that is, the Middle East, use negotiation strategy. Second, it addresses a conundrum in the East Asian literature on negotiation: the theory and research that emphasize the norms of harmony and cooperation in social interaction versus empirical evidence that negotiations in East Asia are highly competitive.

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What Makes Some Intercultural Negotiations More Difficult Than Others? Power Distance and Culture-Role Combinations

Meina Liu, Lin Zhu & Ioana Cionea

Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines whether and how intercultural negotiation dyads that vary in culture-role combinations experience different negotiation processes and outcomes. Participants completed an employment contract negotiation with a culturally different counterpart. Results indicated that high-status, high-power distance negotiators paired with low-status, low-power distance negotiators experienced more anger, placed less emphasis on cooperative goals, used less priority information exchange, and, consequently, gained less joint profits than high-status, low-power distance negotiators paired with low-status, high-power distance negotiators. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed.

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Influence of Cultural Meaning System and Socioeconomic Change on Indecisiveness in Three Cultures

Liman Man Wai Li, Takahiko Masuda & Feng Jiang

Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychologists have debated two external factors that influence human behaviors: current socioeconomic changes and historically shared cultural meaning systems. By conducting triangular comparisons among Hong Kong Chinese, mainland Chinese, and European Canadians, the current study examined whether these two factors differentially influence people’s indecisiveness. We found that (a) Hong Kong Chinese participants’ level of indecisiveness was highest, and there were no differences between the two other groups; (b) dialectical beliefs facilitated participants’ indecisiveness whereas optimism toward the future attenuated it across cultures and both factors explained cultural variations in indecisiveness; and (c) different from European Canadians’ optimism, optimism about the future promoted by perception of current rapid societal change made mainland Chinese more decisive. The importance of within-region analyses to disentangle varying factors in decision-making processes is discussed.

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Television exposure predicts body size ideals in rural Nicaragua

Lynda Boothroyd et al.

British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Internalization of a thin ideal has been posited as a key risk factor in the development of pathological eating attitudes. Cross-culturally, studies have found a preference for heavier bodies in populations with reduced access to visual media compared to Western populations. As yet, however, there has been little attempt to control for confounding variables in order to isolate the effects of media exposure from other cultural and ecological factors. Here, we examined preferences for female body size in relation to television consumption in Nicaraguan men and women, while controlling for the potential confounding effects of other aspects of Westernization and hunger. We included an urban sample, a sample from a village with established television access, and a sample from a nearby village with very limited television access. The highest BMI preferences were found in the village with least media access, while the lowest BMI preferences were found in the urban sample. Data from the rural sample with established television access were intermediate between the two. Amongst rural women in particular, greater television consumption was a stronger predictor of body weight preferences than acculturation, education, hunger, or income. We also found some evidence for television consumption increasing the likelihood of women seeking to lose weight, possibly via body shape preferences. Overall, these results strongly implicate television access in establishing risk factors for body image disturbances in populations newly gaining access to Western media.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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